Harry Maguire still coming to terms with increased attention after World Cup heroics

Sean Taylor 12:11 22/09/2018
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Leading light: Harry Maguire enjoyed a spectacular World Cup with England.

Leicester defender Harry Maguire is still coming to terms with the increased attention being paid to him, according to his manager Claude Puel.

The 25-year-old centre-half went to the World Cup as a relative unknown but returned with a significantly increased profile after starring in England’s run to the semi-finals.

Maguire’s performances in Russia saw him become the subject of a major transfer rumour about Manchester United attempting to sign him, but Maguire this month agreed a new five-year contract with Leicester.

It has been a whirlwind summer for the defender, and Puel said: “I have had some discussions with Harry about this, all this attention around him.

“It is crazy. It is the first time for him and he has to manage this attention and to keep a good focus and concentration. It is a new experience for him.

“He is a young player, a fantastic player, but he is a human. He is learning how to deal with it. It is very tough what has happened around him and to manage this for the first time is very difficult but I am happy he is working for the team.

“Myself and the club sometimes have to protect him and help him with all this attention around him.”

Puel

Maguire has played every minute of Leicester’s five Premier League matches this season, as well as 90 minutes for England against Switzerland during the recent international break.

He has played 63 matches in all competitions since the beginning of last season, including seven at the World Cup, and Puel is considering giving the defender a rest.

However, Puel insists it is not because his newfound attention is taking its toll on his performances.

“He is a fantastic player, he has been fantastic this season,” said Puel. “We have to accept sometimes that he can be up and down, this is normal. But he is a player who listens all the time and who is happy and confident about his way.

“He is learning about this new experience for him and he is a good listener, very attentive.”

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Eden Hazard in the same league as Lionel Messi, says Chelsea teammate Pedro

Sport360 staff 11:33 22/09/2018
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Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard is in the same league as Lionel Messi according to Chelsea teammate Pedro.

The Spaniard, who played alongside Messi for eight years at Barcelona, believes Hazard deserves to be considered one of the best players in the world and says his Belgian attack partner is world class.

“It is obvious that Eden Hazard is in the three, four players that are the best in the world like Leo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Eden,” Pedro said.

“Because Eden every year, you show your football and your numbers – score goals, assists, play a lot of minutes, play very good.

“I don’t know, maybe in a few years Eden can win the golden ball or another thing because he is a very good player.”

Eden Hazard belongs in the same bracket as Lionel Messi, says Pedro.

Eden Hazard belongs in the same bracket as Lionel Messi, says Pedro.

Hazard enjoyed a fine World Cup as he helped Belgium reach the semi-finals in Russia, and he has started the domestic season in incredible form, sitting atop the Premier League golden boot rankings with five goals in as many matches.

“He is a big star. It is very good for the us that Eden is in good form with good confidence, doesn’t lose ball, is dribbling very good, score goals,” added Pedro.

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Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino refutes suggestions his players are tired

Sport360 staff 10:11 22/09/2018
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Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping for a masterclass from Harry Kane

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has dismissed claims his players are tired and are being over-worked.

Spurs are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, having been beaten by Watford, Liverpool and Inter Milan, and there have been suggestions they are jaded, with Harry Kane being the subject of particular scrutiny.

Kane was one of nine men in their squad that were in Russia for the entirety of the World Cup and only returned to pre-season training a week before the Premier League kicked off.

But Pochettino insisted his players were all given 21 days off and that was more than some other Premier League stars.

“It’s normal to find the reason why when you lose,” the Argentinian, who takes his side to Brighton on Saturday tea-time, said.

“After four years, now this is the fifth, I know that the most important thing is we are so flexible and we try to provide the best for each player to feel great, with a lot of energy and have very good performance on the pitch.

“But no one complained that they were tired, wanted more days off.

“We provided all the players 21 days off. More than some teams. I think (Manchester) City, I was talking with (Mikel) Arteta because we wanted to be fair with everyone, and they gave the possibility to arrive one week before us because they played one week before in the Community Shield. They have only 15 days holidays.”

The build-up and aftermath of Tottenham’s 2-1 defeat at the San Siro this week was dominated by Pochettino’s decision to leave Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld at home, with the boss embarking on a rant at reporters after they questioned whether he regretted the decision.

Pochettino has finally revealed why Trippier was left at home, insisting he needed a full week of rest.

“We provided more time to recover after the international break to be sure he could play in a very good way against Liverpool,” Pochettino said.

“We didn’t train too much because we prioritised the rest and recovery and of course when he played and it was a tough game against Liverpool 90 minutes, to play again three days after again a big level team, again a very good player in front it wasn’t the best and the risk was massive.

“It is not because we punish players or we are going to take risks or we are gamblers.

“It is about not risking injury and we provide him a very good week of training to be ready again.

“I go back to Manchester United, remember in the second half after 70 minutes the two full-backs Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier ask to leave the pitch and they were ready again to play one week after.

“Because they were tired. It is difficult to cope in a high-level game working hard. When you see all that happened it’s an easy answer.

“But I don’t want to explain every single press conference my decisions and say, ‘No, it’s like this’.

“It’s easy to say, ‘Oh problems, oh punishment because we lose’. It’s different circumstances.

“When we assess the team we always try to find the right decision to win.”

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