Blog

Hull City's Derby County rivals see Wayne Rooney linked with dramatic exit

City's relegation rivals could lose their manager as he is reportedly shortlisted to replace Benitez (Author: Gardener)

Hull City'sGet the latest Hull City news straight to your inbox with our daily Tigers newsletter. Get the latest Hull City news straight to your inbox with our daily Tigers newsletter, who were sacked on Sunday, a move that could add to their growing woes. Benitez spent less than seven months at Goodison Park and lost his job after Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Norwich - a ninth defeat in 12 Premier League games. Fans roundly booed their manager as the Toffees battled to beat City in the FA Cup last weekend, with traveling fans showing a banner urging Benitez to leave. Get the latest breaking news, features and analysis from Hull City here. The Toffees are now just six points above the relegation zone with former Liverpool manager Benitez paying the price for poor form. Current Derby manager Rooney made 117 appearances for Everton during his two spells at Merseyside, breaking through at his boyhood club to make his first-team debut aged 16. He ended his career as the all-time top scorer for United and England. Rooney has since taken over at Derby and stayed with the club when the Rams entered administration and were docked on a total of 21 points as a result. Despite financial woes, Rooney have led Derby to eight wins this season and they climbed off the foot of the Sky Bet Championship with a win over Sheffield United on Saturday. It was reported that Everton held an emergency board meeting on Saturday night to discuss Benitez's future, with the decision to sack the Spaniard being announced on Sunday afternoon. A statement from the club read: "Everton Football Club can confirm the departure of Rafael Benitez as first-team manager. “Benitez, who joined Everton in June 2021, has left the club with immediate effect. Everton fans at Carrow Road were furious with the team's performance and used chants and banners to express their views that the former Liverpool boss should not remain at the helm. A supporter invaded the pitch to confront Benitez, while a chorus of "sack the board" was heard after the final whistle as Everton fans booed their own team. Benitez was appointed Everton manager in June 2021 - a hugely controversial move given his previous tenure as Liverpool manager. Former Liverpool player and manager Graeme Souness added that he was "mystified" when Benitez took over as Everton manager. "Benitez I was confused when he took this job because he worked at Liverpool, I think he still lives in Merseyside, he knows the strength and the feeling between the two clubs," he told Sky Sports. Now the club are looking to appoint a fifth permanent manager in the last three and a half years and Rooney is among the early candidates alongside the likes of former caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson, ex-Blues manager Roberto Martinez and Frank Lampard. Former United striker Andy Cole believes Rooney's exploits at Derby prove he could change things with his fist at his old club. "It's his youth club and anything is possible in football these days," Cole told Sky Sports News. “If Wayne has gone there, if you look at what he's doing at Derby at the moment, he's working wonders. Sign up here for free to receive our daily Hull City newsletter

Read

Tom Lawrence scores twice as Wayne Rooney's Rams fight on

Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between Derby County and Sheffield United at Pride Park as two goals from captain Tom Lawrence helped Wayne Rooneys win the clash against the Rams (Author: Gardener)

Tom LawrenceA superb Tom Lawrence double gave the Duel Derby a 2-0 home win over Sheffield United, raising hopes of a great win even further. Lawrence defined the game with two outstanding goals in the second half to lift County from the bottom of the championship table. The Wales international delivered the quality the game was crying out for, passing two defenders before slotting the ball past Wes Foderingham for the opener after 69 minutes. Lawrence sealed victory nine minutes later with a precise finish from the edge of the box to end United's run of four straight league wins. The win brought 13 points from their last five games for the administration-hit Derby, who moved through Barnsley and are now just eight points from safety. The in-form Blades started brilliantly and quickly broke in the 12th minute when Iliman Ndiaye pulled the ball back to Billy Sharp from the right, but his shot was blocked by Richard Stearman. There was a scare for United two minutes later when Foderingham carried the ball out of his box under pressure from a Derby player, but referee Martin Atkinson ruled he had been fouled. Derby almost caught United in the 24th minute when a goal kick from Ryan Allsop put Lawrence into play down the left, but his pass went harmlessly over the area. United had a great chance in the 31st minute when a long shot was blasted at Sharp who was unmarked, six yards away but he went straight for Allsop. A mediocre effort but little quality ended with Lawrence winning a free-kick just outside the box but he failed to clear the defensive wall. The pattern continued in the second half, with few openings, until Derby won a corner in the 62nd minute and Craig Forsyth fired a header over and just wide. It took something special to break the deadlock and duly did so through a brilliant one-shot from Lawrence. He picked up the ball down the left flank and sliced ​​inside past two defenders before placing a low shot over Foderingham into the bottom corner. It was an excellent performance and Lawrence produced another nine minutes later to put another win in Derby's sights. Festy Ebosele rushed forward quickly and when the ball was played across Lawrence, he circled a shot from the edge of the box to the top right corner. Derby's Wayne Rooney: "The players deserve a lot of credit because the last 24, 48 hours have been extremely difficult." My relationship with all the players is built on trust and honesty, but I can't look them in the eye as to where we are at the moment and really give them everything, I can just prep them and get them ready. Stuart McCall, Sheffield United assistant: “Two individual brilliance got them the game. In the second half we had more possession, more possession, but we didn't do anything with it. Most of the game was in their half but it's not about possession, it's about what you make of it and we just didn't do enough. I think the biggest disappointment for me was when we lost a goal we didn't really look like coming back."

