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Friday Kickoff: Man City considering Toure sale; Hodgson angered by NFL in London; and more

Yaya Toure (AP)

By RYAN TOLMICH

Despite seemingly moving past the now highly-publicized Birthday-Gate, the relationship between Manchester City and midfielder Yaya Toure has never fully recovered.

The reigning Premier League champions are reportedly interested in selling the Ivorian star this summer if the 31-year-old’s form considers to slump. While not actively pursuing a sale, the club are said to be open to offers out of concern that Toure will never quite get back to the level that led the club to two titles in three seasons.

Man City are reportedly already looking towards finding a replacement for the star midfielder and have been linked to Everton’s Ross Barkley, Juventus’ Paul Pogba and Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus.

The team reached a new low in European competition Wednesday with a 2-1 loss to CSKA Moscow that sees Man City fall to last place in their group with just a pair of games remaining.

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Friday morning:

HODGSON FRUSTRATED BY NFL AT WEMBLEY

Don’t count Roy Hodgson among those excited for the NFL’s return to Wembley.

Sunday’s meeting between the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars is set to be the league’s latest foray across the pond this season, which is something that has left the England manager frustrated due to increasingly bad pitch conditions at Wembley Stadium ahead of England’s matchup with Slovenia the following weekend.

“I am a football coach, a football manager, and I am talking about English football, not American football,” Hodgson said. “I don’t really think you could expect me to say: ‘Excellent, delighted, well done.’ I’m realistic, I’m pragmatic and this match [on Sunday] has been organised for a period of time. The pitch, unfortunately, is not in the best of nick anyway, which we’re all a bit unhappy with.

“We have had one and now we have another one,” Hodgson added. “I can’t pretend that is something that makes me leap for joy. I would be very hypocritical if I was to do so but I accept it. It is a decision Wembley has made and I know the groundstaff will work very hard to give us the best pitch they can. And if it is not at the very best level, then that is something for  (Club England managing director Adrian Bevington) to take up and try to improve.”

Hodgson went on to say that, while he is unhappy with the situation, he expects the field to be in the best possible condition going forward.

“The game’s on Sunday and after that we will have to have a look at it,” Hodgson said. “The pitch is not as good as it has been in the past. We all know that. But I know one thing – the ground staff will be working their socks off from Sunday evening through to Saturday to make it as good as it can possibly be.”

ROMA BOSS PALOTTA BELIEVES TEAM CAN STILL WIN SCUDETTO

Following losses at the hands of Juventus and Napoli, there has been plenty of reason of concern with Roma’s recent performances. However, president James Palotta remains unfazed by the dip and form and insists there are still trophies that can be won by the Italian club.

The American, whose side slumped to another loss to Bayern Munich this week in Champions League play, believes Roma are still in contention for the Scudetto, a trophy that the club hasn’t won since 2001.

“We leave Munich with belief; the team gave their reply by showing what they are capable of,” Pallotta said. “Our future is now in our own hands and I believe we can win the Scudetto. In fact, I’m convinced we can win it. Why shouldn’t we?

“We’ve got a strong squad and I have no doubts about our quality. We may be second and three points behind Juve, but we can recover that. We’re aiming to play a great season, getting back to winning ways against Torino on Sunday. I’ve got great faith in Roma.”

QUICK KICKS

Bayern Munich fullback David Alaba will undergo surgery after suffering a partial tear to his medial ligament. (REPORT)

AC Milan Filippo Inzaghi has called for the club’s supporters to show patience in the wake of a frustrating string of results. (REPORT)

Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo is set to miss at least six weeks with a dislocated shoulder. (REPORT)

Diego Costa has been left off the most recent Spain squad for fitness precautions. (REPORT)

Holland manager Guus Hiddink says he will resign of the team loses its upcoming Euro 2016 qualifier to Latvia. (REPORT)

Comments

  1. Wow, just like Hodgson to the FA, I expressed my annoyance to the administrators at my high school back in the early 90’s and I was openly critical of the scheduling of football activities in our stadium. I said something like, hey guys, I’m unhappy with the fact that we have to share the game field with the football team and I’m unhappy that by week 2 the middle of the field turns into a muddy swamp, and invariably freezes in week 4. I know you’re all also unhappy and upset that the quality of play will suffer, and I know you’re all worried that we may turn an ankle. But, it should be said that even though I’m unhappy with the situation, I trust that the ground staff (in our case ground staff / janitor, i.e., Mickey) will work his socks off to give us the best field that he can. We will adapt and get on with it. It’s a good thing this football stuff is just temporary anyway. Eerily similar circumstances. Of course, as pointed out above, no real ground staff to speak of, but Mickey mowed the grass, occasionally, and applied somewhat straight lines around the field. Though, he refused to put up the nets. Thankfully, our freshmen enthusiastically volunteered. Yes sir, just like Hodgson.

