Manchester City have looked so imperious this season that there are suggestions that they could go the entire season in the Premier League unbeaten. There have been some tricky games and the Citizens have had to come from behind but Pep Guardiola’s side have always risen to the occasion. There is still a long way to go this campaign and the Christmas period is going to be very tricky as always but, for the first time since the Arsenal Invincibles in 2002, there is a team in the Premier League who genuinely look like they could win the Premier League title without losing a single match.


City are the overwhelming favourites for the Premier League title with odds of 1/10, while city-rivals Manchester United are second favourites with odds of 11/1. City have arguably the strongest squad in England and the best starting lineup. In fact, Guardiola’s team have the best attacking unit in the Premier League in which even Sergio Aguero is not guaranteed a place, and Aguero is arguably the best striker in England and one of the deadliest in the world.

One of the main reasons why City’s great form so far this season has been great is the redefined role of Kevin De Bruyne. The former Chelsea man is an attacking midfielder, but this term the 26-year-old has played in a deeper role from where he has been able to pull the strings and make attacking forays.

The world-class Belgium international has controlled the midfield and has played some wonderful passes, showing the full extent of his vision and offering something of a boon to betting fans; with a successful tackle percentage of 77%, De Bruyne is a popular bet in the in-play at The former VfL Wolfsburg midfielder has scored three goals and provided six assists in 13 Premier League appearances for City so far this campaign.

Another player who has taken his game to another level is David Silva. A player with similar qualities and attributes to De Bruyne, the 31-year-old attacking midfielder continues to play well. The Spain international has one goal and provided eight assists in 13 Premier League appearances for the Citizens so far this term. Silva’s evolution in the number eight role has been marvellous, and the Spaniard’s natural inclination to create chances has only been beneficial to the team.

City have improved defensively as well this season, with goalkeeper Ederson, signed in the summer transfer window, showing what manager Guardiola was missing last season. The 24-year-old Brazil international goalkeeper is so stunning with the ball that, at times, he looks like he could play in midfield. With central defender Vincent Kompany returning from injury and Nicolas Otamendi showing the kind of form that convinced City to sign him from Valencia in 2015, City can only get better in the coming weeks and better.

Of course, there will be a lot of twists and turns, and the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are not going to roll over, but all signs point to City winning the Premier League title without losing a single match.

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Remember the beginning of summer 2018? You couldn’t step outside of the house or into a bar without hearing “Football’s Coming Home”, seeing a St. Georges Flag painted on a car or seeing Harry Kane’s face plastered across the TV. The whole country blew up into football fever, much to the chagrin of others.


If you were one of those people who really could not care less about the Premier League, World Cup, or anything that comes with it, this piece is for you. We’ve teamed up with Paddy Power Games Online and taken a look at times when TV has perfectly summed up how anti-football fans feel about the sport. Be sure to check them out!

Peep Show

Ever tried to play football around your athlete friends? Mark Corrigan sums it up perfectly in this cringe worthy clip from Peep Show, where in a desperate attempt to cozy up to Simon, Mark tries to join in a game of five aside, failing miserably and costing his side two goals within minutes.

IT Crowd

“Great, he’s kicked the ball”, couldn’t possibly be more appropriate for those of us who quite frankly couldn’t give a damn about what happens in a football match. In this episode, Moss and Roy get caught up pretending they’re real blokes, rather than the IT nerds they actually are, and end up having to carry the charade through a variety of ridiculous (and awkward) situations.

Family Guy

This hilarious Family Guy sketch courtesy of creator Seth Mcfarlane highlights the vast difference between American Football and European Football, as Stewie kicks the ball just once, earning himself a place in the Athletic Hall of Fame.

Mitchell & Webb Look

Proving Mitchell & Webb understand exactly how most of us feel about football, the brilliant piece parodies the ridiculously over-hyped nature of football commercials. From yelling about teams nobody cares about, to using hugely over the top hyperbole, this is how we’d imagine most people see commercials for upcoming events!

Do you agree? Did we miss out something hilarious? Let us know in the comments! And remember to share it with your pals.

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Sports and Slot games certainly have a strong relationship!

Sport has a long history with traditional betting and therefore combining Slot games makes perfect sense. Sometimes we can be overwhelmed with the amount of sports slots themed games, so the online casino site, bgo online slots have whittled it down to the top 5 sports themed games.

Bearing in mind we are focusing on sports enthusiasts, we think these are the perfect slots which have great game play and graphics. Even if some of the sports we have included don’t rock your boat, it doesn’t mean they are not for you. Some of the games replicate real world stadiums where you can experience those huge sporting moments – and perhaps win some big money while you are at it.


Historically slots were not always themed and had a relatively retro feel to them but now online slot machines have quite a number of themes, below are some other popular ones to keep your eye on.

Ancient Worlds – Cleopatra, Golden Goddess and Secret of Atlantis

Fantasy – Age of Gods, Pixies of the Forest and Rainbow Riches

Holidays – Santa Surprise, Fruit Shop Christmas and Pumpkin Bonanza

Music – Jimi Hendrix, Britain’s Got Talent Superstar and Wild Beats

If you enjoy themed slot games – whether it’s sports, music, Ancient worlds etc… then head to bgo where they have over 600 games and counting, they also regularly update the slot games every Tuesday so you can be the first to give them a whirl!

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Inter Milan striker looks to complete a move to the top fight division in Russia, as €26million is rumoured to be the fee whilst he we will be on €400,000 a week, for club side Anzhi Makhachkala.


The club have already bought a few big players as Balazs Dzsudzsak and Yuri Zhirkov have already moved there this summer, but clinching the services of Samuel Eto’o is a great achievement. Eto’o has been linked with many clubs for the past few seasons, including Chelsea, Manchester City, and teams who have found new wealth including Malaga of Spain and PSG of France. However, he looks set for the Russian club or also have been taken over by Suleyman Kerimov, who is estimated to be worth $8billion.

Samuel Eto’o seems extremely likely to join the team, and improve their team from last season, where they finished 14th. The team are currently 4th in this season’s campaign and their squad looks to be getting stronger. With Eto’o leaving Inter Milan, it looks even more likely that Carlos Tevez will be his replacement as he wants to leave Manchester City. Eto’o will be one of the highest paid footballers in the world, and this deal is to be one of the most shocking in recent seasons.

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A Year in Review: Euro 2020 qualification still possible but off-field problems dominate FAI

THE year began with a stream of FAI denials and legal threats and ended with an FAI apology to everyone associated with Irish football after it was revealed the governing body had debts of €55m and were up the creek without paddle.


Minister of Sport Shane Ross, who didn’t cover himself in glory with his tasteless ‘Christmas Goose’ tweet, described the FAI as a “basket case”.

April doesn’t seem that long ago when the now-deposed chief executive John Delaney took the ‘5th’ and refused to answer questions posed by the Oireachtas sports committee about the state of the association’s financial affairs.

Meanwhile, Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae thought Delaney was a great fella altogether and lauded the Waterford man’s contribution to football in Ireland.

It was laughable stuff then and even more laughable now given that the FAI’s auditors Deloitte cited a lack of “audit evidence” and cast serious doubt over the association’s ability to function as a going concern.

In a series of investigations, The Sunday Times did Irish football a massive service by exposing the financial abuse and extravagance of Delaney that led to chief executive’s spectacular downfall after 14 years at the helm.

But nobody realised just how much financial trouble the FAI was in until the extent of its debts were revealed in December.

The FAI, rather belatedly, issued an apology last Sunday evening to the “hundreds of thousands involved with Irish football at all levels of the game, to the Irish public and to FAI staff”.

The Irish government, Uefa and what’s left of a ramshackle FAI are still grappling with what to do to save Irish football’s bacon and how to alleviate the crippling debt of the FAI’s share in the Aviva Stadium.

In the past, nations have been banned from competition for fielding overage players, but everything appears dwarfed by how the FAI’s top brass went about its business.

The Irish government, the FAI and Uefa would need to come up with some kind of credible financial package in order to allow the Republic of Ireland senior team to proceed to the Euro 2020 play-offs in March.

Without one, it would be unrealistic for the Republic to be able to compete at any level.

Indeed, the most worrying aspect of this sorry mess is that it only came to light in recent months after years and years of mismanagement.

