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EPL news 2021, Raheem Sterling, Manchester City, goals, assists, transfer gossip, rumours, latest, Pep Guardiola, England

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Following England’s Euro 2021 run to the final – the country’s best result at a major international tournament since winning the World Cup in 1966 – there has been a national hangover which has carried on into the Premier League season.

Harry Kane doesn’t look like he could find the back of the net even with the use of Google Maps, while John Stones hasn’t played a single minute for Manchester City yet and Mason Mount has fallen out of favour at Chelsea.

Jadon Sancho has had a tough start to his Manchester United career, Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire have been out injured and Ben Chilwell has barely featured for Chelsea.

But the biggest headscratcher is what has happened to England’s player of the tournament, Raheem Sterling, who spent the whole transfer window shoehorned into Manchester City’s bid for Kane against his will and has started only four of the club’s 10 games this season, and only two of seven in the Premier League.

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(Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)
(Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)Source: AFP

He has one goal and one assist to his name, in the 5-0 drubbing of Norwich when he came on as a substitute and against League One Wycombe Wanderers n the EFL Cup respectively. He has just 274 minutes to his name in the Premier League and has averaged just 39 minutes of playing time per game.

In reality, his City slump started long before the highs of England’s European summer.

“He’s definitely had some sort of bust-up with Pep [Guardiola],” former Manchester United captain Roy Keane said while working as a pundit for England’s international with Hungary this morning (AEDT).

“There’s something gone on there and they’ve brought [Jack] Grealish in but when you work with a top manager and big clubs when they’re competing for trophies that’s part of the package and 20 months, on his contract, is a long way away. Just focus on the game and things will pan out for him because he’s a quality player.”

Sterling has dropped out of the club’s group of captains, in the strongest indictment of his current standing in the squad.

According to The Athletic, every season City players and first-team staff vote for their captains and those with the most votes form a senior leadership group. Fernandinho and Ilkay Gudogan were voted first and second, while Ruben Dias was third after making such a big impact in his first season at the club. Kevin De Bruyne slipped down to fourth and Kyle Walker was fifth, meaning Sterling dropped out altogether.

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An end-of-season row with Guardiola has seemingly had a knock-on effect, while he has lost his status as one of Guardiola’s go-to guys, a status the Spaniard has challenged him to reclaim.

“Do you know how many incredible successes we had in the last seasons yeah?” the Guardiola said. “Impossible without Raheem. He’s such an important player.

“But I am here to tell them. He reached an incredible high standard and I have to tell him this is the standard we need, for you, for all of us.

“And I’m pretty sure he will get it. If he’s able to do it, he will do it. And I’m so optimistic that he will do a great season.”

However, despite Guardiola’s public protestations, that end-of-season row has had a big impact on his thinking and would have been a driving force between his willingness to include Sterling in the Kane deal.

The Athletic reports that things came to a head between the pair when Sterling reacted angrily to being named on the bench for City’s game against Southampton on the back of the club’s 21-game winning streak being ended by Manchester United. It prompted Guardiola to omit Sterling from the squad altogether a few days later and the relationship continued to deteriorate from there.

Perhaps tellingly, he has played in four different positions already this season, being brought on at left wing, right wing, as a centre forward and as a second striker, making it even tougher to resettle into the team after an emotionally and physically draining off-season.

Grealish’s £100m move has made him so far immune to the rigours and uncertainty of ‘Pep roulette’ as it is termed, where any one of his huge number of attacking talents could get a run out during any one game, and he has become a mainstay on the left side of the attack formerly occupied by Sterling. It is a different story to at international level, where Sterling is continuing to keep Grealish out of the starting XI.

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As well as Grealish, he’s also fallen behind the emerging Phil Foden through the centre and Ferran Torres, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus have done well down the right. Bernardo Silva has also re-established himself after trying to force himself out of the club during the transfer window.

Despite having completely different career paths, Sterling is still only 26 years old and just nine months older than Grealish so a move away from City could be the jump start he needs to reinvigorate his career as he moves towards his peak.

