Trinidad and Tobago Head coach Brian Haynes is exuding confidence that his young Soca Warriors should open their Concacaf under-20 Championship qualifiers account with victory over St Vincent and the Grenadines at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Friday.

The young Soca Warriors, which recently wrapped up their preparation phase, now has the much-anticipated opportunity to impress both their coach and fans on home soil. They lock horns with St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Group D feature game at 6:00pm, after group favourites Canada meet Dominica in the 3:00pm curtain-raiser.

With only the group winner to progress to the Championship round where they will join the confederation's top-six ranked teams, United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic, Haynes is well aware that his team has no room for mistakes throughout the campaign.

"We are preparing for the first game. That is it. Nothing means anything unless we play that first game and do what we have to do to win that game," Haynes told T&T Football Association (TTFA) media.

"No disrespect to St Vincent or whoever we are going to play, but that is our focus – winning that first game," he added.

After their opening game against St Vincent and the Grenadines, the young Soca Warriors play Dominica on Sunday, before ending the group assignment against Canada on February 27. All games will be played at the Mucurapo venue.

Haynes, who included seven overseas-based players in his 21-member squad, admitted to knowing little about their opponents.

"(We have not been able to get much information on other teams), which is fine. It is really quiet out there. It made me more determined to prepare my team the way we have to play, the tactician shared.

With 11 of the players being those that represented the twin island republic at last year's Concacaf under-17 championship, there is some cohesion and intensity in Haynes's side, which he believes the overseas-based players have strengthened. The overseas-based players are goalkeeper Ailan Panton, striker Larry Noel, attacking midfielder Derrel Garcia and English-born flanker Rio Cardines, a Crystal Palace youth player.

"The level of professionalism is one thing, and the level of play is another thing. The body of work these guys bring to the group is awesome," Haynes said.

"They are not here to be casual. They are here working hard and giving their best. What it has done is lift the level of all the players," he noted.

Haynes promised possession-oriented football with a purpose, as he underlined the significance of keeping clean sheets in the qualifiers, especially given the quality of his defensive group.

"(The fans) are going to meet a bunch of players who are very hard-working. Second of all, they are going to meet a bunch of players who play for each other. Thirdly and most importantly, (the fans will see) a team that wants to win and entertain T&T," Haynes ended.

 

Former national football players Allan ‘Skill’ Cole and Walter ‘Blacka Pearl’ Boyd will be honoured at the inaugural staging of the 2024 All Star Football Tournament, set for Sunday, February 25, 2024 at the Constant Spring Football Field in St. Andrew.

The winners of the two playoffs will receive trophies named in honour of Cole and Boyd, who represented Jamaica at the highest level on the national and international arena. 

Both Cole and Boyd will be on-hand to present the trophies to the winning teams. The respective trophies will remain with the team coaches for one year.

Competition Director Haron Martin said the training sessions have been going well and the players are in high spirits as they look forward to Sunday’s games.

“The players are excited about the tournament. They are very focused and have been preparing well to represent their teams and showcase their talent,” Martin said.

“We are also upbeat about the tournament, and we anticipate that the players will get the kind of exposure that they deserve,” he added.

An All-Prep team will square off against an All-Primary team; while at the Under14 level; the teams will consist of schools north grouped and south grouped of Kingston combined together. They will compete against each other for trophy bragging rights.

According to Tournament Director, Leighton Davis, the competition will showcase the best youth talents that will prove to be an exciting and entertaining showpiece for the spectators.

“This tournament is to highlight and reward players who have done well throughout the season. These types of games will help players develop and improve because they are playing against the best of the best,” Davis said.

Main sponsor for the event is Project 2 Project Consultancy; with MDS Limited, the hydration sponsor and 876 Stream the social media sponsor, Blacktie Images and Insight Studios.

Gates open at 1:00pm with games being played 2:30pm and 4:00pm respectively.

AC Milan held off a stirring comeback by Rennes to book their place in the Europa League last 16.

The Italian side looked to have the job done after last week’s 3-0 first-leg win at the San Siro, but the Ligue 1 outfit gave them a scare on home soil, with Benjamin Bourigeaud’s hat-trick sealing a 3-2 victory in the second leg.

Milan goals from Luka Jovic and Rafael Leao proved pivotal as they secured a 5-3 aggregate win to go into the hat for Friday’s draw.

