Pogba calls for Solskjaer to get United job

Paul Pogba hopes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is given the Manchester United manager’s job on a permanent basis.

The former Red Devils striker has had a transformative effect on the mood and results at Old Trafford, leading United into the Champions League quarter-finals and to the verge of the top four in the Premier League.

When Solskjaer was given the role following the departure of Jose Mourinho, it was widely assumed he was merely keeping the seat warm for a bigger managerial name, but his success has led to a clamour for the appointment to be made permanent, and midfielder Pogba has now added his voice.

The Frenchman told Sky Sports: "Of course we want him to stay.

"The results have been great.

"I have a great relationship with him, he has a great relationship with the players.

"When a player is happy, he wants to keep being happy.

"Solskjaer deserves it.

"He knows the club, he knows everything about the club.

"He is a really happy coach that gave confidence back to the players.

"This gave us the freedom to play and enjoy football again because maybe we lost that with the results that we had before."

It is a striking contrast to the final months of Mourinho’s reign, with Pogba the player who was repeatedly claimed to be at odds with the Portuguese.

He declined to elaborate, saying only: "Maybe we lost confidence, maybe things went wrong.

"A lot of talking outside that we weren’t used to.

"I don’t like to talk about the past.

"I like to talk about the future because that’s what matters.

"We are better now and the results have been brilliant."

Klopp urges Salah to learn from Mane’s upturn in form

Jurgen Klopp believes Sadio Mane can help inspire team-mate Mohamed Salah to rediscover his goalscoring form for Liverpool.

Egypt international, Salah, scored 44 times in his maiden season at Anfield and although he has 20 in the current campaign, his goalless run of seven matches is the longest he has experienced since a 10-game streak for Roma in 2015-16.

Mane is the team’s in-form player, moving level on 20 goals with Salah, after netting 11 in as many games in a longer run of 13 in 17.

Prior to that he had gone goalless in eight outings in November and December during a spell of 17 matches in which he scored just three times.

But having seen Mane work hard to put things right, Klopp believes Salah, who is not playing badly, will see his luck change soon.

"Sadio played pretty much always like this but now he is always in the right spot in the right moment.

"In football it’s sometimes like this," the Reds’ boss told liverpoolfc.com.

"He is in a really good moment, of course.

"The only thing he did when he was not always in the right spot was work and work and work.

"That’s exactly what Mo has to do, exactly the same: just work, do the right things and it will come again.

"He’s just rather unlucky, where Sadio is lucky in the moment – he is in brilliant shape, that’s true."

England defender Rose hails Sterling’s criticism of media

England full-back Danny Rose has praised his international team-mate Raheem Sterling for criticising the portrayal of black players in the media.

Sterling, who has often been targeted by negative headlines, used Instagram to highlight the disparity in the way stories involving black players were reported by newspapers.

In the wake of being allegedly abused by Chelsea fans, Sterling posted conflicting headlines about Manchester City duo Tosin Adarabioyo and Phil Foden buying houses.

"Raheem was only saying what we all say in the dressing room," Rose told BBC Sport.

"It’s sad really but he’s 100 per cent spot on with what he said.

"The stick he used to get from the media was bang out of order.

"When he put the post up about the media we were all over the moon with that because we all agree.

"Fair play to Raheem.

"One of the few positive things about social media now is you have a voice and you can influence people.

"Now it’s not just boys in the dressing room talking about the media targeting Raheem, the general public have now seen it.

"We hope it changes but it doesn’t affect Raheem in any way, which we are all grateful for."

Rose also thanked his Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate for the support he received in the wake of revelation that he suffered from depression.

The Tottenham left-back disclosed his diagnosis with the mental health condition before the World Cup.

He added: "It was one of the best things I’ve done.

"Looking back I would have maybe said something after the World Cup.

"For a short space of time the focus was on me and I was a bit uncomfortable with that.

"The messages and support I received was amazing.

"I probably wish I had done it sooner than I did, but I did it and I’m happy.

"Gareth was brilliant. He always is whenever I speak to him.

"We went for a walk on the morning it came out and he just gave me some advice.

"All through the World Cup he was checking on me.

"When I’m not with the squad I am in contact with him."

Silva escapes ban after Newcastle row

Everton manager Marco Silva has avoided a touchline ban despite his behaviour after the defeat to Newcastle earlier this month.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino was hit with such a ban following a recent incident at Burnley.