And yet when you sift through the countless FAI emails sent out to media outlets, some in the association believed back in March that they could still wriggle their way out of this mess and still retain Delaney in some capacity.

Even though the net was closing in, President Donal Conway heaped praise on the Delaney for “everything he has done for the FAI and for Irish football. He has transformed how we operate as an Association.”

Even as far back as November 2018, when Martin O’Neill was sacked, Mick McCarthy’s re-appointment to the Republic of Ireland senior manager’s post while simultaneously announcing Stephen Kenny as his successor after Euro 2020 smacked of self-preservation on Delaney’s behalf in a desperately transparent attempt to appease the many League of Ireland dissenters.

McCarthy is a wily enough media operator and always managed to side-step questions thrown at him at press conferences over the past year about Delaney, the FAI and fan protests without saying much about anything.

He also needed all his years of managerial savvy to get his second spell in charge of the Republic off to a winning start on a wind-swept plastic pitch in Gibraltar back in March, courtesy of a Jeff Hendrick goal.

McCarthy had no warm-up games to get a handle on the Irish squad, while he was also absorbing the international retirements of Daryl Murphy, Jonathan Walters and David Meyler.

But, notably, he did recall Glenn Whelan to the fold despite the 35-year-old being surplus to requirements in the latter stages of Martin O’Neill’s reign – and it turned out to be an excellent decision by the new manager.

At the outset, McCarthy’s objective was simple: qualify for Euro 2020.

And, as we enter a new year, McCarthy is still in with a shout of achieving this lofty goal as the Republic size up Slovakia in March in what is effectively a semi-final play-off with the winners advancing to face either Northern Ireland or Bosnia-Herzegovina in the final.

After eight rounds of qualification games, Group D went to form, with fancied sides Switzerland and Denmark finishing ahead of the Irish to claim the two automatic qualification slots.

The Republic probably needed to beat either Switzerland or Denmark to upset the odds, but they never quite pulled it off.

The football played under McCarthy was better than the latter stages of O’Neill’s time in charge, but not by much it has to be said.

The high points in a difficult Euro 2020 qualification campaign was the 1-0 home win over Georgia and their 1-1 draws with Denmark home and away.

The low points came at the business end of the group in Tbilisi and Geneva when Mick’s men disappointingly could only bank one point out of a possible six as they lost their grip on the top spots.

Playing in his preferred attacking midfield role, Jeff Hendrick threatened to rediscover his Euro 2016 form before his displays began to fluctuate again.

Captain Seamus Coleman had difficult moments too and is under pressure to win back the right back position for the Slovakia tie from Matt Doherty who played ever so well in the 1-1 draw with Denmark in Dublin.

A lack of game-time at club level hindered James McClean’s effectiveness, while Richard Keogh’s career-threatening knee injury, sustained in a car accident, allowed John Egan to show just how much better a central defender he is, slotting in seamlessly alongside Shane Duffy for the last three qualifiers.

With Whelan anchoring midfield, Conor Hourihane came to the fore, bringing a nice passing range to the side as well as grabbing the winner at home to Georgia with a fantastic free-kick.

David McGoldrick proved the talisman as he provided much needed guile in the final third, while U21 starlets Aaron Connolly and Troy Parrott proved in their limited game-time that they can be key players under Stephen Kenny going forward.

After a ropey Nations League campaign, Darren Randolph redeemed himself in goal and proved Ireland’s most important player in 2019.

And there were plenty of positives as the off-colour Danes grabbed a point in Dublin last month which meant the Republic would definitely be relying on the play-offs come March.

Slovakia are no world beaters – finishing behind Croatia and Wales in Group E – but the Republic could only muster seven goals in eight qualifiers and are away from home in the one-legged play-off on Thursday March 26.

But, regardless of how qualification ends for the Republic, 2019 will be remembered as one of the darkest in living memory for the FAI.

A Year in Quotes…

“Isn’t it ironic…my Achilles heel has literally been my Achilles heel and finished me off! I am now retired from playing football It’s been epic Veni vidi vici.” – Jonathan Walters, one of the most popular Irish players, calls time on his career on the eve of the team’s Euro 2020 qualification campaign back March


“I don’t regret what I said. The only thing I might regret is the timing of it. It was a bit soon.

