Sports UK

Jose Mourinho provides Gareth Bale update ahead of Tottenham’s clash v Leicester

Jose Mourinho has revealed that Gareth Bale has recovered from illness and could be in line to play a part when Tottenham host Leicester on Sunday.

The Welsh winger was left out of the squad which drew with Crystal Palace at the weekend and lost to Liverpool on Wednesday, with Mourinho saying he was not feeling well with non-Covid related symptoms.

But speaking ahead of the game against the Foxes the Spurs boss provided a positive update about the 31-year-old.

“He’s fine,” Mourinho said. “He trained yesterday with the team, trained today with the team. He looks ok.

“So if tomorrow, he does it normally like he did normally in the last two days, he’s fine.”

Gareth Bale could be in line to make a return against Leicester after missing Tottenham’s last two games

Bale has yet to show his best form since his return to Spurs, and has scored just once as he continues to try to regain full fitness.

It remains to be seen if he is started or makes an appearance off the bench against Leicester, in a match which will see Mourinho go up against his former colleague Brendan Rodgers.

Speaking about Rodgers, he said: “I know how good he is. When I met him as a young coach in the academy, and coming to join us in the first team and sharing with us many moments, I understood that he was a young guy with a great future.

“So anything he’s doing in his career is not a surprise for me, not at all. He’s very talented, he was and probably still is a guy who likes to study, learn and improve.

Jose Mourinho and Brendan Rodgers have a close relationship

“He’s creative, he knows what he wants. He’s a very good coach. Period. He’s a very good coach so it’s not a surprise for me.”

Spurs will look to bounce back from their disappointment against Liverpool with a win, but they could be six points behind the champions by the time their game kicks off, with Jurgen Klopp’s side facing Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Sports UK

Gareth Bale ‘plans to return to Real Madrid to see out his contract’

Gareth Bale is still planning to see out his Real Madrid contract once his Tottenham loan comes to an end.

The Welshman returned to the north London club after seven years away in the Spanish capital.

His move was motivated by a desire to play more regularly having fallen out oif favour under Zinedine Zidane.

Bale has also endured a difficult relationship with the Bernabeu crowd during his time.

He has 18 months remaining on his deal, which will be down to a year once his loan at Tottenham ends.

Pressure is mounting on Zidane however and club president Florentino Perez is not known for his pateince.

Gareth Bale will spend the season at Tottenham

Los Blancos are someway off the pace and Bale is keeping tabs on the situation knowing full well that the French manager’s departure could reopen doors for him, reports AS.

The 31-year-old is hugely admired by Perez, who spent a then world record fee to sign him.

He has seen the Southampton academy graduate pick up four Champions League medals in Madrid.

A two-goal match winning performance featuring an incredible overhead kick in Madrid’s 2018 success is among his most defining moments.

Los Blancos are open to a permanent move away for Bale, however his £650,000-a-week wages have often proved a stumbling block.

The Welshman had been out in the cold under Zinedine Zidane

Despite his want to play more minutes the forward has only been used on occasion by Jose Mourinho.

He has scored twice in nine matches but has less than two hours worths of Premier League minutes behind him.

Bale was absent for Tottenham’s draw at Crystal Palace at the weekend due to illness.

Mourinho stressed though that he did not have coronavirus and may join up with the squad for their heavyweight clash at Liverpool.

Sports UK

Gareth Bale mocks Son Heung-min with ‘Karius’ jibe during Tottenham training

Gareth Bale appeared to make fun of Son Heung-min with a reference to Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius during a Tottenham training session on Wednesday.

Bale, who returned to Spurs on loan from Real Madrid in the summer, had arguably his most memorable evening in a Los Blancos shirt in 2018, when he scored two goals against Liverpool to help his side win the Champions League final 3-1.

The Reds’ goalkeeper that day was Karius, and the German infamously made two massive errors, one of which saw Bale’s relatively tame long-range effort squirm from his grip and into the back of the net.

During Wednesday’s training ahead of Spurs’ Europa League game against Royal Antwerp on Thursday, Bale, Son and some of the other players gave goalkeeping practice a go.

Footage shows a powerful shot being fired at Son, who fails to gather it and lets it drop at his feet instead.

As he is running away, Bale can be heard cheekily shouting: “Karius!”

