Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest slideshow

Craig Shakespeare cast aside as Leicester City eye a 'big name'

Leicester City have no immediate replacement for Craig Shakespeare, and will now embark on a mid-season search to find a high-profile successor to the former assistant who was sacked on Tuesday just seven months after he was first put in charge of the 2016 Premier League champions. The club’s owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, is understood to want a big name from outside the remaining staff, although Carlo Ancelotti, the leading out-of-work candidate in European football, is thought to have designs on a bigger job – possibly even Arsenal if and when Arsene Wenger steps down. The prospect of a return to management for Sam Allardyce cannot be discounted. The likes of David Wagner, Sean Dyche and Marco Silva would all fit the bill of coaches proven in the English game to varying degrees but would be very hard to appoint mid-contract and mid-season from a Premier League rival. Leicester will not be bringing back Nigel Pearson, recently appointed by the Srivaddhanaprabha family as manager of their Belgian second-tier club Oud-Heverlee Leuven. While the sacking of Claudio Ranieri in February was regarded as a necessary step to save the previous season’s title-winners from tail-spinning towards relegation, the dismissal of Shakespeare just eight games into the new season has hinted at problems behind the scenes. He was only given the job on a permanent basis in June and was summoned to see director of football Jon Rudkin on Tuesday afternoon, following a training ground practice match. Leicester could only draw with West Brom on Monday night Credit: Reuters The two men are understood to have had a difficult relationship at times, although it will have been Vichai who made the final call to sack Shakespeare, having listened to the opinion of key staff, including Rudkin. Shakespeare was at the club’s training ground having earlier been in charge of a side of largely Under-23s and fringe players in a behind-closed-doors friendly against a Nottingham Forest XI. He was told that he had been relieved of his duties with most of the first team players not in the training ground, following the 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion at the King Power stadium the previous night. The players were not informed by the club and found out of Shakespeare’s sacking when the story broke on The Daily Mail website. The former Leicester City striker and England international, and now Match of the Day host, Gary Lineker was scathing about his hometown club. Having condemned the sacking of Ranieri in February, Lineker responded to Shakespeare’s dismissal by tweeting: “Was always a miracle, but it’s even more remarkable really that Leicester won the league given the ineptitude of those that run the club.” Was always a miracle, but it’s even more remarkable really that Leicester won the league given the ineptitude of those that run the club.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 17, 2017 Shakespeare’s assistant, Michael Appleton, the former Oxford United manager who joined in the summer, is still in place and will take the team against Swansea on Saturday along with coaches Mike Stowell and Adam Sadler. Among the squad there is a great deal of sympathy for Shakespeare who was popular among players and went on a fine run of six wins when he took over last season, including the second-leg victory over Seville in the Champions League. Shakespeare led Leicester to an historic win over Sevilla in the Champions League last season Credit: EPA Many around Leicester feel that it has been in recruitment – Rudkin’s remit - that the club have struggled since their remarkable Premier League titles success in 2016. The disastrous failure to ratify Adrien Silva’s £22 million signing from Sporting Lisbon in time for the deadline by a margin of 14 seconds at the end of the transfer window in August has left the midfielder ineligible until January. As well as the Silva debacle, there have been large amounts spent on the likes of Islam Slimani, Vicente Iborra and Ahmed Musa, although precious little improvement in the overall quality of the squad. Losing Danny Drinkwater to Chelsea and then failing to get the Silva deal over the line has also affected Leicester. The club had also pledged to secure England Under-21 Demarai Gray to a new contract but two weeks after Shakespeare said the deal was imminent, it has still not been announced. Shakespeare had just one win in the league this season with the club now in the relegation zone. In a statement on the club website, Vichai’s son Aiyawatt – also known as Top – said that Shakespeare had not developed as a manager in the way the club had hoped. The Leicester vice-chairman said: “Craig has been a great servant to Leicester City – during his spells as an assistant manager and since taking over as manager in challenging circumstances in February. His dedication to the club and to his work has been absolute and the contribution he made to the most successful period in Leicester City history is considerable. “However, our early promise under Craig’s management has not been consistently evident in the months since and the board feels that, regrettably, a change is necessary to keep the club moving forward – consistent with the long-term expectations of our supporters, board and owners. Craig is and will remain a very popular, respected figure at Leicester City and will be welcome back at King Power stadium in future, both professionally and as a friend of the club.” Before deciding to appoint Shakespeare until the end of the season, Leicester interviewed a range of managers including Roy Hodgson, Ryan Giggs and Martin O’Neill

Craig Shakespeare cast aside as Leicester City eye a 'big name'

Leicester City have no immediate replacement for Craig Shakespeare, and will now embark on a mid-season search to find a high-profile successor to the former assistant who was sacked on Tuesday just seven months after he was first put in charge of the 2016 Premier League champions. The club’s owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, is understood to want a big name from outside the remaining staff, although Carlo Ancelotti, the leading out-of-work candidate in European football, is thought to have designs on a bigger job – possibly even Arsenal if and when Arsene Wenger steps down. The prospect of a return to management for Sam Allardyce cannot be discounted. The likes of David Wagner, Sean Dyche and Marco Silva would all fit the bill of coaches proven in the English game to varying degrees but would be very hard to appoint mid-contract and mid-season from a Premier League rival. Leicester will not be bringing back Nigel Pearson, recently appointed by the Srivaddhanaprabha family as manager of their Belgian second-tier club Oud-Heverlee Leuven. While the sacking of Claudio Ranieri in February was regarded as a necessary step to save the previous season’s title-winners from tail-spinning towards relegation, the dismissal of Shakespeare just eight games into the new season has hinted at problems behind the scenes. He was only given the job on a permanent basis in June and was summoned to see director of football Jon Rudkin on Tuesday afternoon, following a training ground practice match. Leicester could only draw with West Brom on Monday night Credit: Reuters The two men are understood to have had a difficult relationship at times, although it will have been Vichai who made the final call to sack Shakespeare, having listened to the opinion of key staff, including Rudkin. Shakespeare was at the club’s training ground having earlier been in charge of a side of largely Under-23s and fringe players in a behind-closed-doors friendly against a Nottingham Forest XI. He was told that he had been relieved of his duties with most of the first team players not in the training ground, following the 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion at the King Power stadium the previous night. The players were not informed by the club and found out of Shakespeare’s sacking when the story broke on The Daily Mail website. The former Leicester City striker and England international, and now Match of the Day host, Gary Lineker was scathing about his hometown club. Having condemned the sacking of Ranieri in February, Lineker responded to Shakespeare’s dismissal by tweeting: “Was always a miracle, but it’s even more remarkable really that Leicester won the league given the ineptitude of those that run the club.” Was always a miracle, but it’s even more remarkable really that Leicester won the league given the ineptitude of those that run the club.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 17, 2017 Shakespeare’s assistant, Michael Appleton, the former Oxford United manager who joined in the summer, is still in place and will take the team against Swansea on Saturday along with coaches Mike Stowell and Adam Sadler. Among the squad there is a great deal of sympathy for Shakespeare who was popular among players and went on a fine run of six wins when he took over last season, including the second-leg victory over Seville in the Champions League. Shakespeare led Leicester to an historic win over Sevilla in the Champions League last season Credit: EPA Many around Leicester feel that it has been in recruitment – Rudkin’s remit - that the club have struggled since their remarkable Premier League titles success in 2016. The disastrous failure to ratify Adrien Silva’s £22 million signing from Sporting Lisbon in time for the deadline by a margin of 14 seconds at the end of the transfer window in August has left the midfielder ineligible until January. As well as the Silva debacle, there have been large amounts spent on the likes of Islam Slimani, Vicente Iborra and Ahmed Musa, although precious little improvement in the overall quality of the squad. Losing Danny Drinkwater to Chelsea and then failing to get the Silva deal over the line has also affected Leicester. The club had also pledged to secure England Under-21 Demarai Gray to a new contract but two weeks after Shakespeare said the deal was imminent, it has still not been announced. Shakespeare had just one win in the league this season with the club now in the relegation zone. In a statement on the club website, Vichai’s son Aiyawatt – also known as Top – said that Shakespeare had not developed as a manager in the way the club had hoped. The Leicester vice-chairman said: “Craig has been a great servant to Leicester City – during his spells as an assistant manager and since taking over as manager in challenging circumstances in February. His dedication to the club and to his work has been absolute and the contribution he made to the most successful period in Leicester City history is considerable. “However, our early promise under Craig’s management has not been consistently evident in the months since and the board feels that, regrettably, a change is necessary to keep the club moving forward – consistent with the long-term expectations of our supporters, board and owners. Craig is and will remain a very popular, respected figure at Leicester City and will be welcome back at King Power stadium in future, both professionally and as a friend of the club.” Before deciding to appoint Shakespeare until the end of the season, Leicester interviewed a range of managers including Roy Hodgson, Ryan Giggs and Martin O’Neill

Craig Shakespeare cast aside as Leicester City eye a 'big name'

