Walsall

Walsall slideshow

Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth's Gareth Evans celebrates after the match with manager Kenny Jackett Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth's Gareth Evans celebrates after the match with manager Kenny Jackett Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth's Gareth Evans celebrates after the match Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth's Gareth Evans celebrates after the match Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans celebrates scoring their first goal with Jamal Lowe Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans celebrates scoring their first goal with Jamal Lowe Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans celebrates scoring their first goal with Jamal Lowe Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans celebrates scoring their first goal with Jamal Lowe Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall manager Dean Keates Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall manager Dean Keates Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall manager Dean Keates Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall manager Dean Keates Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth manager Kenny Jacket Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth manager Kenny Jacket Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth manager Kenny Jacket Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth manager Kenny Jacket Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall's Flo Cuvelier in action with Portsmouth's Ben Close Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall's Flo Cuvelier in action with Portsmouth's Ben Close Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall's Amadou Bakayoko in action with Portsmouth's Matt Clarke Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall's Amadou Bakayoko in action with Portsmouth's Matt Clarke Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall's Flo Cuvelier in action with Portsmouth's Gareth Evans Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall's Flo Cuvelier in action with Portsmouth's Gareth Evans Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth's Brett Pitman in action with Walsall's Jack Fitzwater Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth's Brett Pitman in action with Walsall's Jack Fitzwater Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall manager Dean Keates Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall manager Dean Keates Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Walsall’s Erhun Oztumer in action with Wigan Athletic's Jay Fulton Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Walsall’s Erhun Oztumer in action with Wigan Athletic's Jay Fulton Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic's Ryan Colclough in action with Walsall’s Nicky Devlin Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic's Ryan Colclough in action with Walsall’s Nicky Devlin Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Walsall’s Erhun Oztumer in action with Wigan Athletic's James Vaughan Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Walsall’s Erhun Oztumer in action with Wigan Athletic's James Vaughan Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Walsall manager Dean Keates watches from the stands Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Walsall manager Dean Keates watches from the stands Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Michael Jacobs celebrates scoring their first goal with James Vaughan Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Michael Jacobs celebrates scoring their first goal with James Vaughan Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Jay Fulton celebrates scoring their second goal with Dan Burn Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Jay Fulton celebrates scoring their second goal with Dan Burn Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Jay Fulton celebrates scoring their second goal with Dan Burn Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Jay Fulton celebrates scoring their second goal with Dan Burn Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Michael Jacobs scoring their first goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Michael Jacobs scoring their first goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Cheyenne Dunkley celebrates scoring their third goal with Nick Powell and Dan Burn Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Cheyenne Dunkley celebrates scoring their third goal with Nick Powell and Dan Burn Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Michael Jacobs scoring their first goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Michael Jacobs scoring their first goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Cheyenne Dunkley celebrates scoring their third goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Cheyenne Dunkley celebrates scoring their third goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Cheyenne Dunkley scores their third goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Wigan Athletic - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 21, 2018 Wigan Athletic’s Cheyenne Dunkley scores their third goal Action Images/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Peterboroughs League One match against Walsall came up against some harsh conditions so Taylor and team-mate Junior Morias mucked in to salvage their win
Ex-Newcastle defender Steven Taylor helps Peterborough groundstaff clear snowy pitch – and save victory
Peterboroughs League One match against Walsall came up against some harsh conditions so Taylor and team-mate Junior Morias mucked in to salvage their win
Peterborough players had to dig deep - almost literally - to cling on to victory against Walsall on Tuesday night as the match was almost abandoned due to snow. Former Newcastle player Steven Taylor and Junior Morias were among a number of players and staff who shovelled snow from the pitch, bringing cheers from the fans in the stands. Posh were leading 2-1 with 15 minutes remaining when a heavy shower covered the ABAX Stadium pitch and conditions made it virtually impossible to see. However, after a quick break to mark out the pitch the match reached its conclusion, with managerless Peterborough holding on for victory. Caretaker manager David Oldfield praised the efforts of Peterborough's players and staff to pitch in and clear the snow. "It's a bit like the Winter Olympics isn't it!" ❄�� Ex-@NUFC defender Steven Taylor is taking matters into his own hands at Peterborough, where the snow is causing all kinds of trouble! Watch Soccer Special now for live-updates from all of tonight's matches. pic.twitter.com/QLM9XnE21I— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) February 27, 2018 "The togetherness and willingness of everyone was highlighted after the referee requested the lines be cleared. Players, coaching staff, stewards and office staff all grabbed shovels," Oldfield said. "It stopped snowing after that which was a big reward for their efforts, and and I must thank every single supporter who turned out to get behind us on a really tricky, snowy night." Posh sacked former club captain Grant McCann on Sunday as they aim for a tilt at promotion, with Steve Evans, who resigned as Mansfield boss on Tuesday, in the crowd. Peterborough vs. Walsall tonight. (�� @brynlaw) pic.twitter.com/sDynBf3yJv— Coral (@Coral) February 27, 2018 Just to confirm - it's cold in Peterborough. #saddlerspic.twitter.com/h8R24FYgpB— BBC WM Sport 95.6 (@sportbbcwm) February 27, 2018 The hosts fell behind after nine minutes when Julien Ngoy capitalised on hesitation from Jonathan Bond before rounding the goalkeeper to tap into an empty net. Peterborough had the chance to level from the penalty spot when Jack Fitzwater hauled down Jack Marriott but Marcus Maddison's effort was well-saved by Liam Roberts. However, Omar Bogle equalised when he pounced on a loose pass to slot home just before half-time, with Jack Baldwin's deflected header seven minutes into the second half putting the hosts ahead.
Peterborough players shovel snow off pitch to save match from being abandoned
Peterborough players had to dig deep - almost literally - to cling on to victory against Walsall on Tuesday night as the match was almost abandoned due to snow. Former Newcastle player Steven Taylor and Junior Morias were among a number of players and staff who shovelled snow from the pitch, bringing cheers from the fans in the stands. Posh were leading 2-1 with 15 minutes remaining when a heavy shower covered the ABAX Stadium pitch and conditions made it virtually impossible to see. However, after a quick break to mark out the pitch the match reached its conclusion, with managerless Peterborough holding on for victory. Caretaker manager David Oldfield praised the efforts of Peterborough's players and staff to pitch in and clear the snow. "It's a bit like the Winter Olympics isn't it!" ❄�� Ex-@NUFC defender Steven Taylor is taking matters into his own hands at Peterborough, where the snow is causing all kinds of trouble! Watch Soccer Special now for live-updates from all of tonight's matches. pic.twitter.com/QLM9XnE21I— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) February 27, 2018 "The togetherness and willingness of everyone was highlighted after the referee requested the lines be cleared. Players, coaching staff, stewards and office staff all grabbed shovels," Oldfield said. "It stopped snowing after that which was a big reward for their efforts, and and I must thank every single supporter who turned out to get behind us on a really tricky, snowy night." Posh sacked former club captain Grant McCann on Sunday as they aim for a tilt at promotion, with Steve Evans, who resigned as Mansfield boss on Tuesday, in the crowd. Peterborough vs. Walsall tonight. (�� @brynlaw) pic.twitter.com/sDynBf3yJv— Coral (@Coral) February 27, 2018 Just to confirm - it's cold in Peterborough. #saddlerspic.twitter.com/h8R24FYgpB— BBC WM Sport 95.6 (@sportbbcwm) February 27, 2018 The hosts fell behind after nine minutes when Julien Ngoy capitalised on hesitation from Jonathan Bond before rounding the goalkeeper to tap into an empty net. Peterborough had the chance to level from the penalty spot when Jack Fitzwater hauled down Jack Marriott but Marcus Maddison's effort was well-saved by Liam Roberts. However, Omar Bogle equalised when he pounced on a loose pass to slot home just before half-time, with Jack Baldwin's deflected header seven minutes into the second half putting the hosts ahead.
Matty Fryatt describes the decision to finally announce his retirement from football as “closure”. He has scored in every division, racked up 135 career goals at clubs including Leicester, Hull City and Nottingham Forest, and played in an FA Cup final. But after three operations on a persistent Achilles injury spanning nearly three years, and seemingly endless trips around Europe seeking a solution, he has accepted that retirement is the only option, at the age of 31. For many professional players, it is the day they dread but, for Fryatt, it almost feels like a cathartic moment, the dispersing of a dark cloud. “This is a big moment for me, but at the same time it’s been a long time coming. I haven’t played for nearly three years now so it was only natural,” he says. “I’ve given it everything, from when it all started and thinking it was going to be a minor injury to three years later and realising the only option is to call it a day. “It would have been so much easier to just run out onto the grass, feel comfortable and play a game of football, rather than go all over the world to see a surgeon in Germany, in Holland, in Portugal and getting absolutely nowhere. Matty Fryatt (left) playing for Leicester Credit: PA “When you’ve had half of your Achilles taken off, re-attached, bone smashed up and then put back on with someone saying you’ve got a good chance of coming back, it’s hard to take. This is closure, really.” Fryatt’s last game was for Forest in March 2015, but it was in November when the striker’s ordeal arguably started. Towards the end of a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham, he remembers a specific moment, picking up what he calls “a niggle” on his left Achilles. It was an innocuous incident, but ultimately life-changing. “I was jogging into their half for a goal-kick and I was just thinking, 'That feels a little bit uncomfortable',” he says. “I came into training on Monday and I couldn’t run. I thought I’d rest in the week and play on Saturday . “I did that for so long, but it was getting worse, even with the painkillers and resting as much as I could. Matty Fryatt celebrate scoring for Nottingham Forest before injury took its toll Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I was coming back in off the training pitch nearly crying, hobbling around in absolute agony. It was embarrassing. I was near enough in tears trying to run. “In the last game I played I was just like a statue. I was in real pain as well, it was ridiculous.” Fryatt had two operations, one minor and the other major in which they took away the Achilles and then re-attached it. Six-month rehabilitation followed both procedures but he never felt confident that the problem had been diagnosed properly. This unfolding nightmare occurred during a turbulent period in Forest’s history, under the chaotic regime of former owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, and though Fryatt is careful to point out that the club continued to pay his wages, there is clearly frustration over how it was handled. “At Forest it was like I was a car on the driveway, rusting away and they just thought ‘just leave it, we’ll get a new car’. I’d get further down the line and nobody would ask what’s happening with this rusting car. Matty Fryatt has come to terms with the fact his playing career is over Credit: PAUL COOPER “I just got lost and forgotten a bit. It never felt that anyone was asking ‘is he ever going to come back’. Oh, just send him for surgery again. “It was probably the way the club operated at the time. I didn’t even meet one of the managers [Philippe Montanier]. They paid my wages and for most of the operations, so I can’t grumble at that, but nobody was accountable for things.” Another operation followed, but it had taken two years for Fryatt to finally feel any progress after a course of injections. His contract ended at Forest last summer and he trialled with Burton Albion and then his first club, Walsall, where it all began in 2003. “As much as teams were doing their best to support me, I couldn’t get back to the level needed,” he says. A very young Matty Fryatt playing for Walsall - where his career started Credit: ACTION IMAGES Fryatt can understand how Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla must be feeling. Cazorla has not played since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem but, like Fryatt six months ago, is desperate to keep the hope alive. “I don’t know the guy, but he’s been in X amount of operations in an area where there is the least blood-flow, so the healing process is terrible. It’s sounding a similar case. His Achilles is like mine without the skin graft. “I wish him well but what next? Don’t feel great, operation, what next? It’s completely different at Arsenal, but I’m looking at that thinking it’s not good for him because of the area it’s on and going from operation to operation.” Santi Cazorla has not played for Arsenal since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem Fryatt is now only focusing on the future. He is about to start his ‘A license” coaching badges and appears a natural on the evidence of recent media work. “I’ve been blessed to play something that I love doing, to have a job that was a hobby and fun is everything that you dream about as a kid,” he says. “There are some great memories, such as the Leicester years and getting them promoted. I enjoyed my time at Hull and to get to a Cup final was ridiculous. I’d like to stay involved in it, or give something back. “This is a chance now to move onto the next chapter.”
