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England

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Aluko has also played for Charlton and Birmingham City

In her new regular column with BBC Sport, Chelsea Ladies striker Eniola Aluko talks about Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea Ladies team and selection for the England Womens team. 

The Chelsea Men’s team won the title with a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace last Sunday, Eden Hazard’s penalty rebound enough to win Chelsea their first Premier League title since 2010.

“The whole ladies’ team went to the Palace game at Stamford Bridge and it was truly inspirational to witness the atmosphere and see the fans buzzing afterwards. It was hard not to go to bed with that spirit in our minds and it definitely helped as we hung on to beat City by the same scoreline.

“It’s great to be part of Chelsea right now. The men’s team have also triumphed in the League Cup this season, while the youth team won the Uefa Youth League and their version of the FA Cup last month.

“But one thing you learn at a club the size of Chelsea is there will always be critics.”

24 hours later, Aluko hit the post as the Ladies beat their Manchester City counterpart 1-0 in the FA Womens Cup semi final, and will now face Notts County in the final.

Incredibly, the Female Blues have a 100% record in all competitions this season. But Aluko, whose brother Sone plays for Hull City, says that it was a case of team nerve after Chelsea Ladies were pipped to the title post on the last day of last season:

“We had a lot of people questioning our bottle. We were referred to as the ‘nearly team’. Reaching the FA Cup final for the second time in our history suggests we have rewritten that narrative.”

Jose Mourinho has now won his third Premier League title with Chelsea, and the charismatic 52-year old is a brilliant inspiration to have about the club, says 28-year old Aluko:

“I think Mr Mourinho’s opponents should regard him in a different way too. In my view he is one of the greatest managers that has ever lived.

“He’s a tactical genius, an incredible winner, and he gets the best out of his players and they all respect him – I don’t know what more you could ask for from a manager. I find him inspiring.

“Some teams get criticised for playing attractive football away from home when they don’t win. Others play more directly and also receive abuse. The main thing is that people always respect winning teams and it’s unfair to describe Chelsea as boring. At the start of the season, they were playing immaculate football and the way the Premier League is so attacking now, I don’t think it’s possible to win it by playing boring football.

“We have won our last three games 1-0, which some would say is a Mourinho style of playing.”

This season sees the first FA Womens Cup Final to be held at Wembley, as women’s football increasingly grows in support, talent and popularity around the country. Notts County, Chelsea’s opponents, have never been in a FA Cup final before, but it will be just as special an occasion for Aluko:

“It’s quite hard to describe what playing at Wembley means. Every little boy and girl with a desire to play football dreams of playing there and now the players in our side have realised that ambition. It is made even more poignant given that opportunities to do so have only recently arrived for women’s players.

“Fortunately, I have already had a taste while representing Great Britain in the London 2012 Olympics and for England against Germany last November, but doing it with your club feels different. I speak from experience when I say it has this impact that affects everyone in your life – family, friends, team-mates and coaches.

“It is another huge step for women’s football and it would be great if we could get a good crowd on 1 August against Notts County to make sure it becomes a regular fixture in the women’s football calendar.”

But in the short term, Aluko, who is also a qualified lawyer, is looking to be selected by England Women’s boss Mark Sampson to be in the squad for the Women’s World Cup in Canada. The striker has scored 32 goals in 89 appearances for the national side:

“There is nothing you can control other than your own performance and I’ve worked hard and given my all for my country, scored goals to help us qualify and really enjoyed improving under Mark and his England staff.

“Sure, there will be nerves before Monday, but as players we won’t be discussing whether we think we might make it or not. You have to respect that other potential squad members will be feeling different emotions so you just have to wait it out.

“The time to talk about it with team-mates will be once the squad is announced.”

 

 

 

 

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Bobby Tambling was presented with the three England caps he won during his carreer with the national team in the 1960s.

 

The legendary Blues striker Bobby Tambling made 370 appearances at Chelsea and scored 202 goals during his carreer at the club. After Frank Lampard, who surpassed him in 2013, Tambling was Blues all-time highest goalscorer.

Sunday’s game was the perfect day for Tambling to be presented with the caps, since he moved to Crystal Palace after leaving Chelsea club.

Gary Lineker, former England striker, made the presentation in the directors’ box prior to kick-off, with Tambling.

“It’s a very emotional day,” he told Chelsea TV. “We thought it would be because of what could happen today with Chelsea, but what I’m holding in my hands are the three England caps I won back in the early 1960s, which unfortunately were destroyed.

“Now they’re back in my hands again, I never thought I’d see them and I’m so proud to have them again.

