Why Eddie Howe is the right man to replace Sam Allardyce


The young, thoughtful, Bournemouth manager is the best candidate to replace Big Sam in the England hot seat, writes Sam May.

Howe is one of the very few forward thinking philosophers of the game, for such young age. We have had the big and the brash, and the quite and experienced previously, and look where we are.

We are always looking for up and coming English talent for the playing field, here we have exactly that but in the managerial circles – so why not marry the two together?

The fact is Bournemouth’s achievement of staying in the Barclays Premier League last season, was overshadowed by Leicester City’s title and ended up attracting less attention than their promotion the previous season.

Growing in confidence, the 38-year-old Cherries manager, managed to lure in the talented Jack Wilshere, a big statement given the cost and capability of the midfielder and Howe has also taken his side through three promotions.

Having never had a big club infrastructure Howe has always had to make the correct decisions and bring out the full potential in his playing staff. Imagine what he could achieve with England’s entire talent disposal.

The forward thinking coach is what the England player’s need, somebody with fresh ideas and a young outlook and approach, he would present a plan and work to it. Howe and his assistant Jason Tindall would lay the foundations for what could be an exciting, attacking relentless and venturous England team, which fans have been wanting for years. His appointment would have to be seen as a longer-term project, however he could well surprise even the most experienced in the World game.

The Welsh FA took the chance with Chris Coleman and their latest achievement show it was the correct decision.

Howe is also great at developing young players, showed intelligence and self-awareness and its staggering to wonder why he hasn’t be given the opportunity to manage at a bigger club, given the quality he offers. The FA should only be looking at one man for the Three Lions – Eddie Howe.


Rise of the Reds


People in the know are saying it, the fans are saying it – even Nathanial Clyne has said it (which he shouldn’t), Liverpool could challenge this term despite the start of Manchester City, writes Sam May.

Yesterday’s 5-1 demolition of Hull City was proof that so called “lesser teams” will be seen as major threats, and the defeat at Burnley will not be tolerated again.

The Reds have been to the capital three times already and dispatched Arsenal and Chelsea, and should have won at Spurs, only to share the spoils defensively. There is still more to do, but the fact that Chelsea didn’t get a shot on goal in the last 30 minutes in their 1-2 reverse at Stamford Bridge, must be the blueprint for future challenges.

Liverpool are the leagues leading scorers and the team is just that – a team. They work for each other, and play with freedom not seen of a Reds side since Luis Suárez led the line. That season they slipped up, in more ways than one, but if they approach each game as they have so far then they won’t be far away. The blessing they have over others is that they have no European distractions.

Manchester United probably have the worst of it with trips to second rate teams, and the Thursday and Sunday schedule never helps anyone – not that Klopp and his backroom team will be too bothered.

Expect Spurs to suffer with the Wembley pitch and Leicester are out of it already. Manchester City are already being tipped as “sure champions”, but they will need to protect Agüero who is known for a strain or two, as without him, they only look half the threat they pose with him.

Liverpool on the other hand have scorers in abundance, Adam Lallana, Phillipe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino are all hitting the back of the net with a menacing regularity. Add Daniel Sturridge returning to form and the signs are ominous to the rest – the Reds are on the rise.

Mauricio Lemos: Who is the youngster who turned down a move to Barcelona?


Mauricio Lemos ignored Barcelona’s overtures this summer because he preferred to focus on playing regular football at Las Palmas, where he feels he’s better placed to progress at this stage in his career.

The player was subject to a €12 million bid from Barca after add ons in the summer, according to sources. Real Madrid were also interested in the Uruguayans signature. The Catalan giants were keen to add Lemos, despite the arrival of Samuel Umtiti, 22, from Lyon for €25 million.

So who just is he? Sam May gives the rundown of all you need to know.


Name: Mauricio Lemos

Age: 20

Place of birth: Rivera, Uruguay

Position: Centre Back

Club: Las Palmas


Born in Rivera, Lemos was a Defensive Sporting youth graduate and leapfrogged to the first team at the age of 18 and made his debut in 1-2 defeat to Montevideo Wanderers, but only went on to make seven appearances.

In June 2015, he joined Russian Premier League side FC Rubin Kazan, for a year and made his debut in a 1-0 away defeat to Spartak Moscow. He later swapped Russia for Spain and moved to his current club Las Palmas on-loan before being joining the Canary Islanders permanently on a five-year deal.

Style of Play

Know as fast and aggressive, he is certainly a Uruguayan senior centre back for the future. He has been overlooked for a first team birth due to the form of Atletico Madrid centre backs Diego Godín and young centre halve José Giménez who have both been standout performers.

He made his international debut for the Under 20 side in the 2015 World Cup in New Zealand, so it wont be long before he progresses to the first team and clocks up some minutes.

Similar to that of Diego Godín, Lemos mirrors his fellow countryman and likes to be a leader. He has personality on the pitch, which matches that of his idol Diego Lugano.

The youngster has also played as a centre midfielder, due to his technical control on the ball and is calm and assured under pressure. It maybe a risk to play him out of position, but he adapts well.

A buyout clause of €30 million has been inserted on the player. Being a confident, but classy centre halve you are able to see why. The defender is good at intercepting, blocking shots and moves the ball forward well.


Where would he fit in, if Barcelona come back calling?

