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Ronaldo expertise ´essential´ for Portugal, says Martinez after thrashing Luxembourg

Roberto Martinez hailed the expertise of Cristiano Ronaldo because the 38-year-old scored twice in Portugal’s 6-0 thrashing of Luxembourg.

Ronaldo adopted up his brace in opposition to Liechtenstein on Thursday with one other on Sunday on the Stade de Luxembourg as Portugal made it two wins from two to start out their Euro 2024 qualifying marketing campaign.

Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva, Otavio and Rafael Leao added the opposite targets, and Martinez was fast to reward Ronaldo for his contributions within the Spaniard’s first video games as head coach.

“Cristiano has unimaginable worldwide expertise, in all probability distinctive as he’s the one participant [in the world] with 198 caps,” he mentioned at a post-match press convention. “His expertise is essential within the dressing room.”

Former Belgium boss Martinez additionally claimed he was happier with one other clear sheet than together with his crew’s attacking show, and reserved reward for 19-year-old centre-back Antonio Silva, who changed Goncalo Inacio from the Liechtenstein win.

“I worth the zero targets in opposition to greater than the six targets, the penalty and the nice attacking recreation we performed right here in Luxembourg,” he mentioned. “This recreation was not simple. What was vital in each video games was work and consistency.

“It wasn’t simply altering a number of the choices. There are numerous choices, it was extra a change as a result of bodily calls for. It was vital to see Goncalo Inacio play properly within the first recreation [v Liechtenstein], however for a younger man, three days after a recreation, it was additionally vital for him to relaxation.

“It was vital to see Antonio Silva coming into a vital place, getting on the ball and going up in opposition to Luxembourg’s assault.

“It was good to see Antonio Silva along with the expertise of Ruben Dias and Danilo Pereira. And Rui Patricio was additionally excellent, so the crew was very sturdy defensively on this recreation.”

Portugal prime Group J forward of Slovakia by two factors, with the subsequent spherical of fixtures coming in June when the Selecao host Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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Participant rankings as Saka evokes comfy win

Bukayo Saka’s aim and help proved to the distinction between England and Ukraine on Sunday night of their Euro 2024 qualifying conflict at Wembley Stadium.

Saka arrange Harry Kane’s opener after the half hour mark, earlier than he doubled his facet’s lead with a surprising strike from the sting of the penalty space.

As anticipated, England dominated the opening exchanges of the sport, pinning Ukraine again into their very own defensive third by controlling possession. Regardless of their territorial dominance nonetheless, the Three Lions hardly ever regarded like threatening the opposition aim.

England must wait till the half hour mark to create their first notable opening, with a fast James Maddison set piece supply catching Ukraine on the hop and discovering Kane unmarked within the field. The ahead’s subsequent volleyed effort on the stretch flew over the crossbar.

Kane would make amends for that miss 5 minutes later when Saka curled the ball into his path on the again put up. England’s all-time prime scorer made no mistake this time together with his volley, coolly side-footing into the again of the web.

Saka would then double England’s lead with a surprising strike only a few minutes later. The Arsenal star turned previous his marker on the sting of the field earlier than brilliantly side-footing into the highest left nook.

It regarded like England had been set to push on and rating just a few extra objectives within the second half to safe a press release win, however they did not actually attempt to.

As a substitute, the Three Lions merely stored the ball ticking over in and across the Ukraine field with out ever wanting bothered to have a pop at aim.

A number of substitutions late on lastly re-energised England’s assault a bit, with Jack Grealish and Conor Gallagher combining contained in the field earlier than the latter pressured Anatoliy Trubin into a wise save.


GK – Jordan Pickford – 5/10 – He had actually nothing to do.

RB – Kyle Walker – 6/10 – Coated nicely when Ukraine sporadically threatened.

CB – John Stones – 5/10 – Did not have a lot to do defensively.

CB – Harry Maguire – 5/10 – Principally performed as a midfielder.

LB – Ben Chilwell – 6/10 – Obtained ahead nicely however his ultimate supply was missing for a lot of the sport.

CM – Jude Bellingham – 7/10 – The very best of the midfield three. Darted across the field with actual intent all through.

CM – Jordan Henderson – 5/10 – Stored issues ticking over in midfield however slowed play down method an excessive amount of at instances within the second half.

CM – Declan Rice – 5/10 – England in all probability did not must play two defensive midfielders on this sport.

RW – Bukayo Saka – 8/10 – Bagged a surprising aim and an help. The very best participant on the pitch.

ST – Harry Kane – 7/10 – Added to his report England aim tally within the first half.

LW – James Maddison – 6/10 – A number of very nice touches on his first England begin. Maybe lacked a bit high quality together with his ultimate supply into the field at instances.


SUB – Ivan Toney – N/A.

SUB – Conor Gallagher – N/A.

SUB – Jack Grealish – N/A.

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Subsequent Membership Of The Sporting Director Will Be?

Though little was recognized about him in France earlier than his arrival at AS Monaco, Paul Mitchell had been introduced into the fold as AS Monaco’s Sporting Director. After spells at Southampton and Tottenham, the 38-year-old, who had been with RB Leipzig earlier than his function at Monaco, is about to tackle a brand new problem in keeping with his current interview – which said that he’ll depart the French membership on the finish of the 2023 season. Former modest British footballer who retired from soccer at simply 27, at the moment he can boast of getting given gamers like Dele Alli and Sadio Mane their large break.

He’s at the moment employed by Ligue 1 facet Monaco as their sporting director, having earned appreciable reward for his shrewd dealings within the switch market over the previous few years. Now that he has formally introduced that he will likely be leaving the previous French Champions come the top of the season, FootTheBall check out Mitchell and what he might probably be set to deliver to his future suitors.

Who’s Paul Mitchell?

His portfolio is spectacular, to say the least. Virtually unbelievable. Pragmatic, the British-born addition isn’t one to draw back from threat, as evidenced by the numerous possibilities he has taken all through his profession. His foremost exploit appears to be discovering gamers in decrease divisions or secondary leagues and turning them into worldwide stars, similar to Senegalese worldwide Sadio Mane, who was noticed at Crimson Bull Salzburg and who’s now one among Liverpool’s profitable gamers below Jurgen Klopp.

That’s not all. Paul Mitchell has additionally introduced Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld, Heung-min Son, Kieran Trippier, Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pellè, Nordi Mukiele and Dayot Upamecano into the limelight. Completed gamers, all of them arrived timidly within the completely different golf equipment the place Mitchell was concerned.

Mitchell is a former footballer turned recruitment skilled, who retired from the sport in 2009. The Englishman represented the likes of Wigan Athletic and Milton Keynes Dons, while he additionally launched into a variety of lower-league loans all through his profession.

He was by no means afforded an opportunity within the top-flight earlier than harm pressured him to retire on the age of 27 earlier than being supplied an ambassadorial function with MK Dons.

Paul Mitchell’s recruitment profession to this point

It wasn’t lengthy earlier than the now 40-year-old turned his consideration to recruitment having been handed a chance at Stadium:MK. He continued his eye-catching work with Southampton earlier than a transfer to Tottenham Hotspur in 2014.

Mitchell was credited with the signings of Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld, Son Heung-Min and Kieran Trippier in his spell in north London. Regardless of being a vastly profitable colleague of Mauricio Pochettino, he didn’t stick with Spurs and subsequent confirmed up at German outfit RB Leipzig in February 2018.

After two seasons of constructing a formidable facet at Tottenham Hotspur with Mauricio Pochettino, which reached the 2019 Champions League closing a number of years later, relations between Paul Mitchell and the membership’s administration grew to become strained. He resigned in 2016, with 16 months’ discover. This was sufficient to catch the attention of main European golf equipment, similar to Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, who realised what a chance it will be to collaborate with the British footballing wizard. Lastly, in February 2018, Mitchell got here to RB Leipzig. Creating the youth squads, and the mission on the whole, swayed the ex-Southampton participant.

Promoted to Crimson Bull’s Chief Technical Director only a 12 months and a half after arriving in Leipzig, Paul Mitchell coordinated the Crimson Bull groups and its many satellite tv for pc golf equipment, together with Crimson Bull New York, Reb Bull Salzburg and Crimson Bull Bragantino. Though a place of nice accountability, it was far much less interesting to the Englishman who missed being pitchside. In two seasons, nevertheless, Leipzig has shone brightly not solely throughout the German league, competing with Bayern Munich, but additionally in Europe, with a Champions League quarter-final nonetheless to be performed when the season resumes this summer time.
His key to this success is strict recruitment tips, as he solely recruits gamers below 24 years of age. It definitely is a profitable system, permitting Michell to usher in Christopher Nkunku, Ademola Lookman, Hannes Wolf, Dani Olmo and Patrik Schick. The previous Spurs man is now in France with AS Monaco – his official function being the membership’s sporting director. However like talked about earlier than, the Englishman will step down from that function, as soon as a alternative has been discovered.


