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Eddie Nketiah has dethroned Alan Shearer as England Under 21’s goalscoring king

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eddie nketiah has dethroned alan shearer as england under 21s goalscoring king

Playing for the England Under 21s is a real chance to put yourself in the spotlight while providing a stepping stone for youngsters to prove their worth at senior level. 

Consistent displays for the Young Lions can be a real indication that a youngster is set for greatness, and this week Arsenal starlet Eddie Nketiah broke a long-standing record by becoming the all-time top goalscorer after netting in England’s win over Turkey.

He moved above Newcastle legend Alan Shearer and Francis Jeffers in the record books with his 14th strike for Aidy Boothroyd’s men, with the Arsenal forward ranking higher than some big names who have gone on to forge successful careers.

Eddie Nketiah has overtaken Alan Shearer at the top of the scoring charts for England Under 21

Eddie Nketiah has overtaken Alan Shearer at the top of the scoring charts for England Under 21

Not everyone has cut the mustard, however. We’ve seen a handful of promising stars excelling in the England youth teams but failing to make the crucial breakthrough.

Sportsmail looks at the top 10 top goalscorers with the England U21 side, analysing their success and how they fared in the future.   

Eddie Nketiah (2018-present) – 14 goals

The Gunners star enjoyed a successful first year with the U21s as he received his first call up for the Toulon Tournament in 2018, which England went on to win. He only scored twice in the competition but started the final – setting up Kieran Dowell’s winning goal as they beat Mexico 2-1. 

The early triumph clearly gave him a confidence boost as he’s now the leading marksman, averaging a goal every 63 minutes with the U21s. He’s also shown loyalty to the Three Lions after turning down a chance to play for Ghana. 

This year he was given the captain’s armband by manager Boothroyd and last month netted a hat-trick against Kosovo, before stroking his record goal home in the dying minutes against Turkey this week – his 14th in just 12 games.

Arsenal star Nketiah has entered the history books after scoring his 14th goal against Turkey

Arsenal star Nketiah has entered the history books after scoring his 14th goal against Turkey  

He’s now been tipped to push into Gareth Southgate’s senior squad ahead of Euro 2020, as well as Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal team this season. His U21 boss Boothroyd has joined the chorus of plaudits and said he offers plenty both on and off the pitch. 

‘There’s no doubt about it. He’s destined for big things,’ he said before Nketiah’s record strike. ‘His personality and his persona around the lads, he has an aura of responsibility and leadership about him.’ 

Alan Shearer (1990-1992) – 13 goals

Shearer won’t be too displeased after losing his record to Nketiah – he’s still the all-time Premier League goalscorer. He received his first call-up to the U21 side in 1990 by then-manager Dave Sexton when he was still a prospect at Southampton.

And like Nketiah, he also won the Toulon tournament in his first year. It took him just 11 games to rack up his 13 strikes before the future goal-machine’s quality was quickly recognised by England boss Graham Taylor in 1992.

Now a football pundit, Shearer’s record with the U21s would stay unbeaten for nearly 30 years, and went on to score 30 goals for the senior England team in that time, as well as 283 in the First Division and Premier League with the Saints, Blackburn and Newcastle.

Alan Shearer made easy work of his spell, blitzing his way to 13 goals in just two years

Alan Shearer made easy work of his spell, blitzing his way to 13 goals in just two years 

Speaking in 2018, Shearer said making the switch from the U21 side to the senior team was harder than people thought, saying only himself and David James went on to make it out of the group that won the Toulon tournament.   

‘When you’re 21 you’re nearly there, you’re near first team football and I think the numbers should be better,’ he told Coral. ‘That just shows you how hard it is from transferring to the U21s to get into the full squad.’ 

Francis Jeffers (1999-2003) – 13 goals

Often used as an example of a young talent who failed to make the grade, Francis Jeffers drew level with Shearer as the top scoring England U21 star, having made his debut in September 1999. 

However, he took slightly longer than Shearer to reach the landmark, playing 16 games for the team. The boyhood Everton star was touted to be England’s future star striker after flourishing in the youth teams before making his Toffees debut aged just 16, with his early promise being rewarded with a move to Arsenal in 2001.

