De Bruyne up against Chelsea duo for UEFA top award as Southgate misses out on coach prize

By Sports Desk August 19, 2021

Jorginho and Roberto Mancini could cap a golden year for Italy by landing UEFA honours after both were shortlisted for top awards on Thursday, though Manchester City duo Kevin De Bruyne and Pep Guardiola could spoil the Azzurri's party.

Azzurri midfielder Jorginho won the Champions League with Chelsea and followed that by helping his country to Euro 2020 glory, under the leadership of coach Mancini.

Jorginho, 29, is joined on the three-man shortlist for UEFA Men's Player of the Year by Chelsea team-mate N'Golo Kante, a standout in the Champions League final, and by City playmaker De Bruyne.

Kante played for France at Euro 2020 and De Bruyne featured for Belgium, but neither side made the progress many anticipated, with Les Bleus eliminated in the last 16 and the Red Devils bowing out to Italy in the quarter-finals.

The three players received the most votes from a panel consisting of the 24 head coaches at Euro 2020, the 80 coaches from the Champions League and Europa League group stages, and journalists from each of UEFA's 55 member associations.

The Men's Coach of the Year shortlist consists of the two coaches from the Champions League final, Chelsea's Thomas Tuchel and City's Guardiola, plus Italy boss Mancini.

It means there is no place for Gareth Southgate, who guided England to their first major men's final since the 1966 World Cup. He finished seventh in voting, UEFA announced, behind Villarreal's Europa League winning boss Unai Emery, Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone and former Inter coach Antonio Conte.

Like Guardiola, both Simeone and Conte led their club sides to domestic league title success.

The winner of each award will be announced at UEFA's Champions League group stage draw on August 26 in Istanbul.

Barcelona had a clean sweep of the players shortlisted for the Women's Player of the Year prize, following their Spanish league and cup and Champions League treble.

The Spanish duo of Jennifer Hermoso and Alexia Putellas were joined on the list by Dutch club-mate Lieke Martens.

UEFA's women's awards stem from votes from each of the coaches in the Champions League last 16 and the leading 12 coaches according to UEFA's national team rankings, plus a pool of 20 journalists.

Former Barcelona boss Lluis Cortes is joined on that list by Chelsea's Emma Hayes and Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson.

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    Giovanni van Bronckhorst says the gap in quality between Rangers and Liverpool was "obvious", though he vowed the Scottish Premiership side will learn from a comfortable defeat to the Reds.

    Rangers have shipped nine goals in three Champions League games after a 2-0 defeat at Liverpool on Tuesday, which saw Van Bronckhorst's side remain bottom of Group A at the halfway point.

    Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah struck in either half at Anfield as Rangers failed to find the net in their first three Champions League games for the first time ever.

    While Rangers offered little in the way of challenging Alisson, barring a late chance for substitute Rabbi Matondo, Van Bronckhorst hopes his side will use the defeat as a lesson.

    "The gap is obvious, we are competing against one of the best sides in Europe – it doesn't mean you have to lose the game," the Rangers manager told reporters.

    "We competed well at times, set-pieces we defended really well. My team will learn from this game, I will learn, my players will and we will take this experience into the next game and also into the league.

    "It was an experience we had again in the Champions League, it is a league we want to compete in but it is really, really hard against the teams we are facing now.

    "It is experience, we did better than the first game but it is a level where you have to think quicker, pass quicker and move quicker.

    "There were many moments where we won the ball but then we lost it, that is what we are facing at the moment and we need to improve in the next three games.

    "The margin for error is very small against these great teams. It is everything you know, tactically, technically – first touches, movements, identifying movements when to speed up the games.

    "We are doing so much better and my team will only improve. If that is enough to go through in Europe then we will take it."

    A two-goal loss arguably flattered Rangers, who were thankful to the efforts of goalkeeper Allan McGregor after the veteran made eight saves during a fine individual performance.

    "McGregor performed really well, he can perform on this level – especially the first half he had some good saves," Van Bronckhorst added.

    "It was very positive to see his performance, also Leon King – an 18-year-old defender from the academy – and Ben Davies with his first 70 minutes of the season coming back to Liverpool he did well. There are always positives to take."

    Rangers will look to make amends against Liverpool in the return fixture next Wednesday, with Van Bronckhorst's side trailing third-place Ajax by four points in a battle for Europa League qualification.

