F2'S FINDING FOOTBALL!

THE F2's...
FINDING FOOTBALL!

The F2’s Billy Wingrove chatted to MATCH about the freestylers’ awesome new YouTube show – Finding Football!

WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?

BILLY SAYS: “This was our opportunity to do something slightly different, and the series Finding Football is us going to different countries and discovering football cultures and how they're different - what makes them work and what makes them unique!”

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WERE THE FOOTY STYLES VERY DIFFERENT?

BILLY SAYS: “Every country we went to had their own unique style for one reason or the other - it could be the climate or the culture. For example in Japan, they believe everyone is one level. There shouldn't be any rising stars, even though they probably could have. They have to pull through together and be the same as everyone else, although that's a tradition that they're trying to break from.”

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WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE EXPERIENCE?

BILLY SAYS: “Playing on the floating pitches in Thailand was just amazing! I'd seen pictures of it and always thought I'd never be able to go there. One minute you're playing football and then you look up and think 'How is this even possible."

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WHAT SORT OF CHALLENGES DO YOU DO?

BILLY SAYS: “Each challenge was totally unique to the place, mixing culture, music and football together. In Thailand we got two boats out and were challenged to do tekkers across them. We also played Sepak Takraw, which is like their version of football tennis with overhead kicks and a little ball made out of vinyl stuff!”

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BILLY SAYS: “Obviously LA is all about glitz, glamour and Hollywood so we made our own movie! It sounds a bit weird but we created a scene where we had to get the bad guys using footballs. But it was a proper movie set with an explosion in there and everything. It was the battle of - It's not 'Soccer, it's Football'. 

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WHICH PLACE WAS MOST FOOTY-MAD?

BILLY SAYS: “That's a tough one! In Marseille, everyone's playing footy everywhere, but the Brazilians, wherever you go, whoever they are, they love football! Iceland also took my breath away because it's such an extreme country, but Brazil was probably my favourite. ”

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Launched June 13th - F2 Finding Football is a one-of-a-kind football show exploring the wonder, breadth, and depth of the beautiful game. Check out their awesome YouTube channel to view the series!

GARY CAHILL'S...TOUGHEST OPPONENTS!

GARY CAHILL'S...
TOUGHEST OPPONENTS!

Class CHELSEA and ENGLAND defender GARY CAHILL reveals the best players he’s come up against during his top career!

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THE QUICKEST!

GARY SAYS: “Leroy Sane. We played Germany last year, and obviously I’ve played him in the Prem, and he’s just lightning! He’s pure acceleration, but he can maintain it. When a ball comes over the top and you set off knowing he’s coming behind you, it’s scary!”

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MR STRONG!

GARY SAYS: “That would be somebody like Andy Carroll or Troy Deeney. Those types of players who hold the ball up and bring players into the game. They’ll try to pin you back, and obviously you have to be strong to do that.”

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MOST SKILFUL!

GARY SAYS: “I’ve played Messi and Ronaldo so it’s hard to look past them, but for someone who likes to try a lot of tricks it’s Wilfried Zaha at Crystal Palace – he’ll do tricks for fun! It’s just so unpredictable, and you don’t see that kind of player often these days.”

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BEST FINISHER!

GARY SAYS: “I’d have to say Harry Kane. He’s an unbelievable finisher with both feet – he just hits the ball hard and low, and hits the target regularly. Jermain Defoe has to be in that category as well. From anywhere, left foot, right foot – he’d just bang it! I’ve played him a lot and his finishing is brilliant, so he gets a shout.”

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BEST TEAM!

GARY SAYS: “We had a few seasons where we kept drawing PSG in the Champions League, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, they’re a good side.’ We weren’t playing badly but it was just so hard to get close to them – people like Cavani, Verratti, Di Maria. In that particular game, it was tough.”

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HEADING KING!

GARY SAYS: “Marouane Fellaini’s really difficult to manage in the box, and also just as a target when the ball’s played up to him in the air. He gets everything involved – his elbows, his arms, his hair! But he’s powerful, and ultimately he’s very difficult to win headers against.”

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Gary Cahill was supporting the fifth season of PlayStation Schools’ Cup, the biggest grassroots football tournament in the country. Since its launch, over 150,000 players have been involved. Visit www.playstationschoolscup.com

MOHAMED SALAH...TALKS TO MATCH!

MOHAMED SALAH...
TALKS TO MATCH!

MATCH sits down with the PFA Player Of The Year contender, and one of the hottest players on the planet!

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WINNING THE CHAMPO LEAGUE!

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SALAH SAYS: “For me to win the Champions League would fulfil my great personal dream – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s the kind of moment that you desire and aim for as a sportsman. But there is a long way to go!”

LIVERPOOL'S CAMPAIGN!

SALAH SAYS: “I consider this season to have been a positive one so far, but we are still waiting for the most important moments, so there’s a lot to play for. When I look back, it was painful to be knocked out of the FA Cup – that was perhaps the biggest negative of the campaign. But overall, we have done well. It’s important to keep winning! Our challenge is to make sure we finish in the top four, but more than that, the main aim for all the players is to finish second behind City. We want to be vice champions in the Premier League!”

RATING HIS SEASON!

