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Which England players are injured for the World Cup?

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It’s every player’s dream to go to a World Cup and represent their country, but for some that dream is taken away by the dreaded curse of injury.

From broken bones to muscle injuries, a whole host of players have seen their opportunity to play on the biggest stage of all taken away – and the 2022 edition of the World Cup looks to be no different.

Paul Pogba is perhaps the most glaring absentee of all, but England boss Gareth Southgate has his own problems to worry about as he looks to better the Three Lions’ run to the semi-final in 2018.

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So who is struggling, who is definitely out and who may still be fit for the World Cup?

Ben Chilwell

One player who was dealt the crushing blow of being ruled out completely is Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell – who was still fighting his way back from an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained in January.

Chilwell sustained a hamstring problem in his side’s 2-1 Champions League victory over Dinamo Zagreb at the beginning of November, and he won’t be fit by the time Gareth Southgate whisks his side off to Qatar.

Reece James

There’s also serious concern over Reece James, who would almost certainly have been first-choice for Gareth Southgate on the right side of defence.

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The incendiary full-back has rightfully earned his stripes as an international starter courtesy of stunning club form with Chelsea but, due to the knee injury he picked up in early October, the 22-year-old will be lucky to play any part at all.

James has said that his dream of making Southgate’s 26-man list is still alive, but he’s unlikely to be available until the latter stages of the competition – and even then he won’t be match fit and acclimitised to conditions in Qatar.

Kyle Walker

More promising is the situation for Kyle Walker, another high-profile defender that Southgate would usually call upon.

Another key figurehead in the Three Lions squad, Walker hasn’t played for Manchester City since picking up a groin injury in their derby win over Manchester United at the start of October.

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There is hope that he will recover in time to be able to play for England as the tournament progresses, but his lack of game time in the build up to the tournament is an obvious concern.

Kalvin Phillips

The same can be said about Walker’s City teammate Kalvin Phillips, who has been restricted to just 14 minutes of action for the Premier League champions since his summer move from Leeds.

The winner of England’s Player of the Year in 2021, Phillips played a pivotal role alongside Declan Rice to help the Three Lions reach the final of Euro 2020 – but fitness has always been a concern of his and injury problems have dogged him throughout his career.

There is hope that the midfielder will have regained enough fitness to make Southgate’s final squad, but he’d certainly be a risky inclusion.

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Kyle Walker-Peters had an outside chance of making the Three Lions World Cup squad after picking up his first two international caps behind him in 2022. But a hamstring injury has put him out of action until late December, and he’ll instead have to focus on keeping Southampton in the Premier League.

Southgate’s midfield options are looking a lot healthier than those for his back line. Alongside Phillips, the England boss’ only concern lies with Emile Smith Rowe, who is expected to return to action close to the new year after suffering a groin injury.

Harry Kane is a certainty to lead the line for the Three Lions in Qatar, but there’s a lot of debate over his deputy – or deputies.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin‘s chances of being Harry Kane’s understudy were dealt another blow after his withdrawal from Everton’s recent Premier League defeat to Leicester, while Callum Wilson was forced off in the second half of Newcastle’s romping win over Southampton through illness – the in-form striker is expected to be fine though.

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Jadon Sancho has also been ill recently, but it’s unlikely that he’d have the made cut anyway given the plethora of attacking options at Southgate’s disposal.



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Brighton vs Liverpool – FA Cup: TV channel, team news, lineups & prediction

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Brighton host Liverpool in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon, a fortnight after dismantling Jurgen Klopp’s side at the Amex Stadium in England’s top flight.

Roberto De Zerbi’s south coast hot-shots sit two points and three places above Liverpool in the Premier League table at the halfway stage of the season, underlining their advantage with a 3-0 triumph against Sunday’s foes two weeks ago.

Jurgen Klopp described that “horror show” as “the worst game I’ve ever seen from a team of mine”. Liverpool have kept consecutive clean sheets against Wolves and Chelsea after “everything went wrong” against the Seagulls.

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Here’s everything you need to know about one of the standout fixtures from the FA Cup fourth round.

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Brighton team news

Alongside long-term absentee Jakub Moder, Levi Colwill (quad) and former Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana (muscular) will sit out the upcoming cup tie.

Moises Caicedo is entirely fine physically but has been asked by the club to take a step back for the rest of the January transfer window. Bids from Arsenal and Chelsea lured the integral midfielder into a public declaration of his desire to leave, prompting the club to take action and effectively sideline Caicedo for Sunday’s match.

Brighton predicted lineup (4-2-3-1): Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Van Hecke, Estupinan; Mac Allister, Gilmour; March, Gross, Mitoma; Ferguson

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Liverpool team news

Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are still recovering from calf injuries while Virgil van Dijk and Arthur Melo are “a couple of weeks” away from shaking off respective hamstring and thigh problems.

Luis Diaz is a longer term absentee with a serious knee issue while fellow forward Fabio Carvalho is a doubt after missing this week’s training. Back-up centre-back Nat Phillips has been laid low with a cold in the buildup to Sunday’s fixture.

