Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has praised Ross Barkley’s impact since his loan move from Chelsea.
Barkley has scored two goals in three appearances for the Midlands outfit and Smith believes the 26-year-old’s performances could see him make Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the Euros next summer.
Speaking ahead of Villa’s clash with Southampton Smith said: “He’s someone I felt we needed.
“I look at the Premier League and you need legs in your midfield area because you’ve got to cover a lot of ground in a game. Ross does that.
“He’s got ambitions to get into the Euro squad at the end of the season. With the quality Chelsea have got, they couldn’t guarantee anyone minutes.
“His work ethic and attitude has been tremendous. He brings us that added bit of quality that we needed.”
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Bosnich has faulted Jorginho’s method of taking penalties, saying he would have ‘fancied himself’ to save one of the midfieder’s spot kicks.
The Italian’s technique has come under fire after a couple of recent misses.
And speaking to i, the Aussie said: “That jump, we’ve seen it with Jorginho and Fernandes, can limit your options as a penalty taker especially if the goalkeeper doesn’t move.
“With the jump, I would have fancied myself because I’d have thought whether he jumps or not, I’m just going to wait till that final moment. Once he jumps it’s hard when he lands to do any type of adjustment.
“You’ll find that if the goalkeeper doesn’t move, it limits the taker’s options where he’s going to hit it.”
Reports in Spain claim that Real Madrid stars Karim Benzema and Vinius Junior have come together to settle their differences after a spat in Tuesday night’s Champions League draw at Borussia Monchengladbach.
Benzema was filmed at half time by Telefoot – in a report carried by Marca – telling Madrid left-back Ferland Mendy not to pass the ball to the Brazilian forward, so bad was his way of playing.
Benzema told Mendy: “He (Vinicius) does what he wants. Brother, don’t play with him…oh my God. He is playing against us.”
Marca then reported how Gol TV have captured more of the conversation between Benzema and Mendy before the second half, in which the striker added: “He (Vinicius) does not do anything meaningful.”
Mendy is then quoted as saying in response: “When he becomes scared, he loses what makes him great.”
Madrid fought back from two goals down in the 87th minute to draw 2-2.
And, now, according to Marca as cited by Football Espana, the two attacking partners held talks at the club’s training facilities in the days that followed to discuss the situation and both are now said to have made up, with the understanding that things were said in anger and in the heat of the game.
Benzema is said to have approached Vinicius and explained why he said what he did and offered a full apology and claimed that he saw no bad feelings between them going forward, which the Brazilian accepted.
It is maintained that the two share a strong and healthy working relationship and indeed, both are friendly away from games.
Frank Lampard insists he never doubted Christian Pulisic after Red Bull Salzburg boss Jesse Marsch claimed the Chelsea head coach did not rate the American because of his nationality.
Chelsea completed a £57.6m deal to sign Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund in January 2019 while Maurizio Sarri was in charge of the club, but the USA international did not move to Stamford Bridge until the summer of that year when Lampard had replaced Sarri.
Earlier this month, Marsch claimed Lampard doubted Pulisic’s ability to make an instant impact at Chelsea because he was American.
However, Lampard believes Marsch recalled a conversation between the pair last year incorrectly and praised Pulisic for enjoying a “breakthrough” season at the club, report SkySport.
“I did read the comments and I was surprised that he had managed to read my mind as well as he thought he did,” Chelsea boss Lampard said in a press conference on Thursday.
“He has recounted the conversation wrong and I have to put it correct. It was a game against Salzburg in pre-season and Christian scored two goals. Jesse came up to me and we spoke about Christian. He said he was a talented player and I agreed with him and we spoke about how exciting his development will be.
“That was the conversation. Jesse managed to put it across slightly differently. I played in America for 18 months and I would never underestimate the desire that American players have to learn and to improve. Christian has that desire and talent also so it was never in doubt for me.
“I understand the rigours of the Premier League. It’s clearly the toughest league in the world and it’s not just Christian who would have felt that, but some of the greatest players in history have.
“What Christian did was find his feet very quickly and have a breakthrough season with lots of goals and assists. His performances were massively impressive and he will get better and better. I never doubted that.
“I’m not jumping on Jesse but as a manager I never doubted Christian and it’s important for me to put that straight.”
Ryan Giggs has revealed how Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t play him for five games so he could be ready to cause Chelsea’s star Michael Ballack ‘nightmares’
The Manchester United manager told his winger to ‘forget’ about the matches in between and to prepare himself to face the German midfielder in three weeks time.
Ferguson wanted Giggs to play in the centre of midfield because he believed he could cause Ballack problems with his speed.
The Welshman said he had been in and out of the team prior to the game but that Ferguson often called upon players he trusted to perform certain roles in big games, report the Mail.
“The majority of the time he could trust us to play a role, I played midfield at Old Trafford against Chelsea.” Giggs told The Greatest Game podcast with Jamie Carragher.
“He pulled me like three weeks before the game. He said, ‘We’re playing Chelsea, I want you to play in midfield against Michael Ballack. He doesn’t like players running at him, you’ll give him nightmares.’
“Three weeks away, there’s like five games in between. I said, ‘What about the other games in between?’
“He says: ‘Forget about them. Just get yourself ready for Chelsea’. It was that sort of thing. Okay, you’d be subbed, be in and out of the team but get yourself right for that.”