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SALAH SAYS: “I am very happy with this season, but it’s not about me, it’s about what we achieve together. As a team, we are in the race to finish second and to qualify for the Champions League again, so that’s good. And especially in Europe, we are dreaming of going a long way in the Champions League as well.”

PLAYING AT ANFIELD!

SALAH SAYS: “Our home record is very important. We need to play every match from now on as if it’s a final and give maximum effort and concentration. Titles are normally won by the team which has the most success at home, and we need to build on that.”

CHALLENGING CITY NEXT YEAR!

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SALAH SAYS: “That’s the aim! City have played well this season, especially in the decisive moments. A club like Liverpool is required to aim for the maximum every season – because of our history and our supporters. So that has to be our aim.

 

 

JACK BUTLAND'S...CAREER IN PICS!

JACK BUTLAND'S..
CAREER IN PICS!

The awesome ENGLAND and STOKE goalkeeper chats to MATCH about his biggest career highlights so far!

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ENGLAND UNDER-17S!

JACK SAYS: “This picture is from the Under-17 European Championship final in 2010, and there’s my baby face! We beat Spain in the final, who had some good players, including Jese Rodriguez who I obviously play with now at Stoke. To win a major tournament, even at youth level, is amazing!”

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CHELTENHAM LOAN SPELL!

JACK SAYS: “My hair was really, really short back then – I don’t like that! This was my first loan move, aged 18. Against Northampton, Bayo Akinfenwa stood on my toes for every corner! It was my first taste of pro football, but I took it all in my stride and enjoyed the experience. It was by far my favourite loan move.”

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CALL-UP TO EURO 2012!

JACK SAYS: “I’d been involved with the U21s but then John Ruddy broke his finger before the tournament, so I got thrust into the full squad. I was getting balls smashed at me after training sessions by Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney! I wasn’t there to play, I was there to help out, but I learned a lot and got a taste of the top level.”

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OLYMPIC DREAM ENDED!

JACK SAYS: “I went straight from the Euros to the Olympics with Great Britain! We got out the group, but went out in a penalty shoot-out against South Korea – and I’ve never seen a standard of penalties like it! We got to experience the Olympic Village too, with people like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Usain Bolt. It was incredible to witness!”

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PREM HOME DEBUT!

JACK SAYS: “This was a strange day because my car got stolen that morning! I knew I was starting because Asmir Begovic was injured, but we came up against a Liverpool side with Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling, and they were incredible! We lost 5-3, but I actually felt like I’d played pretty well. It was a bonkers day!”

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THREE LIONS DEBUT!

JACK SAYS: “So the summer of 2012 went – the Euros, Olympics, and then my England debut against Italy in Bern, Switzerland. Joe Hart got injured so I knew there was an opportunity to play, and I became the youngest England goalkeeper ever, which is a really nice record. People didn’t like that kit, but I didn’t mind it at all!”

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Jack Butland was supporting the fifth season of PlayStation Schools’ Cup, the biggest grassroots football tournament in the country. Since its launch, over 150,000 players have been involved. Visit www.playstationschoolscup.com

KYLIAN MBAPPE TALKS TO MATCH!

KYLIAN MBAPPE...
TALKS TO MATCH!

The wicked wonderkid chats about heroes, trophies and Cristiano Ronaldo!

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HIS FOOTY HERO!

KYLIAN SAYS: “Zinedine Zidane was the first – he is the player that made me fall in love with football! Also, Cristiano Ronaldo and of course Neymar, who I am fortunate to call a team-mate and friend. He is as good as any player in the world, and it’s a pleasure
to be able to learn off him.”

TOP WONDERKIDS!

KYLIAN SAYS: “Being French, I know Thomas Lemar and Ousmane Dembele well, and they are two very special talents. Dembele is a good friend of mine, and I am very pleased he now has the chance to show his talent at Barcelona.”

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CAVANI AND NEYMAR!

KYLIAN SAYS: “The great thing is, we all work for the good of the team, we have our own strengths, and we score and create. As long as we get the right result, that’s all that matters.”

MESSI OR RONALDO?

KYLIAN SAYS: “I grew up admiring Cristiano, but you only have to look at what they’ve achieved to know they are both legends. I have self-belief, but I have a long way to go to compare with players who have done so much. I work hard and train with the best every day, so I am going in the right direction.”

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CAREER GOALS!

KYLIAN SAYS: “For me, the ambition of the team is more important than individual ambition. Of course it would be nice to win the Ballon d’Or, but for me it is much more important to win the Champions League with PSG or the World Cup with France.

I have belief of course, but at the same time I have a lot to learn. I am interested in being the complete player. I try to improve everything, not just concentrate
on one aspect of my game. Every player wants to be the best– but you must have the work ethic and attitude." 

 

TAMMY ABRAHAM...SWANSEA HERO!

TAMMY ABRAHAM...
HAS A CHAT WITH MATCH!

MATCH spoke to the awesome England and Swansea wonderkid about his first season in the Premier League...

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FIRST PREM SEASON!

TAMMY SAYS: “It’s been good – there have been a lot of ups and downs already! We’ve had some bad results, but I went through the same thing last year with Bristol City and turned it around– and we’ve done the same again! I haven’t got a goals target, but I didn’t have one last year and that worked out okay!”

CHAMPIONSHIP STEP UP!

