Bayern talent Davies ruled out of Canada game


Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich rising star Alphonso Davies will miss out on Canada’s upcoming game against French Guiana after picking up a knee injury, the German club confirmed on Wednesday.

Davies, 18, was set to earn his tenth cap for Canada in the CONCACAF Nations League qualifier on March 24, but will now stay in Munich this week to recover. 

“Alphonso Davies picked up a light strain to his right knee in the 6-0 win against Mainz and has been advised to take a few days of rest by the medical department,” the club said in a statement on their website. 

Davies, who completed a $13 million (11.5 million euros) move to Bayern from the Vancouver Whitecaps in January, scored his first goal for Bayern in the win over Mainz last Sunday.

His performance from the bench earned him gushing praise from Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

“Alphonso is a diamond, he shows that every day in training,” said Salihamidzic.

“He is the future. He has qualities which you rarely see in the Bundesliga.”

Pogba wants ‘happy coach’ Solskjaer to stay at Man Utd


London (AFP) – Paul Pogba hopes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is given the Manchester United manager’s job on a permanent basis after the Norwegian turned the club’s fortunes around.

The former United striker has transformed the mood and results at Old Trafford, leading the club into the Champions League quarter-finals and lifting them into contention for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

When Solskjaer was given the role following the departure of Jose Mourinho in December it was widely assumed he was merely keeping the seat warm for a bigger managerial name but his success has led to a clamour for the appointment to be made full-time and midfielder Pogba has now added his voice.

“Of course we want him to stay,” the France midfielder told Sky Sports. “The results have been great. I have a great relationship with him, he has a great relationship with the players.

“When a player is happy, he wants to keep being happy. Solskjaer deserves it. He knows the club, he knows everything about the club.

“He is a really happy coach that gave confidence back to the players. This gave us the freedom to play and enjoy football again because maybe we lost that with the results that we had before.”

It is a striking contrast to the final months of Mourinho’s reign, with Pogba the player who was repeatedly claimed to be at odds with the Portuguese.

He declined to elaborate, saying only: “Maybe we lost confidence, maybe things went wrong. A lot of talking outside that we weren’t used to.

“I don’t like to talk about the past. I like to talk about the future because that’s what matters. We are better now and the results have been brilliant.”

Despite their good run, United were beaten by Wolves in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, a week after losing to Arsenal in the Premier League — the only two domestic defeats since Solskjaer replaced Mourinho in December.

Casillas prolongs Porto stay until 2020


Lisbon (AFP) – Spain’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper Iker Casillas has extended his contract with Porto to 2020, the Portuguese champions announced Wednesday.

The prolonged deal for Casillas, who turns 38 in May, also includes an option for a further year, according to club president Jorge Pinto da Costa.

“It’s not easy to count on someone who’s almost 38 years old,” said Casillas. “I’m grateful for the confidence shown in me and hope to finish my career at a club where I feel at home.”

Earlier in the week Casillas, who also captained Spain to European Championship titles in 2008 and 2012, said he would like to keep on playing until he is 40.

Pinto da Costa hinted that could be a possibility, telling reporters: “I’m convinced that it’s not the last contract for Casillas with us.”

The former Real Madrid star has made 149 appearances for Porto since arriving at the club in 2015, and helped Porto end Benfica’s four-year title reign last season.

Casillas, a three-time Champions League winner with Madrid, is looking to lift the trophy for a fourth time as Porto face last year’s runners-up Liverpool in the quarter-finals in April.

Klopp urges Salah to use Liverpool teammate Mane as inspiration


London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Mohamed Salah should use Sadio Mane as inspiration as the Egypt star looks to hit peak form after an inconsistent season.

Salah scored 44 times in his debut season with Liverpool, but his second campaign has not been so smooth.

Although Salah has 20 goals in the current campaign, his goalless run of seven matches is the longest he has experienced since a 10-game streak for Roma in 2015-16.

That is a concern, with Liverpool chasing their first English title since 1990 and also through to the Champions League quarter-finals.

Fortunately for Liverpool, Senegal winger Mane is in fine form and has moved level on 20 goals with Salah, after netting 11 in as many games.

Mane had gone goalless in eight outings in November and December during a spell of 17 matches in which he scored just three times.

Having seen Mane work through his drought successfully, Klopp believes Salah will soon see his luck change in front of goal as well.

“Sadio played pretty much always like this but now he is always in the right spot in the right moment. In football it’s sometimes like this,” Klopp told Liverpool’s website.

“He is in a really good moment, of course. The only thing he did when he was not always in the right spot was work and work and work.

“That’s exactly what Mo has to do, exactly the same, just work, do the right things and it will come again.

“He’s just rather unlucky, where Sadio is lucky in the moment — he is in brilliant shape, that’s true.

“But then, he is in the right shape and maybe a yard away from him is Mo, but somebody else scored. That’s how it is, all good.”

Klopp urges Salah to use Liverpool teammate Mane as inspiration


London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Mohamed Salah should use Sadio Mane as inspiration as the Egypt star looks to hit peak form after an inconsistent season.

Salah scored 44 times in his debut season with Liverpool, but his second campaign has not been so smooth.

Although Salah has 20 goals in the current campaign, his goalless run of seven matches is the longest he has experienced since a 10-game streak for Roma in 2015-16.

That is a concern, with Liverpool chasing their first English title since 1990 and also through to the Champions League quarter-finals.

Fortunately for Liverpool, Senegal winger Mane is in fine form and has moved level on 20 goals with Salah, after netting 11 in as many games.

Mane had gone goalless in eight outings in November and December during a spell of 17 matches in which he scored just three times.

Having seen Mane work through his drought successfully, Klopp believes Salah will soon see his luck change in front of goal as well.

“Sadio played pretty much always like this but now he is always in the right spot in the right moment. In football it’s sometimes like this,” Klopp told Liverpool’s website.

“He is in a really good moment, of course. The only thing he did when he was not always in the right spot was work and work and work.

“That’s exactly what Mo has to do, exactly the same, just work, do the right things and it will come again.

“He’s just rather unlucky, where Sadio is lucky in the moment — he is in brilliant shape, that’s true.

“But then, he is in the right shape and maybe a yard away from him is Mo, but somebody else scored. That’s how it is, all good.”