Wenger hails ‘very smart’ Tuchel amid talk of PSG move

Arsene Wenger has been impressed by Thomas Tuchel’s early work at Paris Saint-Germain amid reports he could join the club as director of football.

Former Arsenal manager Wenger has been out of the game since leaving the Gunners at the end of last season, but he is said to be in line for a new role with the Ligue 1 champions.

And speaking to reporters after coaching a team in Per Mertesacker’s charity match, Wenger revealed his positive early impressions of Tuchel, who has won 11 of his 12 competitive games in charge.

“I hold [Tuchel] in high regard. He has adapted very quickly to French football,” Wenger said. “He looks very smart and has a good connection with his players.

“His start at PSG has been great. The first impressions are very positive, and I think that’s very important when you come from abroad.

“You must have some luck to start well, but the quality is there. There will be some harder matches to come for PSG in the future and the expectations in Paris are very high.

“I hope that he can also be successful in the Champions League.”

Tuchel has reportedly clashed with PSG sporting director Antero Henrique since joining the club, with concerns raised about their failure to replace the retired Thiago Motta during the transfer window.

Wenger, meanwhile, recently praised Monaco’s hiring of Thierry Henry as he backed his former striker to succeed as a manager.

 

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Maldini: ‘Calm’ Gattuso has Milan’s confidence

Paolo Maldini says Gennaro Gattuso is a far more balanced character than his intense touchline demeanour suggests and remains the right man for AC Milan.

Gattuso, a famously fiery figure during his playing days, is nearing the one-year anniversary of his appointment as Vincenzo Montella’s successor at San Siro.

The ex-Italy midfielder has yet to completely convince in that time and has seen his position become a source of speculation, with Antonio Conte consistently linked to the role.

But Maldini, who recently returned to Milan as a director, is firmly in his former team-mate’s corner.

“Rino is much calmer than what he lets others see from the outside,” the Rossoneri great said at the Festival dello Sport event in Trento.

“During the game he resembles himself as a player, but during the week, also because he is busy with training, he is without doubt a very balanced person.

“Rino has a great sense of belonging, which is what [sporting director] Leonardo and I want to transfer to Milan.

“He has all our confidence. He knows how to listen, he was brave to come to Milan, he has knowledge, knows how to manage players and can mediate well with the club.”

Milan, winners in each of their last three competitive matches, return to Serie A action next Sunday in a derby date with city rivals Inter.

The club currently sits 10th in the league with three wins and three draws from the first seven matches of the Serie A season.

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Wenger: Henry has everything to succeed at Monaco

Arsene Wenger believes Thierry Henry has “everything” to succeed at Monaco but has warned his former Arsenal striker that he must sacrifice his “whole life” now that he is a coach.

Ligue 1 club Monaco announced on Saturday that Henry would succeed Leonardo Jardim and take up his first head coaching role with the club where he started his professional playing career.

Henry spent the bulk of his playing days under Wenger, another former Monaco boss, at Arsenal and the 68-year-old Frenchman is pleased one of his old clubs have turned to his former charge.

However, Wenger, who spent 22 years at Arsenal before leaving at the end of the 2017-18 season, knows Henry must be prepared to dedicate everything to the job.

“Of course, Thierry Henry is a good choice,” said Wenger, who was speaking after coaching one of the teams in Per Mertesacker’s farewell match in Hannover.

“He has a lot of credibility. He is very intelligent and understands football pretty well. That’s why he has everything it needs, like a lot of players on this level.

“But when you get started you must have a little bit luck, too. He is going to need a good attitude and he will have to make sacrifices. You have to sacrifice your whole life.”

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Netherlands 3 Germany 0: Record defeat means more misery for Low

Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum all scored to earn Netherlands a 3-0 win over Germany and left Joachim Low’s men still without a win or a goal in the Nations League.

Liverpool defender Van Dijk pounced to nod home the loose ball on the half-hour mark after Ryan Babel had struck the crossbar with a header following a corner from Depay.

Germany had chances to grab a leveller after the break, with substitute Leroy Sane steering a glorious opportunity wide.

They were also denied what appeared to be a clear-cut penalty in the final 10 minutes when Arnaut Groeneveld tripped Matthias Ginter.

However, Depay added an 86th-minute second on the counter-attack and Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum rifled in a third in stoppage time, securing Oranje’s biggest ever win over Germany.

It leaves Low’s side in danger of relegation in League A Group 1, of which they are bottom, having drawn 0-0 with France in their first game.