TAMMY SAYS: “There are more punishments. If you make a mistake, a chance will be createdor a goal will be scored. It’s more tactical, too – we get more homework on our opponents! We don’t have as much of the ball either, and I have to drop in and defend for the team!”

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STANDOUT SWAN!

TAMMY SAYS: “It would have to be Tom Carroll. His work-rate is phenomenal, and in training he’s always got the best stats! He’s a hard worker, he’s technical and he loves to have the ball. Also, Leroy Fer – even when he’s not having his best game, he still makes an impact!”

FUTURE PLANS!

TAMMY SAYS: “I’m not too focused on anything other than Swansea and proving myself. But Chelsea’s my parent club and I grew up playing for them, so it’d be nice to break into the team. Nobody’s done it since John Terry, so I want to be the first!”

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WORLD CUP DREAMS!

TAMMY SAYS: “I’ll have to work my socks off, because I’d love to be on the plane to Russia. [When called up in 2017] Gareth Southgate told me, ‘You’re here for a reason – you’re doing very well! Swansea need you, so keep focusing, don’t become big headed, and help the team as best you can.’ It’s nice to know he’s acknowledged my hard work!”

HARRY KANE...CHATS TO MATCH!

HARRY KANE..
CHATS TO MATCH!

The totally unstoppable Tottenham and England goal machine chats to MATCH!

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PURPLE PATCHES AND DRY SPELLS! 

HARRY SAYS: "That’s the life of a striker! You’ll go through spells where the ball just won’t go in, then you’ll have spells when deflections go in and everything you touch turns to gold – and goals! My first job is to always work hard for the team, then the goals come.”

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FUTURE DREAMS!

HARRY SAYS: “I want to win a World Cup in my career, so hopefully it can be this year – but it doesn’t always happen like that. I don’t think, ‘Hmm…by the time I’m 26 I want to have won two Premier Leagues, one FA Cup, blah, blah, blah’, I just take it all as it comes.”

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WINNING THINGS!

HARRY SAYS: “I want to start winning trophies, but there’s no rush – I’m only 24! Spurs have had two good years, but we haven’t got anything to show for it. We’ve come a long way from where we were a few years ago, but the only way for us to improve now is to win something!”

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SPURS ARE READY!

HARRY SAYS: “Our team is extremely good and our manager is one of the best in the world, so it’s a great opportunity for us. But in the Premier League nowadays, you’ve got six or seven very good teams – and a lot of them have spent a lot of money to make their team even better!”

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BUYOUT CLAUSE & TRANSFER VALUE!

HARRY SAYS: “I haven’t got one, and I haven’t really thought about having one, to be honest. As you all know, I’m fully committed to Spurs, so there’s no reason for me to have one!

"Sometimes my mates say they wonder whatI’d be worth, but it’s not really something that’s on my mind. If I was thinking about moving, then of course I’d be thinking about that, but my future is at Spurs so there’s no reason for me to think about that!”

BARCELONA REVEALED WITH ANDRES INIESTA!

ANDRES INIESTA...
BARCELONA REVEALED!

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MATCH spoke to the legendary playmaker recently, and he told us all about his Barca team-mates!

CLUB DJ!

ANDRES SAYS: “Sergio Busquets is usually in charge of the music, and it’s normally Latin American. To be fair to him, he does a very good job!”

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MR BARCELONA!

ANDRES SAYS: “It’s probably those who grew up at La Masia like myself, Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets, as we have been here since we were kids.”

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FASHION KING!

ANDRES SAYS: “Samuel Umtiti is always looking really sharp – he’s a very smart guy!”

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MOST SUPERSTITIOUS!

ANDRES SAYS: “Jordi Alba brushes his teeth a few minutes before we leave the dressing room!”

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GADGET MAN!

ANDRES SAYS: “I think I’d have to go with Paco Alcacer for always having the latest gadgets. He is definitely the best at video games as well!”

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CLUB JOKER!

ANDRES SAYS: “Gerard Pique, without a doubt! If you’ve been pranked, you can bet he’s usually behind it!”

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PETER CROUCH...BONKERS QUESTIONS!

PETER CROUCH..
BONKERS QUESTIONS!

MATCH catches up with STOKE’s goalscoring hero for a really random conversation…

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Hi Crouchy! What’s the best thing to do in Stoke right now?
“You’ve got to get over to Alton Towers and get on Nemesis! I’ve been before, but my little girl doesn’t like it. I’m actually probably too tall for some of the rides!”

If there was a Royal Rumble between all of your Stoke team-mates, who’d win?
“Glen Johnson is probably one of the strongest still at the club. Before they left, Phil Bardsley was quite aggressive and possibly Marko Arnautovic as well!”

Who’s the worst room-mate you’ve had during your career?
“Probably Jermaine Pennant. He’s constantly on the go and doesn’t want to sleep, so it’s hard to get much peace!”

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If you were stuck on an island with a team-mate, who would you pick?
“My old Liverpool team-mate, Didi Hamann. He’s played in World Cups, the Champions League and for massive teams, plus he’s a real laugh, so he’d entertain me. I’m not sure he’d be too helpful getting us off the island, but we’d have lots of fun!”