Leicester City have no immediate replacement for Craig Shakespeare, and will now embark on a mid-season search to find a high-profile successor to the former assistant who was sacked on Tuesday just seven months after he was first put in charge of the 2016 Premier League champions. The club’s owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, is understood to want a big name from outside the remaining staff, although Carlo Ancelotti, the leading out-of-work candidate in European football, is thought to have designs on a bigger job – possibly even Arsenal if and when Arsene Wenger steps down. The prospect of a return to management for Sam Allardyce cannot be discounted. The likes of David Wagner, Sean Dyche and Marco Silva would all fit the bill of coaches proven in the English game to varying degrees but would be very hard to appoint mid-contract and mid-season from a Premier League rival. Leicester will not be bringing back Nigel Pearson, recently appointed by the Srivaddhanaprabha family as manager of their Belgian second-tier club Oud-Heverlee Leuven. While the sacking of Claudio Ranieri in February was regarded as a necessary step to save the previous season’s title-winners from tail-spinning towards relegation, the dismissal of Shakespeare just eight games into the new season has hinted at problems behind the scenes. He was only given the job on a permanent basis in June and was summoned to see director of football Jon Rudkin on Tuesday afternoon, following a training ground practice match. Leicester could only draw with West Brom on Monday night Credit: Reuters The two men are understood to have had a difficult relationship at times, although it will have been Vichai who made the final call to sack Shakespeare, having listened to the opinion of key staff, including Rudkin. Shakespeare was at the club’s training ground having earlier been in charge of a side of largely Under-23s and fringe players in a behind-closed-doors friendly against a Nottingham Forest XI. He was told that he had been relieved of his duties with most of the first team players not in the training ground, following the 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion at the King Power stadium the previous night. The players were not informed by the club and found out of Shakespeare’s sacking when the story broke on The Daily Mail website. The former Leicester City striker and England international, and now Match of the Day host, Gary Lineker was scathing about his hometown club. Having condemned the sacking of Ranieri in February, Lineker responded to Shakespeare’s dismissal by tweeting: “Was always a miracle, but it’s even more remarkable really that Leicester won the league given the ineptitude of those that run the club.” Was always a miracle, but it’s even more remarkable really that Leicester won the league given the ineptitude of those that run the club.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 17, 2017 Shakespeare’s assistant, Michael Appleton, the former Oxford United manager who joined in the summer, is still in place and will take the team against Swansea on Saturday along with coaches Mike Stowell and Adam Sadler. Among the squad there is a great deal of sympathy for Shakespeare who was popular among players and went on a fine run of six wins when he took over last season, including the second-leg victory over Seville in the Champions League. Shakespeare led Leicester to an historic win over Sevilla in the Champions League last season Credit: EPA Many around Leicester feel that it has been in recruitment – Rudkin’s remit - that the club have struggled since their remarkable Premier League titles success in 2016. The disastrous failure to ratify Adrien Silva’s £22 million signing from Sporting Lisbon in time for the deadline by a margin of 14 seconds at the end of the transfer window in August has left the midfielder ineligible until January. As well as the Silva debacle, there have been large amounts spent on the likes of Islam Slimani, Vicente Iborra and Ahmed Musa, although precious little improvement in the overall quality of the squad. Losing Danny Drinkwater to Chelsea and then failing to get the Silva deal over the line has also affected Leicester. The club had also pledged to secure England Under-21 Demarai Gray to a new contract but two weeks after Shakespeare said the deal was imminent, it has still not been announced. Shakespeare had just one win in the league this season with the club now in the relegation zone. In a statement on the club website, Vichai’s son Aiyawatt – also known as Top – said that Shakespeare had not developed as a manager in the way the club had hoped. The Leicester vice-chairman said: “Craig has been a great servant to Leicester City – during his spells as an assistant manager and since taking over as manager in challenging circumstances in February. His dedication to the club and to his work has been absolute and the contribution he made to the most successful period in Leicester City history is considerable. “However, our early promise under Craig’s management has not been consistently evident in the months since and the board feels that, regrettably, a change is necessary to keep the club moving forward – consistent with the long-term expectations of our supporters, board and owners. Craig is and will remain a very popular, respected figure at Leicester City and will be welcome back at King Power stadium in future, both professionally and as a friend of the club.” Before deciding to appoint Shakespeare until the end of the season, Leicester interviewed a range of managers including Roy Hodgson, Ryan Giggs and Martin O’Neill

David Nugent gives Derby some needle to skewer stilted Nottingham Forest | Nick Miller

David Nugent gives Derby some needle to skewer stilted Nottingham Forest | Nick Miller

David Nugent gives Derby some needle to skewer stilted Nottingham Forest | Nick Miller

David Nugent gives Derby some needle to skewer stilted Nottingham Forest | Nick Miller

David Nugent celebrates with his Derby team-mates after scoring his side’s second goal against Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

Blackburn Rovers v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Football League Championship

Football Soccer- Blackburn Rovers v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Football League Championship - Ewood Park - 14/12/15 Former Blackburn Rovers player Alan Shearer introduced to the crowd ahead of the game Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Craig Brough Livepic

Derby County 2 Nottingham Forest 0: Matej Vydra piles centenary misery on Forest

Forest’s fate in the 100th East Midlands derby came down to effectiveness in front of goal after Matej Vydra took 24 seconds to maintain his deadly touch against them. Vydra caught them cold with the first shot of the game, finding the corner of the net with a cracking left-foot shot after skipping past a line of defenders at the edge of the box. It was the Czech forward’s ninth goal in his last eight matches against Forest – five for Watford, two for Reading and now two for Derby – and one of the fastest this fixture has seen. His pass then set up David Nugent early in the second half as Derby climbed above Forest to 13th place in the Championship table. “I don’t know why he has done so well against Forest, maybe he just doesn’t like red,” Derby manager Gary Rowett joked. “Forest maybe had more of the ball than us but I think in certain passages of the game, we had a bit more experience and know-how.” Team details Derby County (4-2-3-1) Carson; Wisdom, Keogh, Davies, Forsyth; Huddlestone, Ledley; Russell, Vydra (Thorne 70), Lawrence; Nugent (Martin 80) Subs Baird, Pearce, Winnall, Weimann, Mitchell. Nottingham Forest (4-2-3-1) Smith; Lichaj, Mancienne, Fox, Traoré; Bridcutt, Osborn; Cummings (Walker 74), Dowell (Clough 60), McKay (Ward 60); Murphy. Subs Darikwa, Henderson, Bouchalakis, Worrall. Booked Fox. RefereeAndrew Madley (West Yorkshire).

Derby County 2 Nottingham Forest 0: Matej Vydra piles centenary misery on Forest

Derby County 2 Nottingham Forest 0: Vydra's rapid start sets Rams on their way

Matej Vydra's goal after just 24 seconds set Derby County on their way to a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest in Sunday's Championship clash.

Chelsea fear N'Golo Kante could miss all six October games with hamstring injury

Chelsea fear N’Golo Kante could miss both of their Champions League games against Roma this month with the hamstring injury he suffered on international duty with France. Midfielder Kante was forced off in the 34th minute of France’s victory over Bulgaria on Saturday night and has now been assessed by Chelsea’s medics. With early predictions putting his absence at two to three weeks, Kante is certainly out of Saturday’s Premier League clash against Crystal Palace. He is expected to miss the visit of Roma and is already facing a fight to be back for the away game against the Italians on October 31. The Blues are yet to confirm his exact injury or put an official timescale on how long he will miss. But Kante’s injury is thought to be worse than that of team-mate Alvaro Morata, who is working to try to be fit in time for Chelsea’s first match against Roma at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday night. Chelsea are aiming to win Champions League Group C. They are currently top, two points ahead of second-placed Roma, following victories over Qarabag and Atletico Madrid. Chelsea also have concerns over Alvaro Morata Credit: EPA Kante will continue to be assessed by Chelsea’s medics, but indications are he will have to spend some time on the sidelines. The 26-year-old started 35 of Chelsea’s Premier League games last season and won the Player of the Year award for his superb performances. His absence will mean head coach Antonio Conte will have to rely on summer signing Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas in the centre of midfield against Palace. Danny Drinkwater is close to recovering from the calf injury that has prevented him making his Chelsea debut since joining the club from Leicester City for £35million on transfer deadline day, but the midfielder is unlikely to be ready for the trip to Selhurst Park. Danny Drinkwater is unlikely to be ready for the Crystal Palace match either Credit: Getty images Conte will also need to check on the condition of Willian after the forward made a substitutes’ appearance for Brazil in the early hours of Wednesday morning and was due to return later than the rest of Chelsea’s internationals. Despite indicating he could be ready on social media, top scorer Morata is not expected to be risked against Palace. But Eden Hazard and Michy Batshuayi are fit following international duty with Belgian, meaning the duo could form a three-man attack with Pedro this weekend. David Luiz is available again after suspension, leaving Conte with a selection dilemma in the centre of defence following the encouraging performances of Andreas Christensen. Other than facing Roma twice in the Champions League this month, Chelsea entertain Manchester United on November 5, when Conte will be desperate to have his full squad to pick from. Charly Musonda was critical of the lack of opportunities for young players at Chelsea Credit: Getty images Charly Musonda this week criticised his lack of first-team opportunities on Instagram and is facing another loan spell away from Chelsea before he can seriously fight for a place. Chelsea gave Musonda a dressing down for his public attack on the club and there is a belief that he is still some way from regularly competing for a first-team place. The Blues had considered loaning out Musonda, who scored in the Carabao Cup victory over Nottingham Forest, in the summer but the youngster opted to stay at Stamford Bridge. Musonda may get another chance to show what he can do in the Carabao Cup tie against Everton on October 25, but, depending on how far Chelsea go in the tournament, the 20-year-old could be allowed to leave on loan as early as January. Should Chelsea still be involved in the Carabao Cup in the New Year or decide they need Musonda in case of injury, then he is likely to go out on loan next season. Musonda has spent two spells on loan at Real Betis and was wanted by Roma this summer before deciding to start the season at Chelsea.

Chelsea fear N'Golo Kante could miss all six October games with hamstring injury

Chelsea fear N’Golo Kante could miss both of their Champions League games against Roma this month with the hamstring injury he suffered on international duty with France. Midfielder Kante was forced off in the 34th minute of France’s victory over Bulgaria on Saturday night and has now been assessed by Chelsea’s medics. With early predictions putting his absence at two to three weeks, Kante is certainly out of Saturday’s Premier League clash against Crystal Palace. He is expected to miss the visit of Roma and is already facing a fight to be back for the away game against the Italians on October 31. The Blues are yet to confirm his exact injury or put an official timescale on how long he will miss. But Kante’s injury is thought to be worse than that of team-mate Alvaro Morata, who is working to try to be fit in time for Chelsea’s first match against Roma at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday night. Chelsea are aiming to win Champions League Group C. They are currently top, two points ahead of second-placed Roma, following victories over Qarabag and Atletico Madrid. Chelsea also have concerns over Alvaro Morata Credit: EPA Kante will continue to be assessed by Chelsea’s medics, but indications are he will have to spend some time on the sidelines. The 26-year-old started 35 of Chelsea’s Premier League games last season and won the Player of the Year award for his superb performances. His absence will mean head coach Antonio Conte will have to rely on summer signing Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas in the centre of midfield against Palace. Danny Drinkwater is close to recovering from the calf injury that has prevented him making his Chelsea debut since joining the club from Leicester City for £35million on transfer deadline day, but the midfielder is unlikely to be ready for the trip to Selhurst Park. Danny Drinkwater is unlikely to be ready for the Crystal Palace match either Credit: Getty images Conte will also need to check on the condition of Willian after the forward made a substitutes’ appearance for Brazil in the early hours of Wednesday morning and was due to return later than the rest of Chelsea’s internationals. Despite indicating he could be ready on social media, top scorer Morata is not expected to be risked against Palace. But Eden Hazard and Michy Batshuayi are fit following international duty with Belgian, meaning the duo could form a three-man attack with Pedro this weekend. David Luiz is available again after suspension, leaving Conte with a selection dilemma in the centre of defence following the encouraging performances of Andreas Christensen. Other than facing Roma twice in the Champions League this month, Chelsea entertain Manchester United on November 5, when Conte will be desperate to have his full squad to pick from. Charly Musonda was critical of the lack of opportunities for young players at Chelsea Credit: Getty images Charly Musonda this week criticised his lack of first-team opportunities on Instagram and is facing another loan spell away from Chelsea before he can seriously fight for a place. Chelsea gave Musonda a dressing down for his public attack on the club and there is a belief that he is still some way from regularly competing for a first-team place. The Blues had considered loaning out Musonda, who scored in the Carabao Cup victory over Nottingham Forest, in the summer but the youngster opted to stay at Stamford Bridge. Musonda may get another chance to show what he can do in the Carabao Cup tie against Everton on October 25, but, depending on how far Chelsea go in the tournament, the 20-year-old could be allowed to leave on loan as early as January. Should Chelsea still be involved in the Carabao Cup in the New Year or decide they need Musonda in case of injury, then he is likely to go out on loan next season. Musonda has spent two spells on loan at Real Betis and was wanted by Roma this summer before deciding to start the season at Chelsea.

Chelsea fear N'Golo Kante could miss all six October games with hamstring injury

Chelsea fear N’Golo Kante could miss both of their Champions League games against Roma this month with the hamstring injury he suffered on international duty with France. Midfielder Kante was forced off in the 34th minute of France’s victory over Bulgaria on Saturday night and has now been assessed by Chelsea’s medics. With early predictions putting his absence at two to three weeks, Kante is certainly out of Saturday’s Premier League clash against Crystal Palace. He is expected to miss the visit of Roma and is already facing a fight to be back for the away game against the Italians on October 31. The Blues are yet to confirm his exact injury or put an official timescale on how long he will miss. But Kante’s injury is thought to be worse than that of team-mate Alvaro Morata, who is working to try to be fit in time for Chelsea’s first match against Roma at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday night. Chelsea are aiming to win Champions League Group C. They are currently top, two points ahead of second-placed Roma, following victories over Qarabag and Atletico Madrid. Chelsea also have concerns over Alvaro Morata Credit: EPA Kante will continue to be assessed by Chelsea’s medics, but indications are he will have to spend some time on the sidelines. The 26-year-old started 35 of Chelsea’s Premier League games last season and won the Player of the Year award for his superb performances. His absence will mean head coach Antonio Conte will have to rely on summer signing Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas in the centre of midfield against Palace. Danny Drinkwater is close to recovering from the calf injury that has prevented him making his Chelsea debut since joining the club from Leicester City for £35million on transfer deadline day, but the midfielder is unlikely to be ready for the trip to Selhurst Park. Danny Drinkwater is unlikely to be ready for the Crystal Palace match either Credit: Getty images Conte will also need to check on the condition of Willian after the forward made a substitutes’ appearance for Brazil in the early hours of Wednesday morning and was due to return later than the rest of Chelsea’s internationals. Despite indicating he could be ready on social media, top scorer Morata is not expected to be risked against Palace. But Eden Hazard and Michy Batshuayi are fit following international duty with Belgian, meaning the duo could form a three-man attack with Pedro this weekend. David Luiz is available again after suspension, leaving Conte with a selection dilemma in the centre of defence following the encouraging performances of Andreas Christensen. Other than facing Roma twice in the Champions League this month, Chelsea entertain Manchester United on November 5, when Conte will be desperate to have his full squad to pick from. Charly Musonda was critical of the lack of opportunities for young players at Chelsea Credit: Getty images Charly Musonda this week criticised his lack of first-team opportunities on Instagram and is facing another loan spell away from Chelsea before he can seriously fight for a place. Chelsea gave Musonda a dressing down for his public attack on the club and there is a belief that he is still some way from regularly competing for a first-team place. The Blues had considered loaning out Musonda, who scored in the Carabao Cup victory over Nottingham Forest, in the summer but the youngster opted to stay at Stamford Bridge. Musonda may get another chance to show what he can do in the Carabao Cup tie against Everton on October 25, but, depending on how far Chelsea go in the tournament, the 20-year-old could be allowed to leave on loan as early as January. Should Chelsea still be involved in the Carabao Cup in the New Year or decide they need Musonda in case of injury, then he is likely to go out on loan next season. Musonda has spent two spells on loan at Real Betis and was wanted by Roma this summer before deciding to start the season at Chelsea.

Chelsea fear N'Golo Kante could miss all six October games with hamstring injury

Chelsea fear N’Golo Kante could miss both of their Champions League games against Roma this month with the hamstring injury he suffered on international duty with France. Midfielder Kante was forced off in the 34th minute of France’s victory over Bulgaria on Saturday night and has now been assessed by Chelsea’s medics. With early predictions putting his absence at two to three weeks, Kante is certainly out of Saturday’s Premier League clash against Crystal Palace. He is expected to miss the visit of Roma and is already facing a fight to be back for the away game against the Italians on October 31. The Blues are yet to confirm his exact injury or put an official timescale on how long he will miss. But Kante’s injury is thought to be worse than that of team-mate Alvaro Morata, who is working to try to be fit in time for Chelsea’s first match against Roma at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday night. Chelsea are aiming to win Champions League Group C. They are currently top, two points ahead of second-placed Roma, following victories over Qarabag and Atletico Madrid. Chelsea also have concerns over Alvaro Morata Credit: EPA Kante will continue to be assessed by Chelsea’s medics, but indications are he will have to spend some time on the sidelines. The 26-year-old started 35 of Chelsea’s Premier League games last season and won the Player of the Year award for his superb performances. His absence will mean head coach Antonio Conte will have to rely on summer signing Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas in the centre of midfield against Palace. Danny Drinkwater is close to recovering from the calf injury that has prevented him making his Chelsea debut since joining the club from Leicester City for £35million on transfer deadline day, but the midfielder is unlikely to be ready for the trip to Selhurst Park. Danny Drinkwater is unlikely to be ready for the Crystal Palace match either Credit: Getty images Conte will also need to check on the condition of Willian after the forward made a substitutes’ appearance for Brazil in the early hours of Wednesday morning and was due to return later than the rest of Chelsea’s internationals. Despite indicating he could be ready on social media, top scorer Morata is not expected to be risked against Palace. But Eden Hazard and Michy Batshuayi are fit following international duty with Belgian, meaning the duo could form a three-man attack with Pedro this weekend. David Luiz is available again after suspension, leaving Conte with a selection dilemma in the centre of defence following the encouraging performances of Andreas Christensen. Other than facing Roma twice in the Champions League this month, Chelsea entertain Manchester United on November 5, when Conte will be desperate to have his full squad to pick from. Charly Musonda was critical of the lack of opportunities for young players at Chelsea Credit: Getty images Charly Musonda this week criticised his lack of first-team opportunities on Instagram and is facing another loan spell away from Chelsea before he can seriously fight for a place. Chelsea gave Musonda a dressing down for his public attack on the club and there is a belief that he is still some way from regularly competing for a first-team place. The Blues had considered loaning out Musonda, who scored in the Carabao Cup victory over Nottingham Forest, in the summer but the youngster opted to stay at Stamford Bridge. Musonda may get another chance to show what he can do in the Carabao Cup tie against Everton on October 25, but, depending on how far Chelsea go in the tournament, the 20-year-old could be allowed to leave on loan as early as January. Should Chelsea still be involved in the Carabao Cup in the New Year or decide they need Musonda in case of injury, then he is likely to go out on loan next season. Musonda has spent two spells on loan at Real Betis and was wanted by Roma this summer before deciding to start the season at Chelsea.

Ireland 2 Moldova 0: Daryl Murphy double sets up World Cup showdown with Wales

Beating Moldova at home was the easy part, now comes the real test in Cardiff as the Republic of Ireland head to Wales for a game they know they must win to snatch second place in Group D. It has come as no surprise to Martin O’Neill. The Ireland manager always said in private, even when his team were top of the group, that they would need to go to Wales in their final game needing something. It probably should not have been a win to snaffle a play-off place. Ireland were in such a strong position at the end of last year, they were thinking about automatic qualification and although Serbia’s shock defeat in Austria leaves that door slightly ajar, all that matters is beating Wales. Ireland have stumbled and tripped their way to this point. This was their first win of 2017, but they are still standing, still fighting and it sets up a thrilling battle with Chris Coleman’s Welshmen. “The most important thing is we go to Monday night with everything to play for,” said O’Neill. “We know what we have to do, we have to win and the chance is there. I just feel, when we have to win a game, like we did in Lille when we beat Italy to get into the last 16 of the Euros, we will just go for it. The opening goal came from Murphy's left boot Credit: pa “I always said this group would be very tight, we have a fighting chance. I’ve always suspected it would come down to this final game. We will apply ourselves and play really, really strongly. I think we can win the match.” Moldova have not won a competitive fixture for four years, but they can still be a tough nut to crack. Ireland, though, prised them open in less than two minutes when Stephen Ward’s long throw was hooked home by Daryl Murphy. Murphy scored his second minutes later, heading in Ward’s cross. The 34-year-old has been in superb form for Nottingham Forest this season, but these were only the second and third goals of his international career. Whatever happens against Wales - regardless of whether they reach the World Cup next year, having verbally agreed a new two-year contract - O’Neill has to start looking to the future. That was why Bristol City winger, Callum O’Dowda was preferred to Aiden McGeady on the left wing. At just 22, he has the best years ahead of him. At the age of 31, McGeady’s have past him by, a tale of what might have been for such a natural talent. Murphy's second came with a smart header Credit: Getty Images O’Dowda did not disappoint, firing a shot into the side netting before skilfully turning away from a defender on the edge of the area and picking out Shane Long with a perfect low cross. The Southampton striker should have scored, but put his shot narrowly wide. Moldova, who had Alexandru Gatcan sent off for shoving head into the face of Harry Arter late on, almost most pulled a goal back before the interval, but Darren Randolph managed to tip Sergiu Platica’s effort over the bar. It was a warning, but nothing more. Ireland meandered their way towards the victory. Long missed another simple chance after good work from Wes Hoolahan and O’Dowda, but the only damage done was to his pride. Long has not scored a goal since February for club or country.

Ireland 2 Moldova 0: Daryl Murphy double sets up World Cup showdown with Wales

Beating Moldova at home was the easy part, now comes the real test in Cardiff as the Republic of Ireland head to Wales for a game they know they must win to snatch second place in Group D. It has come as no surprise to Martin O’Neill. The Ireland manager always said in private, even when his team were top of the group, that they would need to go to Wales in their final game needing something. It probably should not have been a win to snaffle a play-off place. Ireland were in such a strong position at the end of last year, they were thinking about automatic qualification and although Serbia’s shock defeat in Austria leaves that door slightly ajar, all that matters is beating Wales. Ireland have stumbled and tripped their way to this point. This was their first win of 2017, but they are still standing, still fighting and it sets up a thrilling battle with Chris Coleman’s Welshmen. “The most important thing is we go to Monday night with everything to play for,” said O’Neill. “We know what we have to do, we have to win and the chance is there. I just feel, when we have to win a game, like we did in Lille when we beat Italy to get into the last 16 of the Euros, we will just go for it. The opening goal came from Murphy's left boot Credit: pa “I always said this group would be very tight, we have a fighting chance. I’ve always suspected it would come down to this final game. We will apply ourselves and play really, really strongly. I think we can win the match.” Moldova have not won a competitive fixture for four years, but they can still be a tough nut to crack. Ireland, though, prised them open in less than two minutes when Stephen Ward’s long throw was hooked home by Daryl Murphy. Murphy scored his second minutes later, heading in Ward’s cross. The 34-year-old has been in superb form for Nottingham Forest this season, but these were only the second and third goals of his international career. Whatever happens against Wales - regardless of whether they reach the World Cup next year, having verbally agreed a new two-year contract - O’Neill has to start looking to the future. That was why Bristol City winger, Callum O’Dowda was preferred to Aiden McGeady on the left wing. At just 22, he has the best years ahead of him. At the age of 31, McGeady’s have past him by, a tale of what might have been for such a natural talent. Murphy's second came with a smart header Credit: Getty Images O’Dowda did not disappoint, firing a shot into the side netting before skilfully turning away from a defender on the edge of the area and picking out Shane Long with a perfect low cross. The Southampton striker should have scored, but put his shot narrowly wide. Moldova, who had Alexandru Gatcan sent off for shoving head into the face of Harry Arter late on, almost most pulled a goal back before the interval, but Darren Randolph managed to tip Sergiu Platica’s effort over the bar. It was a warning, but nothing more. Ireland meandered their way towards the victory. Long missed another simple chance after good work from Wes Hoolahan and O’Dowda, but the only damage done was to his pride. Long has not scored a goal since February for club or country.

Ireland 2 Moldova 0: Daryl Murphy double sets up World Cup showdown with Wales

Beating Moldova at home was the easy part, now comes the real test in Cardiff as the Republic of Ireland head to Wales for a game they know they must win to snatch second place in Group D. It has come as no surprise to Martin O’Neill. The Ireland manager always said in private, even when his team were top of the group, that they would need to go to Wales in their final game needing something. It probably should not have been a win to snaffle a play-off place. Ireland were in such a strong position at the end of last year, they were thinking about automatic qualification and although Serbia’s shock defeat in Austria leaves that door slightly ajar, all that matters is beating Wales. Ireland have stumbled and tripped their way to this point. This was their first win of 2017, but they are still standing, still fighting and it sets up a thrilling battle with Chris Coleman’s Welshmen. “The most important thing is we go to Monday night with everything to play for,” said O’Neill. “We know what we have to do, we have to win and the chance is there. I just feel, when we have to win a game, like we did in Lille when we beat Italy to get into the last 16 of the Euros, we will just go for it. The opening goal came from Murphy's left boot Credit: pa “I always said this group would be very tight, we have a fighting chance. I’ve always suspected it would come down to this final game. We will apply ourselves and play really, really strongly. I think we can win the match.” Moldova have not won a competitive fixture for four years, but they can still be a tough nut to crack. Ireland, though, prised them open in less than two minutes when Stephen Ward’s long throw was hooked home by Daryl Murphy. Murphy scored his second minutes later, heading in Ward’s cross. The 34-year-old has been in superb form for Nottingham Forest this season, but these were only the second and third goals of his international career. Whatever happens against Wales - regardless of whether they reach the World Cup next year, having verbally agreed a new two-year contract - O’Neill has to start looking to the future. That was why Bristol City winger, Callum O’Dowda was preferred to Aiden McGeady on the left wing. At just 22, he has the best years ahead of him. At the age of 31, McGeady’s have past him by, a tale of what might have been for such a natural talent. Murphy's second came with a smart header Credit: Getty Images O’Dowda did not disappoint, firing a shot into the side netting before skilfully turning away from a defender on the edge of the area and picking out Shane Long with a perfect low cross. The Southampton striker should have scored, but put his shot narrowly wide. Moldova, who had Alexandru Gatcan sent off for shoving head into the face of Harry Arter late on, almost most pulled a goal back before the interval, but Darren Randolph managed to tip Sergiu Platica’s effort over the bar. It was a warning, but nothing more. Ireland meandered their way towards the victory. Long missed another simple chance after good work from Wes Hoolahan and O’Dowda, but the only damage done was to his pride. Long has not scored a goal since February for club or country.

Chris Coleman lauds Antonio Conte’s response to Ethan Ampadu call-up

Ethan Ampadu played for Chelsea against Nottingham Forest in the League Cup and Antonio Conte says he must keep working hard.

Losing has become contagious at Sunderland and Simon Grayson is struggling to find a cure

If Sunderland thought things could only get better after dropping out of the Premier League, they were wrong.  If relegation was the boat sinking, this is the moment the survivors realise they have jumped into shark-infested waters and nobody is coming to save them. They must swim, but do not look like making land. Panic is spreading, hope is dwindling. Sunderland are being picked off in the Championship, torn apart, shredded and mauled. It has turned into a bloodbath and there is genuine fear now that the worst is still to come. One relegation could swiftly turn into two, a season in the second tier could be followed by another in the third. On Tuesday night, Simon Grayson’s side were thrashed 5-2 at Ipswich Town. It was their sixth defeat in seven games and they have won just one league game all season. Sunderland have not won at home since December last year. Having occupied the relegation zone all last season, they are back in one again, already two points adrift of safety. When Grayson agreed to become Sunderland manager in July he said he did so without a moment’s hesitation, but on Saturday he takes his floundering Black Cats team to face his former employers, Preston North End, worrying he has made as terrible mistake. Preston are mounting the sort of promotion challenge without him that he was expected to muster on Wearside. “It is only a low point at this moment in time,” said Grayson, after losing to Cardiff City at the weekend. “We have lost another game. We want to make it better for everyone connected to this club. Simon Grayson described Sunderland's situation as 'a low point' Credit: Getty images “But no club is too big to go down. You’ve had Man City, Leeds, Nottingham Forest, big teams who have gone down into League One. We are not thinking about that. But we must be aware of where we are. We dust ourselves down, we are back at work in the morning….” The response to that was a shambolic, error-ridden capitulation at Ipswich which, according to one local journalist who has covered Sunderland, home and away, for the best part of 20 years, was worse than any they have had the misfortune to cover. “It’s summed up when you go into the dressing room,” added an exasperated Grayson at Portman Road. “And one of the younger lads says, ‘We’re soft as such and such’ and he’s right. We’re too easy to play against. “I’m not going to say the players don’t care because they do, but they're not doing enough…” It will not be long until people are saying the same about him. Grayson was Sunderland’s second choice to succeed David Moyes as manager after the Scot quit in the summer, dismayed by the lack of money available to rebuild the team. Derek McInnes, the Aberdeen manager, turned them down. Sunderland sold goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to Everton for £30m in June, but have benefited neither from that huge sum of money or Premier League parachute payments because owner Ellis Short, having once again failed to sell up, needs it to service the club’s debt. There are rumours the American is considering putting the club into administration, although this has been vehemently denied by those he employs to the run things in his absence. He is keeping the club afloat, but he has few fans on Wearside as most believe he is the root cause of the problems that have left them in this dire state. Sunderland have been relegated before, but it has not turned into a disaster like this. The Black Cats have tended to enjoy the Championship, rebuilding and rejuvenating, pushing immediately for a return to the top flight. Never, in the Premier League era, have they finished outside of the top six in the second tier after relegation, but they are in real trouble this time. Adam Matthews reacts as another Ipswich goal goes in Credit: Getty images Grayson’s job is already under threat. It must be, even though managing director Martin Bains recognises the need for stability, which is why Moyes was not sacked last term. He will be given more time, but patience is wearing thin, even though he has not even been there four months. Grayson was employed because he knew the Championship and recruited players, to the best of his ability on a tight budget, with knowledge of that league. Crucially, in the main, they are not players who have been promoted. They know the division well because that is their level. None have impressed so far, but it is not just about individuals: the whole club is sick, losing has become contagious. It is a disease and Grayson must find a cure quickly. It took Sunderland nine years of relegation battles to finally lose their place in the Premier League, yet it might only be 12 months until they fall out of the Championship. As Grayson knows from his time at Leeds United, once you are in a downward spiral, it can take years to reverse. Sunderland are still sliding fast.

Losing has become contagious at Sunderland and Simon Grayson is struggling to find a cure

If Sunderland thought things could only get better after dropping out of the Premier League, they were wrong.  If relegation was the boat sinking, this is the moment the survivors realise they have jumped into shark-infested waters and nobody is coming to save them. They must swim, but do not look like making land. Panic is spreading, hope is dwindling. Sunderland are being picked off in the Championship, torn apart, shredded and mauled. It has turned into a bloodbath and there is genuine fear now that the worst is still to come. One relegation could swiftly turn into two, a season in the second tier could be followed by another in the third. On Tuesday night, Simon Grayson’s side were thrashed 5-2 at Ipswich Town. It was their sixth defeat in seven games and they have won just one league game all season. Sunderland have not won at home since December last year. Having occupied the relegation zone all last season, they are back in one again, already two points adrift of safety. When Grayson agreed to become Sunderland manager in July he said he did so without a moment’s hesitation, but on Saturday he takes his floundering Black Cats team to face his former employers, Preston North End, worrying he has made as terrible mistake. Preston are mounting the sort of promotion challenge without him that he was expected to muster on Wearside. “It is only a low point at this moment in time,” said Grayson, after losing to Cardiff City at the weekend. “We have lost another game. We want to make it better for everyone connected to this club. Simon Grayson described Sunderland's situation as 'a low point' Credit: Getty images “But no club is too big to go down. You’ve had Man City, Leeds, Nottingham Forest, big teams who have gone down into League One. We are not thinking about that. But we must be aware of where we are. We dust ourselves down, we are back at work in the morning….” The response to that was a shambolic, error-ridden capitulation at Ipswich which, according to one local journalist who has covered Sunderland, home and away, for the best part of 20 years, was worse than any they have had the misfortune to cover. “It’s summed up when you go into the dressing room,” added an exasperated Grayson at Portman Road. “And one of the younger lads says, ‘We’re soft as such and such’ and he’s right. We’re too easy to play against. “I’m not going to say the players don’t care because they do, but they're not doing enough…” It will not be long until people are saying the same about him. Grayson was Sunderland’s second choice to succeed David Moyes as manager after the Scot quit in the summer, dismayed by the lack of money available to rebuild the team. Derek McInnes, the Aberdeen manager, turned them down. Sunderland sold goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to Everton for £30m in June, but have benefited neither from that huge sum of money or Premier League parachute payments because owner Ellis Short, having once again failed to sell up, needs it to service the club’s debt. There are rumours the American is considering putting the club into administration, although this has been vehemently denied by those he employs to the run things in his absence. He is keeping the club afloat, but he has few fans on Wearside as most believe he is the root cause of the problems that have left them in this dire state. Sunderland have been relegated before, but it has not turned into a disaster like this. The Black Cats have tended to enjoy the Championship, rebuilding and rejuvenating, pushing immediately for a return to the top flight. Never, in the Premier League era, have they finished outside of the top six in the second tier after relegation, but they are in real trouble this time. Adam Matthews reacts as another Ipswich goal goes in Credit: Getty images Grayson’s job is already under threat. It must be, even though managing director Martin Bains recognises the need for stability, which is why Moyes was not sacked last term. He will be given more time, but patience is wearing thin, even though he has not even been there four months. Grayson was employed because he knew the Championship and recruited players, to the best of his ability on a tight budget, with knowledge of that league. Crucially, in the main, they are not players who have been promoted. They know the division well because that is their level. None have impressed so far, but it is not just about individuals: the whole club is sick, losing has become contagious. It is a disease and Grayson must find a cure quickly. It took Sunderland nine years of relegation battles to finally lose their place in the Premier League, yet it might only be 12 months until they fall out of the Championship. As Grayson knows from his time at Leeds United, once you are in a downward spiral, it can take years to reverse. Sunderland are still sliding fast.

Losing has become contagious at Sunderland and Simon Grayson is struggling to find a cure

If Sunderland thought things could only get better after dropping out of the Premier League, they were wrong.  If relegation was the boat sinking, this is the moment the survivors realise they have jumped into shark-infested waters and nobody is coming to save them. They must swim, but do not look like making land. Panic is spreading, hope is dwindling. Sunderland are being picked off in the Championship, torn apart, shredded and mauled. It has turned into a bloodbath and there is genuine fear now that the worst is still to come. One relegation could swiftly turn into two, a season in the second tier could be followed by another in the third. On Tuesday night, Simon Grayson’s side were thrashed 5-2 at Ipswich Town. It was their sixth defeat in seven games and they have won just one league game all season. Sunderland have not won at home since December last year. Having occupied the relegation zone all last season, they are back in one again, already two points adrift of safety. When Grayson agreed to become Sunderland manager in July he said he did so without a moment’s hesitation, but on Saturday he takes his floundering Black Cats team to face his former employers, Preston North End, worrying he has made as terrible mistake. Preston are mounting the sort of promotion challenge without him that he was expected to muster on Wearside. “It is only a low point at this moment in time,” said Grayson, after losing to Cardiff City at the weekend. “We have lost another game. We want to make it better for everyone connected to this club. Simon Grayson described Sunderland's situation as 'a low point' Credit: Getty images “But no club is too big to go down. You’ve had Man City, Leeds, Nottingham Forest, big teams who have gone down into League One. We are not thinking about that. But we must be aware of where we are. We dust ourselves down, we are back at work in the morning….” The response to that was a shambolic, error-ridden capitulation at Ipswich which, according to one local journalist who has covered Sunderland, home and away, for the best part of 20 years, was worse than any they have had the misfortune to cover. “It’s summed up when you go into the dressing room,” added an exasperated Grayson at Portman Road. “And one of the younger lads says, ‘We’re soft as such and such’ and he’s right. We’re too easy to play against. “I’m not going to say the players don’t care because they do, but they're not doing enough…” It will not be long until people are saying the same about him. Grayson was Sunderland’s second choice to succeed David Moyes as manager after the Scot quit in the summer, dismayed by the lack of money available to rebuild the team. Derek McInnes, the Aberdeen manager, turned them down. Sunderland sold goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to Everton for £30m in June, but have benefited neither from that huge sum of money or Premier League parachute payments because owner Ellis Short, having once again failed to sell up, needs it to service the club’s debt. There are rumours the American is considering putting the club into administration, although this has been vehemently denied by those he employs to the run things in his absence. He is keeping the club afloat, but he has few fans on Wearside as most believe he is the root cause of the problems that have left them in this dire state. Sunderland have been relegated before, but it has not turned into a disaster like this. The Black Cats have tended to enjoy the Championship, rebuilding and rejuvenating, pushing immediately for a return to the top flight. Never, in the Premier League era, have they finished outside of the top six in the second tier after relegation, but they are in real trouble this time. Adam Matthews reacts as another Ipswich goal goes in Credit: Getty images Grayson’s job is already under threat. It must be, even though managing director Martin Bains recognises the need for stability, which is why Moyes was not sacked last term. He will be given more time, but patience is wearing thin, even though he has not even been there four months. Grayson was employed because he knew the Championship and recruited players, to the best of his ability on a tight budget, with knowledge of that league. Crucially, in the main, they are not players who have been promoted. They know the division well because that is their level. None have impressed so far, but it is not just about individuals: the whole club is sick, losing has become contagious. It is a disease and Grayson must find a cure quickly. It took Sunderland nine years of relegation battles to finally lose their place in the Premier League, yet it might only be 12 months until they fall out of the Championship. As Grayson knows from his time at Leeds United, once you are in a downward spiral, it can take years to reverse. Sunderland are still sliding fast.

Chelsea optimistic Eden Hazard will sign new £300,000-a-week deal and shine in the Champions League

Chelsea are optimistic Eden Hazard will sign a new £300,000-a-week contract and head coach Antonio Conte believes the Belgian is ready to take his career to “another level” in the Champions League. Hazard knows that Chelsea want to reaffirm his position as the club’s highest earner with a huge pay rise and there is encouragement from both sides that the forward will sign an extension to his current deal that is due to expire in 2020. Despite interest from Real Madrid, Hazard is known to be happy at Chelsea, where he was this summer joined by his 22-year-old brother Kylian, who was signed from Hungarian club Ujpest. As Chelsea prepare for their toughest Champions League Group C assignment against Atletico Madrid, there is a feeling that, despite his recovery from ankle surgery that has restricted him to one start against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup, this is Hazard’s time to shine against Europe’s best. Eden Hazard made his only start of the season so far against Forest in the Carabao Cup Credit: Mike Egerton/PA “I think last season Eden played a really important season, played very well and was very important for us in winning the Premier League,” said Conte. “Last season, he showed in every game great talent, to be a really good player. A top player. “I think this competition is very important for him, but I think it's important for the team, too. This competition brings you to another level. I think Eden has all the possibilities to do this. He's a really top player. Now he's totally fit and in contention for the game. I think it's the right moment.” Hazard has been told he can win the Ballon d’Or at Chelsea, rather than needing to move to Atletico’s city rivals Real. But, to do so, he must step up his game on the biggest club stage. The 26-year-old is set to share a pitch with another player tipped to eventually take on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the highest individual honour in football, Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann, who finished third in the 2016 Ballon d’Or. A pitch called Wanda: Atletico's impressive new stadium Griezmann has played 35 times in the Champions League for Atletico scoring 15 goals, and finished as a runner-up with the Spanish club in the 2015/16 season. For a player who Chelsea are prepared to make the best paid in the club’s history and who is valued at well over £100million, Hazard’s Champions League statistics make rather modest reading. Following Hazard’s Premier League title-clinching goal against Crystal Palace in May 2015, Cesc Fabergas said: “Next year he has to prove himself in the Champions League as well because he is capable of that and I am sure he will give many big nights of glory to this club.” But Hazard failed to register a single goal in the Champions League in the season Fabregas referred to and you have to go back to March 2015 to find the last time he netted in Europe. In 31 appearances in the competition in total for Chelsea, Hazard has scored only five goals – two of which came against Maribor. So far, the Champions League has largely been a source of frustration and angst for Hazard. Following the 2014 semi-final defeat to Atletico, former manager Jose Mourinho questioned his desire by saying: “Eden is the kind of player who is not so mentally ready to look back at his left-back and live his life for him.” There were echoes of that criticism in Mourinho’s assessment of how Hazard had prepared for the 2015 trip to Dynamo Kiev after the former Lille player had been left on the substitutes’ bench for a comfortable Premier League victory over Aston Villa. Mourinho: Hazard can be one of the 'greats' 02:38 Having already warned that Hazard needed to “come in our direction and try to replicate the same work of Willian and Pedro”, Mourinho told reporters in Kiev: “How did he train? He trained like Eden.” But Mourinho’s words were overshadowed by the fact Hazard had liked an Instagram post linking him with a move to Real Madrid shortly before boarding Chelsea’s flight to Ukraine. The question marks surrounding Hazard’s desire were eliminated during a superb first Premier League season under Conte, but a tongue-in-cheek assessment of himself suggested the pair may not share exactly the same philosophy. Speaking to France Football, Hazard joked: “You don’t need that [tracking back]. You can write that. Don’t tell Conte, but you can write that it’s pointless. If you defend too much, you tire yourself out. “If I’ve spent the whole game defending, forget about me being useful after the 60th minute and I’m quite fit.” He added: ‘There are people who are meant to defend, while others are there to attack. I defend too. I don’t like it, but I have to with Antonio [Conte].” Another player who struggled to make an impact for Chelsea in the Champions League is Diego Costa, who has completed his return to Atletico after spending the summer on strike in Brazil. Costa cannot play for Atletico until January because of the Spaniards’ transfer embargo and Cesar Azpilicueta believes the fact the 28-year-old will be in the stands on Wednesday night is a boost for the Blues. Conte reiterated the fact he will shake Costa’s hand if he bumps into the striker, while Azpilicueta said: “Diego has moved to a new club and we have to deal with it. I played with him for two years, we're Spanish team-mates and he's a top striker. Not to play against him is a little advantage for us, it’s better for us.”