Rennes knew they would have to make early inroads into their deficit if they were to have any chance of repairing the damage from a harrowing night in Milan last week.

And they enjoyed the dream start as they went ahead in the 10th minute.

Bourigeaud received the ball in the centre of the pitch, took a touch and then drilled a scorching low effort into the bottom corner.

Milan were able to weather the early storm and got a crucial leveller in the 21st minute to restore their three-goal advantage.

Tijjani Reijnders burst forward and teed up Theo Hernandez to send in an inviting cross which an unmarked Jovic powered home with his head.

The hosts came again and thought they had made it 2-1 soon after but Arnaud Kalimuendo’s effort hit Mike Maignan without the Milan goalkeeper knowing too much about it.

The French side did go back in front in the 54th minute when Bourigeaud got his second of the match, converting from the penalty spot after Martin Terrier had been fouled by Simon Kjaer.

But they were again pegged back four minutes later as Milan made it 2-2 thanks to a fine Leao strike, the Portugal international guiding into the corner after a fine solo run.

Bourigeaud claimed the matchball as Rennes took the lead for the third time in the match as he again emphatically scored from the penalty spot after VAR had spotted a foul by Jovic.

That left them with 22 minutes of normal time to try and muster two goals and, although they attacked with intent and bluster they could not forge any real chances.

Trafford Council is looking forward to working with Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe on his ambitious plans to regenerate the south of the city.

Ratcliffe set out two routes to providing United with a stadium which he feels would befit the club’s status – either a redevelopment of Old Trafford or building a brand-new stadium which would be a northern rival to Wembley.

Ratcliffe sees the extra revenue generated from either option as a key factor in helping United consistently challenge north-west rivals Manchester City and Liverpool for domestic and European honours, having vowed on Wednesday to “knock both of them off their perch”.

He anticipated redevelopment would cost in the region of £1billion, while he estimated a new stadium and regeneration project would be £2billion. He saw no reason why state funding should not partially cover the cost of the bigger project, which he believes could transform the area around the stadium.

United’s existing leadership have been working alongside Trafford Council on its Trafford Wharfside development plan, and council leader Tom Ross was excited by Ratcliffe’s vision.

“We’ve got two visions that are coming together – a potential brand new stadium as discussed by Sir Jim, and also the vision we have for housing regeneration, bringing this area back to life,” Ross told BBC Radio Manchester on Thursday.

“There’s a lot of excitement in Manchester United about this as a key partner of ours. We look forward to working together to deliver those plans.”

Ratcliffe said on Wednesday that a task force – which could include former United defender Gary Neville – was being formed to consider the feasibility of the new stadium project. The PA news agency understands Trafford Council expects to be invited to join too.

United have been urged to actively involve local residents and small business owners in their plans as they consider how to proceed.

Dr Tom Bason, a sports legacy and football finance expert at Coventry University, highlighted research which found such groups had not been properly consulted in previous stadium-led regeneration projects, and ended up being priced out of the area.

“(Proper consultation) is the sort of thing that needs to happen from the start otherwise you do end up with this sort of displacement that we saw around the Olympic Stadium (in east London),” Dr Bason told PA.

“It’s not always intentional, but if you see house prices or rent increases going up 20, 30, 40 per cent, although you might not be kicked out because your house or flat is getting knocked down, you might still have to leave that area because you can’t afford to live there any more.

“The same happens with businesses – multinationals start coming in, you start to get chains of coffee shops rather than a local café for example.

“It’s not always intentional but if these sort of local community groups, residents and businesses aren’t part of the process, it is what happens every time.”

Liverpool midfielder Wataru Endo believes victory in the Carabao Cup final will provide the extra energy required to maintain their challenge on three other fronts.

Sunday’s meeting is a repeat of the Reds’ 2022 encounter with Chelsea at Wembley which Jurgen Klopp’s side eventually won 11-10 on penalties with only one player – goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga – missing.

However, only four of that Liverpool starting XI are likely to be in this weekend’s team – Mohamed Salah would be a fifth but is currently doubtful with a minor issue after making his comeback from a hamstring problem at Brentford – as a result of some high-profile departures and a raft of injuries.

The extent of the injury crisis was laid bare in Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Luton, in which Klopp named a bench with three defenders and four academy players, and should that situation continue it could seriously hamper Liverpool’s bid to contend in the Premier League – which they lead – the FA Cup and Europa League.

