Harvey Barnes is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed the winger would likely require surgery on a knee injury.

The in-form 23-year-old, whose impressive displays had put him firmly in the conversation around England's Euro 2020 squad, was substituted six minutes into the second half of Sunday's 3-1 loss to Arsenal.

And Rodgers confirmed Barnes had significantly aggravated an issue that first came to light earlier this month.

"It's not good news, it looks like he needs to go in for an operation, so it will be a minimum of six weeks," said Rodgers, whose squad has been hugely impacted by injury setbacks.

"I believe it's around his cartilage. He had a clash of knees a few weeks ago, so it has just been irritable. Today he's had a challenge right on it [and that] has just made it worse.

"He'll need that repaired. He's had niggles with it, that's why we tried to recover him on Thursday, to take some pressure off him, but unfortunately it's a bad one for him, and a huge blow for us.

"I'll hear more on Monday, but initially that's what we think it is."

The Foxes' treatment room is a busy place at present, with James Maddison, James Justin, Wesley Fofana, Ayoze Perez, Dennis Praet and Wes Morgan all out of action.

Worse still for the Champions League hopefuls, defender Jonny Evans was forced off with a calf problem against the Gunners, who roared back from 1-0 down at the King Power Stadium.

"He's had this dead calf, which he's been able to get through, but in some games he has made some actions that have aggravated it," said Rodgers. "He'll need a scan to see where he's at.

"We're down to the bare bones, we've carried it all season and the players have been great. It's absolutely fair enough.

"My players to this point have been brilliant, but we've suffered with a lot, and found a way, but when you're missing the influential players and can't change, it makes it difficult. We'll find a way.

"One thing that goes when you have that tiredness is technique, when passes go astray. With our team, it's usually crisp and precise with our passing."

The minimum six-week recovery time for Barnes would see him miss five top-flight games and the FA Cup quarter-final with Manchester United.

Despite the defeat, which came on the heels of Thursday's Europa League exit at the hands of Slavia Prague, Leicester sit third in the Premier League.

Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso is a doubt for Euro 2020 after he suffered a serious thigh injury.

The France international did the damage when shooting during a training session on Thursday and underwent surgery on Friday.

Bayern boss Hansi Flick said in a news conference that the former Lyon man will be sidelined for "at least three months".

UEFA is committed to its plan of hosting Euro 2020 across 12 host cities, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Euro 2020 was due to take place last year, with 12 nations having been selected to host matches in celebration of the competition's 60th anniversary.

However, the COVID-19 crisis resulted in UEFA taking the decision last March to push the tournament back to 2021.

Although Europe is still struggling to deal with the pandemic, with many nations under lockdown rules and travel severely restricted in a bid to limit the spread of the virus, UEFA has reaffirmed its intention for the competition to take place later this year.

In a statement released on Wednesday, UEFA also said it is retaining hope that the 12 venues will be able to accommodate some fans, despite club competitions continuing behind closed doors.

The statement read: "UEFA repeated its commitment to holding the Euro across the 12 cities according to the timetable that has already been published.

"All parties recognise the need for flexibility around decisions to be made on the arrangements for the tournament, in order to reflect the different challenges and circumstances that cities find themselves in. 

"As a result of that and the fast-changing nature of the situation around the pandemic, the deadline for the submission of plans to accommodate fans inside the stadiums has been moved to early April."

In limited numbers, spectators had been allowed into venues in certain European nations – including Germany, England and France – in 2020, though those schemes were ended as infection rates increased again.

"UEFA is committed to holding Euro 2020 in the 12 cities originally planned," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said.

"The Euro is the flagship competition for national team football in Europe and is a vital source of funding for grassroots and wider football development. 

"I am optimistic that things are highly likely to be very different with regard to the virus as we move closer to the tournament and it is important that we give the host cities and governments as much time as we can to formulate an accurate picture of what will be possible come June and July. 

"Fans are such a big part of what makes football special and that is true of the Euro as much as it is of any game. We must allow ourselves the maximum space to allow their return to the stadiums."

