Could we about to see the return of Wenger?

Since departing the Emirates as Arsenal both, those close to Arsene Wenger have said he has a new lease of life, a pep in his step and a fresh enthusiasm for football – however this could be about to change, with the full force of the PSG project reportedly seeking his services.

Arsenal’de Arsene Wenger dönemi bitiyor
“Arsenal’de Arsene Wenger dönemi bitiyor” by spor kolik ( )

A storm has been brewing since Paris coach Thomas Tuchel arrived in the French capital to take over from Unai Emery.

Tuchel and PSG sporting director Antero Henrique are said to be locked in a furious row over the past summer’s transfer activity, rather lack of.

The capital city club are currently flying in Ligue 1, well on track for their sixth league title in the last seven but, with European success is the barometer on which the side marks its progression, Tuchel isn’t happy with recruitment.

In their Champions League defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, a side 9/4 to win the Premier League with William Hill, Tuchel deployed wide-man Angel Di Maria and centre-back Marquinhos in a midfield trio next Adrien Rabiot, perhaps a message to PSG’s hierarchy.

According to reports in France, Wenger has been linked with replacing Henrique as PSG sporting director but moved to a more lofty position closer to Qatari chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi – this would not only overseeing recruitment, but the entire direction of the club.

Wenger hit the ground running in the Premier League, bringing with him new working methods and had a superb eye for a player. However, later in his Arsenal things began to unravel and his coaching seemed to become less effective.

The French manager practically built the Emirates from the pitch onwards, adhering to strict budgets while remaining in the CL. However, with PSG’s budget behind him, not having to worry about day-to-day coaching, this could be the perfect role for the football veteran.

It was the great Neymar – Meunier hails PSG star
“It was the great Neymar – Meunier hails PSG star” by Dickson Dagogo ( )

Wenger has long been thought of as much more than a manager, a football philosopher with his hand on the pulse, anticipating the way football was heading – taking a long term approach that PSG could benefit from.

In their search of European domination, the Parisians have pulled the trigger on big buys like Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, but are now without depth, having to sell players to conform with Financial Fair Play.

In their search of European domination, the Parisians have pulled the trigger on big buys like Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

Under a potential new regime under Wenger, you would expect him to steady the ship and build slowly, trusting youth and team chemistry above star-power.

PSG might reportedly want Wenger, but does Wenger want to step back into the relentless and ruthless football business so soon after leaving North London?

He seems to be enjoying flying around he world in a sort of football ambassadorial role and is unlikely to step into management, so a move upstairs into the organisational side of things could appeal.

However, PSG just doesn’t seem like the right fit for the 68-year-old. With unrest at Monaco and Leonardo Jardim reportedly on the verge of leaving the Principality club, don’t be surprised if Wenger is linked with a move back to the Stade Louis II, with a board role.

Questionable Endorsements: Are Footballers Playing Fair in the World of Business?

Another year, another scandal involving one of the most famous football players in the world. As you might expect, the subject of the scandal is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, currently playing for the LA Galaxy – the team said to be the retirement home for aging British footballers.

The thing that sparked the latest controversy surrounding the player is Zlatan’s involvement with a betting firm – he didn’t only sign a sponsorship deal with BetHard, becoming the company’s brand ambassador, but he has also bought into it, becoming the co-owner of the Malta-registered company. “I have obviously been intensively courted by betting companies throughout my career, but up until now I have not been presented to anything that has triggered me,” the player told SportsPro Media this March.

“With Bethard, there was something different. It’s a company with Swedish roots, the founders are from my hometown and they are true challengers who really want to do things differently.” There is a lot of controversies surrounding this decision, with the player being criticized by players, regulators, and Sweden’s Gambling Minister alike.

“I have obviously been intensively courted by betting companies throughout my career, but up until now I have not been presented to anything that has triggered me.”

Zlatan is not the first athlete to get involved with a questionable partner. Some of the endorsements we’ve had the chance to see in the past raised just as many eyebrows – yet most of them were on the funnier side.

One of the most interesting examples was the apparent relationship between quality football and dry-cured bacon promoted by former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. Born and raised in Denmark, Schmeichel obviously chose a business from its home country to become the face of. Apparently, the ad campaign was successful – the original ad involving questionable vocals by the (pretty hungover) goalkeeper resulted in a sequel filmed a decade after the first.

Rush ahead a decade or so, and you’ll stumble upon another well-known player promoting a product that shouldn’t be consumed by athletes – let alone kids, who are the most impressionable audience for sports and ads.