Is it good to be tall in every day life, or does it get on your nerves?
“I’ve always enjoyed it, ever since I was a kid. I was always much taller than everyone else, and it’s all I’ve ever known. It definitely helped when I was younger being able to get on the rides at Alton Towers earlier than any of my friends!"

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The Liverpool fans used to sing, “He’s big, he’s red, his feet stick out the bed” about you – is that true?
“It used to be, but I’ve had an eight-foot bed built so I’m alright now! But it’s weird because over the years I’ve got used to them hanging out the end, so now I still poke them out – otherwise I can’t get to sleep!” 

Have you got the biggest feet in football?
”I’ve got size 12s, so I don’t think so! I think Kanu had bigger feet than mine – he was a size 13 or 14!”

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What’s better – go-karting or paint-balling?
“I like go-karting! I nearly ran over Dirk Kuyt with a go-kart when we were at Liverpool! My brakes literally failed as he was getting out of his kart and I was coming into the pits, and I almost ran him over! It was an accident!”

What would you do on Britain’s Got Talent?
“I don’t know, it’s usually bizarre things on there, isn’t it? I’m not bad at holding my breath under water, so I’d probably just get in a big tub and see how long I could do it for. I’m sure
it’d be very entertaining to watch!”

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Which footy training ground canteen does the best food?
“The best food was easily when I was away with England. The chef was top notch and he had a lot of variety! The chef at Stoke does the best soups I’ve ever had in my life, as well! But it’s changed a lot since I first started – we’ve got loads of different cultures and they all want different things. Before it was just like it or lump it!”

Peter Crouch was supporting the fifth season of PlayStation Schools’ Cup, the biggest grassroots football tournament in the country. Since its launch, over 150,000 players have been involved. Visit www.playstationschoolscup.com

MICHAIL ANTONIO'S CAREER IN PICTURES!

MICHAIL ANTONIO...
MY CAREER IN PICS!

MATCH chats to the WEST HAM star about some of our fave snaps from his ace career!

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STARTING OUT

MICHAIL SAYS: “I hate this picture, and it comes up all the time! This is Cheltenham, where I made my Football League debut. I’d been playing for Reading’s reserves and Cheltenham came to watch and said, “We want him.” In my first game, I started at Elland Road in front of 20,000 people.

“Five minutes in, I’m on fire! Every time I picked up the ball, I was beating people and putting crosses in. Next thing, I take a long throw-in, the ball comes back to me, I’ve beaten three players and gone to take a shot, and then me and another player hit the ball at the same time, and I tore three ligaments in my ankle – 12 minutes into my debut!

“I said, “I’m not coming off.” I strapped my ankle with my boots and socks on, because if I’d taken them off my ankle would have swollen up. I played to the 28th minute, and then had to come off – three months out! I only managed to play a few more games before the end of the season.”

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FIRST SILVERWARE

MICHAIL SAYS: “This is up there in the top three moments of my career. It was my 20th birthday, and it was one of the best days of my life! There were 75,000 fans there, and the atmosphere was unbelievable. We got in a huddle before the game, and we could hardly hear what our captain was saying, because the noise was that loud. But the way the day went, we won 4-1, I got a goal on my birthday, and I celebrated in front of my family, so it was just amazing.

“Adam Lallana, on my left here, is definitely one of the best I’ve played with. He’s just so talented – two-footed, and even though he’s not a quick player, with his flair he’s able to get past people. He’s technically unbelievable and definitely one of the best I’ve worked with.”

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WEDNESDAY WINNER

MICHAIL SAYS: “This is the goal I scored to help Sheffield Wednesday get promoted to the Championship. It was the last day of the season, and we were battling with Sheffield United, so it was a must-win game. I managed to nick the first goal, and the eruption when that ball goes into the net – wow. It was unbelievable! It’s a massive club – there were 39,000 people there that day.”

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FUTURE STARS

MICHAIL SAYS: “I remember this game and I go back to it every time Harry Kane scores a goal. He came off the bench, and the boys were saying, “this kid’s from Tottenham, but we don’t understand why he’s there.” He came off the bench and did nothing for the whole game! This was about a year before he started playing for Tottenham, and he went from that to where he is now. It’s ridiculous, because in this game, he brought nothing at all, but look at him now – it shows where hard work and dedication can get you.

“Personally, loans 100% made me the player I am. I was at Reading for five years and spent four of them out on loan. I wasn’t a person to just be in and around the squad, I wanted to keep getting experience and learning the game. Through that, my loans got my moves, and that’s taken me to where I am now.”

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FOREST FAVOURITES

MICHAIL SAYS: “This is my first goal for Nottingham Forest, against Blackpool. I played 50 times in a row for them – I didn’t miss a game for a year. It’s a massive club as well – I’ve been at some big clubs, with Sheffield Wednesday and Forest. The history they have is ridiculous. This was definitely the best year of my career . I enjoyed every minute of it, scoring goals, assisting goals, and it was just a great time. They loved me down there – I was Player Of The Year, joint top scorer and top assister too. I look big in that picture though!”

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UPTON PARK SEND-OFF

MICHAIL SAYS: “This was the last game at Upton Park. We went 2-1 down, and the boys were saying, “It can’t end like this!” The way we turned it around was unbelievable. This was the second goal to make it 2-2, and then Winston Reid got the winner. The atmosphere in the stadium was outrageous – there were thousands of people outside the ground who didn’t even have tickets. They just wanted to be at the stadium for the last game. It took our bus nearly two hours to get half a mile, and in the end we didn’t even make it to the stadium, we just had to walk. It was crazy!”

