More stories

  • in

    ‘Did he really say it?’ – Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp slams Chelsea owner Todd Boehly’s Premier League All-Star game plans

    LIVERPOOL boss Jurgen Klopp has slammed Todd Boehly after the new Chelsea owner suggested plans for a Premier League All-Star game.American businessman Boehly knows all about money-spinning matches from his homeland.
    Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has blasted the concept of a Premier League All-Stars gameCredit: PA
    Chelsea owner Todd Boehly reckons the match could raise lots of money for the football pyramidCredit: Reuters
    The NBA have long hosted an annual match between the East and West Conference sides.
    Boehly, who also co-owns baseball side the LA Dodgers, told the SALT conference that MLB’s latest All-Star game generated over £170million.
    And a Premier League clash of North vs South could generate similar revenue to help boost the football pyramid.
    Boehly said: “People are talking about why don’t we have more money for the Pyramid?
    READ MORE IN FOOTBALL
    “MLB did their All-Star game this year. They made $200m from a Monday and a Tuesday.
    “You could do a North vs South All-Star game from the Premier League to fund the Pyramid very easily.”

    But Liverpool’s Klopp made it clear that he is not a fan of the idea.
    He scoffed at the mere suggestion of an All-Star game due to the lack of breaks Premier League footballers get.
    Most read in Football
    FREE BETS AND SIGN UP DEALS – BEST NEW CUSTOMER OFFERS
    And Klopp also claimed the general public would not be fans of watching such an event.
    He said: “Great. When he finds a date he can call me.
    “He forgets that in the big sports in America these players have four month breaks.
    “They’re quite happy they can do a little bit of sports in these breaks, it’s completely different to football.
    “What can I say? Does he want to bring the Harlem Globetrotters as well, and let them play against a football team?
    Read More on The Sun
    “I’m not sure people want to see that. United, Liverpool, City, Everton players all together.
    “It’s not the national team. Did he really say it?” More

  • in

    Chelsea boss Graham Potter’s inner circle, from wife Rachel who has a pilates business to loyal assistant Billy Reid

    GRAHAM POTTER is the new manager of Chelsea.The English boss, 47, has taken over the reigns from sacked Thomas Tuchel, following successful talks with the club’s owner Todd Boehly.
    Graham Potter is the new man at Chelsea – and has a backroom team to support him
    In the past, Potter has been a hit coaching Swedish minnows Ostersund, Swansea and most recently Brighton.
    During that period, he has developed his own inner circle of people he considers confidantes.
    From his wife who runs a pilates business to assistant manager Billy Reid, these are who he trusts the most as he takes control at Stamford Bridge.
    Billy Reid
    Making the move to Stamford Bridge with Potter, like he has at Ostersund, Swansea and Brighton, is the ex-Hamilton Academical boss.
    Reid has been Potter’s trusted assistant – a man he can lean on for advice in training sessions and during games, as well as encourage to perform ballet Swan Lake with his players.
    Read more in sport
    He was a No1 for eight years in Scotland, before opting to be Potter’s No2.
    Of Potter, Reid has said: “He lets me get on with my job. He is easy going, with a temper. When he turns he turns and the players will know that.
    Brighton assistant manager Billy Reid has joined Potter at Stamford Bridge
    “He is very clear in his mind of the idea he puts across to his players. That’s why he’s had the success he’s had and he knows how to delegate really well.”
    Bjorn Hamberg
    When he was just 20, Hamberg showed his love of football by setting up his own team, BK Bjorner with pals.
    Before he got his break at Ostersund, the Swede was a supermarket manager.
    But at 26 he’s been with Potter – focusing mostly on match analysis.
    He too has made the move to the Blues.
    Bjorn Hamberg worked at a supermarket until he got his break under Potter
    Most read in Football
    Kyle Macaulay
    Recruitment analyst Macaulay has also joined Potter’s Chelsea revolution.
    He has been credited with finding gems at Brighton, from Yves Bissouma to Moises Caicedo.
    Macaulay will be tasked with looking at the current squad and drawing a list of potential targets to correct any weaknesses.
    Any potential talents that could be sold on for profit would also be part of his remit.
    Kyle Macaulay, right, has been Potter’s talent spotter through the years
    Rachel Potter
    Potter is married to Rachel, a Pilates enthusiast and the mother of his three children.
    They began dating when he was a player in the 1990s.
    She has her own successful business and has been the football manager’s rock through the years.
    In fact, Rachel ditched her first business in the UK to start all over in Sweden when he landed the Ostersund job in 2011.
    Rachel Potter is a Pilate enthusiastCredit: Instagram
    Ben Roberts
    A former Middlesbrough favourite, Roberts will be joining Chelsea as a goalkeeping coach.
    In fact, he was in goal for Boro when Roberto di Matteo scored for Chelsea after just 43 seconds in the 1997 FA Cup final
    He holds a degree in sports science and coaching and worked with Potter at Brighton from 2015.
    Most notably, he helped the careers of Matt Ryan and now Robert Sanchez blossom.
    Could be just the tonic Edouard Mendy needs to regain his form and confidence.
    Ex-Middlesbrough keeper Ben Roberts will be joining the Blues as keeper coach
    Ben Roberts conceded one of the most famous goals in Chelsea historyCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
    Bruno Saltor Grau
    Known simply as Bruno, the Spanish coach had an impressive career in LaLiga – playing right back for Espanyol, Almeria and Valencia.
    He also played over 200 games for Brighton – so was a firm fans’ favourite.
    In 2019, he became senior player development coach with the Seagulls.
    He once told Sky Sports: “I never thought I was going to get into coaching this quickly,.
    “The manager’s leadership is amazing as he allows every one of us the freedom to contribute whatever knowledge and experience we have.”
    Coach Bruno has praised boss Potter and his approach
    John Morris
    The man at the centre of Potter’s negotiations with Chelsea and Brighton is Morris.
    An agent for Wasserman, he famously also has Jamie Vardy, Brendan Rodgers, Tyrone Mings, and many more as clients.
    He began working with fellow Solihull-born Potter in 2017, after flying to Sweden to meet him.
    Instantly, he understood his qualities as a coach and has beaten his drum for top jobs in the Premier League ever since.
    John Morris is Potter’s longstanding agent More