Son laughs as he dribbles with the ball before turning around to jokingly confront the Welsh international.

Karius has not played for Liverpool again since that fateful night in Kiev, and after being sent on a two-year loan spell to Turkish side Besiktas he is now on loan at Union Berlin.

Loris Karius will always be remembered for his errors in the Champions League final of 2018

Bale, meanwhile, is still yet to find his best form since re-joining Spurs, and still seems to be building up to full fitness.

It remains to be seen if he is given a chance to break Liverpool hearts again when his side take on Jurgen Klopp’s outfit next Wednesday in what could be a huge game in the race for the Premier League title.

But before then Spurs conclude their Europa League group stage campaign before taking on Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Sports UK

Gareth Southgate delighted Mason Greenwood fit and firing again for Man United

Gareth Southgate is delighted to see Mason Greenwood fit and firing again for Manchester United.

And it is clear Southgate sees the youngster, who was on the mark against West Ham last Saturday, as a potent weapon as England begin qualification for World Cup 2022 and also head to next summer’s Euros.

Southgate said: “What you saw with Mason and his finish at the weekend is his biggest strength for me.

“One chance, really, and a fantastic touch to put him in position and a brilliant finish.

“That is what we were seeing towards the end of the season and why we called him into the squad for September.”

Gareth Southgate is delighted to see Mason Greenwood fit and firing again

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But Southgate had to kick him out of the squad after the teenager and Phil Foden invited two girls to the team hotel in Reykjavik, breaking squad and Covid-19 protocols.

Foden has since returned to the fold, unlike Greenwood.

But Southgate believes the 19-year-old will be getting the sort of guidance at Old Trafford that will lead him back into the squad.

Southgate explained: “He has got great support at his football club. He has got people that care for him there and will bring him into the team and out of the team at the right times.

Greenwood was on the mark against West Ham last Saturday

“Hopefully, he will get a run of games now and at a club like Manchester United, every game is important, so he will always have to perform under pressure and under high expectations.

“It is great for their young players that they already have to deal with everything they have to deal with for England.”

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Football UK

Gareth Bale and Tottenham told his Premier League return ‘is not working’

Having re-joined former side Tottenham on loan from Real Madrid, one-time most expensive player in the world Gareth Bale has had an underwhelming return to North London.

Just one goal in seven appearances in all competitions, Bale has found a starting sport in Spurs’ starting XI hard to come by, as Jose Mourinho’s side sit pretty at the top of the Premier League after 10 games.

Tottenham ’s remarkable start to the season has been completed largely without Bale’s influence, featuring just three times in the league.

And according to former Tottenham teammate Darren Bent, the best of Bale’s playing days might be behind him.

Gareth Bale failed to make an impact at Tottenham since returning

With the 31-year-old yet to complete a full 90 minutes of action since his return, Bent told talkSport he fears Jose Mourinho’s patience may be wearing thin over the Welshman’s fitness.

“It’s a gradual process but at the same time it’s a year loan. For me, the question you’ve got to ask is how long is [Jose] Mourinho prepared to give him before he goes ‘this is not working’.

“All the talk has been about Son [Heung-min] and [Harry] Kane being superb, but when they get Bale back, when Bale gets back to himself, Bale this and Bale that. But right now, he’s nowhere near the Bale we can remember.”

Bale has only been used sparingly by Jose Mourinho

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Mourinho is yet to express publicly any frustration over the winger’s fitness, with the Spurs boss actually claiming Bale is embarking on a “physical evolution” since his brief return from Madrid.

The Portuguese coach said: “The only problem with Gareth is to get into the dynamic and the confidence of playing consecutive matches without any bad feeling or negative feeling, without any remembrance of the recent past when the condition was not the best and the fears were there.

“But now he has the chance of a physical evolution. He doesn’t need a tactical or a technical evolution. He just needs to get his confidence back about playing three matches in a week. It’s more about that [than anything else].”

Bale is likely to feature in Spurs upcoming Europa League clash away to LASK Linz, but question marks remain over whether he will be in line to start against fierce rivals Arsenal in Sunday’s North London Derby clash.

A scourge of Arsenal on numerous occasions, Bale has notched five Premier League goals against Spurs’ most fierce rivals.