“I’ve gone onto that radio station before but I had cancelled on them a few weeks before, so when they asked this time around I thought: ‘I don’t want to cancel on them again’, so I went on it. The timing was probably not the best, that’s the one thing I regret, the timing.” – Republic defender Matt Doherty reflects on that radio interview which took apart former boss Martin O’Neill’s regime


“I hated it. It was blowing a gale, it was bouncing all over the place, it was tough.” – Mick McCarthy didn’t enjoy any aspect of his first match back in the Republic dug-out after watching his side chisel out a scruffy 1-0 win in Gibraltar to get their Euro 2020 qualification off to a winning start


“I have only just turned 27, so I still have plenty of years to go. I am still improving and hopefully I will play better for my country.” – Jeff Hendrick is forced to answer another question about his fluctuating form for his country


“I’d like to thank John [Delaney] for everything he has done for the FAI and for Irish football. He has transformed how we operate as an Association. This new role will allow John to utilise his vast experience and connections in the world of football and will best serve the FAI. John will continue to represent us at UEFA level as we look ahead to next year when the Aviva Stadium will host four games at the EURO 2020 finals thanks to his influence at European level.” – FAI President Donal Conway pays, erm, homage to John Delaney back in March with the intention of the disgraced chief executive moving to a newly created post within the association, which never materialised


“A lot of young lads don’t realise that. They’re in this bubble of training until 12 o’clock, coming off the training pitch and doing no extras, playing pool, training in this luxury training ground, heading home and playing on their FIFA. And two years later when their apprenticeship is finished they’re going: ‘What am I going to do now?’

“They’re having free food, nice breakfast, nice lunch, playing table tennis, playing pool. They don’t put in the hard work…

“They’re working harder on the table tennis table than they do in training, and that’s the honest truth.” – Aston Villa’s Conor Hourihane doesn’t hold back at the relaxed attitude of the younger generation


“He talks a good game. Imagine if he’d won a trophy. He goes on the TV about how he was harshly treated by me. He’s crying on the TV about his family situation.”

“Maybe he should lie low for a while. Have a look at his medals? That wouldn’t take long. We got beaten by Wales. Jon played. Jon didn’t have a good game. Wardy played, he didn’t have a good game. They need to go back see how bad they were.

“Brian Clough. You’re on about motivation. He punched me one time. He was upset. It was heated. He punched me. I remember thinking ‘You’re still a brilliant manager’. I came in the next day and trained. I didn’t text somebody in the media. Or go on Ratsapp.” – Roy Keane hammers Jonathan Walters and Stephen Ward as a guest on Off The Ball’s roadshow


“I’ll tell you one thing about the man – he doesn’t get to me one bit. I’m possibly the only one that stood up to him, more than once. I think that’s what bothers him most maybe.”- Jonathan Walters rises above Roy Keane’s base comments


“James Collins had a right old scrap there and he was defending the six-yard box. I just thought in the time we might nick it with him [Aaron Connolly], he’s done really well and he’s put himself in a place to play against Switzerland. [But] I make substitutions as I see fit, I don’t look back and regret that I should have done them sooner.” – Mick McCarthy defends his decision to hold Aaron Connolly in reserve in Tbilisi until the 78th minute when the game was crying out for the teenager’s pace


“I’ve said at the very start, with us being third seed, I would have taken this. Everybody would have taken it. If you could have forgotten about all the other games and we’ll have a one-off game against Denmark on November 18, it would be brilliant.” – Mick McCarthy’s glass is half full despite losing to Switzerland in Geneva back in October


“I think we’re at the end of a disgraceful era as far as I’m concerned. I think there was massive reputational damage to football in Ireland, to the Association, and even ordinary people who were involved in the game had to take a lot of stick. It appears (Delaney) and the rest of them involved in the board have left behind a complete financial shambles. We don’t know the extent of those shambles yet until we hear some of the reports.

“They’ve left behind a staff whose morale is at a very low ebb because of the way they have been treated.

Some brilliant people were discarded over that time, some great people were moved on. They have found out their pensions weren’t even being paid properly. There appears to have been a big settlement so that John’s pension has been paid up properly.” – Brian Kerr probably articulates the feelings of all grassroots members as it becomes clear just how bad a financial state the FAI is in under the leadership of deposed John Delaney


“There were two times where we clashed, really clashed, but off the pitch he’s the manager and he wins. We shook hands and got on with it but at the end of it, I think he appreciated it more me having a go than holding it in and speaking behind his back or to other lads.”

“It happens all the time, more than you guys realise. Decisions, tactics, where he wants you in a wall, stuff like that. We’re not children.” – Glenn Whelan reflects on his frank exchanges with former boss Martin O’Neill


“You’re all talking about them coming through into the first team. When he gets the job – and it won’t be that long now – he’ll be perfectly placed.

“In the meantime, it’s me that’s come in and [I] could have taken the backlash had we drawn in Gibraltar or lost in Gibraltar, and that’s protected him from that.

“Hopefully we qualify, get to the Euros and it will be seen as a really good decision to have done what we did.” – Not for the last time, Mick McCarthy becomes a bit agitated about the constant chatter over his successor and U21 boss Stephen Kenny


“You f***ing weasel.” – James McClean lets fly at one journalist before a press conference over some of the things he tweeted and reported about the Derryman’s performances


“The Board of the Football Association of Ireland has tonight (December 29) issued an apology to the hundreds of thousands involved with Irish football at all levels of the game, to the Irish public and to FAI staff.

“The apology was made following the reconvened AGM of the FAI at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin where delegates were presented with the financial statements for 2018.

President Donal Conway said: “The clear message from our delegates today is that Irish football wants to move forward and we apologise to all our stakeholders for the mistakes of the past.” – The FAI, what’s left of it, issues an apology about slapping €55m debt on Irish football

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Putting tips: Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Bryson DeChambeau provide advice

DeChambeau gave a remarkable masterclass on the scientific approach he takes to putting during an extended putting session with David Livingstone ahead of the 2018 Players Championship, while Westwood shared the routine he goes through on the greens to better his chance of holing a putt.

Tim’s stay-at-home golf tips
Donald talked about the importance of solid contact when judging the speed and line of a putt, while further putting guidance from the likes of Matt Wallace and Francesco Molinari is available to watch on YouTube!

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Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster on loan at Swansea: EFL future star

I think he’s a natural goalscorer but I think you’ve got to judge him on the games he’s played so far. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves but in the games he’s played, the steps he’s taken at international level against top opposition, he’s had no problem. He just looks very comfortable and with the composure that he shows in front of goal, he is lethal. His general build-up play maybe needs to be worked on but there’s going to be aspects of every part of his game that slightly need to be worked on. The biggest thing he’s got going for him is the fact that he’s an instinctive finisher. He doesn’t thrash at things, he’s very composed and he has a knack for heading as well. He can’t overpower 6ft2in centre-halves, he has to out-cute them. He has to get in-between areas and he does that very well.

EFL Future Stars
Sky Sports assess some of the future stars of English football currently playing in the EFL.

Goodman: He’s got this explosive burst of pace and he seems to have really good football intelligence, so his movement is very clever and, when I watch clips of him finishing, there’s such a variety. I had a real good chat to Steve Cooper about him and the work ethic, he said, is right up there as one of his best attributes and that comes down to mentality. He’s likeable, he’s got a big heart and he’s a bit of a joker, apparently. All the things that make you popular in the dressing room. He also said that he’s confident in his own ability but without being too far because when that goes too far, it turns into arrogance.

When you think about that at the end of the day, in this period of his career it’s really important that we and everybody surrounding the player don’t run ahead of themselves because you are never, ever the finished article. You are always improving. There are things that Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero can probably do better. That mentality that we’ve been led to believe he’s got will stand him in good stead because he strikes me as one of those lads that’s going to want to go into training, work hard every day and try and get better. If you can do that, the world’s your oyster.

Is Steve Cooper the perfect manager for him to develop under?

Andrews: That’s an important point. Nowadays there’s real due diligence that goes into trying to pick the right club for the individual player. I would imagine the very top teams in the Championship were chomping at the big to get him in and maybe he wouldn’t have been an automatic starter but he could’ve gone to a team vying for automatic promotion. A little bit down the league, less pressure to a degree – outside chance of play-offs but I don’t think, personally, they would have got there – but the style of play, the familiarity of a coaching team that he knows, he trusts, the feel of the dressing room. I think these are all important components of how you settle into first team life. I thought it was a very clever move by Liverpool.