However, Silva has been fined £12,000 after accepting an improper conduct charge The Portuguese was furious the hosts’ winning goal in their 3-2 victory at St James’ Park was allowed to stand as Salomon Rondon, who touched the ball on to goalscorer Ayoze Perez, was among a number of players offside in the build-up.

Silva confronted referee Lee Mason on the pitch and then turned his anger towards the assistant who had not raised his flag.

"When they scored the third goal it was a big mistake by the assistant – it was a clear offside it’s not just one or two players in offside positions, there were five Newcastle players in the same line in offside positions," Silva said afterwards.

His venture onto the pitch resulted in a Football Association charge and led to the fine by an independent regulatory commission.

"The Everton manager accepted an improper conduct charge from The FA, which resulted from his behaviour on the field of play at the end of the Premier League fixture against Newcastle United on March 9," said a statement from the FA.

La Liga duo on United radar ahead of summer deals

Manchester United are being linked with a double swoop on La Liga, with Antoine Griezmann and Raphael Varane the targets.

The Reds are planning a summer shake-up with a number of new players expected to arrive and the rumour mill is moving into overdrive regards who could be arriving at Old Trafford.

Atletico Madrid ace Griezmann has often been in the spotlight regards a move elsewhere, with Barcelona chasing his signature before he dramatically announced his desire to stay where he is.

However fresh reports in the Spanish media are now linking the Frenchman with a move to United after claiming he wants out when the transfer window opens again.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid defender Varane, who was a reported target for former boss Jose Mourinho, is also being linked with a summer switch.

At least one new central defender is needed and Varane could be an option for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, once he takes charge.

It has also been suggested that Real could try and use Varane as bait to land Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, so he is clearly surplus to requirements.

Hazard plays down talk over potential Real move

Real Madrid target Eden Hazard says he is not thinking about his future just yet and is staying focused on Chelsea for now.

Rumours over a potential move to Real have started to hot up again after Zinedine Zidane returned to the Bernabeu as coach, but Hazard is keeping his cool.

There has even been suggestions that Chelsea will cash in for £98.

5million, but Hazard insists there is no deal in place with anyone, and all the focus is on the Blues.

Chelsea are chasing Europa League glory and a place in the top four of the Premier League, and the Belgium international says he is thinking of nothing else.

"At the moment there’s nobody waiting for me," he said.

"We still have two important months with Chelsea.

"We can win the Europa League.

"We have to win the Europa League or we have to finish in the top four to play in the Champions League.

"I am only thinking about that (last two months with Chelsea), not about what might happen in two, three, four months.

"I don’t know. We will see."

Atletico star could be Fernandinho’s successor at City

Manchester City are being linked with Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey as the search for Fernandinho’s long-term successor continues.

Fernandinho will turn 34 in a couple of months, and Pep Guardiola is keen to draft in someone who is capable of filling his boots at the Etihad Stadium for years to come.

After missing out on Jorginho, who signed for Chelsea last summer, the search has been stepped up with Wolves star Ruben Neves among the players to be linked.

Now reports are claiming that Atleti midfielder Partey is a top target and a priority for Guardiola as he continues to impress for Diego Simeone’s men in La Liga this season.

The 25-year-old has also been likened to City legend Yaya Toure and a bid looks to be in the pipeline.

It has also been suggested that City could offer Ilkay Gundogan, who has yet to agree fresh terms on a new deal with the club, as part of a swap deal.

Alderweireld opens up on future at Spurs

Toby Alderweireld says he does not know if he will be at Tottenham next season but claims to be happy with life at the club.

The Belgium international was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United last summer, only for the Old Trafford outfit to fail to match Spurs’ asking price of £60million.

With the 30-year-old’s contract originally due to expire at the end of this season, Tottenham exercised a 12-month option to extend his deal until the summer of 2020 but in doing so activated a £25million release clause.

Having been vital to Mauricio Pochettino’s plans yet again this season, featuring in 38 games in all competitions, Alderweireld is unlikely to be short of suitors when the summer transfer window opens.

The defender says he does not know what his future holds but claims that he would be happy to remain in north London, giving hope to Spurs fans that he might still be open to penning a new contract.

He told Sky Sports News: "There’s a lot to play for this season.

