Forest Green Rovers expressed they are "disappointed" with Rob Edwards and Watford after confirming their head coach was leaving the club.

Edwards led Forest Green to the League Two title this season, winning 23 games as they finished above Exeter City on goal difference.

However, Edwards will not be in charge of Rovers in League One next term, after it was confirmed he is departing.

He is widely expected to replace Roy Hodgson at Watford, whose short spell at Vicarage Road will come to an end at the culmination of the Premier League season.

Watford's relegation back to the Championship was confirmed last week after a 1-0 defeat to Hodgson's former side Crystal Palace. 

A statement issued on Forest Green's official website read: "FGR confirms the departure of head coach Rob Edwards. Rob was a key part of the team that gained promotion to League One this season.

"We're disappointed that our support, loyalty and honesty towards Rob has been repaid in this way – with negotiations taking place behind our backs. We had no contact from Watford, from whom we might expect less, but in any event this kind of behaviour gives football a bad name.

"We thank Rob for all his work at FGR – forgive him the manner of his departure and wish him well."

Watford failed to save themselves as their relegation from the Premier League was confirmed by a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

It meant Watford boss Roy Hodgson saw the final blow inflicted by one of his former clubs, as the Hornets missed out on the win they required to keep survival as a long-shot hope.

Wilfried Zaha's 31st-minute penalty, following a handball by Hassane Kamara, put Palace in front and proved to be the match-winner. Kamara was also sent off midway through the second half for a second bookable offence.

Even if Watford had won at Selhurst Park, they would have required further victories in their final three games against Everton, Leicester City and Chelsea, while hoping Leeds United or Burnley lost each of their remaining fixtures.

Hodgson, who left Palace last May after four seasons with the Eagles, was appointed Watford manager in January and inherited a side sitting 19th in the Premier League.

After earning promotion with Xisco at the helm, Watford fired the Spanish coach in October and brought in Claudio Ranieri, the Italian who led Leicester City to a shock title in the 2015-16 season.

Ranieri showed little sign of repeating past glories, and Hodgson also found the going tough, with Watford remaining 19th and now condemned to a swift return to the Championship, along with already-doomed Norwich City.

This will be Watford's fourth relegation from the Premier League, making them the sixth different side to be relegated from the competition on four or more occasions, after Norwich (6), West Brom (5), Palace, Middlesbrough and Sunderland (all 4).

Hodgson, who will leave Watford at the end of the season, this week said he would not be putting his name forward for Premier League jobs in the future at the age of 74.

Watford have now won just one of their last 30 league matches against London sides (D7 L22), with the exception being a 1-0 home win over Millwall in April 2021. They have lost 15 Premier League matches in a row against teams from the capital, the longest ever losing run against London teams in top-flight history.

Roy Hodgson has confirmed he will leave his role as Watford manager at the end of the season and does not foresee taking up another Premier League job.

The 74-year-old was appointed on a short-term deal in January to replace Claudio Ranieri, but he has been unable to pull the Hornets away from relegation trouble.

Hodgson has so far taken charge of 14 games since arriving, winning two, drawing two and losing 10, including each of their last five outings.

Watford's relegation from the Premier League will be confirmed on Saturday should they fail to beat Hodgson's previous employer, Crystal Palace.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, the former Liverpool and England manager said he explained to the club's board that he was only ever interested in a short-term deal and so will leave Vicarage Road once the campaign concludes.

"Obviously, it's a short-term [deal]," he said. "Certainly, I made it clear [to the board] it would need to be a short-term one between now and the end of the season. I took that job on and came out of retirement to do that particular job.

"Now that job has unfortunately ended. I've enjoyed my time doing the job. I don't think I shall be putting my name forward anymore for further sorties in the world of Premier League football. It's a very demanding world and I think I've earnt the right to step back and enjoy some free time and spend some time with my wife and son."

While Hodgson indicated this would be his last job in football, he did say the same after leaving Palace at the end of last season, before answering Watford's call, and admitted "itchy feet" could see him return, though not at the top level.