Mourinho’s men will be keen to witness their superstar seal his homecoming against Arsenal of all opponents, though given the sides contrasting fortunes – they may not even need him.

Entertainment UK

Gareth Gates says women prefer him ‘skinner’ after working for years on buff bod

Gareth Gates has revealed it’s taken him six years to achieve the body of his dreams – but women still preferred him when he was a ‘skinny beanpole’.

The 33-year-old singer – who shot to fame on Pop Idol – believes he was considered more of a heartthrob to fans when he wasn’t slaving away in the gym every day.

Gareth shot to fame as a teenager on the 2002 reality show and won the hearts of the nation with his baby-faced charm and spiky locks.

But despite undergoing a huge body transformation, Gareth says: “I definitely got more attention back then. I was a pop star with loads of hits.”

Gareth Gates said it’s taken him six years to achieve his rippling abs

He revealed that he got more attention from fans when he was on Pop Idol

“But I think I look better now,” he told The Sun. “It’s taken me six years to get this body. I got into the gym when I was 30 and stopped partying.

“But in the last couple of years I’ve started to take my fitness really seriously,” he shared.

Gareth said these days he would rather waking up looking and feeling good ready to hit the gym that waste the day hungover.

Shedding some insight into his strict regime, Gareth said he works out for two hours every single day.

He said he bench presses 120kg (almost 19st) and eats 4000 calories a day.

Gareth works hard to maintain his buff bod

But he’s not filling up on junk food, Gareth maintains a clean diet and has switched meat and dairy for protein shakes.

While Gareth insists he doesn’t get as much fan mail as he used to, he said there are still many women who slide into his DMs sending him messages that are ‘too rude for publication.’

But these days Gareth is happily loved-up with DJ Chloe McLennan.

Gareth and Faye Brookes parted ways last year

The pair met just before lockdown in March and decided to move in together.

Last year, Gareth went through a heartbreaking split with long-term girlfriend Faye Brookes.

Gareth was previously married to dancer Suzanne Mole, who is mother to his 11-year-old daughter Missy.

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Football UK

Truth behind Zlatan and Gareth Bale’s social media claims over FIFA 21

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has taken aim at EA SPORTS, the makers of the FIFA gaming franchise, taking to social media with claims that they have used his likeness without permission.

FIFA 21 was released October 9, the latest game in the FIFA gaming franchise.

It features over 7,000 players, 700 teams, 90 stadiums and 30 leagues, with exclusive access to the world’s biggest competitions including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Copa Libertadores,Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga and more.

However, despite appearing in versions of the game for the better part of two decades, in a tweet posted on Monday night, AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic accused EA SPORTS and Fifpro of using his name and face without permission.

“Who gave FIFA EA Sport permission to use my name and face? @FIFPro?” said Ibrahimovic.

“I’m not aware to be a member of Fifpro and if I am I was put there without any real knowledge through some weird manouver. And for sure I never allowed @FIFAcom or Fifpro to make money using me.

Ibrahimovic has taken aim

“Somebody is making profit on my name and face without any agreement all these years. Time to investigate.”

Tottenham winger Gareth Bale promptly responded, again referencing Fifpro

“Interesting, what is FIFPro? #TimeToInvestigate” asked the Welshman, in a tweet posted an hour later, which Zlatan then retweeted.

Shortly after, Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, also waded in on Twitter : “Hope we get the answer to our letters now @Ibra_official.”

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Both Ibrahimovic and Bale, along with their names and likenesses, have both featured in numerous previous FIFA games.

Ibrahimovic, during his time at Manchester United, even posed with his FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Premier League Player of the Month card awarded in January 2017.

Former Real Madrid star Bale meanwhile featured on the UK, Ireland and Middle East cover of FIFA 14, pictured alongside Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic collecting his FUT 17 PL POTM award in January 2017.

Gareth Bale featured as a cover star for FIFA 14

In addition, EA SPORTS are currently the official video game partner of both Spurs and AC Milan, with both having entered into multi-year exclusive licensing agreements with EA SPORTS back in August for FIFA 21 and beyond, with the partnership including player, kit and stadium rights.

Additionally, while Bale had not yet joined Spurs then, veteran striker Ibrahimovic featured heavily in the promotional pictures that were released to announce Milan’s agreement.

