In the face of adversity and ongoing disputes, the Jamaica Football Federation has announced a 22-player squad for two crucial international friendly matches against Chile on February 23 and 27. However, the squad is notably missing key senior first-team players who continue to abstain due to unresolved issues with the football federation, primarily revolving around unpaid fees and related concerns.

The delegation set to represent Jamaica in these significant international friendly encounters includes a mix of talented players from various backgrounds and universities. Among them are standout athletes like Theana Burnett from Sacred Heart University, Serena Mensa from Fordham University, and Sydnie Street from Seneca College. The team boasts a diverse roster, showcasing players from institutions such as George Mason University, SCU Torreense, and SK Slavia Praha Zeny.

Despite the absence of the senior first-team players, the selected squad is ready to face the formidable Chilean opponents. The delegation, consisting of both local officials and SWNT (Senior Women's National Team) players, is scheduled to depart from Jamaica on Tuesday, February 20. The entire team will assemble in Chile a day later, brimming with determination and unity.

The list of players includes Nevillegail Able from the University of Maine at Fort Kent, Alika Keene from SK Slavia Praha Zeny, and Ricshya Walker from LaSalle University, among others. Each player brings their unique skills and experiences to the field, forming a cohesive unit ready to represent Jamaica on the international stage.

Leading the charge is the coaching and support staff, with Xavier Gilbert at the helm as the Head Coach, supported by Assistant Coach Jermaine Thomas, Team Manager Crystal Walters, and Team Doctor Ruchelle Brown. The staff also includes physiotherapist Ashley Stephens, masseur Devin Lawson, GK Coach Everdean Scarlet, equipment manager Omar Folkes, and trainer Leacroft Lettman. Heading the delegation is Paul Beckford, the Head of Delegation.

Full squad: Theana Burnett, Sacred Heart University; Serena Mensa, Fordham University; Sydnie Street, Seneca College; Zoe Vidaurre, George Mason University; Nevillegail Able, University of Maine at Fort Kent; Chinyelu Asher, SCU Torreense; Alika Keene, SK Slavia Praha Zeny; Ricshya Walker, LaSalle University; Marlo Sweatman, Viktoria Haladas; Christina Salmon, William Carey University; Davia Richards, Hill College; Mikayla Dayes, Rodez AF (France); Shaneil Buckley, XLCR; Melissa Johnson, Charlton Athletic Women FC; Aliyah Morgan, George Mason University; Jade Bailey, London City Lionessess; Destiny Powell, XLCR; Lachante Paul, Burnley FC; Isreala Groves, London City Lionesses; Naya Cardoza, Brown University; Njeri Butts, University Of Florida; Lexi Lloyd-Smith, Southampton FC Women's.

 

 

 

Scotland will meet the Netherlands and Northern Ireland in March friendlies next year as they step up preparations for Euro 2024.

Steve Clarke’s side will visit the Dutch on Friday, March 22, with the venue to be confirmed by the hosts in the near future.

Hampden will then host its first men’s international of the year when Northern Ireland visit on Tuesday, March 26, Scotland announced on Monday.

The Scots are in the process of arranging further friendlies in early June ahead of the showpiece tournament that gets under way in Germany later that month.

Scotland last faced the Dutch in June 2021 when they drew 2-2 in a friendly prior to the last European Championship, while their last meeting with Northern Ireland was a friendly at Hampden in 2015 when Christophe Berra secured a 1-0 win.

Gareth Southgate says facing “revitalised” Italy will be a great test of where England are at as they attempt to seal European Championship qualification with two matches to spare.

The Euro 2020 runners-up can wrap up their place at next summer’s finals in Germany in Tuesday evening’s mouthwatering Group C clash against the Azzurri at a sold-out Wembley.

It will be the nations’ fourth meeting since Italy beat England on spot-kicks in the Euros final just over two years ago but their first reunion under the arch, with their previous meetings coming in Wolverhampton, Milan and Naples.

The Azzurri return to Wembley a far different side from when they became continental champions there, with Luciano Spalletti in charge of a new-look team that host Malta on Saturday evening before heading to London.

“Italy look revitalised under Spalletti,” Southgate said. “They were excellent against Ukraine last month. They’re a top-10 nation.