"I don't think we'll ever lose that [itchy feet]," he added. "I think you can speak to any other managers that have actually decided to step aside and announce their retirement, but they still do something within the game.

"I'd like to think that I'm always going to be passionate enough about the game and involved enough in the game that some particular aspect of work might come my way which I think I can happily do but as I say, it's not something I'm punting for.

"It certainly won't be in charge of a [Premier League] team. I think that's my swansong on that one."

Hodgson was at Buckingham Palace to receive a CBE from Prince William for his services to football.

Sean Dyche deserves a statue outside Turf Moor after his dismissal by Burnley, according to Brentford head coach Thomas Frank.

Burnley opted to sack Dyche on Friday, with the announcement a surprise despite the Clarets' relegation battle – they are 18th in the table and four points adrift of safety.

Dyche's side had managed just one win from their past seven matches, with five defeats in that streak, but many have questioned why Burnley parted ways with their manager after nearly a decade-long association.

He guided the Clarets to five straight survivals in the Premier League, having previously followed promotion in his first season with relegation back to the Championship.

Dyche, who led Burnley into Europe for the first time in 51 years, was also the longest-reigning manager in the league but now becomes the 10th different boss to lose his job in the top tier this season.

Frank believes Dyche's efforts should be celebrated as he expressed confusion over the decision of the Clarets board.

"They got promoted. They got relegated. They got promoted again. They've been here, what, six or seven years in the Premier League? It's remarkable what they've done," he said.

"Sean Dyche and his coaching staff, everyone involved with the football club, have done an unbelievable job. Sean Dyche deserves a lot of credit – they should build a statue of him outside Turf Moor.

"I remember there was one year when [you thought], 'How can he not be Manager of the Year?'. So, I think he's done a top job."

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher labelled the decision a "joke", as he posted on Twitter: "If you [Burnley] had given him a decent budget you would never have had a worry about getting relegated."

Veteran Roy Hodgson, who is attempting to battle the drop with Watford, was similarly bemused by the news.

"Of all the people in the league, he would have been one of the ones I would have thought most likely to survive anything like this, so I have no idea what's happened," Hodgson said.

"Something must have happened because you don't part company with a manager like Sean Dyche after all the fantastic things he's done for that club over the last 10 years. He has built the club."

Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter also added he was "surprised", while Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta heaped praise on Dyche.

"He gave the club a really clear identity, he's managed to keep the team, with one of the smallest budgets, consistently in the league," the Arsenal boss said. 

"I wish him the best of luck and as always with colleagues, it's sad when you see those decisions."

Watford have appointed former England boss Roy Hodgson as their new manager.

Hodgson, 74, takes over from Claudio Ranieri, who was sacked on Monday after just three months in the role.

Ray Lewington, who was Watford boss from 2002 to 2005 and has worked extensively as Hodgson's assistant manager, has also joined the club.

Hodgson's coaching career stretches back to 1976, when he took charge of Swedish side Halmstad for four years.

His club career has seen him manage teams ranging from Inter, Liverpool and Udinese to Blackburn Rovers and Neuchatel Xamax, while he has also coached the national teams of Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Finland.

A fan favourite at Fulham after leading them to the Europa League final in 2010, Hodgson became England boss two years later, reaching the quarter-finals of Euro 2012.

His Three Lions tenure proved disappointing on the big stage, though, with England exiting the 2014 World Cup at the group stage before being knocked out of Euro 2016 by Iceland, after which he left the role.

A four-year spell back in the Premier League with Crystal Palace followed, with Hodgson ensuring their survival after they lost the first seven games of the 2017-18 season before guiding them to 49 points in 2018-19, equalling their best ever tally.

Anthony Martial has made no secret of his desire to leave Manchester United in the January window – and the France international appears to have been granted his wish.

Restricted to just four starts in all competitions this season, Martial has very much been on the periphery at United in what is his seventh campaign at the club.