Francis Jeffers was a teenage sensation and managed to draw level with Shearer's 13 goals

Francis Jeffers was a teenage sensation and managed to draw level with Shearer’s 13 goals 

But after struggling to produce the goods in north London and now too old for the Under 21s, he was called up to the senior squad by Sven Goran Eriksson for a friendly against Australia in 2003 – scoring a consolation in a shock 3-1 loss at Upton Park. 

It would end up being his first and last cap for the Three Lions, as Jeffers’ career took a nosedive, becoming a journeyman by playing for the likes of Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship. He later featured for the Newcastle Jets in Australia before finishing his career with League Two side Accrington Stanley.  

Saido Berahino (2013-2015) – 11 goals

Now known as a Premier League flop, there was a time when former West Brom star Berahino was highly rated in the England youth set-up after making his way from the U16 squad all the way to the U21s in quick succession. 

Having previously excelled for the U17 team, helping them win the European Championship in 2010, he picked up his first U21 cap in August 2013 – scoring on his debut against Moldova, which was Gareth Southgate’s first match in charge and went on to net 11 times for the team as he become one of the manager’s favourites. 

That form, coupled with his impressive displays for West Brom in 2014-15, saw him called up by Roy Hodgson to the senior squad for a Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia, as well as a friendly with Scotland, but failed to feature in either game. 

Saido Berahino became a favourite under former U21 boss Gareth Southgate and scored 11

Saido Berahino became a favourite under former U21 boss Gareth Southgate and scored 11 

Southgate tried to bring him back to the U21 fold for the 2015 European Championships, but he was ruled out through injury. It turned out to be a sour end for his Three Lions involvement as he opted to pledge his allegiance to his birth country Burundi in 2018 after failing to win a call-up. 

His career began to falter after falling out with West Brom in 2015 over their refusal to let him join Tottenham. He went on strike and later left for Stoke, where he scored just five times. The forward is now plying his trade with Belgian side Charleroi.

Nathan Redmond (2013-2017) – 10 goals

Another player heavily involved in the early England youth teams, it was only a matter of when Redmond would make his bow for the U21, and his first nod came in 2013 as he was picked by Stuart Pearce for the 2013 European Championship.

He started in the first game of the tournament, impressing despite the team losing in a 1-0 loss to Italy, but had to wait until later that month for his first goal after England were dumped out in the group stage. 

Nathan Redmond has just one cap for the senior team but scored 10 goals with the U21 side

Nathan Redmond has just one cap for the senior team but scored 10 goals with the U21 side 

He netted in the 6-0 win over Scotland, with England boss Roy Hodgson taking over the team for one game, finding his feet the following year as he bagged a hat-trick against Wales. He was recognised by fans as U21 player of the year in 2016 as he went on to find the back of the net 10 times before the seniors came calling. 

The Southampton star has won just one cap, which came against Germany in 2017, but while he has been named in a handful of Gareth Southgate’s squad, he is yet to add to his tally.   

Frank Lampard (1997-2000) – nine goals

We know all about Lampard’s success with both Chelsea and England – who he earned 106 caps for – but you may know much about how he laid down the foundation for his superb career with the U21s. 

His first game was against Greece under manager Peter Taylor. At the time he was still a youngster coming through at West Ham, but made quite an impression as he scored nine goals in 19 games for the team. 

Lampard was part of a talented U21 team from 1997 and 2000 as he showed his early promise

Lampard was part of a talented U21 team from 1997 and 2000 as he showed his early promise 

The future Chelsea legend featured in a star-studded U21 side alongside the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry – leading by example and giving us a sign of what was to come with his goals from midfield. 

Given his unique talent, it’s no surprise that England gifted him his first cap just two years after playing for the U21s as he played his first game against Belgium. Despite missing out on the 2000 Euros and the 2002 World Cup, Lampard went on to become a staple for the Three Lions with 29 goals as he played at three major tournaments.  

James Milner (2004-2009) – nine goals

‘Mr Reliable’ was just that for the U21 side – Milner played a whopping 46 times for the team across a five year spell, which remains an unbeaten record. 

Taylor gave him his debut against Sweden in 2004, with his first strike coming against Wales in the same year. 

Milner has never been known as a prolific goalscorer, but his dedication to the U21 side allowed him to rack up plenty of experience and chip in with the odd goal here and there. 