  • Alexander-Arnold optimistic after downing Rangers but admits poor Liverpool start Alexander-Arnold optimistic after downing Rangers but admits poor Liverpool start

    Trent Alexander-Arnold acknowledged he has made a slow start to his season with Liverpool but remains optimistic for the remainder of the campaign after silencing his doubters with a great strike against Rangers.

    The right-back has come under criticism for his defensive capabilities amid an underwhelming spell of form for Liverpool, with Alexander-Arnold also unused by Gareth Southgate and England in September.

    Gary Neville hailed the potential of Alexander-Arnold, likening his ability to Cafu on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, but detailed the defensive failings that are causing repeated problems for the 23-year-old.

    Alexander-Arnold responded by curling a seventh-minute opener against Rangers in the Champions League, though he admitted he has been out of form this term thus far.

    "No matter what I always try and think positively, people will say things but for me, it's about going out there and performing for the team," he told BT Sport.

    "Going out there, getting the wins and helping the team is the most important thing. It has been a slow start to the season for me, but I am looking forward to the rest of the season.

    "The performance was great from the lads, we never really got going on Saturday [a 3-3 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League], our press was poor and we were slow out the blocks.

    "It was the complete opposite today, we started well and continued throughout the game. They had their spells, especially in the second half, but we were outstanding."

    Alexander-Arnold's opening goal was his sixth free-kick goal in all competitions since the start of the 2016-17 season, with no Liverpool player scoring more times from free-kick situations in that period.

    "I don't normally score them from that side I usually go from the other side of the pitch," he continued.

    "For me, it was about getting it on target, when I am practising, rebounds and all that makes it the most dangerous situation."

    Victory kept Liverpool three points behind Group A leaders Napoli, who thrashed Ajax 6-1 in the other game on Tuesday, with a return trip to Rangers coming next week for the Reds.

    Jurgen Klopp's side must first visit Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday, with Alexander-Arnold relishing a busy schedule heading into the World Cup in November.

    "This year is going to be very intense. It's what we're used to, three games a week," he added. "There are no excuses. With the games coming thick and fast, it's exciting for us."

  • Alexander-Arnold optimistic after downing Rangers but admits poor Liverpool star Alexander-Arnold optimistic after downing Rangers but admits poor Liverpool star

    Trent Alexander-Arnold acknowledged he has made a slow start to his season with Liverpool but remains optimistic for the remainder of the campaign after silencing his doubters with a great strike against Rangers.

    The right-back has come under criticism for his defensive capabilities amid an underwhelming spell of form for Liverpool, with Alexander-Arnold also unused by Gareth Southgate and England in September.

    Gary Neville hailed the potential of Alexander-Arnold, likening his ability to Cafu on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, but detailed the defensive failings that are causing repeated problems for the 23-year-old.

    Alexander-Arnold responded by curling a seventh-minute opener against Rangers in the Champions League, though he admitted he has been out of form this term thus far.

    "No matter what I always try and think positively, people will say things but for me, it's about going out there and performing for the team," he told BT Sport.

    "Going out there, getting the wins and helping the team is the most important thing. It has been a slow start to the season for me, but I am looking forward to the rest of the season.

    "The performance was great from the lads, we never really got going on Saturday [a 3-3 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League], our press was poor and we were slow out the blocks.

    "It was the complete opposite today, we started well and continued throughout the game. They had their spells, especially in the second half, but we were outstanding."

    Alexander-Arnold's opening goal was his sixth free-kick goal in all competitions since the start of the 2016-17 season, with no Liverpool player scoring more times from free-kick situations in that period.

    "I don't normally score them from that side I usually go from the other side of the pitch," he continued.

    "For me, it was about getting it on target, when I am practising, rebounds and all that makes it the most dangerous situation."

    Victory kept Liverpool three points behind Group A leaders Napoli, who thrashed Ajax 6-1 in the other game on Tuesday, with a return trip to Rangers coming next week for the Reds.

    Jurgen Klopp's side must first visit Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday, with Alexander-Arnold relishing a busy schedule heading into the World Cup in November.

    "This year is going to be very intense. It's what we're used to, three games a week," he added. "There are no excuses. With the games coming thick and fast, it's exciting for us."

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