Matty Fryatt finally finds 'closure' after injury ends playing career at 31
Matty Fryatt describes the decision to finally announce his retirement from football as “closure”. He has scored in every division, racked up 135 career goals at clubs including Leicester, Hull City and Nottingham Forest, and played in an FA Cup final. But after three operations on a persistent Achilles injury spanning nearly three years, and seemingly endless trips around Europe seeking a solution, he has accepted that retirement is the only option, at the age of 31. For many professional players, it is the day they dread but, for Fryatt, it almost feels like a cathartic moment, the dispersing of a dark cloud. “This is a big moment for me, but at the same time it’s been a long time coming. I haven’t played for nearly three years now so it was only natural,” he says. “I’ve given it everything, from when it all started and thinking it was going to be a minor injury to three years later and realising the only option is to call it a day. “It would have been so much easier to just run out onto the grass, feel comfortable and play a game of football, rather than go all over the world to see a surgeon in Germany, in Holland, in Portugal and getting absolutely nowhere. Matty Fryatt (left) playing for Leicester Credit: PA “When you’ve had half of your Achilles taken off, re-attached, bone smashed up and then put back on with someone saying you’ve got a good chance of coming back, it’s hard to take. This is closure, really.” Fryatt’s last game was for Forest in March 2015, but it was in November when the striker’s ordeal arguably started. Towards the end of a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham, he remembers a specific moment, picking up what he calls “a niggle” on his left Achilles. It was an innocuous incident, but ultimately life-changing. “I was jogging into their half for a goal-kick and I was just thinking, 'That feels a little bit uncomfortable',” he says. “I came into training on Monday and I couldn’t run. I thought I’d rest in the week and play on Saturday . “I did that for so long, but it was getting worse, even with the painkillers and resting as much as I could. Matty Fryatt celebrate scoring for Nottingham Forest before injury took its toll Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I was coming back in off the training pitch nearly crying, hobbling around in absolute agony. It was embarrassing. I was near enough in tears trying to run. “In the last game I played I was just like a statue. I was in real pain as well, it was ridiculous.” Fryatt had two operations, one minor and the other major in which they took away the Achilles and then re-attached it. Six-month rehabilitation followed both procedures but he never felt confident that the problem had been diagnosed properly. This unfolding nightmare occurred during a turbulent period in Forest’s history, under the chaotic regime of former owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, and though Fryatt is careful to point out that the club continued to pay his wages, there is clearly frustration over how it was handled. “At Forest it was like I was a car on the driveway, rusting away and they just thought ‘just leave it, we’ll get a new car’. I’d get further down the line and nobody would ask what’s happening with this rusting car. Matty Fryatt has come to terms with the fact his playing career is over Credit: PAUL COOPER “I just got lost and forgotten a bit. It never felt that anyone was asking ‘is he ever going to come back’. Oh, just send him for surgery again. “It was probably the way the club operated at the time. I didn’t even meet one of the managers [Philippe Montanier]. They paid my wages and for most of the operations, so I can’t grumble at that, but nobody was accountable for things.” Another operation followed, but it had taken two years for Fryatt to finally feel any progress after a course of injections. His contract ended at Forest last summer and he trialled with Burton Albion and then his first club, Walsall, where it all began in 2003. “As much as teams were doing their best to support me, I couldn’t get back to the level needed,” he says. A very young Matty Fryatt playing for Walsall - where his career started Credit: ACTION IMAGES Fryatt can understand how Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla must be feeling. Cazorla has not played since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem but, like Fryatt six months ago, is desperate to keep the hope alive. “I don’t know the guy, but he’s been in X amount of operations in an area where there is the least blood-flow, so the healing process is terrible. It’s sounding a similar case. His Achilles is like mine without the skin graft. “I wish him well but what next? Don’t feel great, operation, what next? It’s completely different at Arsenal, but I’m looking at that thinking it’s not good for him because of the area it’s on and going from operation to operation.” Santi Cazorla has not played for Arsenal since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem Fryatt is now only focusing on the future. He is about to start his ‘A license” coaching badges and appears a natural on the evidence of recent media work. “I’ve been blessed to play something that I love doing, to have a job that was a hobby and fun is everything that you dream about as a kid,” he says. “There are some great memories, such as the Leicester years and getting them promoted. I enjoyed my time at Hull and to get to a Cup final was ridiculous. I’d like to stay involved in it, or give something back. “This is a chance now to move onto the next chapter.”
Matty Fryatt describes the decision to finally announce his retirement from football as “closure”. He has scored in every division, racked up 135 career goals at clubs including Leicester, Hull City and Nottingham Forest, and played in an FA Cup final. But after three operations on a persistent Achilles injury spanning nearly three years, and seemingly endless trips around Europe seeking a solution, he has accepted that retirement is the only option, at the age of 31. For many professional players, it is the day they dread but, for Fryatt, it almost feels like a cathartic moment, the dispersing of a dark cloud. “This is a big moment for me, but at the same time it’s been a long time coming. I haven’t played for nearly three years now so it was only natural,” he says. “I’ve given it everything, from when it all started and thinking it was going to be a minor injury to three years later and realising the only option is to call it a day. “It would have been so much easier to just run out onto the grass, feel comfortable and play a game of football, rather than go all over the world to see a surgeon in Germany, in Holland, in Portugal and getting absolutely nowhere. Matty Fryatt (left) playing for Leicester Credit: PA “When you’ve had half of your Achilles taken off, re-attached, bone smashed up and then put back on with someone saying you’ve got a good chance of coming back, it’s hard to take. This is closure, really.” Fryatt’s last game was for Forest in March 2015, but it was in November when the striker’s ordeal arguably started. Towards the end of a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham, he remembers a specific moment, picking up what he calls “a niggle” on his left Achilles. It was an innocuous incident, but ultimately life-changing. “I was jogging into their half for a goal-kick and I was just thinking, 'That feels a little bit uncomfortable',” he says. “I came into training on Monday and I couldn’t run. I thought I’d rest in the week and play on Saturday . “I did that for so long, but it was getting worse, even with the painkillers and resting as much as I could. Matty Fryatt celebrate scoring for Nottingham Forest before injury took its toll Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I was coming back in off the training pitch nearly crying, hobbling around in absolute agony. It was embarrassing. I was near enough in tears trying to run. “In the last game I played I was just like a statue. I was in real pain as well, it was ridiculous.” Fryatt had two operations, one minor and the other major in which they took away the Achilles and then re-attached it. Six-month rehabilitation followed both procedures but he never felt confident that the problem had been diagnosed properly. This unfolding nightmare occurred during a turbulent period in Forest’s history, under the chaotic regime of former owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, and though Fryatt is careful to point out that the club continued to pay his wages, there is clearly frustration over how it was handled. “At Forest it was like I was a car on the driveway, rusting away and they just thought ‘just leave it, we’ll get a new car’. I’d get further down the line and nobody would ask what’s happening with this rusting car. Matty Fryatt has come to terms with the fact his playing career is over Credit: PAUL COOPER “I just got lost and forgotten a bit. It never felt that anyone was asking ‘is he ever going to come back’. Oh, just send him for surgery again. “It was probably the way the club operated at the time. I didn’t even meet one of the managers [Philippe Montanier]. They paid my wages and for most of the operations, so I can’t grumble at that, but nobody was accountable for things.” Another operation followed, but it had taken two years for Fryatt to finally feel any progress after a course of injections. His contract ended at Forest last summer and he trialled with Burton Albion and then his first club, Walsall, where it all began in 2003. “As much as teams were doing their best to support me, I couldn’t get back to the level needed,” he says. A very young Matty Fryatt playing for Walsall - where his career started Credit: ACTION IMAGES Fryatt can understand how Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla must be feeling. Cazorla has not played since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem but, like Fryatt six months ago, is desperate to keep the hope alive. “I don’t know the guy, but he’s been in X amount of operations in an area where there is the least blood-flow, so the healing process is terrible. It’s sounding a similar case. His Achilles is like mine without the skin graft. “I wish him well but what next? Don’t feel great, operation, what next? It’s completely different at Arsenal, but I’m looking at that thinking it’s not good for him because of the area it’s on and going from operation to operation.” Santi Cazorla has not played for Arsenal since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem Fryatt is now only focusing on the future. He is about to start his ‘A license” coaching badges and appears a natural on the evidence of recent media work. “I’ve been blessed to play something that I love doing, to have a job that was a hobby and fun is everything that you dream about as a kid,” he says. “There are some great memories, such as the Leicester years and getting them promoted. I enjoyed my time at Hull and to get to a Cup final was ridiculous. I’d like to stay involved in it, or give something back. “This is a chance now to move onto the next chapter.”
Matty Fryatt finally finds 'closure' after injury ends playing career at 31
Matty Fryatt describes the decision to finally announce his retirement from football as “closure”. He has scored in every division, racked up 135 career goals at clubs including Leicester, Hull City and Nottingham Forest, and played in an FA Cup final. But after three operations on a persistent Achilles injury spanning nearly three years, and seemingly endless trips around Europe seeking a solution, he has accepted that retirement is the only option, at the age of 31. For many professional players, it is the day they dread but, for Fryatt, it almost feels like a cathartic moment, the dispersing of a dark cloud. “This is a big moment for me, but at the same time it’s been a long time coming. I haven’t played for nearly three years now so it was only natural,” he says. “I’ve given it everything, from when it all started and thinking it was going to be a minor injury to three years later and realising the only option is to call it a day. “It would have been so much easier to just run out onto the grass, feel comfortable and play a game of football, rather than go all over the world to see a surgeon in Germany, in Holland, in Portugal and getting absolutely nowhere. Matty Fryatt (left) playing for Leicester Credit: PA “When you’ve had half of your Achilles taken off, re-attached, bone smashed up and then put back on with someone saying you’ve got a good chance of coming back, it’s hard to take. This is closure, really.” Fryatt’s last game was for Forest in March 2015, but it was in November when the striker’s ordeal arguably started. Towards the end of a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham, he remembers a specific moment, picking up what he calls “a niggle” on his left Achilles. It was an innocuous incident, but ultimately life-changing. “I was jogging into their half for a goal-kick and I was just thinking, 'That feels a little bit uncomfortable',” he says. “I came into training on Monday and I couldn’t run. I thought I’d rest in the week and play on Saturday . “I did that for so long, but it was getting worse, even with the painkillers and resting as much as I could. Matty Fryatt celebrate scoring for Nottingham Forest before injury took its toll Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I was coming back in off the training pitch nearly crying, hobbling around in absolute agony. It was embarrassing. I was near enough in tears trying to run. “In the last game I played I was just like a statue. I was in real pain as well, it was ridiculous.” Fryatt had two operations, one minor and the other major in which they took away the Achilles and then re-attached it. Six-month rehabilitation followed both procedures but he never felt confident that the problem had been diagnosed properly. This unfolding nightmare occurred during a turbulent period in Forest’s history, under the chaotic regime of former owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, and though Fryatt is careful to point out that the club continued to pay his wages, there is clearly frustration over how it was handled. “At Forest it was like I was a car on the driveway, rusting away and they just thought ‘just leave it, we’ll get a new car’. I’d get further down the line and nobody would ask what’s happening with this rusting car. Matty Fryatt has come to terms with the fact his playing career is over Credit: PAUL COOPER “I just got lost and forgotten a bit. It never felt that anyone was asking ‘is he ever going to come back’. Oh, just send him for surgery again. “It was probably the way the club operated at the time. I didn’t even meet one of the managers [Philippe Montanier]. They paid my wages and for most of the operations, so I can’t grumble at that, but nobody was accountable for things.” Another operation followed, but it had taken two years for Fryatt to finally feel any progress after a course of injections. His contract ended at Forest last summer and he trialled with Burton Albion and then his first club, Walsall, where it all began in 2003. “As much as teams were doing their best to support me, I couldn’t get back to the level needed,” he says. A very young Matty Fryatt playing for Walsall - where his career started Credit: ACTION IMAGES Fryatt can understand how Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla must be feeling. Cazorla has not played since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem but, like Fryatt six months ago, is desperate to keep the hope alive. “I don’t know the guy, but he’s been in X amount of operations in an area where there is the least blood-flow, so the healing process is terrible. It’s sounding a similar case. His Achilles is like mine without the skin graft. “I wish him well but what next? Don’t feel great, operation, what next? It’s completely different at Arsenal, but I’m looking at that thinking it’s not good for him because of the area it’s on and going from operation to operation.” Santi Cazorla has not played for Arsenal since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem Fryatt is now only focusing on the future. He is about to start his ‘A license” coaching badges and appears a natural on the evidence of recent media work. “I’ve been blessed to play something that I love doing, to have a job that was a hobby and fun is everything that you dream about as a kid,” he says. “There are some great memories, such as the Leicester years and getting them promoted. I enjoyed my time at Hull and to get to a Cup final was ridiculous. I’d like to stay involved in it, or give something back. “This is a chance now to move onto the next chapter.”
Matty Fryatt describes the decision to finally announce his retirement from football as “closure”. He has scored in every division, racked up 135 career goals at clubs including Leicester, Hull City and Nottingham Forest, and played in an FA Cup final. But after three operations on a persistent Achilles injury spanning nearly three years, and seemingly endless trips around Europe seeking a solution, he has accepted that retirement is the only option, at the age of 31. For many professional players, it is the day they dread but, for Fryatt, it almost feels like a cathartic moment, the dispersing of a dark cloud. “This is a big moment for me, but at the same time it’s been a long time coming. I haven’t played for nearly three years now so it was only natural,” he says. “I’ve given it everything, from when it all started and thinking it was going to be a minor injury to three years later and realising the only option is to call it a day. “It would have been so much easier to just run out onto the grass, feel comfortable and play a game of football, rather than go all over the world to see a surgeon in Germany, in Holland, in Portugal and getting absolutely nowhere. Matty Fryatt (left) playing for Leicester Credit: PA “When you’ve had half of your Achilles taken off, re-attached, bone smashed up and then put back on with someone saying you’ve got a good chance of coming back, it’s hard to take. This is closure, really.” Fryatt’s last game was for Forest in March 2015, but it was in November when the striker’s ordeal arguably started. Towards the end of a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham, he remembers a specific moment, picking up what he calls “a niggle” on his left Achilles. It was an innocuous incident, but ultimately life-changing. “I was jogging into their half for a goal-kick and I was just thinking, 'That feels a little bit uncomfortable',” he says. “I came into training on Monday and I couldn’t run. I thought I’d rest in the week and play on Saturday . “I did that for so long, but it was getting worse, even with the painkillers and resting as much as I could. Matty Fryatt celebrate scoring for Nottingham Forest before injury took its toll Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I was coming back in off the training pitch nearly crying, hobbling around in absolute agony. It was embarrassing. I was near enough in tears trying to run. “In the last game I played I was just like a statue. I was in real pain as well, it was ridiculous.” Fryatt had two operations, one minor and the other major in which they took away the Achilles and then re-attached it. Six-month rehabilitation followed both procedures but he never felt confident that the problem had been diagnosed properly. This unfolding nightmare occurred during a turbulent period in Forest’s history, under the chaotic regime of former owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, and though Fryatt is careful to point out that the club continued to pay his wages, there is clearly frustration over how it was handled. “At Forest it was like I was a car on the driveway, rusting away and they just thought ‘just leave it, we’ll get a new car’. I’d get further down the line and nobody would ask what’s happening with this rusting car. Matty Fryatt has come to terms with the fact his playing career is over Credit: PAUL COOPER “I just got lost and forgotten a bit. It never felt that anyone was asking ‘is he ever going to come back’. Oh, just send him for surgery again. “It was probably the way the club operated at the time. I didn’t even meet one of the managers [Philippe Montanier]. They paid my wages and for most of the operations, so I can’t grumble at that, but nobody was accountable for things.” Another operation followed, but it had taken two years for Fryatt to finally feel any progress after a course of injections. His contract ended at Forest last summer and he trialled with Burton Albion and then his first club, Walsall, where it all began in 2003. “As much as teams were doing their best to support me, I couldn’t get back to the level needed,” he says. A very young Matty Fryatt playing for Walsall - where his career started Credit: ACTION IMAGES Fryatt can understand how Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla must be feeling. Cazorla has not played since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem but, like Fryatt six months ago, is desperate to keep the hope alive. “I don’t know the guy, but he’s been in X amount of operations in an area where there is the least blood-flow, so the healing process is terrible. It’s sounding a similar case. His Achilles is like mine without the skin graft. “I wish him well but what next? Don’t feel great, operation, what next? It’s completely different at Arsenal, but I’m looking at that thinking it’s not good for him because of the area it’s on and going from operation to operation.” Santi Cazorla has not played for Arsenal since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem Fryatt is now only focusing on the future. He is about to start his ‘A license” coaching badges and appears a natural on the evidence of recent media work. “I’ve been blessed to play something that I love doing, to have a job that was a hobby and fun is everything that you dream about as a kid,” he says. “There are some great memories, such as the Leicester years and getting them promoted. I enjoyed my time at Hull and to get to a Cup final was ridiculous. I’d like to stay involved in it, or give something back. “This is a chance now to move onto the next chapter.”
Matty Fryatt finally finds 'closure' after injury ends playing career at 31
Matty Fryatt describes the decision to finally announce his retirement from football as “closure”. He has scored in every division, racked up 135 career goals at clubs including Leicester, Hull City and Nottingham Forest, and played in an FA Cup final. But after three operations on a persistent Achilles injury spanning nearly three years, and seemingly endless trips around Europe seeking a solution, he has accepted that retirement is the only option, at the age of 31. For many professional players, it is the day they dread but, for Fryatt, it almost feels like a cathartic moment, the dispersing of a dark cloud. “This is a big moment for me, but at the same time it’s been a long time coming. I haven’t played for nearly three years now so it was only natural,” he says. “I’ve given it everything, from when it all started and thinking it was going to be a minor injury to three years later and realising the only option is to call it a day. “It would have been so much easier to just run out onto the grass, feel comfortable and play a game of football, rather than go all over the world to see a surgeon in Germany, in Holland, in Portugal and getting absolutely nowhere. Matty Fryatt (left) playing for Leicester Credit: PA “When you’ve had half of your Achilles taken off, re-attached, bone smashed up and then put back on with someone saying you’ve got a good chance of coming back, it’s hard to take. This is closure, really.” Fryatt’s last game was for Forest in March 2015, but it was in November when the striker’s ordeal arguably started. Towards the end of a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham, he remembers a specific moment, picking up what he calls “a niggle” on his left Achilles. It was an innocuous incident, but ultimately life-changing. “I was jogging into their half for a goal-kick and I was just thinking, 'That feels a little bit uncomfortable',” he says. “I came into training on Monday and I couldn’t run. I thought I’d rest in the week and play on Saturday . “I did that for so long, but it was getting worse, even with the painkillers and resting as much as I could. Matty Fryatt celebrate scoring for Nottingham Forest before injury took its toll Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I was coming back in off the training pitch nearly crying, hobbling around in absolute agony. It was embarrassing. I was near enough in tears trying to run. “In the last game I played I was just like a statue. I was in real pain as well, it was ridiculous.” Fryatt had two operations, one minor and the other major in which they took away the Achilles and then re-attached it. Six-month rehabilitation followed both procedures but he never felt confident that the problem had been diagnosed properly. This unfolding nightmare occurred during a turbulent period in Forest’s history, under the chaotic regime of former owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, and though Fryatt is careful to point out that the club continued to pay his wages, there is clearly frustration over how it was handled. “At Forest it was like I was a car on the driveway, rusting away and they just thought ‘just leave it, we’ll get a new car’. I’d get further down the line and nobody would ask what’s happening with this rusting car. Matty Fryatt has come to terms with the fact his playing career is over Credit: PAUL COOPER “I just got lost and forgotten a bit. It never felt that anyone was asking ‘is he ever going to come back’. Oh, just send him for surgery again. “It was probably the way the club operated at the time. I didn’t even meet one of the managers [Philippe Montanier]. They paid my wages and for most of the operations, so I can’t grumble at that, but nobody was accountable for things.” Another operation followed, but it had taken two years for Fryatt to finally feel any progress after a course of injections. His contract ended at Forest last summer and he trialled with Burton Albion and then his first club, Walsall, where it all began in 2003. “As much as teams were doing their best to support me, I couldn’t get back to the level needed,” he says. A very young Matty Fryatt playing for Walsall - where his career started Credit: ACTION IMAGES Fryatt can understand how Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla must be feeling. Cazorla has not played since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem but, like Fryatt six months ago, is desperate to keep the hope alive. “I don’t know the guy, but he’s been in X amount of operations in an area where there is the least blood-flow, so the healing process is terrible. It’s sounding a similar case. His Achilles is like mine without the skin graft. “I wish him well but what next? Don’t feel great, operation, what next? It’s completely different at Arsenal, but I’m looking at that thinking it’s not good for him because of the area it’s on and going from operation to operation.” Santi Cazorla has not played for Arsenal since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem Fryatt is now only focusing on the future. He is about to start his ‘A license” coaching badges and appears a natural on the evidence of recent media work. “I’ve been blessed to play something that I love doing, to have a job that was a hobby and fun is everything that you dream about as a kid,” he says. “There are some great memories, such as the Leicester years and getting them promoted. I enjoyed my time at Hull and to get to a Cup final was ridiculous. I’d like to stay involved in it, or give something back. “This is a chance now to move onto the next chapter.”
Matty Fryatt describes the decision to finally announce his retirement from football as “closure”. He has scored in every division, racked up 135 career goals at clubs including Leicester, Hull City and Nottingham Forest, and played in an FA Cup final. But after three operations on a persistent Achilles injury spanning nearly three years, and seemingly endless trips around Europe seeking a solution, he has accepted that retirement is the only option, at the age of 31. For many professional players, it is the day they dread but, for Fryatt, it almost feels like a cathartic moment, the dispersing of a dark cloud. “This is a big moment for me, but at the same time it’s been a long time coming. I haven’t played for nearly three years now so it was only natural,” he says. “I’ve given it everything, from when it all started and thinking it was going to be a minor injury to three years later and realising the only option is to call it a day. “It would have been so much easier to just run out onto the grass, feel comfortable and play a game of football, rather than go all over the world to see a surgeon in Germany, in Holland, in Portugal and getting absolutely nowhere. Matty Fryatt (left) playing for Leicester Credit: PA “When you’ve had half of your Achilles taken off, re-attached, bone smashed up and then put back on with someone saying you’ve got a good chance of coming back, it’s hard to take. This is closure, really.” Fryatt’s last game was for Forest in March 2015, but it was in November when the striker’s ordeal arguably started. Towards the end of a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham, he remembers a specific moment, picking up what he calls “a niggle” on his left Achilles. It was an innocuous incident, but ultimately life-changing. “I was jogging into their half for a goal-kick and I was just thinking, 'That feels a little bit uncomfortable',” he says. “I came into training on Monday and I couldn’t run. I thought I’d rest in the week and play on Saturday . “I did that for so long, but it was getting worse, even with the painkillers and resting as much as I could. Matty Fryatt celebrate scoring for Nottingham Forest before injury took its toll Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I was coming back in off the training pitch nearly crying, hobbling around in absolute agony. It was embarrassing. I was near enough in tears trying to run. “In the last game I played I was just like a statue. I was in real pain as well, it was ridiculous.” Fryatt had two operations, one minor and the other major in which they took away the Achilles and then re-attached it. Six-month rehabilitation followed both procedures but he never felt confident that the problem had been diagnosed properly. This unfolding nightmare occurred during a turbulent period in Forest’s history, under the chaotic regime of former owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, and though Fryatt is careful to point out that the club continued to pay his wages, there is clearly frustration over how it was handled. “At Forest it was like I was a car on the driveway, rusting away and they just thought ‘just leave it, we’ll get a new car’. I’d get further down the line and nobody would ask what’s happening with this rusting car. Matty Fryatt has come to terms with the fact his playing career is over Credit: PAUL COOPER “I just got lost and forgotten a bit. It never felt that anyone was asking ‘is he ever going to come back’. Oh, just send him for surgery again. “It was probably the way the club operated at the time. I didn’t even meet one of the managers [Philippe Montanier]. They paid my wages and for most of the operations, so I can’t grumble at that, but nobody was accountable for things.” Another operation followed, but it had taken two years for Fryatt to finally feel any progress after a course of injections. His contract ended at Forest last summer and he trialled with Burton Albion and then his first club, Walsall, where it all began in 2003. “As much as teams were doing their best to support me, I couldn’t get back to the level needed,” he says. A very young Matty Fryatt playing for Walsall - where his career started Credit: ACTION IMAGES Fryatt can understand how Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla must be feeling. Cazorla has not played since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem but, like Fryatt six months ago, is desperate to keep the hope alive. “I don’t know the guy, but he’s been in X amount of operations in an area where there is the least blood-flow, so the healing process is terrible. It’s sounding a similar case. His Achilles is like mine without the skin graft. “I wish him well but what next? Don’t feel great, operation, what next? It’s completely different at Arsenal, but I’m looking at that thinking it’s not good for him because of the area it’s on and going from operation to operation.” Santi Cazorla has not played for Arsenal since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem Fryatt is now only focusing on the future. He is about to start his ‘A license” coaching badges and appears a natural on the evidence of recent media work. “I’ve been blessed to play something that I love doing, to have a job that was a hobby and fun is everything that you dream about as a kid,” he says. “There are some great memories, such as the Leicester years and getting them promoted. I enjoyed my time at Hull and to get to a Cup final was ridiculous. I’d like to stay involved in it, or give something back. “This is a chance now to move onto the next chapter.”
Matty Fryatt finally finds 'closure' after injury ends playing career at 31
Matty Fryatt describes the decision to finally announce his retirement from football as “closure”. He has scored in every division, racked up 135 career goals at clubs including Leicester, Hull City and Nottingham Forest, and played in an FA Cup final. But after three operations on a persistent Achilles injury spanning nearly three years, and seemingly endless trips around Europe seeking a solution, he has accepted that retirement is the only option, at the age of 31. For many professional players, it is the day they dread but, for Fryatt, it almost feels like a cathartic moment, the dispersing of a dark cloud. “This is a big moment for me, but at the same time it’s been a long time coming. I haven’t played for nearly three years now so it was only natural,” he says. “I’ve given it everything, from when it all started and thinking it was going to be a minor injury to three years later and realising the only option is to call it a day. “It would have been so much easier to just run out onto the grass, feel comfortable and play a game of football, rather than go all over the world to see a surgeon in Germany, in Holland, in Portugal and getting absolutely nowhere. Matty Fryatt (left) playing for Leicester Credit: PA “When you’ve had half of your Achilles taken off, re-attached, bone smashed up and then put back on with someone saying you’ve got a good chance of coming back, it’s hard to take. This is closure, really.” Fryatt’s last game was for Forest in March 2015, but it was in November when the striker’s ordeal arguably started. Towards the end of a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham, he remembers a specific moment, picking up what he calls “a niggle” on his left Achilles. It was an innocuous incident, but ultimately life-changing. “I was jogging into their half for a goal-kick and I was just thinking, 'That feels a little bit uncomfortable',” he says. “I came into training on Monday and I couldn’t run. I thought I’d rest in the week and play on Saturday . “I did that for so long, but it was getting worse, even with the painkillers and resting as much as I could. Matty Fryatt celebrate scoring for Nottingham Forest before injury took its toll Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I was coming back in off the training pitch nearly crying, hobbling around in absolute agony. It was embarrassing. I was near enough in tears trying to run. “In the last game I played I was just like a statue. I was in real pain as well, it was ridiculous.” Fryatt had two operations, one minor and the other major in which they took away the Achilles and then re-attached it. Six-month rehabilitation followed both procedures but he never felt confident that the problem had been diagnosed properly. This unfolding nightmare occurred during a turbulent period in Forest’s history, under the chaotic regime of former owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, and though Fryatt is careful to point out that the club continued to pay his wages, there is clearly frustration over how it was handled. “At Forest it was like I was a car on the driveway, rusting away and they just thought ‘just leave it, we’ll get a new car’. I’d get further down the line and nobody would ask what’s happening with this rusting car. Matty Fryatt has come to terms with the fact his playing career is over Credit: PAUL COOPER “I just got lost and forgotten a bit. It never felt that anyone was asking ‘is he ever going to come back’. Oh, just send him for surgery again. “It was probably the way the club operated at the time. I didn’t even meet one of the managers [Philippe Montanier]. They paid my wages and for most of the operations, so I can’t grumble at that, but nobody was accountable for things.” Another operation followed, but it had taken two years for Fryatt to finally feel any progress after a course of injections. His contract ended at Forest last summer and he trialled with Burton Albion and then his first club, Walsall, where it all began in 2003. “As much as teams were doing their best to support me, I couldn’t get back to the level needed,” he says. A very young Matty Fryatt playing for Walsall - where his career started Credit: ACTION IMAGES Fryatt can understand how Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla must be feeling. Cazorla has not played since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem but, like Fryatt six months ago, is desperate to keep the hope alive. “I don’t know the guy, but he’s been in X amount of operations in an area where there is the least blood-flow, so the healing process is terrible. It’s sounding a similar case. His Achilles is like mine without the skin graft. “I wish him well but what next? Don’t feel great, operation, what next? It’s completely different at Arsenal, but I’m looking at that thinking it’s not good for him because of the area it’s on and going from operation to operation.” Santi Cazorla has not played for Arsenal since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem Fryatt is now only focusing on the future. He is about to start his ‘A license” coaching badges and appears a natural on the evidence of recent media work. “I’ve been blessed to play something that I love doing, to have a job that was a hobby and fun is everything that you dream about as a kid,” he says. “There are some great memories, such as the Leicester years and getting them promoted. I enjoyed my time at Hull and to get to a Cup final was ridiculous. I’d like to stay involved in it, or give something back. “This is a chance now to move onto the next chapter.”
Matty Fryatt describes the decision to finally announce his retirement from football as “closure”. He has scored in every division, racked up 135 career goals at clubs including Leicester, Hull City and Nottingham Forest, and played in an FA Cup final. But after three operations on a persistent Achilles injury spanning nearly three years, and seemingly endless trips around Europe seeking a solution, he has accepted that retirement is the only option, at the age of 31. For many professional players, it is the day they dread but, for Fryatt, it almost feels like a cathartic moment, the dispersing of a dark cloud. “This is a big moment for me, but at the same time it’s been a long time coming. I haven’t played for nearly three years now so it was only natural,” he says. “I’ve given it everything, from when it all started and thinking it was going to be a minor injury to three years later and realising the only option is to call it a day. “It would have been so much easier to just run out onto the grass, feel comfortable and play a game of football, rather than go all over the world to see a surgeon in Germany, in Holland, in Portugal and getting absolutely nowhere. Matty Fryatt (left) playing for Leicester Credit: PA “When you’ve had half of your Achilles taken off, re-attached, bone smashed up and then put back on with someone saying you’ve got a good chance of coming back, it’s hard to take. This is closure, really.” Fryatt’s last game was for Forest in March 2015, but it was in November when the striker’s ordeal arguably started. Towards the end of a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham, he remembers a specific moment, picking up what he calls “a niggle” on his left Achilles. It was an innocuous incident, but ultimately life-changing. “I was jogging into their half for a goal-kick and I was just thinking, 'That feels a little bit uncomfortable',” he says. “I came into training on Monday and I couldn’t run. I thought I’d rest in the week and play on Saturday . “I did that for so long, but it was getting worse, even with the painkillers and resting as much as I could. Matty Fryatt celebrate scoring for Nottingham Forest before injury took its toll Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I was coming back in off the training pitch nearly crying, hobbling around in absolute agony. It was embarrassing. I was near enough in tears trying to run. “In the last game I played I was just like a statue. I was in real pain as well, it was ridiculous.” Fryatt had two operations, one minor and the other major in which they took away the Achilles and then re-attached it. Six-month rehabilitation followed both procedures but he never felt confident that the problem had been diagnosed properly. This unfolding nightmare occurred during a turbulent period in Forest’s history, under the chaotic regime of former owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, and though Fryatt is careful to point out that the club continued to pay his wages, there is clearly frustration over how it was handled. “At Forest it was like I was a car on the driveway, rusting away and they just thought ‘just leave it, we’ll get a new car’. I’d get further down the line and nobody would ask what’s happening with this rusting car. Matty Fryatt has come to terms with the fact his playing career is over Credit: PAUL COOPER “I just got lost and forgotten a bit. It never felt that anyone was asking ‘is he ever going to come back’. Oh, just send him for surgery again. “It was probably the way the club operated at the time. I didn’t even meet one of the managers [Philippe Montanier]. They paid my wages and for most of the operations, so I can’t grumble at that, but nobody was accountable for things.” Another operation followed, but it had taken two years for Fryatt to finally feel any progress after a course of injections. His contract ended at Forest last summer and he trialled with Burton Albion and then his first club, Walsall, where it all began in 2003. “As much as teams were doing their best to support me, I couldn’t get back to the level needed,” he says. A very young Matty Fryatt playing for Walsall - where his career started Credit: ACTION IMAGES Fryatt can understand how Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla must be feeling. Cazorla has not played since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem but, like Fryatt six months ago, is desperate to keep the hope alive. “I don’t know the guy, but he’s been in X amount of operations in an area where there is the least blood-flow, so the healing process is terrible. It’s sounding a similar case. His Achilles is like mine without the skin graft. “I wish him well but what next? Don’t feel great, operation, what next? It’s completely different at Arsenal, but I’m looking at that thinking it’s not good for him because of the area it’s on and going from operation to operation.” Santi Cazorla has not played for Arsenal since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem Fryatt is now only focusing on the future. He is about to start his ‘A license” coaching badges and appears a natural on the evidence of recent media work. “I’ve been blessed to play something that I love doing, to have a job that was a hobby and fun is everything that you dream about as a kid,” he says. “There are some great memories, such as the Leicester years and getting them promoted. I enjoyed my time at Hull and to get to a Cup final was ridiculous. I’d like to stay involved in it, or give something back. “This is a chance now to move onto the next chapter.”
Matty Fryatt finally finds 'closure' after injury ends playing career at 31
Matty Fryatt describes the decision to finally announce his retirement from football as “closure”. He has scored in every division, racked up 135 career goals at clubs including Leicester, Hull City and Nottingham Forest, and played in an FA Cup final. But after three operations on a persistent Achilles injury spanning nearly three years, and seemingly endless trips around Europe seeking a solution, he has accepted that retirement is the only option, at the age of 31. For many professional players, it is the day they dread but, for Fryatt, it almost feels like a cathartic moment, the dispersing of a dark cloud. “This is a big moment for me, but at the same time it’s been a long time coming. I haven’t played for nearly three years now so it was only natural,” he says. “I’ve given it everything, from when it all started and thinking it was going to be a minor injury to three years later and realising the only option is to call it a day. “It would have been so much easier to just run out onto the grass, feel comfortable and play a game of football, rather than go all over the world to see a surgeon in Germany, in Holland, in Portugal and getting absolutely nowhere. Matty Fryatt (left) playing for Leicester Credit: PA “When you’ve had half of your Achilles taken off, re-attached, bone smashed up and then put back on with someone saying you’ve got a good chance of coming back, it’s hard to take. This is closure, really.” Fryatt’s last game was for Forest in March 2015, but it was in November when the striker’s ordeal arguably started. Towards the end of a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham, he remembers a specific moment, picking up what he calls “a niggle” on his left Achilles. It was an innocuous incident, but ultimately life-changing. “I was jogging into their half for a goal-kick and I was just thinking, 'That feels a little bit uncomfortable',” he says. “I came into training on Monday and I couldn’t run. I thought I’d rest in the week and play on Saturday . “I did that for so long, but it was getting worse, even with the painkillers and resting as much as I could. Matty Fryatt celebrate scoring for Nottingham Forest before injury took its toll Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I was coming back in off the training pitch nearly crying, hobbling around in absolute agony. It was embarrassing. I was near enough in tears trying to run. “In the last game I played I was just like a statue. I was in real pain as well, it was ridiculous.” Fryatt had two operations, one minor and the other major in which they took away the Achilles and then re-attached it. Six-month rehabilitation followed both procedures but he never felt confident that the problem had been diagnosed properly. This unfolding nightmare occurred during a turbulent period in Forest’s history, under the chaotic regime of former owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, and though Fryatt is careful to point out that the club continued to pay his wages, there is clearly frustration over how it was handled. “At Forest it was like I was a car on the driveway, rusting away and they just thought ‘just leave it, we’ll get a new car’. I’d get further down the line and nobody would ask what’s happening with this rusting car. Matty Fryatt has come to terms with the fact his playing career is over Credit: PAUL COOPER “I just got lost and forgotten a bit. It never felt that anyone was asking ‘is he ever going to come back’. Oh, just send him for surgery again. “It was probably the way the club operated at the time. I didn’t even meet one of the managers [Philippe Montanier]. They paid my wages and for most of the operations, so I can’t grumble at that, but nobody was accountable for things.” Another operation followed, but it had taken two years for Fryatt to finally feel any progress after a course of injections. His contract ended at Forest last summer and he trialled with Burton Albion and then his first club, Walsall, where it all began in 2003. “As much as teams were doing their best to support me, I couldn’t get back to the level needed,” he says. A very young Matty Fryatt playing for Walsall - where his career started Credit: ACTION IMAGES Fryatt can understand how Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla must be feeling. Cazorla has not played since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem but, like Fryatt six months ago, is desperate to keep the hope alive. “I don’t know the guy, but he’s been in X amount of operations in an area where there is the least blood-flow, so the healing process is terrible. It’s sounding a similar case. His Achilles is like mine without the skin graft. “I wish him well but what next? Don’t feel great, operation, what next? It’s completely different at Arsenal, but I’m looking at that thinking it’s not good for him because of the area it’s on and going from operation to operation.” Santi Cazorla has not played for Arsenal since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem Fryatt is now only focusing on the future. He is about to start his ‘A license” coaching badges and appears a natural on the evidence of recent media work. “I’ve been blessed to play something that I love doing, to have a job that was a hobby and fun is everything that you dream about as a kid,” he says. “There are some great memories, such as the Leicester years and getting them promoted. I enjoyed my time at Hull and to get to a Cup final was ridiculous. I’d like to stay involved in it, or give something back. “This is a chance now to move onto the next chapter.”
Matty Fryatt describes the decision to finally announce his retirement from football as “closure”. He has scored in every division, racked up 135 career goals at clubs including Leicester, Hull City and Nottingham Forest, and played in an FA Cup final. But after three operations on a persistent Achilles injury spanning nearly three years, and seemingly endless trips around Europe seeking a solution, he has accepted that retirement is the only option, at the age of 31. For many professional players, it is the day they dread but, for Fryatt, it almost feels like a cathartic moment, the dispersing of a dark cloud. “This is a big moment for me, but at the same time it’s been a long time coming. I haven’t played for nearly three years now so it was only natural,” he says. “I’ve given it everything, from when it all started and thinking it was going to be a minor injury to three years later and realising the only option is to call it a day. “It would have been so much easier to just run out onto the grass, feel comfortable and play a game of football, rather than go all over the world to see a surgeon in Germany, in Holland, in Portugal and getting absolutely nowhere. Matty Fryatt (left) playing for Leicester Credit: PA “When you’ve had half of your Achilles taken off, re-attached, bone smashed up and then put back on with someone saying you’ve got a good chance of coming back, it’s hard to take. This is closure, really.” Fryatt’s last game was for Forest in March 2015, but it was in November when the striker’s ordeal arguably started. Towards the end of a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham, he remembers a specific moment, picking up what he calls “a niggle” on his left Achilles. It was an innocuous incident, but ultimately life-changing. “I was jogging into their half for a goal-kick and I was just thinking, 'That feels a little bit uncomfortable',” he says. “I came into training on Monday and I couldn’t run. I thought I’d rest in the week and play on Saturday . “I did that for so long, but it was getting worse, even with the painkillers and resting as much as I could. Matty Fryatt celebrate scoring for Nottingham Forest before injury took its toll Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I was coming back in off the training pitch nearly crying, hobbling around in absolute agony. It was embarrassing. I was near enough in tears trying to run. “In the last game I played I was just like a statue. I was in real pain as well, it was ridiculous.” Fryatt had two operations, one minor and the other major in which they took away the Achilles and then re-attached it. Six-month rehabilitation followed both procedures but he never felt confident that the problem had been diagnosed properly. This unfolding nightmare occurred during a turbulent period in Forest’s history, under the chaotic regime of former owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, and though Fryatt is careful to point out that the club continued to pay his wages, there is clearly frustration over how it was handled. “At Forest it was like I was a car on the driveway, rusting away and they just thought ‘just leave it, we’ll get a new car’. I’d get further down the line and nobody would ask what’s happening with this rusting car. Matty Fryatt has come to terms with the fact his playing career is over Credit: PAUL COOPER “I just got lost and forgotten a bit. It never felt that anyone was asking ‘is he ever going to come back’. Oh, just send him for surgery again. “It was probably the way the club operated at the time. I didn’t even meet one of the managers [Philippe Montanier]. They paid my wages and for most of the operations, so I can’t grumble at that, but nobody was accountable for things.” Another operation followed, but it had taken two years for Fryatt to finally feel any progress after a course of injections. His contract ended at Forest last summer and he trialled with Burton Albion and then his first club, Walsall, where it all began in 2003. “As much as teams were doing their best to support me, I couldn’t get back to the level needed,” he says. A very young Matty Fryatt playing for Walsall - where his career started Credit: ACTION IMAGES Fryatt can understand how Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla must be feeling. Cazorla has not played since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem but, like Fryatt six months ago, is desperate to keep the hope alive. “I don’t know the guy, but he’s been in X amount of operations in an area where there is the least blood-flow, so the healing process is terrible. It’s sounding a similar case. His Achilles is like mine without the skin graft. “I wish him well but what next? Don’t feel great, operation, what next? It’s completely different at Arsenal, but I’m looking at that thinking it’s not good for him because of the area it’s on and going from operation to operation.” Santi Cazorla has not played for Arsenal since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem Fryatt is now only focusing on the future. He is about to start his ‘A license” coaching badges and appears a natural on the evidence of recent media work. “I’ve been blessed to play something that I love doing, to have a job that was a hobby and fun is everything that you dream about as a kid,” he says. “There are some great memories, such as the Leicester years and getting them promoted. I enjoyed my time at Hull and to get to a Cup final was ridiculous. I’d like to stay involved in it, or give something back. “This is a chance now to move onto the next chapter.”
Matty Fryatt finally finds 'closure' after injury ends playing career at 31
Matty Fryatt describes the decision to finally announce his retirement from football as “closure”. He has scored in every division, racked up 135 career goals at clubs including Leicester, Hull City and Nottingham Forest, and played in an FA Cup final. But after three operations on a persistent Achilles injury spanning nearly three years, and seemingly endless trips around Europe seeking a solution, he has accepted that retirement is the only option, at the age of 31. For many professional players, it is the day they dread but, for Fryatt, it almost feels like a cathartic moment, the dispersing of a dark cloud. “This is a big moment for me, but at the same time it’s been a long time coming. I haven’t played for nearly three years now so it was only natural,” he says. “I’ve given it everything, from when it all started and thinking it was going to be a minor injury to three years later and realising the only option is to call it a day. “It would have been so much easier to just run out onto the grass, feel comfortable and play a game of football, rather than go all over the world to see a surgeon in Germany, in Holland, in Portugal and getting absolutely nowhere. Matty Fryatt (left) playing for Leicester Credit: PA “When you’ve had half of your Achilles taken off, re-attached, bone smashed up and then put back on with someone saying you’ve got a good chance of coming back, it’s hard to take. This is closure, really.” Fryatt’s last game was for Forest in March 2015, but it was in November when the striker’s ordeal arguably started. Towards the end of a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham, he remembers a specific moment, picking up what he calls “a niggle” on his left Achilles. It was an innocuous incident, but ultimately life-changing. “I was jogging into their half for a goal-kick and I was just thinking, 'That feels a little bit uncomfortable',” he says. “I came into training on Monday and I couldn’t run. I thought I’d rest in the week and play on Saturday . “I did that for so long, but it was getting worse, even with the painkillers and resting as much as I could. Matty Fryatt celebrate scoring for Nottingham Forest before injury took its toll Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I was coming back in off the training pitch nearly crying, hobbling around in absolute agony. It was embarrassing. I was near enough in tears trying to run. “In the last game I played I was just like a statue. I was in real pain as well, it was ridiculous.” Fryatt had two operations, one minor and the other major in which they took away the Achilles and then re-attached it. Six-month rehabilitation followed both procedures but he never felt confident that the problem had been diagnosed properly. This unfolding nightmare occurred during a turbulent period in Forest’s history, under the chaotic regime of former owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, and though Fryatt is careful to point out that the club continued to pay his wages, there is clearly frustration over how it was handled. “At Forest it was like I was a car on the driveway, rusting away and they just thought ‘just leave it, we’ll get a new car’. I’d get further down the line and nobody would ask what’s happening with this rusting car. Matty Fryatt has come to terms with the fact his playing career is over Credit: PAUL COOPER “I just got lost and forgotten a bit. It never felt that anyone was asking ‘is he ever going to come back’. Oh, just send him for surgery again. “It was probably the way the club operated at the time. I didn’t even meet one of the managers [Philippe Montanier]. They paid my wages and for most of the operations, so I can’t grumble at that, but nobody was accountable for things.” Another operation followed, but it had taken two years for Fryatt to finally feel any progress after a course of injections. His contract ended at Forest last summer and he trialled with Burton Albion and then his first club, Walsall, where it all began in 2003. “As much as teams were doing their best to support me, I couldn’t get back to the level needed,” he says. A very young Matty Fryatt playing for Walsall - where his career started Credit: ACTION IMAGES Fryatt can understand how Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla must be feeling. Cazorla has not played since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem but, like Fryatt six months ago, is desperate to keep the hope alive. “I don’t know the guy, but he’s been in X amount of operations in an area where there is the least blood-flow, so the healing process is terrible. It’s sounding a similar case. His Achilles is like mine without the skin graft. “I wish him well but what next? Don’t feel great, operation, what next? It’s completely different at Arsenal, but I’m looking at that thinking it’s not good for him because of the area it’s on and going from operation to operation.” Santi Cazorla has not played for Arsenal since October 2016 after multiple operations on a persistent ankle problem Fryatt is now only focusing on the future. He is about to start his ‘A license” coaching badges and appears a natural on the evidence of recent media work. “I’ve been blessed to play something that I love doing, to have a job that was a hobby and fun is everything that you dream about as a kid,” he says. “There are some great memories, such as the Leicester years and getting them promoted. I enjoyed my time at Hull and to get to a Cup final was ridiculous. I’d like to stay involved in it, or give something back. “This is a chance now to move onto the next chapter.”
Arsenal have loaned out three young players, with Chuba Akpom and Jeff Reine-Adelaide heading abroad and Krystian Bielik joining Walsall.
Arsenal loan out Akpom, Bielik and Reine-Adelaide
Arsenal have loaned out three young players, with Chuba Akpom and Jeff Reine-Adelaide heading abroad and Krystian Bielik joining Walsall.
Will Grigg smiles. He knew the question was coming. The Wigan Athletic striker will be back in the spotlight if he helps the League One leaders overcome West Ham United in the FA Cup fourth round at the DW Stadium on Saturday, fresh from beating another Premier League side, Bournemouth. But for a few weeks during the summer of 2016, he was one of the most talked-about names in European football despite not kicking a ball. The song Will Grigg’s On Fire, the brainchild of Wigan fan Sean Kennedy and gleefully adopted by Northern Ireland supporters, became the defining anthem of Euro 2016 and a top 10 hit in the UK iTunes charts. Northern Ireland’s press office quickly found itself inundated with requests from international media desperate to talk to the country’s fourth-choice striker at the tournament. One German television station even offered to fly Grigg first class to Berlin to become part of their punditry team when Northern Ireland were eliminated after a last-16 defeat by Wales. At first, the attention was welcome but, gradually, the novelty began to wear off and, by the end, manager Michael O’Neill’s patience with endless questions about his player’s flammability had worn thin. Looking back now, Grigg – bright and affable - has mixed emotions about it all. Most importantly, the proceeds from the single, sung to the tune of Gala’s 1996 hit Freed from Desire, have raised thousands of pounds for Joseph’s Goal. The charity was set up by the parents of eight-year-old Joseph Kendrick, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Non-Ketotic Hyperglycinemia (NKH), to raise awareness and funds for research into the condition. Grigg is rightly proud of the cause it continues to serve. But there was also frustration that he had gone into the Euros on the back of the best season of his career, with 28 goals for Wigan, and that those exploits were soon forgotten amid the ensuing circus and his failure to play in the tournament. Grigg is all ears on Northern Ireland duty in 2016 Credit: PA “Yeah, it definitely was a hindrance for the Euros and after that,” he reflected at Wigan’s Euxton training ground on Friday. “Some people enjoyed it and some people saw it as a bit of an annoyance. The main thing I kept saying was the song came about because of my form. That was put on the back burner a bit and all the attention was on the song. “It was great to get my name out there, it was good fun, I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, but at times… “Whether the manager was asked a few too many questions about it – he probably said what he felt about it. I was doing media left, right and centre, which was fine, but I just wanted to get out onto that pitch, which didn’t happen. “That was my most successful year at Wigan on the pitch and to go to the Euros was a massive achievement. It was probably one of the highlights of my career, but also a down-point in my career because the fact I didn’t get on the pitch was devastating, having got 28 goals. If there was ever going to be a time I was going to play, it would have been then. It was really hard to take.” The following season in the Championship with Wigan was tough for different reasons. Although Grigg scored six goals in his first 11 games for Wigan, manager Gary Caldwell was sacked in the October, his replacement Warren Joyce lasted just four months and then the striker suffered a knee injury that ended his campaign prematurely. He is fully fit and firing again now under Paul Cook, though, and West Ham are certain to have their hands full trying to keep Grigg and playmaker Nick Powell quiet. Bournemouth aside, Grigg is no stranger to a cup giant-killing. He was part of the MK Dons side that trounced Manchester United in the League Cup in August 2014, scoring twice in a 4-0 win alongside future Tottenham and England midfielder Dele Alli. Powell was playing for United that day. “I give him a little bit of stick now and again,” Grigg says. “It’s not something he likes to talk about to be honest but it’s good to be on the same side now. Nick creates so many chances for me. The cups have been good for me.” Grigg has 12 goals this season to Powell’s 11 and, if Wigan can claim another upset, it may rekindle hopes of the club emulating their famous Cup triumph at Wembley in 2013. “Having played against a Premier League team already will help us against West Ham,” Grigg said. Born in Solihull, West Midlands, Grigg – who qualified to play for Northern Ireland through his grandfather – attended Birmingham City’s academy before getting released at 16, not long after suffering a broken leg. “There was a spell from 14 to 16 where I just fell out of love with the game,” he said. “I was at Birmingham from seven, so it became repetitive. I think getting released gave me that bit of fire in my belly to prove people wrong.” From non-League Stratford Town, Grigg joined Walsall then Brentford before Wigan paid £1 million for his services in 2015. Still only 26, he is convinced his best years are ahead. “We’ll be back in the Championship next year if we keep playing well and I thought I was more than capable of playing at that level [last time],” he said. “To say I’m just a League One player is definitely not something I agree with.” For now, though, all the focus is on West Ham. Beat them and Grigg knows who he would fancy in the fifth round – Tottenham and a reunion with Alli. “That would be nice – I owe him a few [nut]megs,” Grigg says. For more information about Joseph’s Goal visit http://www.josephsgoal.org/
Will Grigg: 'The song was fine, but I just wanted to get out onto that pitch'
Will Grigg smiles. He knew the question was coming. The Wigan Athletic striker will be back in the spotlight if he helps the League One leaders overcome West Ham United in the FA Cup fourth round at the DW Stadium on Saturday, fresh from beating another Premier League side, Bournemouth. But for a few weeks during the summer of 2016, he was one of the most talked-about names in European football despite not kicking a ball. The song Will Grigg’s On Fire, the brainchild of Wigan fan Sean Kennedy and gleefully adopted by Northern Ireland supporters, became the defining anthem of Euro 2016 and a top 10 hit in the UK iTunes charts. Northern Ireland’s press office quickly found itself inundated with requests from international media desperate to talk to the country’s fourth-choice striker at the tournament. One German television station even offered to fly Grigg first class to Berlin to become part of their punditry team when Northern Ireland were eliminated after a last-16 defeat by Wales. At first, the attention was welcome but, gradually, the novelty began to wear off and, by the end, manager Michael O’Neill’s patience with endless questions about his player’s flammability had worn thin. Looking back now, Grigg – bright and affable - has mixed emotions about it all. Most importantly, the proceeds from the single, sung to the tune of Gala’s 1996 hit Freed from Desire, have raised thousands of pounds for Joseph’s Goal. The charity was set up by the parents of eight-year-old Joseph Kendrick, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Non-Ketotic Hyperglycinemia (NKH), to raise awareness and funds for research into the condition. Grigg is rightly proud of the cause it continues to serve. But there was also frustration that he had gone into the Euros on the back of the best season of his career, with 28 goals for Wigan, and that those exploits were soon forgotten amid the ensuing circus and his failure to play in the tournament. Grigg is all ears on Northern Ireland duty in 2016 Credit: PA “Yeah, it definitely was a hindrance for the Euros and after that,” he reflected at Wigan’s Euxton training ground on Friday. “Some people enjoyed it and some people saw it as a bit of an annoyance. The main thing I kept saying was the song came about because of my form. That was put on the back burner a bit and all the attention was on the song. “It was great to get my name out there, it was good fun, I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, but at times… “Whether the manager was asked a few too many questions about it – he probably said what he felt about it. I was doing media left, right and centre, which was fine, but I just wanted to get out onto that pitch, which didn’t happen. “That was my most successful year at Wigan on the pitch and to go to the Euros was a massive achievement. It was probably one of the highlights of my career, but also a down-point in my career because the fact I didn’t get on the pitch was devastating, having got 28 goals. If there was ever going to be a time I was going to play, it would have been then. It was really hard to take.” The following season in the Championship with Wigan was tough for different reasons. Although Grigg scored six goals in his first 11 games for Wigan, manager Gary Caldwell was sacked in the October, his replacement Warren Joyce lasted just four months and then the striker suffered a knee injury that ended his campaign prematurely. He is fully fit and firing again now under Paul Cook, though, and West Ham are certain to have their hands full trying to keep Grigg and playmaker Nick Powell quiet. Bournemouth aside, Grigg is no stranger to a cup giant-killing. He was part of the MK Dons side that trounced Manchester United in the League Cup in August 2014, scoring twice in a 4-0 win alongside future Tottenham and England midfielder Dele Alli. Powell was playing for United that day. “I give him a little bit of stick now and again,” Grigg says. “It’s not something he likes to talk about to be honest but it’s good to be on the same side now. Nick creates so many chances for me. The cups have been good for me.” Grigg has 12 goals this season to Powell’s 11 and, if Wigan can claim another upset, it may rekindle hopes of the club emulating their famous Cup triumph at Wembley in 2013. “Having played against a Premier League team already will help us against West Ham,” Grigg said. Born in Solihull, West Midlands, Grigg – who qualified to play for Northern Ireland through his grandfather – attended Birmingham City’s academy before getting released at 16, not long after suffering a broken leg. “There was a spell from 14 to 16 where I just fell out of love with the game,” he said. “I was at Birmingham from seven, so it became repetitive. I think getting released gave me that bit of fire in my belly to prove people wrong.” From non-League Stratford Town, Grigg joined Walsall then Brentford before Wigan paid £1 million for his services in 2015. Still only 26, he is convinced his best years are ahead. “We’ll be back in the Championship next year if we keep playing well and I thought I was more than capable of playing at that level [last time],” he said. “To say I’m just a League One player is definitely not something I agree with.” For now, though, all the focus is on West Ham. Beat them and Grigg knows who he would fancy in the fifth round – Tottenham and a reunion with Alli. “That would be nice – I owe him a few [nut]megs,” Grigg says. For more information about Joseph’s Goal visit http://www.josephsgoal.org/
Will Grigg smiles. He knew the question was coming. The Wigan Athletic striker will be back in the spotlight if he helps the League One leaders overcome West Ham United in the FA Cup fourth round at the DW Stadium on Saturday, fresh from beating another Premier League side, Bournemouth. But for a few weeks during the summer of 2016, he was one of the most talked-about names in European football despite not kicking a ball. The song Will Grigg’s On Fire, the brainchild of Wigan fan Sean Kennedy and gleefully adopted by Northern Ireland supporters, became the defining anthem of Euro 2016 and a top 10 hit in the UK iTunes charts. Northern Ireland’s press office quickly found itself inundated with requests from international media desperate to talk to the country’s fourth-choice striker at the tournament. One German television station even offered to fly Grigg first class to Berlin to become part of their punditry team when Northern Ireland were eliminated after a last-16 defeat by Wales. At first, the attention was welcome but, gradually, the novelty began to wear off and, by the end, manager Michael O’Neill’s patience with endless questions about his player’s flammability had worn thin. Looking back now, Grigg – bright and affable - has mixed emotions about it all. Most importantly, the proceeds from the single, sung to the tune of Gala’s 1996 hit Freed from Desire, have raised thousands of pounds for Joseph’s Goal. The charity was set up by the parents of eight-year-old Joseph Kendrick, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Non-Ketotic Hyperglycinemia (NKH), to raise awareness and funds for research into the condition. Grigg is rightly proud of the cause it continues to serve. But there was also frustration that he had gone into the Euros on the back of the best season of his career, with 28 goals for Wigan, and that those exploits were soon forgotten amid the ensuing circus and his failure to play in the tournament. Grigg is all ears on Northern Ireland duty in 2016 Credit: PA “Yeah, it definitely was a hindrance for the Euros and after that,” he reflected at Wigan’s Euxton training ground on Friday. “Some people enjoyed it and some people saw it as a bit of an annoyance. The main thing I kept saying was the song came about because of my form. That was put on the back burner a bit and all the attention was on the song. “It was great to get my name out there, it was good fun, I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, but at times… “Whether the manager was asked a few too many questions about it – he probably said what he felt about it. I was doing media left, right and centre, which was fine, but I just wanted to get out onto that pitch, which didn’t happen. “That was my most successful year at Wigan on the pitch and to go to the Euros was a massive achievement. It was probably one of the highlights of my career, but also a down-point in my career because the fact I didn’t get on the pitch was devastating, having got 28 goals. If there was ever going to be a time I was going to play, it would have been then. It was really hard to take.” The following season in the Championship with Wigan was tough for different reasons. Although Grigg scored six goals in his first 11 games for Wigan, manager Gary Caldwell was sacked in the October, his replacement Warren Joyce lasted just four months and then the striker suffered a knee injury that ended his campaign prematurely. He is fully fit and firing again now under Paul Cook, though, and West Ham are certain to have their hands full trying to keep Grigg and playmaker Nick Powell quiet. Bournemouth aside, Grigg is no stranger to a cup giant-killing. He was part of the MK Dons side that trounced Manchester United in the League Cup in August 2014, scoring twice in a 4-0 win alongside future Tottenham and England midfielder Dele Alli. Powell was playing for United that day. “I give him a little bit of stick now and again,” Grigg says. “It’s not something he likes to talk about to be honest but it’s good to be on the same side now. Nick creates so many chances for me. The cups have been good for me.” Grigg has 12 goals this season to Powell’s 11 and, if Wigan can claim another upset, it may rekindle hopes of the club emulating their famous Cup triumph at Wembley in 2013. “Having played against a Premier League team already will help us against West Ham,” Grigg said. Born in Solihull, West Midlands, Grigg – who qualified to play for Northern Ireland through his grandfather – attended Birmingham City’s academy before getting released at 16, not long after suffering a broken leg. “There was a spell from 14 to 16 where I just fell out of love with the game,” he said. “I was at Birmingham from seven, so it became repetitive. I think getting released gave me that bit of fire in my belly to prove people wrong.” From non-League Stratford Town, Grigg joined Walsall then Brentford before Wigan paid £1 million for his services in 2015. Still only 26, he is convinced his best years are ahead. “We’ll be back in the Championship next year if we keep playing well and I thought I was more than capable of playing at that level [last time],” he said. “To say I’m just a League One player is definitely not something I agree with.” For now, though, all the focus is on West Ham. Beat them and Grigg knows who he would fancy in the fifth round – Tottenham and a reunion with Alli. “That would be nice – I owe him a few [nut]megs,” Grigg says. For more information about Joseph’s Goal visit http://www.josephsgoal.org/
Will Grigg: 'The song was fine, but I just wanted to get out onto that pitch'
Will Grigg smiles. He knew the question was coming. The Wigan Athletic striker will be back in the spotlight if he helps the League One leaders overcome West Ham United in the FA Cup fourth round at the DW Stadium on Saturday, fresh from beating another Premier League side, Bournemouth. But for a few weeks during the summer of 2016, he was one of the most talked-about names in European football despite not kicking a ball. The song Will Grigg’s On Fire, the brainchild of Wigan fan Sean Kennedy and gleefully adopted by Northern Ireland supporters, became the defining anthem of Euro 2016 and a top 10 hit in the UK iTunes charts. Northern Ireland’s press office quickly found itself inundated with requests from international media desperate to talk to the country’s fourth-choice striker at the tournament. One German television station even offered to fly Grigg first class to Berlin to become part of their punditry team when Northern Ireland were eliminated after a last-16 defeat by Wales. At first, the attention was welcome but, gradually, the novelty began to wear off and, by the end, manager Michael O’Neill’s patience with endless questions about his player’s flammability had worn thin. Looking back now, Grigg – bright and affable - has mixed emotions about it all. Most importantly, the proceeds from the single, sung to the tune of Gala’s 1996 hit Freed from Desire, have raised thousands of pounds for Joseph’s Goal. The charity was set up by the parents of eight-year-old Joseph Kendrick, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Non-Ketotic Hyperglycinemia (NKH), to raise awareness and funds for research into the condition. Grigg is rightly proud of the cause it continues to serve. But there was also frustration that he had gone into the Euros on the back of the best season of his career, with 28 goals for Wigan, and that those exploits were soon forgotten amid the ensuing circus and his failure to play in the tournament. Grigg is all ears on Northern Ireland duty in 2016 Credit: PA “Yeah, it definitely was a hindrance for the Euros and after that,” he reflected at Wigan’s Euxton training ground on Friday. “Some people enjoyed it and some people saw it as a bit of an annoyance. The main thing I kept saying was the song came about because of my form. That was put on the back burner a bit and all the attention was on the song. “It was great to get my name out there, it was good fun, I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, but at times… “Whether the manager was asked a few too many questions about it – he probably said what he felt about it. I was doing media left, right and centre, which was fine, but I just wanted to get out onto that pitch, which didn’t happen. “That was my most successful year at Wigan on the pitch and to go to the Euros was a massive achievement. It was probably one of the highlights of my career, but also a down-point in my career because the fact I didn’t get on the pitch was devastating, having got 28 goals. If there was ever going to be a time I was going to play, it would have been then. It was really hard to take.” The following season in the Championship with Wigan was tough for different reasons. Although Grigg scored six goals in his first 11 games for Wigan, manager Gary Caldwell was sacked in the October, his replacement Warren Joyce lasted just four months and then the striker suffered a knee injury that ended his campaign prematurely. He is fully fit and firing again now under Paul Cook, though, and West Ham are certain to have their hands full trying to keep Grigg and playmaker Nick Powell quiet. Bournemouth aside, Grigg is no stranger to a cup giant-killing. He was part of the MK Dons side that trounced Manchester United in the League Cup in August 2014, scoring twice in a 4-0 win alongside future Tottenham and England midfielder Dele Alli. Powell was playing for United that day. “I give him a little bit of stick now and again,” Grigg says. “It’s not something he likes to talk about to be honest but it’s good to be on the same side now. Nick creates so many chances for me. The cups have been good for me.” Grigg has 12 goals this season to Powell’s 11 and, if Wigan can claim another upset, it may rekindle hopes of the club emulating their famous Cup triumph at Wembley in 2013. “Having played against a Premier League team already will help us against West Ham,” Grigg said. Born in Solihull, West Midlands, Grigg – who qualified to play for Northern Ireland through his grandfather – attended Birmingham City’s academy before getting released at 16, not long after suffering a broken leg. “There was a spell from 14 to 16 where I just fell out of love with the game,” he said. “I was at Birmingham from seven, so it became repetitive. I think getting released gave me that bit of fire in my belly to prove people wrong.” From non-League Stratford Town, Grigg joined Walsall then Brentford before Wigan paid £1 million for his services in 2015. Still only 26, he is convinced his best years are ahead. “We’ll be back in the Championship next year if we keep playing well and I thought I was more than capable of playing at that level [last time],” he said. “To say I’m just a League One player is definitely not something I agree with.” For now, though, all the focus is on West Ham. Beat them and Grigg knows who he would fancy in the fifth round – Tottenham and a reunion with Alli. “That would be nice – I owe him a few [nut]megs,” Grigg says. For more information about Joseph’s Goal visit http://www.josephsgoal.org/
BELGIUM Fifa ranking 5 World Cup record 1930: Group stage 1934: 1st round 1938: 1st round 1950: Withdrew 1954: Group stage 1958: DNQ 1962: DNQ 1966: DNQ 1970: Group stage 1974: DNQ 1978: DNQ 1982: Second group stage 1986: Semi-final 1990: Second round 1994: Second round 1998: Group stage 2002: Second round 2006: DNQ 2010: DNQ 2014: Quarter-final Head-to-head v England Played 21 Won 1 Drawn 5 Lost 15 How they qualified Spectacularly. Belgium were the first European side to qualify for the World Cup, eventually finishing nine points clear of second-placed Greece. They scored 43 goals in qualifying, the joint-highest tally along with Germany, and only conceded six. A highlight of their recent friendlies was Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku becoming the country’s all-time record goalscorer at the age of just 24. He has 31 goals in 65 appearances for his country. The man England must stop Where to start? Eden Hazard and Lukaku are two of the Premier League’s finest attacking players, while Dries Mertens has been in electric form for high-flying Napoli. The key man, though, is Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, who has been the standout player in English football this season. Kevin De Bruyne (right) and Marouane Fellaini Credit: AFP You might recognise... There will be no shortage of familiar faces considering the spine of this Belgium team play their club football in the Premier League. Chelsea’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is the first choice between the sticks, while it will be impossible to miss Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini. Who's the manager? Roberto Martinez. The former Swansea, Wigan and Everton manager took over in August last year. He replaced Marc Wilmots, who left the job two weeks after Belgium had been stunned by Wales in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016. One of his assistants is former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry. What's their style? Despite all the attacking players at their disposal, the Belgian style of play has been a source of contention. De Bruyne, in particular, was very unhappy with the side’s tactics last month. “As long as we don’t have a good tactical system, we will have difficulties,” he said. “It’s a pity that we have not yet found a solution.” World Cup 2018 draw | All you need to know Historic high point Belgium reached the semi-finals of the 1986 World Cup, where they were undone by a Diego Maradona-inspired Argentina. Maradona scored both goals in Argentina’s 2-0 victory. Historic low point Belgium failed to qualify for both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals. They also did not make it past the group stages of Euro 2000, when they co-hosted the tournament. If they were a Premier League they would be... Tottenham Hotspur. Exciting, talented and fun to watch, but there is a noticeable lack of trophies in the cabinet. TUNISIA Fifa ranking27 World Cup record 1930: Part of France 1934: Part of France 1938: Part of France 1950: Part of France 1954: Part of France 1958: Did not enter 1962: DNQ 1966: Withdrew 1970: DNQ 1974: DNQ 1978: Group stage 1982: DNQ 1986: DNQ 1990: DNQ 1994: DNQ 1998: Group stage 2002: Group stage 2006: Group stage 2010: DNQ 2014: DNQ Head-to-head v England Played 2 Won 0 Drawn 1 Lost 1 How they qualified Tunisia topped African Group A by winning four and drawing two of their six games. Qualification was eventually secured thanks to a 0-0 draw at home to Libya. It has not all been plain sailing, though. Former manager Henry Kasperczak was sacked in April this year after Tunisia were knocked out of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in the quarter-finals, where they lost 2-0 to Burkina Faso. The man England must stop Forward Youssef Msakni, who plays his club football in Qatar, is the primary attacking threat. The 27 year-old scored a crucial hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Guinea in October. England will also need to keep an eye on midfielder Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, who scored one and created two in that victory. Youssef Msakni (right) in action for Tunisia Credit: AP You might recognise... Few Sunderland fans will have fond memories of attacking midfielder Wahbi Khazri, who is currently on loan at Ligue 1 side Rennes. Khazri scored just one goal in 21 Premier League appearances as Sunderland were relegated last season. He has five goals in nine games for Rennes so far this time around, though. Who's the manager? Nabil Maaloul was appointed manager in April this year. It is his second time in charge of the national side, although his first stint, in 2013, ended after just seven months. He made 74 appearances for Tunisia as a player, and has also served as manager of Kuwait. What's their style? Msakni and Khazri are primarily responsible for Tunisia’s attacking threat. Maaloul largely used a typical 4-2-3-1 formation in qualification but is willing to line his team up more conservatively if required and would be expected to do so against England. Tunisia conceded just four goals in six qualifying games, scoring 11. World Cup 2018 stadiums Historic high point Tunisia became the first African team to win a match at the World Cup finals when their very own golden generation defeated Mexico 3-1 at the Rosario stadium in Argentina. Historic low point After becoming World Cup regulars with three consecutive finals appearances, the failure to reach South Africa in 2010 was disappointment. In 2010, they finished bottom of their Africa Cup of Nations group. If they were a Premier League club they would be... Newcastle United. The glory years have long since passed, but there was a revival of sorts in the late 90s and early 00s. On the up once more. PANAMA Fifa ranking 56 World Cup record Have never previously qualified Head-to-head v England Have never played each other How they qualified In dramatic and controversial circumstances. Panama leap-frogged the USA in their qualifying group with a 2-1 victory over Costa Rica in October. Their opening goal, scored by Gabriel Torres, was awarded despite the ball not appearing to cross the line, and then Roman Torres scored a remarkable 87th-minute winner that ensured qualification. The country’s president promptly declared the next day to be a national holiday. The man England must stop Gabriel Gomez is an experienced operator in midfield with more than 130 international appearances to his name. Like many of his team-mates, he is well into his 30s. Another one to watch is forward Blas Perez, who has scored 43 international goals in 113 appearances. Panama midfielder Gabriel Gomez Credit: ICON SPORTSWIRE You might recognise... Frankly, it’s highly unlikely that you will recognise anyone, although the man who has had the most air-time on these shores is captain Roman Torres. It was his late goal that earned qualification, while his distinguished dreadlocks mark him out from the crowd. MLS fans may have seen him playing for Seattle Sounders. Who's the manager? Hernan Dario Gomez, from Colombia, took the reigns in 2014. Nicknamed ‘El Bolillo’ or ‘the Truncheon’, he has twice managed the Colombia national team in the past and has also been in charge of Ecuador. He resigned from the Colombia job in 2011 after striking a woman in a bar. What's their style? Panama are an ageing team who rely on organisation and defensive solidity. They will look to catch teams on the break but, first of all, will try to avoid any humiliating scorelines. England can expect to have plenty of the ball but will need to find a way of cracking the defence. Ticket prices for 2018 World Cup in Russia Historic high point Qualification for Russia is the high point, but they did finish as runners-up in the 2005 and 2013 editions of the Gold Cup. Historic low point Panama were minutes away from securing a play-off place in qualification for the 2014 World Cup, but conceded two goals in stoppage time to lose 3-2 to the USA. If they were a Premier League club they would be... Panama have no Premier League equivalent. They are more like an international version of Walsall.
England's World Cup 2018 Group G opponents guide: How they qualified, style of play and most dangerous players
BELGIUM Fifa ranking 5 World Cup record 1930: Group stage 1934: 1st round 1938: 1st round 1950: Withdrew 1954: Group stage 1958: DNQ 1962: DNQ 1966: DNQ 1970: Group stage 1974: DNQ 1978: DNQ 1982: Second group stage 1986: Semi-final 1990: Second round 1994: Second round 1998: Group stage 2002: Second round 2006: DNQ 2010: DNQ 2014: Quarter-final Head-to-head v England Played 21 Won 1 Drawn 5 Lost 15 How they qualified Spectacularly. Belgium were the first European side to qualify for the World Cup, eventually finishing nine points clear of second-placed Greece. They scored 43 goals in qualifying, the joint-highest tally along with Germany, and only conceded six. A highlight of their recent friendlies was Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku becoming the country’s all-time record goalscorer at the age of just 24. He has 31 goals in 65 appearances for his country. The man England must stop Where to start? Eden Hazard and Lukaku are two of the Premier League’s finest attacking players, while Dries Mertens has been in electric form for high-flying Napoli. The key man, though, is Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, who has been the standout player in English football this season. Kevin De Bruyne (right) and Marouane Fellaini Credit: AFP You might recognise... There will be no shortage of familiar faces considering the spine of this Belgium team play their club football in the Premier League. Chelsea’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is the first choice between the sticks, while it will be impossible to miss Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini. Who's the manager? Roberto Martinez. The former Swansea, Wigan and Everton manager took over in August last year. He replaced Marc Wilmots, who left the job two weeks after Belgium had been stunned by Wales in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016. One of his assistants is former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry. What's their style? Despite all the attacking players at their disposal, the Belgian style of play has been a source of contention. De Bruyne, in particular, was very unhappy with the side’s tactics last month. “As long as we don’t have a good tactical system, we will have difficulties,” he said. “It’s a pity that we have not yet found a solution.” World Cup 2018 draw | All you need to know Historic high point Belgium reached the semi-finals of the 1986 World Cup, where they were undone by a Diego Maradona-inspired Argentina. Maradona scored both goals in Argentina’s 2-0 victory. Historic low point Belgium failed to qualify for both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals. They also did not make it past the group stages of Euro 2000, when they co-hosted the tournament. If they were a Premier League they would be... Tottenham Hotspur. Exciting, talented and fun to watch, but there is a noticeable lack of trophies in the cabinet. TUNISIA Fifa ranking27 World Cup record 1930: Part of France 1934: Part of France 1938: Part of France 1950: Part of France 1954: Part of France 1958: Did not enter 1962: DNQ 1966: Withdrew 1970: DNQ 1974: DNQ 1978: Group stage 1982: DNQ 1986: DNQ 1990: DNQ 1994: DNQ 1998: Group stage 2002: Group stage 2006: Group stage 2010: DNQ 2014: DNQ Head-to-head v England Played 2 Won 0 Drawn 1 Lost 1 How they qualified Tunisia topped African Group A by winning four and drawing two of their six games. Qualification was eventually secured thanks to a 0-0 draw at home to Libya. It has not all been plain sailing, though. Former manager Henry Kasperczak was sacked in April this year after Tunisia were knocked out of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in the quarter-finals, where they lost 2-0 to Burkina Faso. The man England must stop Forward Youssef Msakni, who plays his club football in Qatar, is the primary attacking threat. The 27 year-old scored a crucial hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Guinea in October. England will also need to keep an eye on midfielder Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, who scored one and created two in that victory. Youssef Msakni (right) in action for Tunisia Credit: AP You might recognise... Few Sunderland fans will have fond memories of attacking midfielder Wahbi Khazri, who is currently on loan at Ligue 1 side Rennes. Khazri scored just one goal in 21 Premier League appearances as Sunderland were relegated last season. He has five goals in nine games for Rennes so far this time around, though. Who's the manager? Nabil Maaloul was appointed manager in April this year. It is his second time in charge of the national side, although his first stint, in 2013, ended after just seven months. He made 74 appearances for Tunisia as a player, and has also served as manager of Kuwait. What's their style? Msakni and Khazri are primarily responsible for Tunisia’s attacking threat. Maaloul largely used a typical 4-2-3-1 formation in qualification but is willing to line his team up more conservatively if required and would be expected to do so against England. Tunisia conceded just four goals in six qualifying games, scoring 11. World Cup 2018 stadiums Historic high point Tunisia became the first African team to win a match at the World Cup finals when their very own golden generation defeated Mexico 3-1 at the Rosario stadium in Argentina. Historic low point After becoming World Cup regulars with three consecutive finals appearances, the failure to reach South Africa in 2010 was disappointment. In 2010, they finished bottom of their Africa Cup of Nations group. If they were a Premier League club they would be... Newcastle United. The glory years have long since passed, but there was a revival of sorts in the late 90s and early 00s. On the up once more. PANAMA Fifa ranking 56 World Cup record Have never previously qualified Head-to-head v England Have never played each other How they qualified In dramatic and controversial circumstances. Panama leap-frogged the USA in their qualifying group with a 2-1 victory over Costa Rica in October. Their opening goal, scored by Gabriel Torres, was awarded despite the ball not appearing to cross the line, and then Roman Torres scored a remarkable 87th-minute winner that ensured qualification. The country’s president promptly declared the next day to be a national holiday. The man England must stop Gabriel Gomez is an experienced operator in midfield with more than 130 international appearances to his name. Like many of his team-mates, he is well into his 30s. Another one to watch is forward Blas Perez, who has scored 43 international goals in 113 appearances. Panama midfielder Gabriel Gomez Credit: ICON SPORTSWIRE You might recognise... Frankly, it’s highly unlikely that you will recognise anyone, although the man who has had the most air-time on these shores is captain Roman Torres. It was his late goal that earned qualification, while his distinguished dreadlocks mark him out from the crowd. MLS fans may have seen him playing for Seattle Sounders. Who's the manager? Hernan Dario Gomez, from Colombia, took the reigns in 2014. Nicknamed ‘El Bolillo’ or ‘the Truncheon’, he has twice managed the Colombia national team in the past and has also been in charge of Ecuador. He resigned from the Colombia job in 2011 after striking a woman in a bar. What's their style? Panama are an ageing team who rely on organisation and defensive solidity. They will look to catch teams on the break but, first of all, will try to avoid any humiliating scorelines. England can expect to have plenty of the ball but will need to find a way of cracking the defence. Ticket prices for 2018 World Cup in Russia Historic high point Qualification for Russia is the high point, but they did finish as runners-up in the 2005 and 2013 editions of the Gold Cup. Historic low point Panama were minutes away from securing a play-off place in qualification for the 2014 World Cup, but conceded two goals in stoppage time to lose 3-2 to the USA. If they were a Premier League club they would be... Panama have no Premier League equivalent. They are more like an international version of Walsall.
