Rangers coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst is not worried about the lack of a so-called "Ibrox factor" in Wednesday's Europa League final, adamant Gers fans will more than contribute to the atmosphere in Seville.

Eintracht Frankfurt stand between Rangers and a first European trophy since 1972, when the Scottish giants won the European Cup Winners' Cup.

Van Bronckhorst's side have already exceeded expectations by reaching the showpiece, which will take place at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, home of six-time UEFA Cup/Europa League winners Sevilla.

Rangers' home form has been vital en route to the final, particularly in the context of their results on the road.

Gers have won only one Europa League game away from home this season, the 4-2 thriller at Borussia Dortmund in February, while their three European trips since then have all ended in defeat.

Yet Rangers have been spurred on by a raucous home crowd at Ibrox, particularly in the knockout phase – they have won each of their past three Europa League matches as hosts, scoring three in all of them.

Spanish police are expecting roughly 150,000 Rangers and Eintracht fans to be in Seville for Wednesday's game. As such, Van Bronckhorst is not worried about a lack of backing.

Asked how crucial the support will be, Van Bronckhorst told reporters: "It will be a factor because our fans are supporting us really well.

"Of course, Ibrox is a huge factor and in the ties we played this season in Europe we knew to get a good result away from home to take back to Ibrox [because] we are capable of winning against any team [at home].

"Of course, a final is different because it's only one game you play, not at Ibrox but in Seville, I think we'll both [Rangers and Eintracht] feel that.

"It's different, but still I think you will hear them a lot tomorrow, our fans, and I think our performances can be good as well, so I think we are ready and we'll play the way we always do and give everything we have to win this game."

The presence of Kemar Roofe certainly will not hurt Rangers' chances of success on Wednesday, with the striker back in contention following an injury.

Roofe hurt his knee last month as Rangers beat Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-finals, and even as recently as last week Van Bronckhorst acknowledged the forward's participation in Seville was doubtful.

But the Dutchman confirmed Roofe is available to face Eintracht, with his involvement now just a selection matter.

"Kemar is available. He trained for the first time with us yesterday [Monday]," Van Bronckhorst added. "He did individual training before that, and he will be training with us [on Tuesday].

"He will be in the squad and I want to use him, he is available."

Roofe has scored 16 times for Rangers across all competitions this season despite not being a guaranteed starter – 16 of his 35 appearances have come from the bench.

The return of Roofe is made all the more important by Alfredo Morelos' absence through a long-term injury.

"Of course, it's a boost for us," Van Bronckhorst said. "He got injured a couple weeks ago when he was in a good spell.

"He's very important for team. I'm happy he's back because he was working hard to be ready for the Leipzig game.

"He didn't make it so we just extended [the season] for him with the final. He is here and he is ready to play his part."

Wednesday's Europa League final is set to attract over 150,000 Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers fans to Seville, despite well under a third of that total having tickets.

With neither club having won a continental trophy since Eintracht lifted the UEFA Cup in 1980, this final has truly captured the imagination of supporters who certainly wouldn't have had grand expectations of getting this far.

But for Rangers especially, there's an air of destiny about their journey to the final – or, more specifically, host city Seville.

While perhaps not obvious, Scottish football can claim several football links to Andalusia's capital.

Perhaps Rangers' passage – and potential victory – were meant to be…

Sevilla's Scottish roots

These links go back as far as 1890, when a group of British men in Seville celebrated Burns Night by founding Club de Football de Sevilla.

Edward Farguharson Johnston of Elgin and Hugh MacColl, from Glasgow, were among the club's founders, with the latter appointed as Sevilla's first ever captain.

Sevilla's founding and debut match were first described in The Dundee Courier six weeks after that fateful Burns Night, with Recreativo Huelva their opponents in the first official match ever played in Spain on March 8, 1890. Sevilla won 2-0.

While Recreativo were Spain's first sports club, the match against Sevilla makes Los Nervionenses – whose Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium provides the setting for Wednesday's final – the oldest club dedicated solely to football in the country.

And it's partly thanks to a Glaswegian.

Betis' homage to Celtic

A Spanish man named Manuel Asensio Ramos studied in Scotland as a young adult, taking on Celtic as his adopted club while he was there.

He later returned home to Spain and became one of the founding members of Real Betis, who subsequently donned green and white stripes as a tribute to Celtic from 1911.

Celtic had changed to their famous hoops eight years earlier, but the link was set in history.