Chelsea optimistic Eden Hazard will sign new £300,000-a-week deal and shine in the Champions League

Chelsea are optimistic Eden Hazard will sign a new £300,000-a-week contract and head coach Antonio Conte believes the Belgian is ready to take his career to “another level” in the Champions League. Hazard knows that Chelsea want to reaffirm his position as the club’s highest earner with a huge pay rise and there is encouragement from both sides that the forward will sign an extension to his current deal that is due to expire in 2020. Despite interest from Real Madrid, Hazard is known to be happy at Chelsea, where he was this summer joined by his 22-year-old brother Kylian, who was signed from Hungarian club Ujpest. As Chelsea prepare for their toughest Champions League Group C assignment against Atletico Madrid, there is a feeling that, despite his recovery from ankle surgery that has restricted him to one start against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup, this is Hazard’s time to shine against Europe’s best. Eden Hazard made his only start of the season so far against Forest in the Carabao Cup Credit: Mike Egerton/PA “I think last season Eden played a really important season, played very well and was very important for us in winning the Premier League,” said Conte. “Last season, he showed in every game great talent, to be a really good player. A top player. “I think this competition is very important for him, but I think it's important for the team, too. This competition brings you to another level. I think Eden has all the possibilities to do this. He's a really top player. Now he's totally fit and in contention for the game. I think it's the right moment.” Hazard has been told he can win the Ballon d’Or at Chelsea, rather than needing to move to Atletico’s city rivals Real. But, to do so, he must step up his game on the biggest club stage. The 26-year-old is set to share a pitch with another player tipped to eventually take on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the highest individual honour in football, Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann, who finished third in the 2016 Ballon d’Or. A pitch called Wanda: Atletico's impressive new stadium Griezmann has played 35 times in the Champions League for Atletico scoring 15 goals, and finished as a runner-up with the Spanish club in the 2015/16 season. For a player who Chelsea are prepared to make the best paid in the club’s history and who is valued at well over £100million, Hazard’s Champions League statistics make rather modest reading. Following Hazard’s Premier League title-clinching goal against Crystal Palace in May 2015, Cesc Fabergas said: “Next year he has to prove himself in the Champions League as well because he is capable of that and I am sure he will give many big nights of glory to this club.” But Hazard failed to register a single goal in the Champions League in the season Fabregas referred to and you have to go back to March 2015 to find the last time he netted in Europe. In 31 appearances in the competition in total for Chelsea, Hazard has scored only five goals – two of which came against Maribor. So far, the Champions League has largely been a source of frustration and angst for Hazard. Following the 2014 semi-final defeat to Atletico, former manager Jose Mourinho questioned his desire by saying: “Eden is the kind of player who is not so mentally ready to look back at his left-back and live his life for him.” There were echoes of that criticism in Mourinho’s assessment of how Hazard had prepared for the 2015 trip to Dynamo Kiev after the former Lille player had been left on the substitutes’ bench for a comfortable Premier League victory over Aston Villa. Mourinho: Hazard can be one of the 'greats' 02:38 Having already warned that Hazard needed to “come in our direction and try to replicate the same work of Willian and Pedro”, Mourinho told reporters in Kiev: “How did he train? He trained like Eden.” But Mourinho’s words were overshadowed by the fact Hazard had liked an Instagram post linking him with a move to Real Madrid shortly before boarding Chelsea’s flight to Ukraine. The question marks surrounding Hazard’s desire were eliminated during a superb first Premier League season under Conte, but a tongue-in-cheek assessment of himself suggested the pair may not share exactly the same philosophy. Speaking to France Football, Hazard joked: “You don’t need that [tracking back]. You can write that. Don’t tell Conte, but you can write that it’s pointless. If you defend too much, you tire yourself out. “If I’ve spent the whole game defending, forget about me being useful after the 60th minute and I’m quite fit.” He added: ‘There are people who are meant to defend, while others are there to attack. I defend too. I don’t like it, but I have to with Antonio [Conte].” Another player who struggled to make an impact for Chelsea in the Champions League is Diego Costa, who has completed his return to Atletico after spending the summer on strike in Brazil. Costa cannot play for Atletico until January because of the Spaniards’ transfer embargo and Cesar Azpilicueta believes the fact the 28-year-old will be in the stands on Wednesday night is a boost for the Blues. Conte reiterated the fact he will shake Costa’s hand if he bumps into the striker, while Azpilicueta said: “Diego has moved to a new club and we have to deal with it. I played with him for two years, we're Spanish team-mates and he's a top striker. Not to play against him is a little advantage for us, it’s better for us.”

Conte encouraged by Musonda and Kenedy progress

Both players scored in the 5-1 win over Nottingham Forest, and the Italian insists that each will be given further opportunities this season

Conte encouraged by Musonda and Kenedy progress

Both players scored in the 5-1 win over Nottingham Forest, and the Italian insists that each will be given further opportunities this season

Conte encouraged by Musonda and Kenedy progress

After both scoring in the 5-1 win over Nottingham Forest, Antonio Conte is adamant Kenedy and Charly Musonda will feature more this season.

Jamaal Lascelles exclusive interview: Meet the 23-year-old captain Rafael Benitez is building his Newcastle United team around

To borrow a phrase from the Chelsea banners which idolised their former talisman, John Terry, Jamaal Lascelles is a captain, leader and could just be a Newcastle United legend in the making. Lascelles is not only the youngest captain in the Premier League, leading the youngest team, based on the average age of the starting XI this season, he is also a defender learning how to play at the highest level. When Lascelles was handed the armband last summer, he was just 22. He was neither a senior player or a proven one, yet still manager Rafa Benitez chose him. The Spaniard needed to build a new team, with a better attitude and stronger self-motivation after relegation. Lascelles was his cement, helping to bind the players together as they returned to the top flight after just one season. Given how well he has played in recent weeks, defending superbly, but also scoring the winning goal against both Stoke and Swansea, it is hard to fathom this is Lascelles’ first season as a regular starter in the Premier League. But there is something different about this young man from Nottingham. There is a steely determination in the way he plays and talks. It is combined with the sort of quiet menace that accompanies all the best centre-backs when they walk into a room. Which Premier League captains were born closest to their club? Refreshingly, there is also a humbleness that ensures he remains aware of his limitations. Lascelles may already be an excellent captain, but he remains a work in progress as a defender. That is why Benitez likes him. He listens as well as he talks. “I know I’m young to be doing this,” said Lascelles, whose multi-tasking skills also enable him to balance a bowl of fruit salad on his knee while answering questions about the eye-catching form which has thrust him into the thoughts of England manager Gareth Southgate. “When I sit back and think about, I’m 23. I was 22 when I was made captain, so I know it’s unusual and people will think I’m young. But at the same time, I don’t class myself as a young player in many respects. I’ve played a lot of games for Nottingham Forest and a fair few here too. “I’ve always been really competitive. I’ve got an older brother, there are 14 months between us and we were always playing football and basketball. It came to a point where my parents wouldn’t let us play together anymore because it used to get out of hand. “It probably began there, my drive, my confidence, my determination. My parents were always tough on me, not in stopping me from doing what I wanted to do, but if I wanted to do something, whether it was football or basketball, then I had to give it my all. From about the age of 8, I’ve been like that. Jamaal Lascelles has an air of confidence Credit: REUTERS “Even in Primary School. I’ve always been the biggest, the strongest and the fastest. I’ve been a captain since then, right through secondary school. It’s just something I’ve always done.” The last comment could be perceived as brash Alpha Male boast, but it does not come across that way. Lascelles is not arrogant, he is just extremely confident. There is a big difference. It was his willingness to speak up in the dressing room, clashing with more senior players after a defeat against Southampton in April 2016, as Newcastle tumbled towards relegation, that impressed Benitez. Lascelles explained: “That season we got relegated, I was sat on the bench a lot, training with the first team, and I could see things that just didn’t add up. “People going through the motions. It angered me. There was a lack of, I don’t know, it’s just everything I do, I give it my all. I know I’m not the most talented player and there were players here who had a lot more talent, so much more to offer the team and they didn’t do it. “They just wouldn’t, I just couldn’t understand it. It was such a waste. Things came to a head in the dressing room after that game. I said some things in there and a couple of people didn’t like it, they really didn’t like it. “In the pecking order of the dressing room, I shouldn’t have said what I said. I shouldn’t even have opened my mouth, but I did because it needed to be said at the time. Jamaal Lascelles has a good relationship with Rafael Benitez Credit: REUTERS “The manager saw it all, but I was so angry and frustrated. I’d been there all season sitting there watching it happen, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. There was a big argument with a couple of the lads, but it got the right reaction. We got better after that and we should have stayed up really. “I think that’s why I was made captain a few months later, the manager was new here and obviously liked it.” However, there were periods last season when Lascelles appeared to be a better captain than centre-back. There were too many mistakes, those small errors in judgment, or a loss of concentration, that invite ridicule and criticism. “They say it’s an old man’s position, playing centre-back, but I’m improving all the time,” Lascelles added, eyes narrowing slightly at the hint of criticism in the question. “Doing that while captaining the team, yeah it’s a lot to take on, but I wanted that challenge. “I want to learn and I want to improve. Sometimes I’m so focused on making sure everyone else is doing what they are supposed to do, that those around me are doing the right thing, that I have forgotten about myself a little bit. “I can be too focused on talking to everyone else, I need to remember what my responsibility is. You know, sometimes last season I was found out, I made mistakes, but I’ve learnt from them. “I aim to be a much better player in 12 months’ time, that is something the manager has spoken to me about. Since he arrived, I’ve definitely improved as a player and a person, but also as a captain. “I’ve learnt how to speak to players, how everyone is different, how they take criticism, those players that need a pat on the back.  “We’ve got a really good relationship. He’s a really good manager, but he’s a cool person to have around the place. His door is always open and he’s always making sure things are done the right way. “The one thing he always stresses, that you take things step by step. If you work hard, things will come your way. He called me into his office the other day and said ‘people are talking about you, you’re getting a lot of attention, but now it’s more important than ever to stay humble, to stay focused and to work even harder’. “That’s the advice I need. I’m not going to go off the tracks, I’m not going to let a couple of good games and a bit of attention on Match of the Day go to my head. I’m pretty switched on.” There is a reason Newcastle are close to tying Lascelles down to a new long-term contract – he is a leader, captain and he going to get even better with age.

Jamaal Lascelles exclusive interview: Meet the 23-year-old captain Rafael Benitez is building his Newcastle United team around

