Howe makes Wilson view clear

Bournemouth head coach Eddie Howe says he would not sell star striker Callum Wilson at 'any price', with Chelsea having been linked with the England international.

Wilson has scored nine goals in the Premier League so far this season, with his excellent form seeing him breaking into the international set-up – marking his England debut with a goal in the 3-0 win over the United States in November.

His displays for the Cherries have sparked interest in his services from top-flight rivals Chelsea, but Howe says, for his part, he has no desire at all to allow Wilson to move on just yet.

Howe told reporters: "It's just my opinion, but I wouldn't sell at any price. But I'm the manager of the team, trying to create the best team I can.

"We desperately want to take the team forward and, to do that, we have to keep our best players.

"He's a very important member of the team. He has unique attributes which really complement what we do and we value him very highly.

"I've been told about the speculation – it's not something which I seek to read. It's business as normal, Callum has been bright and bubbly this week, so there are no problems there."

Bournemouth and Wilson are back in action on Sunday, when they head to Goodison Park to take on Everton, having lost all three of their previous Premier League visits to the Toffees.

The Cherries are 29/10 to gain a draw on Sunday, with Wilson 15/8 to score at any time in the game, while David Brooks can be backed at 15/4.

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Poch tells Rose to lighten up

Tottenham Hotspur's England left-back Danny Rose has been urged to take a slightly more relaxed approach to his game by head coach Mauricio Pochettino.

Pochettino has helped Rose reignite his career with the Lilywhites, with the defender having been heavily linked with a move away from the club during several different transfer windows.

However, Pochettino would like to see the 28-year-old lighten up a little while he is training preparing for games with the rest of the Spurs squad.

The Argentinian told The Telegraph: "There is no doubt about Danny Rose's quality, there is no doubt. He is a great player.

"But, like with all the players of great quality, you need to be focused in your job. If you are focused and you train and care about yourself – don't think too much. Danny is a thinker.

"I always say to him 'Danny you are thinking too much. You need to stop and work. You need to deliver the job that we want, don't think'.

"He spends too much energy thinking about everything…and he doesn't have the energy to do what he is supposed to do. That is a very dangerous situation."

Rose and Tottenham head to Goodison Park to take on Everton on Sunday, with Spurs striker Harry Kane having scored twice in each of the last three meeting so of the two teams.

The England captain is 15/4 to score two or more goals on Sunday, with the visitors 13/10 to win the game and 12/5 to keep a clean sheet.

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Sarri convinced by Loftus-Cheek

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri has backed midfielder Ruben Loftis-Cheek to become a very important player for the Blues in the future.

The 22-year-old England international was heavily linked with a possible January loan move away from Stamford Bridge earlier this season, but has become a first-team regular in recent weeks.

Loftus-Cheek has clearly impressed Sarri with how much he has improved as the season has progressed, with the Italian backing his charge to become even more important to his team in the coming months and years.

He told reporters: "Ruben is a very good player and, potentially, he's a great player.

"He has played seven matches out of seven in the last month, so I'm really very happy with him. He's improving a lot from the tactical point of view.

"In future he will be a midfielder, but sometimes we need to use him as a winger, especially in the last part of matches with his physical impact.

"So he's a very important player for us. In the future, he will be more than important."

Loftus-Cheek spent last season out on loan at Crystal Palace, with his performances for the Eagles propelling him into the England squad for the World Cup finals in Russia last summer.

Meanwhile, Chelsea can be backed at 4/1 to win the Europa League this season, with Arsenal priced at 6/1 and Sarri's former club, Napoli, 7/1.

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Dier to sit out festive programme

Tottenham Hotspur will have to do without utility man Eric Dier for the whole of the festive period after he underwent appendix surgery.

The 24-year-old England international was absent as Spurs defeated Burnley 1-0 at Wembley on Saturday, with the Premier League club confirming that Dier has had to undergo an operation, meaning he will be out of action for several weeks.

An official club statement confirmed: "Eric Dier undergone surgery to remove his appendix.