Had it not been for his poor form at the end of last season following the United defeat he may have moved already, but the lack of domestic interest and the poor financial state of teams abroad meant there wasn’t anything that excited him.

He will only have a year left on his contract by the end of this season, making an exit likely if nothing changes, but also a lot easier as he will be available at a cut price.

His England record of 16 goals in his last 25 appearances is enough to prove there is still a fantastic player in there somewhere, and it was less than two years ago that he scored 31 goals in a season for City.

A consistent run of games is always when Sterling finds his best form and while City and Guardiola have so many options they can’t afford him that luxury, another team will be able to.

A return to Liverpool? Newcastle’s statement signing of their new era? A move to Real Madrid? Someone will be getting a bargain should Sterling decide to leave.

But for now, it appears as though the City bench is where he will be plotting his next move from.

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Police investigate Serie A incident, Fiorentina vs Empoli

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Police have launched an investigation into an incident where a female TV presenter was allegedly “molested” by a football fan on live TV.

Italian journalist Greta Beccaglia appeared to be slapped on the backside while reporting from outside a stadium when the camera captured the moment a spectator in a green jacket, camo-styled trousers and purple beanie walked up behind her.

A visibly annoyed and shocked Beccaglia responded with a fright before wagging her finger at the fan, The Sun reports.

Her verbal response has been translated into English as: “Sorry, you can’t do this, I’m sorry.”

Shortly afterwards, another supporter stopped next to Beccaglia before swearing into the camera with a hand gesture.

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Greta Beccaglia was touched outside a football game. Photo: YouTube, Instagram.Source: YouTube
Greta Beccaglia was touched outside a football game. Photo: YouTube, Instagram.Source: YouTube

The timing of the footage will be particularly concerning for the Italian football authorities.

The spiteful Tuscan derby between Fiorentina as Empoli had been promoted as a designated ‘Violence Against Women’ event that was supposed to raise awareness of an anti-stalking hotline.

The match was the centre piece of a campaign branded: “Give violence against women the red card”.

It has since emerged that police are aware of the incident and have launched an investigation to identify the fan.

Local reports have suggested Empoli police are reviewing video surveillance and speaking to witnesses to try and catch the fan.

One report also indicates police will speak with Beccaglia to get her side of the story.

Greta Beccaglia in the TV studio. Photo: Instagram.Source: Instagram
Greta Beccaglia in front of the camera. Photo: Instagram.Source: Instagram

The incident has also raised questions about the response from the panel of TV studio presenters after they failed to show serious concern for their colleague.

Host Giorgio Micheletti has been criticised for responding to the incident by saying: “Don’t take it”.

The Order of Journalists of Tuscany condemned the incident and the response from Micheletti.

A statement from the guild described the actions against Beccaglia as “molestation”.

“Those in the studio, instead of condemning the gesture and the molester, invited the colleague to ‘not take it’. No words of solidarity were heard towards her from the conductor,” a translated statement claimed.

“The Order reiterates that the time has come stop minimising and remember that violence against women is above all a cultural and social problem.”

The statement said the organisation stands with Beccaglia in solidarity.

“The Order of Journalists of Tuscany today denounces the very serious episode of harassment against a journalist which took place on live TV at the end of the Empoli-Fiorentina match, in the days in which the greatest attention is paid to combating violence against women,” the statement read.

Serie A has also released a statement to show its support for the reporter.

“Violence is expressed in many forms. We condemn them all, today and forever,” the league posted on Twitter.

“Solidarity with Greta Beccaglia.”

Beccaglia on Sunday liked a series of posts on Twitter, which refered to her ordeal as “intolerable” and “aberrant”.

Over the weekend, players in Serie A had sported a red mark on their cheeks to promote a message against domestic violence and to spread awareness of an anti-stalking hotline.

Empoli came from behind in the contest with a late goal snatching a 2-1 victory.

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Every word of Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher's furious row after Chelsea vs Man Utd

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THE TWO Sky Sports pundits got involved in a heated argument after the 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

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Gary Neville's response to Carragher and Keane's furious row after Chelsea vs Man Utd

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THE two Sky Sports pundits launched into an angry tirade when debating Cristiano Ronaldo’s role.

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