Could Dean Henderson unseat David de Gea as Man United's No 1?

Dean Henderson has bounced back from an early season dressing down by Chris Wilder to become a star Premier League performer… Jamie Carragher named him in his team of the year, but could he really unseat David de Gea as Man United’s No 1 next season?

  • Dean Henderson has had an impressive season on loan at Sheffield United 
  • Chris Wilder wants to have the goalkeeper at Bramall Lane for another season  
  • The youngster could challenge a struggling David de Gea at Manchester United
  • The postponement of the Euros may help his chances of being England’s No 1 too

The suspension of football came at the worst time for Dean Henderson who was enjoying his best season of professional football.

The Manchester United goalkeeper has spent the last two seasons on loan at Sheffield United and has quickly become a fan favourite. 

Henderson helped the Blades achieve promotion from the Championship with the most clean sheets in the division and has more than made the step-up to the Premier League this year. 

Chris Wilder’s side have been the surprise team of the 2019-2020 campaign. The club were seventh when football was halted, five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with a game in-hand.

Henderson has kept 10 clean sheets, level with Ederson and Kasper Schmeichel and only Nick Pope and Alisson have kept more.

His manager has described him as ‘outstanding’ and made clear he would be thrilled to have him in South Yorkshire for at least another season, if not permanently. But could he challenge David de Gea for the No 1 jersey at Old Trafford?

Dean Henderson has been impressive while on loan at Sheffield United for the last two seasons

He helped the Blades achieve promotion last season and has stepped up to the Premier League

Manager Chris Wilder described him as ‘outstanding’ with the Blades keeping 10 clean sheets

Henderson vs de Gea – can the Englishman become United’s first choice? 

United tied down both of their goalkeepers to new contracts in the summer. 

Henderson’s deal runs until 2022 with the option of an extra year but importantly de Gea’s lasts until 2023, also with a one year extension option.

The Spaniard’s last two seasons for the Red Devils have been below the high standards he has previously set for himself.

The 29-year-old has made a number of high-profile errors with the most recent one coming against Everton when his misplaced clearance led to the Toffees’ opener.

In fact, de Gea is at the top of the list for the most errors leading directly to a goal since the start of the 2018-2019 campaign.

The 23-year-old penned a new deal with Manchester United which will keep him there till 2023

David de Gea is the first choice ‘keeper at United but has had two seasons of high profile errors

Henderson has too made his fair share of blunders. Last season the shot-stopper cost his team a point against promotion and Yorkshire rivals Leeds United when he gave the ball away. 

In the summer he was partly at fault for England under-21’s early exit from the European Championships after fumbling a long-range shot in a defeat by Romania.

And this season he cost the Blades what would have been a historic point at home to Liverpool after dropping Georginio Wijnaldum’s tame effort into the net.

But importantly, the youngster has shown character to comeback from his mistakes and after a dressing down from boss Wilder.

Henderson has also made mistakes but has been commended for the response he has shown

Blades boss Wilder criticised Henderson earlier on in the season but he has bounced back

Jamie Carragher named Henderson as the keeper in his Premier League team of the season

He has been almost faultless since his error against the Reds and his manager said he has shown ‘great mental strength’ to overcome the pain he felt after that game.

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher selected Henderson in his team of the season so far but also believes he should stay at Sheffield United if he wants to be England’s No1.

Former Red Devils ‘keeper Peter Schmeichel recently gave his view on who should be first choice at Old Trafford and the Dane was clear that the Spaniard should keep the shirt until Henderson has consistently proven his ability in the Premier League.

HENDERSON STATS

GAMES – 27

CLEAN SHEETS – 10

SAVE PERCENTAGE – 75%

ERRORS LEADING TO GOALS – 1 

NUMBER OF PASSES – 695

DE GEA STATS

 GAMES – 29

CLEAN SHEETS – 8

SAVE PERCENTAGE – 71%

ERRORS LEADING TO GOALS – 3 

NUMBER OF PASSES – 595

De Gea is the highest paid player at United and with a further three, potentially four, years left to run on his contract, Henderson may have to bide his time. 

The desire to play regular football could see him return to the Blades for another year but there will come a point where he may have to commit his future to one club. 

Ben Foster had two loan spells and two seasons sat on the bench during his five years at Old Trafford. His lack of game time put him down the international pecking order and he failed to ever become United’s first choice. Henderson will want to avoid the same fate.

