Former Arsenal Captain Tony Adams to Take Over as President of Rugby Football League in 2019

​Former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams is set to become the new president of the Rugby Football League (RFL) in 2019, taking over from current head, Andy Burnham.

Adams, now 52, had become linked with the job after the charity that he started in 2000, Sporting Chance, worked in partnership with the RFL’s welfare programme. He has said in the past he is passionate about working with everyone in sport to raise the profile of mental health problems, gambling and substance addictions. 

Tony Adams

Adams said in a statement, as reported by ​Sky Sports: “It will be an honour to become the next President of the RFL. 

I am passionate about working with everyone in the sport to raise the profile of mental health, wellness and resilience, for players and for everyone in Rugby League. 

“I’d like to play my part in championing this brilliant sport on the national stage.” 

Arsenal v Aston Villa - Premier League

Adams made over 500 appearances for ​Arsenal, lifted two Premier League titles, three FA Cup’s and earned 66 England caps. He started his charity, Sporting Chance, in 2000, following his personal struggles with alcohol and drug abuse. 

The former England captain’s charity has helped more than 400 RFL players since its launch as Adams has been closely linked with the game. Sporting Chance has gone on to be heavily linked with other professional sports players across a variety of games as it helps fight mental health struggles.

Current RFL Chairman Brian Barwick added: “Tony Adams is known and respected throughout sport and beyond, not only for his outstanding playing career with Arsenal, but more recently for his pioneering work with Sporting Chance.”

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90min Exclusive: Hoffenheim Chief Scout Talks Reiss Nelson, Kerem Demirbay & Recruitment Philosophy

Bundesliga outfit TSG Hoffenheim’s rise through European football’s hierarchy over the last few years has been nothing short of breathtaking.

In 2016, Die Kraichgauer finished just one point above the relegation play-off place in the league table and behind the likes of Darmstadt, Ingolstadt, Hamburger SV and FC Köln, all of whom are now playing in the second tier of German football.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga

Within one year, inexperienced head coach Julian Nagelsmann guided Hoffenheim to a fourth-place finish. In his second full year in charge, Hoffenheim finished third in the Bundesliga table and ahead of Borussia Dortmund to guarantee Champions League football in Sinsheim.

Scouting chief Lutz Pfannenstiel explained how impressive having European football played at a club like Hoffenheim really is, but he added that all of their success is largely due to their managerial wonderkid Julien Nagelsmann.

It‘s a great achievement for our young club to play Champions League to grow and establish ourselves internationally,” Pfannenstiel told 90min. “For our young players, it’s essential to get this special experience to become better and better. 

“We hope also in the future we will reach the international places, so we’re going to grow constantly.

The big change was that we got Julian Nagelsmann as the new coach. He and our sporting director Alexander Rosen wanted different types of players, so we adjusted our scouting markets.

“We stopped our philosophy to buy mostly players from international leagues and focused on players from the Bundesliga, which we could afford.”

One such player was two-time Borussia Dortmund youth player, Kerem Demirbay. 

The Germany international joined the club for £1.5m just months after Nagelsmann’s arrival at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena and, as if in parallel with his head coach’s rise, Demirbay is among the most highly rated midfielder’s in the league.

“He is a complete midfielder with a great balance between offensive creativity and hard defensive work,” Pfannenstiel added. “If a player in his position also can score then you have the complete package.”

This season, Demirbay has been sitting back slightly deeper in the midfield, and his performances haven’t gone unnoticed by Jurgen Klopp, who is believed to be interested in bringing the midfielder to Liverpool.

Demirbay can play on various positions,” he continues. “He is not just technically but also tactically strong. His ability to solve pressure situations as well as playing the deadly pass makes him very important.”

Demirbay is not the only Hoffenheim player to be going above and beyond this season either. Arsenal loanee Reiss Nelson has followed in Jadon Sancho’s footsteps by lighting up the Bundesliga in his first ever season in Germany, scoring six goals.

We looked at him many times before signing him. We were convinced about his talent,” Pfannenstiel concluded. 

I think Hoffenheim is a very attractive club, with an outstanding coach, a young team and excellent conditions. He can develop in a team which plays offensive football in a calm environment. If I were 18 again, I would love to play for Hoffenheim.”

The England Under-21 international is already making a statement for his inclusion into the senior national team, and many expect that Nelson will be called up by Garth Southgate before he returns to Arsenal in 2019.

Following their match against Manchester City on Wednesday, Hoffenheim will only have three league games left before the end of the first half of the season – known as the Hinrunde Germany.

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Hosting second-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach will be first up for Nagelsmann’s side before a trip to SV Werder Bremen, while mid-table side Mainz 05 make the short journey south on the last matchday before the Winterpause.

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Arsenal Confirm Mesut Ozil Is Available for Selection Ahead of Europa League Clash

Arsenal playmaker Mesut Özil will be available for selection when the club takes on Qarabağ in their final Europa League group stage match on Thursday.

The World Cup-winning midfielder has been out of action for over a month following a back injury, with his last appearance coming back against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 11 November.

Arsenal FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Arsenal have maintained their unbeaten run even during Özil’s absence, but the club have confirmed on their official website that the German will be available for Unai Emery once again in mid-week.

Aaron Ramsey has also returned to full training this week and has been declared fit by Arsenal’s medical team, while Shkodran Mustafi is going to be assessed before Qarabağ’s trip to the Emirates.