"The England international was diagnosed with appendicitis after contacting our medical staff due to acute abdominal pain. He received immediate treatment to assess and then remove the appendix.

"He will now undergo a period of recovery before commencing rehabilitation and it is expected he will return to training with the squad in January."

Dier joined Spurs in the summer of 2014, having started his professional career in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon and he has since made almost 200 appearances for the Londoners in all competitions.

He has also won 38 caps for England and was a member of the Three Lions squad who reached the World Cup semi-finals in Russia earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Spurs return to action on Wednesday evening when they face North London rivals Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the League Cup.

Tottenham can be backed at 9/1 to win 2-1 in 90 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Spurs 6/1 to go all the way and lift the League Cup for the fifth time in their history.

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Klopp talks up Gomez potential

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has no doubt that there is plenty more to come from defender Joe Gomez, who has signed a new contract extension with the Reds.

The versatile 21-year-old England international was already under contract until the summer of 2022, but has now added a further two years to that deal, although he is currently sidelined by a leg injury.

However, Klopp is convinced that Gomez will come back strongly and be able to become an even more important member of the Anfield squad than he already is.

The German told his club's official website: "Joe's development and progression has been outstanding in the past couple of seasons and I only see his trajectory heading in an upward direction.

"He is so keen to learn and so keen to improve that I think his potential has no limit. Already this season we have seen him mature on the pitch and the credit for that goes 100 per cent to Joe himself for the attitude he has.

"His versatility is something that makes him even more valuable. He can play centre-half in almost any system you can think of, plus both full-back positions.

"It is no exaggeration to say he is one of England's best defenders already, but when you keep in mind he is still very young the room for further improvement and development is just so exciting."

Gomez moved to Anfield in the summer of 2015, having come through the youth ranks at Charlton Athletic. He has made 59 appearances to date for Liverpool, as well as winning six England caps, having made his international debut in November 2017 against Germany.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are 5/2 to win the Premier League title this season and 6/1 to lift the FA Cup.

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Southgate ready for Dutch date

England head coach Gareth Southgate is looking forward to the challenge of his side facing the Netherlands in the semi-finals of the inaugural UEFA Nations League.

The Three Lions will take on the Oranje in Guimaraes on Thursday 6th June, with the first semi-final pitting hosts Portugal against Switzerland in Porto a day earlier.

And Southgate, who led his team to the World Cup semi-finals earlier this year, is relishing the opportunity of trying to go at least one better next summer.

He told reporters: "All four teams are very evenly matched. Everyone will feel they have got a good chance.

"I've watched Holland closely since Ronald Koeman took over. They are similar to us in that they've got a lot of exciting young players coming through.

"I think it will be a game of good technical ability, good energy and pace and a game that both sets of supporters can really look forward to.

"It is a really good test for us and we are looking forward to it."

England finished top of the Nations League group ahead of Spain and Croatia, while the Dutch impressed in topping a pool which also included the last two winners of the World Cup – France and Germany.

Portugal booked their place by seeing off Italy and Poland, while the Swiss qualified for the final stages by claiming a 5-2 win over Belgium to edge through on goal difference.

Switzerland are 6/1 to win the Nations League, with England priced at 7/4, Portugal available at 2/1 and the Netherlands 3/1.

England and Holland last met in a competitive fixture during Euro96, when the Three Lions won 4-1 at Wembley thanks to two goals apiece from Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham.

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England handed favourable draw

England have a great chance of qualifying for Euro 2020 after being drawn in a winnable group but Northern Ireland must face Germany and the Netherlands.

Gareth Southgate's side, who reached the semi-finals at World Cup 2018 before beating Spain and Croatia in the Nations Cup, are in Group A alongside the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo.

However, Northern Ireland have a very difficult task as they are in Group C with the Dutch and Germany, as well as Estonia and Belarus.

Germany failed to progress from their group in Russia in the summer before being relegated from the top tier of the Nations League.

