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first_img Press Association Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier is hoping to complete the perfect week by adding victory in the north London derby to his first England call-up. The crunch visit to Arsenal on Sunday is Spurs’ third game in six days, after Mauricio Pochettino’s side recorded victories over Aston Villa on Monday and then Anderlecht on Thursday in the Europa League. The Villa win stretched Tottenham’s unbeaten run in the league to 10 matches while Arsenal’s domestic form has also been strong, with the Gunners winning five on the spin and scoring 16 goals in the process. “That makes it easier and I know some of the lads there from younger age groups so I’m looking forward to it. “I couldn’t have imagined it to be honest. If you had told me this would happen when I was sitting on holiday I wouldn’t have believed you.” Dier has been a key part in Tottenham tightening up their defence this season, with Pochettino’s men conceding seven fewer goals than at the same stage last year. “The defence has played a lot of games (together) from the beginning of the season,” Pochettino said. “The collective effort is important to help them – the keeper, the fullbacks, the midfielders. “I think this season the balance is nearly perfect, but always we need to improve.” “It’s got everything – we’re in great form, they’re in great form,” Dier told Tottenham’s official website. “Apart from their result against Bayern Munich they’ve been doing very well so they’re a great team but we’ve been doing extremely well too. “We like to play a very intense style of football and they like to attack. It’ll be a good game to watch and hopefully we can be the ones enjoying it at the end.” Dier was named in Roy Hodgson’s squad on Thursday for upcoming friendlies against France and Spain as reward for an excellent start to the campaign in which the 21-year-old has shone in his new position of centre midfield. Used primarily at right-back and centre-half last season, Dier has quickly adjusted to his new role next to Dele Alli, who was also picked for England along with Spurs team-mates Kyle Walker and Harry Kane. “I’m really thankful to the manager for trusting me and believing in me in that position,” Dier said. “Getting the England call-up was a very proud moment for me and my family. It’s something you always dream of as a kid. “Hopefully I can go there, enjoy myself and do well. It’s always nice when you go with other boys from your club. last_img read more

first_imgSuper Eagles manager Gernot Rohr was among the 30,150 spectators that witnessed the Bundesliga clash between Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich at the PreZero Arena sometime in February. His mission was to persuade German-born Nigerian teenage sensation, Joshua Zirkzee, to look at the direction of Nigeria as against the Netherlands-the country of his birth. With the Bayern Munich striker’s recent revelation that his dream is to play for the Netherlands, Nigeria may have been dealt a deadly blowWhen Bayern Munich teenage sensation Joshua Zirkzee went the distance on his full German Bundesliga debut, Rohr was definitely impressed by what he saw of Nigerian eligible, most especially when Bayern Munich number 35 scored just 15 minutes into his debut.Although he was born in a European country, the teenage sensation is eligible to turn out for the Super Eagles on the international scene, but Nigeria has been dealt a blow in their chase for Zirkzee with the Bayern Munich striker revealing his dream to play for the Netherlands. Zirkzee born to Nigeria parents in the Netherlands attracted interest from the three-time African champions after finding his way into Bayern Munich’s first-team this season.Despite playing for the Dutch youth teams, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Super Eagles coach have reportedly approached the Bayern Munich forward over his international future.Following the postponement of the European Championship to 2021, Zirkzee now fancies his chances of playing for the Dutch national team.When asked about playing for the Netherlands in the competition, he told VTBL; “No, I’m not really working on that yet. I’m not a regular based player here, so I don’t think I should think about it then, but I have also seen how fast things can go, so of course, it is very secretly in the back of your mind.“Oranje is a dream and as a young footballer I think it makes sense to dream about it.”The 18-year-old made his Bayern Munich debut in a Champions League match against Tottenham back in December, and he has scored three goals in five Bundesliga outings since then.He is hoping to cap his maiden campaign in the first-team with silverware.“Certainly, that is the first step,” he added.“But we also really want to win the Champions League, the whole club longs for that. Even though we first have to see how it will all end. We all hope that we can go again soon, to start.”Zirkzee, scorer of three goals in four Bundesliga games this season, led the Bavarians’ attack in the absence of the club’s leading scorer Robert Lewandowski.Giving reasons for selecting 18-year-old Zirkzee ahead of Lewandowski against Hoffenheim, Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick said: “Things worked really well in the Chelsea game, (in the Champions League) so I wanted to change things as little as possible in the team,” Flick was quoted as saying.“By doing that, the understanding between the players and automations are still there. Joshua’s trained well, and he’s showed in training that he’s got good quality and is a good finisher.“He can hold the ball up well and has the physicality to do so, which is important when things are tight up top. So that was our thinking, to make a like-for-like replacement for Lewandowski. It was good.”Meanwhile, Netherlands legend Willem van Hanegem is convinced that the Bayern Munich super kid deserves to be promoted to the Dutch senior squad and has urged Dutch coach Ronald Koeman to invite the striker for the upcoming international friendlies against United States and Spain.“I hope that Ronald Koeman will really summon that boy for the upcoming international matches against the United States and Spain, (which was called off as result of Coronavirus pandemic)”“I saw at Bayern how Thomas Müller gets to work with him. He plays with Zirkzee, makes him really grow. Zirkzee is only 18, but already deserves a chance at the Oranje. I think it will be soon with him.”The 18-year-old Zirkzee became provisionally cap-tied to the Netherlands when he made an appearance off the bench in a European U-17 Championship qualifier against Hungary in October 2017, and has also been capped at U-15, U-16, U-18 and U-19 levels.Without Lewandowski, there were concerns that Bayern Munich would struggle without their main source of goals, but they had no reason to worry. Academy player Zirkzee looked right at home.Just 120 seconds in and the teenager’s instinctive touch set Bayern on their way to their first goal. Five minutes later, his blocked shot led to Bayern’s second. It wasn’t long after that the teenager making his starting Bundesliga debut scored one of his own. Like much of his so far young career at Bayern, Zirkzee didn’t need any time at all to make his impact.Bayern needed just a quarter of an hour to silence any concerns. Flick’s side were as ruthless as they have been all season, pressing and pushing for more in a manner that Bayern haven’t really done since the Pep Guardiola years. This was a demonstration of power, a reminder of who the real sheriff in Bundesliga town is, and a young Dutchman was at the heart of it.At 1.93m, Zirkzee is a bigger figure than Lewandowski. He used that strength to hold off Sebastian Rudy before turning the former Bayern and Germany midfielder around. Keeping his composure, the 18-year-old simply waited for the space to open up in the box. When it did, he didn’t hesitate to use his weaker foot to apply the necessary finish.Bayern’s hosts played their part, but Bayern also did more than accept the invitation. They took the vibe to another level. Philippe Coutinho went from looking down and out to scoring two goals, while Thiago continued to conduct proceedings with his usual mastery. Bayern were so relentless that they scored one minute after the restart and even at the arrival of the hour mark, they looked desperate for more.The Dutchman never forced the issue because he didn’t need to. He was in rhythm with Bayern’s beat. His touch and feel for the ball looked like those of a more experienced player. Zirkzee ran, he passed, he slipped in and out of the channels, he even delivered a crunching tackle on the edge of the box he was attacking. He was everywhere.After scoring the winner against Freiburg with his first touch off the bench on his debut in December, Zirkzee needed just three minutes to break the deadlock against Wolfsburg three days later. In Sinsheim, the teenager needed a quarter of an hour to prove that he is at home at this level.Just a day after Bayern Munich celebrated their 120th birthday, the real gift for Bayern wasn’t another rousing performance but the long-awaited unleashing of an academy talent in a position they so desperately need depth in.Meanwhile, Bayern Munich have commenced training in small groups with the club following the German government’s guidance on Coronavirus precautions.Zirkzee is in a group of four with Alphonso Davies, David Alaba and Robert Lewandowski, and he reveals how Hans-Dieter Flick’s side makes the most of their time at Sabener Strasse.“We train in separate groups of four, maximum five people. Group 1 must be at the club by 10 am and start when group two has to change. We are now also using the changing rooms of the second team, so actually you always change alone,” he said.“Every day, we actually follow a course in which everything is included. Technique, condition, finishing, everything is discussed.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