  • in

    How Chelsea’s No1 manager target Graham Potter’s Masters in Emotional Intelligence has helped him reach the top

    GRAHAM POTTER is ready to win over the Chelsea dressing room when he is officially confirmed as Thomas Tuchel’s successor.That’s because the outgoing Brighton boss has reached the top of his game using a Masters’ degree in Emotional Intelligence.
    Graham Potter has reached the top using a Masters degree in Emotional IntelligenceCredit: Getty
    The 47-year-old tactician worked his socks off to become an elite manager, developing his trade with Hull University, the Ghana women’s team and the England Universities Squad.
    Potter then became an assistant coach at Leeds Met Uni, where he picked up an impressive degree in Leadership and Emotional Intelligence.
    Potter’s managerial career kicked off soon afterwards, landing a role with Swedish side Ostersund before making the leap with Swansea City.
    He then got the Brighton job in 2019, and their transformation since has been nothing short of remarkable.
    READ MORE ON CHELSEA
    Potter is now on the cusp of becoming Chelsea’s second English manager since Glenn Hoddle.
    And his personal approach to the game could see Potter transform the Blues back into genuine title contenders.
    He told Sky: “I realised my time as a footballer was coming to an end and I wanted to use those experiences somehow, whether it was a teaching qualification or whatever.
    “But I started to study and it just happened by accident almost, I ended up with my job at the University of Hull, which was a graduate position job but it was in football.
    Most read in Football
    FREE BETS AND SIGN UP DEALS – BEST NEW CUSTOMER OFFERS
    “Then I carried on working with the teams there and realised, ‘I’m quite good at this, I can see myself doing this a bit more’.
    “It just grew and grew. The more I had practice the more I had experience.
    “[My masters] was a leadership qualification and that seemed to be interesting to me.
    “I’d done my qualifications as a coach and I was at Leeds Met, I had time and the cohort were surgeons and the British military.
    Read More on The Sun
    “You simplify it, it’s just man management, building an environment, understanding how the environment can help you shape behaviour, how people act.
    “It sounds quite common sense but it’s often not common practice and that’s the beauty of it.” More

