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Sam Allardyce’s central midfield choices all wrong v Manchester City

Mathew Coull

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Everton were thoroughly outplayed in their clash with Premier League champions-elect Manchester City yesterday. Goals from Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling in the first-half did the damage as City tore through Everton in the first-half.

In the second-half Everton improved slightly, with a magic moment from Yannick Bolasie earning Everton their consolation goal.

Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne passes the ball during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on March 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. 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. / (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

It was the first time that Everton have lost to Pep Guardiola’s City, who had previously got the better of the Catalan. This fixture last season saw Everton rip City apart, in a 4-0 crushing.        

But Sam Allardyce got it all wrong for this crunch game.

Everton started the game with Wayne Rooney and Morgan Schneiderlin in the central midfield positions. It was a decision that baffled many Everton fans before the game and afterward left them frustrated.

Rooney, as talented as he obviously is, is no longer the most mobile of operators. Morgan Schneiderlin, increasingly unpopular with Everton fans, has never been one to get around the pitch with ease.

Manchester City’s German midfielder Leroy Sane (L) vies with Everton’s French midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on March 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. 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. / (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The pair were tasked with stopping one of the slickest midfield machines in Premier League history. They, and Everton, never stood a chance. Both Rooney and Schneiderlin were left chasing shadows for the opening 45 minutes.

It was not a coincidence that Everton’s performance did seem to improve in the second-half after the introduction of Tom Davies. The youngster was the star as Everton thumped City last term and his energy helped to stop the City knife cutting through Everton butter.

From Allardyce, it was a shock to see such a seasoned Premier League veteran get it so wrong from the start. This mistake will not help ease the belief among the Everton faithful that Big Sam is not the man for the job.

Stoke City

David Moyes’ summer arrival at Stoke City would represent perfect timing

The Scot left the Olympic Stadium a matter of days ago.

Josh Kerr

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David Moyes
Photo: Getty Images

Stoke City have parted company with Paul Lambert and for the first time in over 10 years find themselves back playing EFL Championship football.

However, the latest name to be thrown into the fold is Premier League veteran David Moyes, and the move would make perfect sense. Indeed, according to The Sun, Stoke want the Scot to be the man in charge next season.

The 55-year-old left West Ham United just days ago, despite finishing 13th with the Hammers after taking over from the club back in November 2017, when the East London side were 18th in the table.

Both Moyes and Stoke find themselves in a footballing crisis despite long-standing spells in the Premier League.

The two now need to revive themselves if they are to have a future back in England’s top-flight, and a union could be perfect for the Potters to launch a serious promotion push next season.

The Scotsman also has good connections with the club after working with Stoke Chief Executive Tony Scholes when they were both at Preston.

(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Moyes may only just beginning to gather his thoughts after leaving the London Stadium despite leading the Hammers to safety, and Stoke players will most likely be enjoying their holidays rather than thinking about preparing themselves for life in the Championship next season.

The former Manchester United manager was unfortunate to not be given the chance to build on his work in East London, and the treatment of the Scotsman was largely very harsh considering most neutrals would have said he did a good job in difficult circumstances at the club.

Moyes, once again, is looking for a club to take him to the highs that once saw him one of Britain’s finest managers, and a club who is looking for a long-term appointment would be the ideal destination for the former Everton boss.

Stoke have only had three managers in the last 12 years – two of them being this campaign – and with Moyes once a long-term success at Goodison Park could the two parties be coming together at the perfect time?

The stability that the Bet 365 Stadium offers would be attractive for Moyes, and considering the fact he is looking for his 5th club in just four years it could be arged that the Glasgow-born manager needs Stoke just as much as they may need him.

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Celtic

Celtic’s Kieran Tierney could replace Danny Rose at Tottenham, despite large fee

Celtic have slapped a £30 million price tag on the 20-year-old.

Josh Kerr

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Tierney
Photo: Getty Images

Kieran Tierney is another emerging star from the Scottish Premier League and his current club Celtic are already preparing for the top English clubs to come swooping this summer.