“It was a complete surprise. I can’t believe it, I’m still in shock and shall treasure these now. I received a golden boot from the Chelsea Foundation last year and that was the best trophy I ever received.

“People ask if I won any England caps and I say I won three, then they look around the house and ask where they are. My youngest son took them and had an accident with them, but now I’ve got them back it’s a really happy day.”

Tambling made his first England appearance in 1962, in a 4-0 win against Wales in 1962. Then he played in further games against France, where he scored his one goal for the Three Lions, and Yugoslavia.

He was happy to see his former club secure the Barclays Premier League title on Sunday.

 

 

 

“They deserve it more than anybody else,” he said. “They’ve been so consistent and deserve to be where they are. It just shows you how marvellous the manager is, this is the second team he’s built and it’s in its early days.”

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Their carreers are different, but Terry and Courtois have both worked hard to secure the League title.

Almost 10 years ago John Terry captained the side to championship.

This time is his fourth.

After spending his time on loan in Spain, Thibaut Courtois made a great impact in Blues side, particularly in his first season.

“It is even more special when we do it in front of our own fans for sure,” Terry said.

“We managed to set it up with the win at Leicester and it was a tough game against Crystal Palace. They are a good side and they made it difficult, especially late on but we managed to get over the line and we are champions.

“We’ve worked so hard this year. The first time you win it is obviously very special but when you go four or five years without winning it and you’ve grafted all year and you get nothing for it, it really hurts – so we’re going to enjoy this.

“I’ve been a ball boy here, a mascot, I’ve painted the stadium and this is what I live for, to give the championship to the fans after five years.”

The Premier League title is not the first title Courtois got, since he won even in Belgium and Spain.

“I am very proud because I am 22 years old, nearly 23 and it is an amazing feeling to have already reached that in my career, because it was only a dream to win La Liga title and the Premier League title,” he said.

“Being champion at Atletico was something special because Barcelona and Real Madrid dominate so much and it is always hard for another team, but in England you have four or five contenders for the title and to win it four games before the end of the season is a great feeling.

“We knew it would be a hard game. Crystal Palace under Alan Pardew are playing well and we had a lot of opportunities but they always went outside the post.

“They had a good block and tried to counter attack with the fast players they had up front. Then they put on more strikers and put long balls in and it was hard, but we won it and we are very happy to do it in front of our fans.”

The Belgian goalkeeper talked about Terry and his fellow Petr Cech as well.

“Working together every day at a high level with the goalkeeping coach and the other goalkeepers, we push each other in the games to play better and to achieve better results. We have seen all season that if I had an injury or I didn’t play, Petr was fantastic. We worked very well together.

“It was not easy in the last weeks but the team handled the pressure well.

“The last four games I have played I kept clean sheets and the defence was very strong in the last part of the season.

“He [Terry] is a great leader and captain and he helped us through this season with his experience. He played a great season and he had some massive games including last weekend’s against Arsenal. He was important for us.”

The captain had words for his boss Jose Mourinho and his influence.

“He has been different class all year, he deserves a lot of respect,” he claimed.

“He is the best by a long, long way and we were the best side footballing-wise up to Christmas and then teams made it difficult, and he found a way to beat teams.”

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ST GEORGE PARK TRAINING CENTRE
St. George's Park Training Centre

Chelsea squad will train in St. George’s Park training centre in these two days ahead of Leicester clash.

The trip was done to avoid a longer journey tomorrow evening, since the venue that usually hosts English national team in their training camps is just one hour from King Power Stadium, a lot shorter trip than Cobham.

José Mourinho and his boys travelled earlier this afternoon from London and Chelsea will stay at the on-site Hilton Hotel and have full access to the centre’s state-of-the-art facilities during their stay.

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STERLING
STERLING

Chelsea’s pursuit of Raheem Sterling appears to be over after the Liverpool claimed he is happy at Anfield.

The 20-year-old’s future has been the subject of fervent speculation recently after negotiations over a new contract were put on hold.

Sterling has been one of Liverpool’s most prolific performers since breaking into the first team three seasons ago, and formed one of the most fearsome attacks in world football with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge when Liverpool nearly won the league in 2014.

Sterling’s contract runs out in 2017 and it was widely reported that he was a target for many clubs in the next transfer window such as Chelsea, Arsenal and Real Madrid after apparently turning down a new contract worth £100,000- a-week.

However, Sterling refutes that and insists his future is with Liverpool. BBC quotes him as saying: “Everyone’s dream growing up is seeing themselves in an away kit somewhere in a sunny country.