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  2. Psssh, why does the English national team share a stadium with an NFL team?! Why don’t they get their own soccer-specific stadium?! Hell, next thing you know, they’ll be installing field turf at Wembley. What a joke…

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    • He would just be buried behind David Silva…. Hopefully he has learned from watching guys like Rodwell that it is in fact possible to transfer to a big team later in life like at say 24.

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      • Barkely wouldn’t be buried behind Silva. He’d be the replacement for Yaya.
        Also, Rodwell is no where near the player Barkley is. There’s a reason the only suitor for Rodwell was Sunderland.

  3. The Jags – Cowboys game is actually the third NFL game at Wembley in the last 7 weeks – Roy’s got a point. Although, I never understood why they don’t move England matches around the country more than they do.

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    • The FA addressed this recently and said it was because they need to have to games at Wembley to pay off the stadium and it’ll be about ten years before they can start playing at other venues. While Wembley was being built, England played all over the country and I thought it was great. It isn’t exactly easy to get to London from the north and this way everyone can see their national team. Plus, it ensured sellouts and enthusiastic crowds for every game because it was an event for England to play in Norwich or Leicester or Southampton, for example.

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      • Thanks for the background. I was wondering the same thing as DC. Well maybe these NFL games will help pay off the stadium sooner. I wonder how well they are being attended.

      • They are doing very well. The two games played thus far this season have drawn 83,000+, effectively capacity for American football games. The third and final game this weekend is expected to sell out as well.

        The NFL just renewed for 3 more games at Wembley next year, including the first intra-division game (NYJ-MIA).

      • The British Treasury Chief went on record last week stating England will do whatever it [takes] to make this happen and get an NFL team permanently. The NFL seems share this admiration, too.

        I’m neutral on this without knowing a lot of the logistical facts, but I’m also not crazy about an American sports team taking their local revenues (however big or small) abroad.

        Then there’s the discussion of a Super Bowl being played overseas.

      • You can also look at it as foreign sports team bringing its revenues stateside, considering revenue is shared in NFL.

        I personally loath football, but the idea of a team in London is very intriguing to me.

      • They are indeed both very serious about the idea. The NFL has effectively saturated the American market…. finding a way to globalize their product is the “final frontier” of new revenue for them.

        As Ian says above, this is acutally much more a case of British/European revenue coming into the NFL than revenue being exported (of course, it al ends up in the pockets of the billionaire owners, so you could say it doesn’t really matter).

      • Thanks for the background on Wembley, might ba long time before the national team plays up north again – a real shame.

        As for the NFL their, 3 games a season is still a novelty, a full time team, especially if they are terrible (like the Jaguars) wont draw much after the first year or two.

      • I think they’ll always draw well. The question is what will the level of interest be among those not actually at the game.

  4. Do City really think Yaya Toure is their problem? He is one of the few actual leaders and matchwinners in a team with way too much overpaid fluff. He might not be at his best right now (and at 31, City do need to think about a replacement), but I struggle to understand how he is the problem.

    At any rate I can think of a lot of teams who could use him, provided they can handle his high wages.

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    • Yes and no. If he isn’t at 100%, he really unbalances their team in midfield. I think this problem only shows up in Europe when they play teams that challenge them in the middle.(2 center mids) There is only 1 team in the PL with a top tier all around midfield and that is Chelsea. Arsenal’s midfield cant defend, United’s cant defend, Liverpool nope, City is flawed there.

      Southhampton has a solid midfield and is third. Sooo… ya. Yaya is a problem but only because he can’t/won’t play at 100% all the time.

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      • Nearly all of these guys are narcissistic wack jobs off the pitch. Look at Maradona. They’re pro athletes — they haven’t had contact with reality since they were 14.

        On the pitch, he has consistently driven performance of the team, very often delivering the important goals when the attack floundered.

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