“We’ve talked about these top-10 games and the importance of them, the challenge of them.

“We have the chance to qualify for the European Championships with two games to spare.

“But also it’s a great test of where we are as a team and, yeah, it’s a challenge we’re really looking forward to.”

The Euro 2024 qualifier completes England’s October doubleheader at Wembley after securing an unconvincing 1-0 friendly win against unfancied Australia on Friday.

Returning Ollie Watkins secured Southgate’s much-changed side victory against the surprisingly dangerous Socceroos on a night when stand-in skipper Jordan Henderson was booed off the field.

The England boss defended the Al-Ettifaq midfielder and felt his experience was key having taken a risk by making 10 alterations in an experimental line-up against the Aussies.

“I don’t think it was a win because of how we played,” Southgate said. “We had enough quality on the pitch to be able to create a couple of important moments.

“But we know that all the changes, the inexperience of the team, made it was really tough for the players that played. I set them a really difficult challenge.

“It was great that they got the win. It was important to keep winning because if we if we lose the game or you give a goal away at the end then you leave here on a bit of a low. It sets the game up now with Italy.

“In the end, it’s very hard to prepare the squad when they know ultimately this week really is about the Italy game and it’s impossible to dress that up any other way.

“But for the players that played, for some of them their Wembley debut, for some of them their England debut. Massively important nights for them.”

Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah made his England debut as a second-half substitute against Australia, while versatile Chelsea defender Levi Colwill made his bow from the start.

“Important first steps for them,” Southgate said of the debutants.

“I mean, Levi is a young defender. We know he’s not a left-back first choice, but he’s filling that slot for his club.

“What we tried to do is start with a team where everybody was pretty much in the roles they’re playing with their clubs, so that it was as smooth as it could be.

“But in the knowledge that we didn’t have a lot of caps on the field, we didn’t have a lot of leadership.

“Normally, we’d be putting one or two of those lads in with a lot more experience and a lot more continuity, so it was extremely hard for that group of players.”

Southgate came away from a challenging friendly pleased with a number of individual displays, highlighting Trent Alexander-Arnold’s problem-solving as he learns more about being a midfielder.

Matchwinner Watkins’ movement and positioning was praised after scoring on his first England appearance since March 2022, while Lewis Dunk’s development continues to impress his boss.

The Brighton defender won his third cap in central defence alongside Fikayo Tomori, who was replaced by John Stones in the 62nd minute as he continues his recovery from a hip issue.

“Thirty minutes for John Stones was very important for us, to get him onto the pitch,” Southgate said of the Manchester City defender, who made his first Premier League appearance last weekend.

“We’re managing that recovery carefully, we’re combining really well with his club on all of that.

“But he’s a world-class player, and it was great to get him up and running.”

Jordan Henderson was booed by some England fans on a night when Ollie Watkins helped Gareth Southgate’s much-changed side secure an unconvincing 1-0 win against Australia.

A sold-out Wembley crowd watched a surprisingly hard-fought friendly between these great sporting rivals on Friday night as the hosts experimented with Euro 2024 in mind.

England can wrap up qualification against Italy on Tuesday night and Watkins boosted his chances of being on the plane to Germany with a goal and solid display.

The Socceroos can count themselves unlucky to leave Wembley without so much as a goal to celebrate.

Lewis Dunk’s brilliant block denied Ryan Strain ending a fine team move just before half-time and Connor Metcalfe headed off the outside of the post late in the second period.

But England rode their luck to emerge victorious as Watkins, winning his first cap since March 2022, turned in Jack Grealish’s cross-shot at the far post in the 57th minute having earlier hit a post.

The in-form Aston Villa striker will have boosted his chance of being regular back-up to captain Harry Kane, whose place on the bench meant Henderson wore the armband on Friday.

There were murmurs from the crowd when his named was read out before England’s first home game since his controversial move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Ettifaq.

That reception turned to jeers when he was replaced in the second half of a match that began with the innocent victims of the conflict in Israel and Palestine being remembered.

The Football Association was criticised by the UK government and the Jewish community in the build-up to the match for its response to recent devastating events.