But Endo said nothing gives players a boost like winning a trophy and for a large number of the Reds’ team – the Japan international included – Sunday will be their first chance at the club.

“If we could win this first one I think it would have a really positive impact on the other competitions we’re competing in,” said the £16million summer signing.

“Winning at Wembley would give us extra energy for the challenges ahead. I’m so excited to play there. It will be my first time at such a special stadium.

“It would mean a lot to me. It would be my first title with Liverpool and I’m focused on doing everything I can to help the team win the final.

“The manager has spoken to us about staying positive and needing to show that we are Liverpool. We did that against Luton.

“We don’t think too much about injured players, we just focus on the next game in front of us.”

Sunday is the first significant milestone in Klopp’s long goodbye after he announced his decision to leave at the end of the season.

Endo was away at the Asian Cup when the news broke but the 31-year-old, who has proved his critics wrong after being viewed as an emergency stop-gap holding midfielder, is keen to repay the manager’s faith.

“I was sad to hear about that. I really enjoy playing for him and playing football the way he plays,” he said.

“It’s disappointing but I really want us to achieve titles for him before he goes.

“I’ve only played for Jurgen for one season. Others have been here a lot longer so maybe they have more emotion but he has helped me so much.”

 

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After a tough introduction to English football the former Stuttgart midfielder has cemented his place as the team’s anchor, fulfilling a role which Alexis Mac Allister had been asked to do after Fabinho departed to Saudi Arabia in the summer.

 

“It’s hard to play for Liverpool. There’s always a lot of pressure,” Endo added.

“Playing in the Premier League is tough but this is something I wanted for a long time and I try to make sure I enjoy it and do my best every time.

“I feel like I’ve developed over the course of the season and that has helped to give me confidence.”

David Beckham’s Inter Miami want to become one of the world’s top clubs on the field and a globally-recognised brand like the New York Yankees away from it.

The Manchester United and England great has been a gamechanger for the ever-evolving Major League Soccer since swapping Real Madrid for the LA Galaxy in 2007.

That unique deal gave Beckham the option to purchase an expansion club at a discounted price, leading to the foundation of Inter Miami six years ago.

There have been bumps in the road since the team’s first season in 2020 but the arrival of Lionel Messi – arguably the greatest player of all time – last summer has taken them to a new level.

Former Barcelona team-mates Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez have followed the Argentina skipper to a team that co-owner Beckham wants to aim for the stars.

Inter Miami assistant manager Javier Morales said: “I’m the fifth employee of this club so I know this club from the bottom.

“When I first spoke to David, he said he thinks this could be a big club. Obviously he came from Man Utd and he used to play for big teams. That is his idea.

“He wants Inter Miami to be a top team not just in the country but also in the world.”

 

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Ambitious Miami’s quality saw them installed as the overwhelming bookmakers’ favourites to end 2024 as MLS Cup champions ahead of Wednesday’s curtain raiser.

They opened with a 2-0 win against Real Salt Lake and their favourites tag marks quite the turnaround from last term, when their memorable Leagues Cup triumph came during a dreadful MLS campaign.

“Right now the mentality is different and they (the former Barcelona players) used to win everything, they used to win a lot,” said Morales, who has risen from academy coach to his current role as assistant to Tata Martino.

“They arrived last June with the club and the expectations for us here are high. For them it’s not going to be an issue.

“For the kids and the young players in the team it could be a little bit different but to have those players guide them is going to be a good mix.”

Beckham’s grand plans for Miami are bearing fruit off the field as well as on it.

The Florida outfit was the most-searched sports team on Google in 2023 and recently returned from a pre-season tour of Hong Kong, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Their eye-catching pink shirts are flying off the shelves as Messi’s arrival and the draw of Miami combine to help transform the team into a growing global brand.

Chief business officer Xavier Asensi believes that the unique combination creates an aura around a club that means “the sky is the limit”.

“Do you like baseball? I don’t,” Barcelona’s former chief commercial officer said. “But do you have a cap with the NY of the Yankees? How cool is that? So, imagine if you like baseball… for me, that is the potential we have.

“We have the potential of the sexiness, the brand that can be a fashion. People are wearing it and they know what it is.

“Sometimes people wearing the Yankees cap think it is New York and they like New York. But it is the baseball team. We have that potential.

“In order to unlock that, only the best are enough. We need to surround ourselves with the best people to unlock the potential that we have as a brand. This is not just football, we can go bigger and better.”

