TFN’s Piers Barber on the Premier League players who will be fighting desperately to make it into their national squads before the season is out.
The Spanish contingent
Spain, current defending World champions and winners of the last two European Championships, are extremely strong contenders for the title of Best Team To Have Ever Played Anywhere In The World Ever, or something like that. Their embarrassment of midfield riches has meant they are once again one of the favourites to walk away with football’s biggest prize in Brazil, yet their strength in depth has also laid on a substantial challenge for some of the nation’s most talented players to even make it on to the plane to South America. Juan Mata, who scored in the Euro 2012 final, felt his place in the national squad under such threat that he recently initiated a move from Chelsea to Manchester United in a quest to secure some playing time in the lead up to the tournament. Jesus Navas at Manchester City and Santi Cazorla at Arsenal, meanwhile, will have to ensure they are on top form throughout the rest of the season if they hope to figure in Brazil.
The suffering Man United players
It’s been a calamitous start to 2014 for Manchester United, who have lost five of their nine games since the turn of the year. Their dramatic post-Alex Ferguson slump has not only put the Old Trafford club in serious danger of failing to qualify for European football next year, but has also threatened to jeopardise several of their highest profile players’ international careers. Marouane Fellaini, for instance, desperately needs to find some form if he is to make the starting line-up for highly fancied Belgium, whilst Nani – who, through a combination of bad form and injury, has barely figured throughout 2013/14 – must also improve if he is to feature for Portugal. Elsewhere, whilst an excellent season last year put Michael Carrick in contention for a starting berth for England in Brazil, a dire first half to the current campaign has cast even his spot on the plane in substantial doubt. Continue reading →
Once mocked for being controlled by a 10-year old on his playstation, David Luiz grew into a central part of Chelsea’s European conquerors. Ramon Isaac looks back at his three years on English soil, and what the future may hold under Jose Mourinho…
The Untouchables are long gone, Mourinho has, if anything, made that abundantly clear to the new squad. Nonetheless, in the case of David Luiz, the new (and old) Chelsea manager has highlighted the swashbuckling Brazilian as a player with exceptional ability, a judgement that anyone who has seen Luiz play won’t take him long to deduce.
Perhaps more importantly, Mourinho has highlighted what the three previous Chelsea managers have – David Luiz is a centre back and that is the position he has the potential to become one of the very best at.
Since he arrived in the January transfer window in 2010, Luiz has first and foremost, provided an exceptional amount of entertainment. His first start against Fulham was the epitome of what was to follow. A marauding defender that looked more comfortable up front than most of the Chelsea front men as he hit an overhead kick cross into the box after finding himself doubling up as a left winger. In a season of little joy, David Luiz lifted the crowd with his enthusiasm and passion on the field; a trait that no one can deny the Brazilian international. Continue reading →
2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the January Transfer Window, Freddie Mickshik looks at some of the transfers that have become part of football folklore…
It’s the start of 2013, which aside from futile resolutions and intense hangovers means the opening of the January transfer window, as it celebrates its 10th anniversary. This mid-season shopping window gives managers the chance to add to their squad and potentially find those extra few goals or tighten a shaky back four enough to secure a title or beat the drop. The shortness and timing of it, however, means the new year sees many a panic buy (Savio anyone? Thought not.)
False Nine debutant and Chelsea fanLori Zakariyya King gives an emotional response to the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo and the questionable behaviour of Roman Abramovich…
I feel like a mobster’s wife, or daughter. Carmela Soprano’s near relative Christopher was smothered to death by her husband Tony for ‘disrespect’ and she should have reacted. Her fondness of the things that her marriage to the mafia boss brought her overpowered her concern at the means by which they were obtained. Disassociating Meadow hid her own shame in a law degree. Continue reading →