The Wembley arch was not lit up on a night when both sides wore black armbands and observed a period of silence before kick-off.

Southgate made 10 alterations from last month’s friendly win in Scotland, leading to a sloppiness and disorganisation that allowed Australia to settle and threaten.

A slight touch prevented Watkins sweeping home with the first noteworthy attack of the night and Sam Johnstone soon brilliantly stopped Keanu Baccus’ curling effort going in off Fikayo Tomori.

England remained in control of first-half possession, but Australia continued to offer the greater threat.

Mitch Duke connected brilliantly with a low cross, flashing a first-time strike under pressure narrowly wide before Kye Rowles hammered over following a set-piece scramble.

England’s carelessness was summed up by James Maddison’s slip and strike out for a throw-in, but the Tottenham man showed his quality when slipping through Watkins.

The Aston Villa frontman took the ball around Mat Ryan and got away a bobbling effort from an acute angle that came back off the far post in the 34th minute.

Debutant Levi Colwill and Conor Gallagher received bookings in quick succession as a frustrating half continued, although it would have been worse was it not for Dunk – the only survivor from the side that started in Scotland.

Graham Arnold’s outfit showed skill and confidence playing out from the back, with Martin Boyle following fine hold up play by playing in Strain to get away an attempt that was blocked brilliantly by the Brighton skipper.

It was a moment Australia were made to rue in the 57th minute.

England returned from the break with more urgency and Trent Alexander-Arnold swung a ball over to the back post after an initial free-kick was cleared.

Grealish controlled and hit an attempt across goal that Watkins slid to turn home on the line – his third goal in eight England appearances.

Southgate made a quadruple change as he turned to his talent-filled bench with around 30 minutes remaining.

Henderson was among those withdrawn and Friday’s captain was booed by sections of the Wembley crowd, which he made a point of applauding as Kieran Trippier took the armband.

Baccus dragged wide as Australia tried to claw back an equaliser and Metcalfe was free to meet a corner with a powerful header off the outside of the post in the 80th minute.

Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah came on for his England debut and the visitors failed in their attempt to grab a memorable late goal.

Wembley fell silent ahead of England’s friendly against Australia in memory of those killed in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas as the Football Association faced fresh criticism for not lighting up the stadium’s arch in their honour.

The FA announced plans on Thursday for players to wear black armbands and for those inside the stadium to observe a period of silence “to remember the innocent victims of the devastating events in Israel and Palestine”.

But they stopped short from lighting the Wembley arch in the colours of the Israeli flag, a gesture they opted to employ ahead of the Ukraine match earlier this year as blue and yellow adorned the stadium’s signature landmark.

Jordan Henderson and Mat Ryan, the respective England and Australia captains on the night, led the two sets of players to the centre-circle as everyone inside the stadium observed an impeccable period of silence as the big screens carried a sombre message.

“Tonight we remember the innocent victims of the devastating events in Israel and Palestine,” it read.

“Our thoughts are with them, and their families and friends in England and Australia and with all the communities who are affected by this ongoing conflict.

“Tonight we stand for humanity and an end to the death, violence, fear and suffering.”

Hamas’ assault on Saturday and smaller attacks since have killed more than 1,300 people in Israel, including 247 soldiers — a toll unseen in Israel for decades — and the ensuing Israeli bombardment has killed more than 1,530 people in Gaza, according to authorities on both sides.

On Thursday, the Cabinet minister responsible for sport, Lucy Frazer, criticised the FA in a social media post, calling the decision “extremely disappointing”.

Then, just hours before kick-off at Wembley, Israel Football Association president Moshe Zuares hit out at what he deemed a lack of support for the country.

“There are moments in history when truth is one, sharp and clear. Such is the present time. More than 1,200 children, babies, women, men and old people were slaughtered by a barbaric enemy, who committed crimes against humanity,” he said in a statement released on social media.

“The only sin of the victims was that they were Israelis. Those who are afraid to light up a stadium in memory of the murdered and for the sake of historical truth, for reasons that cannot be understood at all and perhaps it is better not to even try, are in an even darker time than the one in my country is currently in.