To borrow a phrase from the Chelsea banners which idolised their former talisman, John Terry, Jamaal Lascelles is a captain, leader and could just be a Newcastle United legend in the making. Lascelles is not only the youngest captain in the Premier League, leading the youngest team, based on the average age of the starting XI this season, he is also a defender learning how to play at the highest level. When Lascelles was handed the armband last summer, he was just 22. He was neither a senior player or a proven one, yet still manager Rafa Benitez chose him. The Spaniard needed to build a new team, with a better attitude and stronger self-motivation after relegation. Lascelles was his cement, helping to bind the players together as they returned to the top flight after just one season. Given how well he has played in recent weeks, defending superbly, but also scoring the winning goal against both Stoke and Swansea, it is hard to fathom this is Lascelles’ first season as a regular starter in the Premier League. But there is something different about this young man from Nottingham. There is a steely determination in the way he plays and talks. It is combined with the sort of quiet menace that accompanies all the best centre-backs when they walk into a room. Jamaal Lascelles celebrates scoring the winner against Stoke Credit: GETTY IMAGES Refreshingly, there is also a humbleness that ensures he remains aware of his limitations. Lascelles may already be an excellent captain, but he remains a work in progress as a defender. That is why Benitez likes him. He listens as well as he talks. “I know I’m young to be doing this,” said Lascelles, whose multi-tasking skills also enable him to balance a bowl of fruit salad on his knee while answering questions about the eye-catching form which has thrust him into the thoughts of England manager Gareth Southgate. “When I sit back and think about, I’m 23. I was 22 when I was made captain, so I know it’s unusual and people will think I’m young. But at the same time, I don’t class myself as a young player in many respects. I’ve played a lot of games for Nottingham Forest and a fair few here too. “I’ve always been really competitive. I’ve got an older brother, there are 14 months between us and we were always playing football and basketball. It came to a point where my parents wouldn’t let us play together anymore because it used to get out of hand. “It probably began there, my drive, my confidence, my determination. My parents were always tough on me, not in stopping me from doing what I wanted to do, but if I wanted to do something, whether it was football or basketball, then I had to give it my all. From about the age of 8, I’ve been like that. Jamaal Lascelles has an air of confidence Credit: REUTERS “Even in Primary School. I’ve always been the biggest, the strongest and the fastest. I’ve been a captain since then, right through secondary school. It’s just something I’ve always done.” The last comment could be perceived as brash Alpha Male boast, but it does not come across that way. Lascelles is not arrogant, he is just extremely confident. There is a big difference. It was his willingness to speak up in the dressing room, clashing with more senior players after a defeat against Southampton in April 2016, as Newcastle tumbled towards relegation, that impressed Benitez. Lascelles explained: “That season we got relegated, I was sat on the bench a lot, training with the first team, and I could see things that just didn’t add up. “People going through the motions. It angered me. There was a lack of, I don’t know, it’s just everything I do, I give it my all. I know I’m not the most talented player and there were players here who had a lot more talent, so much more to offer the team and they didn’t do it. “They just wouldn’t, I just couldn’t understand it. It was such a waste. Things came to a head in the dressing room after that game. I said some things in there and a couple of people didn’t like it, they really didn’t like it. “In the pecking order of the dressing room, I shouldn’t have said what I said. I shouldn’t even have opened my mouth, but I did because it needed to be said at the time. Jamaal Lascelles has a good relationship with Rafael Benitez Credit: REUTERS “The manager saw it all, but I was so angry and frustrated. I’d been there all season sitting there watching it happen, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. There was a big argument with a couple of the lads, but it got the right reaction. We got better after that and we should have stayed up really. “I think that’s why I was made captain a few months later, the manager was new here and obviously liked it.” However, there were periods last season when Lascelles appeared to be a better captain than centre-back. There were too many mistakes, those small errors in judgment, or a loss of concentration, that invite ridicule and criticism. “They say it’s an old man’s position, playing centre-back, but I’m improving all the time,” Lascelles added, eyes narrowing slightly at the hint of criticism in the question. “Doing that while captaining the team, yeah it’s a lot to take on, but I wanted that challenge. “I want to learn and I want to improve. Sometimes I’m so focused on making sure everyone else is doing what they are supposed to do, that those around me are doing the right thing, that I have forgotten about myself a little bit. “I can be too focused on talking to everyone else, I need to remember what my responsibility is. You know, sometimes last season I was found out, I made mistakes, but I’ve learnt from them. “I aim to be a much better player in 12 months’ time, that is something the manager has spoken to me about. Since he arrived, I’ve definitely improved as a player and a person, but also as a captain. “I’ve learnt how to speak to players, how everyone is different, how they take criticism, those players that need a pat on the back.  “We’ve got a really good relationship. He’s a really good manager, but he’s a cool person to have around the place. His door is always open and he’s always making sure things are done the right way. “The one thing he always stresses, that you take things step by step. If you work hard, things will come your way. He called me into his office the other day and said ‘people are talking about you, you’re getting a lot of attention, but now it’s more important than ever to stay humble, to stay focused and to work even harder’. “That’s the advice I need. I’m not going to go off the tracks, I’m not going to let a couple of good games and a bit of attention on Match of the Day go to my head. I’m pretty switched on.” There is a reason Newcastle are close to tying Lascelles down to a new long-term contract – he is a leader, captain and he going to get even better with age.

Jamaal Lascelles exclusive interview: Meet the 23-year-old captain Rafael Benitez is building his Newcastle United team around

To borrow a phrase from the Chelsea banners which idolised their former talisman, John Terry, Jamaal Lascelles is a captain, leader and could just be a Newcastle United legend in the making. Lascelles is not only the youngest captain in the Premier League, leading the youngest team, based on the average age of the starting XI this season, he is also a defender learning how to play at the highest level. When Lascelles was handed the armband last summer, he was just 22. He was neither a senior player or a proven one, yet still manager Rafa Benitez chose him. The Spaniard needed to build a new team, with a better attitude and stronger self-motivation after relegation. Lascelles was his cement, helping to bind the players together as they returned to the top flight after just one season. Given how well he has played in recent weeks, defending superbly, but also scoring the winning goal against both Stoke and Swansea, it is hard to fathom this is Lascelles’ first season as a regular starter in the Premier League. But there is something different about this young man from Nottingham. There is a steely determination in the way he plays and talks. It is combined with the sort of quiet menace that accompanies all the best centre-backs when they walk into a room. Which Premier League captains were born closest to their club? Refreshingly, there is also a humbleness that ensures he remains aware of his limitations. Lascelles may already be an excellent captain, but he remains a work in progress as a defender. That is why Benitez likes him. He listens as well as he talks. “I know I’m young to be doing this,” said Lascelles, whose multi-tasking skills also enable him to balance a bowl of fruit salad on his knee while answering questions about the eye-catching form which has thrust him into the thoughts of England manager Gareth Southgate. “When I sit back and think about, I’m 23. I was 22 when I was made captain, so I know it’s unusual and people will think I’m young. But at the same time, I don’t class myself as a young player in many respects. I’ve played a lot of games for Nottingham Forest and a fair few here too. “I’ve always been really competitive. I’ve got an older brother, there are 14 months between us and we were always playing football and basketball. It came to a point where my parents wouldn’t let us play together anymore because it used to get out of hand. “It probably began there, my drive, my confidence, my determination. My parents were always tough on me, not in stopping me from doing what I wanted to do, but if I wanted to do something, whether it was football or basketball, then I had to give it my all. From about the age of 8, I’ve been like that. Jamaal Lascelles has an air of confidence Credit: REUTERS “Even in Primary School. I’ve always been the biggest, the strongest and the fastest. I’ve been a captain since then, right through secondary school. It’s just something I’ve always done.” The last comment could be perceived as brash Alpha Male boast, but it does not come across that way. Lascelles is not arrogant, he is just extremely confident. There is a big difference. It was his willingness to speak up in the dressing room, clashing with more senior players after a defeat against Southampton in April 2016, as Newcastle tumbled towards relegation, that impressed Benitez. Lascelles explained: “That season we got relegated, I was sat on the bench a lot, training with the first team, and I could see things that just didn’t add up. “People going through the motions. It angered me. There was a lack of, I don’t know, it’s just everything I do, I give it my all. I know I’m not the most talented player and there were players here who had a lot more talent, so much more to offer the team and they didn’t do it. “They just wouldn’t, I just couldn’t understand it. It was such a waste. Things came to a head in the dressing room after that game. I said some things in there and a couple of people didn’t like it, they really didn’t like it. “In the pecking order of the dressing room, I shouldn’t have said what I said. I shouldn’t even have opened my mouth, but I did because it needed to be said at the time. Jamaal Lascelles has a good relationship with Rafael Benitez Credit: REUTERS “The manager saw it all, but I was so angry and frustrated. I’d been there all season sitting there watching it happen, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. There was a big argument with a couple of the lads, but it got the right reaction. We got better after that and we should have stayed up really. “I think that’s why I was made captain a few months later, the manager was new here and obviously liked it.” However, there were periods last season when Lascelles appeared to be a better captain than centre-back. There were too many mistakes, those small errors in judgment, or a loss of concentration, that invite ridicule and criticism. “They say it’s an old man’s position, playing centre-back, but I’m improving all the time,” Lascelles added, eyes narrowing slightly at the hint of criticism in the question. “Doing that while captaining the team, yeah it’s a lot to take on, but I wanted that challenge. “I want to learn and I want to improve. Sometimes I’m so focused on making sure everyone else is doing what they are supposed to do, that those around me are doing the right thing, that I have forgotten about myself a little bit. “I can be too focused on talking to everyone else, I need to remember what my responsibility is. You know, sometimes last season I was found out, I made mistakes, but I’ve learnt from them. “I aim to be a much better player in 12 months’ time, that is something the manager has spoken to me about. Since he arrived, I’ve definitely improved as a player and a person, but also as a captain. “I’ve learnt how to speak to players, how everyone is different, how they take criticism, those players that need a pat on the back.  “We’ve got a really good relationship. He’s a really good manager, but he’s a cool person to have around the place. His door is always open and he’s always making sure things are done the right way. “The one thing he always stresses, that you take things step by step. If you work hard, things will come your way. He called me into his office the other day and said ‘people are talking about you, you’re getting a lot of attention, but now it’s more important than ever to stay humble, to stay focused and to work even harder’. “That’s the advice I need. I’m not going to go off the tracks, I’m not going to let a couple of good games and a bit of attention on Match of the Day go to my head. I’m pretty switched on.” There is a reason Newcastle are close to tying Lascelles down to a new long-term contract – he is a leader, captain and he going to get even better with age.

Jamaal Lascelles exclusive interview: Meet the 23-year-old captain Rafael Benitez is building his Newcastle United team around