"And in the end I have a year contract left at Spurs, so I don’t look further than this season.

"Other things I don’t know.

"I am very happy at Spurs, so we will see what the future brings.

"I still feel very fit.

"I think I played a lot of minutes this season so I showed that I am fit – I don’t feel 30, I feel younger.

"So as I said, I am very happy and I just try to watch game-by-game.

"This season there is a lot to play for so I will give my best for that."

Bayern ready to spend big to land Lille star

Bayern Munich are reported to have launched a £68.5million bid to sign Lille attacker Nicolas Pepe at the end of the season.

Bayern are looking to inject their squad with top young talent in the summer transfer window as Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben head for the exit door and Pepe is on the wanted list.

The 23-year-old has had an outstanding season in Ligue 1 when firing home 17 goals and providing a further eight assists, and Bayern are willing to break the bank to sign him.

English Premier League outfit Arsenal have also been heavily linked but it looks as though they will be priced out of the race with Bayern leading the way to do a deal.

Lille president Gerard Lopez suggested that a bid of 80m euros would be needed for Pepe to leave at the end of the season, and Bayern have now matched it.

"He deserves to play at the highest level.

"We have offers yes," said Lopez.

Kaizer Chiefs starlet ruled out for six months

Kaizer Chiefs starlet Nkosingiphile Ngcobo has been dealt a huge blow having been ruled out of the game for six months due to an Achilles injury.

Ngcobo was injured against Supersport United last weekend and has now received the worst possible news following a scan to determine the extent of the injury.

It was discovered that the 19-year-old had ruptured a tendon with Kaizer Chiefs confirming the news on their social media platforms.

Chiefs wrote on club's instagram account: "Ngcobo will be out for 6 months due to Achilles Tendon injury we wish him a speedy recovery and stand behind him."

It means Ngcobo will not only miss the remainder the of the season with the Amakhosi but also the chance to play at the U20 World Cup later this year.

Thabo Senong's side are set to depart for the global showpiece, to be played in Poland, in May.

Ngcobo only made his first-team debut for the Amakhosi earlier this month when he came on as a sub against Maritzburg United.

He was a key member of the national U20 team at the junior Africa Cup of Nations in Niger in February where South Africa came third to qualify for the World Cup.

Mahlambi: I've settled down at Sundowns

Mamelodi Sundowns forward Phakamani Mahlambi feels he is finally starting to settle down at the club after a slow start.

The 21-year-old joined Masandawana before the start of the season from Egyptian giants Al Ahly and hit the ground running when he scored on debut in a 3-3 draw against Amazulu.

However, Mahlambi never hit the back of the net in the league again until February in a 1-1 stalemate against Bidvest Wits and then followed that up with another striker in the next match against Cape Town City.

The former Bidvest Wits striker is currently in camp with the South Africa U23 side and has four goals in 22 appearances this season.

In quotes published on Kickoff, Mahlambi said: "It's all coming okay now and I've settled down.

"I've been doing well and for me to come to the national team now I think my confidence is a little bit higher.

"Hopefully I will do well also."

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane said he still has a lot of work to do with the Mahlambi to ensure he improves but has time on his side.

Former Pirates winger training with Bloemfontein Celtic

Former Orlando Pirates winger Sifiso Myeni is training with Bloemfontein Celtic hoping to impress the management and secure a contract.

The 30-year-old Myeni has not been able to get a deal with any club since leaving Bidvest Wits at the end of last season.

Myeni could add valuable experience to any team as he won league titles and Wits and Pirates.

Phunya Sele Sele coach Lehlohonolo Seema said that Myeni has been "interesting" in training but no decision has been yet with regards to offering the player a deal.

Seema told the Citizen: "He is still training and he has been interesting in training.

"But we are still looking at him. We have not made a decision yet."

Celtic's next game after the international break will be against Golden Arrows at home on March 30.

Mourinho: Mbappe should be the most expensive player

Jose Mourinho is convinced Paris Saint Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe is the world’s most valuable player.

Mbappe celebrated his 20th birthday on December 20 but has already bagged 52 goals from 73 appearances in all competitions for the Parc des Princes outfit.

Add to that 10 goals for France and a World Cup winner’s medal and it is obvious that the youngster has the footballing world at his feet.