However, there are no shortage of suitors for Martial and it looks increasingly likely that the 26-year-old will spend the remainder of the campaign away from Old Trafford.


TOP STORY – SECOND TIME LUCKY FOR SEVILLA

Sevilla had a loan bid for Martial rejected earlier this month, but Goal reports that the issues have been ironed out and the out-of-favour forward is now set to undergo a medical.

Juventus are said to have been among a number of other European sides in the running to sign Martial, but Sevilla were always his preferred destination.

The LaLiga club are expected to pay a loan fee for the former Monaco man, potentially as much as €5.96million (£5m), while the player himself will accept a cut in wages.


ROUND-UP

– After growing frustrated in their attempt to sign Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina, The Sun reports that Arsenal may now instead go after Real Madrid's Luka Jovic this month.

– Calciomercato claims that Serie A leaders Inter are close to strengthening their squad with the addition of striker Felipe Caicedo from Genoa.

Watford are set to move quickly on the back of sacking head coach Claudio Ranieri by bringing in Roy Hodgson as early as Tuesday, according to Sky Sports.

– Goal suggest that Bayern Munich are targeting Chelsea's Andreas Christensen on a free transfer after Niklas Sule turned down the offer of a new contract in Bavaria.

Manchester City are increasingly confident of wrapping up a deal for Julian Alvarez. However, the Daily Mail reports that the striker will initially remain on loan with River Plate.

Newcastle United have made a fresh approach for Man Utd winger Jesse Lingard, according to The Telegraph. The Magpies are happy to pay a £6m loan fee.

Jurgen Klopp hopes the return of fans to Anfield can help spur Liverpool on as they aim to come through an "intense" clash with Crystal Palace and clinch a Champions League spot.

A 3-0 triumph at Burnley on Wednesday lifted Liverpool up to fourth in the table, above Leicester City on goal difference and just a point behind third-placed Chelsea.

The Reds wrap up an eventful season by hosting Palace on Sunday, with 10,000 fans allowed to attend the fixture following changes in social distancing restrictions.

The game will see outgoing Eagles boss Roy Hodgson come up against one of his former clubs, too, with Klopp well aware of the challenge the visitors will pose to his team.

However, the German – who admitted he has become accustomed to coping with stress on the final day – wants those inside the ground to show a little patience if things do not go immediately to plan, acknowledging there is still work to do despite a recent upturn in fortunes.

"You have to fight to it, I respect Crystal Palace too much and what they want to do for Roy in possibly his last game as a manager," he said of a top-four finish being in Liverpool's hands.

"I'm pretty sure they will want to give absolutely everything, and rightly so, just like the last few opponents did.

"Obviously we will have supporters back and I'd like to take the opportunity to welcome them all – you cannot imagine how much I'm looking forward to seeing them again, at least 10,000 of you.

"But it's really important that with all the excitement we feel, we don't lose patience after a minute or something like that. We need the best support possible, very supportive, very encouraging, just like we left each other what feels like years ago.

"It will be a really intense game and, when you fight for the Champions League, it should be intense."

Klopp added during his pre-game media conference: "The door opened a little bit for us, but when that happens you must step through. That's what the boys have done so far, but there is still one game to go. That's what we have to focus on.

"It was a strange season; nothing will change that. It was an intense season; nothing will change that. But we have it now in our hands to make a top, top finish.

"It's not done yet. There is an opponent and this is football, that is why we are really, really not even close to any kind of celebration or whatever. We are only focused on the 95 minutes we will play."

Liverpool won the reverse fixture against Palace 7-0 back in December, a stunning result on the road that moved the defending champions five points clear at the top.

A run of just three victories in their next 14 league outings led to a slide down the table, yet a rejuvenated Reds have moved into a strong position to clinch Champions League qualification with a four-game winning streak down the stretch.

Klopp insists he will not be taking anything from that stunning result at Selhurst Park, making clear the final scoreline was not a fair reflection of how the game panned out.

