Mason Holgate has pledged his future to Everton, signing a new five-year contract with the Premier League club.

The defender - who moved to Goodison Park from Barnsley in 2015 - has become a regular this season, making 26 first-team appearances in all competitions.

His form at the heart of the Everton defence had led to reports of interest from Manchester City, while the 23-year-old is rumoured to be on the brink of an England call-up.

After spending the second half of the 2018-19 campaign on loan at West Brom, Holgate is excited about his long-term future with the Toffees after agreeing a deal that runs until June 2025.

"This is my fifth year at Everton and my development as a person and a player in that period has been massive," Holgate told Everton TV.

"The direction the club is going, it is a great club to be at and I am really excited about it. We want to move to the next step and push for bigger and better things.

"I want to win things – and winning some silverware is where I see us.

"It is definitely a positive time to be here and I am looking forward to seeing how far we can go."

Wolves players have been given a temporary ban on taking selfies with fans as part of efforts to limit the chance of spreading the coronavirus.

The Premier League club have implemented measures to "reduce the risk of its community's health" after the UK government raised the level of public risk from low to moderate.

The steps include Wolves players and staff being told to avoid "any unnecessary meetings, lunches or public engagements, and temporarily avoid casual fan interaction such as selfies or autographs".

In a statement, the club explained: "Whilst we acknowledge that this will be disappointing for some supporters, we stress that this a temporary measure to protect the ongoing wellbeing of the Wolves squad and is a decision which has not been taken lightly.

"In addition, Wolves players and staff are also being instructed to avoid shaking hands where a warm smile and personal greeting will suffice."

Newcastle United announced last week that they were banning players from shaking hands in order to limit the potential spread of the virus.

Hand sanitisers are to be added to all entrances to Molineux and Wolves' Compton training ground, as well as dining tables and bathrooms.

The club also say they will take guidance from the Premier League, the government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) over the prospect of any fixtures being disrupted.

No matches have yet been postponed in England due to the threat of the coronavirus, but fixtures in Italy have been disrupted and all games in Switzerland's top two divisions have been cancelled until further notice.

Speaking on Tuesday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino urged associations "not to panic" and to take care when implementing control measures.

"Some of you have had to take important decisions in this respect. Every competition organiser has to study it of course and has to take decisions," he said at the UEFA Congress in Amsterdam.

"It is important to consider all the information from the authorities, but it's also important not to panic.

"Those who have to take decisions, like happened in Switzerland, will take decisions and then be able to move forward.

"Someone said to me football can be an antidote to coronavirus. I wouldn't go that far, but sometimes football is an antidote to many other illnesses like discrimination and racism, and this is a fight we need to fight all together."

Phil Foden has the sort of attitude that means he can achieve whatever he wants to in football, according to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

The 19-year-old put in a fine display as City won the EFL Cup for the third year running with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa at Wembley on Sunday.

Foden's performance has apparently put him in contention for an England call-up when Gareth Southgate's men face friendlies with Italy and Denmark at the end of March.

Guardiola says Foden's immediate aims should just be to keep improving but the former Barcelona coach has no doubt about the attacking midfielder's potential.

"I want the best for him. He will get what he deserves and of course I'm delighted about his performance and behaviour in good and bad moments," Guardiola said when previewing the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Sheffield Wednesday. 

"He just works, and it always pays off. At 19 you have a lot to improve but with this behaviour he can do whatever he wants."

City have little time to dwell on their latest domestic success with preparations having already begun for the trip across the Pennines to face Wednesday at Hillsborough.

Leroy Sane was tipped to be in contention against the Owls after playing 57 minutes for City's Under-23 side on Friday. 

The Germany winger sustained a serious knee injury in August's Community Shield triumph over Liverpool, but Guardiola says the Wednesday game comes too soon.

"No. He's not ready. Six months, he needs the process. When you're out, you start, you feel good but he's not especially confident. He's doing the normal steps he needs to come back," added Guardiola, who confirmed Sergio Aguero is fit after sustaining a knock versus Villa and Claudio Bravo will again play in goal.