Read

Defiant Derby impresses but it's time to solve the big problem off the field

Skipper Tom Lawrence's two brilliant goals gave the Rams a fourth win in five league games and lifted them bottom of the table (Author: Gardener)

Skipper Tom Lawrence'sUnruly Derby County impressed potential buyers, but now it's time to solve the big problem. Match updates and analysis delivered straight to your inboxSomething went wrong, please try again later. Thank you for signing up. We have more newsletters. Show me all about Saturday's game. It highlighted why Derby County Football Club needs to be rescued from their current predicament and the need to stabilize the ship before using positive tailwinds to set sail. There were the fully committed players in white shirts, flexing every sinew to win the game and showing resilience and defiance in the face of all odds. There was the quality of skipper Tom Lawrence's two goals that gave the Rams a 2-0 win over Sheffield United. The first, in the 69th minute, came from an intriguing solo run that saw him lure four or five United players towards him before leaving them and hitting the net with a cross. Moments like that are what get fans going, moments like that are why we go to football games. An overall deduction of 21 points had brought Derby to rock bottom and looked certainties of relegation to League One. There is nothing certain about it now. They still face a mammoth task, no one says otherwise, and the task will become more difficult if they lose more players ahead of the January transfer window. They've lost key defender Phil Jagielka and are expected to lose midfielder Graeme Shinnie, but they've put that aside to extend a league unbeaten run to five games. 13 points from 15 lifted Derby to plus 14 and they climbed from the bottom of the table for the first time since mid-September. The gap between them and safety has been reduced to eight points with 20 games remaining and others are looking nervously over their shoulders. Derby's journey from bottom to maybe not has been amazing and manager Wayne Rooney, his staff and the players deserve all the credit they receive. If you need convincing of what it means to you, watch a video of Rooney celebrating Lawrence's second goal. It was a wonderful and dignified way to celebrate one year in office. It's been a long, tough year with so many obstacles and problems that you won't find in a How to Become a Manager manual. Rooney has handled things impressively and emerged as a leader, someone more than willing to fight the corner of the club to fight for the club's future. The combination of Rooney, the players and the fans is irresistible right now. It sends out shockwaves and underscores the club's deeply worrying position off the pitch. Derby have been in administration for almost four months and remain under a transfer embargo as they struggle with the EFL demanding proof of funding so the Rams can finish the season. That means Rooney can't offer players new deals or make commitments, even though there are three or four players waiting to come in. There are also the reported claims against Derby and we are still waiting for a preferred bidder to be announced as an important next step in rescuing the club and completing a takeover. Three interested parties are sitting at the table and are impressed by what they saw and heard on Saturday. Hope those potential buyers saw this performance, Rooney was asked. "I'm sure a lot of people are watching and that's why I say to the players, 'You guys are extremely proud,'" Rooney replied. "I think it just has to be solved. This football club has a great history and a great future and the ones who suffer the most are the fans. We're defying the odds on the pitch, we're getting some incredible wins and we are too came off the bottom of the table. We need help. Whoever it is needs to make sure it gets resolved as soon as possible." "What we're building is special," Rooney said, and there have been signs this season to support his view. There were certainly signs of a deserved win over the Blades, who have been in striking form in the league with four straight wins including a 1-0 win for a Fulham side who have scored 13 goals in their last two games. Derby held United back in the first half despite the visitors' possession and then reinforced them in the second half while they went on to keep a third clean sheet in their last five league games In my opinion, and people may disagree, we created a very good team that was in very good shape and I think it looks normal and that's not disrespectful. I said to the players at half-time: 'We're going to win this game'. I had that feeling and I think we totally deserved it," Rooney said.