London, Rome, Glasgow, Bilbao, Dublin, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Baku, Budapest, Bucharest, Saint Petersburg and Munich are the designated host cities for the finals.

Each city will host three group games, and one match in either the round of 16 or quarter-finals, with the semi-finals and final to be played at Wembley Stadium.

Paulo Sousa has been appointed as the new Poland head coach.

Former Portugal midfielder Sousa replaces Jerzy Brzeczek, who was surprisingly relieved of his duties on Monday.

Brzeczek was sacked despite Poland's qualification for Euro 2020 as Group G winners, having won eight of their 10 qualifying matches.

Sousa has been out of work since leaving his role as Bordeaux boss last August and was linked with the Juventus job before Andrea Pirlo landed the role.

The 50-year-old's appointment on Thursday came less than five months before Poland's first game of the rescheduled European Championship, with Slovakia their opponents in a Group E contest on June 14.

Sousa said: "I am honoured and proud to be the coach of the Polish national team. At the beginning, I would like to thank president [of the Polish Football Association] Zbigniew Boniek and the entire management board for the fact that I can take up such a great challenge.

"Poland is a country of football and I am convinced that your enthusiasm will give us strength, support and faith in the representation. Together, we will be able to fight for victories at the European Championship.

"With the right mentality, discipline, organisation and approach, together with me, my staff, federation employees and the support of the entire nation, we will be strong. I am sure that all of Poland will be proud of its national team."

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin could push for the delayed Euro 2020 finals to be staged in just one country, according to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Any such move would cause a drastic redrawing of plans for the tournament just months out from its start, with 12 cities across Europe preparing to stage games.

The logistical implications would be enormous, with the need to find suitable team bases a major issue, while finding agreement on which country might serve as sole host may not be straightforward.

UEFA took similar steps last season to ensure the Champions League and Europa League campaigns could finish without further delay, but a month-long European Championship is on a different scale to those club competitions.

Yet the COVID-19 crisis could mean there are obstacles to staging the event as originally planned, and that could trigger contingency measures.

Quoted by German publication TZ, Bayern Munich chief executive Rummenigge said: "You shouldn't forget that the idea of ​​this special hosting of the tournament came about when corona did not yet exist.

"At the time, it was an initiative of the EU Commission that wanted to have football shown all over Europe. But I know that the UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin – who is incredibly careful with corona – is thinking about whether it wouldn't make more sense in times of corona to play the tournament in just one country."

UEFA's expansion of the tournament to a 24-team event, starting from Euro 2016, means it is now close in scale to a World Cup, and the opening match is due to take place on June 11, with Italy and Turkey set to play in Rome.

Shifting the quarter-final stages of last season's club competitions to Lisbon and Germany meant they were able to be completed, with barely two months between decisions being taken and the games going ahead.

This is due to be the first time UEFA has held a European Championship in such a spread of venues. Ceferin referred to the Euros in December as "a tournament bridging the entire continent".

UEFA also said in November it intended to proceed with the tournament in its original format, albeit accepting that could change depending on circumstances.

It has since said decisions on how many supporters, if any, will be able to attend games, are set to be taken in March.

The semi-finals and final are scheduled to be held at Wembley Stadium in London, with other games in Baku, Amsterdam, Rome, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow, Munich and Saint Petersburg.

Things are moving very quickly for Pedri.

This time last year he was 17 years old and preparing for a Copa del Rey clash against Badajoz with Las Palmas, now he is playing for Barcelona and his coach is fielding questions about the possibility of him representing Spain at the delayed Euro 2020.

Calls for him to be considered by Luis Enrique intensified after he produced a fine display in Barca's 3-2 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday, becoming the youngest player in LaLiga history to score and assist in a single game.

At 18 years and 42 days old he headed home an equaliser after Inaki Williams' opener at San Mames and then produced a lovely backheel that Messi steered home to put the Blaugrana on the path to a 3-2 win.

Asked on Friday if Pedri is deserving of a first call-up to the senior Spain squad, Barca boss Ronald Koeman said: "It's not my decision.