"It's not really helpful, apart from a goal difference point of view," the former Borussia Dortmund boss said.

"It was not a 7-0 game that day, Palace had chances of their own, it was more a crazy one, really open with chances here and there.

"The difference was we took ours; I think we had seven shots on target and scored seven goals. It was one of these lucky days you do not have a lot of in your life.

"This game will not be like that. Palace will want to make sure those kind of things don't happen. Nobody has to worry that it will be like that, we just have to win the game.

"We know we will have to fight for this, the result from the first game is 0.0 relevant to us. There are moments when you use pictures from the first game [in team meetings], but none from that game will be shown to the boys."

Roy Hodgson admitted that the occasion of his final home game in charge of Crystal Palace somewhat overshadowed the football as his side lost 3-1 to Arsenal.

Christian Benteke looked to have salvaged a proud point for Hodgson's men when his diving header cancelled out Nicolas Pepe's opener. But Gabriel Martinelli and Pepe netted in injury time to keep Arsenal's European qualification hopes alive with a win.

Hodgson, who was given a guard of honour before the game and gave an emotional speech to the Selhurst Park crowd afterwards, said that it was not easy to concentrate on the match as his managerial career neared its end.

"It's been a very long journey," he told BT Sport.

"It was an emotional night tonight. I think the players have done exceptionally well to deal with the circumstances.

"It was a bitter disappointment that we couldn't at least go away with the draw because I thought our second-half performance merited that.

"It was probably the strangest feeling I've had in a dugout for a long, long time. We're all human, we try to make the best of situations and say the right things and do the right things, but you can't get away from the fact you're a human being with emotions."

Hodgson spoke about the experience of taking charge of the club he watched as a young boy, having been born and raised in Palace's locality of Croydon.

He replaced Frank de Boer as Palace manager in September 2017 before steering the club to 11th place in the Premier League in his first season, despite them having lost their first seven games.

"It's been very special," added Hodgson.

"It's been not an easy ride; keeping Palace in the Premier League is certainly not one of the easier jobs around, but it has been a real privilege to do it.

"It's quite strange that the circle that has lasted so long ends up here now with the club of my boyhood."

Robert Lewandowski may be contracted to Bayern Munich until 2023 but speculation is mounting about his future.

Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with the Poland international, particularly if the Parisians lose Kylian Mbappe.

The agent of the Bundesliga record-breaker is reportedly putting pressure on Bayern to re-negotiate his current deal, fuelling the rumours of a switch.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA MAKE LEWANDOWSKI ENQUIRY

Chelsea have reached out to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich to discuss a potential move for Robert Lewandowski, according to Sky Sport Germany.

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea would face stiff competition from Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, in the event Lewandowski decides to leave Munich, where he has been based since 2014.

Chelsea have been linked with a big-money move for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, showcasing their financial strength which could be switched to Lewandowski should they miss out on the Norwegian.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester City have emerged as the frontrunners to sign Tottenham star Harry Kane reports the Daily Mail. Kane has reportedly asked to leave Spurs amid links with City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Chelsea are also interested in signing Atalanta's Ruslan Malinovskyi, claims The Sun. Wolfsburg defender Maxence Lacroix is also a target for the Blues, reports Sky Germany.

- The Sun says David Beckham's MLS franchise Inter Miami are pursuing Arsenal attacker Willian, who is reportedly keen on the opportunity.

Frank Lampard is on Crystal Palace's radar as they plan for Roy Hodgson's successor, according to Talksport. Hodgson will leave the Premier League club at the end of the season.  

- Corriere dello Sport claims Gennaro Gattuso is ready to leave Napoli as Fiorentina circle and he wants club captain Lorenzo Insigne to join him.

Jurgen Klopp has praised Roy Hodgson for his work at Crystal Palace but has no plans to match his fellow Premier League manager in working until he is 73.

Hodgson confirmed on Tuesday that he is leaving his role at Palace at the end of the season, insisting the moment feels right to step away from full-time coaching in the top flight.

