AHEAD OF THE GAME: Ben Chilwell's England place in jeopardy

AHEAD OF THE GAME: Ben Chilwell’s England place in jeopardy with left-back set to be passed fit for Chelsea less than a week on from limping off after 38 minutes in Belgium

  • Ben Chilwell is set to play for Chelsea against Newcastle United on Saturday
  • But he limped off after 38 minutes on Sunday in England’s loss to Belgium
  • Burnley takeover talks are holding back Sean Dyche’s Burnley plans in January
  • England goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson has angered dressing room 

Ben Chilwell faces a battle to re-establish himself as England’s left back. Gareth Southgate was disappointed that Chilwell limped out of Sunday’s Nations League defeat by Belgium with a sore back.

The Chelsea defender was making his first England appearance for a year, but only managed 38 minutes after being picked against the world’s No 1 ranked side. He lost his place to Bukayo Saka for Wednesday’s dead rubber against Iceland.

Chilwell is expected to be fit for Chelsea’s Premier League game at Newcastle on Saturday after resuming training on Friday, which would harden the suspicion of some in the England camp that he could have played on in Belgium.

As well as Saka, Chilwell has competition from Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Kieran Trippier.

Ben Chilwell was back training among his Chelsea team-mates on Friday (above)

But the left-back had only limped off against Belgium last Sunday while playing for England

Burnley have told manager Sean Dyche that all contract talks and negotiations with January transfer targets must be placed on hold until the proposed takeover at Turf Moor is completed.

The club are the subject of rival bids from American investment firm ALK Capital and Egyptian businessman Mohamed El Kashashy, with both parties willing to meet owner Mike Garlick’s £200million asking price.

While Burnley are confident that one of the deals will go through, a delay could jeopardise their Premier League future, as Dyche’s side are second-bottom and the squad looks to need an overhaul.

Sean Dyche has seen Burnley takeover talks put a hold on his plans for in January

England keeper coach Margetson riles stars

England goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson’s frank interview on Sky Sports last week, in which he offered candid assessments of Gareth Southgate’s goalkeepers, was not well received in the dressing room.

In a fascinating chat with former England goalkeeper Rob Green from the squad’s base at St George’s Park, Margetson was surprisingly critical about the techniques of Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope and Dean Henderson — although he did praise the physical attributes of all three and their shot-stopping ability.

England No 1 Pickford bore the brunt of the criticism, with Margetson pointing out his hands are often too low and not symmetrical, which he said made saves more difficult.

The 26-year-old has endured a torrid season at Everton and appears in need of a confidence boost.

Margetson added that Henderson’s body position is too low but was mostly complimentary about Pope. Pickford retains Southgate’s support, despite his travails.

England goalkeeper coach Martyn Margetson (right) has riled up players in the senior team following his critical points on players including No 1 stopper Jordan Pickford (left)

EFL help Premier League exploit meal loophole

Premier League managers have EFL counterparts to thank for being able to hold pre-match meals with players ahead of this weekend’s matches.

Government guidance to clubs regarding the second national lockdown included the stipulation that team dinners in communal areas are prohibited, leaving them to rely on hotel room service.

But the EFL were quick to spot a loophole, arguing that pre-match meals should be categorised as business meetings because they are an integral part of preparing players to do their job. After consultation, Government gave the green light. That was noted by the Premier League, who followed suit.

PR talks didn’t help Clarke 

Greg Clarke’s disastrous appearance in front of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee — in which he made a series of offensive comments about race and sexuality that led to his resignation — was all the more astonishing given the FA chairman had received two briefings from PR experts before taking questions from MPs.

In addition to being thoroughly prepared by the FA’s award-winning communications team, Clarke received a briefing from an external public affairs company retained by the FA to offer strategic advice. Whatever advice they offered, it clearly fell on deaf ears. 

FA chairman Greg Clarke made a series of offensive comments in front of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee

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