Tag Archives: Michael Keane

ENGLAND v BELGIUM preview

Following Scotland Qualifying for their first major tournament since 1998, England now know that they will face their old rivals at next year’s delayed Euro Championships. Scotland beat Serbia on penalties after Alexander Mitrovic missed the Serb’s final spot-kick to set up an exciting Euro Group Game.

Before then both nations have Nations League business to attend to. England face Belgium away knowing they must win if they are to top their group and repeat the semi-final appearance in 2019. Scotland meanwhile are four points clear at the top of their group with two fixtures remaining meaning promotion to League A is highly likely. England are in the position because of a defeat and draw against Denmark, which under minded their impressive victory against Belgium at Wembley.

Gareth Southgate has announced Jack Grealish will make his first competitive England start after impressing in recent appearances, Grealish is likely to play on the left of a front three and replace Marcus Rashford who withdrew from the squad along with Joe Gomez, and Conor Coady whilst Harry Maguire and Reece James are suspended. This leaves boss Southgate with some tough choices on who lines up in defence. He is likely to stay with a back three with Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, and Michael Keane starting. However, there is a lack of wing-backs available in the squad with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka the only options which may force Southgate to change to a back four. In midfield, I expect to see Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson either as a two or alongside Mason Mount depending on the formation. Harry Kane will return upfront to earn his 50th cap in which he has netted 32 times. Jaden Sancho is the most likely to complete the front three although Phil Foden is an alternative.

Elsewhere there have been mixed fortunes for the Home Nations as Wales are battling with Finland to win Group B4 whilst the Republic Of Ireland are looking to avoid relegation from the same group. The two nations face each other next up before Wales face a group decider against Finland. Northern Ireland lost their Euro play-off final against Slovakia in extra time after equalising late on in the 90 minutes. They are bottom of nations league group B1 and have a huge task to avoid relegation.

1 day to go – Where do Burnley need to strengthen?

With the transfer window drawing to an abrupt close tomorrow night, Burnley still appear to be short on numbers, but with just over 24 hours to go, have the Clarets left it too late?

Burnley have broken their transfer record so far in this window to land Chris Wood, who opened his account in the Premier League on Sunday, netting a 92nd minute equaliser against Tottenham.

Away from Wood, the Clarets have also landed Jack Cork, Jonathan Walters, Phil Bardsley, Charlie Taylor and Adam Legzdins.

However, losing Michael Keane and Andre Gray has meant that the Clarets have almost been forced into the market to seek replacements, which so far they have failed to do for both.

James Tarkowski has deputised for Michael Keane at the back, but has seemingly struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League.

The former Oldham centre back has big boots to fill after Michael Keane’s departure, which so far he has struggled to do, which could force Sean Dyche into a late move for a defender.

Jozo Simunovic has been linked with a move to Turf Moor, as has Lamine Kone, although at this stage, both are now looking unlikely and it would appear Burnley will move forward with James Tarkowski, Ben Mee and Kevin Long as the clubs main centre backs.

You could argue that in Chris Wood, Burnley have replaced Andre Gray, but the contrasting styles of the two players would say otherwise.

Gray’s blistering pace is something that Burnley have missed in their opening few games and Dyche is clearly looking to add that to the group in the last day.

Nahki Wells has been touted for a move, after a bid for Abdul Majeed Waris was turned down and it now looks like Wells could be a Burnley player come 11pm tomorrow.

One area where the Clarets have been weak for a while now is on the wing.

Signing Robbie Brady in January addressed one wing, but the right hand side is still a weakness for Burnley, with Johan Berg Gudmundsson currently occupying that role, but to little effect.

A pacy winger has been something on all Burnley fans lips for years now, but Dyche has never delivered and looks set not to for at least another window.

All in all, Deadline Day could go either way for Burnley.

It looks set to be a quiet one, but should desperation kick in, Turf Moor could be a very interesting place for the Sky cameras to be!