Ranieri named manager of the year

 Posted by at 6:26 AM
May 172016
Ranieri had never won a league title in his career ahead of 2015-16

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has been named manager of the year by the League Managers’ Association.

The 64-year-old Italian was honoured after leading the Foxes to their maiden top-flight title in his first season with the club.

Ranieri also received the Premier League accolade, with Brighton’s Chris Hughton taking the Championship award.

Wigan’s Gary Caldwell and Northampton’s Chris Wilder took the League One and League Two honours respectively.

Ranieri is only the second non-British or Irish manager to win the prestigious accolade after Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger, who won it in both 2002 and 2004.

The Leicester boss had already picked up three manager of the month awards in the course of his side’s remarkable campaign, and was named Italian manager of the year in his homeland last month.

Hughton is the only manager to receive an award whose side did not win their division.

Brighton finished third in the second tier and were knocked out of the play-offs in the semi-finals on Monday by Sheffield Wednesday.

The Championship

Chris Hughton’s Brighton went 14 games unbeaten to end the Championship regular season but lost to Sheffield Wednesday in the play-offs

League One

Gary Caldwell guided Wigan to the League One title in his first full season as manager

League Two

Chris Wilder’s Northampton went 20 games without losing as they won League Two by 13 points

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May 172016
Sheffield Wednesday will play either Hull or Derby in the play-off final at Wembley

Sheffield Wednesday held off a spirited Brighton side to reach the Championship play-off final at Wembley on 28 May.

Lewis Dunk put the hosts ahead when he volleyed in a set-piece from Anthony Knockaert, who also hit the post during a dominant first-half display.

But Ross Wallace, who scored in the Owls’ 2-0 first-leg win, saw his cross drift in for the equaliser that secured a 3-1 aggregate win.

Wednesday, out of the top flight since 2000, will now face Derby or Hull.

The Tigers take a 3-0 lead into their home second leg of the semi-final on Tuesday.

Brighton’s fast start comes to nothing

Brighton, who finished third with 89 points, face a 34th consecutive season outside England’s top flight

No team had previously overturned a two-goal first-leg deficit to reach the final of the second-tier play-offs – and Brighton made every attempt to create a bit of history.

Boosted by the availability of both Knockaert and Dunk after injury and suspension respectively, the Seagulls made a lightning start and could easily have been in front in the tie by the time Dunk netted from close range.

Knockaert struck the woodwork with a curling free-kick and also headed wide from five yards before crossing for Dunk to halve Brighton’s deficit.

Any momentum from that opening goal quickly disappeared, however, as Wallace’s cross beat everybody in the penalty area and nestled in David Stockdale’s far corner.

The goal was allowed to stand, despite protests by Dunk that he had been pushed by Gary Hooper as the ball was played into the box.

Wednesday, undoubtedly second best in the first period, were rarely threatened after half-time as Brighton fell to a third Championship play-off semi-final defeat in four seasons.

Owls flying into the Premier League?

Ross Wallace scored for Sheffield Wednesday in both legs of their play-off semi-final

Wednesday – who finished sixth in the Championship table, 15 points behind Brighton – are one win away from returning to the top flight for the first time in 16 years.

Since their relegation in 2000, the Owls have spent four years in League One and had only registered two top-half finishes in the second tier before this season.

Dejphon Chansiri targeted Premier League football within two years when his consortium took control of the the South Yorkshire club in January 2015.

And, having supported head coach Carlos Carvalhal heavily in the transfer market this season, the Thai businessman could get his wish ahead of schedule.


Chris Sutton, ex-Blackburn striker on BBC Radio 5 live

“I really feel for Brighton, but credit to Sheffield Wednesday for their second-half performance.

“They were extremely comfortable. They had the strokes of luck with Brighton missing chances and a couple off the line in the first half.

“Over the two legs, Brighton haven’t had the luck and it’s Sheffield Wednesday who are celebrating.

“Glenn Loovens and Tom Lees were terrific at centre-half for Sheffield Wednesday, Keiren Westwood was commanding in goal and they are one game away from the top flight.”

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May 162016

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Euro 2016: Marcus Rashford deserves England call-up – Alan Shearer

Wayne Rooney is no longer England’s number one striker, says former national team captain Alan Shearer.

England skipper and leading all-time goalscorer Rooney has been named in the provisional 26-man squad for Euro 2016.

Shearer says the 30-year-old is more suited to a midfield role, behind Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy.

“There was always going to be a place for the captain and rightly so,” he said. “But the days of Wayne being the number one striker are gone.”

How well do you remember previous England squad announcements? Take our quiz.

Match of the Day pundit Shearer, who was top scorer at the European Championship 20 years ago, added: “He’s still got a lot to offer.

“I think Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy deserve to have their chance up front but I still think Wayne has a part to play, whether that is in midfield or the number 10 role.”

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Euro 2016: England’s Roy Hodgson under no pressure to start Wayne Rooney

‘England’s Achilles heel’

Gary Cahill (left) and Chris Smalling (right) are likely to start in the centre of defence for England

Manchester United forward Rooney was one of five strikers named by Roy Hodgson in his squad on Monday, along with Tottenham’s Kane, Leicester’s Vardy, Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and another Manchester United player, Marcus Rashford.

Newcastle winger Andros Townsend and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere have also been called up, with Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling (Manchester United) and John Stones (Everton) the three centre-backs selected.

“Defensively would be my one worry for England,” said Shearer. “I would be confident with us going forward and in midfield but the old Achilles heel is defensively – certainly down the middle at centre-half, which has been a problem for a number of years. We don’t seem to have been able to solve that.”

Who do you think should start at Euro 2016? Step into Roy Hodgson’s shoes and pick your XI – and then share it with your friends using our brand new team selector.

‘Rashford a bright prospect’

Rashford, 18, has scored seven goals in 16 appearances for Manchester United this season and has been given his international chance following an injury to Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck.

“He has been one of the bright sparks for Manchester United this season,” said Shearer. “He probably wouldn’t have got his chance other than injury to some players but he did get it and he took it.

“He has been full of energy, scored goals and he looks a bright prospect. It will be great experience for him, even if Roy doesn’t take him to France.”

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Euro 2016: Marcus Rashford, a breakthrough star in 15/16

‘Looking towards youth’

Rashford was selected ahead of Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe, who has scored 18 goals this season, including five in the past nine games of the season.

“Once Jermain had left this country and gone to play in Canada then that was probably his England career gone,” said Shearer, in reference to the six months Defoe spent with Toronto FC prior to joining the Black Cats in January 2015.

“Having said that, he has had a magnificent season with Sunderland. But Roy is now looking towards youth and rightly so.”

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Who’s in Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad?

‘Drinkwater deserves his place’

Midfielder Danny Drinkwater has played a big role in helping Leicester win the title, making 37 appearances for the Foxes.

He has been selected along with Arsenal’s Wilshere, who broke his leg in August and only made his first start of the season on Sunday. Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, who missed a month before returning for the final game of the season, is also included.

“I’d be surprised if Roy was to take all three of Drinkwater, Henderson and Wilshere,” added Shearer. “That would be a big gamble, particularly with the lack of fitness of Henderson and Wilshere.

“Wilshere has only started one game and Drinkwater has been magnificent all season. He deserves a place in the squad.”

Danny Drinkwater is one of two players from champions Leicester in the England squad

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