England’s No1 ? 

Henderson’s impressive season had led to suggestions he could usurp Jordan Pickford as England’s No 1 before this summer’s Euros were cancelled.

The Everton shot-stopper has endured a more testing campaign, with just six clean sheets and several costly mistakes to his name.

However, the postponement of the tournament gives Henderson another year to prove himself. 

Gareth Southgate only called him into the senior squad in October and he is yet to make his Three Lions debut. The chances of the England manager opting for Henderson would have been slim.

Southgate is also known to favour Pickford for his passing ability and the Toffees’ ‘keeper has made over 200 more passes than Henderson in the league this season. 

Gareth Southgate called him into the England team in October but is yet to hand him his debut

Jordan Pickford’s disappointing form for Everton has seen his England credentials questioned 

It would have been a similar situation to the one Joe Hart found himself in during the 2010 World Cup. He was arguably the in-form English ‘keeper but young and inexperienced which meant Rob Green and David James were ahead of him – Fabio Capello said as much in a recent interview. 

Henderson may also have been third choice behind Nick Pope who has two senior caps. The Burnley ‘keeper may have one more clean sheet than Henderson this season but he has conceded 18 more goals. 

The only team to score more than two goals against the Blades are Manchester United with Henderson unable to play in the fixture against his parent club.   

While the break in football may have come at one of the most exciting times in his career, Henderson undoubtedly has a bright future and the potential to become United and England’s No1 for a long time. 

The European Championships being put back a year could help Henderson claim the No 1 spot




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Video referees could make decisions from inside stadiums on return

Video referees could make decisions from INSIDE Premier League stadiums if clubs decide to persist with VAR technology upon return to action

  • Video referees could now make decisions from inside Premier League stadiums 
  • Changes could take place if VAR is persisted with when the top flight returns
  • VAR is usually based at Stockley Park but could relocate due to social distancing 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Video referees could make their decisions from Premier League grounds if clubs decide to stick with VAR when football returns after the coronavirus crisis.

VAR is usually based at Stockley Park but may be forced to relocate if they are unable to officiate while adhering to social distancing measures.

One option would be to have VAR in operation at the various neutral stadiums that are being proposed to host the remaining 92 Premier League matches as part of Project Restart, the plan to bring football back safely.

Video assistant referees could now make decisions from inside Premier League stadiums

VAR has been used remotely that way before for Man City’s second-leg Carabao Cup semi-final at Burton’s Pirelli Stadium last year.

The Premier League hope to be able to remain at their home at the industrial park near Heathrow and adopt a system similar to the Bundesliga in which the video referee, his assistant and the replay operator sit separately but can communicate via a headset.

Much though will depend on whether multiple games are played at the same time following any restart to the season with the VAR room at Stockley quite small. 

Another option is to use extra rooms in their current building. 

VAR could be relocated from Stockley Park in order to adhere to social distancing measures

The fixture list and which games are to be televised are both on the agenda to be thrashed out at the crucial Project Restart meeting of club bosses on Monday.

Clubs will also have the chance to scrap the controversial system entirely for what’s left of this season after football’s lawmakers announced that leagues were free to keep or drop the technology for the remainder of the disrupted campaign.

They are however expected to agree to keep VAR for the remaining 92 games if the Premier League and the government are able to agree on their Project Restart plan to bring football back safely.

The idea of scrapping VAR midway through the season is believed to have raised concerns of affecting the sporting integrity of the competition with further legal issues if the technology is scrapped and clubs’ futures are affected by contentious decisions.

IFAB have given clubs the option of using up to five substitutes in matches rather than three

Some clubs have been on the blunt end of VAR decisions more than others this season with West Ham coming off the worst, with nine calls going against them costing them six points.

As well as the chance to scrap VAR, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) have also given clubs the option of using up to five substitutes in matches, instead of the usual three, for the remainder of the season. Clubs will also have to agree to bring in this temporary law change.

This is in an attempt to help with players’ fatigue on returning to action after such an extended break while, to avoid the game becoming too disrupted, sides will only have three opportunities per match to make substitutions.