"[With the] second team [he played] 50-60 minutes, now it's weeks and weeks and weeks [of gaining full fitness]."

City remain a huge 22 points adrift of Liverpool in the Premier League, but the Reds saw their unbeaten top-flight record ended by Watford a day before Guardiola's men triumphed at Wembley.

Guardiola, though, did not entertain the notion the two results suggest the gap between Liverpool and City this season is not as big as the table suggests.

"The league is deserved, and it is done," he said. 

"In other competitions, we have won two this season and now we have the cup and the Premier League because we have to improve to finish second and get the most points as possible and then there are two competitions: the FA Cup and Champions League."

Guardiola also said he was impressed by the focus his team have shown in training ahead of the Wednesday fixture and insists there is no complacency from the EFL Cup success.

"They trained so well today [Tuesday], they were focused, the team is so ready to play tomorrow. I like that," Guardiola observed.

Marcus Rashford insists winning trophies with Manchester United is what counts as he admitted last season's stunning comeback at Paris Saint-Germain meant nothing as they failed to win the Champions League.

Rashford's injury-time penalty secured a 3-1 victory at Parc des Princes as United, shorn of several first-team players, became the first side in the competition's history to overturn a deficit of 2-0 or greater from a first leg at home as they progressed on away goals.

Despite the celebrations after that last-16 triumph, United were dispatched 4-0 across two legs by Barcelona in the quarter-finals as their 2018-19 season fizzled out to leave them without silverware or a Champions League return.

Rashford admits such victories ultimately matter little if there is no trophy to follow.

"We didn't go on to win the competition or reach the final," he told FourFourTwo. "So, in my mind, it doesn't stand for anything.

"We need to start showing signs that we can be the United of old. Football has changed a lot, so it's not going to be exactly the same, but we know the club can do it. It's been difficult, but it's a period of transition. As long as we stay focused, I don't see why we can't turn things around and really improve."

Rashford had been in fine form for United during manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's season of rebuilding until a serious back injury, which is likely to keep him out for several more weeks, brought his campaign to a halt.

The FA Cup and Europa League represent the Red Devils' best chances of lifting a trophy in 2019-20, with Liverpool running away in the Premier League title race and Manchester City having claimed the EFL Cup.

Rashford is desperate to end a three-year wait for a title of any kind, even if his longer-term ambitions are a little higher than domestic cups.

Asked about his hopes, he said: "To win the World Cup, and for Man United to win the Champions League.

"As long as the team is successful and we get back to winning titles and trophies, that's the main thing for me."

Aside from prizes, Rashford also plans to go down in history as one of the great players to represent United from academy to senior side.

"That's always the aim," he said. "You grow up around so many people who have that United legend status that it becomes part of your dream.

"When you dream of playing for Man United, you don't only dream of making your debut; you dream of being like [David] Beckham, [Paul] Scholes and [Ryan] Giggs. It's part of the dream as an academy lad."

Lautaro Martinez is a wanted man and his future could become clearer.

The Inter star has dazzled in Italy this season, alongside team-mate Romelu Lukaku.

And Barcelona are reportedly keen to tie up a deal for the Argentina international.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA TABLE MARTINEZ BID

Barcelona have made their first offer to Inter for star forward Lautaro Martinez, according to FCInterNews.it.

Martinez has reportedly been identified as a long-term replacement for Barca veteran Luis Suarez, while the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City and Manchester United are interested.

According to the report, LaLiga champions Barca have tabled a €70m bid for Martinez plus two players – Arturo Vidal and Nelson Semedo.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Telegraph says United are favourites to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho at the end of the season. Liverpool and Chelsea have also been linked with moves for the 19-year-old.

Athletic Bilbao are interested in Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, reports Marca. Bilbao have a Basque-only transfer policy, however, Argentina international Higuain qualifies due to the Basque-French origin of his grandfather.

- Amid doubts over Martinez's future in Milan, Calciomercato says Inter are eyeing Atalanta forward Duvan Zapata.