Emmanuel Adebayor is a Togolese professional footballer who played for a series of Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, Man City, and the Spurs. In 2012, though, he entered the playfield for another team – Power Horse. Adebayor didn’t perform as great on the small screen as he did in the playfield – his performance as the face of the energy drink is remembered as weird at best.

The history of professional football is filled with goofy, tone-deaf, and often funny advertising stunts – yet none of them are as controversial as the one involving Zlatan.

12 Things We Miss About Football in the 90’s

Football is the national obsession – and with good reason. We love watching it, talking about it, betting on it and – when we can get our dodgy knee moving – playing it.

But, you know what? There’s plenty of things we miss about the way things used to be (and that’s not just having a better knee). It’s time to don the rose tinted glasses and take a trip down memory lane to celebrate the great things we miss about football in the 1990s.

When foreign imports were new and exciting

The likes of Eden Hazard and Sergio Agüero are still exciting – and there are many great things about the fact that the English Premier League attracts the best and brightest talent from across the world. However, nothing will quite top the novelty that surrounded Bergkamp, Zola, Yeboah and even Jan Age Fjortoft – the exotic and exciting foreign talent fielded by every top tier team in the brave new era of the Premier League.

Old grounds

Shiny new stadiums are all well and good but they lack the rough-and-ready charm of the grounds we knew and loved in the 90s. Highbury, the Old Wembley, Highfield Road, The Dell and Roker Park are all sadly missed in that regard.

Dodgy barnets

This current batch of footballers are just too stylish. While the outrage surrounding Paul Pogba’s haircut from so-called ‘proper football men™’ is laughable, we can’t help but feel nostalgic for the genuinely dodgy barnet of the 90s. Give us a Barry Venison mullet, a Romania 98 bleach or, best of all, a Jason Lee pineapple any day.

Footballers who looked a bit more like us

It wasn’t just the hair we loved about 90s footballers – it was also the fact that they just looked a little bit more like us. Today’s bunch are finely tuned super-athletes capable of physical feats beyond us mere mortals. The 90s, however, gave us Jan Molby and an aged John Wark and Alan Cork. They were almost certainly much fitter than us, but at least they didn’t look it.

When money wasn’t completely everything

It felt like a big deal when Manchester United broke the transfer record to spend £7 million to sign Andy Cole from Newcastle – and an even bigger deal when Newcastle more than doubled that a year later to snap up Alan Shearer from Blackburn. Yet now those numbers seems pretty quaint – and the sort of figures that buy a back up full back for Man City. From transfer fees to ticket prices, it feels as though money has spiralled out of control since then.

Goalkeeper kits

There were some pretty special kits in the 90s – but the brightest, boldest and best were reserved for the goalkeepers. Whether it’s the Newcastle kit sporting the city’s skyline, the Sunderland shirt with a pair of goalkeeping gloves on the front, the Manchester United shirts from 92/93 that resembled impressionist paintings or – best of all – David Seaman’s Euro 96 ‘Refreshers’ shirt – the keeper kits of the 90s were gloriously weird and wonderful.

Football Italia

The super smooth James Richardson sitting outside a café leafing through the Italian papers with an alluring gelato, the goals from George Weah et al and ‘that’ music (goooolazzo), Football Italia set the bar when it came to covering foreign football. Nothing now quite captures the fun of Channel Four’s Italian adventure.

Fantasy Football League

Football Italia wasn’t the only TV show we miss from the 90s, however. David Baddiel and Frank Skinner’s Euro 96 anthem ‘Three Lions’ might have enjoyed a new lease of life this summer as Gareth Southgate’s men marched on to the World Cup semi finals – but their 90s TV show Fantasy Football League deserves similar acclaim. Across three series, the comedians – and Angus ‘Statto’ Loughran – welcomed a series of guests to their sofa in a show that blended the new found love of fantasy football games (which are now, let’s face it, a bit old hat) with a chat show format. Regular skits included Phoenix From The Flames – which saw famous moments recreated – and Jeff Astle Sings – in which the West Brom legend would perform a classic track over the closing credits.

The celebrations

Dele Alli might have caught the eye with that funny celebration that people are struggling to get their head around – but unusual celebrations like that are all too few and far between now. The 90s gave us Klinsmann’s slide, Ravanelli’s ‘shirt over the head’, Gazza’s dentist chair and – best of all – Aylesbury Town’s duck celebration when they made the third round of the FA Cup in 1994. Schools and parks across the country saw these classics routines replicated with joy.