  • in

    Chelsea target Graham Potter once got his players to perform ballet Swan Lake, and his assistant Billy Reid to rap

    PRAY for Kalidou Koulibaly that they have a pair of pointed shoes that fit.Chelsea are sensationally locked in talks with Graham Potter to take over as their new boss, after disposing of Thomas Tuchel.
    Brighton manager Graham Potter is in talks to become the next Chelsea managerCredit: Andrew Hasson – The
    Should that happen Potter could turn the Blues in a ‘Culture Club’ like he did in Sweden with Ostersunds.
    Well before the English coach, 47, arrived on our shores with Swansea and then Brighton, he was making waves in Scandinavia.
    But his management style was a little bit different to others.
    He encouraged the arts on his players and staff – and in his time with the Allsvenskan club they wrote a book, put on an open-air rock concert and, most memorably, staged their own version of ballet Swan Lake.
    Read more in sport
    Better still, his trusted assistant Billy Reid – who has loyally followed him on this journey – penned a self-written rap which he also performed live.
    Embracing culture
    From 2011-18, Potter was a hero with Ostersunds.
    He led the Swedish minnows from the fourth tier all the way to the top flight in just six years.
    Most read in Football
    They even enjoyed a miraculous run in the Europa League, beating Hertha Berlin and, more famously, Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in 2018.
    Behind-the-scenes, they worked with local artist Kevin Wahlen to create ‘culture academy’ to bring players and staff out of their comfort zones and challenge them outside of football.
    Wahlen, in effect, became the world’s first culture coach.
    “The players hated it at first,” Wahlen told Sky Sports in 2020.
    “But we ended up having a lot of fun and life time memories. And it gave them courage, too. It’s not always the one who is the bravest on the pitch that is bravest on stage.
    “It was controversial having a football club in the Swedish top-flight working with culture.
    “People assumed that men can’t or won’t have the possibility to think about anything besides football, or perhaps FIFA when they get home.
    “There was something exciting about getting a group of men to do ballet. The risk is that if we assume that men don’t have the capacity to do anything besides play football or video games, then it can becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    “Graham was a true inspiration to work with – and he always took a lead role, even if he thought it was scary.”
    From 2011 to 2018, Potter managed Swedish minnows OstersundsCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Alongisde trusted assistant Billy Reid, Potter led the club to Europa League success against ArsenalCredit: Reuters
    From Swan Lake to spitting lyrics
    Back in 2013, Scottish coach Billy Reid joined Potter in Sweden following a long stint with Hamilton Academical.
    Two years later, he found himself performing a dance routine to world-renown ballet Swan Lake.
    A month later, Reid found himself channelling his inner Eminem.
    Reid told Inside Sport in 2017: “The culture aspect is a massive part of what we are doing at Ostersunds.”
    He added: “It’s different but it is tremendous for team bonding. It takes people out of their comfort zone and puts them in different places.
    “But it’s really helped us on the pitch too, and what we are doing is big news in Sweden.”
    Potter, too, understood the values in what they were creating.
    “It was about being open to new things, stripping away the barriers which sometimes exist in a team, all the hierarchies, and developing players as people,” he recalled in 2020.
    Under Potter, Ostersunds became a club that embraced cultureCredit: Getty – Contributor
    The side stepped out of their comfort zone to perform Swan LakeCredit: Pressteam
    “You get to see people at a human level.
    “It would be wrong for me to pick up that and copy and paste it here. I’ve kept the theoretical reasons why we would do that and tried to apply them in a different way.
    “It’s fundamentally about whether you can build an environment which is empathic, where players can appreciate the differences amongst us, sometimes we want everyone to think how we think. Teams and groups can be better when there’s a difference.
    “We’ve got a multicultural environment here, which is a gift, something we should cherish and appreciate. Just because we see the world one way doesn’t mean the guy sitting next to us does, and we talk about that a lot.”
    Build him a statue
    Although it never quite happened, Potter’s success in Sweden led to an Ostersunds resident writing to his council to build a statue of the Solihull-born tactician.
    Potter modestly said when it was proposed five years ago, “I’m hoping they can spend their money somewhere else – it is very embarrassing.”
    What isn’t embarrassing is Potter’s epic rise.
    Although a Swedish Cup is all he has to show in terms of silverware in his management career, his teams have always won admirers for the way they play the game.
    When he was coming up in the game, he studied Roberto Martinez’s training methods at Swansea and became inspired by his possession-based approach, along with the “holistic” training principles he observed during his travels to Spain.
    A student of the game, Potter has studied the philosophies of Roberto Martinez, Pep Guardiola and Raymond VerheijenCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Over the years, Potter’s sides have earned much acclaim for the way they’ve played the gameCredit: Getty
    Read More on The Sun
    Potter also cites the philosophy of Pep Guardiola and Raymond Verheijen’s periodisation model among his influences.
    Should Todd Boehly make him his next appointment, expect Blues stars to be put through a different approach. More