Paul Mitchell’s subsequent membership

The 41-year-old will formally depart the Ligue 1 membership – AS Monaco – as soon as his successor has been appointed and settled on the Louis II Stadium. He’s contracted till June 2024, nevertheless it seems he’ll depart nicely earlier than that date.

Discussing his resolution for leaving Monaco, Mitchell, prompt that he had fulfilled his mission with the French outfit and was eager to spend extra time along with his household after working away from dwelling.

He was linked with a transfer to United final season after the membership appointed Ralf Rangnick as interim supervisor. Mitchell, who is nice buddies with the German, was noticed at Previous Trafford for a youth workforce fixture final time period. The 41-year-old was touted as the proper candidate for the Director of Soccer function with the Reds backroom set-up. Nonetheless, nothing materialised and Mitchell remained with Monaco, the place he has been since June 2020.

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Chelsea May Land “Personal Bukayo Saka” In Teen Gem

Chelsea have been poor this season, regardless of the profitable expenditure on the switch entrance over the previous 12 months, with the west London outfit languishing in mid-table mediocrity and out of each home cup competitions.

Graham Potter changed earlier supervisor Thomas Tuchel within the early phases of the marketing campaign with the Premier League membership on a downward pattern, however fortunes have solely just lately seen daylight after a wretched run of type.

The Blues had received three successive matches, and clinched qualification to the Champions League quarter-finals, the place holding champions Real Madrid await, earlier than Everton snatched a draw at Stamford Bridge earlier than the worldwide break, with the Toffees’ homegrown expertise Ellis Simms scoring a brutish purpose to revive parity.


Simms’ strike was a reminder of the affect youth can have, with a few of the Premier League’s biggest present gems graduates of respective youth academies – Phil Foden dazzles for Manchester City after plying his adolescence on the membership, the identical could be mentioned for Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold; probably the most arresting particular person at current, nevertheless, is unquestionably Arsenal sensation Bukayo Saka, who has been integral in his facet’s title-chasing marketing campaign.

Drawing comparisons to the Gunners’ prodigy, Cobham starlet Tudor Mendel-Idowu is pushing for a rise in duty at Chelsea, flourishing at youth stage.

Who’s Tudor Mendel-Idowu?

Mendel-Idowu is the encapsulation of precocity; a Kings Scholar on the prestigious Eton Academy, the 18-year-old has additionally been using the crest of a wave all through his maiden footballing years, signing for Chelsea’s academy when was a baby and hailed as “gifted” and a winger who “possesses nice dribbling means and is usually in the best locations to attain objectives” by the membership’s official website.

Typically utilised as a central attacking midfielder or on the best flank, the burgeoning star has been in emphatic type this season, scoring 4 objectives and supplying two assists from nine shows within the U18 Premier League and making an look within the EFL Trophy, coming off the bench towards League One outfit Peterborough United.

Dubbed a “remarkable” prospect by Chelsea author Matt Addison, Mendel-Idowu seems to be a real prospect for Potter to think about, nurturing his expertise over the following few years and emulating established stars akin to Reece James, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham in graduating from the facet’s youth ranks.

Having scored three objectives from four appearances for England U17s, the fleet-footed dynamo is on the way in which to prominence on the skilled scene, particularly after certainly bearing a semblance to the imperious Saka, with one author saying “Chelsea already have their own Bukayo Saka” when speaking of the Cobham ace.

Saka rose by means of the ranks at Arsenal’s Hale Finish academy earlier than rising as a distinguished and paramount element of Mikel Arteta’s system, having made 169 appearances and scoring 36 objectives and 39 assists, profitable the FA Cup and now en path to clinching Premier League glory.

This season, with Arsenal atop the Premier League desk, the 22-year-old has scored 12 objectives and provided ten assists from 28 appearances, hailed as “electric” by Statman Dave and is valued at £106m by CIES Soccer Observatory, some of the coveted gems in world soccer.

If Chelsea gives an identical platform for his or her nimble star, he might emulate Saka’s profession and cement himself as one of many Premier League’s greatest stars in a matter of years.

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Prediction: England vs Ukraine – Soccer Information

Verdict: England win & Below 4.5 objectives

Finest Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Unibet

Seeking to declare back-to-back Group C victories once they return to Wembley on Sunday night, England will welcome Ukraine to the capital.


Beginning with the hosts, whereas England may need come beneath extra scrutiny over the winter as they needed to accept a World Cup quarter-final ticket, Gareth Southgate’s facet confirmed no indicators of a hangover earlier within the week. Ultimately claiming what was a fiery 2-1 victory away at reigning European champions Italy, the Three Lions actually received their Group C marketing campaign off to a flying begin in Naples. Whereas Sunday’s hosts may need endured a slightly public Nations League nightmare final 12 months as they lose their top-tier standing, Southgate shall be determined for his facet to put down one other qualifying marker right here. Tipped as a standout contender to breeze their strategy to subsequent 12 months’s European Championships, Southgate’s facet needs to be boosted by a slightly rampant qualifying file on dwelling soil. In reality, England have gained every of their final 10 straight qualifying battles in entrance of their very own supporters – a run that has seen them bag an astonishing 38 strikes.

Crew Information

Turning into England’s all-time main goalscorer earlier within the week after discovering the web within the Three Lions’ 2-1 victory out in Naples, attacking talisman Harry Kane will spearhead Southgate’s cost on Sunday night. Kalvin Phillips shall be hoping to maintain his spot alongside Declan Rice.

Nevertheless, proven a pair of bookings within the area of 54 seconds in midweek, Manchester United defender Luke Shaw will miss out right here. Both Ben Chilwell or Kieran Trippier will fill in at left-back.


As for the guests, whereas Ukraine may need been left heartbroken in Cardiff final 12 months as they did not e book a well-known World Cup ticket, interim boss Rusian Rotan has seen his facet acquire a string of plaudits. Seeking to mount an actual Group C cost, it’s price noting that Sunday’s friends have misplaced only a pair of their final 20 straight appearances throughout all competitions. Whereas Ukraine is likely to be determined to spring a significant upset at Wembley, the Yellows needs to be nervous by a slightly downbeat qualifying file whereas on international soil. Mustering only a trio of victories from any of their final eight qualifying showdowns on the highway, it must also be famous that Rotan’s squad have additionally proven some prolonged points in opposition to their Group C rivals. Blown away because of a 4-0 drumming once they final met England within the European Championships quarter-finals again in July 2021, Ukraine have gained simply one in every of their eight conferences in opposition to the Three Lions.

Crew Information

Whereas Mykhailo Mudryk would possibly nonetheless be ready to open his Premier League account since arriving at Chelsea again in January, the ex-Shakhtar ace will function right here. Likewise, Oleksandr Zinchenko will earn his 53rd cap after becoming a member of up with Ukraine’s squad earlier within the week.

Though Membership Brugge striker Roman Yaremchuk has solely bagged two home strikes this season, the 27-year-old could lead on Ukraine’s assault on Sunday evening.

Key Elements to Contemplate

  • When the 2 sides final met within the European Championships quarter-finals again in July 2021, England secured a thumping 4-0 romp.
  • The Three Lions have misplaced simply one in every of their eight conferences in opposition to Sunday’s friends.
  • Likewise, England have shipped only a pair of strikes in any of these eight conferences.
  • Southgate’s facet have gained every of their final 10 straight qualifying matchups on dwelling soil – a run that has seen them bag 38 strikes.
  • Ukraine have claimed simply three wins from their final eight qualifying appearances on international soil.


Opening their qualifying journey with an eye catching 2-1 victory away at Italy earlier within the week, England shall be determined to put down one other Group C marker on Sunday night. Though Southgate’s facet may need come beneath extra scrutiny over the winter, the Three Lions are rightfully tipped as a standout decide right here. Making their first look at Wembley since opening 2021, the European heavyweights must also be excited by a rampant file in opposition to this weekend’s friends. Storming their strategy to a 4-0 victory once they met Ukraine within the European Championship quarter-finals 19 months in the past, we predict one other slightly routine win for England right here.