Most importantly for Arsenal, Özil’s return will see their first team squad boosted when they travel to Southampton on Sunday, a team who have often proved to be the Gunners’ bogey team over the last few years.

All eyes will then be on December’s second North London derby, where Tottenham will travel across town to take on Emery’s Arsenal in the quarter final of the Carabao Cup.

Özil was forced to sit out of their first meeting earlier this month due to his back problems, where Arsenal secured a breathtaking 4-2 win, so the German will be eager to feature in the 11th North London derby of his career. 

Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

It will prove to be a fantastic opportunity for both teams to crown this season off with a piece of silverware, something which has so far alluded Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham.

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French Report Claims Arsenal Have Joined the Race for Highly Rated Lyon Midfielder Houssem Aouar

​Arsenal are said to be keen on pursuing Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar after his impressive performances for the French outfit so far this season.

Aouar has been turning heads across Europe with his displays for Lyon and he has already managed to bag five goals and four assists in all competitions. He was the stand out performer in a recent Champions League tie against Manchester City, sparking rumours of a potential big money move in January.

Lille v Olympique Lyon - French League 1

Reports from France suggested that ​City were expressing an interest in the 20-year-old and now, according to France Football (via ​Sport Witness), ​Arsenal are also looking to make an approach for his services.

Unai Emery is said to be impressed by Aouar’s versatility in midfield and sees him as a potential replacement for the outgoing ​Aaron Ramsey, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the season.

Whether or not the Gunners are able to qualify for the Champions League this season could prove to be a deciding factor. If they were to make a move, it would more than likely come at the end of the season for a fee rumoured to be worth €40m.

This news is in spite of the fact that Lyon’s president Jean-Michel Aulas has already insisted that he does not wish to sell Aouar, no matter what offer is on the table.

 

“A departure for Houssem Aouar? The door is totally closed for our most successful hope, who has come from the academy. I think he is the future of Lyon.” he told ​RMC Sport.

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“There will be very few departures this winter. We are not planning to let the world go this summer, we want to keep our players.”

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Arne Maier: 6 Things You Need to Know About the Arsenal and Manchester United Target

Arsenal and Manchester United have both been linked with Hertha Berlin star Arne Maier, as they look to potentially strengthen their squad’s in the January transfer window.

After putting in a number of impressive performances for the Bundesliga outfit, the 19-year-old has been courted by several European clubs, including Barcelona and fellow German side Bayern Munich. Although fellow youngster Jadon Sancho has perhaps taken the limelight off his counterpart in Germany’s top flight, Maier’s performances for club and country are causing a stir.

Here are six things you should know about the German midfielder.

6. Dubbed the ‘New Toni Kroos’

It’s one thing to be one of your country’s promising youngsters, but it’s quite another being compared to German World Cup-winning midfielder Toni Kroos.

But that’s exactly what has happened with Maier, with the midfielder’s performances for Hertha having caught the eye of renowned Arsenal scout Sven Mislintat. 

The 46-year-old has overseen several marquee signings including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lucas Torriera since arriving at the Emirates Stadium, and he has dubbed the youngster good enough to fill the boots of the Real Madrid man. Talk about pressure…

5. He Has a Great Work Ethic

While Maier’s goal-scoring exploits at youth level caught the eye of many, it’s his defensive work ethic that the 19-year-old is now renowned for. 

The wonderkid’s ‘engine like’ approach has shown he has all the attributes required to make it at the highest level, with Hertha reaping the benefits of his tireless efforts in midfield.

Should he move across to Premier League, he will need to put into practice the skills that he has been honing up until now. Doesn’t look as if that will be a problem mind you.

 

4. He’s an Experienced German Youth International

Having already made over 30 appearances in the outreaches of Germany’s youth teams, Maier’s international experience could prove handy in the forthcoming years.

On the cusp of a senior international call-up, he would follow in the footsteps of Premier League superstars Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane by breaking through at a relatively young age.

With the German senior side currently enduring a miserable run of form, they could turn to the likes of Maier sooner rather than later for help.

3. He’s Comfortable With the Ball at Both Feet

Some of the most gifted talents in the world struggle to operate with both feet. The same can’t be said for Maier, however, with the teenager more than adept with both digits.

Although he’s naturally right-footed, the youngster is certainly not afraid to switch feet in the trickiest of moments and with time on his side, chances to further develop his two-footed ability will present itself.

Surely an attribute that will impress many around the world.

2. He’s Already Won Awards

Although he was agonzingly ousted by Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz for Germany’s most prestigious youngster award in 2017-18 season, Maier’s second place finish still sent shockwaves through the country.

Previous podium finishers of the Fritz Walter Medal award include some of the biggest names in world football, such as Jerome Boateng, Manuel Never and Andre Schurrle. 

If that wasn’t enough, he led Hertha Under-19’s to victory over Schalke Under-19’s in the German A Juniors Championship Final.

1. He’s Valued Around the £15m Mark

With Arsenal and Manchester United leading the chase for Maier’s signature, either club may have to fork out a significant amount of cash to get any deal over the line.

His price tag stands at £15m – a remarkably mere figure in today’s market, and the Premier League giants would most likely have to pay double considering his age.

Nevertheless, Maier’s ever-growing reputation in Germany could soon give clubs no option but to pop a bid in before his price sky rockets.

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