Matt Le Tissier

The Premier League is blessed with an abundance of superstars – and a regular array of breathtaking goals – but that doesn’t mean that we don’t miss the one man highlights reel that was Matt Le Tissier. Sure, there are good strikes most weeks now – but ask yourself how many would make the Saints star’s top goals list and you’ll realise why we look back on ‘Le Tiss’ so fondly.

Mad characters

Le Tiss brought the goals – but there were a host of other players who brought the madness to the party. Eric Cantona (and his infamous kung fu kick at Crystal Palace), Julian Dicks, Vinny Jones, Roy Keane and Duncan Ferguson were the sort of stark raving bonkers characters that we just don’t see any more.

Big clubs

Aston Villa, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest – we miss you being good.

Our obsession with football shows no signs of abating – and there’s plenty to keep us entertained in the modern day – but there’s little doubt that the 90s had a lot going for it. Football in the 1990s had a glint in its eye and a sense of silliness and humour that the present day could learn a thing or two from.

Start to The Premier League – What has happened

We are already one month into the Premier League season and it has past fast, now with the International break coming it is time to reflect on the winners and losers so far.

The break will come as a much needed rest for managers Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini but Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri and Watford manager Javier Gracia will probably looking at getting back to action as soon as possible.

The Winners so Far

Teams which are in a winning form normally want to continue that form and not have a break. So whilst the following teams are the winners so far, they will be sure to want to get back started as soon as possible after this break. Find out more about Betstars at the NJ Code website if you want to make your predictions for the upcoming games.

Chelsea

In the first few weeks Maurizio Sarri has taken Chelsea to the top of the Premier League with 4 wins from 4, scoring 10 goals and only conceding 3. The team have set their stall out to be contenders for the title come May. With players such as Willian and Pedro in fine form as well as Hazard and others they will be looking to continue winning when the Premier League starts again.

Liverpool

Another team which has a perfect record and sits number 1 in the league is Juergen Klopp’s Liverpool team. They have have scored 9 goals and only conceded one. Whilst the team has won 4 games, the major attacking force of Firmino, Mane and Salah have not actully hit full form. With this, the Liverpool FC fans will be hoping that once they do start scoring they will become serious contenders for the league.

Watford

The biggest surprise to the start of the Premier League season is Watford winning 4 of 4 matches. The biggest win came last week when they beat Tottenham Hotspur after going down 2-0.

Losers So Far

The break has come at a good time for several teams in the Premier League, especially the following two teams.

Manchester United

Jose Mourinho is a manager under pressure to win games and with the team sitting in 10th position winning 2 and losing 2 games. The biggest disappointment was probably not the defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion 3-1 it was the manner they lost 3-0 at home in Manchester to Tottenham Hotspur. This break will give the players and team time to reassess how they go ahead to compete with the top team.

West Ham United

The biggest losers to the first 4 games are London team West Ham United, losing 4 consecutive games sitting bottom having only scored 2 goals. The team have been beaten to Liverpool, Bournemouth, Arsenal and Wolves to start the campaign. The biggest surprise is that the hammers invested heavily in the transfer period over summer and have yet to win to a game.

England vs Switzerland Preview

England will be hoping for an improved performance when they face Switzerland at the King Power Stadium in Leicester tomorrow evening. England were beaten 2-1 in the Nations League by Spain.

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli has been withdrawn from the England squad for with a minor muscle strain which was picked up in Saturday’s game. Spurs fans will be hopeful of a full recovery in time for their Premier League match against Liverpool FC this weekend. Fanduel sportsbook offers a great deal for new customers to the website.

Normally players receive treatment by the FA Medical staff but Alli has returned to his club team.

Another absentee for the England team is Manchester United’s Luke Shaw. The record signing left back suffered concussion as he collided with Spanish player Dani Carvajal. Luke Shaw has also returned back to team as he aims to recover.

Kick it Out Anniversary

The friendly against Switzerland will be broadcast in black and white for the first 25 seconds of the game to honour Kick It Out’s 25th anniversary. The picture will go without colour and will be broadcast the same around the world. Fans in the UK and Ireland can watch the game on Sky Sports.

“black and white showing a powerful reminder of how far football has come”.

A spokesman for the English FA stated the reason behind this is to underline the “importance of diversity”.

The Kick It Out chair Lord Herman Ouseley said he hoped it will be a “powerful reminder of how far football has come”.