Verdict: England win & Below 4.5 objectives

Finest Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Unibet

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France humiliate Netherlands; Lukaku scores hat-trick

There have been fairly just a few eyebrows raised with among the outcomes from Euro 2024 qualifying on Friday night time.

Worldwide soccer returned on Thursday with a bang and Friday’s motion didn’t disappoint.

This is your roundup from Euros qualifying on March 24.

France 4-0 Netherlands

France v Netherlands - UEFA EURO 2024 Qualifiers

Mates once more / Anadolu Company/GettyImages

Ronald Koeman obtained off to the worst potential begin again answerable for the Netherlands after falling to a 4-0 defeat at France.

Antoine Griezmann – within the headlines this week after he was snubbed to succeed Hugo Lloris as captain – opened the scoring simply two minutes in on the Stade de France, with Dayot Upamecano including one other quickly after.

With the Oranje scrambling, Kylian Mbappe – who did obtain the armband – grabbed Les Bleus’ third with simply 21 minutes on the clock. Koeman responded by turning to his bench and introducing Wout Weghorst for Kenneth Taylor earlier than the break.

Although the Netherlands managed to stem the tide after the interval, Mbappe discovered the web late on with a perfectly taken strike, sitting a few defenders down earlier than powering into the far nook.

Upamecano gave away a penalty in stoppage time after dealing with the ball, although Mike Maignan saved Memphis Depay’s spot kick to cap off a depressing night for the Netherlands, whose 20-match unbeaten run beneath Louis van Gaal was snapped on the first try by his successor.

Gibraltar 0-3 Greece

Elsewhere in Group B, Greece strolled to a routine 3-0 win away at Gibraltar.

Objectives from Giorgos Masouras, Manolis Siopis and Anastasios Bakasetas helped Gus Poyet’s aspect to victory within the Algarve.


Czech Republic 3-1 Poland

Equally to Koeman with the Netherlands, Fernando Santos endured a depressing first sport answerable for Poland.

Objectives from Ladislav Krejci and Tomas Cvancara noticed the Czech Republic race right into a sizeable lead simply three minutes in on the Fortuna Enviornment.

Jan Kuchta added the hosts’ third after the hour mark, with Damian Szymanski scoring a comfort for the guests within the latter phases.

Moldova 1-1 Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands have been denied a vital win proper on the final and left Moldova with only a level in Group E’s different sport.

Mads Boe Mikkelsen broke the impasse halfway by way of the primary half and the guests led for a lot of the night, just for Ion Nicolaescu to attain a penalty with simply minutes remaining on the Stadionul Zimbru.

Austria 4-1 Azerbaijan

Ralf Rangnick’s Austria made a formidable begin to Euro 2024 qualifying with the dismantling of Azerbaijan.

Two targets from Manchester United midfielder Marcel Sabitzer and one from Michael Gregoritsch noticed the Burschen go three up.

Emin Makhmudov pulled one again for Azerbaijan earlier than Christoph Baumgartner shortly restored Austria’s three-goal cushion in Linz.

Sweden 0-3 Belgium

Romelu Lukaku, Yannick Carrasco

Lukaku was on fireplace / Linnea Rheborg/GettyImages

In contrast to a few of Europe’s different new managers, Domenico Tedesco loved the proper begin with Belgium after tearing aside Sweden in Stockholm.

Romelu Lukaku headed dwelling an exquisite cross from Dodi Lukebakio to provide the Pink Devils the lead, including a second simply after the break by squeezing the ball in on the close to publish.

A mesmerising run from Johan Bakayoko teed up Lukaku for his third because the Inter striker stole the present on an evening which noticed Zlatan Ibrahimovic make his return for Sweden.

Bulgaria 0-1 Montenegro

Montenegro left it late to beat Bulgaria on opening night time in Razgrad.

Nikola Krstovic’s strike 20 minutes from time was all that separated the 2 sides, with the hosts made to pay for being wasteful with their 63% possession.

Serbia 2-0 Lithuania

Serbia bounced again from World Cup disappointment with a 2-0 win towards Lithuania in Belgrade.

Star males Dusan Tadic and Dusan Vlahovic grabbed the targets because the Eagles comfortably gained again on dwelling soil.

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Crimson Bull Salzburg’s Ahead Chased by Arsenal

Crimson Bull Salzburg and younger abilities. It’s a love story that soccer followers have seen many instances lately. From Borussia Dortmund star Karim Adeyemi to Manchester Metropolis’s Erling Haaland, many gamers have come out of the Austrian membership. Even the present staff boasts of abilities such because the midfield genius Luka Sucic or the sensational Slovenian striker Benjamin Sesko. Nevertheless, one other participant rapidly changing into a fan favorite is Swiss ahead Noah Okafor.

Okafor is a youth product of Basel youth academy and has been touted as the most effective gamers for Switzerland. And in Crimson Bull Salzburg, Okafor has the proper surroundings a younger participant requires to take his expertise to the subsequent stage. Nevertheless, with many high groups in search of new strikers in the summertime, Okafor may discover himself in a switch battle between a number of golf equipment.

So, who’s Noah Okafor, and the way good is he?

How good is Noah Okafor?

Noah Okafor was born on Might 24, 2020, in Binningen, a municipality within the district of Arlesheim located within the Canton of Basel-Landschaft in northern Switzerland. Okafor’s father is of Igbo descent from Nigeria, whereas his mom is Swiss. The participant joined FC Arisdorf, which was an area membership. 

Nevertheless, in 2009, he made the large transfer to Basel, one of the crucial profitable golf equipment in Europe. Becoming a member of the membership as a nine-year-old, Okafor shone via the youth groups. Over the subsequent 9 years, he would rise via the ranks, changing into the most effective youth prospects that the membership had seen in years.

Within the 2016-17 season, he could be promoted to the under-18s making his debut on August 13, 2016, in opposition to Aarau. He would go on to make 16 appearances within the league, two appearances every within the Swiss U18 Elite Finals, Schweizer Cup U-18, and Swiss U17 Elite League. Okafor ended the season with three targets to his identify.

By the next season, he would deliver his greatest to the under-18s scoring eight targets in 12 video games within the league and two strikes to his identify within the UEFA Youth League. These performances caught the eyes of then supervisor Raphael Wicky who referred to as him to the squad in January 2018. His senior-team debut would come 5 months later as he performed 56 minutes of Basel’s final league match of the 2017-18 season.

And when the subsequent season began, Okafor was completely promoted to the senior squad. Over the subsequent one-and-a-half seasons, Okafor would play 56 matches for the staff scoring 12 targets and offering six assists.

This caught the curiosity of Crimson Bull Salzburg, who swooped to signal him in January 2020. His debut would come a month later, on February 9, 2020, in opposition to SKU Amstetten within the Austrian Cup. Okafor would finish the season with 14 appearances for Salzburg, scoring 4 targets and offering one help.

Noah Okafor stats 

Okafor had proven flashes of brilliance in his first six months in Austria. Nevertheless, Okafor, after a pre-season underneath his belt, went to a distinct stage. Enjoying 18 video games, Okafor scored six targets and offered 4 assists. Much more spectacular, this tally got here in solely 896 minutes, that means he averages one purpose contribution each match on common. Okafor would additionally get the style of enjoying within the Champions League, making 4 appearances.

Even after a powerful season, Okafor was much more getting a beginning position on the membership. The reason is the membership had excellent strikers akin to Karim Adeyemi and Benjamin Sesko. Okafor additionally confronted competitors from one other good youth prospect, the brilliant Roko Simic.

Nevertheless, regardless of the restricted time, Okafor bettered his tally from the earlier season scoring 9 targets and offering 9 assists in simply 949 minutes within the league. Okafor would additionally open his tally within the Champions League with a brace in opposition to Wolfsburg.

These good performances, coupled with the departure of Adeyemi to Borussia Dortmund, meant Okafor obtained extra minutes on the pitch. And the striker has repaid the religion in variety, scoring seven targets and offering three assists in 19 matches within the league. The teen additionally scored three targets within the UEFA Champions League.

His brilliance can be gauged by the truth that he has a large capturing accuracy of fifty per cent, in accordance with fbref. Okafor has additionally averaged 2.68 progressive carries per 90 minutes, among the many high ten percentile of strikers.

