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Anthony Martial says Paul Pogba could win Ballon d’Or within next five years


Anthony Martial has hailed Paul Pogba as “probably the best midfield player in the world" and claims his Manchester United and France team-mate could win the Ballon d’Or within the next five years. Speaking to MUTV, Martial praised Pogba, who has played a key part in Manchester United's impressive start to the Premier League season with consecutive 4-0 wins over West Ham and Swansea, for his character both on and off the field.

Pogba joined United from Juventus last August in what was a world-record fee of £89m, before going on to score nine goals from 53 appearances for United during the 2016/17 campaign.


Martial feels the 24-year-old can in time become the world's best footballer and said: "Paul is very mentally strong and he is very sure of himself.


"He is a big guy, he is very technical on the ball and he has lots of endurance. I would say he is probably the best midfield player in the world.


"He is still young, too, so he has a lot to work on and he can get even better. As a person, you can see he is always the same.


"If he continues to play and improve like he is doing then I think he is also going to win the Ballon d'Or award in the next five years."


Martial highlighted the physical and mental attributes of his "good friend," who has already contributed two goals and four assists just two games into this term.


"He is funny, always smiling, he doesn't take himself too seriously, I always see him laughing and he is a good friend of mine," the 21-year-old added.


"He is the same person on and off the pitch, and he'll continue to be like this."


Speaking of his international and domestic partnership with Pogba, Martial revealed his high hopes for what the pair can achieve together within the next five years.


"We want to win a lot of trophies together at United," he said.


"We also want to win the World Cup with France."

Sadio Mane is more important to Liverpool than Philippe Coutinho, says Jamie Carragher


Sadio Mane is more important to Liverpool than Philippe Coutinho, says Jamie Carragher, who maintains that the Brazilian will not be sold this summer.

The Senegal international scored the winning goal for the Reds on Saturday as they saw off Crystal Palace for their first Premier League win of the season, but Coutinho was left out of the squad due to a back injury.

The winger continues to attract interest from Barcelona, but when quizzed if Mane was more important to the Reds than his Brazilian team-mate, Carragher was inclined to agree.


"I'd make an argument for that, especially with the way Jurgen Klopp likes to play. I think he's massively important," he said on Monday Night Football.


"You see the goals that he's got and his goals record for a wide player is phenomenal since he's come to the club.


"All the other players on the list are top strikers in the Premier League. For Mane to be there, it shows his impact.


"If you compare him to Coutinho, who is a fantastic player which is why Barcelona want him, but if he carries on the way he is going, the top clubs around Europe will be looking at him because he has been a revelation since he came in."


While Coutinho's future is yet to be decided, former Liverpool defender Carragher does not believe the club will sell the winger at this late stage in the transfer window due to their own lack of activity.


"They will hang onto Coutinho now, of course. I don't think there is any doubt now. I said a few weeks ago that they can't sell him, but the problem is it becomes more political rather than the business of it," he added.


"Liverpool have had such a poor window, they couldn't be seen to be letting go of him. Now if Liverpool three big targets of Virgil Van Dijk, Naby Keita and Mo Salah had all come in the door, it may have been easier to prise him away.


"Even a supporter might have thought '120m for Coutinho?' with the ability to go and spend that with a few weeks of the season to go, but they were never going to sell him because of the fact they had not bought enough players in."

Atletico Madrid are 'missing an out-and-out striker', says Terry Gibson


Atletico Madrid are "missing an out-and-out centre forward" which is a role Diego Costa would fit perfectly, says Terry Gibson.

There is an ongoing transfer saga surrounding the current Chelsea striker, who says he wants to return to the La Liga club where he spent four years between 2010 and 2014. After battling to a 2-2 draw against newly-promoted Girona on Saturday, Gibson believes that there is plenty of room for improvement for Atleti and they need some reinforcements in attack.


"I still think they are missing an out-and-out centre-forward that allows them to get up the pitch from deep defensive positions at times and to run the channels," he told the La Liga Weekly podcast.