According to Daily Mail, Brendan Rodgers’ side have committed to a £30 million asking price to deflect the advances of the likes of Tottenham, who are said to be considering a move for the 20-year-old.

Despite the large fee, Spurs should not be put off making an approach. The young Scotsman would be the ideal long-term replacement for Danny Rose whose departure from North London looks inevitable this summer.

The Lilywhites have reportedly been watching Tierney throughout the season, with his performances for the Hoops impressing.

His displays in the Champions League, despite encountering a challenging group, including Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, will have impressed Mauricio Pochettino and it this level of talent that could see Spurs swoop for the left-back.

The departure of Danny Rose appears imminent, with the Englishman likely to leave after an 11-year spell with the Lilywhites and his exit will leave Spurs need to ensure they are able to sign a top quality replacement and the Celtic academy prospect could just do that.

At just 20, he is already thriving in his home country winning title after title, and already looks ready for a big-money move to fulfil his outstanding potential. In a Spurs side that relies on the attacking quality of its full-backs, Tierney would fit right in.

However, the player is under contract until 2023 after signing a new six-year deal last season, meaning the Scottish champions are in no rush to sell.

Having said this, an offer from the Premier League and a side capable of reaching the latter stages in Europe would prove difficult to turn down. If Spurs are able to meet Celtic’s asking price, it will be interesting to see if the Hoops would be willing to turn down such a significant fee.

The sale of Rose will most likely be enough to fund Tierney’s move and many Spurs fans will be eager to see their side launch a raid for Celtic’s most promising young talent.

Spurs will not want to break the bank for a Rose replacement. However, if the Lilywhites are to continue progressing under Pochettino then they need to ensure the board match the ambition of the fans by ensuring maximum strength in every position of the pitch.

Tierney has already established himself as one of Britain’s top full-backs and a move to the Premier League could take the Scotland international to the next level in his development.

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Crystal Palace

Ryan Fredericks would be perfect for Crystal Palace if Fulham lose at Wembley

The 25-year-old has earned praise for his performances throughout the season.

Josh Kerr

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Ryan Fredericks
Photo: Getty Images

Fulham defender Ryan Fredericks is just days away from the biggest game of his career and yet the 25-year-old is still being linked with a move away from Craven Cottage.

According to the Evening Standard, the 25-year-old has emerged as a target for Crystal Palace as the Englishman reaches the end of his Cottagers contract.

The former Tottenham prospect helped his current side reach the play-off final last week. However, if the Cottagers are to miss out at Wembley then he may be tempted to consider offers from the top-flight.

The full-back is still yet to sign a new deal and after 47 appearances and an impressive seven assists this season, he has quickly has emerged as one of the hottest properties in the EFL Championship.

After making the PFA Championship Team of the Year, Fredericks remains one of Slavisa Jokanovic’s most important players and if they are to fall short at the final hurdle then Crystal Palace would be the perfect destination for the right-back to play in England’s top flight.

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

With Joel Ward likely to leave Selhurst Park next month and, despite Aaron Wan-Bissaka performing well since making the jump from the academy, Fredericks could be a long-term addition at full-back. With his contract soon up at Craven Cottage, he could be one of the bargains of the summer window.

Roy Hodgson and his sporting director Dougie Freedman were even in attendance as Fulham beat Derby 2-0 on Monday to set up the showdown with Steve Bruce’s Villa, which will have sparked the former England international’s attention.

Fredericks started his career in north London with Tottenham Hotspur, progressing through the club’s academy system before signing a professional contract in 2010.

However, an exit from the Lilywhites and a number of loan moves left the young full-back frustrated with game time and it was fellow London side Fulham who eventually took a gamble – a risk that has paid dividends ever since.

The versatile defender has one appearance for England’s Under-19 side to his name, and he is eligible to play for Guyana.

Whether Hodgson swoops for Fredericks could be decided on Saturday. The Fulham defender will likely commit his future to Craven Cottage should Fulham win at Wembley, but the Premier League will remain a possibility even if Jokanovic’s side are unsuccessful.

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