“When this happens by the FA of a nation that has always known how to be a moral lighthouse for the free world, it is more disappointing than ever. I tried to explain this to my colleagues in the English FA several times in the past few days but they insisted on not understand (sic). Now they are the ones who need to explain.”

A rabbi working on a Football Association faith group has resigned over the governing body’s response to the Hamas attacks on Israeli citizens last weekend.

Alex Goldberg wrote to the FA to say he was “profoundly disappointed” that there were no plans for a specific tribute to the victims of those attacks.

He said the decision not to light up the Wembley arch in the colours of the Israeli flag ahead of the friendly between England and Australia on Friday night had been “received badly” and also questioned the decision not to permit the flags of any nation to be brought into Wembley besides those of England and Australia.

“Many see the statement only to permit flags and representations of the competing nations as eradicating Jewish symbols and it has compounded grievances with the gravity of the recent events, but also inadvertently neglects the security and emotional well-being of Jewish fans who may be in attendance,” he wrote in a letter published by the Jewish News.

The FA responded to Rabbi Goldberg’s letter by saying: “We are sorry to hear of Rabbi Alex’s decision to resign from his role in our Faith in Football group.

“Although this is an informal group that is not part of the FA’s governance structure, we are grateful for the support he has provided over the years.

“It is also important to clarify that our decision not to allow Israeli or Palestine flags into Wembley Stadium was made at the direct request of senior members of the Jewish community.”

Australia manager Graham Arnold reiterated Ange Postecoglou’s message for his side to beat England for “the kids and the nation” ahead of the first ever meeting between the countries at Wembley.

Arnold brought in Spurs boss Postecoglou and his fellow former Australia head coach Guus Hiddink in a bid to inspire the Socceroos ahead of Friday’s friendly in London.

Australia are underdogs going into the encounter, having only beaten England once in seven meetings – a 3-1 triumph at Upton Park in 2003 – and sitting 23 spots below their fourth-placed hosts in the FIFA world rankings, but Arnold says his side will only have victory on their minds when they take the pitch.

He said: “The speeches that Ange said yesterday were very similar about what we’ve been saying for years with doing it for the kids in Australia, the nation and your family and people who are close by and the supporters.

“I know one thing is that they (the players) will run until they drop, the energy will be there and they’ll put in the performance of their lives.

“I have got a special relationship with both (Postecoglou and Hiddink). I’ve known Ange for 40 odd years, I’ve played and coached against him, worked with him and we’ve had a great connection for years.

“With Guus, he’s pretty much a mentor to me and like a brother, a father. I’ve got to be careful with what I say because he’s not that old but he’s always been a great man to me and I worked with him during the 2006 World Cup as his assistant.

“We aim to win. We’re not going out there to lose or draw the game, we’re going out there to win the game.

“It’s the culture that we bring. We’ve seen the Socceroos and the Matildas (Australia women’s team) bring the nation together and this is not my team, it’s the nation’s team.”

While Australia are looking to make history at Wembley, Arnold highlighted some of the challenges he says they face trying to grow the game back home.

Despite the successful co-hosting of the Women’s World Cup this summer, where the Matildas got to the semi-finals, Arnold says the infrastructure and support they receive pales in comparison to other sports Down Under, or that England enjoy.

“We don’t get anywhere near the help and resources (of Australian rules football),” Arnold said.

“We see the Prime Minister and the government say they love coming out to watch the Socceroos and Matildas with scarves on but they must lose them when they go home.

“We don’t have a home of football. Whether you believe that or not, we don’t have a home.

“When the Socceroos come to Sydney to train, we have to go to a rugby league field where they remove the posts and put soccer posts up. That’s the truth.

“We are the highest participated sport at grassroots (in Australia). The last four days England have been at St George’s Park and they come down to (Wembley) where they are inspired and have a culture, we don’t have anything like that.

“After the World Cup I said ‘hopefully this will make things change’ and that government funding will help inspire the kid’s lives and fulfil their dreams.”

Australia’s most recent meeting with England saw the home side claim a 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light in 2016, when an 18-year-old Marcus Rashford because the youngest player to score on his England debut.

Roy Hodgson was in charge of England for that match but Arnold, who took charge in 2018, is looking forward to pitting his wits against the present incumbent Gareth Southgate.