Read

Man Utd face competition for Pochettino as PSG boss is 'horned out' by rival

Manchester United have dealt a blow in their longstanding pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino, who is the favorite to take over Old Trafford (Author: Gardener)

PochettinoManchester United have taken a hit in their long-standing pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino, who is said to be the favorite to take over at Old Trafford, reports say. Paris Saint-Germain manager Pochettino, 49, is the leading contender to take over the managerial post from Old Trafford at the end of the season when Ralf Rangnick's transition period comes to an end. But Pochettino is said to be keen on a Premier League return and the Red Devils could decide to test PSG's resolve with a formal approach this summer. They aren't the only club monitoring the situation, however, with a Champions League rival also weighing a nosedive. Would Mauricio Pochettino be a good fit at Manchester United? Mauricio Pochettino's Paris Saint-Germain side are aiming for the Ligue 1 title this season. That's according to the Daily Telegraph, which claims an unspecified major European club is considering a managerial change at the end of the season. The report adds that there has been no contact between PSG and the Red Devils over the manager's future. While Pochettino is the bookmakers' favorite to become United's next permanent manager, there are a number of other names in the mix. Brendan Rodgers and Erik ten Hag are among the contenders to succeed Rangnick after notable performances at Leicester City and Ajax respectively. The United interim manager is also in the frame for the permanent job, although his time at the club has been troubled so far. Manchester United must name a permanent successor to Ralf Rangnick this summer. That dealt another blow to their hopes of a top-four finish and the Old Trafford hierarchy will know their chances of luring Pochettino to the club will be slim without the prospect of Champions League football. Meanwhile, in the recent turmoil ahead of Rangnick, wanton striker Anthony Martial - who is heavily linked with a transfer to Seville - has publicly hit back at the German's claims he refused to travel to the Villa Park game.

Read

Kylian Mbappe's outburst sparks fresh speculation that he is preparing to leave PSG

Kylian Mbappe scored for Paris Saint-Germain against Brest on Saturday night but his recent outburst has added to speculation he will leave the club this year (Author: Gardener)

Kylian Mbappe'sKylian Mbappe scored for Paris Saint-Germain against Brest on Saturday night but his recent outburst has added to speculation he will leave the club this year. Kylian Mbappe's latest outburst has sparked new speculation about the striker's future at Paris Saint-Germain. The forward scored again for Mauricio Pochettino's side as they clinched a routine two-goal home win over Brest in Ligue 1 on Saturday. Mbappe opened the scoring for Les Parisiens in the 32nd minute as PSG secured the points to maintain their 11-point lead at the top of the table. The forward has been in top form all season - he is now in double figures in Ligue 1 for his goalscoring and has scored 19 goals in all competitions this season. Will Kylian Mbappe join Real Madrid this summer? Mbappe is out of contract this summer and is set to leave PSG on a free transfer. Mbappe has recently hinted at a move to Real Madrid and his latest interview suggested he is open to a move from Paris, where he is out of contract in the summer. There is speculation he will leave the club as a free agent at the end of his contract and his reaction to being cautioned in the 34th minute of Saturday's clash has raised new concerns. Mbappe was booked two minutes after scoring against Brest. The striker was cautioned by the referee with another Brest player, Ronaël Pierre-Gabriel, after a scuffle with Brest's opponent Hugo Magnetti and had to subdue an angry Mbappe. Mbappe was seen on the pitch saying: 'How could I get a yellow card?! But how could I get a yellow card?! Mbappe had to be held back over his anger at reigning former France international and Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse “He has a chance to go to his dream club, Real Madrid, and it's easier to do that for a free agent than when there is a transfer.” “A fixed-term contract for Mbappé? It's the short word that bothers me because if PSG wants to keep him, they want to keep him for as long as possible and with a permanent contract." "I don't think that will happen, I think he will go." Mbappe has in has scored 19 goals in 27 games this season – his attacking performance far surpasses that of his attacking teammates Lionel Messi and Neymar, underscoring his importance for PSG. PSG face a season-defining Champions League round of 16 match against Real Madrid - possibly Mbappe's future club - next month.

Read

PSG vs Brest: TV Channel, Live Stream, Team News & Preview

PSG will be assured of victory as they host midfield Brest in Ligue 1 (Author: Gardener)

Brest: TV Channel, Live StreamParis Saint-Germain will be hoping for another three points to move closer to the Ligue 1 title as they host Brest. PSG sit 11 points clear of Nice at the top of Ligue 1 and are firmly in control of the title race this season. Ahead of the game, Goal has the details on how to watch TV, stream online, see team news and more. In the United States (US), Ligue 1 matches can be followed live and on-demand with fuboTV (watch with a 7-day free trial). New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Apple TV, as well as a web browser. Lionel Messi has only just recovered from the coronavirus and has been ruled out for the Brest game. PSG have three players in the Africa Cup of Nations: Abdou Diallo, Achraf Hakimi and Idrissa Gana Gueye. Brest have just one player in Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations: Alergia midfielder Haris Bekebla.