The truth about this story, and the remarks made by Ibrahimovic and Bale, have more to do with Fifpro and their backing of agent reforms, with the player’s respective agents – Raiola and Jonathan Barnett – in stern opposition of the FIFpro’s reform proposals.

Those were unveiled by FIFA back in January, with football’s governing body releasing a statement which declared: “The Football Stakeholders Committee and the FIFA Council unanimously endorsed last year a series of reform proposals concerning football agents with the aim to protect the integrity of football and prevent abuses.

“These measures were the result of an extensive consultation process with stakeholders (players, clubs, leagues and member associations), as well as agents who were invited to several consultation meetings.

“The overarching objective here is to improve transparency, protect player welfare, enhance contractual stability and also raise professional and ethical standards.

“In other words, to eliminate or at least reduce the abusive and excessive practices which unfortunately have existed in football.”

Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, has been very much against the reforms

The statement from FIFA led to Raiola, Barnett, Jorge Mendes and other agents threatening legal action.

Barnett publicly declared: “We want fairness, FIFA should recognise us and treat us in a proper manner.

“The truth is FIFA doesn’t know exactly what an agent does. No-one from FIFA has ever been to my office or had a conversation with me.

“If you ask players what they want, they are in favour of agents. There are never complaints about agents’ fees from players.

“We will try until the last minute to resolve the problem but rest assured, if necessary we will go to every court in the world.”

This story is less to do with Ibrahimovic, Bale and EA SPORTS, and more about the leading football agents’ ongoing battle with FIFA and Fifpro over reform.

For their part, EA Sports are relaxed about the situation, an EA spokesperson telling Mirror Football: “EA SPORTS FIFA is the world’s leading football video game, and to create an authentic experience year after year we work with numerous leagues, teams and individual talent to secure the rights of player likeness to include in our game.

“One of those is a long-standing relationship with the global representative of professional football players, FIFPro, who partner with a number of licensors to negotiate deals that benefit the players and their unions.”

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*FIFA 21 is out now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. The next generation version of FIFA 21 is set to be released on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PlayStation 5 on December 4, 2020.

Additionally, fans who jump into FIFA 21 can also benefit from Dual Entitlement, enabling them to upgrade their copy of the game from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5, or Xbox One to Xbox Series X/S at no extra cost.

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Football UK

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka outlines his plan to earn Gareth Southgate’s “trust”

Not long turned 19, Bukayo Saka has played a fair amount of first team football.

And amidst all the talk of the physical demands on players, Arsenal are wary of putting too heavy a workload on their prize teenager.

Saka has just featured in all three of England’s November matches, starting two and coming on as a first half substitute in the other.

But clocking up the miles is no problem for a young man riding the crest of a wave.

Saka explained: “It’s a lot of minutes but, as a kid, this is what you dream of.

“So I can’t now turn around and say I don’t want to play too much because I am living my dream, playing for England.

Bukayo Saka is setting his sights on more England caps

“I played all three games – who’d have thought I would do that?

“So I’m not going to complain. I just have to trust that the people in charge will manage me in the correct way and continue to help me thrive and progress as a player.”

He is certainly thriving and progressing, having only made his England under-21 debut in September.

With Gareth Southgate seemingly intent on sticking with his 3-4-3 system, Saka is now strongly fancied to make the final 23 for the Euros next summer.

And with Southgate at the helm, Saka knows his youth and relative inexperience will not be a problem.

He said: “There is a lot of good young players coming through for England in this generation and it’s very exciting the boss gives out so many debuts.

“It’s really encouraging for all the players coming up through the youth teams because they see there’s an opportunity and a pathway and you can make it into the team. You just have to keep working and one day you’ll get your opportunity and you have to take it.

“I feel the young players who were given the opportunity against Iceland took it.

“Phil Foden played really well and I’m so happy for him. I just hope all the other young players coming through can follow him and in the footsteps of the other players in the team right now.”

Saka impressed over the three games with England not conceding when he was on the pitch.

But he knows his defensive game is just one of the things he needs to work on as he tries to cement his place in Southgate’s squad.

He said: “I feel that every opportunity that comes up in every camp and every international break, I have to make sure I’m fit and available to be picked.