Okafor additionally doesn’t shy from utilizing his talent to strive the audacious, as is clear from his 3.81 take-ons per match among the many high 5 percentile of forwards.

Learn extra:

Noah Okafor scout report 

Noah Okafor is a participant that possesses good imaginative and prescient and intelligence. That is evident by the truth that he has not been caught offside this season within the league, in accordance with stats from fbref. And this clever motion is the explanation why he’s all the time on the proper place on the proper time to fit the ball into the purpose.

Okafor does have unimaginable tempo, however he makes use of it neatly by combining it along with his clever off-the-ball actions, which makes it very laborious for the opposition to trace him. This technique additionally conserves a lot of his power late into the match, which suggests he can nonetheless be fairly pacey even through the remaining minutes of a recreation.

The striker additionally likes to play nearly all of his recreation within the inside left channel as a result of it permits him to chop again inside and get the ball on his sturdy foot. Another excuse for him to float away from the purpose is to get into extra one-on-one conditions, both with the right-back or the best centre-back, the place he can use his dribbling abilities to get previous the participant.

Noah Okafor switch information 

Crimson Bull Salzburg are a membership which have constructed their repute on poaching younger expertise earlier than promoting them off at huge costs to different golf equipment. And Noah Okafor completely suits the invoice, and with the efficiency he has delivered, large golf equipment are already beginning to circle round.

Amongst them, Arsenal have expressed the most interest. Nevertheless, the damage of Gabriel Jesus uncovered the squad depth of the membership, and regardless of a powerful efficiency from Eddie Nketiah, Mikel Arteta will wish to bolster his squad for the subsequent season when they’ll certainly problem for a number of trophies. 

Salzburg, although, would wish to hold the participant for an additional season, given the curiosity that’s being generated by their beginning striker Benjamin Sesko who’s certain to go away the membership in the summertime.

Nevertheless, the summer season switch window is but to open. Until then, Okafor’s fundamental goal can be to proceed his spectacular efficiency for the membership and grow to be the newest product from the Crimson Bull Salzburg youth manufacturing line.

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Alabama vs San Diego State, Picks and Preview

The primary general seed Crimson Tide takes on the five-seed Aztecs in a Candy Sixteen matchup Friday. Nate Oats and his up-tempo offense will sq. off in opposition to the all the time stout Aztecs protection.

Per Jon Rothstein, the well being of contentious star Brandon Miller might be a narrative, as he nonetheless has a nagging groin harm. Alabama’s life on offense might be considerably tougher if he’s restricted as a participant like he was in opposition to Texas A&M-CC—nevertheless, his play in opposition to Maryland factors to significantly better well being.


Time: 6:30 EST

Odds: Alabama -7.5, 137

Alabama Wins If…

They management the inside on each side. Alabama has the second-best defensive taking pictures proportion on “shut twos,” per T-Rank. Forwards Charles Bediako and Noah Clowney do a exceptional job of rebounding and constantly being in glorious defensive positioning to contest photographs. Whereas not making an attempt many photographs on the rim, the Aztecs are very environment friendly. Alabama could also be in hassle if the Aztecs discover methods to transform their alternatives there. Regardless of the elite protection, they’re going up in opposition to, matchup benefits attributable to dimension ought to allow ample scoring alternatives. Aztecs’ guard Lamont Butler will solely be capable to take one guard, and it stays to be seen which Aztec shadows Miller.

San Diego State Wins If…

They do the little issues. The Aztecs have little margin for error on this recreation. They should care for the ball and assault the glass. Regardless of their athleticism and size, Alabama turns groups over at a low fee and is within the backside half of the nation in turnover proportion on offense. This Aztec protection will trigger points for the Alabama offense. Regardless of giving up some dimension, they’ve switchability and thrive in pick-and-roll protection. They keep a excessive and constant stage of ball strain, particularly on guards. Lastly, they might want to rebound. Alabama may be vulnerable to permitting second-chance alternatives, which the Aztecs must compensate for inefficiency on offense. On the opposite finish, Alabama will crash the offensive glass relentlessly, and with lengthy rebounds, the Aztec protection can’t get misplaced.

Gamers to Watch

Charles Bediako, C

His presence in the course of the ground is paramount to the success of the Crimson Tide. He has a lot gravity on protection, and his presence alone causes drivers to again out of the lane.

