West Ham Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to Return in 2020 After Surgery on Torn Hip Muscle

West Ham fans will have to wait until the new year to see Lukasz Fabianski back between the sticks, after the goalkeeper underwent successful successful surgery on a torn hip muscle. 

The Poland international suffered the injury in the late September fixture against Bournemouth, breaking down after taking a routine goal kick, and was initially expect to be sidelined for three months.

Club chairman David Gold took to Twitter to announce Fabianski had been discharged, with the treatment going as planned, and ​Hammers fans will echo his wish for a speedy recovery after the performances of Spanish stand-in Roberto divided opinion.

Fabianski was always going to be a tough act to follow. He arrived from Swansea for a bargain £7m and was remarkable last season, keeping seven clean sheets as he played in every single Premier League fixture.

It was enough to earn him the Hammer of the Year award and he’d carried that momentum into 2019/20, making this setback even tougher to swallow.

Roberto, meanwhile, arrived on a free transfer this summer but has been less than convincing since joining. After some disgruntled reactions to performances in pre-season, he’s put in a couple of very shaky Carabao Cup displays – one of which culminated in a 4-0 defeat away to League One Oxford United.

However, his performances against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace did show glimmers of encouragement. With Fabianski out for the foreseeable future, he’ll need the support of the club’s fanbase – though improved performances will also be needed.

Lukasz Fabianski

The Hammers are aiming to break into the top six this season, and have been impressive early on – recovering from an opening day thumping at Manchester City to go six unbeaten.

They did, however, slip to a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at the London Stadium last time out, leaving Manuel Pellegrini’s side eighth in the league on 12 points.

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Henrik Larsson & Dirk Kuyt Set to Form Unlikely Managerial Partnership at Southend

​Former Sweden international Henrik Larsson is close to being unveiled as the new manager of League One side Southend United, with Dirk Kuyt set to follow him as his assistant.

Southend find themselves labouring at the bottom of the division, and a miserable start to the campaign saw former boss Kevin Bond resign in early September.

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Now, according to the ​Southend Echo, it is Larsson who is “in pole position” to assume the vacant role. The former ​Barcelona and Celtic forward has been spotted watching the club twice this season, and it now appears as though a deal to assume control is imminent.

Larsson walked away from former employers Helsingborg in August after being abused by fans on social media as a result of a poor run of form, so he is free to discuss a move to a new side.

The Swedish icon is keen to bring Kuyt with him. The ​Liverpool cult hero recently worked as the assistant manager of Dutch amateur side Quick Boys, and he even came out of retirement in April 2018 to help them deal with an injury crisis, before assuming control of Feyenoord’s Under-19 side.

The pair now appear set to link up in Southend to try and save the Shrimpers from relegation to League Two.

Chairman Ron Martin recently ​revealed that they were not far from bringing in a new manager. He mentioned no names, but it is widely believed that Larsson is the man closest to taking the position.

He wrote: “Last week I commented a week is a long time in politics and in football too. That trend has continued with my shortlist becoming shorter… for a variety of reasons.

Dirk Kuyt

“Nevertheless, great progress (as it had to) has been made this week. Progress not simply in shortening the club’s list of targets but settling the choice AND all the principal terms too. Indeed, I believe there are no showstoppers enabling me to give you this positive news before the weekend.

“I am now targeting a press conference for Thursday and will confirm that when the ink is dry. I know it’s all been bad news on the pitch and my job is to ensure that changes. I shall always do my best to get this club back on track and can at least confirm the position off the pitch is looking great.”


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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James Maddison Pictured in Casino After Missing England Duty Through Illness

​Leicester City midfielder James Maddison was pictured in a casino on Friday evening, on the night of England’s 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic.

Maddison was initially supposed to be part of the squad, but was sent home from international duty after picking up an illness, meaning his long wait for his Three Lions debut goes on.

James Maddison

However, as noted by ​The Sun, Maddison was in a Leicester casino on the night of the game, and the report claims that England boss Gareth Southgate will be unimpressed to hear of Maddison’s actions.

Many fans had wanted to see Maddison in action against the Czech Republic. He’s started the season with three goals and two assists in eight showings for ​Leicester, and looked to be one of the Three Lions’ most in-form players heading into the game.

He was finally handed his debut call-up to the squad, only for this illness to send him crashing back down to earth.

In his absence, England were thoroughly unimpressive. Southgate’s men struggled in attack and were shambolic in defence, and they now find themselves level on points with the Czechs at the top of their Euro 2020 qualification group.