Liverpool predicted lineup (4-3-3): Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Gomez, Robertson; Keita, Bajcetic, Thiago; Salah, Nunez, Gakpo

Prior to the riotous victory on the south coast, De Zerbi led his new side to a thrilling 3-3 draw against Liverpool at Anfield on his debut in the dugout. Brighton haven’t only proven to be prolific against the Reds, rattling in 19 goals across six matches since Christmas Day.

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Liverpool have drawn a blank in two of their last three games. Klopp was keen to highlight the “little step” forward represented by last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea but Liverpool are still struggling to rediscover anywhere near the same edge that took them to two titles – including the FA Cup – last season.

It’s highly unlikely that Klopp would allow his side to be as outrageously open as they were on their previous visit to the Amex. And without Caicedo snaffling around in midfield, Brighton may have a tougher time muzzling Liverpool going the other way in a contest which could lead to a rematch at Anfield.

Prediction: Brighton 1-1 Liverpool



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Anthony Hudson comments on head coach future amid USMNT restructure

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United States Men’s National Team interim boss Anthony Hudson says he’ll remain in the role as long as he’s required as the federation undergoes a restructure.

The Englishman took charge of his first match as an experimental group full of MLS talents and European youngsters lost 2-1 to Serbia at LAFC’s BMO Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Up next is another friendly against Colombia at LA Galaxy’s Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday in what was initially thought to be Hudson’s final game in charge.

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However, since his appointment, sporting director Earnie Stewart has left for PSV Eindhoven, while legendary USMNT striker Brian McBride’s contract as general manager was not renewed. With nobody currently around to pick a successor, Hudson is happy to keep steering the ship for now.

“Obviously there’s been some changes,” Hudson told reporters, adding: “My focus is just to keep preparing the team for as long as I’m asked to do it.

“I wasn’t really expecting any of this, how this has evolved. But my focus is purely on, when we get back, I’m going to focus on the next window. And if I’m still asked to do the one after that, I’m going to prepare for that one. And I’ll continue doing all I can. This is a really, really special team. I know how important this national team is and I want to do all I can to make sure it’s in a good place for whoever comes in, whenever that is.”

So, with his future assured for now, Hudson’s focus returns to Saturday’s game against Colombia. The priority, as is usually the case in these January friendlies, is on giving new players a chance to thrive who wouldn’t usually get one in an international window.

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“Everyone having played in these two games, that’s the objective,” said Hudson. “We want to see new players; can we add depth to the squad? And also by doing that, we need to make sure that we carry the players through these two games physically in the right way. Of course, we want to win every game we go into, but we are led by the physical capacity of each player in these games.”



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Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad

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Real Sociedad will have the chance to move level on points with Real Madrid when they face the reigning La Liga champions on Sunday.

Both clubs have enjoyed strong league campaigns and look set to finish inside the top three with Real Madrid 10tenpoints clear of Atletico Madrid and Sociedad seven ahead of Diego Simeone’s side.

Whether David Silva and co battle one Madrid side for a top-two spot and maybe even the title or just focus on staying ahead of the other in the closing stages of the season will largely depend on how they do at the Bernabeu.

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Here’s everything you need to know about one of the biggest games of the La Liga season.

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Real Madrid team news

It was hoped David Alaba would make his return against Atletico Madrid after picking up a calf injury but he was unable to do so, suffering a setback that will likely keep him out of this match too. He’s not the only defender with fitness issues, with Ferland Mendy and Dani Carvajal doubts as well along with Lucas Vasquez and Eden Hazard.

(4-3-3): Courtois; Nacho, Militao, Rudiger, Camavinga; Modric, Kroos, Ceballos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius.
Bench: Lunin, Lopez, Odriozola, Vallejo, Martin, Hazard, Rodrygo, Asensio, Diaz.

Real Sociedad team news

Real Sociedad have a long injury list with a number of key players on it including David Silva, Mikel Merino and Andoni Gorosabel. They’ll all miss out on the match with Real Madrid as will Umar Sadiq, Ander Guevera, Alex Sola, Martin Merquelanz, Jon Pacheco and Mohamed-Ali Cho.

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(4-3-1-2): Remiro; Elustondo, Zubeldia, Le Normand, Rico; Mendez, Zubimendi, Marin; Kubo; Sorloth, Oyarzabal.
Bench: Zibiaurre, Munoz, Olasagasti, Martin, Turrientes, Illarramendi, Barrenetxea, Navarro, Fernandez.

With Real Madrid trailing Barcelona and Sociedad behind Real Madrid in the standings, this a match both teams will be aiming to win. That along with the fact that both sides will be missing several key players should make it an open affair with plenty of goals.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side undoubtedly have the firepower to cause their opponents big problems, but they look far less convincing at the other end with a makeshift defence.

Prediction: Real Madrid 2-2 Real Sociedad

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