Aguek Arop, F

The unquestioned “glue-guy” on the workforce, Arop will see time on Brandon Miller. He leads the workforce in Field +/-, and his presence is clear on each ends. If one participant impacts the “little issues” talked about above, it is going to be AG.

Who Wins?

Though this matchup permits the Aztecs to win on the margins, it is probably not sufficient. Nonetheless, Alabama is the deserved favourite, and I count on them to win an in depth recreation. I’m a lifelong fan of the Aztecs, so I might be sweating this recreation out to the buzzer!

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Liverpool May Discover New Harvey Elliott In £750-p/w Teenager

Liverpool do not all the time strike gold with their academy ranks, however once they unearth a diamond it shines brighter than most Premier League outfits can dream of.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is the plain modern instance, uninspiring this season however integral to the success underneath Jurgen Klopp, whereas membership legend Steven Gerrard and Ballon d’Or winner Michael Owen additionally plied their adolescence in Merseyside purple.

The present crop of youthful expertise on the Kirkby academy tantalises a wealthy period of homegrown expertise, with none inside the fold tantalising prominence extra so than Mateusz Musiałowski, who will undoubtedly be trying to emulate his peer Harvey Elliott in breaking into first-team rivalry with an emphatic bang.

FootballFanCast VIDEO OF THE DAY

Klopp should think about unleashing the Polish whiz, particularly contemplating the success in offering a platform to youth this season; Liverpool have been shoddy this time period, however the exploits of Elliott and industrious 18-year-old midfielder Stefan Bajcetic definitely evoke a lingering optimism that the current storm will abate, leaving a golden sky painted above Anfield for the approaching years.

The subsequent off the manufacturing line may properly be Mateusz Musialowski.

Who’s Mateusz Musiałowski?

Musiałowski rose to prominence after scoring a merely sensational strike in opposition to Arsenal for Liverpool’s U18 unit in 2021, incomes reward for the innate motion of his gliding gait, breezing alongside in a fashion not too dissimilar to 1 Lionel Messi, who has solid a good profession for himself.

“I simply ran with the ball,” Musiałowski detailed, pensively, to Liverpool’s official website. “Once I see the area, I simply go for it. I’ve seen a number of Lionel Messi objectives like that, so I attempt to be like him and I wish to repeat it!”

Now 19-years-old, the Pole has maybe not had the season he or these affiliated fairly anticipated, scoring only one aim from 15 outings for the U21s this time period, however the calibre of his talent set can’t be questioned.

Hailed as “excellent” by Andy Kelly as not too long ago as final month, there may be evidently a lot but to come back from the fleet-footed £750-per-week ace, who may profit from a possibility to impress amongst his senior friends, maybe in search of to emulate the success of Elliott.

Signed by way of a tribunal for £4m from Fulham in 2019, the 19-year-old dynamo has harnessed his ample high quality and is now a coveted member of Liverpool’s squad, valued at £53m by CIES Soccer Observatory and enjoying 40 matches underneath Klopp’s tutelage this time period.

Soccer Football - FA Cup - Fourth Round - Brighton & Hove Albion v Liverpool - The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain - January 29, 2023 Liverpool's Harvey Elliott celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/David Klein

Whereas Elliott has primarily been deployed as a centre-midfielder this season, he commenced his profession as an offensive flanker, and Klopp may look to copy the success with Musiałowski, who usually occupies roles throughout the entrance line.

Polish outlet Sport claimed that Klopp used the starlet within the build-up to final 12 months’s Champions League finale in opposition to Real Madrid, trying to emulate the dribbling prowess of Vinicius Jr. and supply Alexander-Arnold with a blueprint of how you can repel the advances, with Musiałowski clearly held in excessive esteem together with his ball-carrying means.

Such aptitude additionally finds a house in Elliott’s arsenal, with the teen rating among the many prime 5% of midfielders throughout Europe’s massive 5 leagues for progressive carries per 90, as per FBref, solely furthering the declare that Klopp may have his subsequent phenom, awaiting apt harnessing.

A participant of “ridiculous quality“, as as soon as hailed by Reds academy author, Lewis Bower, Musiałowski stays one in every of Liverpool’s brightest prospects in current reminiscence, and will but depart Anfield in rapture as he grows into his pores and skin on Merseyside.