BELGIUM Fifa ranking 5 World Cup record 1930: Group stage 1934: 1st round 1938: 1st round 1950: Withdrew 1954: Group stage 1958: DNQ 1962: DNQ 1966: DNQ 1970: Group stage 1974: DNQ 1978: DNQ 1982: Second group stage 1986: Semi-final 1990: Second round 1994: Second round 1998: Group stage 2002: Second round 2006: DNQ 2010: DNQ 2014: Quarter-final Head-to-head v England Played 21 Won 1 Drawn 5 Lost 15 How they qualified Spectacularly. Belgium were the first European side to qualify for the World Cup, eventually finishing nine points clear of second-placed Greece. They scored 43 goals in qualifying, the joint-highest tally along with Germany, and only conceded six. A highlight of their recent friendlies was Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku becoming the country’s all-time record goalscorer at the age of just 24. He has 31 goals in 65 appearances for his country. The man England must stop Where to start? Eden Hazard and Lukaku are two of the Premier League’s finest attacking players, while Dries Mertens has been in electric form for high-flying Napoli. The key man, though, is Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, who has been the standout player in English football this season. Kevin De Bruyne (right) and Marouane Fellaini Credit: AFP You might recognise... There will be no shortage of familiar faces considering the spine of this Belgium team play their club football in the Premier League. Chelsea’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is the first choice between the sticks, while it will be impossible to miss Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini. Who's the manager? Roberto Martinez. The former Swansea, Wigan and Everton manager took over in August last year. He replaced Marc Wilmots, who left the job two weeks after Belgium had been stunned by Wales in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016. One of his assistants is former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry. What's their style? Despite all the attacking players at their disposal, the Belgian style of play has been a source of contention. De Bruyne, in particular, was very unhappy with the side’s tactics last month. “As long as we don’t have a good tactical system, we will have difficulties,” he said. “It’s a pity that we have not yet found a solution.” World Cup 2018 draw | All you need to know Historic high point Belgium reached the semi-finals of the 1986 World Cup, where they were undone by a Diego Maradona-inspired Argentina. Maradona scored both goals in Argentina’s 2-0 victory. Historic low point Belgium failed to qualify for both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals. They also did not make it past the group stages of Euro 2000, when they co-hosted the tournament. If they were a Premier League they would be... Tottenham Hotspur. Exciting, talented and fun to watch, but there is a noticeable lack of trophies in the cabinet. TUNISIA Fifa ranking27 World Cup record 1930: Part of France 1934: Part of France 1938: Part of France 1950: Part of France 1954: Part of France 1958: Did not enter 1962: DNQ 1966: Withdrew 1970: DNQ 1974: DNQ 1978: Group stage 1982: DNQ 1986: DNQ 1990: DNQ 1994: DNQ 1998: Group stage 2002: Group stage 2006: Group stage 2010: DNQ 2014: DNQ Head-to-head v England Played 2 Won 0 Drawn 1 Lost 1 How they qualified Tunisia topped African Group A by winning four and drawing two of their six games. Qualification was eventually secured thanks to a 0-0 draw at home to Libya. It has not all been plain sailing, though. Former manager Henry Kasperczak was sacked in April this year after Tunisia were knocked out of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in the quarter-finals, where they lost 2-0 to Burkina Faso. The man England must stop Forward Youssef Msakni, who plays his club football in Qatar, is the primary attacking threat. The 27 year-old scored a crucial hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Guinea in October. England will also need to keep an eye on midfielder Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, who scored one and created two in that victory. Youssef Msakni (right) in action for Tunisia Credit: AP You might recognise... Few Sunderland fans will have fond memories of attacking midfielder Wahbi Khazri, who is currently on loan at Ligue 1 side Rennes. Khazri scored just one goal in 21 Premier League appearances as Sunderland were relegated last season. He has five goals in nine games for Rennes so far this time around, though. Who's the manager? Nabil Maaloul was appointed manager in April this year. It is his second time in charge of the national side, although his first stint, in 2013, ended after just seven months. He made 74 appearances for Tunisia as a player, and has also served as manager of Kuwait. What's their style? Msakni and Khazri are primarily responsible for Tunisia’s attacking threat. Maaloul largely used a typical 4-2-3-1 formation in qualification but is willing to line his team up more conservatively if required and would be expected to do so against England. Tunisia conceded just four goals in six qualifying games, scoring 11. World Cup 2018 stadiums Historic high point Tunisia became the first African team to win a match at the World Cup finals when their very own golden generation defeated Mexico 3-1 at the Rosario stadium in Argentina. Historic low point After becoming World Cup regulars with three consecutive finals appearances, the failure to reach South Africa in 2010 was disappointment. In 2010, they finished bottom of their Africa Cup of Nations group. If they were a Premier League club they would be... Newcastle United. The glory years have long since passed, but there was a revival of sorts in the late 90s and early 00s. On the up once more. PANAMA Fifa ranking 56 World Cup record Have never previously qualified Head-to-head v England Have never played each other How they qualified In dramatic and controversial circumstances. Panama leap-frogged the USA in their qualifying group with a 2-1 victory over Costa Rica in October. Their opening goal, scored by Gabriel Torres, was awarded despite the ball not appearing to cross the line, and then Roman Torres scored a remarkable 87th-minute winner that ensured qualification. The country’s president promptly declared the next day to be a national holiday. The man England must stop Gabriel Gomez is an experienced operator in midfield with more than 130 international appearances to his name. Like many of his team-mates, he is well into his 30s. Another one to watch is forward Blas Perez, who has scored 43 international goals in 113 appearances. Panama midfielder Gabriel Gomez Credit: ICON SPORTSWIRE You might recognise... Frankly, it’s highly unlikely that you will recognise anyone, although the man who has had the most air-time on these shores is captain Roman Torres. It was his late goal that earned qualification, while his distinguished dreadlocks mark him out from the crowd. MLS fans may have seen him playing for Seattle Sounders. Who's the manager? Hernan Dario Gomez, from Colombia, took the reigns in 2014. Nicknamed ‘El Bolillo’ or ‘the Truncheon’, he has twice managed the Colombia national team in the past and has also been in charge of Ecuador. He resigned from the Colombia job in 2011 after striking a woman in a bar. What's their style? Panama are an ageing team who rely on organisation and defensive solidity. They will look to catch teams on the break but, first of all, will try to avoid any humiliating scorelines. England can expect to have plenty of the ball but will need to find a way of cracking the defence. Ticket prices for 2018 World Cup in Russia Historic high point Qualification for Russia is the high point, but they did finish as runners-up in the 2005 and 2013 editions of the Gold Cup. Historic low point Panama were minutes away from securing a play-off place in qualification for the 2014 World Cup, but conceded two goals in stoppage time to lose 3-2 to the USA. If they were a Premier League club they would be... Panama have no Premier League equivalent. They are more like an international version of Walsall.
England's World Cup 2018 Group G opponents guide: How they qualified, style of play and most dangerous players
BELGIUM Fifa ranking 5 World Cup record 1930: Group stage 1934: 1st round 1938: 1st round 1950: Withdrew 1954: Group stage 1958: DNQ 1962: DNQ 1966: DNQ 1970: Group stage 1974: DNQ 1978: DNQ 1982: Second group stage 1986: Semi-final 1990: Second round 1994: Second round 1998: Group stage 2002: Second round 2006: DNQ 2010: DNQ 2014: Quarter-final Head-to-head v England Played 21 Won 1 Drawn 5 Lost 15 How they qualified Spectacularly. Belgium were the first European side to qualify for the World Cup, eventually finishing nine points clear of second-placed Greece. They scored 43 goals in qualifying, the joint-highest tally along with Germany, and only conceded six. A highlight of their recent friendlies was Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku becoming the country’s all-time record goalscorer at the age of just 24. He has 31 goals in 65 appearances for his country. The man England must stop Where to start? Eden Hazard and Lukaku are two of the Premier League’s finest attacking players, while Dries Mertens has been in electric form for high-flying Napoli. The key man, though, is Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, who has been the standout player in English football this season. Kevin De Bruyne (right) and Marouane Fellaini Credit: AFP You might recognise... There will be no shortage of familiar faces considering the spine of this Belgium team play their club football in the Premier League. Chelsea’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is the first choice between the sticks, while it will be impossible to miss Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini. Who's the manager? Roberto Martinez. The former Swansea, Wigan and Everton manager took over in August last year. He replaced Marc Wilmots, who left the job two weeks after Belgium had been stunned by Wales in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016. One of his assistants is former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry. What's their style? Despite all the attacking players at their disposal, the Belgian style of play has been a source of contention. De Bruyne, in particular, was very unhappy with the side’s tactics last month. “As long as we don’t have a good tactical system, we will have difficulties,” he said. “It’s a pity that we have not yet found a solution.” World Cup 2018 draw | All you need to know Historic high point Belgium reached the semi-finals of the 1986 World Cup, where they were undone by a Diego Maradona-inspired Argentina. Maradona scored both goals in Argentina’s 2-0 victory. Historic low point Belgium failed to qualify for both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals. They also did not make it past the group stages of Euro 2000, when they co-hosted the tournament. If they were a Premier League they would be... Tottenham Hotspur. Exciting, talented and fun to watch, but there is a noticeable lack of trophies in the cabinet. TUNISIA Fifa ranking27 World Cup record 1930: Part of France 1934: Part of France 1938: Part of France 1950: Part of France 1954: Part of France 1958: Did not enter 1962: DNQ 1966: Withdrew 1970: DNQ 1974: DNQ 1978: Group stage 1982: DNQ 1986: DNQ 1990: DNQ 1994: DNQ 1998: Group stage 2002: Group stage 2006: Group stage 2010: DNQ 2014: DNQ Head-to-head v England Played 2 Won 0 Drawn 1 Lost 1 How they qualified Tunisia topped African Group A by winning four and drawing two of their six games. Qualification was eventually secured thanks to a 0-0 draw at home to Libya. It has not all been plain sailing, though. Former manager Henry Kasperczak was sacked in April this year after Tunisia were knocked out of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in the quarter-finals, where they lost 2-0 to Burkina Faso. The man England must stop Forward Youssef Msakni, who plays his club football in Qatar, is the primary attacking threat. The 27 year-old scored a crucial hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Guinea in October. England will also need to keep an eye on midfielder Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, who scored one and created two in that victory. Youssef Msakni (right) in action for Tunisia Credit: AP You might recognise... Few Sunderland fans will have fond memories of attacking midfielder Wahbi Khazri, who is currently on loan at Ligue 1 side Rennes. Khazri scored just one goal in 21 Premier League appearances as Sunderland were relegated last season. He has five goals in nine games for Rennes so far this time around, though. Who's the manager? Nabil Maaloul was appointed manager in April this year. It is his second time in charge of the national side, although his first stint, in 2013, ended after just seven months. He made 74 appearances for Tunisia as a player, and has also served as manager of Kuwait. What's their style? Msakni and Khazri are primarily responsible for Tunisia’s attacking threat. Maaloul largely used a typical 4-2-3-1 formation in qualification but is willing to line his team up more conservatively if required and would be expected to do so against England. Tunisia conceded just four goals in six qualifying games, scoring 11. World Cup 2018 stadiums Historic high point Tunisia became the first African team to win a match at the World Cup finals when their very own golden generation defeated Mexico 3-1 at the Rosario stadium in Argentina. Historic low point After becoming World Cup regulars with three consecutive finals appearances, the failure to reach South Africa in 2010 was disappointment. In 2010, they finished bottom of their Africa Cup of Nations group. If they were a Premier League club they would be... Newcastle United. The glory years have long since passed, but there was a revival of sorts in the late 90s and early 00s. On the up once more. PANAMA Fifa ranking 56 World Cup record Have never previously qualified Head-to-head v England Have never played each other How they qualified In dramatic and controversial circumstances. Panama leap-frogged the USA in their qualifying group with a 2-1 victory over Costa Rica in October. Their opening goal, scored by Gabriel Torres, was awarded despite the ball not appearing to cross the line, and then Roman Torres scored a remarkable 87th-minute winner that ensured qualification. The country’s president promptly declared the next day to be a national holiday. The man England must stop Gabriel Gomez is an experienced operator in midfield with more than 130 international appearances to his name. Like many of his team-mates, he is well into his 30s. Another one to watch is forward Blas Perez, who has scored 43 international goals in 113 appearances. Panama midfielder Gabriel Gomez Credit: ICON SPORTSWIRE You might recognise... Frankly, it’s highly unlikely that you will recognise anyone, although the man who has had the most air-time on these shores is captain Roman Torres. It was his late goal that earned qualification, while his distinguished dreadlocks mark him out from the crowd. MLS fans may have seen him playing for Seattle Sounders. Who's the manager? Hernan Dario Gomez, from Colombia, took the reigns in 2014. Nicknamed ‘El Bolillo’ or ‘the Truncheon’, he has twice managed the Colombia national team in the past and has also been in charge of Ecuador. He resigned from the Colombia job in 2011 after striking a woman in a bar. What's their style? Panama are an ageing team who rely on organisation and defensive solidity. They will look to catch teams on the break but, first of all, will try to avoid any humiliating scorelines. England can expect to have plenty of the ball but will need to find a way of cracking the defence. Ticket prices for 2018 World Cup in Russia Historic high point Qualification for Russia is the high point, but they did finish as runners-up in the 2005 and 2013 editions of the Gold Cup. Historic low point Panama were minutes away from securing a play-off place in qualification for the 2014 World Cup, but conceded two goals in stoppage time to lose 3-2 to the USA. If they were a Premier League club they would be... Panama have no Premier League equivalent. They are more like an international version of Walsall.

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