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United 'could wait ANOTHER YEAR to make move for No 1 target Sancho'

Manchester United ‘could wait ANOTHER YEAR to make move for No 1 target Jadon Sancho due to concerns over meeting £100m-plus asking price’ after the coronavirus crisis

  • Manchester United have made Jadon Sancho their No 1 transfer target 
  • They had anticipated signing him after the end of the current campaign 
  • But they are unlikely to meet his £100m-plus asking price in current situation 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Manchester United could wait until next summer to sign No 1 transfer target Jadon Sancho, according to reports.

Borussia Dortmund are not in a position where they have to sell the winger at the end of the season and will not be lowering their asking price in spite of the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

United are desperate to bring Sancho to Old Trafford and have been working on a deal for him for months, expecting it to go through in the summer.

Manchester United could wait until next summer to sign No 1 transfer target Jadon Sancho

Ed Woodward has warned big money moves ignore the ‘realities that face’ football

But chief executive Ed Woodward has previously warned that big money moves ignore the ‘realities that face’ football.

And with Dortmund demanding in excess of £100million for the England international, United have concerns, according to the Mirror.

They have a problem with those figures from both a financial perspective and because of how it would be viewed by wider society.

Dortmund are now starting to believe the 20-year-old will stay for another year, until 2021, and are planning for next season with him in mind.

The German giants have a model that is based around buying young talent and then moving them on for huge profits at the right moment and they will be ready to sell him when the time comes. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is known to be a huge fan of the £100m-rated Dortmund winger

They would also happily keep him in the side next season and are not willing to entertain bids below their asking price.

United, who are ahead of Chelsea and Liverpool in the race for Sancho, would have to meet Dortmund’s asking price.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s might not be keen to do so given the plaudits they have won for their handling of the coronavirus crisis and how splashing out a huge sum on Sancho would look.

Sancho and Dortmund will return to action next weekend as they take on rivals Schalke in the Bundesliga. 

Dortmund are happy to keep hold of Sancho and use him next season if a bid does not come in




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Why next season could be the strangest EVER with no fans or League Cup

A transfer window with a lot less cash and more swap deals, no League Cup and cardboard cutouts in the stands instead of real fans… why next season may be the strangest EVER as officials try to get football back up and running amid the coronavirus crisis

  • The 2020-21 season is shaping up to be unlike anything we have seen before
  • The Premier League could be made up of 23 teams if the season is cancelled
  • The League Cup could be scrapped in order to squeeze in more league games
  • Completing the Champions League and Europa League may cause problems
  • Clubs are likely to use swap and cash-plus-player deals in the transfer window
  • Cardboard fans and crowd noise could be used for behind closed doors games
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

As Premier League officials scramble to resume the season amid the coronavirus crisis, the fate of the 2020-21 campaign appears ever more uncertain.

Last month, all 20 top-flight clubs confirmed their intention to play the 92 games needed to decide the final table, with the title, European spots and relegation places all yet to be confirmed.

The current plan, dubbed ‘Project Restart’, would see matches played behind closed doors from June 8, with the season completed by the end of July.

The Premier League is gearing up to return to action behind closed doors from June 8

However, Sportsmail revealed on Thursday that there are growing fears that it will prove impossible to safely start playing matches again, given the logistical nightmare posed by the deadly pandemic.

A number of clubs believe that the most likely outcome will see no clubs relegated and two or three clubs promoted from the Championship, creating a bigger division next season.

That would have a knock-on effect in terms of scheduling, the number of games played by every team and, potentially, the fate of the League Cup.

The 2020-21 campaign is shaping up to be unlike anything we have seen before, with clubs’ finances hit hard by the coronavirus, TV broadcasters planning for a season without fans inside stadiums and teams playing away from their home grounds.

Here, Sportsmail takes a closer look at what football could look like when next season eventually kicks off. 

A BIGGER PREMIER LEAGUE

Although top flight officials remain hopeful about restarting the season, it is believed that an alternative solution would be to cancel it and scrap relegation for a year.

Two or three Championship teams would then be promoted based on a merit-based scoring system, in all likelihood points per game, to create a division of 22 or 23 teams next season. 

The move would increase the number of Premier League fixtures from 38 to either 42 or 44, ensuring the packed calendar is stretched to breaking point. 

The 2020-21 season would then see either five or six teams relegated back down to the Championship, rather than the usual three.

Sportsmail understands that the Premier League see this option as a way of closing the door on any incredibly costly legal challenges from clubs unhappy about being denied promotion or resigned to relegation this term.