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ENGLAND CALL-UP

MICHAIL SAYS: “When I look back at my England call-ups, I’m mostly disappointed I didn’t play. As a professional footballer, I always want to be involved in the games, but I’m still buzzing to have been given the call-up, and obviously I haven’t given up on playing for England one day. I’ve just got to keep going out there and doing what I do, and hopefully next time I’ll get on the pitch!”

Michail Antonio was supporting the fifth season of PlayStation Schools’ Cup, the biggest grassroots football tournament in the country. Since its launch, over 150,000 players have been involved. Visit www.playstationschoolscup.com

NACHO MONREAL'S CHRISTMAS!

NACHO MONREAL...
MY CHRISTMAS!

The ARSENAL and SPAIN superstar tells MATCH why he can’t get enough of the festive period!

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How excited do you get about Christmas, Nacho?

NACHO SAYS: “Since I moved to London, I’m normally just fully focused on football. We play too many games over Christmas, I don’t really have enough time to think about it all! Plus, Danny Welbeck never invites me to his for Christmas either!”

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Which Arsenal players love Christmas the most?

NACHO SAYS: “Theo Walcott likes to wear a Christmas jumper every year! I like Christmas, it’s a great time for kids and for meeting up with your family. It’s different for me now in England because my family stay in Spain. It’s still a nice time of year, though.”

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Have you done all of your Christmas shopping yet?

NACHO SAYS: “No, not really! I always wait until the last moment to buy them! Honestly, I don’t like having to buy the gifts and presents, but when I get around to doing it, I wait until the last moment! I only buy presents for my family.”

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If you could pick your Secret Santa, who would it be?

NACHO SAYS: “Probably some scissors for Hector Bellerin, because it will help with his hair!”

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What’s the best present you’ve ever received?

NACHO SAYS: “When I was younger, I remember my mum gave me a pair of Puma boots! I loved them!”

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Do you still eat more food at Christmas like everyone else?

NACHO SAYS: “During Christmas, we’ll eat slightly differently to the rest of the season, but not massively different. We have to play regularly, so we don’t really have a chance to celebrate.”

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What’s your favourite Christmas song?

NACHO SAYS: “There is a Spanish song, I think it’s called ‘Fum, Fum, Fum’. That’s a really good one!”

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Download the Junior Gunners App for free. It’s packed with games, trophies, videos and top prizes to win! Search JG App in your app store to download it today!

NEYMAR'S DREAM TEAM!

---- NEYMAR'S DREAM TEAM ----

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The most expensive footy star ever reveals to MATCH  the best XI he’s ever played with...

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GK – JULIO CESAR

NEYMAR SAYS: “From training with Brazil, I know just how hard it is to beat him – he is one of the best goalkeepers of his generation. He was a big part of Inter’s treble-winning season, which will always be remembered.”

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RB – DANI ALVES

NEYMAR SAYS: “He’s a player who’s had success and won trophies at every club he’s been at. We are so lucky he chose to be part of the PSG project, because he has so much experience.”

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CB – THIAGO SILVA

NEYMAR SAYS: “He’s one of the toughest defenders there is to play against, but he’s so much more than that. He’s a great leader and a great man, and every dressing room is lucky to have him.”

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CB – DAVID LUIZ

NEYMAR SAYS: “He’s a player that always leaves his heart on the field – I have seen this many times for Brazil. In his two seasons with PSG, he won the league title each time. He’s also one of the funniest people I know!”

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LB – MARCELO

NEYMAR SAYS: “A great defender who also has a lot of technical ability and is so important for club and country attacking down the left side. To win three out of the last four Champions League is such a big achievement.”

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RCM – KAKA

NEYMAR SAYS: “At Milan, he was the best player in the world for two seasons. He’s also won the World Cup with Brazil – and that is one of my biggest ambitions.”

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CM – MARCO VERRATTI

NEYMAR SAYS: “He is new as a team-mate, but I’ve played against him before. He is a midfielder who can just control the game from the middle. He allows the rest of the team to be able to play their way.”

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LCM – RONALDINHO

NEYMAR SAYS: “He was one of my idols and it was a pleasure to be able to play with him for Brazil. Not only was he the best player in the world and had a lot of success, he did things with the ball that nobody else was able to!”

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RW – LIONEL MESSI

NEYMAR SAYS: “There is not much left to be said about Leo that has not already been said – he has set the standard for many years now. A once-in-a-lifetime player, who will go down in the history of the game – and I am proud to call him a friend.”

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ST – LUIS SUAREZ

NEYMAR SAYS: “He is so good! Really, he deserves to have won the Ballon d’Or. He scores many goals, but he also works so hard for the team, creating goals and finding space. He is always running!”

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LW – ROBINHO

NEYMAR SAYS: “I was just a kid when he was at Santos, but I used to watch him and tried to emulate the way he played. It was such a great experience to play with my idol for Brazil!”

DAVID LUIZ'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DREAM!

DAVID LUIZ'S...
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DREAM!

The defender is ready for CHELSEA’s return to the CL!

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BEING BACK IN THE CL...

