Rafael Nadal reveals two reasons why he has dominated tennis with Federer and Djokovic

Rafael Nadal says it is a love for tennis which is one of the key reasons for the longevity and success he has enjoyed with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have had unparalleled success in the men’s game, winning a combined 56 Grand Slams.

Nadal and Djokovic are approaching their mid-thirties while Federer will turn 39 in August yet they still remain as hungry as ever, enthused by the challenge provided by the latest crop of talent.

Speaking in an interview with ESPN, Nadal was asked to give the secret to the success of the ‘Big Three’ and the Spaniard explained their careers would not have been the same for two simple reasons.

“We can talk about many technical things, but the most important thing is the love for tennis that the three of us feel because, without all that, everything else is not possible,” he said.

“I think what makes the greats of sport really great is the desire and passion to do what they do and to be better.

“With that and the right people in our environment, we have found the way to always improve.”

Meanwhile, former British No 1 Greg Rusedski has called on tennis officials to do whatever they can to resume the season, even if it means excluded fans.


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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, no tennis has been played since March and a decision will be made in June over whether it will resume in August.

And Rusedski feels players will need to get used to matches without fans for the foreseeable future.

“Roger expressed his views on wanting fans there, but I would definitely be willing to come back now if I was still on the tour,” he told Tennis365.

“I look at the new-look Davis Cup finals last year and even though it was a fantastic first year for the new-look Davis Cup with an amazing final, let’s not forget how they blacked out the fans because there were low crowds outside of the matches featuring the hosts Spain. No one complained about the matches not having too many fans in there because the tennis was spectacular, so we can play our sport without fans.

“The first example of sport coming back in the UK will be the Premier League and I’m assuming that will start up next month.

“Football has much more contact than tennis and if they can get matches back on, there’s no reason why we can’t do that same in tennis.

“To get any live sport back on television would be welcome for a number of reasons and as tennis and golf are the two easiest sports to play while observing social distancing guidelines, we need to look at how we do it.

“If you are going to try and experiment to get sports back, then tennis and golf are the two sports we should do it with.”

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Chelsea warned Jadon Sancho back-up may not be good enough for the Premier League

Chelsea have been warned Jesus Corona may not be up to the physicality of the Premier League. Reports claim Chelsea are targeting Corona as a potential back-up signing to Jadon Sancho. Manchester United are understood to be leading the way for Sancho’s signature.

Winger Corona has often been used as a wing-back for Porto this season, registering seven assists in 24 Liga NOS appearances.

Former USA international Herculez Gomez is a fan of Corona but is not sure whether the 27-year-old has what it takes to replicate his form in the Premier League for a club like Chelsea.

“Oh man that is so difficult to say because first of all he’s a fantastic player,” Gomez told ESPN.

“He’s young, he’s brash, he’s very exciting on the ball in the final third, he takes risks, he’s a joy to watch.

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“But is he ready for that big jump to a big-six club in the Premier League or to a big club around the world?

“I don’t know and I’ll use this as an example. How many times have we seen a player who plays very well in the Portuguese league who makes that jump and it doesn’t translate?

“We saw it with Raul Jimenez at first, we saw it with Hector Herrera to Atletico, we saw it with Jackson Martinez who came out of Porto as well to Atletico, these players where it just didn’t translate.

“He’s a very good player but what are you saying? He’s going to go to Chelsea right now and he’s going to play in that winger position?

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“Because right now he’s playing as a wing-back and he’s still kind of learning the position.

“I’d like to say yes because I’ve seen what he can do on the ball but until he gets there and proves it, it’s just an unknown.”

On occasions, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has adopted a back three formation in his first campaign in charge.

However, Gomez cannot see Corona being up to the job of playing wing-back in England’s top flight.


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“I don’t like him at right-back, I like a bit of structure in my team,” the pundit added.

“I think he’s very adventurous in the way he plays.

“In a league like the Premier League, in a league where you’re going to have to fight, where it’s very physical, I don’t know if he has the physicality to really play in that league.

“I don’t know if that’s the league for Corona. I’d almost rather see him in La Liga or even the Bundesliga.”

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Newcastle takeover in serious doubt with ¬£300m move threatened due to ‘breach of law’

Newcastle’s £300m takeover is in serious doubt after the World Trade Organisation ruled against Saudi Arabia in a piracy case. Toon owner Mike Ashley has agreed to sell the club to PCP Capital Partners, an organisation backed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

However, The Guardian say the takeover is in serious doubt after the World Trade Organisation ruled Saudi Arabia is behind a pirate satellite TV and streaming service.

They say the Saudi government is behind beoutQ, which offers illegal streams to sporting events, including Premier League games.

The likes of Fifa, Uefa, the Premier League, La Liga have tried to take action against beoutQ, however, the copyright cases were unsuccessful.

Following the claims, a subsequent case was taken to the WTO, who ruled Saudi Arabia is in breach of international law.

DON’T MISS: What Newcastle players think of Steve Bruce keeping his job

The ruling could see Newcastle’s proposed new owners fail the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test.

The Guardian add that Saudi Arabia and Newcastle’s potential new owners deny the link to beoutQ.

Newcastle were expected to splash the cash in the summer transfer window if their takeover was completed.

The Toon had been linked with Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho, Gareth Bale of Real Madrid and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.


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Ex-Toon goalkeeper Shay Given claimed the Newcastle squad would be overhauled if new owners came in.

“It’s possibly harder now compared to City with the financial fair play,” Given said. “I think they’ve tightened up since Man City have come in.

“But Newcastle have a decent team as it is. If they add four, five, six really good players to that they could be in the top six or seven. Then if they add another six or seven players, they can get up there eventually.

“Newcastle already have the stadium. The city would be buzzing and the fans would be queueing out the gate to get in.


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“It’s a small world now with planes, trains and helicopters. It’s not that difficult to get to Newcastle.

“Once you get one or two big names in the door, then there’s a few more thinking, ‘If he’s joining, I want to go as well’.

“It’s exciting hearing about some of the players maybe coming to the club.

“Gareth Bale got a mention the other day, Kalidou Koulibaly too.”

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What Liverpool need to do to secure Timo Werner transfer this summer

Liverpool must continue to sit tight and attempt to negotiate themselves “into a better position” in their pursuit of Timo Werner, says European football expert Gabriele Marcotti. Werner is a long-term target of Liverpool following several years of prolific goalscoring for RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga.

The Reds are not the only club interested in Werner, with the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan all linked.

In April, reports claimed Liverpool were cooling their interest over signing the Germany international this summer.

However, Marcotti believes that is the approach they should continue to adopt in an attempt to move closer to a deal.

“Obviously [Werner to Liverpool] is talked about,” Marcotti told ESPN FC.

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“Inter Milan are also looking at him long and hard in case Lautaro Martinez moves.

“From their perspective, what they believe is they can offer more of a guaranteed starting spot in Conte’s spot, and maybe more of an opportunity to play more as a forward rather than coming in off the wing, although as we’ve seen Werner can pretty much play all over the place.

“I think if you’re Liverpool right now what you do is exactly what they’ve been doing.

“You put out feelers saying that ‘maybe he might be too expensive, you’ve got to see where it is, maybe not this summer’ and see if you can negotiate yourself into a better position.”

Meanwhile, former MLS star Alejandro Moreno believes Werner would be making the wrong choice if he joined Liverpool.

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Moreno says Werner would be better off joining a club where he would be more of a guaranteed starter.

“No [Werner shouldn’t go to Liverpool], because I think that Liverpool has something special going on,” Moreno said.

“And if I’m Timo Werner I have to be smart enough and intelligent enough to recognise that ‘you know what? They got something cooking over there that it would be a great thing to be a part of, but the truth of the matter is in order for me to get a chance to play the same way that I play with Leipzig, some things would need to change at Liverpool’ and I don’t think anything is changing when you look at a team that is about to win the Premier League by a thousand points.

“So it would be ridiculous for Jurgen Klopp to somehow force a place for Timo Werner when you have something so special and so productive right there in front of you.”

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Man Utd star Bruno Fernandes delivers Michael Jordan The Last Dance verdict

Michael Jordan’s documentary miniseries The Last Dance is one of Netflix’s most watched programmes during lockdown and Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes also tuned in to learn about one of the most successful sports stars of all time.

The 10-part series follows the ups and down of Jordan’s career as he went from a rookie basketball player to a six-time NBA champion.

Professional footballers based in the UK have had plenty of time on their hands as the Premier League season has been postponed since early March.

And Fernandes had given an insight into how he has been spending his time at his new home, which he moved into following his £47million move to United in January.

“I watch movies – in the first week, I watched a little bit more,” he said.

“Now, I watch series. I like the new one from Michael Jordan [The Last Dance].