To borrow a phrase from the Chelsea banners which idolised their former talisman, John Terry, Jamaal Lascelles is a captain, leader and could just be a Newcastle United legend in the making. Lascelles is not only the youngest captain in the Premier League, leading the youngest team, based on the average age of the starting XI this season, he is also a defender learning how to play at the highest level. When Lascelles was handed the armband last summer, he was just 22. He was neither a senior player or a proven one, yet still manager Rafa Benitez chose him. The Spaniard needed to build a new team, with a better attitude and stronger self-motivation after relegation. Lascelles was his cement, helping to bind the players together as they returned to the top flight after just one season. Given how well he has played in recent weeks, defending superbly, but also scoring the winning goal against both Stoke and Swansea, it is hard to fathom this is Lascelles’ first season as a regular starter in the Premier League. But there is something different about this young man from Nottingham. There is a steely determination in the way he plays and talks. It is combined with the sort of quiet menace that accompanies all the best centre-backs when they walk into a room. Which Premier League captains were born closest to their club? Refreshingly, there is also a humbleness that ensures he remains aware of his limitations. Lascelles may already be an excellent captain, but he remains a work in progress as a defender. That is why Benitez likes him. He listens as well as he talks. “I know I’m young to be doing this,” said Lascelles, whose multi-tasking skills also enable him to balance a bowl of fruit salad on his knee while answering questions about the eye-catching form which has thrust him into the thoughts of England manager Gareth Southgate. “When I sit back and think about, I’m 23. I was 22 when I was made captain, so I know it’s unusual and people will think I’m young. But at the same time, I don’t class myself as a young player in many respects. I’ve played a lot of games for Nottingham Forest and a fair few here too. “I’ve always been really competitive. I’ve got an older brother, there are 14 months between us and we were always playing football and basketball. It came to a point where my parents wouldn’t let us play together anymore because it used to get out of hand. “It probably began there, my drive, my confidence, my determination. My parents were always tough on me, not in stopping me from doing what I wanted to do, but if I wanted to do something, whether it was football or basketball, then I had to give it my all. From about the age of 8, I’ve been like that. Jamaal Lascelles has an air of confidence Credit: REUTERS “Even in Primary School. I’ve always been the biggest, the strongest and the fastest. I’ve been a captain since then, right through secondary school. It’s just something I’ve always done.” The last comment could be perceived as brash Alpha Male boast, but it does not come across that way. Lascelles is not arrogant, he is just extremely confident. There is a big difference. It was his willingness to speak up in the dressing room, clashing with more senior players after a defeat against Southampton in April 2016, as Newcastle tumbled towards relegation, that impressed Benitez. Lascelles explained: “That season we got relegated, I was sat on the bench a lot, training with the first team, and I could see things that just didn’t add up. “People going through the motions. It angered me. There was a lack of, I don’t know, it’s just everything I do, I give it my all. I know I’m not the most talented player and there were players here who had a lot more talent, so much more to offer the team and they didn’t do it. “They just wouldn’t, I just couldn’t understand it. It was such a waste. Things came to a head in the dressing room after that game. I said some things in there and a couple of people didn’t like it, they really didn’t like it. “In the pecking order of the dressing room, I shouldn’t have said what I said. I shouldn’t even have opened my mouth, but I did because it needed to be said at the time. Jamaal Lascelles has a good relationship with Rafael Benitez Credit: REUTERS “The manager saw it all, but I was so angry and frustrated. I’d been there all season sitting there watching it happen, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. There was a big argument with a couple of the lads, but it got the right reaction. We got better after that and we should have stayed up really. “I think that’s why I was made captain a few months later, the manager was new here and obviously liked it.” However, there were periods last season when Lascelles appeared to be a better captain than centre-back. There were too many mistakes, those small errors in judgment, or a loss of concentration, that invite ridicule and criticism. “They say it’s an old man’s position, playing centre-back, but I’m improving all the time,” Lascelles added, eyes narrowing slightly at the hint of criticism in the question. “Doing that while captaining the team, yeah it’s a lot to take on, but I wanted that challenge. “I want to learn and I want to improve. Sometimes I’m so focused on making sure everyone else is doing what they are supposed to do, that those around me are doing the right thing, that I have forgotten about myself a little bit. “I can be too focused on talking to everyone else, I need to remember what my responsibility is. You know, sometimes last season I was found out, I made mistakes, but I’ve learnt from them. “I aim to be a much better player in 12 months’ time, that is something the manager has spoken to me about. Since he arrived, I’ve definitely improved as a player and a person, but also as a captain. “I’ve learnt how to speak to players, how everyone is different, how they take criticism, those players that need a pat on the back.  “We’ve got a really good relationship. He’s a really good manager, but he’s a cool person to have around the place. His door is always open and he’s always making sure things are done the right way. “The one thing he always stresses, that you take things step by step. If you work hard, things will come your way. He called me into his office the other day and said ‘people are talking about you, you’re getting a lot of attention, but now it’s more important than ever to stay humble, to stay focused and to work even harder’. “That’s the advice I need. I’m not going to go off the tracks, I’m not going to let a couple of good games and a bit of attention on Match of the Day go to my head. I’m pretty switched on.” There is a reason Newcastle are close to tying Lascelles down to a new long-term contract – he is a leader, captain and he going to get even better with age.

Batshuayi Hits Up EA Sports for FIFA Rating After Hitting Carabao Cup Hat-Trick Against Forest

​Michy Batshuayi scored a hat-trick against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup, and literally everybody knew what was to come after the game. The Belgian recently called out the makers of FIFA 18 EA Sports after they rated him 80 in this year's game in the franchise. Fair? pic.twitter.com/W28UuLHwhx — EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) 20 September 2017 The 23-year-old wasn't too happy with it, and jokingly (but possibly seriously) tweeted @EASPORTSFIFA a looped video of himself holding his card...

Batshuayi Hits Up EA Sports for FIFA Rating After Hitting Carabao Cup Hat-Trick Against Forest

​Michy Batshuayi scored a hat-trick against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup, and literally everybody knew what was to come after the game. The Belgian recently called out the makers of FIFA 18 EA Sports after they rated him 80 in this year's game in the franchise. Fair? pic.twitter.com/W28UuLHwhx — EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) 20 September 2017 The 23-year-old wasn't too happy with it, and jokingly (but possibly seriously) tweeted @EASPORTSFIFA a looped video of himself holding his card...

Charly Musonda reveals debut goal for Chelsea had him 'in tears' 

Chelsea's Charly Musonda has admitted his debut goal for the club left him 'in tears' on Wednesday evening. The Belgian midfielder was handed his first start for Chelsea as Antonio Conte continued his policy of squad rotation in the Blues' Carabao Cup. Musonda marked his full debut with a goal as Chelsea ran out 5-1 winners against Nottingham Forest to book their place in the fourth round, where Everton await. "It was my first start and it was very exciting," the Belgian said following the end of the game. Charly Musonda is congratulated by his Chelsea teammates  Credit: Getty Images  "It was an emotional moment to score my first goal at the Bridge. I can’t even remember it now! I was very happy and you could see that. I was in tears to be honest. "To be honest, I was more nervous before the game. I had to wait for so long for the game to start, a 7.45pm kick-off, so when the game started I was at ease and I felt really good. Charly Musonda scores Chelsea's third goal of the night  Credit: Getty Images  "I come from the Academy and it was a great experience to be able to play my first game with the first team here at the Bridge, but it’s only the first game and I have to keep on working. “I gave a chance to the young players from our academy and this is very positive,” said Conte. Antonio Conte was impressed with his Chelsea youngsters  Credit: Getty Images  The Italian praised Musonda's performance before calling on the 20-year-old to improve his physical presence on the pitch. "I think Charly played very well. He's trying to work a lot to improve his physical impact. "He's a talented player and he has to continue in this way. When there is the opportunity, the chance, to help us, he must do this."

Charly Musonda reveals debut goal for Chelsea had him 'in tears' 

Chelsea's Charly Musonda has admitted his debut goal for the club left him 'in tears' on Wednesday evening. The Belgian midfielder was handed his first start for Chelsea as Antonio Conte continued his policy of squad rotation in the Blues' Carabao Cup. Musonda marked his full debut with a goal as Chelsea ran out 5-1 winners against Nottingham Forest to book their place in the fourth round, where Everton await. "It was my first start and it was very exciting," the Belgian said following the end of the game. Charly Musonda is congratulated by his Chelsea teammates  Credit: Getty Images  "It was an emotional moment to score my first goal at the Bridge. I can’t even remember it now! I was very happy and you could see that. I was in tears to be honest. "To be honest, I was more nervous before the game. I had to wait for so long for the game to start, a 7.45pm kick-off, so when the game started I was at ease and I felt really good. Charly Musonda scores Chelsea's third goal of the night  Credit: Getty Images  "I come from the Academy and it was a great experience to be able to play my first game with the first team here at the Bridge, but it’s only the first game and I have to keep on working. “I gave a chance to the young players from our academy and this is very positive,” said Conte. Antonio Conte was impressed with his Chelsea youngsters  Credit: Getty Images  The Italian praised Musonda's performance before calling on the 20-year-old to improve his physical presence on the pitch. "I think Charly played very well. He's trying to work a lot to improve his physical impact. "He's a talented player and he has to continue in this way. When there is the opportunity, the chance, to help us, he must do this."

Charly Musonda reveals debut goal for Chelsea had him 'in tears' 

Chelsea's Charly Musonda has admitted his debut goal for the club left him 'in tears' on Wednesday evening. The Belgian midfielder was handed his first start for Chelsea as Antonio Conte continued his policy of squad rotation in the Blues' Carabao Cup. Musonda marked his full debut with a goal as Chelsea ran out 5-1 winners against Nottingham Forest to book their place in the fourth round, where Everton await. "It was my first start and it was very exciting," the Belgian said following the end of the game. Charly Musonda is congratulated by his Chelsea teammates  Credit: Getty Images  "It was an emotional moment to score my first goal at the Bridge. I can’t even remember it now! I was very happy and you could see that. I was in tears to be honest. "To be honest, I was more nervous before the game. I had to wait for so long for the game to start, a 7.45pm kick-off, so when the game started I was at ease and I felt really good. Charly Musonda scores Chelsea's third goal of the night  Credit: Getty Images  "I come from the Academy and it was a great experience to be able to play my first game with the first team here at the Bridge, but it’s only the first game and I have to keep on working. “I gave a chance to the young players from our academy and this is very positive,” said Conte. Antonio Conte was impressed with his Chelsea youngsters  Credit: Getty Images  The Italian praised Musonda's performance before calling on the 20-year-old to improve his physical presence on the pitch. "I think Charly played very well. He's trying to work a lot to improve his physical impact. "He's a talented player and he has to continue in this way. When there is the opportunity, the chance, to help us, he must do this."

Charly Musonda reveals debut goal for Chelsea had him 'in tears' 

Chelsea's Charly Musonda has admitted his debut goal for the club left him 'in tears' on Wednesday evening. The Belgian midfielder was handed his first start for Chelsea as Antonio Conte continued his policy of squad rotation in the Blues' Carabao Cup. Musonda marked his full debut with a goal as Chelsea ran out 5-1 winners against Nottingham Forest to book their place in the fourth round, where Everton await. "It was my first start and it was very exciting," the Belgian said following the end of the game. Charly Musonda is congratulated by his Chelsea teammates  Credit: Getty Images  "It was an emotional moment to score my first goal at the Bridge. I can’t even remember it now! I was very happy and you could see that. I was in tears to be honest. "To be honest, I was more nervous before the game. I had to wait for so long for the game to start, a 7.45pm kick-off, so when the game started I was at ease and I felt really good. Charly Musonda scores Chelsea's third goal of the night  Credit: Getty Images  "I come from the Academy and it was a great experience to be able to play my first game with the first team here at the Bridge, but it’s only the first game and I have to keep on working. “I gave a chance to the young players from our academy and this is very positive,” said Conte. Antonio Conte was impressed with his Chelsea youngsters  Credit: Getty Images  The Italian praised Musonda's performance before calling on the 20-year-old to improve his physical presence on the pitch. "I think Charly played very well. He's trying to work a lot to improve his physical impact. "He's a talented player and he has to continue in this way. When there is the opportunity, the chance, to help us, he must do this."

Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi made best player on Fifa 18 after hat-trick against Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup

Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi made best player on Fifa 18 after hat-trick against Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup

Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi made best player on Fifa 18 after hat-trick against Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup

Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi made best player on Fifa 18 after hat-trick against Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup

5 Players Who Took Their Chance In The League Cup

After Michy Batshuayi staked his claim for further first-team involvement with a hat-trick in Chelsea's League Cup demolition of Nottingham Forest, we look at others who did their cause the power of good.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes