Leicester City are set to face Stoke City in the Premier League this weekend as the Foxes try to confirm their spot above relegation this season.
The defending champions put up an excellent performance in the last game against West Ham, showing us some of what we saw last season where they defied the odds 5000 to 1.
Leicester would be without their captain Wes Morgan who has been ruled out due to back injury. He missed the 3-2 victory over West Ham before the international break, and he is yet to get the permission to play this week. MollaWague joined in January but he has played just once. He is sidelined for this game due to shoulder problem. NampalysMendy would sit out the game against Stoke as his knee issue persists.
Leicester are not the only ones with injured stars. Stoke would be without star player XherdanShaqiri as his calf problem continues. Glen Johnson shoulder concerns remain so he would miss the game. Jack Butland ankle injury would ensure he misses the game as well.
Craig Shakespeare would continue his charge over the host side as they seek yet another morale-boosting victory. A victory would make him the first British manager to win his first four Premier League games.
Danny Drinkwater would play a big role in the middle after recovering from the minor hip problem that kept him out of action for the Three Lions. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmiechel was impressive in the Champions League and against the Hammers. He would play a critical role in the game as they await Stoke City at Kings Power Stadium.
Stoke have been struggling of late, so they are not fancied to get the results. The best they can likely get is a draw, analysts predict. The visitors have also failed to score in their last three away matches, with the last coming in January.
Hull City midfielder Ryan Mason who is on the path of recovering from a skull surgery after a collision with Chelsea player Gary Cahill is happy to see his team captain Michael Dawson.
The injured player is at St Mary’s Hospital Paddington but was very pleased to see familiar faces when they dropped by to say hello.
Dawson and his dad Glen, the club’s doctor and secretary and his agent paid him a visit even as the whole English football community join to sympathize with him. The club manager Marco Silva also visited him but returned back to the city same night.
The doctor after the visit said that all was fine as many remained fearful after the collision.
“He’s good. He was delighted to see us. Marco Silva the manager went back to Hull last night but all medical staff stayed down. The team captain Michael Dawson, the club secretary, the physio and his dad were here today,” he said.
The doctor refused to divulge sensitive medical details like if the player suffered bleeding in his brain or anything at all about his situation. Many opine that it might take the player a while to return to regular football with the club.
Mason underwent a surgery to the fractured skull recently. The club’s official statement says that the player has been visited by the club and his family and that the hospital would continue to monitor the situation for a few more days.
“ have also been extremely touched by the overwhelming support they have received and would very much like to thank all of those who have posted such positive comments both on social media and in the press over the last 24 hours,” the statement also read.
Cahill and assistant coach Steve Holland visited on behalf of Chelsea to support Mason’s family.
Glen Johnson said that he is happy to be back for Stoke City after spending some six weeks on the sideline.
The player has been injured in training and has been absent from the Stoke City team since the match against Manchester United.
The player who only managed to have a few training sessions after coming back for Stoke City was rushed onto the pitch after Phil Bardsley was injured during the game. Although he is happy to have been able to get back playing, he said that he was disappointed with the circumstance.
Glen Johnson said that it is never easy to spend time off the pitch while you are injured and that he would have like to be back in the team in other circumstances. He has wished a speedy recovery to his team mate and hoped that they could play together very soon.
Glen Jonhson said that he has been training hard in order to come back to his best level and believes that he is now reaping the fruits. He admitted that he still lack match sharpness, but he knows that things will get better when he keeps playing.
He believes that Stoke City is underperforming at the moment and that they need to become more consistent. He said that the club has some good players and it is up to them to deliver on the pitch. He stated that he wants to fight on the pitch and that he seeks to help the team finish as high as they can.
Glen Jonhson said that he was disappointed with the game against Bournemouth and feel that the team could have obtained something from the game. He believes that they have done enough during the match to win at least a point and that it was disappointing to have lost the game.
Glen Johnson recently came under the search radar of one of the top El Classico giants, Barcelona whose coach, Luis Enrique is shopping for a low cost and short term solution to their right back in January when the transfer window opens.
However, this might not come to pass as it seems Stoke City would be taking up an option, thus extending the contract of the right back beyond 2017 as it is due to expire at the next summer.
The 32-year old is still a big part of Coach Mark Hughes’s plan, after a little spell at Stoke which has seen him find his best form. He had joined Stoke from Liverpool in the 2015 summer on a free transfer.
Johnson had agreed to a 2 year deal in his contract with an option of a third at the time he arrived Stoke. He should be available for Stoke’s game against Bournemouth on 19th November by the next international break. He may either be able to feature in the match, or at the very least, be available to train with the rest of his teammates.
He is currently out with a thigh problem which comes after a knee injury had seen him being ruled out for the three final months of the last season. This season also has seen him come off with a strain to the thigh which sidelined him for quite a while but not as much as a problem as was feared.
Hughes said: “He’s progressing. I think he’s happier with it. I think initially he thought that it might be more serious after the initial pop he had in comparison to the one he did earlier in the year – but it’s actually progressed a lot quicker and he’s quite happy.
“He’s got a couple of weeks to go before he’s back in the group but it’s progressing well and he should be ok.”
Mark Hughes has confirmed that defender Glen Johnson has returned to full training, thus increasing the possibility of seeing him in the squad for the game against Tottenham this weekend.
The former Liverpool defender has been a major absentee for the club over the last seven months. He had just joined from Liverpool in the 2015 summer transfer window, but a serious injury in the game against Bournemouth back in February has seen a significant chunk of his Stoke City career spent on the sidelines. His presence has provided a lot of competition to Phil Bardsley and the rivalry is once again set to resume from this weekend.
Hughes is unlikely to go all out with Glen Johnson straightaway. He will be aware that after having spent a long time on the sidelines, Johnson will need at least a month before he can get the full fitness. The lack of a pre-season means that it will be at least a couple of months before Stoke City get to see the best of Johnson. Regarded as one of the best attacking right backs from England over the last decade, Johnson has played for the likes of Chelsea, Portsmouth, and Liverpool. His last spell with Liverpool was something of a renaissance, as he managed to make a majority of his 54 England appearances while playing for the Merseyside outfit.
“Glen joined in with the first team today, which is good, so we fully anticipate that he should be okay now. We’ll get some more training into him, certainly next week, we have league and cup games coming up so that’s a good opportunity to get him and other guys up to speed.Xherdan is still a little bit slow at the moment. We’ve tried something a little different with him this week just to push him on but he won’t be available for the weekend,” said Hughes.
Glen Johnson has stated that he wants Joe Allen to come and join him at Stoke City.
He said that if ever Joe Allen asked him about a recommendation he will not hesitate to suggest him Stoke City. There are rumors that Joe Allen will be leaving Liverpool in the summer and that the Stoke City management are thinking of making a bid for the player.
Glen Johnson stated that he has enjoyed his time at Stoke City and that he has not regretted signing for them. He believes that his former Liverpool teammate will enjoy playing for the Potters and that it will be a great thing for him to come and play there.
Glen Johnson said that Joe Allen is a brilliant player and that he will be a great asset for Stoke City. He said that he is a creative player and that he can dictate play from the central of the park. He said that Allen is a proper footballer and will improve the team. He has urged the player to consider Stoke City when he leaves Liverpool.
Johnson has told Joe Allen that he should not pay attention to Stoke’s reputation. Many people still have the memories of the Stoke City under Tony Pullis, but this is the past. He said that Stoke City now play proper possession football and that Joe Allen will feel comfortable playing here.
Joe Allen has stated that he has talked with Mark Hughes and believed that Stoke City is a club with ambitions. He said that the team has not yet finished their transfer business and are still looking to strengthen ahead of the new season. He stated that the club already has some good players and that they can expect to have a great season ahead.
Glen Johnson toured the CFL for the third straight time this spring where he discussed the changes in the rules with the coaching staff and members of the media team.
The discussions in the past brought about lots of changes but at least they had a chance to talk. Over the years, some of the changes have involved allowing coaches to challenge interference calls or non calls, though at some point they wanted two point converts to be automatically reviewed which didn’t happen but at least the boss of the Canadian Football League heard them out.
Johnson, who was a former referee before he became the League’s senior vice president, football, thinks the officiating has been fine. During a stop at Regina, he said: “We’re innovating for good reason. With the player safety stuff, as we learn more, it’s all about education and it’s all about evolution. The more we learn, the more we can change and I think it’s the same with the rest of the game.”
The boss added that the game was a complicated one, even as it was incredibly simple too. He says he wants people to understand and enjoy the simplicity. The past season, the rule book didn’t have much tinkering. In the 2014 season, the coaches were given the right to seek reviews on defensive pass interference, one that was a major change. Also just before the 2015 campaign took off, the league changed the rules of illegal contact, this forced defensive backs and receivers to change their methods within five yards of the line of scrimmage. The line of scrimmage was even moved back to the 25-yard line for one point converts. For two point converts it was moved up to the three yard line.
The changes have been rampant and some fans have complained that they have not been able to keep up with the changes but Johnson feels good about the changes this off-season.
Newcastle United midfielder Andros Townsend has been a surprise inclusion in the preliminary squad for the Euro 2016.
After having spent much of his career with Tottenham, the winger moved to Newcastle United only in January. It may be one of the worst decisions by a player in recent memory, as Newcastle have been relegated to the Championship. Transfer rumours immediately began circulating thatTownsend would look for a return to the Premier League almost immediately. His reputation as a good player was in danger if he continues to play in the second division.
The possibility of featuring at the Euro 2016 still remains healthy forTownsend given that he had a good end to the season despite relegation to the second division. For the time being, the 24-year-old is not thinking too far ahead since he is only in the preliminary squad. Roy Hodgson has provided a few surprises in his selection policy. He has decided to go with only three central defenders. Hodgson is of the opinion that this decision allows him to be more flexible in offence. The inclusion of Townsend appears to have been made possible because of this decision.
Townsend has finished the league campaign with four goals and two assists in 13 appearances for Newcastle.”Some people were reporting I was in the squad, some that I was out, so it was real relief when I was named in the provisional squad. Now it is up to me to force my way into the final 23. The start of the season was a disappointment but I always had the faith that if I could get a run of games, my form would get back to where I want it to be and I could break back into the England squad.It has worked out that way, so I am delighted,” said Townsend.
The injury sustained by Glen Johnson is proving to be more troublesome than initially thought Stoke City.
The former Liverpool defender was initially expected to be out for action for around 3 to 4 weeks. However, he has now been on the sidelines for almost 2 months in the latest development is that he will be unavailable for the home game against Manchester City. The right back suffered a knee injury in the game against Bournemouth back in February. His absence – coupled with many others struggling for fitness – has been a major reason in Stoke City’s European ambitions coming into a grinding halt.
Mark Hughes has tried to remain positive about the situation, but it is becoming increasingly likely that Glen Johnson may miss the remainder of the season. The 31-year-old would be the default right back for the club had he been fit. His absence, however, has allowed other players like Phil Bardsley to take advantage of an increased first-team appearance. Hughes will have no reason to complain if results were good even without important players like Johnson. However, it is not the case since City have now suffered three consecutive 4-0 defeats in the league.
Assistant manager Mark Bowen confirmed that the former Chelsea and Liverpool defender is making good progress in his comeback.”Glen is progressing well. He’s hopeful within a couple of weeks, two or three weeks, that he can get back in – he certainly hasn’t given up on the season yet.He’s looking to get back into the frame for the last few games.Marc Wilson, I’ve been told this morning, the quote was he’s not far away. He’s desperate, the same as Shay Given, to get himself fit and play a few games before the season finishes so he is ready for the Irish campaign,” said Bowen.
Greece have announced a friendly with Australia in June and coach Michael Skibbe has praised the opposition’s impressive record when it comes to doing well at major tournaments like the World Cup.
Australia have qualified for the last three World Cups and this remains a major achievement for a nation where football is not yet hugely popular. Greece have been successful in major tournaments in the past but not of late. They did qualify for the World Cup 2014 and surprised a few by reaching the last 16. However, they have not been able to sustain their performances since the tournament.
Failure to qualify for the Euro 2016 resulted in the appointment of Skibbe as the new coach, who left his role to become a manager for Manchester entertainment offers.
Greece will be making a long trip in order to be part of the match, but the manager reckons that it will be a trip worthwhile. The objective of such friendly matches will be to do well in the upcoming World Cup 2018 qualification campaign. After having missed out on the Euro 2016, this remains a major objective for Greece.Skibbe has also reminded his players that they need to come up with a good performance since they do not have the advantage of playing in a competitive tournament like the Euro 2016.
“It is far, far away from Europe to go to Australia but on the other hand they have a really good team.They play very good, nearly every time they are going to the World Cups and doing well. We are looking forward to see them again maybe in Russia in 2018.They have a lot of players playing in Europe so I think this will be very tough for us.For us it is very important because we aren’t playing in the European Championships so we have to look at our performance,” saidSkibbe.