“But, in reality, I’m happy to be playing for Liverpool and trying to win trophies.”

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Andros Townsend scored a stunning equaliser late on

England remain unbeaten in their nine games this season after a late equaliser secured a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Italy in Turin.

Southampton striker Graziano Pelle put the home side ahead after his headed Giorgio Chiellini’s cross past Joe Hart, but an excellent strike from substitute Andros Townsend secured a draw for the Three Lions with just over 10 minutes to spare.

England manager Roy Hodgson made five changes to the side that beat Lithuania 4-0 at Wembley on Friday, with Tottenham striker Harry Kane getting his first senior start. Chelsea defender Gary Cahill was one of the five dropped to the bench.

In a relatively empty stadium in Turin, Italy looked to bounce back from a disappointing 2-2 draw against Bulgaria in their recent European Qualifier despite being unbeaten since the World Cup. This was despite being without the injured Claudio Marchisio, whose injury prompted the sending of death threats to Italy manager Antonio Conte in the days leading up to the game.

The home side would have been happy with their energetic start, a 25-yard shot from Marco Parolo forcing a good save from England goalkeeper Joe Hart. Italy went even closer after a quarter of an hour. Nathaniel Clyne was beaten hands down for pace by Matteo Darmian, and his piercing drive ended in the full-back squaring the pass to Pelle, but a brilliant interception from Phil Jagielka ensured the score stayed 0-0.

However, four minutes later, England saw their best chance of the first half. Fabian Delph’s cross was met by Kane, whose header was only cleared as far as Wayne Rooney. His shot took a small deflection off of an Italian defender, hit the crossbar and went away.

But, England’s near miss counted for nothing as after half an hour, Pelle put Italy ahead. A clever cut inside and pinpoint cross from Juventus defender Chiellini was met by Pelle, his glancing header going past the static Hart. For Pelle, who plays for Southampton, it was his second goal in three internationals, despite not scoring for the Saints in 2015.

A handful of substitutions from England at half-time almost paid off as Harry Kane stung Gianluigi Buffon’s gloves. But Italy had a golden chance to extend the lead just three minutes into the second half. Eder, who scored his first goal for Italy to salvage a point against Bulgaria, forced a fine one-handed save from Joe Hart. The ball fell to Pelle, who could only put the golden chance wide of the post.

But most inside the stadium may have felt that this near miss started to spur England on. Kane fired a good chance wide, Rooney couldn’t finish a finely constructed move and Ross Barkley was starting to pull the strings in midfield. And, with 12 minutes remaining, substitute Townsend drew England level. Fellow Tottenham midfielder Ryan Mason gave him the ball 25 yards out, Townsend skipping one challenge and going on to unleash an excellent rising shot which flew past the despairing Buffon.

Rooney then forced another good stop from the veteran Buffon as he was played through, but the Manchester United talisman will rue the chances he has missed over the past two games, still being two goals away from breaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record. Then, with seven minutes left, Italy almost made England regret their missed opportunities. Substitute Luca Antonelli left Jagielka chasing shadows, and his low shot gave Hart no chance. The Manchester City keeper would have been relieved to see the fizzing shot fly across the far post, and that was the last meaningful action of a relatively forgettable friendly.

Full Time: Italy 1-1 England

Lineups:

Italy: Buffon, Bonucci, Ranocchia, Chiellini (Moretti, 72′), Darmian (Antonelli, 73′), Soriano, Valdifiori (Verrati, 67′), Parolo, Florenzi (Abate, 60′), Eder (Vazquez, 61′), Pelle (Immobile, 61′)

England: Hart, Clyne (Walker, 45′), Smalling (Carrick, 43′), Jagielka, Gibbs (Bertrand, 88′), Jones, Delph (Townsend, 70′), Walcott (Barkley, 55′), Rooney, Henderson (Mason, 74′), Kane

Subs:

Italy: Sirigu, Abate, Antonelli, Candreva, Zaza, Immobile, Verratti, Cerci, Barzagli, Gabbiadini, Vazquez, Moretti, Santon, Marchetti

England: Butland, Cahill, Walker, Carrick, Townsend, Mason, Bertrand, Barkley, Green

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

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Harry Kane has been given his first England start

Italy 1-1 England – Full Time Score

Italy and England finished all square in Turin tonight as England took on Italy in an International Friendly.

The Three Lions were looking to continue their winning streak to seven games as they take on an Italy side looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2-2 draw with Bulgaria in their last European Qualifier. Wayne Rooney struck the bar early on.