Five years ago, Betis briefly switched to hoops for a match against Malaga to celebrate Andalusia Day, with Celtic communicating their delight at the club choosing "to wear the hoops for their special day".

The Bhoys from Seville

Of course, 2022 isn't the first time one of the Glasgow giants has been in Seville for a European final.

Nineteen years ago, Celtic reached the UEFA Cup final, facing Jose Mourinho's Porto at the Estadio La Cartuja on the outskirts of the city – that is also the location of Rangers' 'fan zone' this week.

'The Bhoys from Seville' was the nickname bestowed upon Celtic for the trip, with the tag a pun on their 'the Boys from Brazil' moniker.

Celtic ultimately lost 3-2 via the silver goal rule in extra time, but the occasion is still widely remembered fondly by the club and supporters, 80,000 of whom were said to be in Seville for the festivities.

Fans of the club were widely commended for their behaviour in the city, with UEFA and FIFA later awarding them Fair Play Awards.

Glasgow returns the favour

Four years after Seville played host to Celtic, Glasgow welcome Sevilla and Espanyol for the 2007 UEFA Cup final.

Hampden Park was the location of Sevilla's second successive triumph in the competition, beating their LaLiga rivals 3-1 on penalties after a gripping 2-2 draw over 120 minutes.

Despite Celtic's links to Betis, it was widely felt by Sevilla fans in attendance that Bhoys supporters were cheering on Los Nervionenses, while Rangers aficionados adopted Espanyol as their team.

Dani Alves was the only Sevilla player to miss his penalty, while Andres Palop in the Andalusians' net made three vital saves.

South Africa batter Zubayr Hamza has been banned from all cricket-related activities for nine months by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for doping.

Hamza in March agreed a voluntary suspension after testing positive for banned substance Furosemide – which is not a performance-enhancing drug – in an out-of-competition sample on January 17.

The 26-year-old admitted the violation and, after establishing no significant fault or negligence on his part, the world governing body banned him until December 22.

Hamza's performances between January 17 and March 22 this year have been disqualified.

During that time, he scored 25 runs in the first innings and six in the second of the Proteas' innings-and-276 run defeat to New Zealand in the first Test in Christchurch.

He also made three appearances for Western Province, with a highest score of 30.

Alex Marshall, ICC general manager – integrity unit said: "The ICC is committed to keeping cricket clean and has a zero-tolerance approach to doping.

"It is also a timely reminder to all international cricketers that they remain responsible for anything they put into their bodies, to know exactly what medication they are taking so as to ensure it does not contain a prohibited substance and does not result in an anti-doping rule violation."

Hoffenheim have parted company with coach Sebastian Hoeness by mutual consent.

The decision comes after Hoffenheim's dreadful end to the Bundesliga season, which they finished on a nine-game winless run.

Hoffenheim took just three points from the final 27 on offer, their last win coming at Cologne on March 6.

As a result of that streak, Hoffenheim missed out on a European spot, ending the campaign in ninth, six points behind Cologne in seventh – the Bundesliga's Europa Conference League qualification place.

Appointed before the 2020-21 season after leading Bayern Munich's reserves to the 3. Liga title, Hoeness guided Hoffenheim to 11th and the Europa League round of 32 in his first season in charge.

Hoffenheim had at one point been firmly in the mix for Champions League qualification this season, but their slump and failure to qualify for Europe altogether reportedly led to owner Dietmar Hopp losing patience.

Hoeness said: "In the past few weeks we have carried out an intensive analysis of our joint work and have not found any consensus on the future direction. Therefore, from my point of view, an amicable separation is logical."

Larry Fitzgerald does not believe DeAndre Hopkins' PED suspension will have any impact on his long-term legacy.

All-Pro wide receiver Hopkins was this month suspended for the first six games of the 2022 campaign for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

The news served as a substantial blow to the Arizona Cardinals and their hopes of success in the coming season.

But Cardinals legend and former team-mate Fitzgerald rejected talk of the ban tarnishing Hopkins' reputation.

"I don't think so," Fitzgerald said when asked by TMZ if he thought the suspension would taint Hopkins' legacy.

"He'll still be a Hall of Famer. He's talented. He'll work through it.

"It's just some adversity and, you know, he's a tough guy, resourceful, and he'll work his way through it."

The Cardinals may have a tougher time working their way through his 2022 absence.

With Hopkins on the field last year in the regular season, they went 8-2, averaging 30.2 points per game. In the seven games he missed through injury, the Cardinals were 3-4, scoring 21 points per game.