“I think every sport person will like to know the past of Michael Jordan and I think it must be really nice to be one of the best sports teams in the world. So I want to watch them.

“I watch also the story from Carlos Tevez [Apache] – he also have a new one on Netflix.

“I watch most of the sports [documentaries], you know? I also want to watch – it’s not a new one, it came out a few months ago – the one from Rafinha Alcantara, from Barcelona.”

Fernandes also offered advice for young footballers who find themselves in isolation.


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He added: “I think it’s easy because I remember when I grew up, in my home with my father, my mother, my brother and my sister, we didn’t have a lot of space to play.

“In the first years, I had an apartment – when we were three we had to change home.

“In an apartment, you can do a lot of things, you know?

“Just with a wall sometimes, you take the ball left and right, left and right, it’s easy – you don’t need to break something or cause a big problem with your mum!

“Just be quiet there and try easy things – normally these easy things are most important for the game, no? [You can] learn how to play with both feet.”

Fernandes is nearing a return to action as the Premier League hopes to resume matches on June 12.


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Where Man Utd team that won Europa League under Jose Mourinho are now

May 24, 2017 marked the moment Jose Mourinho made Manchester United history by guiding them to the Europa League trophy for the first-ever time. The Red Devils struggled in the Premier League that year, ultimately finishing sixth. But Mourinho steered the Red Devils back into the Champions League – and to a trophy, too.

Manchester United met Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm.

They’d ran their luck in the semi-final showdown with Celta Vigo at Old Trafford, only narrowly avoiding elimination courtesy of a late miss from former Manchester City youngster John Guidetti.

United got the job done, though, winning 2-0 in Sweden.

Paul Pogba, who had returned from Juventus the summer before, opened the scoring in the 18th minute.

And Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored United’s second just three minuted into the second half, with the Red Devils holding on to win the prize.

But where are they now? Express Sport will take a look at the team that featured under Mourinho that day.

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Sergio Romero

United have had Sergio Romero on their books ever since 2015 and, two years after his move, he started the Europa League final.

He’s still at Old Trafford but could leave this summer. particularly with Dean Henderson primed to return from his loan spell at Sheffield United.

Antonio Valencia

United signed Antonio Valencia as their replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, with the player going on to spend a glittering decade at the club.

He’s currently playing for L.D.U. Quito after leaving the Red Devils on a free transfer last summer.

Chris Smalling

Chris Smalling has been at United ever since Sir Alex Ferguson snapped him up from Fulham in 2010.

He’s still on their books but, like Romero, is expected to leave. He’s flourished on loan at Roma this season but whether they have the financial power to snap him up remains to be seen.

Daley Blind

Daley Blind was always a slick operator for United – but his lack of pace meant he struggled to live up to his full potential in the Premier League.

He was sold to Ajax in 2018 and helped them make the semi-finals of the Champions League last season.

Matteo Darmian

Matteo Darmian was another signing United made that didn’t work out the way they wanted.

The Italy international never lived up to old comparisons with Gary Neville and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer allowed him to leave or Parma last summer.

Ander Herrera

Ander Herrera was a popular figure throughout his time at United, with fans admiring the Spaniard’s tenacity and composure on the ball.

After the club made a last-gasp attempt to tie him down to a new contract last summer, he chose to depart. He’s currently at PSG and has won the Ligue 1 title in his first season.


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Paul Pogba

The opening scorer that night in Sweden, Pogba’s United future is uncertain.

Solskjaer would like the France international to stay but he’s had his heart set on a move away from Old Trafford for some time now. Juventus, not Real Madrid, appear favourites for his signature.

Marouane Fellaini

He wasn’t liked by every United fan but Marouane Fellaini was always Mourinho’s man for the big occasion.

The Belgium international was sold by Solskjaer in January 2019 and is currently strutting his stuff for Shandong Luneng Taishan.

Juan Mata

Juan Mata isn’t the same slick player he was at Chelsea.

But United value the Spain international for his creative instincts and experience, having given him a new contract last summer.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Mkhitaryan was another Mourinho signing that didn’t really make the grade – but he was deadly in the Europa League.

He scored United’s second against Ajax – which was his sixth of the competition that year.

Marcus Rashford

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic out through injury, Marcus Rashford was given the chance to lead the line.

And, though the England international didn’t score, he helped the Red Devils pick up the trophy nonetheless.

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Subs in Stockholm

David De Gea: Still at United as No 1 despite making some big mistakes over the past 18 months.

Phil Jones: Has been at Old Trafford since joining in 2011 but a part of the ways is on the cards at last this summer.

Wayne Rooney: Currently at Derby County. The win over Ajax was his final outing for the Red Devils before he spent a year back at Everton.

Anthony Martial: The France international is Solskjaer’s main striker at Old Trafford.

Jesse Lingard: Solskjaer has kept faith in the playmaker but his long-term future at the Theatre of Dreams is up in the air.

Michael Carrick: Retired in 2018 and is working as a coach under Solskjaer.

Tim Fosu-Mensah: United’s forgotten man has barely played with injury preventing him from kicking on. Another who could be gone this summer, though.

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Roger Federer opts against copying Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic decision to practise

Roger Federer says he has no intention of returning to practise with uncertainty surrounding when the tennis season will resume.

With the deadly impact of the coronavirus pandemic, tennis at all levels is suspended with tournaments like Wimbledon forced to cancel.

It is hoped tennis can resume in August but given the global nature of the sport, it remains to be seen whether that target date will be met.

In a world without the coronavirus, Federer would have been working on his fitness following knee surgery in February and getting prepared to return for the grass-court season.

But speaking in a video call with Brazilian tennis legend Gustavo Kuerten, Federer said that with no tennis to prepare for, he is content to put his feet up and enjoy time with his family.

He said: “We have never stayed at home for more than five weeks since my last surgery in 2016.

“This is a great time for us, as a family, of course, we sometimes drive each other crazy, like any family.

“But honestly, we are healthy, our friends and family did not have the virus, which is important for us. And we’re doing well despite the circumstances.

“I’m not training at the moment because I don’t see a reason for that to be honest.


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“I am happy with my body now and I still believe that the lap of the circuit is a long way off.

“And I think it’s important for my head at this point to enjoy this break after playing so much tennis. I don’t miss it so much.

“I will feel, eventually, when I am close to returning and have a goal to train for. I’m going to be super motivated.”

Federer’s decision is in direct contrast to several of his rivals, who have restarted training in recent days.

After the lifting of lockdown restrictions in Spain, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have both been pictured practising again.

World No 3 Dominic Thiem is training on the clay in Austria while Federer’s compatriot Stan Wawrinka is working on his game indoors in Switzerland.

While former British No 1 Andy Murray, who hasn’t played a match in 2020, has been at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton practising with his brother Jamie.

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Everton backed to beat Tottenham to signing of Southampton star because of Carlo Ancelotti

Everton have been backed to beat Tottenham to the signing of Southampton captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Saints midfielder Hojbjerg emerged as a transfer target for Tottenham late in the January transfer window. Spurs are once again linked with a move for the former Bayern Munich ace.

However, Everton are also said to be interested in signing the 24-year-old.

The Toffees saw an upturn in form under Carlo Ancelotti before football was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic in March, moving up to 12th in the table after a poor start to the campaign.

Ancelotti was appointed as the permanent successor to Marco Silva in December.

And former Leeds and Coventry striker Noel Whelan believes having the Italian could help Everton beat Tottenham to Hojbjerg’s signature.

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Whelan thinks Ancelotti will look to move Morgan Schneiderlin on, leaving room for Hojbjerg.

“They are both desirable football clubs,” Whelan told Football Insider.

“Everton are very up and coming now. Ancelotti will have a full pre-season ahead of next year, so they will be exciting. Who does not want to work under him?

“Everton would be a better option because there are players there such as Morgan Schneiderlin who will be moved on.

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“He has not done enough and Ancelotti has had enough time to look at players now.

“He knows who he wants at the football club.”

Hojbjerg has made 129 appearances for Southampton since joining from Bayern in 2016.

Meanwhile, former Tottenham midfielder Michael Brown reckons Ancelotti could also help Everton get a deal for Newcastle ace Matty Longstaff over the line.

Longstaff, 20, is out of contract at Newcastle at the end of the season and has been linked with a free transfer to Goodison Park.


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“Any young player like Matty Longstaff, who’s just set off on his career and is starting to get going, will want to play, they’ll want to secure a future,” Brown told Football Insider.

“That will be what their advice is and Ancelotti’s a very, very renowned manager so a young player will want to play for him, that’s for sure.”

Longstaff made his name when he scored the only goal on his Premier League debut in a 1-0 win over Manchester United at St James’ Park.