DAVID SAYS: “This is what we worked so hard for last season. We’ve missed it and it’s good to be back! We are dreaming of reaching the final because this club deserves to go a long way in Europe. We are ready!”

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CHELSEA'S GROUP DRAW...

DAVID SAYS: “They are all big games in the group stage, it doesn’t matter who you draw. You just have to go out there to try and win – and that’s what we’ll do.”

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THE CL FAVES...

DAVID SAYS: “I don’t expect a lot of surprises. You know the favourites already. Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG, Juventus, Bayern Munich. And of course, Chelsea!”

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HIS OLD CLUB...

DAVID SAYS: “PSG has increased its power with the arrival of Neymar – it’s a big signing. But so much depends on the teams they play against and how they perform. I’d sign up for a PSG-Chelsea final now!”

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THE GAFFER....

DAVID SAYS: “Conte is a big coach. He showed his level in Italy and also in his first year with Chelsea. That’s not easy when you are arriving from a different country and a different league. We are happy he is with us!”

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TARGETS FOR THIS SEASON...

DAVID SAYS: “To win trophies, maybe two. But to do that we have to play well in every single match. If we want to be champions of England again, we need to win our home games, work hard, prepare well and avoid the kind of mistakes we did in the opening game against Burnley.”

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THE TITLE RACE...

DAVID SAYS: “Chelsea are the champions, so clearly we are one of the favourites to win again. But in England the season is long and tough – and all of the big clubs are in the race.”

WELCOME BACK TO THE PREM... NEWCASTLE!

WELCOME BACK TO THE PREM...
NEWCASTLE!

Midfield boss ISAAC HAYDEN tells MATCH everything you need to know about The Magpies on their return to the Premier League!

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THE CITY...

ISAAC SAYS: “Before I joined, I knew all about the fans and their expectations, and when I signed it was exactly as I expected! Whether you’re going shopping or just out, everywhere you go it’s football, football, football!”

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THE STADIUM...

ISAAC SAYS: “Our average attendance last season was just over 51,000, so that tells its own story. When we beat Norwich 4-3 in the last minute, I’ve never been in a better atmosphere! I’ve been all around Europe, and Newcastle is the best atmosphere I’ve heard!”

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THE GAFFER...

ISAAC SAYS: “He’s a perfectionist – everything has to be right. He talks to every player, whether they’re in the team or not. We play fluid football with a lot of movement, but with a solid foundation in behind. Over last season he got everything right, and it’s proven because we won the league!”

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THE FANS...

ISAAC SAYS: “The Gallowgate End is definitely the part of the ground where, if you’re not putting a shift in, they let you know about it! They have a few songs, but lately it’s been all about the manager because there’s been some rumours of him leaving. They’re trying to show him that they really want him to stay!”

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THE DRESSING ROOM DJ....

ISAAC SAYS: “That’s keeper Karl Darlow. He’s got quite  a few DJ friends, so a lot of the mixes we use in the changing room are from those guys!”

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THE BEST DRESSER...

ISAAC SAYS: “I’ll give it to DeAndre Yedlin. He’s got a very different style, and he wears a lot of outlandish stuff, but he pulls it off!”

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THE WORST DRESSER...

ISAAC SAYS: “There are a few candidates for this! I get killed to be fair, because I just wear my Puma tracksuit all the time!”

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THE JOKER...

ISAAC SAYS: “Dwight Gayle is always having a laugh – and it’s usually Matt Ritchie who’s on the receiving end of his banter!”

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SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICT...

ISAAC SAYS: “Achraf Lazaar, the left-back. He’s always doing Instagram and Snapchat videos. He’s a nightmare!”

LUIS SUAREZ REVEALED!

LUIS SUAREZ REVEALED!

The BARCELONA goal machine tells you everything you need to know about him!

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MY BEST GOAL SO FAR!

LUIS SAYS: “For importance, the winner I scored against Real Madrid in 2015. It meant so much – and that win edged us closer to the title.”

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MY CAREER HIGHLIGHT!

LUIS SAYS: “Winning the treble during my first season at Barcelona was so special and something I will never, ever forget – but hopefully something we can target again in the future.”

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MY FAVOURITE MATCH!

LUIS SAYS: “The Champions League final against Juventus – that is a dream for all players to win. I will never forget coming off the substitutes’ bench and scoring on my Liverpool debut as well.”

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MY BEST INDIVIDUAL DISPLAY!

LUIS SAYS: “It’s difficult to pick one! Maybe against Norwich when I played for Liverpool and scored a very good hat-trick, or for Barcelona against PSG in the Champions League quarter-finals.”

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MY FAVOURITE STADIUM!

LUIS SAYS: “Other than the Nou Camp, Anfield is a special place –  especially on Champions League nights. The Champions League is where Liverpool belongs.”

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MY FOOTBALLING HERO GROWING UP!

LUIS SAYS: “Gabriel Batistuta was a player I admired. He was a great goalscorer, but he also never stopped moving or trying to create space – he refused to give defenders an easy time – and that’s how I like to play.”

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MY FAVOURITE TEAM-MATE!

LUIS SAYS: “People know I have a great relationship with Leo on and off the field, as I did with Neymar, but I also learned so much from Stevie at Liverpool.”