Read

PSG battles Barcelona in Tanguy Ndombele

Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly locked in a transfer battle to sign Tanguy Ndombele, who is valued at €30m by Tottenham. (Author: Gardener)

BarcelonaAccording to a report by Catalan outlet El Nacional, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are fighting to sign Tanguy Ndombele from Tottenham Hotspur in the January transfer window. The France midfielder is valued at €30m by Tottenham Hotspur. Tanguy Ndombele joined Tottenham Hotspur from Lyon in July 2019 and has since endured an upside-down drive at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The 25-year-old has fallen out of favor with every manager who has been in charge of the club over the past two and a half years and is struggling to find stability at the club. Ndombele is currently a support player for Spurs, with Antonio Conte not particularly fond of him. But despite his struggles at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the player remains in high demand with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain keen to sign him. The Netherlands international remains a key player for the Blaugrana but their financial woes could force them to cash in on the youngster as he is their most valuable asset. De Jong's sale will also prompt Barcelona to look for a cheap replacement in the transfer market, bringing Ndombele into play. But Barcelona will have to hold their own against their rivals PSG in the race to sign the 25-year-old from Tottenham Hotspur this month. PSG may need to scour the market to refresh Mauricio Pochettino's midfield options as Ander Herrera and Idrissa Gueye are well into their 30s, while Marco Verratti has been struggling with a string of injuries of late. Ndombele is therefore a viable target for PSG, although AS Roma could also compete with them and Barcelona for the Frenchman, with former Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho keen on a reunion. But Spurs are set to ask around €30m to part ways with the 25-year-old, which could be a problem for Barcelona who are considering a loan deal for him.

Read

Mbappe scores as PSG extend Ligue 1 lead

Pochettino's side beat Brest 2-0 to sit 11 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 (Author: Gardener)

Ligue 1Kylian Mbappe scored the opening goal as Paris beat Saint-Germain 2-0 at the Parc des Princes Brest on Saturday, extending their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to 11 points. Mauricio Pochettino's side, who missed out on the title against Lille last season, had drawn four of their last five league games before second-placed Nice edged Nantes 2-1 on Friday to within eight points. But the capital giants had no trouble brushing Brest aside as Mbappe scored 10 goals in his last six games. "The most important thing is to have had chances and good situations," said PSG coach Pochettino. Brest were actually the better team early on and were only given a surprise lead in the ninth minute by a great save by Covid-returning Gianluigi Donnarumma to deflect Irvin Cardona's shot when the visiting striker was clean in the box. However, as the first half progressed, PSG gradually took control of the game and took the lead in the 32nd minute. Mbappe conceded Georginio Wijnaldum's pass right inside the box, sliced ​​into his man and parried a fine shot from the near post to score his 19th goal of the season. Mauro Icardi ruled out a goal for a foul just before half-time before missing a golden opportunity early in the second period when he turned the ball against the post. Wijnaldum had to be substituted at half-time with an ankle injury but Pochettino said he hoped it wasn't a serious problem and that the Dutchman would be tested. But PSG doubled their lead in the 53rd minute when Nuno Mendes' trick created room for a low cross that German defender Thilo Kehrer sidefooted home to score his second goal in as many games. The hosts had several chances to add another goal but visiting goalkeeper Marco Bizot made a series of great saves to keep the goal low. Earlier on Sunday, a 2-1 win saw Lens move from behind to fourth at bottom Saint-Etienne, who are hoping to avoid relegation for the first time since being promoted to the top flight in 2004.

Read

8.5/10 Duo Mbappé, Verratti...

Kylian Mbappe and Marco Verratti impressed in Paris Saint-Germain's 2-0 win over Stade Brest on Saturday night. (Author: Gardener)