- According to Goal, Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is considering a move to MLS outfit and sister club New York City. The 36-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic faces an uncertain future at Milan amid doubts over directors Zvonimir Boban and Paolo Maldini, claims Tuttosport. Boban and Maldini had reportedly been seeking to extend Ibrahimovic's contract until 2021 but the pair are reportedly set to leave San Siro following a row with Elliott Management.

Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke does not believe Jadon Sancho wants to leave the Bundesliga outfit amid growing links to Manchester United.

United are reportedly frontrunners to sign Dortmund star and England international Sancho at the end of the season, while Premier League leaders Liverpool and Chelsea are also interested.

As speculation mounts over Sancho's future, Watzke – who admitted it is "not clear what will happen" – insisted Dortmund have enough money to turn down big-money offers for the 19-year-old attacker.

"I think he has the feeling that the club does have a good future," Watzke told BBC Sport. "In my opinion, I don't think he wants to leave."

"It's not a question of money," said Watzke. "For us, it would be the best position if he stays at Borussia Dortmund.

"We have enough money. We want to have titles. I think this team has a lot more potential with Jadon than without Jadon."

Watzke added: "We have a very confidential relationship between us and him and his agents. We will discuss it."

Sancho left Manchester City for Dortmund in 2017 and the Englishman has established himself as one of the most exciting players in Europe.

The teenager has scored 14 goals and supplied as many assists for Dortmund in the Bundesliga this season.

Sancho has netted 17 goals across all competitions in 2019-20.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he would be a "real idiot" to doubt his players after their unbeaten Premier League streak came to an end.

Saturday's shock 3-0 loss at struggling Watford dashed Liverpool's hopes of going through the Premier League season undefeated – snapping a 44-match unbeaten run.

Liverpool, though, remain 22 points clear atop the table and on track to claim their first league crown since 1990.

And Klopp is retaining the faith in his squad ahead of Tuesday's FA Cup fifth-round showdown against Chelsea in London.

"I am not a little bit in doubt about the character of the boys and I would be a real idiot if I would be because they deserve my trust, my faith, and they don't lose it after a bad game," he said.

"It can happen that I get angry but I didn't get angry with the players in this meeting. If I go in that meeting and shout at them like they have lost the last 10 games because of a bad attitude that would be really strange. I am not interested that after the meeting I feel better. I am interested in the boys getting the right information.

"The situation we are in is special. Who can give us advice? Could I say that is the way we have to deal with it because I was there 20 times before and we dealt with it like this and it always worked out? No.

"I was never in a situation like that. We came through an incredible long period with incredible performances, sensational football, wonderful goals and great success until this point.

"There is a reason for losing a game and I prefer seeing the reason than not knowing why. It was not that the fortunes changed or that destiny wanted to give us a knock. We were just not good enough. That is the easy answer and that is filled with a lot of information that the boys get but not too much because we don’t want to think about that game for too long."

 

Phil Foden is hopeful of breaking into the England senior squad in time for Euro 2020 after playing a starring role in Manchester City's EFL Cup triumph on Sunday.

Foden, 19, was the best player on the pitch as City claimed a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa, winning the Man of the Match award as Pep Guardiola's men retained the trophy at Wembley.

The playmaker, who came through City's academy, teed up Sergio Aguero for the opening goal in the final, before generally impressing in his role from the right flank.

England manager Gareth Southgate namechecked Foden in the past, adamant it is only a matter of time before the teenager forces his way into the squad, and the youngster hopes he can do that before this year's tournament.

"I want to be there [at the Euros], obviously, but it's very difficult with the players that we have there," he told reporters.

"But hopefully Gareth was watching, and hopefully he saw things that he liked.

"That is all I can do, just show what I can do every time I play and see where it takes me."

Guardiola has not been shy about previously dubbing Foden as David Silva's heir at City, and such comments fill the England Under-21 international with confidence rather than pressure.

"If the manager says something like that it gives you a lot of belief and courage to keep playing and doing well," he added. "That gives me a lot of confidence on the pitch.

"Not many young players like myself could play in a team like this, so it just shows the belief of the manager and the players, that they have in me which is really nice.

