Walcott has to answer his Arsenal critics, says Hodgson

The England boss believes the winger is facing an “important few months” as he attempts to secure a regular first-team role under Arsene Wenger at the Emirates


England manager Roy Hodgson believes Theo Walcott has to “satisfy a few of his critics” and claims the winger faces an “important few months” at Arsenal.

The 26-year-old returned from a 10-month layoff in November but a groin injury has added to a disrupted campaign in which he has managed just five starts in all competitions.

Walcott has been named in the England squad for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania on Friday, as well as Tuesday’s friendly with Italy, but has been warned by Hodgson that he is not considered an automatic starter for the national team, given his lack of playing time at Arsenal.

“That’s the thing about football, isn’t it? If you’re not careful, there’s always someone behind you waiting to take your place,” said the England boss.

“It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Every time, sometimes through no fault of your own, you can be injured. But then, suddenly, your position, which had looked very secure, suddenly six months down the line, is not so secure.

“Crossroads is probably quite a tough term. I don’t want to be quoted saying he’s at a crossroads. But it is an important few months for him.

“He’s got to satisfy a few of his critics and, if you like, make certain that a) he stays fit and b) gets his place back as one of the first names on the Arsenal team sheet. When he does that, he might be pushing to be a first name on the England team sheet.”

Walcott has to satisfy his critics with Arsenal, says Hodgson

The England boss believes the winger is facing an “important few months” as he attempts to secure a regular first-team role under Arsene Wenger at the Emirates


England manager Roy Hodgson believes Theo Walcott has to “satisfy a few of his critics” and claims the winger faces an “important few months” at Arsenal.

The 26-year-old returned from a 10-month layoff in November but a groin injury has added to a disrupted campaign in which he has managed just five starts in all competitions.

Walcott has been named in the England squad for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania on Friday, as well as Tuesday’s friendly with Italy, but has been warned by Hodgson that he is not considered an automatic starter for the national team, given his lack of playing time at Arsenal.

“That’s the thing about football, isn’t it? If you’re not careful, there’s always someone behind you waiting to take your place,” said the England boss.

“It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Every time, sometimes through no fault of your own, you can be injured. But then, suddenly, your position, which had looked very secure, suddenly six months down the line, is not so secure.

“Crossroads is probably quite a tough term. I don’t want to be quoted saying he’s at a crossroads. But it is an important few months for him.

“He’s got to satisfy a few of his critics and, if you like, make certain that a) he stays fit and b) gets his place back as one of the first names on the Arsenal team sheet. When he does that, he might be pushing to be a first name on the England team sheet.”

Schneiderlin: I want to play in Champions League

The Southampton midfielder has long been linked with a move to Arsenal and he has now admitted that he intends to play in Europe’s elite club competition next season


Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has placed even more uncertainty on his future, stating that he wants to play in the Champions League next season.

The France international has long been linked with a move to the Emirates, while Schneiderlin’s former manager Mauricio Pochettino has been keen to reunite with the midfielder at Tottenham.

Spurs’ hopes of landing Schneiderlin have faded in recent months, however, with the club taking steps to identify potential alternatives – including James McCarthy – but the Gunners are believed to retain a keen interest in the 25-year-old, and they have now been boosted in their pursuit after he revealed his intention to play in Europe’s elite club competition in 2014-15.

“I don’t want to be in front of the TV on Tuesday and Wednesday,” he told L’Equipe.

However, Schneiderlin has not set his heart on leaving St Mary’s, revealing that he would stay at the club were they to crowbar their way into the top four between now and the end of the season.

“But at the end of the season, Southampton could qualify for the Champions League and I could also stay. Who knows…”

Szczesny must quit Arsenal after Wenger snub, claims Dudek

The former Poland international has urged his compatriot to seek pastures new after losing his place in the Gunners’ starting XI to David Ospina


Former Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek has urged Wojciech Szczesny to leave Arsenal after losing his place in the starting XI to David Ospina.

Szczesny fell out of favour at the club in January after he was caught smoking in the showers after the club’s loss to Southampton at St Mary’s.

Ospina has subsequently become Wenger’s first-choice, and, as a result, ex-Poland international Dudek believes Szczesny should leave the Emirates in search of first-team football when the transfer window reopens this summer.

“It’s a serious matter,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

“If I were in his place, I would wonder whether there are still opportunities to arise at Arsenal and wouldn’t wait as long as Fabianski, because you can see that Arsene Wenger is firmly set on David Ospina.

“Fortunately, [Poland] have two other goalkeepers who are able to provide an adequate level in our goal.”

Szczesny has long been Poland’s No.1 but Dudek believes his fall from grace means that he is unlikely to feature when the country face the Republic of Ireland in a Euro 2016 qualifier on March 29.

“Lukasz Fabianski is in excellent form and, on the other hand, Artur Boruc is very experienced,” he added.

“I think [Adam] Nawalka [Poland manager] will wait to make the decision until the very end. Wojciech is the least likely to play in the match with Ireland.”

Premier League clubs record profit for first time in 15 years

The combined total from all 20 clubs from the 2013/14 season stands at £190 million – nearly four times greater than the previous record


Premier League clubs have recorded a combined pre-tax profit for the first time in 15 years, according to analysts at Deloitte.

The combined total from all 20 clubs from the 2013/14 season stands at £190 million – almost four times greater than the previous record of £49m set in 1997-98.

Over the last decade, pre-tax losses from Premier League clubs add up to £2.6 billion.

Premier League sides also recorded a staggering £620m at operating profit level – a figure greater than the previous six seasons combined.
 
“Last season was the first in the Premier League’s current three-year broadcast deal, which was a record breaker when it was struck,” said Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.

“Combined with strong commercial growth at the highest revenue generating clubs, this has boosted Premier League revenue 29% to a record £3.3bn. However, despite this extra income clubs showed relative restraint in wage costs, which grew by 6% to £1.9bn.
 
“In the first year of the preceding two broadcast deals, 56% and 81% of respective revenue growth was absorbed by wage costs. This time it is less than 20%. Over the previous ten seasons wages grew by around 9% per year, which is higher than the average annual revenue growth of 7% over that period, demonstrating further what a remarkable turnaround the 2013/14 figures represent.

“The primary aim of a football club is, and always should be, on-pitch success for the fans. However, we do welcome these results, which show that the Premier League clubs are starting to convert their impressive revenue growth into a more sustainable net result.

“With the recent announcement of another record Premier League broadcast deal, the revenue increases show no sign of ending and should make this season’s profit a regular outcome. Such profits provide the clubs with a great opportunity to invest further in their facilities and youth development activities, but will also no doubt make Premier League clubs even more attractive to potential investors than they already were. They can now be reasonably profitable businesses as well as trophy assets.”