All England players will show their support by warming up in Kick it Out-branded T-shirts and will enter the pitch alongside eight mascots nominated by the organisation.

Kick It Out have been a catalyst for the change in English football both on and off the pitch and we’re delighted to celebrate their inspirational work 

The FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board chairman released a statement stating that  “Kick It Out have been a catalyst for the change in English football both on and off the pitch and we’re delighted to celebrate their inspirational work in promoting football for all. Hopefully the footage will encourage the millions of viewers at home to spend at least 25 seconds thinking about the importance of diversity in this beautiful game of ours.”

Whilst tickets are still on sale for the game, fans are expected to make the game a sell-out crowd. England reached the semi-final of the World Cup this summer and will be keen to continue their fine form.

Is Betting On The Premier League a Good Idea?

Soccer is the most popular sport in the betting world. This game has proudly taken the biggest slice of the betting pie and especially the English Premier League. It is not just as easy as predicting which teams will bring trophies home. At Sbobet, you can place bets on teams’ fate and make money.

There are many people out there trying their hand on the betting arena and no sure how to go about it. Soccer betting is no longer confined to few people; it has taken over the world. Every season, betting sites rake in millions and millions of pounds. If you think betting on the Premier League is not a good idea, then nothing is good enough.

How do you make a winning bet?

Winning soccer bets is not easy, but it’s possible and happens every day. However, there is also a huger percent of betters who lose every season and still do not give up. Betting on the English Premier leagues comes with challenges and pitfalls. If you are not sure you want to bet, stay away because it’s not for the halfhearted. Though you will get betting tips and opinions based on different teams’ performance, you are never guaranteed a 100%.

Learn the basics

Every person who places a bet wants to be among the 20% who win big money. The first step towards achieving this is learning the basics of betting. It will help you build up and know what risks to take and avoid those that can ruin you financially. Sbobet is one of the different betting sites to help you sharpen your skills in betting. They provide you with plenty of tips and information to help you know the best teams. But, betting has no perfect prediction, you must be discerning. Use common sense at all times and you should follow the leads you get through your background research.

Choose the right betting site

Placing bets on the English Premiere League is fruitful for both beginners and pros. However, bet with people who are not very experienced if you are a newbie. Some sites put you against seasoned betters; stay away from the big league until you have gained enough experience.

Find a bookmarker

A bookmarker will help as you start your betting career. Check their betting style and choose the one that suits you best. Before you agree with their terms and conditions, read the fine print. This will ensure that you are not forced or compromised in any situation. The sports bookmarker must also be from a reputable and well known company. Before you choose the bookmarker, read reviews and go for the one rated highly.

Sbobet makes English Premiere League bets are promising, but just like all other sport bets; there is always a chance of losing. Research and read widely before you place one. EPL is full of surprises, you never which teams will end up dominating this season. It is fun and with betting, it’s more exciting.

 

Footballs going broke? The top 10 Premier League clubs with the most debt

premier league

Fresh from a glorious World Cup and a frenetic transfer window, the Premier League returned last weekend to the joy of the football loving public who had to go a whole four weeks without any competitive matches to watch.

The start of a new season is a time for clubs to showcase their big money signings and justify why these athletes are worth the money splashed out on them.

This transfer window was an expensive one with over £1bn spent in total. Liverpool topped the table in terms of transfer expenditure, parting with £177m across the summer, Chelsea were the second biggest spenders with £128m followed surprisingly by newly promoted Fulham who spent £105.3m.

Liverpool topped the table in terms of transfer expenditure, parting with £177m across the summer, Chelsea were the second biggest spenders with £128m

These kind of spending sprees can give club accountants a bit of a headache, and it’s no surprise that the majority of Premier League teams are in a substantial amount of debt.

A new tool created by Know Your Money has revealed the debts of the Premier Leagues clubs and allows you to compare your postcodes debts against them.

So which teams could do with a bit of a spending freeze?

  1. Arsenal – £227m
  2. Brighton & Hove Albion – £207m
  3. Tottenham Hotspur – £
  4. Manchester United – £503m185m
  5. Liverpool – £182m
  6. Newcastle United – £129m
  7. Cardiff City – £127m
  8. Everton – £104m
  9. West Ham United – £89m
  10. Manchester City – £66m

 

So how does your postcode stack up to the spending of the Premier League? Take a look at the tool below and see where you come in the table!

Why English Football Is Growing Financially

Every product needs to provide value to its customers which will make them come back for more. For the English premier league, their customers are the over 750 million people watching the most bankable league in the world in over 200 countries.