"When you are growing up you dream about playing at Wembley for City on a big stage, and that's a dream come true for me now.

"My dream came true [on Sunday] for me, playing in a final, and obviously to win it is even better."

Gerard Deulofeu is to undergo surgery on the ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and torn meniscus injury he sustained in Watford's surprise win over Liverpool.

The Spanish winger twisted his knee in the first half of the 3-0 triumph over the Premier League leaders at Vicarage Road on Saturday following a challenge with Virgil van Dijk.

Watford provided an update on Twitter, which read: "Gerard Deulofeu is set for surgery after scans confirmed a ruptured ACL and torn meniscus suffered during the first-half of our win over Liverpool.

"Come back stronger, Geri, we're all with you!"

Hornets boss Nigel Pearson had confirmed the former Barcelona forward would play no further part in the 2019-20 campaign during an interview with Sky Sports on Sunday.

"Unfortunately for us the scan results really show he is probably going to be out for the rest of the season," Pearson said.

"The initial scan results show that he has got an ACL [rupture], which is a really bad thing for us because he has been such an important player for us."

Watford's win over Liverpool, which was the Reds' first Premier League loss of the season, lifted Pearson's men out of the bottom three on goal difference.

Carlo Ancelotti has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association (FA) after being sent off following Everton's draw with Manchester United.

The Toffees boss was seen remonstrating with referee Chris Kavanagh at full-time of the 1-1 draw at Goodison Park on Sunday, leading to the official brandishing a red card.

Ancelotti was angered by the decision to rule out a late Dominic Calvert-Lewin goal, which was chalked off following a VAR review as Gylfi Sigurdsson was lying on the floor in front of United goalkeeper David de Gea when in an offside position.

Former Chelsea boss Ancelotti will reportedly avoid a touchline ban if he accepts the charge, for which he has until Thursday to respond.

An FA statement read: "Carlo Ancelotti has been charged with misconduct for a breach of FA Rule E3.

"It is alleged that the Everton FC manager's language and/or behaviour on the field of play at the end of the Premier League fixture against Manchester United FC on Sunday 1 March 2020 amounts to improper conduct.

"He has until Thursday 5 March 2020 to provide a response."

Speaking after the game, Ancelotti insisted he had not been disrespectful towards Kavanagh.

"I asked for an explanation after the game. There was a misunderstanding on the pitch and he sent me off," Ancelotti said.

"After that I spoke with him calmly in the dressing room. I want to keep our conversation private and now he will make a report for the FA and we will see.

"I didn't disrespect him, but I can understand because, for the referee, there were a lot of important decisions at the end of the game. But I didn't disrespect him.

"It was a difficult decision because they checked the position of Gylfi, and it was offside, but in our opinion it didn't affect the vision of the goalkeeper. In their opinion it affected the vision and movement of the goalkeeper."

Daniel Sturridge has been hit with a worldwide ban until the end of the season after the Football Association (FA) successfully appealed against an original ruling over his breach of betting regulations.

Former Liverpool striker was originally hit with an effective playing ban of two weeks and fined £75,000 last July after a Regulatory Commission deemed he had provided inside information to his brother Leon over a possible transfer to LaLiga side Sevilla, which failed to come to fruition.

The FA launched a challenge against that ruling as the body felt it was too lenient a punishment. 

An independent Appeal Board has upheld the appeal, after finding the commission misapplied FA rules and proved two further charges against Sturridge that had originally been dismissed.

Consequently, Sturridge – who was released by Turkish side Trabzonspor on Monday – has been banned from all football-related activity until June 17 and had his fine doubled to £150,000.

"Daniel Sturridge has been suspended from all football and football-related activity from today until the end of 17 June 2020," an FA statement read.

"Following an appeal by The FA of the previous findings of the independent Regulatory Commission in this case, an independent Appeal Board has found that the Regulatory Commission misapplied The FA's Rules in relation to the use of inside information and made findings of fact which could not be sustained. 