Championship leaders Leeds could be handed automatic promotion if the season is cancelled

NO LEAGUE CUP 

A bigger top-flight may satisfy the majority of clubs currently in and around the bottom three, but it could have dire consequences for the League Cup.

On Thursday Sportsmail revealed that the competition, as well as the FA Cup, would come under intense pressure to go, either permanently or for one season. 

However, with scrapping the FA Cup not seen as a realistic option, getting rid of the League Cup for at least one season has been discussed by top-flight officials.

The increased number of Premier League games is viewed as an opportunity to get dispose of what, to many, is an unnecessary distraction. 

Whether the competition would return for the 2021-22 season is unknown. 

Raheem Sterling (left) and Kevin De Bruyne pose with the League Cup at Wembley on March 1

STRAIGHT INTO THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

UEFA have given Europe’s top leagues the chance to complete their domestic seasons, with the Champions League and Europa League taking a backseat.

Although it is not yet known if the competitions will return in their normal format, it is believed UEFA want both completed by the end of August.

The English teams still in Europe – Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Wolves – would likely play all of their remaining knockout games after completing the current Premier League season at the end of July.

How playing a number of European games in August, the month the 2020-21 season is due to start in, affects those teams involved remains to be seen.

They could all find themselves back in European action just a couple weeks after the finals are held too, with opening group stage matches usually scheduled for mid-September.

Liverpool lifted the Champions League on June 1 last year but this year’s showpiece is delayed

A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRANSFER WINDOW

Clubs at every level have taken a financial hit during the coronavirus, losing revenue in the form of gate receipts, merchandise sales and sponsorship.

That is likely to have a big effect on the summer transfer window, which appears certain to be pushed back given the current season will finish over two months later than planned, if it finishes at all.

Sportsmail understands clubs will be able to buy and sell again from mid-August, with the window running until October so that clubs who are struggling financially have plenty of time to cash-in on players. 

Straight swap deals between clubs will become more prevalent, while those with cash available to spend will also use unwanted players to help lower the amount of money they have to part with.

Barcelona, who have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus crisis and could be set to lose around £174million, are determined to trim their squad by offloading players as part of deals for Neymar and Lautaro Martinez.

Paul Pogba could leave Manchester United this summer if a suitable swap deal is offered up

Juventus are in a similar position with a big squad, a huge wage bill and Financial Fair Play regulations to abide by as they look to strengthen this summer.

Manchester United, however, do have money to spend and are ready to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho are high on his list of targets.

Paul Pogba could finally be on his way out of Old Trafford to Juve or Real Madrid, providing they can offer at least one player Solskjaer wants as part of the deal. 

Manchester City will invest in new players after a disappointing season, but Arsenal and Tottenham cannot afford to spend big when the window reopens. 

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

The Premier League’s plan to resume this season involves games being played behind closed doors with no fans and potentially just 300 people – players, staff, medical personnel, media – in attendance.

A number of games on the continent, particularly in Italy and in the Champions League, were played without fans prior to football being shut down, but at the time it seemed as if it would be a temporary measure.

That is no longer the case, with the remainder of this season certain to take place in empty stadiums with no atmosphere.

And with no details from the government about when the lockdown will be eased and social distancing guidelines relaxed in the UK, at least some of next season appears certain to played out under the same strict rules.

On Thursday, The Times even claimed that the entirety of the 2020-21 Premier League season could go ahead without fans in attendance if the government’s policy on mass gatherings is dependent on the discovery of a coronavirus vaccine.

Neymar and PSG beat Borussia Dortmund behind closed doors in the Champions League 

NEUTRAL VENUES 

One of the issues being discussed at Friday’s shareholders meeting is the use of ‘approved stadiums’, with all 20 top-flight grounds unlikely to be used to finish the the current season.

Clubs would prefer to host games in Premier League stadiums, but it is understood they could be convinced to play at club training grounds and neutral venues such as England’s base, St George’s Park.

The Premier League will choose grounds which conform to hygiene standards in a bid to create as sterile an environment as possible.

There will be guidelines on where players get changed pre and post-match, while the customary pre-match handshake will be dropped.

The same rules seem certain to be in place for at least part of next season, meaning clubs could go well over six months without playing at home.

England’s St George’s Park base could be used to host Premier League games from June 8

A NEW VIEWING EXPERIENCE

Sportsmail revealed last month that drive-in screenings of games, digital viewing parties and cardboard cutouts of supporters were among the ideas under consideration by Premier League clubs in order to ‘maintain fan loyalty’.  

Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach have filled their Borussia Park stadium with cutouts depicting the faces of supporters and Premier League clubs are considering a similar move. 

There has also been talk of Sky and BT using CGI crowds during their coverage of games in order to cover up the empty stands.

inews claim that the use of computer generated images of supporters is being seriously considered by TV companies as they look to improve the look and feel of behind closed doors games.

Sky Sports will also give viewers the chance to listen to crowd noise via the red button in a bid to create an artificially enhanced atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Premier League clubs are likely to keep using online ‘viewing parties’ when football restarts after having success with archive matches during lockdown.

Digital programmes, sent via email or downloadable through club websites, could also be made available for supporters in a bid to keep them engaged. 

Danish side FC Midtjylland have installed giant screens in their stadium’s car park for a mass broadcast of matches, although that may prove impossible in England if social distancing measure are still in place next season. 

Borussia Monchengladbach placed cardboard cutouts of fans in their stadium last month




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Son could miss the Premier League's return to full training

Tottenham’s Heung-min Son could miss the Premier League’s return to full training as he faces spending 14 days in quarantine once he finishes his military service in South Korea

  • Tottenham star Heung-min Son may miss the Premier League’s return to training 
  • South Korean forward is currently undertaking military service for his country 
  • The UK government plans to make all people arriving to self-isolate for 14 days 
  • Son has spent four weeks in total in quarantine and may have to isolate again 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Tottenham star Heung-min Son is facing the prospect of missing the Premier League’s return to full training due to a new government plan for people arriving in the UK.

The 27-year-old, who has undertaken two separate fortnights in quarantine, is likely to have to self-isolate for another 14 days with the authorities tightening up measures for those jetting into the country.

Son is currently undertaking his mandatory three-week military service in South Korea during the top flight’s suspension due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Heung-min Son is facing the prospect of missing the Premier League’s return to full training

The Spurs forward was instructed to self-isolate in February after returning from arm surgery in his homeland, before being forced to once again complete another spell in quarantine in Seoul last month. 

Son has been afforded a shortened period of conscription and is expected to complete his three-week stint on May 10.

All able-bodied men from his home country are required to serve for two years, but Son received an exemption after helping the nation win the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games. 

Son will likely have to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to the UK after his military service

However, due to the new government plan, Son is likely to be told to isolate once again for another 14 days – a third occasion in total since the start of the pandemic. 

Top flight chiefs have pencilled in a potential date to resume training, which would fall on May 18, and there are hopes that the division may restart on June 8.

Son could miss the first week of training under these proposals. 

The government proposals have also ensured clubs hand their players 48 hours’ notice to return to training, in yet another indication that the division is edging closer to a resumption behind closed doors.  

Son is currently undertaking his mandatory three-week military service in his home country

South Korean captain Son is just one of a large number of stars spending the lockdown period in their home countries, with the permission of their clubs.

Many of them are now expected to return to the UK due to the imminent return to training. 

Steven Bergwijn has spent the suspension in Holland because of the birth of his first child, and is unlikely to begin training straight away due to a twisted ankle. 

Arsenal became the first team to head back to work after 47 days away, but their players will arrive in shifts in order to adhere to social distancing rules.



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Joe Hart 'could be reunited with former team-mate Rooney at Derby'

Joe Hart ‘could be reunited with former England team-mate Wayne Rooney at Derby’ with goalkeeper’s contract at Burnley up this summer

  • Joe Hart could link-up with his former England team-mate Wayne Rooney 
  • Derby are interested in signing the goalkeeper on a free transfer this summer 
  • The 32-year-old is out of contract at Burnley at the end of the current season 
  •  Besiktas are also thought to be interested in signing the out-of-favour ‘keeper

Joe Hart could be reunited with his former England team-mate Wayne Rooney with Derby interested in signing the goalkeeper on a free transfer.

Hart is one of a number of Burnley players set to be out of contract in the summer as the 32-year-old’s miserable spell at Turf Moor comes to an end.

The ‘keeper has made just three cup appearances for Sean Dyche’s side this season and is looking to rejuvenate a spiralling career.

Derby are interested in Joe Hart with the Burnley goalkeeper out of contract in the summer

A move to the Rams would see him reunited with his former England team-mate Wayne Rooney

The Rams could be set to offer him a lifeline while Turkish side Besiktas are also thought to be interested, according to The Sun.