  • in

    How ‘shocked’ Thomas Tuchel was axed in brutal 10-minute training ground PHONE CALL as chiefs ignored plea for more time

    THOMAS TUCHEL was left “totally shocked” after being sacked by Chelsea in a brutal 10-minute PHONE CALL today.SunSport can reveal Todd Boehly ended Tuchel’s 18-month Stamford Bridge love affair in swift fashion following last night’s defeat to Dinamo Zagreb.
    Todd Boehly’s time as Chelsea boss ended in a brutal 10 minute phone call todayCredit: AFP
    New owner Todd Boehly made it clear to Tuchel that he had run out of timeCredit: Rex
    Champions League winner Tuchel rocked up to Cobham this morning to give his flops a post-match dressing down.
    But when he arrived at Chelsea’s training ground there was nobody there to greet him.
    Tuchel was then thrust into a call conference with the Chelsea hierarchy.
    In a relentless 10 minute meeting, Tuchel pleaded for more time as he urged for a chance to turn things around.

    But his request fell on deaf ears as the Stamford Bridge top brass informed the German there was simply no time left.
    Tuchel was left “totally shocked” as the news sunk in.

    It comes as:

    The fan favourite then quickly gathered his belongings before saying goodbye to staff and leaving the complex.
    It is unclear whether Chelsea’s underperforming stars were present as Tuchel bid farewell to the club.
    Most read in Football
    CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BETTING OFFER – GET £50 BACK AS CASH

    His backroom staff have been kept on for now and are tasked with getting a team ready for Saturday’s derby against impressive Fulham.
    In the meantime, Chelsea are now on the hunt for a new manager to take charge after a record near-£260million summer spending spree.
    SunSport understands Brighton’s Graham Potter is on a three-man list with Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane.
    Boehly hopes to open talks with the Seagulls shortly, having already spent £62m to sign Marc Cucurella from them last month.
    Chelsea are currently sixth in the Premier League table with three wins and two defeats in six matches. More

  • in

    Chelsea stars Reece and Lauren James become the first brother and sister pair to play for England and are ‘living dream’

    IN the case of the James clan, it’s very much about keeping it in the family.This weekend, Lauren James earned her first cap for England – coming as a substitute against Austria as Sarina Wiegman’s European Champions booked their place at the World Cup with a 2-0 win.
    Chelsea stars Reece and Lauren James are the first brother and sister to play for EnglandCredit: EPA
    Reece and Lauren James have become professional footballers with the help of dad NigelCredit: Instagram / @rjames
    James made her debut for the Three Lions against Austria over the weekend
    In doing so, she joined her famous brother Reece in becoming a full England international. They are now the first brother and sister to play for the Three Lions, in what is a remarkable achievement.
    While Reece has just signed a new five-year deal with the Blues