WELCOME TO THE PREM... BRIGHTON!

WELCOME TO THE PREM...
BRIGHTON!

Seagulls goal machine GLENN MURRAY tells you everything you need to know about Premier League new boys BRIGHTON!

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THE TOWN...

GLENN SAYS: “Brighton itself is a great town on the seaside, and we get plenty of good weather down here. It’s gonna be a great away day for fans next season!”

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THE STADIUM...

GLENN SAYS: “Our ground’s called The Amex, and I really enjoy playing here! The North Stand behind the goal is where the fans make all the noise – they usually sing, ‘Albion, Albion!’ and, of course, ‘There’s only one Glenn Murray!”

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THE GAFFER...

GLENN SAYS: “Our boss is Chris Hughton, and he’s a very, very good manager! He works us hard and he’s brought a lot of success to the club, so we’re looking forward to repeating that in the Premier League!”

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THE NEW SEASON...

GLENN SAYS: “Our only aim is to stay in the Premier League! Obviously we’re all looking forward to the opening day of the season, at home to Man. City, and personally I always look forward to going to Stamford Bridge too. Our biggest rivals are Crystal Palace, my old club, so that’ll be big as well!”

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THE DRESSING ROOM DJ....

GLENN SAYS: “Normally our captain, Bruno Saltor, is in charge, but if he plays too much Spanish music he gets knocked off by Conor Goldson!”

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THE BEST DRESSER...

GLENN SAYS: “It’s really tough to pick out just one player, but I don’t think you can go far from a steady Steve Sidwell!”

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THE WORST DRESSER...

GLENN SAYS: “There are a few at the club right now, especially the foreign lads! Our winger Jiri Skalak is right up there!”

THE JOKER...

GLENN SAYS: “Some of the young lads – Lewis Dunk, Anthony Knockaert and Goldson – they are all thick as thieves, so we get plenty of laughs out of them!”

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THE TWITTER KING...

GLENN SAYS: “Everyone is on social media, but there are a few that really like to post a lot – Knockaert and Tomer Hemed especially!”

TOM DAVIES - TOFFEES TALENT!

TOM DAVIES...
TOFFEES TALENT!

One of the Prem’s hottest wonderkids chats about breaking through at EVERTON!

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YOUTH CAREER!

TOM SAYS: “I joined Everton when I was 11 and before that I was at Tranmere. The way the academies are now, you do get looked after a lot. The coaching staff have been great, helping me to develop to where I am now, and the facilities are fantastic. Everton has a long tradition of bringing young players through, and the incentive has always been there for me to progress with the club.”

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ACADEMY MATES!

TOM SAYS: “Kieran Dowell, Liam Walsh and Callum Connolly were all in my age group, so I’ve come through each stage of the academy with those lads, and I’m good friends with Harry Charsley too. Me, Kieran and Harry went to Italy last summer. It’s a part of the world I’d never been to and we wanted to experience the culture of Italy. I loved it!”

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BIG BREAKTHROUGH!

TOM SAYS: “I made my debut against Southampton in April 2016, and it was a dream come true to play on the Goodison pitch in front of the fans. I was nervous, but once I got out there and made the first few passes, I was alright. Then, having David Unsworth as manager for my full debut against Norwich, felt like it was meant to be. I’ll always look back on that day as being a big part of my career.”

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GOAL AGAINST CITY!

TOM SAYS: “I remember watching it go in and thinking, ‘I’ve scored here!’ Then it was joy and elation, a dream achieved! The fans really want you to do well, so that’s why when I slid on my knees I was thinking, ‘I need to get into the crowd here!’ It was an unbelievable feeling doing that for your hometown club, something I always dreamed of!”

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KOEMAN ADVICE!

TOM SAYS: “The manager has been great with me and helped me out a lot – and it’s only going to continue if I keep listening to him and working hard. He’s helped me a lot on aspects I need to work on in my game, things like my first touch and having control of the ball. But also defensively, with pressing and knowing who’s around me when I’m defending.”

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FOOTY ROLE MODELS!

TOM SAYS: “I like certain players and I pick up things from watching them. I love watching Barcelona – players like Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets. I really enjoy watching them and seeing how calm and composed they are. The way they can control a game, that’s something I’d love to be able to do one day.”

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EVERTON TARGETS!

TOM SAYS: “Winning a trophy here is something I want to do, and hopefully it’ll be in the next five years. I’ve set myself goals and they’re something to work for. I’ve always wanted to play in a European competition, so I’m sure the lads will be relishing the chance to be in the Europa League. Hopefully we can kick on again and push to go even higher next season.”

Everton’s 2017-18 Umbro home kit is now on sale. For more info, visit www.evertondirect.com

CESAR SPEAKS!

CESAR SPEAKS!

We chat to CHELSEA ace CESAR AZPILICUETA about trophies, desert islands and being called Dave!

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FULL-BACK OR CENTRE-BACK?

CESAR SAYS: “They’re different roles. At full-back I have the chance to go into the attacking third to deliver more crosses, but as a centre-back in a back three I see more of the ball and help the team in another way!”

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YOU USED TO PLAY AS A STRIKER?

CESAR SAYS: “As a young kid, nobody wants to be a defender or a goalkeeper! I went from striker to right winger, then to full-back! I played my first professional game as a right winger, then at the age of 18 I became a regular full-back.”