Arnold said: “England are a fantastic team and Gareth Southgate is a great coach, a wonderful man and I look forward to seeing him tomorrow night.

“We are very appreciative of the invitation to play here and we’re looking forward to the match.”

Black armbands will be worn and a period of silence observed at the England v Australia friendly to remember the innocent victims of the conflict in Israel and Palestine.

The Football Association has confirmed its plans to pay tribute, having come under pressure to illuminate the Wembley arch in the colours of the Israeli flag following attacks by Hamas militants over the weekend which were followed by Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

“On Friday evening, we will remember the innocent victims of the devastating events in Israel and Palestine,” the FA said in a statement.

“Our thoughts are with them, and their families and friends in England and Australia and with all the communities who are affected by this ongoing conflict. We stand for humanity and an end to the death, violence, fear and suffering.

“England and Australia players will wear black armbands during their match at Wembley Stadium and there will also be a period of silence held before kick-off.”

The statement added that flags, replica kits and other representations of nationality not linked to England or Australia will not be permitted inside Wembley on Friday night.

New Wales cap Regan Poole admits he owes so much to Manchester United after making his international debut on Wednesday night.

Defender Poole seemed destined for stardom in 2015 after leaving Newport aged 17, on the same day United made Anthony Martial football’s most expensive teenager.

But Poole’s first-team action at Old Trafford was restricted to an 89th-minute substitute appearance in a 2016 Champions League tie – a 5-1 win over Danish club Midtjylland, in which England striker Marcus Rashford announced himself with two goals on debut.

Poole would be loaned out to Northampton and Newport before signing for MK Dons, Lincoln and Portsmouth, where he has hit the ground running with three goals in 12 appearances for the Sky Bet League One leaders.

“It’s always been my aim to win that cap,” Poole said after helping Wales to a 4-0 friendly win over Gibraltar in Wrexham, ahead of their Euro 2024 qualifier against Croatia.

“I’m 25 and I’ve had to wait a little while to get it, but hopefully there are many more to come.

“I had the experience of playing for the under-21s a few times and got called up there.

“It went quiet for a little while, but I’ve had a really positive start for my new club and hopefully I can stay in the squad.”

Cardiff-born Poole became Newport’s youngest-ever player in 2014 upon making his debut at the age of 16 and 94 days.

Poole’s performances soon had Premier League scouts flocking to Rodney Parade and he eventually headed for Old Trafford for a £100,000 fee, with attached add-ons taking it to a potential £500,000.

“I was at such a young age when the move came about,” said Poole.

“It was such a shock, but it was something I had to do. I look back on my time there and they improved me so much as a person and as a player.

“I don’t regret it in a way because I had to do it. I loved my time there and I think it’s showing now how much they improved me.

“I was training with such good players and that’s shown in my career.”

On his brief time as a United first-team player, Poole added: “That’s something I look back on with great pride.

“I know it was only one game but I can say that I played for Manchester United and not many people can say that. So I look back on that and think ‘well done’.

“Marcus scored two in that game and then I came on late. He was a good friend of mine at the time and he’s gone on to do such great things.”

Poole is determined to play at the top level again and believes that is possible at Portsmouth.

He said: “I’m loving it down there. We’ve started so brightly and we’re looking for promotion.

“We’re trying to get the football club back to where it belongs. Why can’t we do it at Portsmouth?

“Ipswich are doing really well (in the Championship after going up from League One last season) and if we can get promoted, why not?

“Portsmouth is a Premier League football club and should never be in League One.

“I believe I can play in the Premier League. If you don’t think that, you’re in the wrong sport.”

England forward Ollie Watkins is so averse to the public spotlight that he no longer goes shopping, but knows his profile is only going to get bigger.

The Aston Villa striker has earned a recall to the England squad for forthcoming games against Australia and Italy after his season burst into life with four goals in two games at the end of last month.

Watkins, who was not included in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the September games, does not feel comfortable walking around his local supermarket.

 

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But he also accepts that if he keeps banging in the goals for Villa and England, he is only going to get more attention.

“I go under the radar, maybe,” the 27-year-old admitted. “I’m not talked about enough profile-wise. But I know I have been producing on the pitch since Unai Emery came in. But I do go under the radar.