James Milner was never a prolific goalscorer but scored nine times for the U21s in 46 games

James Milner was never a prolific goalscorer but scored nine times for the U21s in 46 games 

He featured at the 2007 and 2009 European Championships – the latter of which saw England finish as runner-ups to a talented Germany side as Stuart Pearce’s men were thumped 4-0.

That crushing game turned out to be his last game for the team, which he slammed as ‘not good enough’. His senior England debut arrived later that summer against the Netherlands, picking up 61 in total before retiring in 2016. 

Darren Bent (2003-2006) – nine goals

Bent made his name as a prolific young striker with Ipswich and Charlton and it was no different early into his international career. 

He tasted disappointment on his debut for the U21s against Italy in 2003 as the team lost 1-0, but grabbed his first goal later that summer with a late winner in a friendly against Serbia and Montenegro.

Darren Bent earned more caps and goals for the U21s than he did for the senior England team

Darren Bent earned more caps and goals for the U21s than he did for the senior England team 

He would go on to fire in nine goals for Peter Taylor’s side, the last of which came in in a Euro play-off defeat to France in 2006 after 14 appearances – one less than the amount of caps he won for the senior squad. 

The former Tottenham, Sunderland and Aston Villa star, now retired and taking on punditry roles, would go on to score just four goals for the main England team.  

Dominic Solanke (2015-2019) – nine goals 

Getting to the recent generation of stars and a player who is starting to look like he might join the crop of talent who don’t quite realise their potential. 

Solanke joined Bournemouth for around £20m from Liverpool last year but has scored just five goals, despite earning rave review for England’s youth sides. 

He’s represented the Three Lions at every level, rising to prominence as he earned the golden ball as England won the U20 World Cup in 2017. 

He wasn’t able to replicate the same success with the Under 21s but still managed to net nine goals across 18 appearances, with England youth bosses utilising him across numerous different levels at the same time.  

Dominic Solanke (L) and Tammy Abraham (R) both managed nine goals while playing for U21s

Dominic Solanke (L) and Tammy Abraham (R) both managed nine goals while playing for U21s

Tammy Abraham (2016-2019) – nine goals 

Also joining the nine goal club is Chelsea star Abraham, who scored a brace on his full U21 debut against Bosnia and Montenegro.

Having played under Aidy Boothroyd for the Under-19s, he continued to impress the former Watford boss in the U21 set up as his goals helped push the team to the Euro finals in 2017. The following year he joined Nketiah as a winner of the Toulon tournament, coming on in the final against Mexico.

Now 23, Abraham has started to establish himself in the Chelsea team after making 55 appearances, and a call-up to Southgate’s England team has followed too. He’s picked up a total of four caps, scoring his first goal in a 7-0 win over Montenegro last year. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Conor McGregor tells ex-UFC champ Fabricio Werdum ‘f*** you’ in furious Twitter row over performance enhancing drugs

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conor mcgregor tells ex ufc champ fabricio werdum f you in furious twitter row over performance enhancing drugs

CONOR McGREGOR has got involved in a furious Twitter row over drug testing with former UFC star Fabricio Werdum.

It all started when McGregor, who is poised to return to UFC in January to fight Dustin Poirier, retweeted MMA star Sinead Kavanagh’s post calling for ‘pre-fight drug tests’.

Conor McGregor has been involved in a furious row on social media with Fabricio Werdum

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Conor McGregor has been involved in a furious row on social media with Fabricio WerdumCredit: Instagram / @thenotoriousmma
Werdum was not happy McGregor was passing judgement on drug testing in Bellator

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Werdum was not happy McGregor was passing judgement on drug testing in BellatorCredit: Getty – Contributor
McGregor was left stunned at Werdum's responses considering he was banned for two years for failing a drugs test

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McGregor was left stunned at Werdum’s responses considering he was banned for two years for failing a drugs test

McGregor commented: “It is crazy to think@BellatorMMA
still do not have a performance enhancing drug testing system in place.

“It is long overdue time the promotion adopts a reputable testing body in order to keep it’s clean athletes safe!”

Kavanagh is trained by McGregor and is contracted to Bellator, with Werdum rumoured to be close to signing for the organisation.

However Werdum was not impressed with McGregor’s comment, posting: “Losers always will try to find excuses. Champions work very hard and don’t distracted by ants.”