The former Liverpool boss will conclude his Eagles tenure against the Reds at Anfield on the final day of the 2020-21 campaign, though Klopp is not sure the septuagenarian - who had spells in charge of Switzerland and England at international level - is ready to retire from the game just yet.

The German also revealed how Hodgson had an influence on his own managerial career, as well as congratulating him for his more recent work at Selhurst Park.

"Roy is one of the greats of our business," Klopp told the media.

"Years and years ago, my former manager who introduced the ball-orientated defending, he showed us a lot of videos of Arrigo Sacchi but as well from Roy Hodgson from his time in Switzerland, so he was obviously part of the inventive team of this kind of style.

"I knew him long, long before I met him, but when I met him it was even better, because he's a really, really nice guy, I have to say, and obviously highly energetic that he thinks he has to do this stressful job in this slightly advanced age.

"He did a great job. Staying in the Premier League when you are not fighting around the European spots is a massive achievement and he did that again and again with Crystal Palace. I couldn't have more respect for what he did, how long he did it and which level he did it.

"I'm not sure he will retire, maybe he stops only at Crystal Palace, searching for the next challenge, I would not be surprised about that, but on the day when he finally finishes, football will lose a really great person."

Asked if he planned to follow Hodgson's lead and work into his seventies, Klopp replied: "Nope, no chance. Hopefully I'm healthy and alive then, that would already be a great achievement, but no I will not coach anymore.

"If I'm still on the bench then you can remind me on that and tell me what rubbish I spoke years ago, but it's not in my plans at all."

While Palace are safe, this weekend's fixture could still have huge signifcance for Liverpool, albeit their first priority is picking up three points away at Burnley on Wednesday.

Goalkeeper Alisson's dramatic winner at West Brom helped keep alive their push to finish in the top four, though Klopp made clear ahead of the trip to Turf Moor that there is still plenty of work to do if his squad are to seal Champions League qualification.

"I don't want to speak about it [finishing in the top four]. For us it's very, very, very, very important, you saw that in the faces of the players when Alisson scored the goal," he said.

"We can speak about what it means if we have to speak about it on Sunday. Now we play Burnley and I really don't like this talk like we would have made it already before we play Burnley and Crystal Palace.

"It would be in my mind, at least, disrespectful, and I don't want to think about what it means.

"If we have on Sunday still a final for us then we had a positive result at Turf Moor. If we don't win on Wednesday then we don't have a final on Sunday, but we only have to focus on this one game."

Burnley sensationally ended Liverpool's 68-game unbeaten Anfield run earlier in the season, though Sean Dyche's side are winless in their last nine Premier League home games, their longest ever run without a win at Turf Moor in the top tier.

Crystal Palace have confirmed Roy Hodgson will step down as manager at the end of the season, amid rumours Frank Lampard is in talks to replace him.

The 73-year-old is nearing the end of his fourth season with Palace and has kept them clear of the relegation places in each of those campaigns.

Hodgson will step away from Premier League management after his last two matches against Arsenal and Liverpool.

With Hodgson's contract due to expire, former Chelsea boss Lampard has long been linked with taking over as his replacement having been sacked by the Blues in January.

"After more than 45 years of coaching I have decided that the time is right for me to step away from the rigours of top-flight Premier League football, so our final two matches will be my last ones as manager of Crystal Palace," Hodgson confirmed in a statement to the Palace website.

"It's been a particularly rewarding period of my football life and career to have been able to spend these last four seasons with Palace. 

"I feel now that at the end of another successful season, in which we have secured our Premier League status, the moment is right for me to step down from my responsibilities of being a full-time manager.

"I have had so much support from my wife and family throughout my career and I have been contemplating this decision for some time, and now I believe the time is right to consider them and to see what the future holds for me.  

"I have really enjoyed my time at Palace, I have been privileged to work with an outstanding group of professional and dedicated players, most of whom have been with me throughout the four years."