However, Joachim Low's side remain an excellent team while Ronald Koeman has galvanised the Netherlands after they failed to qualify for World Cup 2018.

The Republic of Ireland, who parted company with Martin O'Neill last month and appointed Mick McCarthy for a second spell in charge, have been placed in Group D along with Switzerland, Denmark, Georgia and Gibraltar.

Scotland are in the same group as World Cup 2018 semi-finalists Belgium, Russia, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino, while Wales will meet Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan.

World Cup 2018 winners France have been handed a reasonable draw with Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova and Andorra in their group.

France are 4/1 to win Euro 2020, while England can be backed at 7/1, Spain at 9/2 and Euro 2016 winners Portugal at 10/1.

Group A: England, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Kosovo.
Group B: Portugal, Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania, Luxembourg.
Group C: Netherlands, Germany, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Belarus.
Group D: Switzerland, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Georgia, Gibraltar.
Group E: Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, Hungary, Azerbaijan.
Group F: Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands, Malta.
Group G: Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia, Macedonia, Latvia.
Group H: France, Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova, Andorra.
Group I: Belgium, Russia, Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, San Marino.
Group J: Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Finland, Greece, Armenia, Liechtenstein.

Campbell handed Macclesfield post

Former England international defender Sol Campbell has been confirmed as the new manager of League Two strugglers Macclesfield Town.

The 44-year-old started his playing career with Tottenham and made 315 appearances with the club before causing a stir when he moved to north London rivals Arsenal in summer 2001.

Campbell won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups with the Gunners, while he also helped Portsmouth win the FA Cup in 2008.

Having finished his career with 646 appearances and 73 caps for England, Campbell will finally get his chance to start his managerial career with Macclesfield.

The Silkmen have won only two matches of their 19 League Two matches this season and sit five points adrift at the foot of the table so Campbell has his work cut out to prevent the club dropping back into the National League after one season.

Macclesfield, who are 1/4 to be relegated, have confirmed that Campbell has been handed an 18-month contract at Moss Rose and he will hold a press conference on Thursday.

The club's website read: "Macclesfield Town are delighted to announce that former Arsenal and England defender Sol Campbell is to become our new First Team Manager, after agreeing an 18-month deal with the club."

His first game in charge will be the League Two trip to Colchester United on 8th December.

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UEFA Nations League: England Triumph in Winner takes-it-all Showdown

England vs Croatia

Who said the UEFA Nations League would produce little more drama than glorified friendlies?

Well I certainly wasn’t convinced but if there’s many more matches like this I may have to rethink my stance.

This was one of the UEFA Nations League 2018 highlights so far on an absorbing afternoon at Wembley in which the home side showed conviction and character in abundance.

Highlights of the game

UEFA Nations League 2018 highlights: Harry Kane's finish made England celebrate victory vs Croatia

Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane celebrates their goals against Croatia

Before kick-off I heard a BBC football correspondent say he could not recall going to a football match where both teams could win to reach a semi-final and where both could be relegated.

It was that unique us fans!

It was also far from a full house but much more drama like this and England will have no such worries in the future.

In an opening half they dominated against visitors missing the influential Ivan Rakitic, goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic was kept busy, first keeping out Raheem Sterling then England captain Harry Kane who also saw an effort cleared off the line by Tin Jedvaj.

The impressive full-back Ben Chiwell was next to test Kalinic with a swerving drive midway through the first half as England were on top both possession wise and in terms of chances created.

With Ante Rebic, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic – who all impressed in the World Cup – on the pitch, Croatia were always going to have their moments.

Despite Rebic failing to emerge for the second half, replaced by Josip Brekalo for his second cap, Croatia were starting to threaten.

Perisic saw a shot saved after Modric, Andrej Kramaric and Perisic teamed up before Kramaric was celebrating moments later as he rounded off a swift counter-attack by cutting back inside and shooting past Jordan Pickford via a deflection off Eric Dier.