    It’s astounding that two talented footballers of the men’s and women’s game are even playing professionally, not to mention representing their country.
    But the London-born pair are living the dream. Part of their success is due to their incredible father, Nigel.
    Read more in sport
    A motorbike accident halted his promising career, after spells at Luton Town and Southampton.
    Nigel found his true calling through mentoring youngsters and later set up Nigel James Elite Coaching programme.
    It’s testament to him, his son and his daughter would eventually become pros.
    PARKLIFE
    Reece, 22, and Lauren, 20, grew up in London with football an ongoing backdrop in their lives.
    Most read in Football
    As well as a father with footballing aspirations, their elder brother Joshua was on the books of Fulham and Reading. Their mother Emma worked admirably for the NHS.
    If the three siblings weren’t kicking a ball against a wall, they would be down the park honing their skills.
    Often, their dad who would pass on his knowledge and put the three through training drills and exercises.
    Lauren and Reece have always shared a tight bond together
    The siblings grew up in London with football as their backdrop
    Reece and Lauren enjoy a kickabout togetherCredit: Instagram @laurennjjames
    Dad Nigel coached Reece, Lauren and their brother Joshua in the local park
    “We grew up as a three,” Reece of Chelsea proudly told the Blues official website.
    “Obviously, Josh learned from my dad and then it just passed its way down. I started playing because my brother played, and my sister played because I played.
    “We all used to play every day together at the park and over time we all gradually got better. There was a field behind my house, with two pitches, and every day I’d be playing football, either in the field or in the street.”
    Lauren, who joined her brother at Chelsea this summer, echoes the sentiment that the beautiful game dominated their lives.
    “All I ever knew was football, football and football,” she told The Telegraph.
    “My brothers got me into football. Whether it was when Josh was at Fulham or when Reece was at the Chelsea academy, I was there kicking the ball against the fence.
    “I’ve always had a football and it has just taken me to where I am now.”
    PATHWAY TO SUCCESS
    Reece was an early bloomer when it came to his footballing talent.
    By the age of six he joined Chelsea’s impressive development academy, where he progressed through the ranks.
    James joined Chelsea’s youth set-up aged six
    James progressed through Chelsea’s youth teams and won a FA Youth CupCredit: Getty – Contributor
    However, it took him some time to find his best position. He started off as a striker, moved into midfield and then had to learn the art of defending.
    Once he cemented the right-back as his own, there was no stopping him. In the 2017-18 season, he appeared for England at U18, U19 and U20 level.
    A loan at Wigan Athletic the following campaign saw Reece named as their Player of the Year.
    Once he made his debut against Grimsby in the EFL Cup in 2019, scoring one and assisting two, he could no longer be ignored for a first team spot.
    Lauren might be slightly younger than Reece, but her achievements are just as impressive.
    At 13 she joined Arsenal, and because of her experience with playing with her brothers was encouraged to train with the boys’ team.
    Two years later, the prolific forward made her first team debut for the Gunners women’s team – beating Reece to the punch there.
    She created history in the process becoming the youngest player in Arsenal’s history male or female to make their bow for the club.
    In 2017, she moved to the newly reformed Manchester United women’s team to take on a new challenge in a city she never knew.
    In 2017, Lauren James joined Manchester United’s newly formed women’s teamCredit: Getty
    Since joining the Red Devils, James has thrived scoring 27 goals in 54 gamesCredit: Getty
    But that didn’t deter the brave teen, who scored 14 goals in 18 league games as the Red Devils won promotion from the Championship at the first time of asking to the Women’s Super League.
    This summer, Lauren joined Reece at Chelsea – where she has scored once in her five games so far this campaign.
    BATTLING RACISM TOGETHER
    As is a sad indictment of our times, both Reece and Lauren have been targeted with online racist abuse.
    They are united in their efforts to encourage social media companies to do more with their platforms in stopping racism.
    “When we both get messages like that, we turn to each other and discuss it,” Reece said.
    “I think everyone agrees and knows that what’s happening with social media and racism is wrong. Everyone says they want to change, but not many things are changing.”
    MUTUAL RESPECT
    Although they share a competitive nature on the pitch, Reece and Lauren only have a mutual respect for each other’s achievements.
    But Lauren knew she had to emulate her brother by following his footsteps into the England squad.
    “We are not usually competitive,” she revealed.
    “When he got his senior England call-up, it was like, “Right, he got his, I’ve got to get mine now. That’s probably the only time and I laugh about it now.”
    Reece earned his first cap against Wales last October, while a month later Lauren received a senior national team call-up as part of a 29-player training camp at St George’s Park.
    Despite their careers mirroring one another, Reece is adamant they can’t be compared.
    Reece James has become a regular in the England squad since his first call-up last OctoberCredit: Marc Aspland – The Times
    His sister Lauren James celebrated an England call-up last November when she was included in a 29-man squadCredit: Getty
    “I wouldn’t say there’s competition,” he said.
    “You know, she is my sister. Our games are the same, our professions are the same, but it’s still different. I play men’s football when she plays women’s football, you can’t compare them.”
    No. But you can applaud their success. They are, after all, living the dream. More

  • in

    Real Madrid star Antonio Rudiger reveals hardest XI he has faced from ‘best ever’ Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo

    REAL Madrid star Antonio Rudiger named his best XI of stars he has faced during his career – reserving special praise for the ‘best ever’, Lionel Messi.The German defender, now 29, revealed all in an interview with Sky Sports in 2020.