Fortunately, England still have a game in hand over their opponents and they could reestablish their three-point lead with victory over Bulgaria on Monday evening.

Maddison will not feature in that game either after being sent home to recover, but he will hope to earn another call-up to the next squad, who will take on Montenegro and Kosovo midway through November.

Gareth Southgate

Should the 22-year-old maintain his level of performances at club level, Southgate will likely have little choice but to include him in his next group.

Leicester, meanwhile, currently find themselves fourth in the ​Premier League. Under Brendan Rodgers, the Foxes have established themselves as one of England’s most exciting sides, and Maddison has certainly been key to that.

His form is thought to have attracted the interest of ​Manchester United, but Maddison’s focus will solely be on earning himself a long-awaited England cap.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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Cristiano Ronaldo Closes In on 700 Goals as Portugal Legend Sits Sixth on All-Time Scoring Charts

​Cristiano Ronaldo’s strike against Luxembourg on Friday saw him take his senior tally for club and country to 699 goals, with the Juventus striker now set to join an elite group of players who’ve scored at least 700 in their career.

Sitting 27 goals ahead of his long-term rival Lionel Messi, Ronaldo is currently the sixth top goalscorer in professional football history, with just five players ever reaching 700 senior goals.

And while Portuguese outlet Record have credited Ronaldo with already reaching that milestone – Real Madrid awarded him a goal that was actually given to centre-back Pepe by La Liga – they do run down the five legends who are currently ahead of him.

Cristiano Ronaldo,Nelson Semedo

Hungary’s most recognisable icon Ferenc Puskás, who also played internationally for Spain for a brief time, is just ahead of Ronaldo with 709 senior goals, while Gerd Müller also just misses out on a place in the top three with his tally of 721.

Ronaldo, 34, will certainly be looking to overtake both players before he eventually hangs up his boots, but the former Real Madrid and Manchester United forward will also be keeping one eye on the third best goalscorer of all time Pelé’s record of 757 goals.

Another Brazilian takes second place in the scoring charts, with ex-Barcelona star Romário scoring one more than Pelé, but both players miss out on the top spot to a Czech-Austrian footballer who enjoyed the best spells of his career at Slavia Prague.

There are some uncertainties over just how many goals Josef ‘Pepi’ Bican, with the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation estimating him to have scored over 800, but Record have the best goalscorer of all time sitting on 762 goals.

Bican reached that tally in just 497 games for club and country.

Ronaldo will be looking to score his 700th senior goal later this week as Portugal take on Ukraine in a Euro 2020 qualifier.

Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine already have one foot in the competition next summer as they’re all-but mathematically qualified, while Portugal can effectively book their place at Euro 2020 with a win on Monday.


For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!

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Fernandinho Set for Talks Over New Manchester City Contract

​Manchester City chiefs are prepared to offer midfielder Fernandinho a new 12-month contract to extend his stay at the Etihad Stadium.

The 34-year-old’s current deal expires at the end of the season and, after City shattered their transfer record to sign Rodri during the summer, it initially looked as though Fernandinho’s time at the club could be coming to an end.

Adama Traoré - Spanish Soccer Player,Fernandinho - Soccer Player - Manchester City

However, according to ​The Sun, ​City are eager to tie him down to a new 12-month deal after being impressed by the way in which he has stepped up to fill the leadership void left by Vincent Kompany’s departure.

Manager Pep Guardiola sees him as a vital part of the club, both on the pitch and in the dressing room, so City chiefs will sit down with ​Fernandinho after the festive period to try thrash out a new deal.

The Brazilian is believed to be eager to remain with City for a little while longer, as he enjoys life in Manchester and his young family are settled in the area.

He will likely have to accept a reduction to his current £120,000-a-week wages, but that is not thought to be a problem for Fernandinho.

Since joining from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, Fernandinho has been a key part of City’s side, and his importance to the team has only grown since Guardiola’s arrival in 2016.

He has been the anchor at the base of City’s midfield, allowing the likes of ​Kevin De Bruyne, ​Bernardo Silva and ​David Silva to work their magic in attack. 

UEFA Champions League"Olympique Lyonnais v Manchester City"

His defensive awareness has even seen him fill in at centre-back, just as he has done for the majority of this season so far to cope with the injuries to both Aymeric Laporte and ​John Stones. That shift of position has allowed Rodri to come into the team, but it appears as though the Spaniard will have some competition for at least one more year.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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