They start their 2022 campaign with an extremely difficult assignment, hosting a Kansas City Chiefs team that has reached the AFC Championship Game in each of the last four seasons.

England head coach Eddie Jones has included Henry Arundell in his 36-man training squad ahead of July's Test series with Australia.

London Irish flier Arundell has caught the eye with a string of impressive performances since making his Premiership debut in February. 

The 19-year-old, who is also eligible to represent Scotland and Wales, may now be in line for a maiden senior England appearance against the Barbarians next month.

That match at Twickenham on June 19 will act as a warm-up ahead of July's three-match series in Australia, starting with a showdown at Optus Stadium in Perth.

Arundell is joined in England's latest training squad by fellow uncapped London Irish player Will Joseph, who is the younger brother of former England centre Jonathan.

Owen Farrell is also included after missing the Six Nations with an ankle injury, while Anthony Watson returns to the Red Rose fold following an injury lay-off of his own.

Ten uncapped players have been included in total and seven members of the squad have 50 caps or more, including the returning Mako Vunipola.

Ben Youngs, Joe Marler, Henry Slade and Jamie George are all rested for the three-day training camp, which runs from Sunday to Tuesday.

"We're going to use this camp as an opportunity to prepare a base game for the Barbarians fixture and for a really important Australia tour," Jones said. 

"We'll focus on how we want to play, how we want to be as a team off the field and continue to develop the squad cohesiveness and behaviours.

"It is also 16 months to the World Cup and every minute counts. We want a hard-working and enjoyable environment for the players and make sure we are all on the same page. 

"We want to take a look at some younger players and prepare a base camp for the Barbarians game, particularly as we will be without the Premiership finalists.

"We also want to give some senior players a rest as we get to a crucial part of the season. These players will still be in contention for the Australia tour."

England beat Australia at Twickenham in November, but that preceded a disappointing 2022 Six Nations campaign as they lost three of their five matches and finished third.

 

England training squad

Forwards

Alfie Barbeary (Wasps), Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons), Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Nic Dolly (Leicester Tigers), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons), Tom Pearson (London Irish), Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks), Will Stuart (Bath Rugby), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Jack Willis (Wasps).

Backs

Henry Arundell (London Irish), Orlando Bailey (Bath Rugby), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints), George Furbank (Northampton Saints), Will Joseph (London Irish), Louis Lynagh (Harlequins), Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints), Harry Randall (Bristol Bears), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers), Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby).

South Africa have named a strong 16-man squad for their upcoming five-match T20I series against India, but former captain Faf du Plessis has been overlooked.

Paceman Anrich Nortje is back in the fold for the first time since last year's 2020 World Cup after proving his fitness in the Indian Premier League following a hip and back problem, while Tristan Stubbs has received a maiden call-up.

All of the South African players who opted out of the Test series against Bangladesh in March and April in favour of playing in the IPL have been called back up for the tour, which takes place next month.

That includes Kagiso Rabada, who has taken 22 wickets in the IPL this season - the third-best total in the competition.

However, in-form batter Du Plessis, who is the seventh-highest run scorer in the IPL with 399 at an average of 33.25, misses out again.

Du Plessis, who captains Royal Challengers Bangalore, has not played white-ball cricket for the Proteas since December 2020. He retired from the longest format last year.

Head coach Mark Boucher remains in place after Cricket South Africa "formally and unreservedly" withdrew the charges of gross misconduct against him.

South Africa's selection convener Victor Mpitsang said: "This is the Proteas like we have not seen them in a long time. The injection of the IPL players means that we will have a team that's ready to fire on all cylinders immediately and has vast experience of the conditions that we will be playing in.

"The country can also join us in a collective sigh of relief at the return of Anrich Nortje, who has been working hard to recover from a frustrating injury. The National Selection Panel and I are really excited to watch our full-strength Proteas take on the world's number one T20 team."

South Africa's squad in full: Temba Bavuma (captain), Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs, Rassie van der Dussen, Marco Jansen.

Jack Nicklaus has revealed he turned down an offer in excess of $100million to be the face of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

The breakaway competition will stage its inaugural tournament at Centurion Club near London in June.

Greg Norman is fulfilling the role of chief executive of LIV Golf Investments, but Nicklaus has suggested he was the organisers' initial choice to front the rebel circuit.

"I was offered something in excess of $100m by the Saudis, to do the job probably similar to the one that Greg is doing," he told The Fire Pit Collective. 