Germany enjoyed a bright start as Timo Werner poked wide when through one-on-one before Jasper Cillessen denied Thomas Muller’s first-time effort. 

However, Netherlands went ahead in the 30th minute, Van Dijk nodding into the net having reacted quickest after Babel’s header from Depay’s corner came back off the crossbar. 

Sane was guilty of squandering the best of Germany’s second-half openings as he fired wide when it seemed easier to score having been put through by Joshua Kimmich. 

Low’s side were then denied a penalty when Groeneveld looked to have tripped Ginter from behind, but referee Cuneyt Cakir was uninterested. 

Depay then secured the victory with four minutes to spare, staying onside to collect Quincy Promes’ pass and finish past Manuel Neuer, despite the keeper’s best efforts. 

There was still time for Depay to hit the crossbar before Wijnaldum steered into the bottom-left corner of the net after bamboozling Jerome Boateng to give Netherlands a win over Germany by three goals or more for the first time in history.


What it means: Germany still suffering after dire display in Russia 

The 2014 World Cup winners were dreadful in their title defence in Russia yet decided to stick with Low. After two Nations League performances, there have to be questions about his ability to restore this team to the top of world football. Netherlands, meanwhile, look a force under Ronald Koeman. 

Depay is the main guy 

Netherlands were under the cosh for much of the second half but in Depay they had an outlet. Germany’s defence were constantly stretched by the Lyon forward, who kept his cool to add a crucial second. 

Woeful Werner misfires again 

Germany were hoping that Werner would be their talisman in Russia, but he has not found the net since a June friendly with Saudi Arabia. He looked short on confidence here and Low needs a reliable goalscorer if he is going to turn things around. 

What’s next? 

Koeman’s team travel to World Cup semi-finalists Belgium for a friendly this Tuesday. The Germans travel to France, the team that succeeded them as World Cup champions, for a meeting with the other team in this Nations League group.

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Republic of Ireland 0 Denmark 0: Eriksen sorely missed in bore draw

Republic of Ireland could not avenge their World Cup play-off defeat to Denmark as they were held to a goalless draw by a visiting side missing Christian Eriksen in Dublin.

Hat-trick hero Eriksen extinguished Ireland’s qualifying hopes in a 5-1 away win last November, but the Tottenham midfielder was not fit to feature in Saturday’s rematch in the Nations League.

However, rather than opening the door for Ireland to record a much-needed victory, Eriksen’s absence merely sapped the quality from the contest as both outfits struggled to offer anything in the final third.

Denmark at least know Eriksen’s return should ensure improvement from this dour display, but there were few positives for Martin O’Neill and Ireland to take forward.

The first of very few first-half flashpoints came five minutes in when Denmark stopped play for the injured Harry Arter but Jeff Hendrick capitalised to run clear, wastefully shooting wide to the relief of the furious visiting players.

Darren Randolph smothered from Thomas Delaney at the other end, before Pione Sisto whipped a low drive against the right-hand post just seconds before the break.

There was no change to the pattern of play following the restart as Denmark kept possession at a near-silent Aviva Stadium, with Simon Kjaer denied the opening goal as Arter hacked his header away from the goal line.

Kasper Schmeichel comfortably dealt with Cyrus Christie’s drive after a rare Ireland break and there would be no late sucker punch for the dominant Danes as they eased through the closing stages.

What it means: Relegation looms for Ireland

O’Neill’s men must surely win their next fixture against Wales to retain any hope of remaining in League B, but this performance provided little encouragement ahead of that clash. With Eriksen out, Ireland will have no better opportunity to beat an otherwise ordinary Denmark outfit. That never looked likely.

Wales the big winners

Few neutrals could enjoy this dull contest, but Ryan Giggs may well have. The Wales boss would see both group rivals drop points while there was plenty of food for thought ahead of facing Ireland. Despite defeat in Denmark, Giggs’ side have the opportunity to win the group and will surely target victory against the Irish.


Fulham man fails midfield audition

Christie is no central midfielder, but he was given the opportunity to stake a claim there on Saturday. With Matt Doherty flying for Wolves – and Christie poor for Fulham – O’Neill may have a new deputy for regular right-back Seamus Coleman. Christie, instead playing in the middle of the pitch, looked completely out of his depth.

What’s next?

Ireland will have another opportunity to respond to a humbling defeat on Tuesday when they host Wales, 4-1 winners in their Nations League opener last month. Denmark have a friendly against Austria on the same day.

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