Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard reminded his young England players that they “need to show even more” for Chelsea despite earning call-ups to Gareth Southgate’s squad for the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Ross Barkley are all in Southgate’s party – 21 year-old Tomori for the first time.
Tomori was a member of Lampard’s Derby County squad last year, gaining invaluable experience in the Championship before returning to Chelsea from his loan spell last summer.
He has quickly carved out a first-team role at the Blues – leading to his maiden England call-up – and Lampard couldn’t hide his delight.
“He deserves it because he’s been a dream to work with, day in and day out for the last 15 months or so,” Lampard said.
Watch Lampard share his full thoughts on Tomori’s call-up in the video above.
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Champions Manchester City will be without Kevin De Bruyne for Sunday’s Premier League clash with Wolves due to a groin problem.
The playmaker suffered the injury in the latter stages of last week’s victory at Everton and also missed Tuesday’s clash with Dinamo Zagreb, but the issue is not thought to be too serious.
Defenders John Stones (thigh) and Aymeric Laporte (knee) also remain on the sidelines along with winger Leroy Sane (knee).
Diogo Jota remains a major injury doubt for Wolves. The Portuguese forward – a key player for Wanderers – has been nursing a foot problem recently that caused him to miss the 2-0 win over Watford and the Europa League victory against Besiktas on Thursday.
Jota did not travel to Istanbul as Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo opted to leave him in England to receive treatment in the hope that he would recover in time to be involved against City.
However, Nuno provided an update on the 22-year-old’s progress on Friday and it sounds unlikely that he will be available.
Manchester City provisional squad: Ederson, Bravo, Walker, Cancelo, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Garcia, Zinchenko, Angelino, Mendy, Gundogan, Rodri, D Silva, B Silva, Sterling, Mahrez, Foden, Aguero, Jesus.
Wolves provisional squad: Patricio, Doherty, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Jonny, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Traore, Jota, Jimenez, Neves, Cutrone, Neto, Ruddy, Vallejo, Vinagre, Gibbs-White.
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Arsenal boss Unai Emery has backed Joe Willock to fill the void left by Aaron Ramsey and believes the midfielder has limitless potential.
Willock, 20, has developed well under Emery’s tutelage over the last year and has scored six goals in 15 games under the Spaniard – including the third in a 4-0 Europa League win over Standard Liege on Thursday.
The England Under-21 international has caught the attention of senior boss Gareth Southgate and replaced Mesut Ozil in last season’s Europa League final defeat at the hands of Chelsea.
The Gunners lost Ramsey on a free transfer to Juventus this summer, 12 months after releasing Jack Wilshere to join West Ham.
Emery feels Willock, who has yet to establish himself in the first team, can now rise to the challenge of replacing the popular midfield pair at the Emirates Stadium.
“Willock started the pre-season with us last year, I didn’t give him more minutes but he was with us in every game, working in training, playing matches in the cup and at the end of the season,” the Gunners head coach said.
“He deserved to start this season with the first team and with us.
“My decision was after I saw him the last two months of last season working with us, his really big challenge was that Jack Wilshere left here, Aaron Ramsey left and he had to take that opportunity to be with us.
“The last months of last year was the moment I spoke with him, and said: ‘For you it is a big challenge in the new season to do differently and really show us you can take their position in this squad’.”
While Willock has had to be patient for a run in the Arsenal team, Emery has seen first-hand how much he has progressed in recent times – and feels he can push on even further if he keeps working hard.
“We need to have different options in different positions in midfield,” he replied when asked if Willock was unfortunate not to have played more matches.
“But Willock is really, really improving a lot – sometimes by being in the starting XI or off the bench with good impact.
“I told him he is improving but he needs to not stop that improvement, we are working with him to improve even more.
“But, if his progression keeps going the way it is going right now, I don’t know when he will stop and how far he can go.
“He deserves us continuing to give him chances and really now we can say he is with us, in the squad and the first XI because he deserves it.
“His progress is a very good example as a positive to many others.”
Provided by Press Association Sport