"I turned it down. Once verbally, once in writing. I said, 'Guys, I have to stay with the PGA Tour. I helped start the PGA Tour'."

Phil Mickelson is among the players to have requested to play in the first LIV Golf event, which is worth a record $25m.

The six-time major winner has not played since February following the backlash to his controversial comments about the tour and Saudi Arabia's alleged human rights violations.

He was included in the field for this week's US PGA Championship in Oklahoma, but withdrew last week, meaning he will not get the chance to defend the title he won last year.

But Nicklaus, who played a key part in golf's first breakaway 54 years ago when the PGA Tour branched off from the PGA of America, believes there is a route back for Mickelson.

"My advice to Phil would be to be patient," he said.

"The world is a very forgiving place. But he's the one – he has to decide where he wants to play and what he wants to do."

Bukayo Saka says he could not believe how badly Arsenal played in a 2-0 defeat at Newcastle United that will surely cost them a Champions League place next season.

A win at St James' Park on Monday would have moved the Gunners back above fierce rivals Tottenham into fourth place heading into the final day of the Premier League season.

Mikel Arteta's side failed to rise to the occasion on Tyneside, though, as a Ben White own goal and a late Bruno Guimaraes strike left them shell-shocked.

Spurs will realistically only need a point against already relegated Norwich City on Sunday to qualify for the Champions League due to a far superior goal difference to Arsenal, who are host Everton on the last day of the campaign.

The Gunners only had one shot on target as Newcastle dominated and are seemingly destined for the Europa League again next season.

England winger Saka says they only have themselves to blame.

"Overall there is huge disappointment and frustration," he said. "I just can't believe how we performed.

"We lost all our duels. We lost all the second balls. We didn't play out well. Just overall disappointment in every aspect."

Saka says the loss was hard to take, but Arsenal must regroup before facing the relegation-threatened Toffees.

"I think it’s going to hurt a lot of us," Saka added.

"You know, all of us, the fans – all of our families. But come Sunday against Everton at the Emirates we're going to be there to win, and hopefully things go our way. That's all you can do from now.

"Technically it's not over, we can still do it, but we've missed out on two big opportunities to put ourselves in a good position. So it's just a shame."

The season's second major gets under way on Thursday, as the US PGA Championship starts at Southern Hills Country Club.

Despite being included in the field for the tournament in Tulsa, Oklahoma, reigning champion Phil Mickelson will not be on hand to defend his title.

Mickelson, who became the oldest player to win a major when he triumphed at the US PGA in South Carolina last year, is continuing his break from golf, which came after criticism over his comments regarding the Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway Golf Super League.

While the GSL cloud hangs over the heads of certain players who have requested releases from the PGA Tour, the focus this week will be on claiming the huge prize of a major title.

Tiger Woods is back, after his remarkable Masters return, while world number one Scottie Scheffler is on the hunt for another major title following his success at Augusta.

Stats Perform's experts have taken a look at some of the likely candidates.

No stopping Scottie – Ben Spratt

Only three men have won both the Masters and the US PGA in the same year, with Jack Nicklaus the last to do so in 1975. That is the esteemed company Augusta champion Scheffler hopes to be keeping – and you would be bold to back against him this season. Scheffler ended 2021 ranked 12th in the world and still waiting on his first PGA Tour victory. He has since won four times, including at the Masters, to become world number one and the clear man to beat. The 25-year-old has two top-10 finishes in both entries at this tournament and played a practice round at Southern Hills earlier this month to prepare himself for another tilt.

Rahm makes timely return to form – Patric Ridge

World number two Jon Rahm will tee off in Oklahoma on Thursday on the back of winning the Mexico Open last time out. Rahm has finished in the top 15 in six of the 11 competitions he has featured in this season. Prior to his win in Mexico, the Spaniard's putting had been letting him down, but the rest of his game has been top-notch. Rahm's strokes gained off the tee is a PGA Tour-leading 1.311, while his strokes gained tee to green also ranks first (1.808). The 27-year-old finished T8 in this major last year and his best result was T4 back in 2018 – he could be celebrating back-to-back wins on Sunday.

First major to get Burns treatment – John Skilbeck

Sam Burns missed the cut at the AT&T Byron Nelson, but we should forget that; one bad round cost him and there have been very few of those this season from the 25-year-old. Besides, he followed that 73 with a gutsy 67. Admittedly, Burns also missed the cut at the Masters, but he has titles at the Sanderson Farms Championship and the Valspar Championship in the current campaign, successfully defending his title at the latter after a breakthrough win last year. He has achieved six top-10 finishes in the 2021-22 season, has banked almost $4.5million, and sits second in the FedEx Cup standings. The PGA Championship can throw up funky winners and Burns might just be ready to join the list. He has yet to challenge in a major but that surely must change soon.