He has made six appearances in the Premier League to date, scoring twice.

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Anthony Martial could help Man Utd chief Ed Woodward complete reduced Barcelona transfer

Manchester United updates: All the latest news and gossip from Old Trafford

Thursday, May 21

  • Anthony Martial could help Manchester United Samuel Umtiti
  • Barcelona have slashed their asking price to £27million
  • Monaco are prepared to sell Wissam Ben Yedder for £45m
  • Solskjaer has given his straightforward verdict on transfers

Samuel Umtiti

France duo Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial could help Manchester United sign Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti.

That’s according to Spanish publication Sport, who believe playing alongside his international colleagues at Old Trafford would be an enticing prospect for Umtiti.

Sport also suggest that the Catalan giants are prepared to accept a rock-bottom £27million for their 26-year-old defender, who is surplus to requirements at the Nou Camp.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to bolster his defensive options and find a long-term partner for club-record signing Harry Maguire.

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Wanted: Wissam Ben Yedder

Monaco have set their asking price for Manchester United target Wissam Ben Yedder.

ESPN claim Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are considering an approach for the France international, who scored 19 goals in 31 appearances this season.

And Monaco will do business for £45million, according to French publication Le10sport.

The report continues to state that Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are interested in Ben Yedder, and will make a move should Neymar or Kylian Mbappe leave the club.


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Solskjaer transfer verdict

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given a straightforward verdict on this summer’s transfer market.

“I’d rather have a hole in the squad than an a**hole,” Solskjaer told United We Stand. “Personality is so important. We’re a team in a team environment. You want players to have a bit of ego and edge but they have to be able to adapt.

“In March 2019, players were physically tired, mentally tired and we had injuries. The players started with negative thinking, whereas now it’s positive thinking.

“There were other things I didn’t like last year, some personal agendas which couldn’t be sorted out until the summer.

“There will always be players who want to play more in football, but if a team is to be successful, then players have to be available at different times. I feel in this group we don’t have one bad apple.”

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How Roger Federer helped Man Utd win the 2008 Champions League final

Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen revealed how he used footage of Roger Federer to help the players with their mental focus ahead of the 2008 Champions League final.

United had gone nine years without winning Europe’s biggest club competition and the pressure and expectation was rising on Sir Alex Ferguson and his players.

However, on this occasion Ferguson had the world’s best player in Cristiano Ronaldo in his ranks alongside the passion and quality of Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez.

The final would be against Chelsea, the first time two clubs from England would meet for the trophy in the history of the competition.

And to give his players that extra edge, Meulensteen convinced Ferguson that using Federer as an example would be beneficial.

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“I am a keen tennis fan and I have always admired Roger Federer and the way he controls his emotions,” Meulensteen told Planet Football.

“I selected five clips of Federer for the boys to watch and asked them to write down which tournament he was appearing in, which set it was and which point.

“They would identify, say, Wimbledon as the competition, but they couldn’t tell me which point or set it was.

“The point I made to them was that wherever Federer was playing, he was winning and performing at the highest level when it really mattered.


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“He would win the first set, then lose the second and the third but, by the time the game reached match point, everything which had happened before didn’t matter because he was so focused on winning.”

It ultimately worked as United would hold their nerve to beat Chelsea in a penalty shoot-out at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia and complete a Premier League and Champions League title double.

Former United defender Gary Neville recently called that squad the greatest in the club’s history but Paul Ince strongly disagreed.

He told the Evening Standard: “I disagree with that. If you take out Ronaldo and Rooney – Gary Neville was one of the best right-backs in the world.

“I’m not going to say (Patrice) Evra was a better left-back than Denis Irwin, that’s for sure. Pallister was similar to Rio (Ferdinand) in the way they play. We know how great Brucey was for Man United.

“The midfield wouldn’t touch our midfield in 94 and then you’ve got obviously Ronaldo and Rooney who were world-class, but Cantona was world-class.

“When I look at that overall 2008 team, in my opinion, there is probably only Rooney and Ronaldo, definitely, I’d have in my team.

“People forget how good Denis Irwin was. Football has changed, it gets quicker and [with] social media and radio with fans ringing in, players get more highlighted than in our time.

“If you watch Denis Irwin play, two-footed, took free-kicks, scored penalties, I don’t see many left-backs doing that. I didn’t see Evra doing that. I’ve got to disagree with Gary Neville there, I think he was way off the mark.”

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