The former England No1 left Man City in 2018 and joined the Clarets for a fee of £3.5million after loan spells at Torino and West Ham.

Hart was frozen out of the Etihad when Pep Guardiola took charge in 2016 but won five trophies during his time at the club. 

Turkish side Besiktas are also thought to be interested in the keeper because of his reputation

He also lost his England place and missed out on being selected for the 2018 World Cup.

The keeper struggled to breakthrough at Turf Moor with Nick Pope firmly holding on to the No1 spot.

Hart even put himself in the shop window while on pundit duty with the BBC late on in the January transfer window. 

Derby may not be able to match Harts’ wages due to budget restrictions while Besiktas are interested because of his reputation in European football.

The Black Eagles have had Liverpool’s Loris Karius on-loan this season but the German has failed to impress. 




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‘You could lose your eye’: Sam Burgess opens up on grand final injury

It has become one of the most iconic moments in rugby league history, but Sam Burgess wasn’t supposed to be a part of it.

The first hit-up of the 2014 NRL grand final, the one that resulted in Burgess suffering horrific facial injuries that could have resulted in him losing an eye, should have been taken by someone else.

Sam Burgess etched himself into grand final folklore in the 2014 decider.Credit:SMH

“It was an instant fracture,” Burgess said. “I had three fractures in my eye socket down the side of my jaw. I knew instantly I was in a bit of trouble.”

Only now, six years after that fateful moment, can it be revealed just much trouble Burgess was in. The South Sydney legend opened up about the incident in the first of a series of ‘X-Factor’ webinars on Thursday morning hosted by Bell Partners, the firm of Sydney accountant and financial advisor Anthony Bell.

Burgess, a former English international, revealed that Rabbitohs doctor Andrew McDonald warned him at halftime that he risked losing his right eye if he returned for the second half.

“The first person who saw me (in the sheds) was my doctor, Andrew McDonald,” Burgess said. “Great guy, very straight-faced guy, doesn’t show a lot of emotion.

“He stood with his straight face there at the entrance to the locker room and said, ‘C’mon Sam, we’ll go into the back room, I need to check your face.’

“I said, ‘Andrew, with all due respect, I want to sit around the team, I need to feel what’s going on, I want to listen to my coach talk. I’m going to play on and you’re not going to tell me anything that’s going to worry me here.’

“He said, ‘Well I just need you to warn you that you could lose your eye if you take a collision to it. And don’t blow your nose.’

“I said, ‘No problem.’

“I sat down, Madge did his speech – not that I remember it because I was totally in the zone – and we went back out there and got back into the process and got on with the job.”

Burgess did more than that. His performance was one of the most remarkable in grand final history, earning Clive Churchill medal honours as he helped South Sydney break a 43-year premiership drought. In putting his health at risk in doing so, he is mentioned in the same breath as John Sattler and Andrew Johns, who overcame a broken jaw and a punctured lung respectively in other memorable grand final triumphs.

At no point did Burgess consider coming from the field despite the severity of the injury.

“As I was running, with my face, the bones were actually moving up and down and bouncing around,” Burgess told the webinar, which was set up to provide stories of inspiration to clients and staff during the coronavirus outbreak.

“My eyesight was really affected on this side as well. It was concerning at the start but I could manage the initial pain.

“There is a funny story in the game. We had a try disallowed about 15 or 20 minutes into the game.

“Every time I ran my face was still bouncing. Lote Tuqiri scored in the right-hand corner and the try was called back and disallowed. I’d gone to cuddle Lote Tuqiri and celebrate and I was the first one to him.

“Greg Inglis, the athlete that he is, jumped on the back of my head, which in turn collided with Lote Tuqiri’s head. It was right on the fracture.

“Anyway, it helped wedge the fracture in behind where it was. After that it wasn’t bouncing around as much.”

Burgess' injury made him a target for the Bulldogs, particularly during the second half.

“There was a scum in the second half – I forget the players’ name – (and) my face was split so bad,” he said.

“Whether they said something at halftime to try to get me out of the game (I’m not sure). We’re packing down for the scrum and as we bent down he’s come underneath and tried to headbutt me on that side of the eye.

“So I pulled out, we went to reset the scrum and he did it again. They were attacking, they were trying to come for my eye. Or at least that player was.