"As a result, the Appeal Board has found proven two further charges which were originally dismissed. Other factual findings of the Regulatory Commission were left undisturbed.

"In relation to the sanction, the Appeal Board agreed with The FA that the penalty originally imposed on Mr Sturridge was unduly lenient and therefore increased his effective playing ban from two weeks to four months. The Appeal Board also doubled the fine to £150,000.

"FIFA has confirmed that the suspension will be of worldwide effect."

Earlier on Monday, it was confirmed Sturridge was leaving his three-year deal with Trabzonspor less than seven months after moving to Turkey following his release from Liverpool, where he spent six years.

Sturridge has eight goals in 26 England appearances.

Daniel Sturridge has cancelled his Trabzonspor contract by mutual consent less than seven months into a three-year agreement.

The former England striker joined the Turkish Super Lig club in August 2019 after his release from Liverpool.

Sturridge has scored seven goals in 16 appearances across all competitions this season.

A statement on Trabzonspor's website read: "The professional footballer contract signed between our company and our professional footballer Daniel Andre Sturridge, dated 21.08.2019 and ending 31.05.2021, has been mutually terminated.

"In accordance with the termination agreement, the football player gave up all his forward-looking rights and receivables."

It is unclear what Sturridge's next move will be but he has been linked with a switch to David Beckham's new MLS franchise Inter Miami, who lost their first professional match 1-0 to Los Angeles FC on Sunday.

Sturridge spent six years at Anfield, in which he scored 67 goals in 160 appearances, and has also represented Manchester City, Chelsea, Bolton Wanderers and West Brom.

The 30-year-old also has also scored eight goals in 26 England appearances.

Jurgen Klopp dismissed any notion Liverpool fans are "paranoid" about "silly" suggestions the Reds' Premier League title bid could be derailed by the coronavirus.

The Reds' hopes of going unbeaten throughout the Premier League season were curtailed in a shock 3-0 loss at struggling Watford on Saturday but they still hold a 22-point lead over Manchester City.

While there is limited threat from their rivals, reports over the weekend said the Premier League could be impacted by the rapid spread of coronavirus and Liverpool would not necessarily be crowned champions if the season were ended prematurely as no rules exist in such a scenario.

However, Klopp says Liverpool fans – who have not seen their team win the top flight since 1990 – have no legitimate fears.

"I don't think our fans are paranoid," Klopp said when quizzed about the coronavirus threat ahead of Liverpool's FA Cup fifth-round tie against Chelsea.

"I can't believe Liverpool fans are thinking about it and I actually speak to Liverpool fans. 

"If anybody wants to ask me about that and how much sense it would make to delete all the results of this season and tell me who will play next year in the Champions League and stuff like this, it would be really interesting. 

"Nice story, obviously some newspapers have always to write something but when I saw it the first time I really thought, 'Wow, really somebody thinks something like that?'. 

"Liverpool fans are really not silly enough to believe in these things."

Liverpool have endured a slight blip by their own phenomenal standards this season, with defeats to Atletico Madrid and Watford sandwiched by a comeback win against West Ham.

On Tuesday, Klopp's side travel to Stamford Bridge for the next round of the FA Cup and the German insists the match is not necessarily a release from the pressures of the Premier League and Champions League.

"We never really think about lesser pressure, we are Liverpool, we are always under pressure," he added. 

"We play away at Chelsea and everyone expects us to win there, which is difficult, was always difficult, will always be difficult. 

"There's for sure no favourite in this game and if [there is] then it's Chelsea because they play at home."

In the previous round, Liverpool needed a replay to get past Shrewsbury Town in a match where Klopp courted controversy for handing responsibility to Under-23s boss Neil Critchley to field a team of youngsters as the fixture took place during the club's mid-season break.

Critchley was appointed as Blackpool manager on Monday but, while he is longer around, Klopp said some of Liverpool's fledgling stars who have featured in the tournament could be involved.

"It's not about loyalty, these boys are our boys and they did what they did and if we would win the FA Cup in the end they would be involved in the celebrations," Klopp added. 