How did they get away from posing operating losses ten years ago, to have every team in the premier raising operating profit in 2018?

Football finance is managed judiciously by professionals who understand the market of balancing wages and revenue. For the first time in a long while, the wage/revenue ratio dropped to 55 percent as the premier league recorded a £4.5 billion income in the just-concluded season.

According to Deloitte, the five big leagues in Europe which are; France, England, Spain, Italy, and Germany are all worth £12.5 billion in the market. The English premier league made more money than the rest of the big five by posting 86% increase over its nearest rivals La Liga.

The European football market is worth €25 billion, but it didn’t just happen. After several years of marketing European leagues at home and across the world, experts have found a leading theory and fact why the English league is growing financially from strength to strength.

According to Deloitte, the five big leagues in Europe which are; France, England, Spain, Italy, and Germany are all worth £12.5 billion in the market.

UEFA fair play rule

The financial fair play rules adopted by UEFA in 2010 have gone a long way in making sure football clubs don’t accumulate debt. Going by the statue of the same body, it recognizes that clubs have a primary duty to their employees, other clubs, tax and creditors of the club.

For that reason, clubs have tried in the 7-8 years of its implementation, to balance their books. Failure to do so might result in a punishment like deduction of points, ban on transfer activity for a specified period, withholding of revenue for the team in Uefa competitions and many more.

Fair play measures have made clubs more financially disciplined, and this had impacted the English premier league.

Increase in broadcasting rights

The open bidding currently been expressed in the premier league have caused the broadcasting rights for premier league matches to cost more than other leagues.

Skysport, Bt sports, and some other media companies that indicated interest made the 2019 deal signed much lesser than what was approved in 2015. It means that currently, premier league teams earn more from the TV right deal in 2015 that was said to be ‘overpriced’ than what it will receive in 2019.

It has all contributed to why premier league teams are growing in operating profit than other places in Europe.

Shirt sponsorship

English clubs are known for their substantial sponsorship deals with brands both in and around the UK. As an international brand, it’s no surprise why Chevrolet an American company pays £40 million for the shirt sponsorship of Manchester United. The same amount can almost be seen for the Liverpool deal, as well as Yokohama a Japanese company sponsoring Chelsea football club of London jerseys.

If we combine that amount with the amount of money coming from ticket sales and memorabilia, it no surprise why football in the UK is bankable and Cashfloat gives loan to the people who require money in a career of football.

Wolves have the momentum could ruffle a few feathers in the Premier League

Premier League new-boys Wolverhampton Wanderers regained their top flight status after walking the Championship last season. The big spenders won the division by 9pts ahead of second placed Cardiff City and rarely looked troubled throughout the whole campaign.

Alongside manager Nuno Espirito Santo’s appointment, the club’s considerable investment from their new Chinese owners has played a major part in their changed fortunes. Fosun International, the Chinese group of investors in question who purchased the club in 2016, have links to super agent Jorge Mendes, who represents the likes of Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo, to name a few.

With both Fosun International’s finances and Mendes’ contacts in the game, the club were tipped to be a dangerous force moving forward and that’s exactly how it turned out to be in the Championship last campaign. The same could be on the cards this season in the Premier League, especially if the midlands club continue to splash the cash and carry on their momentum from last season into the new one.

A number of notable signings were made last season, especially when you consider they were a Championship side, with the likes of Porto’s Reuben Neves – arguably the best player in the division last season, Atletico Madrid’s Diogo Jota, Villarreal’s Alfred N’Diaye and Konyaspor’s Barry Douglas, alongside a whole host of other signings as the club looked to start the new era under their new owners and manager in style.

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Fast forward to the summer of 2018 and Wolves and their ‘recruitment advisor’ Mendes are continually linked with big names as they look to make their mark further. Names such as Valencia right-back Joao Cancelo, West Brom’s James McClean, former Manchester City stars Yaya Toure and Mario Balotelli, and Paris Saint-Germain winger Goncalo Guedes have been in the frame. Willy Boly, who was with the club last season on-loan from Porto, and Mexico’s Raul Jimenez, signed on loan from Benfica, have already joined the club.

Should Wolves have another successful summer of recruitment then former Porto boss Nuno Espirito Santo could have another dangerous side to work with, even in a harder and more competitive Premier League.