After suffering defeat in their opening Group A contest against United States, Caribbean representative Dominican Republic will be hoping for better fortunes when they tackle Mexico at the inaugural Concacaf Women's Gold Cup at Dignity Healthy Sports Park in Carson, California, on Friday.

Despite the 0-5 scoreline, Dominican Republic certainly held their own against the four-time World Champions United States for a large portion of the match, and should be aiming to replicate a similar show of fortitude, to possibly take points off Mexico.

Though it is easier said than done, especially bearing in mind that the lone meeting between the two teams in 2012, ended 7-0 in favour of Mexico, the Spanish-speaking Caribbean team will fancy their chances of upsetting the proverbial applecart.

The likes of Kathrynn Gonzalez, Lucia Marte, Brianne Reed and Paloma Pena are expected to carry the fight against El Tricolor. 

Mexico, like Dominican Republic, are hunting their first goal and, by extension first win of this historic tournament, as they were held to a goalless stalemate by Argentina. They will be intent on leaving that frustrating opening contest, in which Rebeca Bernal dashed a penalty, behind and begin their charge towards the knockout stage.

With a possible top-of-the-table clash with United States to come, Mexican attackers Bernal, Maria Sanchez and Greta Espinoza will be hoping to get into their scoring rhythm from as early as possible.

Argentina vs. United States

The United States will be aiming to make it two wins in as many games, when they square off against Argentina in Friday’s feature contest of the double-header.

That 5-0 win over Dominican Republic provided the solid platform on which they can build for the remainder of the tournament. Two of the stars of that affair were Olivia Moultrie and Midge Purce.

Moultrie, in her first start, bagged a brace on nine shots, while Purce was a never-ending source of playmaking, as she served up two assists. Lynn Williams, with a hat-trick, and decorated striker Alex Morgan, with a solitary strike, also got in on the act, and their confidence will be high heading into the Argentina clash.

In previous encounters between the two nations, United States were 6-0 winners at the SheBelieves Cup, and they also registered a 7-0 victory in a 2014 friendly. Both teams also locked horns at the Pan American Games, with United States proving too good on three of those occasions.

However, Argentina will try to change their fortunes this time around, with Camila Gomez Ares and Yamila Rodriguez expected to prove menacing to the opponents defence. The stalemate with Mexico would certainly have done the South American's confidence a world of good heading into this daunting encounter.

Everton manager Sean Dyche says the club remain in the dark as to when they will hear the outcome of their appeal against their 10-point deduction.

The Toffees received the sanction for breaching the Premier League’s financial regulations last November and their appeal against the punishment was heard at the end of January.

That verdict is now thought to be imminent but no exact date has been set for when it will be delivered.

“We haven’t got a clue, or I certainly haven’t at the moment,” said Dyche at a press conference.

“The guidelines that you (the media) suggest and we suggest have been for around about the end of the month, so we just have to wait and see.

“I don’t know all the legalities of appeals, of course, but I think it’s in everyone’s interest, firstly our own of course, and for the greater good of football – I think everyone’s wondering – it would be helpful if it’s sooner rather than later.

“But, as I said, I don’t know how the legal process, the timescales and why it takes so long. So we’ll just have to wait and see.”

The points deduction means Everton are now facing another relegation battle. After a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on Monday, they are above the bottom three only on goal difference.

The uncertainty does not end there with the club also facing a second charge of breaching financial regulations and a proposed takeover by 777 Partners proving a protracted affair.

Dyche said: “There hasn’t been much calm water since I’ve been at this club, that’s for sure – the odd week, and then another wave comes and hits you in the face. Let’s see how it tumbles forward.”

Dyche, whose side travel to Brighton on Saturday, has been pleased with the attitude of his players throughout a troubled period.

He said: “I think the players have been working very hard, very diligently. I’m very pleased with what they’re doing on a daily basis. I don’t think it is literally in the way of every day’s business.

“Of course, you still look at a league table that they adjusted immediately and took 10 points away – we don’t know whether that 10 points is fact.

“I’m sure at the back of their minds they’re still wondering, ‘Come on then, when are you going to tell us where we’re at and give us more of a factual kind of view?’, but we’re in the same mindset – it is where it is and that’s it.

“We look at where it is now and then see what comes. We can’t do anything about it until it’s done. “If we had a million conversations, it’s not going to change what’s happening in an appeal process. Unfortunately that process has taken some time.”