"We can say a lot of positive things about Pedri's career so far. Nobody expected a boy of his age to play almost every game. He deserves it.

"It seems like he's been at the club for years, but young players always have ups and downs, you have to see how he continues to evolve, but I have no doubts that he will continue to improve.

"He has to show this level for a longer time, but you don't have to rush."

But how does Pedri stack up against the other options available to Luis Enrique?

A FINE PLAYMAKER

Among Spanish midfielders and attackers playing in the top five European leagues to have featured in at least 10 games in all competitions this season, Pedri ranks sixth in terms of chances created with 26 – 11 shy of Iago Aspas at the top of the list.

Only Isco (31.4) and Cesc Fabregas (30.9) have attempted more passes ending in the final third per 90 minutes than Pedri (30.6), though the Barca star averages more successful ones (24.6) than Fabregas (21.2). Isco leads the way with 25.6 successful passes ending in the final third each game.

AT THE HEART OF THINGS

When looking at the performances of Spanish midfielders in the top five European leagues, only Napoli's Fabian Ruiz (93) has been involved in more unique open play sequences ending with a shot than Pedri (79). Nine of the sequences featuring Pedri have ended in a goal, a tally that only Denis Suarez (10) and Marcos Llorente (13) can better.

The overall expected goals value of the open play sequences ending with a shot or goal that Pedri has been involved in is 10.5, putting him top of the list. It means that not only is the 18-year-old involved in a many passages of play compared to his contemporaries, he is involved in dangerous ones.

Pedri has initiated 16 open play sequences that ended with a shot this season, enough for joint-fourth alongside Dani Parejo. Rodri is top on 22 but his role at Manchester City means he is relied upon to regain possession and start moves from there. Barca would not expect breaking up the opposition's play to be a huge part of Pedri's game, but he is still able to get them moving forward.

Of the shot-ending sequences in open play that Pedri has been involved in, he created the chance and was also involved in the build-up on eight occasions. Luis Alberto (9) of Lazio is the only player with more multi chance involvements.

VERDICT

Spain have an abundance of attacking midfield options, but Pedri is already showing a level of involvement in Barca's build-up play that must surely put him in Luis Enrique's thinking. He has also proved versatile, with Koeman using him out wide, behind the striker and also in a deeper midfield role at times this season. Regardless of where he plays, Pedri is regularly involved in sequences that lead to goalscoring opportunities and looks set to continue doing so for years to come.

Virgil van Dijk is on track to be fit for the European Championship later this year, according to Netherlands head coach Frank de Boer.

Liverpool centre-back Van Dijk has been out since a 2-2 draw with Everton in October, when he sustained a serious knee ligament injury following a heavy challenge from Jordan Pickford.

Van Dijk's influence has since been notable in its absence for the Reds, for whom he played an integral role in ending their 30-year wait to win the English top-flight title in 2019-20.

Last season Van Dijk attempted more passes (3,255) than any other defender in the Premier League, while only two other defenders with more than 1,500 had a better completion rate than him (89.2 per cent).

On top of that, Trent Alexander-Arnold (3,664) was the sole defender to have more touches of the ball than Van Dijk (3,624), his 239 duels won was the fifth best among rearguard players and his 191 aerial wins was bettered by only James Tarkowski (199).

Van Dijk has posted a series of videos on social media recently, including one in Dubai where former Netherlands midfielder Clarence Seedorf assisted the defender with his rehabilitation.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp recently said Van Dijk still "has a long way to go" and it is uncertain if he will play for the defending champions in the rest of this campaign.

But De Boer has optimistically claimed the 29-year-old, who captains the Dutch national team, should be contention to play in the delayed Euro 2020 tournament provided he does not suffer any setbacks.

De Boer told De Telegraaf: "If Virgil doesn't get a kick-back and things go a little faster than expected, he should be able to make it for the opening European Championship match on June 13 against Ukraine.

"He is busy with so much energy. If you see what he's doing…In my time you were only allowed to kick in the swimming pool.

"He is very important for our team, on and off the field."

Van Dijk has won 38 caps for the Netherlands since he made his debut in October 2015.

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