The goal against the run of play lifted Croatia who were suddenly in pole position to top the group, three days after a dramatic last-gasp victory over Spain.

Perisic shot wide from a tight angle and saw an effort blocked, as did Nikola Vlasic.

Yet, for what this young England side may lack in guile, they have an abundance of spirit and that was evident in the final 12 minutes.

A long throw-in from young Liverpool defender Joe Gomez was allowed to bounce and reached the danger zone, Kane poked the ball towards goal and there was substitute Jesse Lingard – who had only been on the pitch five minutes – to apply the decisive touch.

At that stage England were still due to finish bottom of the group without another goal and Lingard played another key role moments later and ensured they stayed level by clearing Domagoj Vida’s header off the line.

Then, with Wembley anticipating, Chilwell delivered a free-kick and the alert Kane poked the ball into the net for his 20th international goal.

The one goal had changed everything!

Kane and his players were huddling in celebration a short time later and England had defied the UEFA Nations League 2018 odds.

There’s no doubt in their meetings this year, Croatia have victory in the one that mattered most but as a modicum of revenge, this was sweet for the Three Lions.

Key statistics

This was Kane’s first goal for England in eight games (747 minutes) since netting v Colombia at this summer’s World Cup.

Before this, Croatia had not lost to England since September 2009.

England have won four of their last five matches (drawn one), having won just one of their previous six (drawn one, lost four).

England have won 15 of their last 16 competitive matches at Wembley.

This was England’s 17th game in 2018 – their joint-most matches in a calendar year, also playing 17 times in 1966, the year they were crowned world champions.

By topping their group, England have secured a play-off place for Euro 2020, a safety net should they not progress through the traditional qualifying route.

England’s 2-1 success was the first ever time in 601 competitive matches they have won a game after trailing with 15 minutes remaining.

This was the first time England had come from behind to win in the last 20 minutes of a competitive match since defeating Cameroon 3-2 after extra-time in the World Cup quarter-finals at Italia 90.

There were only 66 hours between Croatia beating Spain and then playing this one.

Top of Form

What’s next?

That’s it now for both nations who can reflect on 2018 with varying degrees of success but success nevertheless.

The draw for the semi-finals of this competition, to be staged in Portugal next June, will be made on December 3.

 

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Southgate pride at making finals

England boss Gareth Southgate said he was proud of his players after they beat Croatia to reach the Nations League finals next summer.

England, despite dominating at Wembley, were a goal down and minutes away from relegation to the second tier of the competition.

However, two goals in the last 12 minutes sent England through to the finals in Portugal next summer and relegated Croatia with Spain finishing second in the group.

Croatia, who beat England in Russia in the World Cup 2018 semi-final, were on course to inflict another blow, scoring against the run of play through Andrej Kramaric.

That goal, deflected off Eric Dier, looked set to qualify Croatia and relegate England but two late goals sealed a deserved victory for Southgate's team.

Skipper Harry Kane was involved in both goals. He set up the equaliser on 78 minutes, his shot being blocked on the line but Jesse Lingard, on as a substitute, was there to force the ball home.

That made the score 1-1, a scoreline which would still have relegated England but they got the winner with just five minutes remaining.

The home side were awarded a free kick wide out on the left side but Ben Chilwell sent in an excellent free kick and Kane reached it first to divert the ball home and secure the vital win.

It was a result and performance that builds on the encouraging World Cup 2018 and confirms the progress being made by Southgate and his young team.

The England boss spoke afterwards of his pride, but poked fun at the way the two goals came.

He told Sky Sports: "I'm very proud first and foremost. I thought we dictated a lot of the game and had good chances in the first half.

"Then we let quite a soft goal in and it's a real test of resilience and patience. We rode our luck with their counter-attacks with one cleared off the line.

"For all the great play, we scored from a long throw-in and set-piece. Maybe we're not a new England and we're the England we've always been!"

England are 5/2 to win the Nations League next summer with hosts Portugal 10/3.

England are 8/1 to win Euro 2020 while France are 7/2.

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