Maidstone boss George Elokobi hopes the appearance of the FA Cup at their modest Gallagher Stadium will inspire his players to more glory.

The grand old trophy was on display as the National League South side trained ahead of Monday’s fifth-round trip to Coventry.

Maidstone’s players queued up for a photo with the cup while former Wolves and Colchester defender Elokobi was beaming when he sat down next to it at a packed press conference.

“It’s the nearest I’ve got to it,” he said after shaking hands with every one of the 30 or so members of the media in attendance.

“My face has lit up. It shows the magnitude of what our group of players have done that we could bring the trophy here.”

Maidstone have been the story of this season’s competition, having already come through seven matches including their epic fourth-round win at Ipswich.

Now they face another high-flying Championship side – the Sky Blues are 95 rungs ahead of them in the league pyramid – for a scarcely believable place in the last eight.

“I know it’s here but we’ve not won it and it’s important they can take photos with it but we have to be mindful,” added Elokobi.

“We have to play a great side in Coventry, well marshalled by Mark Robins. Let’s not forget they were nearly in the Premier League last season.

“But yes, it’s nice to have this in our environment and we have to make sure that it inspires us to maybe run that one more yard.

“We have to prepare for what is going to be a historic occasion for our football club.”

Burnley boss Vincent Kompany has revealed his father’s experiences as a political refugee give him the drive and determination to lead the club’s fight for Premier League survival.

The Clarets are on course for relegation after a 5-0 thrashing at home to Arsenal left them anchored in 19th place with just three wins this season, but Kompany’s resolve has roots far beyond the football pitch.

Explaining his hunger for the fight, the former Manchester City captain cited his father Pierre, who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo for Belgium as a dissident in 1975 having protested against the brutal dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko. He later went on to become Belgium’s first black mayor, and put his son on the path to a glittering sporting career.

Offering an emotional account of his inner drive, Kompany said: “It’s a deep answer; it’s about where you come from.

“Where I come from is my dad, who was a political refugee. He had to flee a country not just at war, but as a dictatorship where he was getting whipped in his twenties because he was against the regime over there.

“It’s fleeing from one part of the country to the other, it’s losing family members, it’s everything you’ve experienced. It’s where I come from.

“You say where does the drive and desire come from? I have so many reasons to have that fire in me every single day. So many reasons why I can’t ever do less.

“It’s bigger than one result, or a bad month, or anything like that.”

Kompany also pushed back against the notion that this season’s struggles were a new experience for someone more accustomed to lifting silverware than fighting the drop.

“That’s the bulk of the known experiences, yeah. But a gambler never tells you about his losses, right?” he said.

“That (a serial winner) is what you see, but my experiences feel different. I do feel I’ve had to overcome and do a lot to get where I was.

“You’re in a position where your job is the centre of your life, you’re that focused on it 24/7 that keeping perspective can be difficult, so to have my dad, my mum, our own experiences, it is important.

“It’s important to keep a steady course because you have a bad result and usually the way it works in football is it kind of defines who you are for the next week – you can imagine that after the Arsenal game.

“But the reality is it’s the strength of a team when you are able to move past it and not let it define you.”

One of Kompany’s players who will need plenty of mental strength in the days ahead is Aaron Ramsey, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

The 21-year-old left the field on a stretcher with what looked a nasty knee injury against the Gunners and faces a lengthy lay-off.

“Unfortunately for us he was as bad as we thought, definitely his season is over,” said Kompany.

“Maybe for the larger part of this year he won’t feature. I don’t want to go into specifics but the main thing is he’ll recover fully.”

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has announced he is ready to play for Germany again after retiring from international football in 2021.

Kroos, 34, brought the curtain down on his 11-year international career soon after Germany’s 2-0 Euro 2020 defeat to England at Wembley in the last 16.

But he has remained integral to Real Madrid’s success and said on Instagram he had agreed to make himself available for selection for Euro 2024.

Kroos said: “Guys, short and painless: I will play for Germany again from March.

 

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“Why? Because I was asked by the national coach, I’m up for it and I’m sure that a lot more is possible with the team at the European Championships than most people believe!”

Kroos, a World Cup winner for his country in 2014, is now expected to be included in Julian Nagelsmann’s squad for this summer’s Euros, which will be hosted by Germany from June 14-July 14.

Former Bayern Munich boss Nagelsmann succeeded the sacked Hansi Flick as Germany’s head coach in September last year.

