INDI – DIFFICULT FOR YOUNGSTERS TO BOUNCE BACK

Stoke City defender Bruno Martins Indi has definitely left his mark on the Premier League this campaign. He would likely be nominated by almost any City fan for addition of this term.

The centre back has been reliable in his role for the club this season and has quickly grown among supporters.

Martins Indi has striking similarities with the club’s former captain Abdoulaye Faye and has quickly shown that he could be profitable business for the club. Since his debut in September, he has been reliable and commanding in the heart of the defence in every game he has played.

His record on the international scene is a bit different. He was snubbed for more than 12 months by Netherlands manager Danny Blind after he was sent off in the coach’s first game. Netherlands lost the game 1-0 in September 2015 and that probably pissed the manager off. Indi did not play for the rest of the qualifiers and was part of those blamed for Holland missing Euro 2016.

Commenting on the situation then, the player said: “It’s very difficult for a young player to bounce back in such a situation. Of course I was not happy with it but people can give their opinions. It was a very strange moment in my career, watching Holland as a supporter when I used to be always there playing.”

Indi said he did not grant interviews for that period and that Julen Lopetegui – the then manager of Porto was a big source of strength for him. The then Porto manager has now become the head coach in Spain.

“I learned a lot about personality from him [Lopetegui]. I still talk to him a lot now,” Indi said.

He said he chose to move to Stoke because the manager has managed players that he knew through his agent like Nigel de Jong that had gone on to have successful careers. Porto new boss Nuno Espirito did not give him options to remain in Portugal though. He returned to the national team after the incident late 2016 after a strong showing for Stoke.

PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS KEEN ON AJAX YOUNGSTER

Premier League clubs have been placed on high alert following comments from Ajax coach regarding youngster Riechedly Bazoer.

The Dutch giant has sent a lot of top stars to England, hence the piqued interests with the player set to be available next summer.

Ajax’s academy has produced several top players that have succeeded in the Premier League. Manchester United player Daley Blind, Tottenham stars Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Christian Eriksen and Everton shot stopper Maarten Stekelenburg played for the club at one point in their careers.

Other stars that rose to prominence in England from the club’s famed academy include Nigel de Jong, Edwin van der Sar, Rafeal van der Vaart et al. Bazoer has been backed to be a success if he moves to England, hence Premier League clubs are falling over themselves to get his signature.

The 20-year old Netherlands international has already earned full international caps, having progressed through the country’s age-grade teams. He featured in the Under-15, Under-16, Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 levels. Despite starting at rivals PSV Eindoven, he moved to Ajax where he made his professional debut at 16 years.

After he turned 18, he made his debut for the senior squad where he was a substitute for Lucas Andersen in a league game 2014. Ajax manager Peter Bosz said that the player might likely not remain “after the winter break” and has been dropped from the squad poised to play in the Europa League against Standard Liege.

Arsenal, Manchester City, and Chelsea are likely targets, having been interested even before his move to Ajax. The Sky Blues and the Blues are reportedly topping the list of clubs that would get him when he exits the Dutch side.

Liverpool Unhappy with Danny Blind

Danny Blind’s statement has put him in the firing line of the Social media fan-base of Liverpool. Regarding Wijnaldum, Blind stated that the playmaker had complained to him of having a bit of stiffness in the hammy area much before he had to retire hurt because of that same hammy in the Les Blues match.

And it was that statement by which he gave it away. Now that is where all the fume of the Reds faithful is coming from that if Wijnaldum had spoken to the coach about his trouble already and the coach also knew that he was going to be needed by his club in a huge Premiership clash soon, was it morally correct of him to ask the player to play on even after that?

And, the coach here is nobody else but Danny Blind and Danny Blind is special in this case because someone very close to him is serving Manchester United. That’s his offspring Daley. So, did his offspring’s association with United motivate Blind to make it a point that Wijnaldum played on with that hammy so that Liverpool could lose a vital personnel in the centre of the pitch?

Certain twitter users from Merseyside have that opinion for sure. Here are a few tweets for you to have a look-
“Danny Blind kept Wijnaldum going. Well, no prizes for guessing why?”

“One of our Dutch players plays with injury on national duty, now uncertain for club duty. We all know whose dad the Dutch coach is.”

“Well, Well, Well, Wijnaldum was hurting and Danny Blind was not unknown. No substitution however, Man U connection maybe?”
It’s a serious blame on Danny Blind, but, who asked him to be that that direct with his words? He perhaps could have hidden that he had the knowledge of the developing injury of the player.

WEBB ADMITS YET ANOTHER ERROR IN JUDGEMENT

Retired referee Howard Webb has admitted yet another error in judgment whilst he was active on the pitch.

The former top referee showed Netherlands international Nigel De Jong just a yellow card for his rough tackle on Spain international Xabi Alonso at the final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

De Jong gave Alonso a karate kick in the chest but was only shown a warning despite the protests. The retired Webb disclosed that he is “gutted beyond belief” as the challenge deserved receiving marching orders. Webb made the revelations in his book “The Man in the Middle.” The autobiography made other revelations as well, but on the subject, Webb wrote

“Xabi Alonso headed the ball forward to David Villa but, as he did so, Nigel de Jong crashed into him," Webb wrote. At that moment I'd been positioned just behind Alonso, about 10 yards away, so I hadn't seen the actual point of impact or exactly how De Jong had connected.”

Webb added that it was a late move, hence the caution.

"However, I knew that it was a late and forceful challenge, and that it warranted a caution. None of my team spoke up on the radio to suggest otherwise, so I showed a yellow card for what I'd seen unfold before me: an untidy, reckless challenge from the Dutch midfielder.

"As I brandished the card, however, there was a furious reaction from the Spaniards, both on and off the field," said Webb.

Webb also claimed the saw the tackle during the halftime, and felt terrible for missing a red card offence in a World Cup final.

De Jong played in the MLS where he has served several punishments for his rough tackles. He has sent a player to the wheelchair and has been banned retrospectively for games.

Bruce Arena Confirms Nigel De Jong’s Talks with Galatasaray

Bruce Arena has confirmed that midfielder Nigel de Jong is almost set to leave the club, as LA Galaxy have given him permission to talk with Turkish outfit Galatasaray.

De Jong has been one of the most criticised players in the MLS since his move from AC Milan. The Dutch midfielder may come from a country renowned for playing beautiful and attractive football, but he has a reputation for creating very poor tackles that often result in being injuries to the opposition. After having received quite a number of red and yellow cards in his LA Galaxy career already, it is fair to say that he is not a favourite amongst MLS fans.

De Jong will forever be remembered for his tackle on Xabi Alonso in the World Cup 2010 final, but this horrific challenge does not seem to have put off Galatasaray in the pursuit of the player.De Jong may have played only 18 matches for LA Galaxy since joining the club during the off-season, but he has had a lasting impression on many of the MLS players. Bruce Arena confirmed that the midfielder is currently in talks with the Turkish outfit, but he claimed that there was no confirmation about the move yet.

“Nigel is pursuing an opportunity with our blessing. It either happens or it doesn’t. We have the greatest respect for Nigel. He’s been a terrific addition to our team. He’s a great professional and a great teammate. When healthy and given a chance to play in this league, he’s been good. His game against Vancouver was exceptional. Nigel's a very good player. We don't have an educated public to understand what he does, but he's been an important member of our team. If we lose him, then we use our depth,” said Bruce Arena.

AC MILAN LURE URUGUAYAN TARGET WITH LONG DEAL

Serie A giant AC Milan are keen on strengthening their team with new Uruguayan target Rodrigo Bentancur this summer.

Reports in Italy say that former owner of the club Silvio Berlusconi gave the new ownership €10-15m to sign a talented player before the transfer window close. AC Milan want Fiorentina player Milan Badelj but the club is not willing to allow the deal. The price range for Roma player Leandro Paredes exceeds the budget of the club and Juan Cuadrado would be a dream signing if only Chelsea will allow.

Sky News report that Milan are budgeting €10-12m for the 19-year old Boca Juniors player Bentancur. When Juventus allowed Carlos Tevez return to Argentina, they included an option to get the player, but they are not interested in exercising that right now. The vice president of Boca Juniors has even admitted that the club would find it difficult to keep the player if Milan bring in over €10m. Reports regarding the issue are still developing, but La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that AC Milan have offered Bentancur a l five-year contract worth €1.5 million annually in a bid to lure him. They also report that the club have submitted a bid of €15 million for the player, but no comment has been received from Boca Juniors. The Italian club would have to hasten negotiations in the bid to complete the deal as soon as possible.

Another AC Milan target Jose Sosa as the club confirmed on their official website that they would be adding the player back to the squad. It seemed like a deal that would go through as the player left the training camp when the club refused to budge and allow the player move away from the club. After Milan got Gustavo Gomez, there were issues that they might be keeping the non EU spot for Chelsea’s Cuadrado but only time will tell.

Nigel A Key Player Of LA Galaxy

We have been seeing a lot of LA Galaxy this season as the team has been doing well in the consecutive games and moving up the ranks in the MLS.

The recent game that was much focused upon being the game they were scheduled to play last weekend against Seattle. There have been certain changes that have been introduced into the lineup of players in the game. For instance, Nigel de Jong and Ashley Cole are players who have been key players for the team, but they were not to play the match against Seattle Sounders. Many might have wondered why the team would not be having them play in the match against Seattle Sounders.

It has been said that Nigel de Jong, along with other players in the defense have played well for the team and helped to build the defense for the team. It would definitely be a more difficult task for the team to keep off players like Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris off their back when their defense would miss players like Nigel.

The reason that Nigel could not play the match against Seattle is that he received a red card in the last match that the team played against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The challenge he took up was reckless on his part, though he did that in the spirit of the game and to defend his team. However, key players like him need to be more pragmatic in their approach and cautious in their behavior on the field. That is because the success of the team depends on these crucial players and their absence from the team can impact their performance in future games. With experience and more games to play, it is hoped that Nigel will rise to the occasion and prove to be a more reliable team member of the club.

Nigel de Jong states that he is happy to be playing again

LA Galaxy midfielder Nigel de Jong said that he was happy to be playing again after his injury. Indeed, the Dutch player has missed the last 5 games because of suspension and injury.

He said that it was a good thing to be playing again and that he will be doing his best to help the team.

He returned for the game against San Jose Earthquakes but unfortunately could not see his side hold on for the victory. LA Galaxy conceded a late goal in order to draw the match.

Nigel de Jong said that he was disappointed with the result but that the team will have to pick themselves up for the next games. He stated that you cannot concede a goal in the closing stage of a match and that as a team you should remain focus until the end of the game. The team will have to discuss what went wrong and found a way to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Nigel de Jong made an impressive appearance though and looked to be quite in form. His energetic display help protects the LA Galaxy defence, and he was instrumental in controlling the play from midfield.

Steven Gerrard said that it was the presence of Nigel de Jong that helped them defensively and that he is pleased that he is back in the team. He believes that with more training as well as more games he will be able to gain some fitness and become even better in midfield. The former Liverpool midfielder said that de Jong is a top player and that it always good to have talented and experienced players in the team.

De Jong said that it was unfortunate that they could not win the game, but they will have to regroup for the next match.

Sinisa Mihajlovic discredit removal of Manager

Sinisa Mihajlovic does not seem to be in appreciation of the fact that people and media operate with extreme emotions and they go from praising a manager to all of a sudden asking for the removal of him.

Mihajlovic was quite irritated that the talks of his removal have started to surface again post the Sassuolo match. He reckons it is not beneficial for the team if the manager is put under this constant pump.

Mihajlovic didn’t try to defend himself though and neither did he try to explain that particular Sassuolo defeat with different excuses. He, in fact, accepted that there’ve been mistakes committed by him on certain occasions in his stint.

But, according to him, whatever ideologies he has looked to implement or whatever he has done, there have been ambitions behind that. Yes, not everything has worked, but, professional Football is a difficult environment to be in and patience is the key at times.

Mihajlovic was in the company of the Milan chairman Mr. Berlusconi for a couple of hours the other day and he came out of that meeting wearing a nice, positive expression on his face.

It is assumed Mr. Berlusconi might have echoed his thoughts regarding where the team is and how it should go forward and might also have given him some much needed security about his job.

While, Mihajlovic did not talk in detail as far as that meeting was concerned, he did say that the Sassuolo game was discussed a little bit.

Mihajlovic also added that he has been long enough in the game to understand how it works and that is why, he is not too restless. He intends to regard the contract that he had signed initially and would like to complete it.

Anthony Hudson claims that he is happy with the performances of the team

Anthony Hudson claims that he is happy with the performances of the team in recent matches, and he is hoping to utilise the two-week camp in order to claim success in the Oceania Nations Cup.

This camp will be of massive importance especially considering that New Zealand do not have any matches scheduled in the month of March. As a result, there is a danger of the team being short of match fitness. The tournament will start in Papua New Guinea towards the end of May. One of the disadvantages for New Zealand comes about in this regard since their opponents do not have any shortage of matches in the next few months.

This is largely because they are involved in World Cup qualification. New Zealand have been on a brilliant run of form for the last few months. This has raised expectations of the national team, but Anthony Hudson is yet to prove himself in a major tournament. New Zealand have not been involved in a competitive match for almost 7 months. The lack of a proper match experience cannot be replaced easily with just a two-week training camp learning Yacht Charter Croatia. Even then, Hudson remains confident of doing well in this tournament.

"We've only qualified, I think, at three out of the last seven or eight [Nations Cups]. That just goes to show.We have no divine right to just turn up and qualify. It is going to be very tough.I believe we have enough [to win the tournament] and I believe we've got the ability, the quality and the mentality, but the key is the preparation.In all of this, the biggest bit of hope for me is we have a really good group of players that are committed and honest.The last Nations Cup is still really fresh in everyone's mind and the players want to make sure we put that right,” said Hudson.

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