Rory can end major drought – David Segar

It is eight years since Rory McIlroy won the last of his four majors at the PGA Championship, but the Northern Irishman can end that drought this week. He produced a late surge to finish second in The Masters, with a stunning Sunday 64. McIlroy is third on the PGA Tour for shots gained off the tee. His two scores of 68 over the weekend earned fifth place at the recent Wells Fargo Championship, setting him up nicely for another major challenge.

Spieth slam? Oh, it's on… – Pete Hanson

Is this the week Jordan Spieth completes the Grand Slam? A tie for 71st and 30th in his last couple of attempts don't make for particularly good omens but Spieth is a player reborn. Having slipped as low as 92nd in the Official World Golf Rankings after last year's Farmers Insurance Open, Spieth has gone about climbing back into the world's top 10 and was back among the winners' circle at the RBC Heritage last month. A missed cut at the Masters was not the start he envisaged to major season but Spieth is at his best with his back against the wall and can firmly be in contention to lift the Wanamaker Trophy come Sunday.

James Tavernier's first Europa League run appeared likely to be his last.

The right-back finally got his chance at Newcastle United in 2012-13 as Alan Pardew's first-team squad was stretched to breaking point.

However, Tavernier's chance equated to just eight appearances and five starts in all competitions, utilised right across the defence. He played 301 minutes in Europe (including qualifiers) but looked a little out of his depth.

By the time Newcastle reached the quarter-finals of the competition, Tavernier had played his last game for the club.

The following season brought the fifth and sixth loan moves of his career – all to League One or below. A permanent transfer to Wigan Athletic followed, but Tavernier was soon back out on loan again – to League One again.

This underwhelming sequence of temporary moves to the third tier for a player once seen as a potential Premier League starter was interrupted then by Rangers. Heading to the Scottish Championship, it would have taken incredible foresight to even imagine how Tavernier's career might be transformed.

Newcastle may not have had another European campaign in the past nine years, but Tavernier has enjoyed five – and now, in Seville, a final.

The right-back goal machine

Rangers hoped for goals when they struck a deal with Wigan to bring Martyn Waghorn and Tavernier to Ibrox in 2015. Waghorn delivered in the club's promotion campaign, scoring 28 times in all competitions, but Rangers surely could not have anticipated Tavernier would also chip in with 15.

While Waghorn is long gone, having not performed at quite the same level on Rangers' return to the top tier, Tavernier has since maintained his staggering standard. In 345 Rangers appearances, the defender has scored 83 goals.

This season, Tavernier has scored 18 goals and assisted a further 16 for 34 goal involvements.

Having either scored or assisted every 147 minutes on average in 2021-22, Tavernier is operating in the same sort of range as Rafael Leao (141), Dejan Kulusevski (144), Luis Suarez (153) and, incredibly, Sadio Mane (157).

Nahuel Molina, the highest-scoring defender in Europe's top five leagues, has scored just eight times, while even Trent Alexander-Arnold's leading goal involvements tally of 20 is dwarfed by the man playing north of the border.

Tavernier's status as Rangers' penalty taker boosts his numbers, of course, but he still has six goals and 22 goal involvements discounting his dozen efforts from 12 yards.

The standard of the competition in Scotland might also be counted against Tavernier, yet his 16 European appearances alone have yielded seven goals (three non-penalty goals), three assists and 10 goal involvements – again at a rate of one every 147 minutes.

Top marksman with Morelos missing

Tavernier's first goal involvement of this European campaign saw the Rangers captain lift a pass in behind the Alashkert defence for Alfredo Morelos to score what proved to be the decisive goal of their Europa League play-off, getting the then Scottish champions back on track after Champions League qualifying heartbreak.

Wednesday's final against Eintracht Frankfurt would not have been possible without that August example of this most effective assister-scorer combination.

Unfortunately, Rangers will not be able to rely on that link-up again this week, with Morelos ruled out for the season when he underwent thigh surgery last month, seemingly dealing a sizeable blow to his side's hopes of European glory.

Morelos, with 29 goals, is Rangers' all-time leading European marksman, while he this season also became their top scorer discounting qualifiers as he brought his total to 15.