“It was just another hurdle. I managed to stay calm with that, losing my cool at that moment wouldn’t have helped my team at the time.

“If anything it helped me to think they were desperate.”

There was nothing between the teams for the opening hour. But with Burgess leading from the front, the Rabbitohs overran the Bulldogs during the final quarter and prevailed 30-6. It sparked a series of iconic images, including Burgess’ warm embrace with Souths co-owner Russell Crowe and receiving his Clive Churchill medal from Joyce Churchill.

“I’m not much of an emotional guy, I’m not a crier. But here I am crying on the big stage in front of I guess half of Australia.”

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Newcastle could target big-name manager as odds slashed on Allegri

Newcastle could target big-name manager if £350m takeover goes through as odds are slashed on Massimiliano Allegri taking charge at St James’ Park

  • Bookmakers have slashed the odds on  Max Allegri taking over at Newcastle 
  • Current manager Steve Bruce still has two years left to run on his contract 
  • But a big name could be appointed if the club’s £350m takeover goes through
  • Rafa Benitez is the favourite to become the next boss after leaving last season 

Bookmakers have slashed the odds on Massimiliano Allegri becoming the next Newcastle manager as the club’s £350million takeover moves closer to completion.

The Italian left Juventus at the end of last season and has been out of work since, despite being linked with a host of teams across Europe.

Magpies’ owner Mike Ashley is in talks with a group led by Amanda Staveley to sell the club after 13 years at St James’. 

Bookmakers have slashed the odds on Massimiliano Allegri being the next Newcastle manager

Prospective buyers are thought to want a big name to takeover from current boss Steve Bruce 

And the ambitious prospective buyers are thought to want a big name to replace current manager Steve Bruce.

Allegri’s odds have been cut to 6/1 while former manager Rafa Benitez is the favourite at 3/1.

Benitez left the club last summer after a fall-out with Ashley but remains popular among fans.

Former Magpies manager Rafa Benitez is the favourite to takeover at St James’ with odds of 3/1

Allegri won five Serie A titles with Juventus and was twice a Champions League runner-up. He was strongly linked with the Manchester United job at the start of the season but could now takeover at St James’ Park.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and Benitez’s former captain at Liverpool is 12/1. 

Other names on the bookies’ list include former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, Roberto Martinez and Burnley manager Sean Dyche who are all 14/1.

Bruce had led Newcastle to 13th in the Premier League before football was suspended but his side are the joint lowest scorers in the division alongside Norwich City who are bottom.

Steven Gerrard is on the list at 12/1 while former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is 14/1




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Napoli 'could offer Hirving Lozano' as part of Felipe Anderson deal

Napoli ‘could offer Hirving Lozano’ as part of deal to secure Felipe Anderson from West Ham this summer

  • Napoli may offer Hirving Lozano plus cash for West Ham’s Felipe Anderson
  • David Moyes may consider selling Anderson in order to fund new signings
  • Lozano has struggled for form this season after only joining Napoli last summer 

Napoli are considering offering Hirving Lozano as part of a deal for West Ham United’s Felipe Anderson, according to Italian newspaper Cronache di Napoli. 

Anderson, who is valued at around £42million arrived at West Ham in 2018, and has scored 11 goals in 64 appearances for the club.

Lozano only joined Napoli in the summer, signing a five-year contract, however is expected to be moved on in the next transfer window after failing to impress.

Napoli are considering including Hirving Lozano in a deal for West Ham’s Felipe Anderson

Lozano only arrived last summer, but has failed to break into the first team plans of the boss

The Mexican has only scored three goals this season, and neither manager Gennaro Gattuso nor former boss Carlo Ancelotti have been seeing a return on the €38million (£33million) investment. 

Anderson impressed in his first Premier League campaign, but has failed to recapture that form this season. 

Boss David Moyes may be willing to let him go in order to fund a number of new signings to overhaul the squad.

Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso will be hoping to lure Anderson to the club for next season

The Hammers are also well stocked in attacking midfield, with Andriy Yarmalenko, Michaeil Antonio, Roberto Snodgrass, Manuel Lanzini and January signing Jarrod Bowen all competing for places. 

A move to Napoli would mean a return to Italy for Anderson, who is well versed in Serie A after spending five years at Lazio. 

Lozano being included in a deal could mean bad news for Everton, who have been eyeing the winger as a potential signing this summer. 




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