England manager Roy Hodgson gave Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who scored after just 80 seconds after coming on in his first game for England, his first start. However, Chelsea defender Gary Cahill was dropped to the bench – one of five changes made for tonight’s game.

However, Southampton striker Graziano Pelle opened the scoring with 30 minutes played. But Tottenham midfielder Andros Townsend scored with a superb strike from just outside the box to equalise with just over 10 minutes remaining.

FULL TIME REPORT TO FOLLOW!

Lineups:

Italy: Buffon, Bonucci, Ranocchia, Chiellini, Darmian (Antonelli, 73′), Soriano, Valdifiori (Verrati, 67′), Parolo, Florenzi (Abate, 60′), Eder (Vazquez, 61′), Pelle (Immobile, 61′)

England: Hart, Clyne (Walker, 45′), Smalling (Carrick, 43′), Jagielka, Gibbs, Jones, Delph (Townsend, 70′), Walcott (Barkley, 55′), Rooney, Henderson, Kane

 

Subs:

Italy: Sirigu, Abate, Antonelli, Candreva, Zaza, Immobile, Verratti, Cerci, Barzagli, Gabbiadini, Vazquez, Moretti, Santon, Marchetti

England: Butland, Cahill, Walker, Carrick, Townsend, Mason, Bertrand, Barkley, Green

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

James Ward-Prowse scored the winner against Germany

England U21’s kept up their excellent form ahead of the U21 European Championships this summer as they produced a brilliant comeback to beat Germany U21’s 3-2.

1-2 down with 13 minutes left, England rallied and goals from Norwich’s Nathan Redmond and Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse secured the win.

The Young Lions have won 13 out of their last 14 games, and could see their German rivals again in the summer, as they have been drawn apart from each other in the group stage. However, Germany are expected to challenge for the European Championship, so this win will give England U21 boss Gareth Southgate a big confidence boost as England look to be genuine contenders for the Euros.

England were without usual key team members like Harry Kane, Saido Berahino, Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling through either injury or them being called up to the senior side.

Gareth Southgate made eight changes to the side that beat the Czech Republic 0-1 on Friday night, and that decision paid off as England just about managed to equal their opponents in a highly competitive game.

However Germany were quickest out of the blocks, scoring after just fifteen minutes. Kaiserslautern forward Philipp Hofmann displayed excellent control and coolly converted a low strike past England goalkeeper Jonathan Bond. However England were soon back level. After a powerful burst forward from West Ham defender Carl Jenkinson, on-loan Derby striker Jesse Lingard calmly struck from 12 yards.

But despite going in at half-time all square, Germany, who boasted a quality-filled line up including Liverpool’s Emre Can, Barcelona’s goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Schalke’s Max Meyer, were quickest out of the blocks again in the second half. After just five minutes, Hofmann made England pay for their slow start. Julian Korb crossed from the left, and poor defending from the home side allowed Hofmann to grab his second of the night.

England had to work hard and be patient, but their perseverance paid off. Redmond drilled his shot hard and low past ter Stegen to equalise, and then with eight minutes remaining, Ward-Prowse managed to cleverly steer the ball home to ensure a dramatic comeback.

Final Score: England U21 3-2 Germany U21

Lineups:

England U21: Bond, Jenkinson, Stones, Gibson, (Keane, 77′), Garbutt, Ward-Prowse, Forster-Caskey (Chambers, 86′), Redmond, Hughes (Pritchard, 66′), Lingard, Ings

Germany U21:

ter Stegen, Korb, Ginter, Knoche, Günter, Leitner, (Kimmich, 45′ ), Can, Bittencourt (Gnabry, 45′), Meyer (Schulz, 69′), Younes, (Malli, 77′), Hofmann

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England have maintained their 100% record in the Euro 2016 qualifiers

After another round of international games for the 2016 European Championship Qualifiers, we take a look back at the results, and the consequential changes in the groups.

Group A

Kazakhstan were thoroughly beaten at home by Iceland, losing 0-3. Iceland jumped to second and closed the gap on group leaders Czech Republic as they were held to a disappointing 1-1 home draw with Latvia. It was Latvia’s third point out of five Euro Qualifiers. Holland missed a huge opportunity to close the gap on the Czech Republic as a late Sneijder goal salvaged a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Turkey.