“And then when I am picked, I have to give my all and take every opportunity I am given.

“I have to remain at my club, play well, score goals, assist goals, be a threat, be good defensively and show the boss he can trust me.”

Should Saka be a regular starter for England? Have your say below.

The youngster featured in all three of England's matches in the break
The youngster featured in all three of England’s matches in the break

And having seen fellow youngsters Declan Rice and Foden get off the mark, Saka – who missed a couple of decent chances against Iceland – believes his first goal will not be long coming.

He said: “Not only against Iceland but I feel I could have got on the scoresheet in the previous games as well.

“But what’s good is I’m getting into the positions in the box where I’m having opportunities to score and I feel like the goals will come.

“I just have to keep doing the right things and work on my finishing in training.”

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Sports UK

England stars set for pre-Euros holiday as Gareth Southgate fears burnout

England players will be given an end-of-season beak before the start of the Euros.

Premier League stars are facing a gruelling campaign with three World Cup friendlies to come in March and then the European Championships next summer on the back of a hectic fixture list.

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate believes it would be hard for them to finish the season and then go straight into an international tournament and will trust them to fly off on holiday before joining back up for England duty.

Southgate said: “Before the World Cup we gave them a period of holiday and we think that is important psychologically as well as physically.

Southgate is concerned his senior stars could burnout without a break

“Of course, we hope people will be able to travel to go away by that point but that is a bit of an unknown. The scheduling will be complicated but we have very good people for planning and physical periodisation and we’ll just have to adapt and adjust.

“It is less time than normal for a tournament but it is more time than we get for the regular camps and our time on the training pitch we use well, we feel the team develops well on the field and pick up the messages well.

“We back that up off the field with the meetings we have. You’d always like more time with the players but we’ll maximise what we’ve got.”

Southgate is particularly concerned about injuries derailing his plans for next summer’s tournament, after losing Joe Gomez in this camp, while Marcus Rashford was also ruled out.

What is Southgate’s best lineup for England? Have your say below.

Rashford was ruled out of this camp with injury
Rashford was ruled out of this camp with injury

He said: “I guess club managers have three 10-day periods of doing that and we have six months. It is a worry, we hope the small injuries don’t become too many like Joe’s that are significant.

“But we’ve always said this is why we need a squad, this year will be the biggest advocate of that because we just don’t know who we will have for March or the end of the season.”

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Sports UK

Gareth Southgate admits England cannot wait another four years to land trophy

Gareth Southgate has warned England cannot wait another four years to win trophies – and must start “maximising” the potential in his squad.

Southgate believes England now have a strong blend of experience and youth and they will not have many better opportunities to become successful on the international stage.

But Southgate warned the older heads – like Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson – will get fed-up of waiting and missed opportunities and they must start winning.

England reached the World Cup semi finals in 2018, they reached the Nations League finals in 2019 and now have the Euros next summer which Southgate sees as a glorious opportunity.

Three Lions boss Southgate said: “What we have got is some depth now back up by more youngsters we think can come through as well.

Southgate says England are aiming to win a trophy sooner rather than later

“So the long-term for England looks good, we’ve got to keep winning in the short-term and make sure we maximise this group now and the experienced players amongst them.

“They don’t want to hear us say ‘we can win in four years’ time.’ That is not going to float their boat. They want to win now.

“Although some of the younger ones will be better prepared in that longer period, there is no reason why we cannot align the two and have some very exciting times.”

Southgate does fear the biggest obstacle to England’s aspirations will be injuries and also the gruelling fixture list and schedule of an unprecedented season.

That has already led to Liverpool defender Joe Gomez suffering a serious injury while the likes of Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford missed the latest round of internationals and that must be a worry ahead of the start of World Cup qualifiers in March.

What is Southgate’s best lineup for England? Have your say below.

The likes of Harry Kane have survived from the last squad and are seeking glory
The likes of Harry Kane have survived from the last squad and are seeking glory

Southgate said: “I guess club managers have three 10-day periods of doing that and we have six months. It is a worry, we hope the small injuries don’t become too many like Joe’s that are significant.

“But we’ve always said this is why we need a squad, this year will be the biggest advocate of that because we just don’t know who we will have for March or the end of the season.”

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