Daily Archives: August 25, 2017

League-Cup: Last season’s finalists Southampton defeated by Wolves

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Southampton, last season’s finalists of the EFL Cup, were eliminated from the tournament after their 2-0 second round home defeat by Championship side Wolves.

In what was Wolves’s third win against Premier League sides this calendar year, Danny Batth headed in Ivan Cavaleiro’s corner in the 67th minute and substitute Donovan Wilson made it 2-0 with three minutes left.

It also came despite the fact that the Wolves manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, fielded an entirely different roster after his team’s defeat against Cardiff City on Saturday.

“I’m very proud, it’s fantastic work from my players, the way they prepared,” said Nuno. “It’s not about building a team, it’s about a squad, and they showed there’s no starting XI at Wolves. For us it’s about creating a squad, growing their own identity and being able to perform like this.”

“We know Donovan, he’s been performing well and training with us for some time. He has scored a goal here, but he will be back with the under-23s. Nothing changes for Donovan. I’ve done this throughout my career, giving players chances, but only at the right times.”

As for Southampton, they were far outshone by their opponents after six changes were made to the squad who defeated West Ham 3-2 last weekend in the Premier League.

They also registered few chances, with right-back Jeremy Pied firing wide twice and Wolves keeper Will Norris turning Sam McQueen’s cross onto the woodwork.

Everton’s Wayne Rooney retires from England international duty

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Everton midfielder Wayne Rooney has declined a return to Gareth Southgate’s England squad, instead choosing to bow out after 119 caps and a record 53 goals.

Rooney has reportedly informed Southgate of his decision in a phone call, who was asking if he would return to the squad and effectively fill the void left by Adam Lallana being injured.

“It was great that Gareth Southgate called me this week to tell me he wanted me back in the England squad for the upcoming matches,” Rooney said. “I really appreciated that. However, having already thought long and hard, I told Gareth that I had now decided to retire for good from international football.”

“It is a really tough decision and one I have discussed with my family, my manager at Everton and those closest to me. Playing for England has always been special to me. Every time I was selected as a player or captain was a real privilege and I thank everyone who helped me. But I believe now is the time to bow out.”

However, Southgate believed that he might still be able to coax Rooney out of for the World Cup if the 32-year-old is able to maintain his form for Everton this season and is open to the idea of playing for England in Russia next summer.

“I don’t see why you ever shut the door on anything,” Southgate said. “I suppose we would have to see where he was at, where the squad was at, where everything else was at. But it would be foolish to say ‘no’ because anything is possible. A part of that question should go to Wayne because you have to respect his decision and the thinking behind it. But have I seen players change their minds? Yes, I think we all have.”

“Wayne has been somebody it may have been easy for the other players to hide behind because he was always the one who has carried the burden. I think that’s been unfair on him. Now everybody has the chance to take the mantle.”

Everton enters Europa League after draw with Hajduk Split

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Everton secured a spot in the group stages of the Europa League after a 1-1 draw away against Hajduk Split.

With a 2-0 lead from the first leg, Everton only need a draw or a one-goal loss to advance, and for most part of the first-half their disciplined and measured plays ensured that they could secure such a result.

However, Hajduk Split looked to shake things up just two minutes before half-time, with Josip Radosevic letting fly a swerving 35-yard shot that beats Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal.

But it did not take long for Everton to respond, as their £45m club record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson pay due to his transfer fee on his first full debut with a stunning volley.

Starting a move by closing down a loose ball on the right, as he was falling backwards by doing so, the Icelandic playmaker sent a looping, angled volley over the goalkeeper Dante Stipica and into the back of the net from 50 yards.

Everton coach Ronald Koeman said after the game “I saw Gylfi’s goal, but I don’t think everyone on the bench did. It was incredible. I don’t have any other word for it. You need to be clever to see that possibility and after two or three weeks of the season, it could be the goal of the season [already]. It was really important to be level so quickly in the second half.”

Split, needing three goals to counter the away goal rule, could have regained their lead as Ashley Williams conceded a penalty for a clumsy challenge, but the spot kick was well saved by Pickford this time around. The penalty save was key as well because there were still 30 minutes to go at that time,” said Koeman.

However, Everton will have a more difficult test ahead as they travel to Chelsea on Sunday, with Koeman also revealing that the Senegal midfielder Idrissa Gueye had been rested with a slight hamstring problem.