“I don’t know if it’s me being at Villa. You get some players that are just likeable and out there. I’m not really too fussed about that.

“I just like playing football. Maybe a lot of people said to me I need to push my profile. But I am happy with what I am doing on the pitch and that’s all that matters to me.

“The bigger you are, the more you are in the spotlight. It’s not that I don’t want that, it is doing my job. If I am doing my job and playing well, my profile will raise naturally.

“I remember when I moved from Brentford to Villa, I used to just go and shop in Sainsbury’s normal at Brentford.

“I came to try to do it at Villa and I couldn’t. I came home and I was fuming and I said to my missus I am never going out again, you will have to do the shop.

“Since then I don’t do the shopping, I don’t get ‘bothered’ but a lot of people want photos.

“I had my earphones in and people were like – they take two looks – is that him? When I see that people have clocked me, normally I try to avoid (them). Not because I don’t want to interact with them…once one person asks for a photo then two or three do and it’s hard to do shopping.”

Watkins believes the arrival of Villa boss Emery last year was the catalyst for kick-starting his career.

“Definitely, under (Steven) Gerrard, I know he played me all the time – I’ve played under all managers – but I wasn’t really getting the best out of my game,” he said.

“That wasn’t down to him, I had just kind of fallen into a rut, but I feel like I have gone on a different path and really focused on being a striker.

“Before I was trying to do everything, trying to cross it and get on the end of my own cross and head it. Now I am just focused, being the main man.

“He put a lot of faith in me and gave me confidence to go out and perform, just focusing on scoring goals and helping the team.

“I definitely felt like, I came from Brentford, I scored a lot of goals and in my first year I did well and then I found I hit a little bit of a rut.

“It is hard. When you are in that rut, you don’t know where you are going to end up or what is going to happen.

“I didn’t see my career anywhere else but Villa but it was hard to try and get out of the rut when it wasn’t going great for me.”

Australia play England at Wembley on Friday night but former national team head coach Ange Postecoglou does not envisage football truly taking off in his home country like it dominates in his current residence.

Postecoglou has enjoyed an excellent start at Tottenham and they are joint-leaders of the Premier League after eight matches going into this month’s international break.

Optimism is rife at Spurs but their 58-year-old manager remains pessimistic about the state of football in Australia, despite his nation co-hosting a successful Women’s World Cup this summer where the Matildas finished fourth.

Postecoglou spent four years in charge of the Socceroos and – despite achieving plenty – he has given up hope of the sport cracking life Down Under with subtle digs aimed at governing body Football Australia ahead of Friday’s friendly clash in London.

Asked about his Asian Cup win on home soil in 2015, Postecoglou replied: “It didn’t make an impact back there and that was kind of my frustration.

“I don’t think that anything they can achieve… when you look at what the Matildas did at the World Cup, unbelievable but you still won’t see an influx of resources to the game. You won’t. I guarantee it.

“They’ll build stadiums and other codes will use them. I just don’t think the nation as a whole has that inside them to understand you can make an impact on the world of football but it requires a kind of nationalistic approach that I just don’t think Australians – at their core – are really interested in.

“There’s a couple of things. One of them is obviously the sporting landscape, where there’s some pretty strong codes there that have generationally dominated the landscape.

 

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“There’s Aussie Rules, that’s the indigenous sport of Australia. It’s kind of unique to them and they take great pride in protecting as their code. The rugby codes dominate.

“It’s very hard for football to make an impact in that space and I guess then the flipside of that is just how global the sport of football is.

“If I can compare that to a country like Japan, who also have the tyranny of distance and baseball’s pretty strong, they plant a lot of resources into football and you can see that’s making an impact. I don’t see Australia down that road.”

Japan was Postecoglou’s next destination when he walked away from the Socceroos job after he helped his country qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

The ex-Yokohama boss had managed Australia at the 2014 edition, but his departure seven months out from the global showpiece was a surprise and at the time he described the job as “taking a toll” both personally and professionally.

Postecoglou has been involved in coaching since 1996 and while he has taken the Premier League by storm so far, he does not expect his time at Tottenham to change the landscape of football in Australia.