There is no doubt the youngster has bags of talents. It proves to be a wise choice for the youngster to continue his professional development with Las Palmas before deciding to move to bigger things. He would be seen as the perfect replacement for Javier Mascherano in three years time or even a natural successor to Gerard Pique if he continues to perform well.

Lemos may also replace Jérémy Mathieu or Thomas Vermaelen who is on-loan at Roma, as both could be moved on next summer. At just 20-years-old, Lemos’ best years surely await him, and his versatility would also serve him well at the Camp Nou. Securing a place in Enrique’s team would be a big challenge, but Lemos certainly has the talent to make an impact. His contract runs out in June 2021, but don’t expect him to see out his contract.

Should Loris Karius start in goal against Chelsea?


As questions continued to be raised over the inconsistent Simon Mignolet, is it time for Klopp start the Karius in goal? Sam May takes a look.

The Reds current No.1. endured another tough time between the sticks last time out at home to the Premier League Champions, Leicester City. This was evident after the 28-year-old missed a cross and his failed to play the ball the out from the back quicker than expected.

The fashion now is playing out from the back is the way forward. With Claudio Bravo replacing Joe Hart at Manchester City, could Mignolet become the next Premier League goalkeeping casualty?
With just a passing success rate of 77%, this isn’t good enough for a Liverpool standard keeper. Klopp prefers a sweeper keeper, this is why he brought in the 2nd most rated goalkeeper in the Bundesliga last season for £4.5 million from from one of his former clubs, Mainz.

It was interesting to see Reds assistant manager, “the brain”, Željko Buvač wave his hands fervently from the new dug out at Mignolet against Leicester ,asking him to move the ball quicker from the back.

Perhaps it is wrong to replace the current shot stopper, who saved a Jamie Vardy low effort to keep the score at 3-1 and had made a number of crucial saves prior to last game.

He has made seven saves and kept no clean sheets so far in Liverpool’s four games this season. The Belgium stopper also has a 70% claim success, and 50% punch rate.

So should Karius start in goal tomorrow?

Chelsea will press – they are at home so the reds keeper –  whoever it is – will not get the luxury of playing sweeper. The atmosphere will be intimidating as Chelsea are flying high, so maybe this is not the game to change the keeper position.

Karius will, no doubt be pushing for a start, but he will probably have to sit and bide his time – for now.

Should Kevin Stewart replace Emre Can on Saturday?


From being released by Tottenham to becoming a Reds first teamer, the progress of Stewart has been exceptional, writes Sam May.

Many fans have been calling for Stewart to start in recent weeks and todays reports that Emre Can is injured surely enables Stewart to stake a claim for Klopp to give him the centre midfield berth.

Arriving from Spurs in July 2014 on a free transfer, and following academy director Alex Inglethorpe to Merseyside, the 23-year-old’s switch from full back to centre midfield has been phenomenal and somewhat surprising.

His ability to get in and win the ball and calm composure with short link up play was something to note when the Reds faced Barcelona in pre-season. It seems Liverpool have a natural successor to Lucas Leiva and yes, the 29-year-old Brazilian has been a great servant the club, but now is the time to let Stewart shine.

So should he be given a starting birth at home to the Premier Champions this weekend?

Making 11 appearances last season, boyhood Reds fan Stewart, has become a perfect role model for the Liverpool youngsters, and was rewarded with a new four-year contract extension last February.

With James Milner now looking more and more likely to hold the troublesome left back position, it is one midfielder less in the pecking order, so the path for Stewart to replace Can is even stronger.

Lucas is back from injury so will also be staking a claim, but he is better deployed after 60 minutes to bolster a midfield wanting to protect a lead, whereas Stewart is more likely to make that telling forward pass for Firmino, Coutinho and Lallana to get that clear cut chance. He is ready. He just needs the nod.

Can Big Sam roar the Three Lions to victory?


Sam Allardyce makes his England debut, and what a debut, a World Cup qualifier away to Slovakia, who sit just 11 places behind the Three Lions in the FIFA rankings.

As his side prepare for the opening match at Štadión Antona Malatinského, Northeast of the capital Bratislava, Sam May analysis his team selection ahead of the clash.

The 61-year-old will be looking to follow in the footsteps of the previous eight England managers who have all won their first match.

Sam has always protected the back first, so it’s no surprise that the inclusion of the classy and informed John Stones has been selected. The 22-year-old slots into what’s looking like the first choice back five, as the now Torino Joe Hart retains his place between the sticks.

In midfield, there is a surprise maybe with Jordan Henderson replacing Dele Alli. Alongside England’s best performer at the Euro’s Eric Dier, it looks like Big Sam has set the team up to protect the English goal.

As mentioned, Alli has been left out, which could be seen as a brave move but the Spurs partnership of Alli and Kane, misfired in the last two European matches.

Lallana has been preferred to Liverpool teammate Daniel Sturridge. This decision is probably based on the lack of game time so far this season with Sturridge, corresponding with the impressive start of Lallana for Klopp’s Reds.

The evergreen Rooney, bolstered by retaining the captaincy will marshal the team and should link up well with Harry Kane who needs a goal, and the rejuvenated Raheem Sterling of Manchester City.

Expect a solid, if not spectacular performance and England to win by the odd goal in three.