The debate has been raging for some time as to which player would command the greatest fee in the transfer market but for ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid boss Mourinho, Mbappe is top dog.

"For a player like Mbappe, when you speak about the future, you don’t need to say what he’s going to be like in five years’ time, in 10 years’ time.

"Just focus on now.

"He’s absolutely incredible," he said.

"I think going by his age and considering the age of Cristiano, of Messi, both over 30, Neymar is 27, when you go to the market level and age is also a factor, I think he’s the most valuable player in the world.

"In a hypothetical transfer, he’s the most expensive player in football now."

Sanchez rejects United exit speculation

Alexis Sanchez has moved to play down speculation he is seeking to leave Man Utd and says he wants to win titles with the club.

Sanchez joined United in January 2018 from Arsenal but has failed to replicate the kind of form he showed for the Gunners.

The Chilean has been linked with a summer exit, having struggled to cement a place in caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, but Sanchez has indicated he has no intention of trying to force a move by stressing he wants to win silverware during his time at Old Trafford.

"United are such an important club, not only in England but on a global level, and I would love to help bring a trophy to the supporters," he told Inside United.

He added: "Obviously, I want to make the United fans really happy.

"I want to score goals.

"I want to bring them joy.

"I want to win silverware.

"When we lost last year’s FA Cup final to Chelsea, I was not happy.

"Not happy at all.

"In fact, I was sad because I just wanted to make our wonderful supporters happy.

"When I was younger, I liked United. I swear.

"As a small child I liked United, I really liked them and I want to show this and bring the people joy because, obviously, I want to win."

Sanchez is currently sidelined with a knee injury and it remains to be seen if he will recover in time for the Champions League quarter-final first leg visit of former club Barcelona on April 10.

European glory is now United’s only realistic chance of landing a trophy this season following their FA Cup exit at the weekend, while a top four finish looks a strong possibility and punters may wish to use their free bet to back the Old Trafford outfit to secure a Premier League top four finish.

Frosler in good space at Chiefs after Wits agony and suffering

Kaizer Chiefs defender Reeve Frosler says he is getting back to his best form and is starting to recover from his nightmare spell with Bidvest Wits.

Frosler fell out with the Clever Boys hierarchy when he entered the last year of his deal with the club.

It appears the reason for the falling out was that the 21-year-old was not keen to put pen to paper on a new deal yet this has not been confirmed.

Nonetheless, prior to his move to Chiefs in January, the player had been training with Wits' SAB League team, with his final appearance having come in April in the previous season.

Frosler is yet to make an appearance for the Glamour Boys as he fights to regain his fitness and overall sharpness.

He told Kickoff: "It was difficult...I mean, mentally...You just want to play soccer. I went to a few [first team] games at the stadium but eventually I couldn't do it anymore because I wanted to play and not sit in the stands and watch football.

"When I saw the guys playing, I used to think, 'I don't want to be sitting here, I want to be on the field and playing,' and that was very frustrating. But, thankfully, my family helped me get through it, I must admit.

"My Mom and Dad back home [in Port Elizabeth], we had constant phone calls, even though sometimes I would say, 'I don't want to speak to you.' There were a couple of fights with my Dad too, but I guess that's part of it.

"At least we got through it as a family, and my Jo'burg family helped me as well, so they've all been there for me and supported me throughout the past few months, and that's what got me through it.

"No, not really. It was just not seeing eye to eye, and eventually I got told to go down there, and it was fine. Some battles we can't fight, we just got to take it with a pinch of salt.

"But I've definitely gained some confidence over the past month or two and I'm feeling in a good space, both mentally and physically as well."

AmaZulu set to spend FIFA break in Swaziland

AmaZulu are set to spend two weeks in Swaziland during the FIFA break in order to play friendly matches and engage with supporters in that country.

In addition to playing two friendly matches, representatives from the club will visit Nelspruit Spar Distribution Centre from 22 until 24 March.

A delegation comprising management, the youth wing as well as the scouting department arrived in Swaziland on 18 March to meet the Swaziland Football Association.

According to Usuthu's official website, coach Cavin Johnson and senior players will link up with the delegation on Friday in Nelspruit to meet with workers.

Spar are a major sponsor of the Durban-based outfit having partnered with the side for a number of years.