first_imgLiverpool forwards Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino will miss Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg with Barcelona through injury.Salah left the pitch on a stretcher after an aerial collision with Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka during Saturday’s 3-2 win.Manager Jurgen Klopp says concussion will keep Salah out, as Liverpool look to overhaul a 3-0 deficit at Anfield.Firmino missed the win over Newcastle with a muscle injury.“Two of the world’s best strikers are not available tomorrow night and we have to score four goals,” said Klopp.“It doesn’t make life easier but we will try for 90 minutes to celebrate the Champions League campaign to give it a proper finish.“That’s the plan. If we can do it, wonderful. If we can’t do it, let’s fail in the most beautiful way.”Salah appeared to be in tears when he was carried from the pitch at St James’ Park but Klopp says the Egypt international now feels “OK”.“It’s not good enough from a medical point of view,” Klopp added. “He is desperate to play but we cannot do it.“It’s a concussion. That means he would not even be allowed to play.”Klopp is confident Salah will be able to play in Liverpool’s final Premier League game of the season against Wolves at Anfield on Sunday, where the Reds could win the title for the first time since 1990.Firmino was introduced as a substitute on 79 minutes in the away leg at Barcelona, shortly after Lionel Messi had extended the advantage to 2-0.The Brazilian – who was left out of the win over Huddersfield prior to the Barca trip – then did not feature against Newcastle.Firmino has 16 goals for the Reds this season, with Salah contributing 26.Klopp also lost midfielder Naby Keita to injury against Newcastle, the club’s fourth game in 14 days.“We have to make a lot of decisions. Tomorrow night is the third game in six days,” Klopp added.“Barcelona changed 11 positions at the weekend. We will see what the outcome is.”–Source: BBClast_img read more

first_imgThe Bosnian tennis player Aldin Šetkić confirmed once again that he is the absolute “king of the Futures” by winning the ITF Tournament in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt.Šetkić defeated in the finals of tournament worth 10 000 Dollars Allesandro Bega from Italy with 6-1, 6-4.Just as the week before, this tennis player from Sarajevo easily won the match.Next week Šetkić will play in Egypt too. When all points will be added, from the week before and this one, Šetkić will hold around 211. place at the list.(Source: Oslobođenje)last_img read more