ENGLISH wonderkid Ryan Sessegnon has been tipped for a shock spot on England’s World Cup roster.
The Mirror reported the young Fulham star, who has been targeted by Manchester City, Tottenham and Monaco, has been backed to succeed at international level by his manager, Slavisa Jokanovic.
The 17-year-old starred as England won the Euro Under-19s championship last year.
Jokanovic said the talented left-back could easily follow in the footsteps of the likes of Michael Owen and Theo Walcott in heading to the World Cup at a young age.
“My opinion is that he has shown the quality for Fulham, he’s shown the quality for Under-19s, won the Euros, top scorer in the tournament, it’s not my decision,” Jokanovic said.
“If he goes to World Cup, won’t be my decision, but Michael Owen and Theo Walcott they were similar age.
“But if they decide not this time I’m still sure he will be part of Euros or next World Cup. 100 per cent.
“If not, then 99 per cent he will be there.”
ZLATAN EYES SWEDEN RETURN
Veteran Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic hinted on Thursday that he could return to international football in time for the World Cup in Russia.
The 36-year-old Manchester United player has suffered with injuries over the last 12 months and retired from Sweden duty after Euro 2016.
“I miss the national team,” he told Swedish press.
“If I want, I do it. I want to feel that I can deliver a good performance.”
The former Paris Saint-Germain star has only played five Premier League games this season for Jose Mourinho’s United, with his last match ending when he was replaced at halftime in a 2-2 draw with Burnley in December.
Sweden qualified in Ibrahimovic’s absence with a famous 1-0 victory over four-time world champions Italy in a two-legged playoff last November.
Ibrahimovic has scored a Swedish record 62 international goals in 116 matches. The Scandinavians kick off their World Cup campaign against South Korea in Nizhny Novgorod on June 18, before further Group F games against holders Germany and Mexico.
ARGENTINA TO FACE ISRAEL IN PRE-WC FRIENDLY
Israel will host Argentina for a friendly on June 9, days before the start of the World Cup in Russia, Israel’s football federation said on Thursday.
Israel’s federation has agreed to pay $3 million to host the match with the two-time World Cup winners (1978 and 1986) who were also finalists in 2014, Israeli media reported.
The amount could be reduced by half if star Lionel Messi does not play out of fear of being injured before the World Cup, the reports said.
The location of the match has not yet been announced, with details of the contract still being worked out, the federation said.
Israel did not qualify for the World Cup.
Argentina will play their first World Cup match on June 16 against Iceland before also facing Croatia and Nigeria in Group D.
BLATTER CALLS FOR WORLD CUP WITHOUT VAR
Banned former FIFA president Sepp Blatter says the World Cup should not be used as an occasion to experiment with video replay technology.
Blatter’s comment on Thursday on Twitter followed a series of confusing incidents involving the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system, which is being trialled in Italy’s Serie A, the FA Cup, Germany’s Bundesliga, Australia’s A-League, the Portuguese league and other competitions around the world. The sport’s lawmaking body IFAB is due to decide on Saturday whether to approve VAR on a permanent basis and FIFA has already said it intends to use the system at the World Cup in June and July in Russia.
“A personal appeal to IFAB the Guardians of the Laws of the Game: FIFA WC cannot be used as experiment for such a fundamental change: VAR,” said Blatter.
The latest confusion involving VAR was at Wednesday’s FA Cup match between Tottenham Hotspur and Rochdale, where the London side had an early goal disallowed and a penalty later awarded by the video assistant referee.
Afterwards, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said VAR risked killing emotion in the sport, echoing a sentiment which had already been expressed by some Serie A coaches.
It was not clear if Blatter was appealing for IFAB to reject VAR or give it more time.
Blatter quit in June 2015 following 17 years as FIFA president after the global soccer body had been engulfed in a corruption scandal. The 81-year-old was later banned from the sport for six years for ethics violations.
Blatter, who has always denied wrongdoing, told Reuters last month he was considering legal action to clear his name. Last week, he tweeted his support for Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup.