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Why Emre Can needs to play in midfield for Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool

The Boot Room



Emre Can is Liverpool’s beautiful German gift from God sent to dominate the midfield and as of yet we have seen very little due to Brendan Rodgers’ decision to slot him in at right-centre-back.

I know. It’s very disappointing but fear not all may change very soon.

Last season Can arrived from Bayer Leverkusen for £9.75 million and was instantly well liked. According to a study conducted in 2015, ranking the young players in Europe and assigning them a value, Can was 15th with a price tag of €17 million.

When interviewed on the criminally awful LFCTV on how to speak “lad” his replies were perfect.

Early in the campaign Can he appeared sporadically in holding midfield. This is his preferred position and the position which initially drew interest from Liverpool.

It was instantly clear that his future would be bright with his physicality allowing him to adapt to the Premier League immediately. His range of passing is good but his driving runs from deep are what make him stand out.

While Reds’ fans have been deprived of this pleasure I watched Can during his time at Leverkusen and his powerful surges from deep are great for putting the team on the attack. His appearances as a midfield were kept to a minimum with the most memorable being against Chelsea in which he scored via a deflection.

Perhaps the biggest crime in Can’s Liverpool career so far is the reason for which he has been excluded. You wouldn’t argue against Jordan Henderson being played each game given his quality and leadership qualities.

Question marks surround why Brazilian Lucas Leiva was selected in place of the German. He did go through a particularly purple patch in which he was virtually unstoppable before he got injured.

Again. I do feel terribly for the guy. He was on the brink of being a first class defensive midfielder before he got injured in 2011.

The crime comes in where Joe Allen comes in. He’s just not very good is he? As a good Premier League defensive midfielder you should be strong and reliable. The Welshman is neither.

We were treated to delightful glimpses of Can’s talent as a midfielder and how creative he can be. Such  a glimpse came in the FA Cup away to Bolton Wanderers when he assisted the winner the with a delightful lob. Most of the credit when to Sterling for finishing from Can’s delicate pass.

The 2015/2015 season presents a golden opportunity for many players to make their mark on the team. The same applies to Can and the opportunity is twofold as Joe Allen is set to miss up to four weeks with a hamstring injury picked up at Swindon Town.

If the German asserts himself on Rodgers before Allen returns it will go a long way to setting himself up to spend the season in midfield. That is, if he is unnecessarily shunted in at right back again.

I cannot think of a possible midfield combination which accommodates captain Jordan Henderson and James Milner – who has been assured regular first team football – without James Milner.

Neither Englishmen are either defensive minded or out-and out holding midfielders. That being said Can isn’t either but at least he provides more protection for the back four while balancing attack.

In five days we will know what Brendan Rodgers is thinking and will probably freak out. Don’t even get me started on Dejan Lovren.

You can find the orignial article on Michael’s personal blog – Rousing the Kop

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Willian could hold key to Tottenham landing Anthony Martial

If Manchester United land the Brazilian it would undoubtedly improve Tottenham’s chances.

Jamie Watts



Manchester United are reportedly preparing a £60 million bid to bring Chelsea winger Willian to Old Trafford this summer, according to reports from the Daily Mail, with manager Jose Mourinho having been linked with an approach for his former star for some time.

Chelsea were unwilling to sell at that time, but it is possible that Willian could be interested in a new challenge after apparently growing frustrated with life at Stamford Bridge, according to recent reports from Sky Sports. He managed a combined 25 goals and assists in 55 appearances in 2017/18, but only 20 of his 37 Premier League outings actually came as a starter.

Photo: Getty Images

Tottenham meanwhile, have become frustrated at United’s assertion that Anthony Martial will not be sold this summer (Sky Sports), after Mauricio Pochettino made the Frenchman his priority target last month (the Sun), as he looks to bolster the supply line to Harry Kane next term.