Group B

Wales maintained their unbeaten status in Group B as they claimed an impressive 0-3 victory over Israel in Tel Aviv. However, Israel sit two points of the group leaders with a game in hand. An Aaron Ramsey goal put the Welsh ahead, and two second half Gareth Bale goals came either side of a red card for Israel’s Tibi. Bosnia-Herzegovina claimed their first win of the qualifying campaign as they beat the group’s bottom side Andorra 0-3. Belgium are now only three points off the top of the group with a game in hand over leaders Wales as they comfortably saw off Cyprus 5-0.

Group C

Macedonia suffered a disappointing 1-2 loss to Belarus in a game which saw an incredible 10 yellow cards. Belarus switched fifth place for fourth with the home side, but still only have four points. Slovenia continued their 100% record in Group C as they swept aside Luxembourg 3-0, the minnows propping up the group. Second place Spain kept up the pressure on Slovakia, a single strike from Morata proving enough to beat Ukraine. Spain however, are still three points off the group leaders with 12 points.

Group D

Stephen Fletcher scored Scotland’s first hattrick since 1969 as they emphatically beat Gibraltar 6-1 at Hampden Park. As well as the Fletcher hattrick, Shaun Maloney scored two penalties and Steven Naismith also grabbed a goal, and even Gibraltar scored their first ever competitive goal. The win kept the Scots firmly in the chase for automatic qualification, behind Germany by goal difference alone. The Germans however also kept up their chase, beating Georgia 0-2 after Reus and Muller scored within five minutes of each other. In the group’s other game, a 94th minute Shane Long goal secured an impressive 1-1 home draw for the Republic of Ireland against group leaders Poland, who are now only one point clear at the top.

Group E

England confidently cruised past Lithuania, winning 4-0 at Wembley. As well as an early Wayne Rooney strike, Danny Welbeck scored his sixth goal in five qualifiers, Raheem Sterling scored his first England goal, and Harry Kane scored after just 80 seconds. England have won their last seven internationals, have maintained their 100% record and have a six point lead over their nearest rivals Slovenia. They beat minnows San Marino 6-0. In the group’s other game, Switzerland had no issues overcoming Estonia 3-0.

Group F

A Kyle Lafferty brace secured a 2-1 win for Northern Ireland against Finland. This kept Michael O’Neill’s side just one point off group leaders Romania. They secured a narrow 1-0 win over the Faroe Islands. In the group’s other game, Hungary drew 0-0 with Greece. This left them five points off Romania, the draw putting a huge dent in their automatic qualification hopes.

Group G

Leaders Austria had no problems maintaining their four point lead at the top of the group, dispatching with Liechtenstein 0-5. Second place Sweden, who have nine points, managed to keep up their small amount of pressure on Austria as they beat Moldova 0-2, an Ibrahimovic double managing to seal the win despite a late red card for defender Granqvist. The other game in Group G was abandoned in bizarre circumstances. Just one minute into the game, Russian goalkeeper Akinfeev was struck by a flare from the stands. However, the game carried on despite a 30 minute delay. But, in the second half, a mass brawl involving players and staff caused the German referee to abandon the game.

Group H

Azerbaijan claimed their first win of the qualifying campaign as they beat Malta 2-1. Group leaders Croatia also returned to winning ways, beating Norway 5-1. This win was despite defender Corluka receiving two yellow cards in four minutes. Italy missed a huge chance to go level on points with leaders Croatia, as they could only draw in Bulgaria, a late Eder goal ensuring a 2-2 draw.

Group I

Group leaders Portugal kept top of the group after a 2-1 win over Serbia, despite a marvellous overhead kick goal from Serbia’s Matic. Second place Denmark didn’t play, so Albania took their chance to draw level on points with a 2-1 win over Armenia. After going 0-1 down, a red card for Albania’s Hambardzumyan with twenty minutes left prompted two goals in four minutes from the home team to snatch all three points and go third on goal difference.

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Manchester United defender Phil Jones has revealed his enjoyment in playing alongside Chelsea’s Gary Cahill for England.

The two started together against Lithuania on Friday night, a game the side went on to win 4-0 on route to qualifying for Euro 2016.

The pair have started together four times now, with Jones being picked ahead of Phil Jagielka for this fixture.

Both Cahill and Jones have endured up and down seasons as they have come under criticism, but Jones was full of praise for his England counter-part after the game.

The 23-year-old told the the Mirror: “I enjoy playing with him. You see him at Chelsea, he’s a top-class centre-half. He’s strong, he reads the game well, and it’s nice to play alongside him.”

The victory made it five wins out of five in the qualifying campaign for France 2016.

Up next for England is a game in Turin against Italy on Tuesday as they look to avenge their World Cup defeat against Atonio Conte’s men.

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