"If they will play I don't know, not all of them, but from the Shrewsbury team for sure there will be boys in the squad who will start."

On Critchley, he said: "Congratulations to Blackpool and to Neil. It's a great thing, nice challenge, nice opportunity for him. Really nice because it shows that it's possible you can make your way as a youth coach. 

"That's always what we wanted to have, we wanted to have the best people here in all departments."

Liverpool Under-23 coach Neil Critchley has left Anfield to take up the managerial position at League One side Blackpool.

Critchley has found himself thrust into the spotlight this season with Liverpool opting to field understrength line-ups for two first-team fixtures.

The 41-year-old took charge of a youthful side for the Carabao Cup tie at Aston Villa in December - a game that ended in a 5-0 defeat - with the first-team squad away for the FIFA Club World Cup and then stood up again when Liverpool met Shrewsbury Town in an FA Cup fourth-round replay during the winter break.

Liverpool academy director Alex Inglethorpe told the club's official website: "It’s a bittersweet day in many respects.

"Obviously losing a person and professional of Neil’s calibre is something that is a disappointment, but at the same time we have great excitement and joy that he has been given this wonderful opportunity.

"We see this as a reflection on the Academy as a whole, that it's an environment where players and coaches have a pathway to progression and self-improvement.

"Blackpool want Neil because of the work he's done at Liverpool and it shows to everyone within our system that if you work hard and work smart then rewards are there.

"Neil epitomises the best qualities of a modern coach: leadership skills, intelligence, compassion and a hunger for individual and collective improvement. Blackpool are very fortunate to have him and we wish him well."

Critchley replaces Simon Grayson at Bloomfield Road with Blackpool 13th in League One.

He has signed a contract that runs until the end of the 2022-23 season and club owner Simon Sadler was delighted to have got his man.

He said: "I would like to welcome Neil as he joins us on our journey and thank Liverpool for the way they have handled our approach.

"The fact that we've been able to attract a coach of Neil's calibre is testament to how this club is now viewed and is a result of the work that has been done here over recent months."

David de Gea is no stranger to scrutiny at Old Trafford.

There were serious concerns over De Gea when he was lured to Manchester United by former boss Alex Ferguson as a lean 20-year-old goalkeeper in 2011.

De Gea, though, answered questions about his physique – the Spaniard repaying Ferguson's faith and going on to win a Premier League title, as well as FA Cup, Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield silverware.

He cemented himself as one of the world's best keepers. However, those concerns have emerged again and they are growing louder following his latest mistake in Sunday's 1-1 draw away to Everton.

De Gea's attempted clearance was blocked by Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin into the net in just the third minute. United manager to salvage a point, but those errors are occurring more frequently.

Unlike previous seasons, De Gea has serious competition in the form of Dean Henderson – who is excelling on loan at Sheffield United in England's top flight.

England youth international Henderson is widely viewed as the future of United, but the 22-year-old is reportedly unwilling to return to Manchester next season unless he is the number one.

So, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a decision to make. Stick with De Gea or cash-in on the rumoured Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus target, while turning to Henderson?

Using Opta stats, we compare the form of De Gea and counterpart Henderson in the Premier League this season.

 

Games played
De Gea: 28
Henderson: 26

Shots Faced (inc. blocks)
De Gea: 297
Henderson: 295

Goals Conceded
De Gea: 30
Henderson: 22

Clean Sheets
De Gea: 7
Henderson: 9

Saves
De Gea: 72
Henderson: 66

Saves (from inside the box)
De Gea: 44
Henderson: 39

Saves (from outside the box)
De Gea: 28
Henderson: 25

Save Percentage
De Gea: 70.59
Henderson: 74.42

Clearances (inc. Punches)
De Gea: 12
Henderson: 20

Goals Conceded (in box)
De Gea: 26
Henderson: 21

Goals Conceded (out box)
De Gea: 4
Henderson: 1

Errors Leading to Goals
De Gea: 3
Henderson: 1

Errors Leading to Shots (inc. goals)
De Gea: 4
Henderson: 1

Drops
De Gea: 1
Henderson: 3

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