"The man we all know about [Costa] fits the bill perfectly. Whether or not that happens I don't know, but they've spent all that money trying to replace him when he left in the first place.


"It's tough on Fernando Torres. He's 33 now and he was totally isolated from the rest of his team on Saturday. They were all so deep in the first half, when the ball was launched forward to him, the three man central defence of Girona were able to deal with it comfortably. It would have been easy to be critical of Torres but he wasn't getting any service.


"They had Mario Mandzukic and Jackson Martinez in the past but it's clear in the way that Diego Simeone likes to operate, you do need that big, aggressive centre-forward with pace, who can run the channels and then allow the midfielders and full-backs to push forward.


"We don't see the full-backs getting forward for Atletico now in the manner that they did when they had that successful period. There is massive room for improvement from Atletico Madrid."


It was a drama-filled match for Simeone's side at the Estadi Montilivi at the weekend, with former Middlesbrough striker Christian Stuani giving Girona a 2-0 first-half lead before Antonie Griezmann was sent off in the 67th minute.


But goals from Angel Correa and Jose Gimenez snatched a point for the visitors and Gibson has questioned why they did not go for the big win from the start of the match.


"Atletico Madrid with the stature that they have and the quality of player that they have, they should have gone and dominated and bosses that game from the first minute," the Sky Sports Spanish football expert added.


"It goes back to what I have been saying for a while now about Simeone. I am beginning to consider that now his team are no longer underdogs - it was OK when they were underdogs to be negative, solid and hard to beat and break down - but they have changed from being underdogs.


"The amount of money they've invested on fantastic players, I think they need to be more expansive. The proof was there in the second half when Griezmann was sent off and they were still 2-0 down. Simeone threw all caution to the wind and all of his attacking players onto the field. There was no system, they got the two goals and at one point, you thought they could go on and get all three points.


"On one hand, there was remarkable spirit shown by Atletico in the second half but why wait until they are behind? We like having a third big team in the league and I'm hoping - although I'm not that hopeful - that the scare at the weekend in the first half will help them."

Wayne Rooney enjoys 'sweet moment' after netting 200th Premier League goal


Wayne Rooney says it was a "sweet moment" to score his 200th Premier League goal against Manchester City. The Everton forward managed to put a smile on the face of his former club Manchester United as well as his current one on Monday evening by opening the scoring at City, a strike that was cancelled out late on by substitute Raheem Sterling as the match finished 1-1.

Asked how sweet it was scoring at the Etihad Stadium, the Everton forward said with a laugh: "What, again?

"Of course, it was nice obviously with my history with Manchester United. I've scored a few times here.

"To do it today in such an important game for us, so early in the season, we've got tough games coming up, it was a sweet moment and I am sure the red half of Manchester will have enjoyed that one as well."

It was another promising display from rejuvenated Rooney, who ran further than any other Everton player on Monday evening.

"Well, it is not bad for someone who is not fit anymore and can't get about the pitch," he told Sky Sports.

"No, I have always put a shift in for the team, I've always done that, and tonight was no different.

"Obviously towards the end it was getting tough for us, they were putting a lot of pressure, but I think it was a good result for us.

"We'll go back, look at it, and see what we could have done better, especially when they had 10 men."

Last season's lack of match fitness and form meant Rooney was omitted from England's last two meet-ups.

The squad for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia will be named on Thursday and manager Gareth Southgate was at the Etihad Stadium for Monday's game.

"We'll see," Rooney said of his England chances. "I am focusing on Everton.

"I am sure I will speak to Gareth Southgate over the next few days and we'll have a conversation and see what happens."

Everton boss Ronald Koeman praised Rooney after the match but was less complimentary about the refereeing display of Bobby Madley at the Etihad Stadium.

City's Kyle Walker harshly received a second yellow having been adjudged to have floored Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the first half, with Morgan Schneiderlin picking up a second booking late in the game.






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