Palace have finished 11th, 12th and 14th under Hodgson. This season they sit 13th after a dramatic 3-2 win over Aston Villa last time out.

Chairman Steve Parish said: "It has been an absolute privilege and pleasure to work alongside Roy, who is both a magnificent human and an outstanding football manager. 

"I know how much it has meant to Roy managing the club he supported as a child, adding to his distinguished and unparalleled career in football management. 

"His record with us simply cannot be overstated, he is the only Palace manager to secure four years in the Premier League and he has helped give us stability in the most turbulent of times."

Assistant manager Ray Lewington will also leave with Hodgson.

Palace have a host of players out of contract at the end of the season too, so there will be significant changes throughout the club in 2021-22.

They face Arsenal on Wednesday and Gunners boss Mikel Arteta paid tribute to the veteran Hodgson.

Arteta said: "He's an absolute legend. What he's done in football, for English football, what he transmits as a person and the work he has done at different clubs is remarkable. 

"To keep doing it for so long with the way he has always conducted himself, it's a great example as a young coach of someone I admire.

"We can count them [managers like Hodgson] with one hand. What he has done, in this league in particular, is incredible."

What does the future hold for Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez?

The pair helped Inter to their first Scudetto since 2009-10.

But both could depart San Siro as Inter look to cut costs.

 

TOP STORY – LUKAKU AND LAUTARO TO LEAVE INTER?

Inter could be forced to sell star forwards Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Antonio Conte's Inter have been crowned Serie A champions this season, but the Nerazzurri have financial problems as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lukaku has been linked with former club Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid, while team-mate Martinez has long been tipped to join Barca.

Alessandro Bastoni is also listed in the report amid links to Manchester City and Liverpool, while star full-back Achraf Hakimi is said to be of interest to Arsenal and Bayern Munich.

 

ROUND-UP

- The front page of Thursday's Mundo Deportivo reports Barca look at the idea of signing City's Sergio Aguero favourably. Aguero is out of contract at season's end and he has been linked with Inter, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham. But the Argentina star reportedly wants to play alongside countryman Lionel Messi. A move for Aguero would not prevent Barca from signing fellow free agent and Lyon captain Memphis Depay. Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland is also a target for the LaLiga giants. It comes amid doubts over the future of head coach Ronald Koeman.

Manchester United and Arsenal are battling to sign Sparta Prague sensation Abdallah Sima, claims the Mirror. Sima is reportedly valued at £25million (€29m).

- Sky Sports says United are interested in Juventus defender Cristian Romero, who could cost £34m (€40m). The 23-year-old Argentinian joined Atalanta on a two-year loan deal from Juve and the Serie A side have an option to buy Romero. United have also been linked with Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Lille defender Sven Botman, Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres and Real Madrid duo Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.

- Former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard could replace Roy Hodgson at Crystal Palace after emerging as a leading contender, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Roy Hodgson is unsurprised by the transfer speculation around Wilfried Zaha, but he expects the star to stay at Crystal Palace.

Zaha is again linked with a move away from Palace amid reported interest from Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.

The 28-year-old has scored eight goals and provided two assists in 14 Premier League games this season.

Palace manager Hodgson said he had grown used to talk about Zaha, who is contracted at the club until 2023.

"It's pure speculation. There's been so much speculation regarding Wilf over the years that these days I tend to let those concerns just disappear, as they often do," he told a news conference.

"Wilf's good, there's no doubt about that, it doesn't surprise me that there would be clubs out there that would like to sign him, but a lot of things have to be in place before a player leaves a club and joins a new one.

"I'm just happy at the moment that Wilf is playing as he is, showing the discipline, the concentration, his passion for football and for the club that he's been showing. I just work on the basis that until I'm given a reason otherwise I expect that to keep going."

Of players to have scored at least five Premier League goals this season, Zaha's big chance conversion percentage of 62.5 ranks eighth – slightly better than the likes of Jamie Vardy (61.1) and Harry Kane (60).

Palace are 15th in the table ahead of hosting Sheffield United on Saturday.

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