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After coming out of the 2014 World Cup in a disappointing manner, Cesare Prandelli resigned from his position of coaching Italy. It was a series of mediocre performances throughout the entire tournament as the players just seemed to be out of place and unable to live up to the expectations of having one of the most veteran players who have already achieved success at the highest level.
As.Roma’s Daniele de Rossi criticized his country teammates as the Italian midfielder went on saying that Italy needs to have tougher players in the team and not hold onto these bad results.
“There were certainly components that affected the result, like the heat or the refereeing, but we must not cling to these things. We must forget about all this quickly. Actually, I take that back: we should remember well what went wrong and begin again with real men. We need real men, not Panini stickers or characters. These are of no use to the national team.”
Meanwhile, captain Gianluigi Buffon felt it was time to reflect after a disastrous campaign in Brazil.
“As a group and as a nation, it is a very sad day. It is a day of failure and is something that saddens us very much. The defeat should make us all think and let us take a good examination of our conscience.”
The Italian national football team was knocked out in the early stages of the 2014 World Cup which led to Prandello resigning from his position and rumors are starting to spread around concerning who will be the next person take up the hot seat with Antonio Conte being heavily linked with the position.
Antonio Conte stepped down from his role in Juventus which is one of the main reasons on why he is rumored to stop coaching the Italian club in order to start the process of being at the head of Italy but nothing official has been announced
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Manchester United hitman Danny Welbeck says that defender Chris Smalling is the toughest within the club to face in training. Welbeck has been a United player from the youth days, while Smalling joined the club in a £ 12 million deal from Fulham a few years ago. Both being Englishman, they have developed a great rapport and are seen as the future of Manchester United. Welbeck has matured a lot since the loan days at Sunderland. He is now capable of playing both as a winger or upfront along with the striker. At just 23 years of age, he is already one of the regular players for the England national team.
During his time as a professional, Welbeck has come across several defenders – both good and bad. However, he rates Smalling is the toughest he has faced after seeing the 23-year-old perform at his best during training. Smalling has been criticised in some quarters for his inability to concentrate throughout the 90 minutes, but he has showed this season that he could be an invaluable player to United especially with the likes of Ferdinand and Vidic coming to the end of their careers at the club. Vidic will leave United at the end of the season, while Ferdinand is expected to retire.
“I would have to say Chris Smalling is the most difficult to get past in training. He’s one of our fastest players and can rival most of the forwards for pace. He also reads the game really well and is always in the right place at the right time, clearing up any danger. I’m just glad that I get to play with him for both United and England. I’d hate to play against him!” said Welbeck about his club and international team mate Smalling.
Welbeck has 10 goals so far this campaign.
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Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has ruled out the possibility of Liverpool winning the title this campaign. However, he has stated that Brendan Rodgers’ team are capable of challenging for the top four places, which is something that they have not done since 2009. Neville is currently working as a pundit for Sky Sports and he has been known for his nonbiased opinions. He has said that one of the major reasons behind Liverpool’s good form this campaign has been their lack of European football.
Liverpool have not qualified for the Champions League in the last four years, but they are also without the Europa league this campaign. This has allowed them to prepare for matches extremely well, while the form of Daniel Sturridge and Luiz Suarez has also been impressive. The duo have been regarded as the best partnership Liverpool have had since Rush and Kenny Dalglish.
Due to the lack of midweek matches, Neville things that Liverpool will be able to challenge for a top four spot. He says that this is the natural progression of the team, who have been finishing in the eighth and seventh places for the last few seasons.
“Liverpool are certainly top-four contenders, but I don’t think they’ll win the title – I don’t think they’ll be able to progress that much this season but I think they’ve got a fantastic chance of getting towards that top four. If you think about where they were last year and the fact that they struggled to compete for a Champions League space that would be progression for Liverpool this season,” said Neville in his column on Sky Sports.
It is difficult to win the title from that position according to Neville. Liverpool are second in the table going into the weekend’s Premier league matches.