The 43-year-old former UFC heavyweight champ then brought in current Bellator flyweight women’s champ Cris Cyborg into the argument.

He added: “@CyborgsGloves is a living legend”, before calling McGregor a ‘m***** f*****’ in Portuguese.

McGregor was left confused as to why Werdum brought former UFC champ Cyborg into conversation, who is represented by McGregor’s Paradigm Management company.

He replied: “Huh? I did not mention Cris whatsoever. Nothing to do with Cris at all.

“It is a request to the promotion, as a top tier one, to up its PED testing program. As currently there is zero in place.

“This is a dangerous business and to take a lax stance here, at this level, is wrong.”

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Still Werdum continued, apparently getting his wires crossed however.

He posted: “The funny thing is it was cause a girl 145 that trains at your gym Sinead Kavanagh posted a tweet about testing following Cyborg beating her up. Why are you backtrack now?”

McGregor then attempted to explain Werdum’s error, writing: “They never fought. I train Sinead. I manage Cris. Both tremendously gifted warriors.

“This is not about either! Or any of the roster for that matter.

“It is about the promotion itself stepping up to the plate, as one of the top tier organisations in MMA, and upping its testing.”

Attempting to shut Werdum up for good, McGregor then slammed the fighter over his own drugs ban.

The Irishman wrote: “Actually wait! Aren’t you currently banned for steroids right now?

“And got your sentenced reduced for ratting other people? And also just recently signed to this promotion I speak of?

“Woah. Man, f*** you. My lord, what a business this is.”

Werdum was banned for TWO YEARS by USADA for failing an out-of-competition test back in 2018.

Werdum has always maintained his innocence and told Combate that he ‘felt like a criminal’ over the suspension.

He also alleges that he was told that if he ‘snitched’ on other fighters he would have his time out of action reduced.

Dana White ‘expects’ Conor McGregor to fight Dustin Poirier again in UFC after publicly accepting bout… but at 155lbs

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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Tottenham and Everton in transfer battle for Arkadiusz Milik with Napoli striker set to leave in January window

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TOTTENHAM and Everton are locked in a transfer battle for a January swoop of Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik.

The Poland international’s contract runs out next summer and has left some of the Premier League’s biggest clubs licking their lips.

Milik has yet to make an appearance for his club side all season

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Milik has yet to make an appearance for his club side all seasonCredit: Getty Images – Getty
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But they’ll face a challenge from Juventus, who are keen to pick him up for free when his Napoli agreement expires.

But Milik may not want to wait until June to leave, potentially giving Spurs and the Toffees with the edge.

The 26-year-old has not made an appearance for Napoli all season, and has been left out of their Serie A and Champions League squads.

And while Calciomercato.com reported that Milik was willing to run down his contract and join Juve, it is believed he is now growing impatient and may opt for a more immediate move.

Milik told Sportowefakty.pl earlier in October: “Now, I’ll wait for the next transfer window and I hope the clubs can find and understanding. Physically I’m fine, I have trained well individually.

“I will play matches with the national side. In three months, my form won’t be too much affected.”

Tottenham and Everton were both interested in the forward man during the summer but were unable to get any deal over the line.

His scoring stats suggest he will add a consistent streak of goal scoring to either team.

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He netted 14 in 35 games across all competitions last season for Napoli.

Since signing for the Italian side from Ajax in 2016, he has 38 goals in 93 appearances, a ratio just short of one in three.

If he was to join Tottenham, he would add to an already terrifying forward line bolstered by the recent signings of Gareth Bale and Carlos Vinicius.

Meanwhile, Everton looked short up front during yesterday’s defeat at Southampton with forward man Richarlison missing after being sent off against Liverpool.

Napoli’s Arkadiusz Milik’s fiancee Jessica Ziolek looks stunning walking along the beach

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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9.30am Man Utd news LIVE: Pogba in ‘France quit threat’, Van de Beek latest, Romero ‘wants contract cancelled’

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9 30am man utd news live pogba in france quit threat van de beek latest romero wants contract cancelled
GL BLOG MAN UTD NEWS 1

SERGIO ROMERO is reportedly keen to set up a meeting with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ed Woodward to cancel his contract.

The Argentine was left furious after being dropped from both Man Utd’s Champions League and Premier League squads.

Follow all the latest from Old Trafford below…

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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