    And he named a host of Premier League stars, including two current Liverpool players.
    But when asked who he believed to be the greatest player of all-time, Rudiger aimed to settle the debate by claiming it would be Messi for him.
    The Blues defender – who left the Blues this summer for LaLiga- said: “If I had to pick one it would be Messi.
    “Is he the best ever? I didn’t see Pele or Diego Maradona playing because that was not my time, so it’s Messi.”
    Check out what Rudiger had to say on every player in his best XI…
    GOALKEEPER – Manuel Neuer
    “There were some times, around 2014, where he was unbeatable. He was the goalkeeper.
    “There are a lot of good goalkeepers, I played with Alisson at Roma, he’s a beast, and I’ve played with Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Bernd Leno.
    “There are a lot of good goalkeepers, but I pick Neuer.
    Most read in football
    “In the 2014 World Cup against Algeria, I was watching from home and he was unbeatable, he was almost playing like a defender, clearing up the long balls Algeria put over the defence.
    “He took everything and I was shocked.”RIGHT-BACK – Aaron Wan-Bissaka
    “This guy is hard to beat, with his tackles – his sliding tackle is amazing.
    “He is progressing very well, and I like him very much.”
    CENTRE-BACK – Sergio Ramos
    “Everyone knows why, this guy knows how to do his job in defence and is also very important at offensive set pieces.
    “He is a commanding defender and a great anywhere.”
    Van Dijk and Robertson both make it into Rudiger’s best XI
    CENTRE-BACK – Virgil van Dijk
    “In the last two years, he’s shown he is definitely one of the best, even maybe the best at the moment. He is a beast.
    “You always look up to those kind of players because these two centre-backs are, at the moment, the best centre-back, so of course you can learn something from them.
    “Everyone has their own style of playing, but you can learn from them.”
    LEFT-BACK – Andrew Robertson
    “This guy doesn’t stop running, he is active the whole time, going forward and backwards.
    “He is very good at crossing and overall, both defensively and offensively, he is doing a very good job.”
    CENTRE-MID – Andres Iniesta
    “The vision he had for football was massive, I’d never seen anything like it.
    “His combination game was top class.”
    Kante and De Bruyne start in the midfield of Rudiger’s XI
    CENTRE-MID – N’Golo Kante
    “The guy is everywhere, and he loves to tackle.
    “These kind of players look for the contest, they find it and they win it, that is impressive, especially when you consider what kind of guy he is.
    “Wow.”
    CENTRE-MID – Kevin De Bruyne
    “I played against him in Germany.
    “In those days, it was hell to play against Wolfsburg because they were a really tough side with good quality players, and of course he was the best in that team.
    “He has everything; his crossing, passing, the way he shoots on his left and right foot and his technical ability – he is really, really good.”
    Ronaldo and Messi start on the wings in Rudiger’s toughest opponents XI
    RIGHT-WING – Lionel Messi
    “The next two stand out, they are in a different world, they are different quality.
    “When you’re playing against Messi, the feeling you have is that it’s just up to him, if he is in a good mood or is having a good day you cannot stop him.
    “That is my honest opinion.”
    LEFT-WING – Cristiano Ronaldo
    “The same applies with Ronaldo. They have two different ways of playing, one to try and score goals and the other is enjoying his football.
    “If I had to pick one it would be Messi. Is he the best ever? I didn’t see Pele or Diego Maradona playing because that was not my time, so it’s Messi.”
    STRIKER – Sergio Aguero
    “For me, he is a top striker. He’s small, compact and a goalscorer who scores for fun.
    “He’s the type of striker that if you give him an inch that’s enough, it’s tough to mark him.
    “For a big defender, his centre of gravity is very low and it’s difficult because of his good movement.” More