Duo MbappéParis Saint-Germain returned to winning ways in Ligue 1 after a comfortable 2-0 win over Stade Brest on Saturday. The three points will help them maintain their healthy lead at the top of the table and move one step closer to winning the title well ahead of May. It wasn't the best start to the game for Mauricio Pochettino's side as they were disheveled by exotic counter-pressing football from Brest. But their quality finally showed when Kylian Mbappe broke the deadlock with a precise shot in the 32nd minute, leaving Marco Bizot stranded between the sticks. PSG extended their lead in the 53rd minute when Thilo Kehrer capitalized on a superb Nuno Mendes cross to score for the second game in a row. In response, Brest created a few scoring chances but were stymied by a poor finish and a superb display from the returning Gianluigi Donnarumma. PSG themselves should have added to their tally, but they hit the post once through Marco Verratti, while a sensational save and a goal-line clearance threw Marquinhos out in the second half. Here at The Hard Tackle, we'll put the PSG players in their place in their comfortable win over Brest this weekend. Gianluigi Donnarumma replaced Keylor Navas in goal and once again showed why he should be PSG's number one with an excellent performance between the posts. His ninth-minute save against Irvin Cardona was particularly striking, followed by an equally impressive goalkeeping performance that would keep Navas on the bench for games to come. Donnarumma saves PSG defense from their mishap pic.twitter.com/avyUXz4k8e It was a move that paid well for Mauricio Pochettino as a good defender support going forward, notably scoring PSG's second goal. Marquinhos has always been a defensive leader for PSG. He was flawless with his tackles, while the ability to read the game allowed him to intercept and neutralize several counterattack opportunities for Brest. More importantly, the Brazil international was extremely useful for playing the ball from behind and offering quality passes between the lines. However, the defender has settled in after a rocky start and provided good defensive support for Marquinhos for the most part. Nuno Mendes' dribbling and cross to set up Kehrer's goal was the highlight of the game. But apart from his glorious assist, he looked solid with his constant offensive support. The youngster still has room for improvement in defence, but has the potential to become a first-team regular if he can match his form and consistency in Ligue 1. It was a clean, solid goal 👏🔥❤️💙..Fantastic... and the assist was amazing... We are really grateful to have such a young talented player like Nuno Mendes on our team 🔥🔴🔵#AllezParis #PSGSB29pic.twitter.com /crRdO2EKbC Ander Herrera put on a stable performance in the middle of the park. His positioning was particularly important as he supported his midfield partners, often occupying and defending their areas as they went forward. Herrera was substituted late in the game in favor of Leandro Paredes. Marco Verratti was arguably the best player of the game for PSG. He impressed with his forays into opponents' box and created several opportunities with his silky footwork and flashy interaction with teammates. He even hit the post in the second half and was unlucky not to score or assist in that win. Georginio Wijnaldum looked like a useful attacking outlet for PSG in the first half. Angel Di Maria, returning to the side after a COVID-related absence, did well to offer creativity and skill in the last third for PSG. He was a constant threat to the Brest defense and kept them busy with his tricks on the flanks. He looked clueless as he led the PSG front, unable to make out an attacking sequence and was often caught dawdling in the penalty area. After failing to score against Lyon, Kylian Mbappe offered an improved performance in the final third. But scoring aside, the Frenchman was a constant threat due to his ability to effortlessly slip past defenders and free team-mates behind the opposition defence. Danilo Pereira added more defensive stability after coming on for Wijnaldum at half-time. He didn't do much to affect the game but was solid enough to keep things going in the middle of the park. Sergio Ramos came on in the closing stages of the game to add stability to PSG's defence. He helped the team maintain their comfortable two-goal cushion. A late replacement for Icardi. A late replacement for Herrera. A late replacement for Verratti.

Read

Full list of teams Barcelona & PSG icon have scored against

The legendary Argentine, who boasts a string of goalscoring records, has developed a habit of tormenting defenders throughout his remarkable career (Author: Gardener)

Barcelona & PSGLionel Messi has sent records through a stunning career at the highest level, with a legendary time for the Argentine at La Liga giants Barcelona followed by a spell at Ligue 1 heavyweight Paris Saint-Germain. A spirited South American has amassed seven Ballons d'Or to sit alongside a Copa America triumph with his country and the myriad of honors he's won at club level - with that haul including 10 title triumphs in Spain and four Champions League Crown. Few can claim to have come anywhere near the standards Messi has set, with defenders around the world tormented by his remarkable skills, but against which sides has he found the target? GOAL provides a full list of teams forced to take a ball out of the net. Messi, who emerged at the Camp Nou as a precocious teenager, opened his account as a senior goal-getter in a league game against Albacete on May 1, 2005 - becoming Barcelona's youngest-ever goalscorer at the time. Here is the full list of club sides Messi has scored goals against: His stint in France started slowly, but gracing a new league will give him ample opportunity to add to an ever-growing list of sides he has scored against. There was also talk of him eventually moving to MLS or returning to his native Argentina, and any stints on American soil - north or south - would allow for even more scalps to be claimed. Messi is also strong at international level, with another 80 goals scored in 158 caps there, and he will be given another chance to secure the Holy Grail of World Cup glory in late 2022 when football's greatest showcase travels to Qatar.

Read