Kroos, who made his full debut for Germany in a 1-0 friendly defeat to Argentina in 2010, has scored 17 goals in 106 senior international appearances.

Joe Hart believes announcing his retirement from football will end speculation about his future with Celtic.

The former England and Manchester City goalkeeper will be 37 when his three-year contract expires in the summer.

Hart made his first-team debut for Shrewsbury in April 2004 and won 75 caps for England.

He followed Sir Kenny Dalglish and Andrei Kanchelskis in claiming winners’ medals in the three major trophies in England and Scotland when Celtic won the Scottish Cup last season but this will be his final season as he looks to help Brendan Rodgers plan for the future.

“This is something I have thought about for a while,” Hart told Celtic TV.

“There’s no right or wrong time is there but the way this club works is that I’m playing out at the moment. There’s so much on it. There’s so much heart and soul poured into what we’re doing as a football club.

“But with the grand scheme of the club, with the support base, and the conversations that go on around it, there’s obviously a conversation around the goalkeeping position for next season.

“So I just think it was really important that with the blessing of the club – I’ve had the conversations with the club with Brendan, with Stevie Woods (goalkeeping coach) – that we get the message out, it takes one thing off the table that people need to speculate over.

“I’m definitely not going to be there next season. I’m not going to be available to play football next season.

“So I want to take that off the table and then we can talk about why and then push forward.”

Hart still feels “great” physically and he stressed his commitment to the Parkhead club as they look to defend their cinch Premiership title and the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup.

With 13 league fixtures remaining, the Hoops are two points behind Old Firm rivals Rangers and Hart, who joined the Scottish champions from Tottenham in 2021, promised Hoops fans he remains up for the fight.

He said: “Mentally I’m in that one place that I like to be, I’m in a place of clarity. Obviously, I’ve thought about this a lot.

“I think the right the right time is now. I’ve got the clarity of mind that I was able to go to the club and explain my position and them totally understand.

“I think the hardest thing for me once I’d made the decision was to explain that although I intend on finishing from June onwards, I’m so up for it. I’m so still so involved and still so committed.

“And I thank the club for that. I think Brendan and Stevie Woods for understanding where my mind was at and understanding me as a person.

“So I appreciate the open mindedness of the club and hopefully the open mindedness of the fans when they see this and understand that this is not someone who’s checking out, this is someone who’s just letting people know because they think it’s important.

“I’m not retiring from working. I just won’t be a goalkeeper anymore.

“All I want to do now is focus. I want to focus on the job in hand, representing this amazing club that I play for and living my heart and soul on the field.”

Bayer Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso has insisted there is “nothing new to say” regarding fresh speculation over his future.

Alonso has been heavily linked with the Liverpool job since Jurgen Klopp announced last month he would step down at the end of the campaign, but the Premier League club now face competition from Bayern Munich.

It was revealed on Wednesday that current Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel will leave his position at the conclusion of the season – increasing the scrutiny on Alonso.

The former Liverpool and Bayern midfielder has enjoyed an excellent campaign in charge of Leverkusen, establishing an eight-point lead at the Bundesliga summit and guiding them through to the last 16 of the Europa League ahead of Friday’s league visit of Mainz.

Alonso faced the media on Thursday and started his press conference by shutting down speculation over his future.

“Maybe you have some questions about my future, but I’m sorry, I have nothing new to say. I wanted to say that beforehand,” he told a press conference, via Bild.

“Right now I’m the (Leverkusen) coach. That’s for sure. I have nothing new to say for the future. We will see. It’s normal that there are questions, but it’s off topic now. Now is not the time for me to talk much about it.”

Asked if Bayern had contacted him since the Tuchel announcement, Alonso replied: “I understand the question, but I have to say again that I have nothing new to say. It’s just hypothetical.”

 

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The 42-year-old also insisted it had been a normal week for his squad and claimed he was currently preparing to be Leverkusen boss next season given his contract runs until 2026.

He said: “I’m assuming that right now.

“This week was normal. It was quiet for us. We had three training sessions. That is normal.

“I know that it is my goal, it is my job, to be successful with the team. This is my work. We are in a very good situation right now. We want to continue like this. That’s enough for me.”

Following Jayden Danns’ brief debut appearance for Liverpool in their home win against Luton, visiting boss Rob Edwards, in conversation with Jurgen Klopp, was seen mouthing: “I played against his dad!”