“I don’t. I don’t know and maybe that’s just me, not being cynical, but I gave up that fight,” he explained.

“It’s a much easier space for me to live in because I was so frustrated for so long. It was my biggest frustration. One of my major drivers for doing what I did was to do that – to change football in Australia and that’s the reason I left.

“I felt I hadn’t made an impact at all. That’s easier for me to deal with than to think maybe I still can now with what I’m doing. I just think I’d be disappointed, so I’d prefer to think it’s not going to happen.

“I walked away from a World Cup. We qualified and I walked away. The reason I walked away was I just didn’t enjoy what I was doing.

“It’s not just doing the job and winning games of football, it’s got to be a higher purpose. My higher purpose in Australia was to change the game. I just don’t think that will happen.

“It was the right decision for me (to leave), it was the right decision for where I saw the next stage of my career and if I didn’t make that decision at that time, if I had waited until after the World Cup, I’ve got no doubt I wouldn’t be sitting here now.”

Postecoglou replied no when asked if he would manage Australia again and laughed off talk of replacing England chief Gareth Southgate.

He added: “England? Oh, come on mate. They’ve got a fantastic manager and I’m eight games into a Tottenham career. That’s how I think.”

Harry Maguire’s mother has criticised the “disgraceful” abuse her son has been subjected to which she claims goes far beyond football.

The under-fire Manchester United defender dismissed the reception he received at Hampden Park during England’s 3-1 friendly win over Scotland but manager Gareth Southgate said it was “ridiculous” and “a joke”.

Now Maguire’s mum Zoe Maguire-Wilkinson has waded in.

 “As a mum seeing the level of negative and abusive comments in which my son is receiving from some fans, pundits and the media is disgraceful and totally unacceptable to any walk of life never mind someone who works his socks off for club and country,” she wrote on Instagram.

“I was there in the stand as usual, it’s not acceptable what’s been created, over nothing. I understand that in the football world there are ups and downs, positives and negatives but what Harry receives has gone far beyond ‘football’.

“For me seeing him go through what he’s going through is not OK. I would hate to have to see any other parents or players go through this in the future, especially the young boys and girls breaking through the ranks today.

“Harry has a massive heart and it’s a good job he’s mentally strong and can handle it as others may not be able too. I wish this sort of abuse on nobody!”

Little more than two years ago, the centre-back was an ever-present for United and earned a place in the Euros team of the tournament after helping Southgate’s side reach the final.

But a drop in form and club game time, including being replaced as captain at Old Trafford, has led pressure and criticism to ratchet up on Maguire, which culminated in every pass Maguire made on Tuesday being met by an ironic cheer after he was brought on as a half-time substitute – where he scored an unfortunate own goal.

“It pretty much takes the pressure away from my team-mates and puts it all on myself. It makes them play better, for sure,” said Maguire after the game.

“It is a little bit of banter and it is a hostile environment, coming away to Scotland.

“I would not say I am a person who struggles with pressure mentally. I have been through a lot in the last couple of years and I have been Manchester United captain for nearly four years.

“You take a huge lot of responsibility and everything that comes with it and that is a lot of bad as well as good.”

Scotland manager Steve Clarke will take stock of his attempts to bring aboard Newcastle pair Elliot Anderson and Harvey Barnes after Tuesday’s Hampden friendly against England.

Whitley Bay-born Anderson, who has a Scottish grandmother, spent two days with Scotland last week before withdrawing from the squad before their trip to Cyprus due to injury.

England manager Gareth Southgate has since expressed admiration for the Newcastle midfielder and stated his backroom team would be taking the situation up.

The 20-year-old has been capped at several levels for Scotland but has also attended an England Under-19 training camp.

Clarke said: “We like the player as well so Elliot will still have that choice to make.

“When I come out of this camp I will look at what we have done, what we have had, what’s occurred over this camp, we will do a debrief on it and then we will shape what we do from there.”

Former Leicester winger Barnes is reported to be considering a switch of allegiance after playing once for England in a friendly win over Wales three years ago.

The 25-year-old was born in Burnley and brought up in Leicestershire but has Scottish grandparents.

When asked about Barnes, Clarke said: “Probably the same comment, to think about that after.