"It is a big blow to us, because he is our striker and we now don't have him any more this season, so we are disappointed," manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst said.

"But we know what the problem is, how long he's out, and we have to move on. That's the only thing we have to do now."

Tavernier has since ensured the talismanic forward has not been missed. His seven goals are the most ever by a Rangers player in a European campaign (excluding qualifiers) – Morelos in 2019-20 had a share of the previous record of six – and remarkably make him the leading scorer in this season's Europa League.

The man for the big occasion, each of Tavernier's goals have come in the knockout stage, including opening the scoring in each of Rangers' four home legs.

When Kemar Roofe joined Morelos on the sidelines against RB Leipzig in the semi-finals, it was Tavernier who appeared in the centre-forward position to level the tie in Glasgow with his 15th European goal (10 excluding qualifiers).

Trent of the Europa League

The first of Tavernier's European goals came back in July 2018, by which point Alexander-Arnold had already played in a Champions League final for Liverpool.

Alexander-Arnold might be seven years Tavernier's junior, but he has been a source of inspiration in recent seasons for the Rangers skipper, who named him alongside Liverpool team-mate Andy Robertson and Brazil greats Dani Alves, Marcelo and Cafu in October 2020 as a standard-bearer in the full-back role.

And comparisons between the pair, both of whom are preparing for European finals, come easily.

Alexander-Arnold has created 19 chances in the Champions League this season, just behind Tavernier's 20 in the Europa League, with the pair each highly influential both in open play and from set-pieces.

Tavernier makes a long list of English right-backs who remain uncapped at international level due to the incredible competition in Gareth Southgate's Three Lions squad, and former Rangers captain Lorenzo Amoruso tells Stats Perform: "I showcased him in Italy, but nobody cared because, of course, it happened to me, too: the best player in Scotland, thanks to some unbelievable performances, but never a call for the national team.

"I think I deserved it – at least as a reward or out of curiosity. This Amoruso, as a defender, becomes the best player in Scotland... it is not something that happens every day. The same applies to Tavernier."

Yet even Alexander-Arnold has only turned out 16 times for England, clearly behind Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and now Reece James in the pecking order.

The explanations for Alexander-Arnold's limited opportunities often focus on his defensive shortcomings – the same attributes for which Tavernier has come under scrutiny.

However, neither have committed an error leading to a shot, let alone a goal, in the Champions League or Europa League this season, and Tavernier actually measures favourably next to Alexander-Arnold by several defensive metrics.

Alexander-Arnold has made 1.9 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per 90 minutes to Tavernier's 1.6 tackles and 1.2 interceptions, but the Liverpool man has been dribbled past every 54 minutes on average and won only 48.2 per cent of his duels. Tavernier has been dribbled past every 150 minutes and won 56.3 per cent of his duels.

Those numbers will perhaps regress a little next season if Tavernier is playing in the Champions League, but he has to get there first by beating Frankfurt. And Rangers will likely be more concerned by their right-back's attacking output on Wednesday than his work going the other way.

Barcelona are reportedly in the box seat to land Leeds United winger Raphinha in the next transfer window.

Raphinha, 25, is believed to be finished with Leeds, regardless of if they remain in the Premier League for next season.

After a season where he has so far scored 10 goals and provided three assists in 34 Premier League appearances – including a goal away at Stamford Bridge – the Brazilian international is said to have his selection from some of the world's best clubs.

TOP STORY – BARCA LEAD RACE FOR LEEDS' RAPHINHA

According to 90min, Raphinha favours a move to Barcelona if all things are equal, but the Spanish giants will have plenty of competition for his services.

If Leeds are relegated to the Championship, a release clause in Raphinha's contract will mean he can be had for £25million, although it could be double that – or more – if the Whites retain their Premier League status.

Vying with Barca will reportedly be West Ham, who supposedly made a bid in the January window, as well as Newcastle United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain.

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Mail is reporting Ilkay Gundogan will be allowed to leave Manchester City in the upcoming transfer window, with one year remaining on his deal.

– According to The Guardian, Chelsea have entered the Robert Lewandowski sweepstakes, although he is believed to be destined for Barcelona.

Newcastle will test the waters to see if Jose Mourinho could be lured away from Roma, according to Marca.

– Marca also reports that Kylian Mbappe has agreed to a five-year deal with Real Madrid, although The Athletic insists no paperwork has been signed and PSG still hope to retain the France star.

Bayern Munich are showing interest in Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele ahead of his contract expiring in a month's time, per Sky Sports.

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