However, Martial’s revelation that he wants to leave the club could be vital for Spurs, as Mourinho has previously stated that he would never stop a player from moving if they really want the move and the money is right. And he’s backed up his words, selling two-time Chelsea Player of the Year Juan Mata to his current club in 2014.

Photo: Getty Images

The Red Devils are currently stacked in terms of depth for the left wing, with Marcus Rashford struggling to start games over January signing Alexis Sanchez, but wide-right is somewhat scarce and Willian would undoubtedly improve United’s balance for the better.

Although the manager would prefer the Frenchman went abroad, if he asked for the move to north London, Willian’s transfer to United would undoubtedly improve Pochettino’s chances of securing his key man. United will also be buoyed by their recent business with the west Londoners, having surprisingly secured the signing of Nemanja Matic from Stamford Bridge last summer.

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Gylfi Sigurdsson shows why Everton splashed £45m on his services

Everton fans will hope they see Sigurdsson in fine form next season.

Mathew Nash



Iceland pulled off another shock at a major tournament, as they managed to hold out for a draw against Argentina. Alfred Finnbogason scored the equaliser after Sergio Aguero had given the Albiceleste the lead. Lionel Messi then saw a penalty saved as Iceland fully deserved a share of the spoils.

One man who was in sensational form throughout the game was Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson. Only recently returned from a knee injury he was the beacon of quality that Iceland needed. When they needed a player to keep possession he was there and he was a constant thorn in the side of Argentina’s defensive generals.

It was a performance that will remind Everton fans just why they spent £45 million to bring him from Swansea City last summer. It also highlighted that, used correctly. The ‘Iceman’ could be Everton’s talisman.

(Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

When Sigurdsson arrived last season he did so at the same time as two identical players. Davy Klaassen and Wayne Rooney also joined Everton last summer leaving them overbooked in that area of the field.

With Everton failing to bring in sufficient wide options, Sigurdsson also found himself playing wide left for much of his time at Goodison Park.

What is clear from the Iceland game is that Sigurdsson is best in the number 10 role, playing off of the front-man and hopefully next season that is where Everton will see him. With Cenk Tosun ahead of him, pace out wide and reliable generals behind him in midfield the Icelander will be free to roam and play his best football.

If Everton do that, then they will see more and more of the real Sigurdsson next season.

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Manchester United

Chicharito shows he’s capable of replacing Marko Arnautovic at West Ham in brilliant Mexico performance

The striker was unrecognisable from last season at West Ham.

Jamie Watts



West Ham United striker Marko Arnautovic is still heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, although the club have attempted to deter interest by slapping a whopping £60 million price tag on the Austrian, according to the Daily Star.

Although the price is considerable, it’s conceivable United could match the fee, or something close and Manuel Pellegrini may have to begin lining up replacements, in case a switch to Old Trafford materialises. But the Chilean coach may very well have his man already on yesterday’s evidence, ironically, in the form of former United fan favourite, Chicharito.

Photo: Getty Images

Chicharito made a name for himself throughout his career for his impressive ability to improvise a finish in the penalty area, and his movement, which has led to countless poacher goals. However, his performance for Mexico yesterday could indicate a change of responsibilities for the striker in the future. And West Ham will be thrilled.

Against Germany, he did everything but put the ball away. Non-initiated viewers may have been shocked to find out that the striker went into the match one goal off a career tally of 50 for his country, as he plied for the 90 minutes as a forward linch-pin, connecting play in the final third for almost every counter-attack. His general touch, awareness of approaching defenders, vision to see runners and execution of passes were all sensational on the night.

Photo: Getty Images

It could be argued that his national pride conjured this new style. but now there can be no doubting he has the ability to play the Arnautovic-type role, and in emphatic fashion. And if Pellegrini can tap-into this style, he could already have the Austrian’s ready made replacement at the London Stadium.

Last term the 30-year-old struggled to break into the team on a regular basis under David Moyes, making 33 appearances in all competitions, bagging eight goals and an assist, but his contribution next year could be far more valuable.

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