Youth Teams

Wilfred Ndidi reveals how he became a midfielder

Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi has credited former Genk manager Peter Maes for switching his playing position from centre-back to midfield. Last season, the Nigeria international was drafted into the heart of the Foxes’ defence on several occasions and he delivered some impressive performances. His initial knowledge as a centre-back has also helped him shine in the Premier League as one of the best defensive midfielders in the division. The 24-year-old, who moved to King Power Stadium in January 2017, disclosed that his role was changed at Genk after he played for Nigeria’s youth teams and his former side Nath Boys as a defender. “I started my career as a central defender during my days in Nath Boys. Even in the U-17, U-20, national team…I was a defender,” Ndidi told the Guardian ...

Jordi Cruyff returning to Barcelona in advisor role

Jordi Cruyff, the son of Barcelona legend Johan, is returning to Camp Nou in an advisor role. The 47-year-old followed in the footsteps of his famous father when stepping out of the La Masia academy system in Catalunya. Much of his career was spent away from Barca, while he has also dabbled in coaching since hanging up his boots, but a familiar face now forms part of the restructuring work being put in behind the scenes by Blaugrana president Joan Laporta. Barca have said in a statement on the club’s official website: “FC Barcelona announces that Jordi Cruyff will join the football area of the Club and form part of the new organisational structure as of August 1. “Jordi Cruyff, who was a player in Barca’s youth teams and in the Barca first team from 1993 to 1996, returns in a strategic rol...

Barcelona, Atletico Madrid ordered to further tighten belts by La Liga

FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will have to cut down the costs of their squads by more than 35 million euros ($42.14 million) following new salary limits imposed by La Liga on Tuesday to cope with the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The figures, published twice annually following each transfer window, dictate how much teams can spend on players, coaches, support staff and their youth teams. They are calculated in line with revenues, which have been obliterated by coronavirus restrictions preventing fans from attending matches for 12 months while depressing the transfer market and reducing income from merchandising. Barcelona are the club most acutely affected by the new limits and will be forced to reduce their costs by an additional 35.7 million euros, to 347 million. League ...

Dimitar Berbatov warns Manchester United’s Shola Shoretire not to relax

Manchester United Double winner, Dimitar Berbatov, has warned Shola Shoretire not to relax. The 17-year-old came off the bench to make his senior debut against Newcastle at the weekend, playing the final minutes in what he described as a “dream come true”. Berbatov told Betfair: “It is a great moment for a player at 17 to make his debut at Old Trafford. He must have shown something in training and the youth teams which made that happen. “He has made the first step and now the difficult thing is to show Ole and the coaching staff that he can back that up. He has to prove he belongs there. He just needs to keep pushing and show himself in the eyes of the coaching staff. “In Shola’s situation, you must train like your life depends on it. “You need to show everyone that you are here and are wa...

Mutiu Adepoju: It is wrong to call young players next Lionel Messi or Austin Okocha

AOIFOOTBALL.COM Former Super Eagles midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju, says it is wrong to call young players the next Lionel Messi or Austine Jay Jay Okocha since it puts them under lots of pressure. Adepoju, who is also nicknamed the “headmaster” in his playing days disclosed this when he spoke with BBC Sport. According to him, local media and fans must stop as it is not good for the growth of the players. He said: “I believe calling young players in the youth teams as the next Messi or Jay-Jay Okocha is unfair and unnecessary. “Indulging in this comparison is setting them up for failure because the weight of expectations will definitely affect these players mentally. “It’s the main reason some players refused to work hard and be themselves because they easily get carried away by what the press ...