Category: Academy

Christian Pulisic determined to see USMNT thrive in Qatar

Having been the shining light – the only light – of a USMNT program that missed out on FIFA’s 2018 World Cup, Christian Pulisic is here to make up for lost time. Despite being in his early 20s even today, players know that their window of contention is not open forever. A player who gets international caps from a young age and plays into their 30s could, if they are lucky, make three FIFA World Cup events. The very best make four, and the absolutely elite have a shot at five – though this is typically only for goalkeepers.

Christian Eriksen linked with Tottenham Hotspur reunion

Ask any fan of Tottenham, and they will tell you that Christian Eriksen was one of the best players in white of the modern era. Alongside the rest of the team which made the 2019 UEFA Champions League final, Eriksen was sublime. His tremendous blend of skill, technique, and game mastery made him impossible to dislike. However, the playmaker left the club and went to Internazionale, where he won the Serie A title with Antonio Conte.

Francisco Trincão set to leave Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer

Seen as one of the marquee hires of last summer, the arrival of Francisco Trincão had Wolverhampton Wanderers fans very excited. Here was a fleet-footed dribbler who could score goals, set up assists, and take on the opposition. He would add an attacking flair and invention that was sorely lacking in the rather obstinate Wolves teams of the last few years. However, it is almost certain that after what has been a flop of a season that Trincão will not be returning to the Midlands next year. At least, not with Wolves.

Hampus Lindholm price set amid Boston Bruins interest

With the NHL trade deadline only a short few days away, fans of the league are expecting a whirlwind period to unfold. With many teams looking to trade up – and a few losers looking to give up assets for long-term gains – there will be some big moves to come in the next few days. Among the most exciting moves being talked about at the moment, though, would be the move for Hampus Lindholm.

The Anaheim Ducks are looking to move on a few players who have expiring deals, and Lindholm is among that number. So, too, is the likes of Josh Manson – who has now moved to the Colorado Avalanche as part of a second round pick deal. The Ducks, though, might be happy to give up top defender Lindholm to start preparing for a future without him in the first place.

As one of the best blueliners in the league, he would make an excellent addition to most teams in the league. A solid defender with a surprisingly varied offensive skillset, too, the 28-year-old is in the prime of his career. As such, the fact several teams are happy to make a trade for him tells us all that we need to know about how highly he is rated.

One team rumoured to be keenest to make a move for Lindholm a reality is the Boston Bruins. His affordable contact and the fact he could slot right into the line-up means that plenty of fans are excited about the opportunity for Lindholm to move the move to Massachusetts.

It would be a big move for the team, too, with so many other sides likely to pursue a deal for Lindholm. With the likelihood of a new deal with the Ducks fading by the day, all signs point to an exit come Monday.

What is the asking price for Hampus Lindholm?

At the moment, there is much discussion about whether or not a team will be able to land Lindholm without giving up too much back. The player is out of contract come the end of the season, so giving away too many assets now could be a mistake for some teams. However, the fact that is not agreeing to a new deal with the Ducks and the fact he is on an expiring deal does mean that the cost will need to be realistically set.

At the moment, though, reports around the Ducks suggest they want as much as a first-round pick, a ‘Grade A’ prospect, and another piece. That is a lot to ask for a player who will be available come the summer. It also makes sense, though, given how good Lindholm is – losing him for a pack of cards would be pointless.

So, it sounds like there will be a bit of back and forth as the Bruins try and put together a deal. If they do, it could see something like a first-round pick in 2022 or 2023, a middle-round pick, and their exciting young defensive prospect Mason Lohrei. If it gets Boston over the hurdle this year, though, it might be a price worth paying for a shot at the Stanley Cup.

Alexander Zverev claims Mexican Open drama was career mistake

Tennis is, without a doubt, one of the most high-pressure sports in the world. The players take part in a relentless tour, often coming up against the same faces time and time again. This can be problematic for players with a short fuse, as it does not take much for the frustrations of a previous loss to boil over into a new match-day. For that reason, the meltdown that Alexander Zverev suffered during the Mexican Open should come as no surprise.

A fiery character at the best of times, the Olympic champion was given the news that he would face an 8-week ban if he reacted in such a way again. This would last for a 12-month spell, with the Russian now very much on thin ice. On top of that, a suspended fine of $25,000 was imposed on him alongside a fine of $40,000 as well as a forfeit of his prize money.

The decision to react in such a way, though, left the number three ranked player in the world with a fair amount of embarrassment. As he prepares to move on from the incident, Zverev was blunt when he said that it was the worst moment in his life – and the biggest mistake of his career so far.

What did Alexander Zverev say about his Mexican Open meltdown?

Speaking about his reaction on the day, where he struck the chair of the umpire, Zverev was  clear that e regretted acting in such an out of character way. About this, he said: “It still is embarrassing for me now. Walking around the locker room, it’s not a nice feeling. But we all do mistakes. I’m also a human being, and I can guarantee you I will never act this way again in my life. It was definitely the worst moment of my life.”

When asked about what he has been doing to try and improve his behaviour on the court, Zverev noted a combination of meditation and self-reflection was going to be required. Speaking about the incident, Zverev said: “I’ve been doing work, meditation-wise. I think there are stress situations in everyone’s life where stuff like this happens. I’m not the first, I won’t be the last for something bad to happen on the court.

“I know who I am as a person and this doesn’t reflect on me. I have played until 5am the day before – the same day I went back to play doubles.

“I am somebody that gives it his all on the court. I think a lot of top singles players would have maybe come out to the doubles court and if they would have lost the match, they would have been fine with it. I would have never physically harmed anyone.”

Zverev, though, also admitted that a repeat of such actions would mean that the ATP would have “every right” to ban him from playing for a considerable time. For tennis, and for Zverev himself, fans hope that this is the final incident.

Jack Eichel confident on career upturn after injury woes

The NHL can be one of the most physically demanding sports leagues in the world to play in. Those who have enjoyed long careers on the ice tend to find themselves facing all manner of physical maladies as they age and grow. However, one player who has seen more injuries than most is Jack Eichel. The current Vegas Golden Knights player has been through injury hell, currently recovering from a neck surgery process that was needed.

However, as is typical with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Eichel is confident of not only returning, but improving upon his game. At only 25, there is clearly room for development on the ice and Eichel looks set to get that improvement out of himself. Having missed out on the Stanley Cup Playoffs when he was part of the Buffalo Sabres, Eichel was clear he wanted to finally experience postseason hockey.

The move to a team that has been part of the playoff picture since 2018, then, seems like a logical move. Knights fans are obviously excited about landing the talented center, who is recovering from a herniated disk. However, with his injury issues building up and often focused on the kind of long-term injuries that can hurt a players development, some fans are worried. Have the Knights overcommitted in this deal?

However, a player who has consistently reached high scoring and assist numbers feels more is set to come. At a press conference discussing his recovery and future, Eichel was very positive about what the future is going to hold.

What did Jack Eichel say about his injury issues?

Eichel was present on Monday to speak about his physical condition and also his game development. With so many injuries, and such a serious injury in particular, fans were eager to know what the next step in development is. When quizzed about if there was more to come, Eichel said: “I think I’ve got a lot more. I think I’m only scratching the surface.

“Yeah, I think the season a couple years ago, I think that that was sort of the start of the way that I want to make an impact. Coming in here there’s some really good hockey players, and I think this kind of environment, the culture here, is only going to push me to become better.”

He was also asked about what his motivation levels were like given his injuries. On that, he noted: “I think there’s a lot more in me, and this is about as motivated as I’ve been. I think there’s a lot of people out there that may be doubting me or don’t think I’m going to get back to the form I was in, so look forward to putting all the doubts to rest and getting back to the level that I believe I can play.”

So, this sounds like a player who is almost certain he will be back as good as new – if not better – in the near future. Given the sheer level of physicality in the league, body confidence is essential. Eichel, then, sounds ready to move on from his injury hell and to find a new level of performance.

Nuno Espirito Santo needs a result against West Ham United

Hired in the summer as one of several choices look at by Tottenham, Nuno Espirito Santo is clearly a good man. In his time at Wolverhampton, the Portuguese built up a strong reputation at the club and was also a force in the local community. Having arrived at Wolves as a project builder who was arguably out of their usual catchment, though, he had time to build something genuine at Molineux.

Fans were keen to see something come to life that would be impressive and were thus patient. Tottenham fans, though, have seen a golden era slip through their fingers with Mauricio Pochettino.

The wasted time with Jose Mourinho is one thing, but some fans worry a second season is being wasted with Nuno. The coach is clearly a poor fit for the playing staff he has, and his attitude so far has bordered on moody at times. Clearly, the Portuguese feels the pressure and the relative lack of warmth that his appointment was greeted with. The fact his contract comes with a break clause after one year says a lot more than perhaps the club thought it would.

This is clearly a project that is not working at the moment, and the coach could already be moving towards the sack. Dreadful results have come in bunches, and a shock loss to Vitesse in the UEFA Conference League was only overshadowed by ex-coach Mourinho being thumped 6-1 in the same competition.

Nuno, then, needs a win this weekend. It does not matter how it arrives, but beating old rival West Ham United is absolutely essential. The Hammers beat a good Genk side 3-0 in the UEFA Europa League, and also won at Everton in their previous match.

Can Tottenham and Nuno turn things around?

A win against the Hammers would at least be a big name scalp to add to the list. West Ham have become a really successful team and unit under David Moyes, and it appears that they are in a far more harmonious place than Spurs are. Derailing that feel-good factor and taking points off a likely rival for European qualification would be a huge step forward for a team that appears to be going in the wrong direction.

Though he was never the #1 choice for anyone, the mood music around Nuno’s arrival set in tone a fatalistic feel that has bled into the season. The coach clearly feels the pressure and the lack of respect for his previous work, and lacks the same comfort he had at Wolves. Spurs fans are sick of seeing seasons wasted, though, with every season since the 2018-19 season a major letdown so far.

Therefore, expect to see Spurs make a quick decision if things keep going wrong. Another poor result at the weekend, though, could already derail the Nuno project before it even has a chance to grow to anything like the size his Wolves project was allowed to.

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