At home with… Championship stars
Sky Sports joins some of the biggest names in the Championship at home… including Leeds, Nottingham Forest and Derby.

Goodman: Absolutely. Jurgen Klopp didn’t just let him go to any old club, he looked at where he’d get the best education and – very importantly – where he would get regular first-team football. There were lots and lots of Championship clubs in so there were choices for Klopp and Brewster but the fact they had that relationship from the England days, Swansea City’s style of play that they adopt, I think certainly helped them decide that Swansea was going to be a very good education ground for him. I think that familiarity just allowed him to hit the ground running. It didn’t take him any time whatsoever to settle in. He knew the coaches, he knew Cooper’s methods and he’s got off to a flying start because of that.”

Do you think he’s ready to step up into first team contention at Liverpool?

Andrews: I think it depends on Jurgen Klopp’s belief in him and how much game time he’s going to get. If he’s going to get enough minutes, he should stay. It’s as simple as that, for me. One thing I would throw into that equation is that front three that Liverpool play. Roberto Firmino is not a natural centre forward; if he wanted to go with a natural-type centre forward then this lad fits the bill very well. I’m led to believe they do have a lot of belief in him, that he can go onto bigger and better things, but I just think it comes down to that. Can they guarantee him enough experience? They don’t want him stagnating. He had glimpses in the Carabao Cup, played well and was getting experience through that but he needs to play football.

This little stint that he’s had at Swansea is going to be priceless. Going to a fresh environment, a different dressing room, hearing different voices and having to play for three points on a Saturday afternoon, which isn’t the case in U23s football. I think it very much comes down to that. Enough game time at Liverpool next season then he stays and becomes part of it. I’m talking 20 appearances as a rough gauge. If it’s going to be less than that then I’d get him away to get 40-50 games under his belt at Championship level, keep him at Swansea for another year.

I look at the periphery players of that front three and the options that they have. The likes of Divock Origi – I know he’s scored hugely important goals for Liverpool – and Xherdan Shaqiri don’t quite fit into it, for me, and Adam Lallana will probably move on when his contract runs out. I genuinely think there’s a space in there for him, and with the way he’s going, Jurgen Klopp is showing that he will introduce young players, Trent Alexander-Arnold being a prime example. This year, with the Carabao Cup, and the way it’s been enforced that they’ve had a few opportunities to play in that competition, he’ll have seen certain things from players that he likes and he’ll have earmarked for next season to shape the squad in a different way. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brewster is part of that squad.

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Georginio Wijnaldum picks his perfect midfielder with Soccer AM’s Tubes

What a player he was. I think he had everything, which is why he was one of the best midfielders who ever played in the game. He played for Liverpool so that’s why I choose him.

Strength of… Clarence Seedorf
What a monster he was and still is now. There was a picture on social media where you saw how fit he still was. I think it was on the beach that picture and you could see how fit and strong he is even after his career, hopefully I will have that also.

His engine is unbelievable. I see it in the games and in training, the way he plays and how fit he is. I hope I can reach that level too. He’s non-stop, I have to say when you play against him, it’s really tough because Milner is the type of player who will never stop giving everything so you always have to be 100 per cent concentrated and have to give every time 100 per cent otherwise you will lose from him. He’s a really tough competitor.

Football brain of… Xavi

He was unbelievable. I think him and [Andres] Iniesta were the two who, when they were together, were unbelievable. He was a good player and the brain of Barcelona.

Skill of… Andrea Pirlo
What a player. You can play him every ball in big spaces, tiny spaces, he always had the solution for that situation. His first touch was unreal, that’s why I chose him.

Leadership of… Jordan Henderson

I’ve played with a few players who have great leadership, I have to say Kevin Strootman and Jordan Henderson were, I think, above the other ones. Mark Van Bommel was also a good leader and a good captain, but out of the three of them, I have to chose Henderson.

It can be annoying [when he is motivating players on the pitch], but if you think about why he’s doing it, it’s only to help you as a person and the team so if you think about it in that way, you always appreciate it so we are really happy with the way Henderson is.

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