Monday’s latest stories from the world of football in ESPN FC’s What’s Trending …
LIVERPOOL: Brazil playmaker Philippe Coutinho has declared himself fit to face England on Tuesday, and insists he is happy with life at Liverpool despite his failure to force a move to Barcelona in the summer.
– Senegal forward Sadio Mane will return home early from international duty after reporting a minor issue with the hamstring injury from which he has just recovered.
– Andrew Robertson said he had spoken to Jurgen Klopp about his lack of game time and been told he remains part of the manager’s first-team plans.
– Romelu Lukaku says he is “like a leopard in the box” after the Manchester United striker ended his recent goal drought with a brace for Belgium.
– Marcus Rashford has been in love with Brazilian football since the age of five and based his game on the fearless forward play of Ronaldo.
BELGIUM: Kevin De Bruyne has questioned Belgium coach Roberto Martinez’s tactics, saying the country cannot just rely on their individual talents at the World Cup.
UEFA WORLD CUP PLAYOFFS: Northern Ireland saw their World Cup dream die in Basel on Sunday, though it was a controversial penalty three days earlier that ultimately sent Switzerland through to Russia.
– Croatia comfortably negotiated the second leg of their playoff tie against Greece with a goalless draw sealing their place at next summer’s World Cup.
– Christian Eriksen says leading Denmark to the 2018 World Cup with a playoff win against Republic of Ireland in Dublin would eclipse the achievement of inspiring Tottenham to victory against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
ARGENTINA: Gabriel Batistuta says Lionel Messi surpassing his Argentina goal-scoring record annoyed him but told Telefe he is at least “second to an extra-terrestrial.”
ENGLAND: Gareth Southgate is attempting to build a squad of leaders ahead of the World Cup and that may lead to another new captain for Tuesday’s friendly with Brazil.
– Ruben Loftus-Cheek found it harder to break through at Chelsea because of established first-team players who felt threatened by his ability, according to England manager Gareth Southgate.
– Patrice Evra’s agent Federico Pastorello says his client’s career is not over after he was banned, fined and sacked for kicking a fan ahead of Marseille’s Europa League tie at Guimaraes earlier this month.
– Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has withdrawn from the France squad for Tuesday’s friendly against Germany in Cologne.
AUSTRALIA: Tim Cahill says he’ll move heaven and earth to return Australia to the World Cup and declared everything else — including his own health — secondary to the Socceroos reaching next year’s tournament.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND: The trial of a 28-year-old German-Russian man accused of carrying out a bomb attack on Borussia Dortmund’s team bus is set to begin on Dec. 21, Dortmund’s regional court has announced.
– Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer has backed Peter Bosz and told kicker: “It’s our duty to give something back to the coach.”
BAYERN MUNICH: Jupp Heynckes has criticised Bayern Munich’s failure to sign top young German talents such as Timo Werner and urged the club to spend big on the very best players if the opportunity arises.
– Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Julian Draxler has dismissed speculation linking him with a move to Bayern Munich.
WEST HAM: Stuart Pearce has returned to West Ham as new manager David Moyes’ assistant and will join Alan Irvine on Moyes’ coaching staff.
– Moyes has told Javier Hernandez he will be given the chance to establish himself in his West Ham attack but warned he would not be allowed special treatment.
JUVENTUS: Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta has said it was a shock to lose Dani Alves to Paris Saint-Germain but felt Leonardo Bonucci’s switch to AC Milan was less surprising.
– Athletic Bilbao and Spain goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga says he is aware of rumours linking him with a move to Real Madrid next summer, but remains focused on performing for his current club and national team.
– Isco had to leave Spain’s 5-0 friendly victory over Costa Rica with an injury on Saturday, but his teammate Alvaro Morata believes it is not serious.
UNITED STATES: Acting United States manager Dave Sarachan says he doesn’t think the U.S. Soccer Federation “needs to blow up the template and start from scratch” in the wake of the team’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
MLS: Chicago Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez has called keeping Designated Player Bastian Schweinsteiger at the club for the 2018 season “a priority.”
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