At a World Cup won in stunning fashion by the dynamic and young German team, it was another German who made many of the headlines throughout the tournament. USA manager Jurgen Klinsmann guided his side to an impressive yet somewhat disappointing exit at the Round of 16 stage of the tournament. Not much was expected of the Americans, having been drawn in Group G alongside Germany, Portugal and Ghana. With a squad made up of numerous MLS players, the USA side played some electric and free flowing football at times – something which Ghana succumbed to and Portugal could only manage a last gasp draw against. Major League Soccer, seen by many as a retirement home for previously world class players throughout Europe, has shown on the biggest stage that it deserves more respect throughout the footballing world. As a result, we have selected 5 MLS players who could be a hit in the Premier League.
Potential Destinations: Everton, Southampton, Newcastle
Although USA’s star Midfielder Michael Bradley didn’t have as stand out a World Cup as was expected of him, he made many new fans during the tournament. Bradley’s tireless running and pinpoint passing was key in the USA’s counter attacking style that brought such success against the likes of Ghana and Portugal in the group stage of the tournament. Eyebrows were raised when Bradley left Serie A high flyers Roma for Toronto FC in January 2014. Michael’s father and former USA manager Bob Bradley later revealed that a deal was on the table for his son to join Arsenal, but the London based team instead decided to take Kim Kallstrom due to what Bradley Sr thought was based on his nationality. Bradley’s best game of the World Cup came in what turned out USA’s final game against Belgium where he almost guided a spectacular extra time comeback. Sadly we did not see the best of him in Brazil, but I believe that Bradley is too talented to be playing in MLS at this stage of his career.
Potential Destinations: Liverpool, Spurs, West Ham
The United States may not have won the World Cup, but 21 Year Old Right Back DeAndre Yedlin must feel like he did. Eyebrows were raised initially upon Yedlin’s inclusion in the 23 man squad, but he impressed immensely in the three substitute appearances he made in Brazil. Despite defeat, Yedlin’s incredible stamina coupled with his blistering pace caused Belgium a world of problems in the Round of 16 match. Since that game, rumours of interest from the likes of Roma, Liverpool and Bayern Munich have flooded in. While it may be a risk moving to Europe with such little experience under his belt, many teams would happily pay the £3m fee that Seattle Sounders are rumoured to be waiting for.
Potential Destinations: QPR, Sunderland, West Brom
Many believed that Jermain Defoe was making a mistake moving to MLS at only 31. The well travelled Striker has scored a total of 125 Premier League goals between West Ham, Spurs and Portsmouth, and looked in line to make Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad before making the move. 6 Goal in 7 games has displayed that Defoe still has the clinical instincts of the top striker he was in England. While Defoe may not want to give up the new relaxed lifestyle of Toronto, Premier League teams could do much worse than to take Defoe back.
Potential Destinations: Southampton, Crystal Palace
USA Captain and leader Clint Dempsey certainly led by example in Brazil. Dempsey scored the fifth fastest goal in World Cup history only 30 seconds into USA’s Group G opener against Ghana, and in turn became the first American player to score in three consecutive World Cups. Despite his versatility being utilised in the past, Jurgen Klinsmann has played Dempsey consistently in the lone Striker role, and has been rewarded by his superb hold up play and of course sharp finishing. Dempsey was right at the heart of the special campaign for the US side, and would still make a good signing for a Premier League side I believe.
Potential Destinations: Stoke City, West Brom, Burnley
Two weeks before the final 23 was announced by US manager Jurgen Klinsmann, Omar Gonzalez feared that he may miss the whole tournament with a knee injury suffered in an MLS game against Colorado Rapids. However, despite missing the first game against Ghana, Gonzalez was ready to come off the bench against Portugal in game two to make his World Cup debut. The giant Texan’s impressive showings week in week out for La Galaxy lead to speculation that he was set to move to Mexican giants Club America, and further performances against Germany and Belgium have stretched interest as far as the Premier League reportedly. 25 would be a good age to make the jump to Europe, and a move to Stoke could see him link up with International teammates Brek Shea, Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu
Jack Wilshere’s injury shows why Arsenal shouldn’t renew his contract
The 26-year-old has been struck down by yet another injury.
Jack Wilshere will be pleased with the progress that he has made since returning to Arsenal from his loan spell at Bournemouth.
He was initially nothing more than a squad player that was out in the cold at international level too, but the midfielder worked hard to gain more game-time in North London.
Across all competitions, he has played more than 30 matches and his form earned him a call-up to the England squad.
It looked like he was getting a once-promising career back on track, but almost like clockwork, he has suffered an injury to set him back once again.
Gareth Southgate confirmed that he wouldn’t be travelling to the Netherlands for Friday’s match and the quotes were reported by Sky Sports.
“It is not a specific injury and over time they flare up and they need to settle down over a couple of days.
“We are hopeful it will settle down pretty quickly. It’s an ongoing problem and it’s not something new for him. He’s very disappointed not to be involved in the game.
“He’s trained well though but if you think about the journey he’s had in the last two years and his big injuries then he’s progressing really well.”
Although it is encouraging that it isn’t a serious injury, it is a reminder that Jack Wilshere remains a risk for both club and country.
It is difficult to build a team around a player that is susceptible to miss matches and the quote from Southgate is a worry as he refers to an ongoing problem.
Arsenal have had a difficult campaign and they will be planning a rebuild over the next 48 months as they transition away from the Arsene Wenger era.