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WOULD YOU RATHER WIN THE CL OR WORLD CUP?

CESAR SAYS: “What a question! I’d be pleased with just one of them!”

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WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHELSEA MOMENT?

CESAR SAYS: “When we won the Premier League – Chelsea had gone five years without winning the league. We’d won the League Cup and Europa League before that, but we all know how difficult it is to win the Premier League. We had to fight really hard – it was a really big pressure!”

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MESSI OR RONALDO?

CESAR SAYS: “It’s a question where you get 50% saying one, 50% saying the other. They’re two amazing players – they score around 50 goals every season, they always fight for the Ballon d’Or, one has five and one has four – they’re amazing!”

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WHICH CHELSEA STAR WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH?

CESAR SAYS: “One who gets my food! N’Golo Kante would run to get some food I think, so him!”

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DO YOU LIKE BEING CALLED DAVE?

CESAR SAYS: “If the fans call me Dave, I don’t have any choice! It’s fine, it’s fine!”

Cesar Azpilicueta was supporting the biggest grassroots football tournament in the country – the PlayStation Schools’ Cup. Since its launch, over 150,000 players have been involved. Visit www.playstationschoolscup.com

MARCUS RASHFORD – ENGLAND'S NO.9!

MARCUS RASHFORD...
ENGLAND'S NO.9!

The MAN. UNITED man chats about growing up loving footy to becoming a THREE LIONS hero!

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FOOTY CRAZY!

MARCUS SAYS: “When I was growing up, I’d just kick a ball off the walls in my room or down the hallway. Wherever I could, it didn’t matter! But I loved playing down the park with my big brothers. In our imaginations we were Rooney, Owen or Rio playing at Wembley for England!”

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FIRST ENGLAND TOP!

MARCUS SAYS: “One night, I came home after a kickabout with my brothers and my uncle had another football top for me. A red football top. He was United all the way, but this one was different. On the top left of the chest was a crest with Three Lions and one gold star, and ROONEY 9 was on the back. From that day, I wanted to be just like Rooney, and I wanted to play for England!”

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FOOTY IDOL!

MARCUS SAYS: “I was too young to appreciate guys like Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham from the ’90s – for me, it was all about Rooney. My earliest memories of the England team are of him and Michael Owen up front together. Me and my brothers would always sit down to watch the England games together."

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WHIRLWIND YEAR!

MARCUS SAYS: “A lot of people think I came out of nowhere. And to be honest, my first year went by so quickly that I still can’t believe it myself! One day I was training with United and making my debut for the club, the next my team-mates were telling me I’d been selected for the national team to go to Euro 2016!”

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ENGLAND CALL-UP!

MARCUS SAYS: “Phil Jones came up to me in the changing rooms and said, ‘I’m tellin’ ya mate, you’re going to France.’ When I got my mobile out of my locker, there were messages from my brothers, mum and friends saying the same thing... England!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn’t believe it!”

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DREAM COME TRUE!

MARCUS SAYS: “When I got into the changing room for the friendly against Australia, I saw all the shirts hanging up. I remember looking around for mine, and then I saw it. Red football top. Three Lions crest. One gold star. Man! Then I flipped it around. RASHFORD 9. I kind of laughed and said to myself, ‘No more dreaming now. You’re playing for England!’”

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QUICK-FIRE DEBUT!

MARCUS SAYS: “Three minutes into the match, I scored my first England goal! How can I describe that? It’s like as soon as the ball goes into the back of the net, something goes off in your head. It’s a moment you hold on to, but at the same time, you just want to do it again and again and again! You crave the feeling!”

Interview courtesy of The Players’ Tribune.

CHRIS BRUNT'S PENALTY MASTERCLASS

CHRIS BRUNT'S...
PENALTY MASTERCLASS!

MATCH chats to WEST BROM’s lethal leftie about all things penalties!

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HOW MUCH DO YOU PRACTISE PENS?

CHRIS SAYS: “We don’t really practise penalties that much, unless we have a cup game. We do get video clips from the coaches during the week if there’s a chance of a penalty shoot-out that weekend, though. If not, you’ll just make your mind up on where to strike the ball at the time!”

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WHERE DO YOU STRIKE THE BALL?

CHRIS SAYS: “It depends. If I’m going straight down the middle of the goal, I’ll usually smash it as hard as I can with my laces. If I’m going towards one side of the goal, I’ll use more of the inside of my foot for accuracy.”

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POWER OR PLACEMENT?

CHRIS SAYS: “I tend to hit it hard! You’re only 12 yards out, so if the keeper goes the right way and you’ve hit it hard, you’ve still got a chance of scoring!”

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DO YOU EVER CHANGE YOUR MIND?

CHRIS SAYS: “If you think too much about it during your run-up, you’ll make a mistake. So no, nine times out of ten I’ll pick my spot and stick with it. As long as you make the keeper make a decent save, you’ve done part of your job.”

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WHAT'S YOUR NO.1 PENALTY TIP?

CHRIS SAYS: “You’re probably asking the wrong person this question – I hit my last penalty onto the motorway! I usually just put my head down and put my foot through it! Just hit it as hard as you can into the corner! Obviously, people expect you to score penalties, but it’s not always the case!”