(Image via https://twitter.com/sexi_seker)

The 44 year-old boss has won plenty of admirers in English football since arriving at Wolves, not only because of his ability to blend their team of foreign stars together, but also because he did it in an attractive, easy-on-the-eye manner. The owners love him, the fans adore him and the players all seemed to enjoy last season under him and his methods.

Judging by the bookies’ predictions, Wolves aren’t a relegation threatened side compared to other Premier League teams, which is quite something for a newly promoted club. Odds of 5/1 (Betfred) highlight the unlikelihood of that happening.

A more likely scenario perhaps, especially given the fact they’re coming into the league after a hugely positive Championship season, is a top 10 finish. Betfred have them down as evens to do exactly that. Alternatively, a top six finish is priced at 9/1 (Betfred)

A top six finish, which isn’t out of the question, especially if agent Mendes’ influence continues to bring in top talent from around the world, is priced at 9/1. A Betfred free bet welcome offer means you wouldn’t have to put down your own money with this offer.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have aspirations to break the mould in England and compete with the best in the Premier League. They aren’t just there to make up the numbers. With a summer of further investment on the cards, the Wanderers could be a real force next campaign and beyond.

5 things we learned after England’s win over Tunisia

So, England are off to a flyer at the World Cup. Well, maybe not a flyer, but a win, nonetheless. Don’t knock it – it’s the first time the England team have won their opening game of the tournament since edging Paraguay 1-0 in 2006.

The performance against Tunisia wasn’t perfect, and England certainly had to go through the gears to break down stubborn and organised opponents. But given what we’ve seen from some of the World Cup’s favourites in their respective opening matches – Germany losing, Argentina, Brazil and Spain all drawing – three points can’t be sniffed at.

As always, there’s plenty to discuss and analyse – ahead of the second Group G fixture, against Paraguay, here are five things we learned about this England squad…

Gareth Southgate’s in-game management is sound

Much has been written about Southgate in the run-up to the tournament, noting all the good, progressive work he’s done so far in his career as England coach, and all of that praise is fair and well deserved. But Southgate knows that, for better or worse, he’ll be judged by his performances at the World Cup – and he made a good start. With the clock ticking down and the pressure to get a winner mounting, Southgate didn’t panic. He resisted the temptation to merely sling onto the field. Instead, his two substitutions at 1-1 were measured – Marcus Rashford for Raheem Sterling, Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Dele Alli. England kept their shape, both subs injected a bit of urgency, and patience won the day.

Harry Kane’s goalscoring instinct is razor sharp

Two years ago, at Euro 2016, Kane failed to score in the tournament. He looked jaded, possibly burned out. The abiding memory of him from that time is the baffling decision to put him on corner taking duties – there can’t have been many other nations who’d choose to use their centre-forward in that way. Freed from set-piece responsibilities, Kane was in the right place at the right time against Tunisia. Twice, he found himself in space in the penalty area, on hand to convert both chances that fell his way. That’s where England need Kane – right in the danger zone, not floating corners into the area where a striker should be. His goalscoring instinct looks sharp in Russia, which is a positive sign.

Ashley Young’s place is under threat

Southgate’s decision to start Ashley Young in the left wing-back role, ahead of Danny Rose, seemed a controversial one from the off, and it didn’t really work out. The Manchester United man, the oldest player in the England squad, didn’t make the most of his opportunity and offered little going forward. He continually turned inside his man rather than getting a cross over, especially in the second half and must be sweating on his starting place against Panama. On the plus side, it was his corner that led to England’s opener. With Rose breathing down his neck, his place is potentially under threat.

Kieran Trippier has seized his chance

If anyone really grabbed his chance against Tunisia, it was Kieran Trippier. The Spurs right-back has benefited from Southgate’s decision to switch Kyle Walker to a back three – the more conventional approach would have been to keep Walker at RWB and play Gary Cahill or Eric Dier in defence, but as we’re realising, Southgate isn’t afraid to mix things up. Trippier was excellent against Tunisia. Driving forward with the ball at pace, he was a brilliant outlet for England and delivered several testing crosses. Surely keeps his place.

England are in decent shape

Whisper it quietly, but the early indications are that England could make their mark in this tournament. Obviously, their chances of getting to the final are still unlikely with Brazil or Germany likely opponents in the second round or quarter final, and it must be remembered that this is still a young England squad very much finding its feet at this level. But still; if England can go about their business as they did in the first half against Tunisia, all fluent movement and incisive attacking play, they’ll do a lot of good in Russia and win plenty of admirers. A series of positive performances would be considered success – and England have started well.

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