They will have to make tough decisions on many players at the club and Wilshere’s future will be brought into focus over the next few weeks as his contract expires at the end of the season.
There have been numerous reports regarding contract talks between the two parties and there is hesitancy on both sides.
This latest injury suffered by Wilshere and the comments from Southgate referring to an ongoing problem show why it is Arsenal who need to end this association.
Wilshere can’t be relied on to stay fit and to feature prominently in a busy schedule. Arsenal will have ambitions of challenging at the very top of the game and will likely be involved in European competition every season. They need to have a squad of players that are reliable and the 26-year-old isn’t that.
Aside from that, Wilshere represents what Arsenal have become over the last decade. He is a player that had a lot of potential, but he has failed to fulfil it and been very inconsistent at the highest level. Of course, he isn’t to blame for the club’s problems, but he is also unlikely to offer the solutions.
This season has been a nice farewell campaign for him. It would have been sad if his Gunners’ career had ended after being shipped out on loan to Bournemouth.
He has returned to earn some of his credibility back, but the club need to move on and progress if they are to get back to the top of the English game.
A lot of contentious decisions will need to be made and the first should be the release of Jack Wilshere this summer.
Why Jose Mourinho’s treatment of Luke Shaw has crossed the line
The Portuguese manager has been highly critical of Luke Shaw this season.
The fractious relationship between Jose Mourinho and Luke Shaw plumbed new depths when the left-back was substituted at half-time in Manchester United’s FA Cup victory over Brighton & Hove Albion. The 22-year-old had been handed a rare opportunity to impress at Old Trafford but lasted only 45 minutes.
Speaking about Shaw in his post-match interview, Mourinho said: “Luke, in the first half, every time they came in his corridor, the cross came in and a dangerous situation was coming. I was not happy with his performance.”
The differences between the pair now appear to be irreconcilable. Shaw, who was signed by Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2014, has been used sparingly by Mourinho. The former Southampton starlet has made just 18 Premier League appearances under the Portuguese in a career that has been blighted by injuries.
Being substituted at half-time is almost as embarrassing as it gets for a player and Shaw’s mood will not have improved after being publicly criticised by his manager. It’s certainly not the first time Mourinho has chosen to talk candidly to the media about his concerns with the 22-year-old.
Some players require an arm around the shoulder to perform at their peak, while for others it takes a kick up the backside. Mourinho, opting for the latter, does nothing without reason and has clearly tried to spark a reaction from Shaw, without success.
From being one of English football’s brightest prospects after making his World Cup debut aged just 18, Shaw, who has seven England caps to his name, is in danger of not fulfilling the potential that convinced United to spend what was then a world-record fee for a teenager.
Mourinho’s tactic of singling out individuals who have not met his standards is in stark contrast to Sir Alex Ferguson, who never blamed his players in public. It has divided opinion among pundits, with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier claiming the United manager is ‘destroying’ Shaw.
Mourinho is an expert at using smokescreens to distract from his side’s unconvincing performances. And this latest controversy has moved the narrative on from United’s shock Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla.
Tough love is one thing, but the sustained, public attack on Shaw is unacceptable. If Mourinho genuinely believes he is not good enough to represent United, then fair enough. But to continually vilify the youngster’s performances is a step too far and one that could irreparably damage Shaw’s confidence.
This is not to say that Shaw is a completely innocent bystander. Mourinho’s predecessor, Louis van Gaal, also questioned his desire and general conditioning when he joined United four years ago. Indeed, the Dutchman signed Shaw up to a tailored exercise regime in an effort to improve his fitness.
But while van Gaal’s treatment had the desired effect, Mourinho’s has done the opposite. Being publicly humiliated on a routine basis does neither party any favours.
In all likelihood, Shaw’s disappointing United career will come to an end this summer. A fresh start away from the toxicity under Mourinho is exactly what he needs.
Keanan Bennetts has perfect opportunity to impress Mauricio Pochettino this week
The left-sided star has a chance to impress in first-team training during the international break.
With the international week in full flow, plenty of teams in the Premier League have seen their squads diminished by call-ups to national teams.
Tottenham Hotspur are one such side. Nonetheless, with most of the first-team squad away with their respective nations, work continues at Hotspur Way.
In order for Spurs to have a full complement in training, plenty of young talent needs to be pulled in to the ranks.
Mauricio Pochettino will, therefore,e get a chance to see some of his young players training with regular first-team players such as Fernando Llorente, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.
One player who will be training with the first-team this week is talented wide-man Keanan Bennetts, according to London Live.
The 19-year-old left-winger has been catching the eye for the club’s youth team in recent weeks, making the news after scoring a fantastic goal for the under-19s against Monaco in the UEFA Youth League last month.
Bennetts has also been attracting interest for his positional dexterity. The wide-man has played at left-back in recent times and it could be that is his future best position.
This week he will be up against some excellent players such as Lamela and Moura, who did not receive selection to the Argentina and Brazil national teams, respectively.
If he can prove himself with this calibre of player, Pochettino will have to take notice.
It is coming to a point in his Tottenham career when Bennetts has to make such an impact. The teenager is out of contract at Spurs in the summer and needs to ensure he is kept on for at least one more season.
Tottenham fans who follow the youth teams are certain he is deserving of such a chance. If he can show Pochettino what he is capable of this week, then a new deal will surely be in the pipeline for the talented wide-man.
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