Nonetheless, midfielder Siyabonga Sithebe is looking forward to the trip, saying: "Playing in Swaziland will be good, I'm really looking forward to the games and I believe that this trip will be a positive one for the team."

Usuthu will take on Manzini Wanderers and Mbabane Swallows on 23 and 24 March respectively at Mavuso Stadium.

Sithebe concluded that the same trip last season was fruitful: "The trip last year was imperative as we were also able to keep the team spirit alive within the team and it also served as a team building exercise as we were able to bond more as a team.

"Playing last year against the teams really helped as the coach was able to play everyone in the squad as it was FIFA week as well, we were able to regain focus and keep fit as well."

Boost for City as Fernandinho is set to return

Midfielder Fernandinho is set to hand defending Premier League champions Manchester City a huge boost by returning to action after the international break.

The Brazil midfielder, a vital component for the way in which boss Pep Guardiola asks his team to play, has been sidelined with a groin injury since last month's Carabao Cup final victory over Chelsea at Wembley.

The Citizens remain in the hunt for a quadruple of trophies this season and the availability again of the 33-year-old could prove crucial in whether they are successful in their quest.

While most of his colleagues are away, it is understood Fernandinho has remained behind in Manchester this week and will step up his rehab programme during the next 72 hours.

The veteran is eyeing City's trip to face relegation-threatened Fulham at Craven Cottage on March 30, with skipper Vincent Kompany and Benjamin Mendy also ready to re-enter the fray.

There are further encouraging signs injured Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne will not be too far behind them, with the Manchester giants increasingly confident the playmaker will be available for next month's Champions League quarter-final showdown with Tottenham Hotspur.

Everton linked with Roma striker

Everton's search for a striker could lead them to make a move for Bosnian ace Edin Dzeko in the summer.

Boss Marco Silva has gone with Richarlison up front for most of the campaign which has worked sporadically but does not appear to be a long-term solution for the future.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun have both been tried up front, also with limited success, so a move for an out-and-out goalscorer like Dzeko seems a sensible one.

The 33-year-old has been struggling a little in Serie A this season, netting seven goals in 21 matches but he has proved himself in the Champions League with five goals in six matches for Roma before they were knocked out by Porto.

Dzeko is under contract in Italy until the summer of 2020 but they have no intention of handing him a new deal so he could be on his way in the summer.

FIFA confirm South Africa's bid for 2023 World Cup

World football governing body FIFA have confirmed that South Africa is one of nine nations bidding to host the 2023 Women's World Cup.

Banyana Banyana are set to take part in the 2019 edition of the tournament in France and have been drawn against Germany, Spain and China in Group B.

The competition is set to get underway in June this year with the United States of America the defending champions.

Nonetheless, Banyana could qualify automatically should SA host the event in four years time.

FIFA said in a statement: "Following its invitation to all member associations (MAs) to express their interest in submitting a bid to host the final competition of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023, FIFA has received a total of nine expressions, namely from the following MAs (in alphabetical order by country):

Argentinian Football Association

Football Federation Australia

Bolivian Football Association

Brazilian Football Association

Colombian Football Association

Japan Football Association

Korea Football Association (expressing interest in a joint bid with DPR Korea Football Association)

New Zealand Football

South African Football Association."

Pitso nominates Lorch or Kekana to win Footballer of the Season

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane believes his captain Hlompho Kekana and Orlando Pirates star Thembinkosi Lorch are front-runners for PSL Footballer of the Season.

Kekana has never won the prestigious award despite being nominated on four previous occasions.

In addition, the battle axe has been a nominee for the PSL Midfielder of the Season for the previous three years, however, once again has never been given the gong.

Meanwhile, Lorch has managed 11 goals in all competitions as well as five league assists and is expected to be a major contender for personal accolades come the end of 2018/19.

Mosimane said: "I always speak about my players, I love my players so much. Kekana [is] unbelievable, maybe my Footballer of the Year.

"I know he failed to win midfielder of the year for five years in a row, five years in a row. Every time there is a midfielder who pops up and beats him, I don't know by one or two votes.

"But I'd vote for him for Footballer of the Year. He's 33, it's unbelievable. He is a pleasure to watch, unbelievable.

"Obviously we'd like to see Lorch nominated, why not? He's earned his dues, playing Champions League. He is playing in the PSL, in a battle for number one and two. That's it, those are the people."