“We want the best players we can possibly get. If they are eligible for Scotland and they have a chance to play for us and they can improve the squad that I’ve got – which is not an easy thing to do…

“And I get all the story round it, because we are playing England you want to speak about Elliot, you want to speak about Harvey.

“I quite like speaking about the boys I have got because they have put us in a really good position and they deserve a lot of credit for that.”

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz will prepare for the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup scheduled for June 24-July 16 in the USA and Canada with two friendlies against Qatar and Jordan on June 15th and June 19th, respectively, at the Wiener Neustadt Ergo Arena in Austria.

The Reggae Boyz last faced Qatar on August 26th last year, playing out a 1-1 draw while this will be the first time Jamaica and Jordan will be doing battle.

JFF President Michael Ricketts said the matches are to give the Reggae Boyz the best opportunities to prepare for the Gold Cup.

“We want to place coach Hallgrimsson and his team in the best position to perform at their optimum at the Gold Cup,” Ricketts said.

“This is the third year consecutively that we will be hosted in this city, a location that is perfect for preparation. I believe that with the quality of the team we now have, combined with the quality of coaching, we have an outstanding opportunity to create history by winning the coveted trophy.”

Jamaica’s first match of the 2023 Gold Cup will come against defending champions USA on June 24th at Soldier Field in Chicago.

World Cup winners Argentina have returned to the top of the FIFA World Rankings for the first time in six years.

Lionel Scaloni's side – who captured their third world title with a thrilling final win against France in Qatar last year – won friendlies against Panama and Curacao in the March international break.

Captain Lionel Messi brought up two milestones in those fixtures, netting his 800th career goal in a 2-0 victory over Panama before reaching 100 international goals as he scored a hat-trick in a 7-0 rout of Curacao.

Argentina last topped the rankings in 2017, but the Albiceleste dropped as low as 12th the following year after an underwhelming campaign at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Argentina replace rivals Brazil at the summit after the Selecao suffered a surprise friendly loss to World Cup semi-finalists Morocco in March, a result which sees them drop to third.

France are second in the rankings after their Euro 2024 qualification wins over the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland, while the rest of the top 10 remains unchanged.

 

Dietmar Hamann worries it is "too late" for this Germany team as he called again for coach Hansi Flick to be sacked following Tuesday's defeat to Belgium.

Hamann was a vocal critic of Flick following the 2022 World Cup, where Germany exited at the group stage for the second consecutive finals.

Former midfielder Hamann wanted the coach to go then, and his stance was not softened by the March internationals.

With Germany hosting Euro 2024 and therefore absent from the qualification process, they played friendlies against Peru and Belgium.

A 2-0 win over Peru in Mainz was followed by a 3-2 defeat to Belgium in Cologne, in which Hamann suggested "it could have been 0-3, 0-4 or 1-5 in the first half".

Speaking to Sky Sport, the pundit said: "Nothing has changed at all.

"The team that started yesterday included eight World Cup players. [Florian] Wirtz and [Timo] Werner were also in the starting line-up, who were not there in Qatar due to injury.

"Marius Wolf was the only one who played against Belgium who wasn't at the World Cup. He did an excellent job in Dortmund in the last few weeks and months.

"So, it felt like there were 10 World Cup players in the line-up, and then I can't speak of a change.

"If [Flick] had let youngsters play and they had gotten under the wheels in the first half, then I would have understood because they would have learned something from it.

"But the way it was yesterday, that they play with the same players and we get served the same c*** as at the World Cup, sooner or later people will turn their backs on the national team."

Hamann felt that performance backed up his argument following a World Cup exit he had described as "pathetic".

"It's too late for me," he said. "I spoke after the World Cup, where it was clear to me that it's difficult to continue working with the coach when you're eliminated from the group for the second time in a row.

"I couldn't imagine it because you need a new impetus.

"They hid in Qatar, they let the team down, they didn't take responsibility. And if the coach doesn't take responsibility, then I can't expect the players to take responsibility.

"That's why I don't think the discussion [around Flick's future] comes too early. It's too late, for me, and they decided to continue with it.

"I have big, big concerns about whether things will get better in the coming weeks, months and then at the European Championships next year."

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