Striker Danns, 18, is the son of former Crystal Palace, Bolton and Bury midfielder Neil Danns and is not the only offspring of a once-famous footballer to have made a breakthrough this season.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five more young talents with dads you may remember.

Bobby Clark

Liverpool’s academy has more teenagers with famous fathers, including Bobby Clark, son of former Newcastle and Fulham midfielder Lee. Bobby, 19, made his Premier League debut against Bournemouth at Anfield last season, coming on as an 83rd-minute substitute with the Reds leading 9-0. He repeated that feat this season in a 4-0 win on the south coast and has come off the bench three more times in the league this term, including late on against the Hatters on Wednesday night. Bobby moved to Liverpool from Newcastle – the club where dad Lee started his playing career – in August 2021. Lee went on to join the Magpies’ arch-rivals Sunderland before returning to the Premier League with Fulham in 2001 after helping the Cottagers to promotion. He later moved into management, most notably with Huddersfield and Birmingham. Lewis Koumas, son of former Tranmere and West Brom midfielder Jason, and Keyrol Figueroa, whose dad Maynor made 214 Premier League appearances for Wigan and Hull, are also part of the Reds’ youth set-up.

Gio Reyna

He may only be 21, but Sunderland-born Gio Reyna moved to Nottingham Forest with almost 100 senior appearances at German giants Borussia Dortmund under his belt. Gio is the son of former Rangers, Sunderland and Manchester City midfielder Claudio Reyna and is a United States international, just like his dad. Midfielder Gio joined Forest in January on a loan deal until the end of the season and has made two substitute appearances so far.

Jack Hinshelwood

Adam Hinshelwood may not be a household name to many football fans outside of Brighton, but son Jack is following in his footsteps. Adam made his Seagulls debut under the management of his uncle, Martin, in 2002, when the club were playing in the second tier. A central defender, Adam spent seven years as a player at Brighton and has managed Worthing since 2017. Midfielder Jack, 18, made his Premier League debut on the last day of last season, coming on as an 89th-minute substitute. He started his first league game in September – a 6-1 defeat at Aston Villa – and scored the first of his three goals this term against Brentford in December to secure a 2-1 win.

Bailey Cadamarteri

Danny Cadamarteri hit the headlines when he scored a stunning second goal for Everton in a 2-0 Merseyside derby victory against Liverpool in 1997. Unfortunately his career failed to ignite after that, as he left the Toffees in 2002 having scored just 13 goals in almost 100 appearances. Danny’s son Bailey, also a striker, has made an impact at Sheffield Wednesday this season aged just 18. He made his Championship debut in November and scored his first senior goal in a 3-1 win against Blackburn at the start of December. He was named the EFL’s Young Player of the Month after two more goals that month and now has four to his name for the season. Danny’s younger son Caelan-Kole is also making a name for himself in the Owls’ youth teams.

Tommy Doyle

Tommy Doyle comes from fine stock. Although his father Scott was not a professional footballer, the 22-year-old’s grandparents made over 750 appearances between them for Manchester City, with Mike Doyle and Glyn Pardoe winning the First Division title, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup with the club in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Midfielder Tommy is also a Manchester City player but is currently on a season-long loan at Wolves, who have the option to buy him this summer. The England Under-21 international has played 20 times in all competitions for Gary O’Neil’s side so far this term.

Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart is to retire at the end of the season.

The former England and Manchester City player will be 37 when his three-year contract expires in the summer.

Hart made his first-team debut for Shrewsbury in April 2004 and won 75 caps for England.

He followed Sir Kenny Dalglish and Andrei Kanchelskis in claiming winners’ medals in the three major trophies in England and Scotland when Celtic won the Scottish Cup last season.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said on the club’s official website: “Joe has enjoyed a phenomenal career and I know will be huge miss to the game when he finally retires from playing football in the summer.

“For all he has done in football, Joe deserves huge praise and congratulations, he has been such a brilliant asset to Celtic of course and the wider game at the highest levels, domestically and internationally.

“But more than that, he is a tremendous man, just brilliant to work with, someone who I know has been a great team-mate to so many throughout his career and a player who never gives anything but his absolute best. Each and every day his work ethic is an example to all in football.

“I totally understand and respect Joe’s reasons for making this announcement and for being clear to the club and our fans on his future.

“I also know he will continue to work right through this season with the same intensity, commitment and drive which he has always been known for.”

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