Newcastle United winger Matt Ritchie has been ruled out for at least two months with ankle ligament damage following a "horror challenge" from Leicester City's Hamza Choudhury.

Ritchie required stitches after being forced off the pitch during the first half of Newcastle's penalty shoot-out defeat to Leicester in the EFL Cup second round on Wednesday.

United boss Steve Bruce criticised Choudhury for the nature of the challenge and said he expects to be without versatile wideman Ritchie until October - though he feared the lay-off would be longer.

"It's bad news - it's two months. The kid is in a mess," he said at Friday's news conference.

"It could have been worse, six months, but it was one of those horror challenges.

"What was disappointing is the ref was very close to it.

"I hope [Choudhury] learns from it - he is a good player. Matt is angry but he will get over it and start working."

Bruce also confirmed Allan Saint-Maximin is out for up to five weeks with a hamstring injury, while Emil Krafth, Jetro Willems and Miguel Almiron are doubts for Saturday's Premier League clash with Watford.

Chelsea and Manchester City enjoyed successful away trips in gameweek three of the Premier League season, with the Blues turning to youth for inspiration while the champions were inspired by longstanding heroes.

A transfer ban has forced Frank Lampard to rely on a batch of talented Chelsea youngsters as he looks to make a positive start to life as a Premier League manager, and some of his hottest prospects showed more than just potential on their trip to Norwich City.

While Chelsea picked up a first league win of the season and Manchester City took three points from their trip to Bournemouth, it is Liverpool who remain the top flight's pace-setters after they brushed Arsenal aside at Anfield.

With the help of Opta's stats, take a deep dive into the weekend's biggest stories.

 

ABRAHAM AT THE DOUBLE FOR LAMPARD'S YOUNG BLUES

Lampard fielded Chelsea's youngest Premier League side for 25 years at Carrow Road, where Tammy Abraham scored twice in a 3-2 victory.

With the likes of Abraham, Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic in the side, the Blues' average age was just 24 years and 208 days, making it the most youthful Chelsea team to play a Premier League game since February 1994 against Oldham (average age: 24y 190d).

Abraham, who has scored more league goals since the start of last season (28) than any other English player in the top two divisions, became the third youngest player to score a double for Chelsea in the Premier League - after Mark Nicholls in January 1998 and Eddie Newton in December 1992.

Mount also found the net, scoring for the second game running, and the last time Chelsea had two English players under the age of 21 score in the same Premier League match was back in August 1992 (Newton and Graham Stuart against Sheffield Wednesday).

SILVA SHINES ON LANDMARK APPEARANCE

Manchester City saw off Bournemouth 3-1 at the Vitality Stadium to make it nine top-flight wins out of nine in this fixture - the best 100 per cent win record by a team over an opponent in top-flight history.

Kevin De Bruyne set up the first of Sergio Aguero's two goals on the south coast to register his 50th Premier League assist in his 123rd appearance, reaching that milestone figure in fewer games than any other player in the competition's history.

Argentina international Aguero's second came 19 minutes into the second half and was his 400th career goal for club and country, with 235 of those coming for City.

The match was also a special occasion for David Silva, who marked his 400th appearance for City with a couple of assists of his own. The Spanish midfielder has assisted more than once in 14 separate Premier League games - only Ryan Giggs and Cesc Fabregas have done so more often (17 games).

Harry Wilson's sublime free-kick late in the first half to make it 2-1 saw him become the youngest player, at 22 years and 156 days, to score in his first two Premier League appearances since Anthony Martial in September 2015 (19 years, 289 days).

SALAH STILL DEADLY AS LIVERPOOL STREAK CONTINUES

Liverpool won for the 12th league game running with a 3-1 victory over Arsenal - their best streak in the Premier League and their joint-best ever in all league competition, equalling the record set under Kenny Dalglish in 1990.

Mohamed Salah scored a second-half double at Anfield and has now been directly involved in more Premier League goals against Arsenal than he has any other side - six goals and two assists, including a goal in all four of his home games against them.

The first of Salah's goals came via the penalty spot after he was pulled back by David Luiz inside the box. Arsenal have given away eight Premier League penalties since the start of last season - only Brighton and Hove Albion with 10 have faced more.

It was a familiar story for Arsenal in many ways as they have now failed to win any of their last 23 away league games against fellow 'big six' sides, conceding 53 goals and keeping just one clean sheet during that run.

The performance of Nicolas Pepe on his full debut did give Arsenal supporters something to take away from the game, however, with the club-record signing becoming the first player to successfully dribble past Virgil van Dijk in the Liverpool defender's last 50 league appearances.

JOELINTON HELPS MAGPIES END 'BIG SIX' HOODOO

Newcastle United got their first Premier League win under Steve Bruce thanks to Joelinton's first-half winner against Tottenham, and drew a line under a long-standing struggle on the road against the division's top sides.

Prior to Sunday's result, Newcastle had not beaten one of the Premier League's 'big six' in an away fixture since a 2-1 victory in December 2015 - also against Tottenham.

The game was disappointing for Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, who saw his side suffer their first league defeat of the season in his 500th match as a manager in all competitions and his first defeat against Newcastle since May 2016 (a 5-1 loss).

It was a different story for Bruce, who recorded his first away victory as a manager against Spurs in the Premier League, and became the sixth boss in the competition's history to win a match with five or more different teams after Alan Pardew (5), Harry Redknapp (5), Mark Hughes (6), Roy Hodgson (5) and Sam Allardyce (7).

Mauricio Pochettino bristled at being asked if Chrstian Eriksen has played his last game for Tottenham after he was named on the bench for their 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United.

Denmark international Eriksen had asked to leave the club during the close-season amid reported interest from Manchester United and Real Madrid.

The former Ajax playmaker was not included in the starting XI on Sunday, coming on in the 62nd minute as Joelinton condemned Spurs to a frustrating home loss.

Speaking in his post-match media conference, Pochettino said: "I don't know [if Eriksen has played his last game].

"Why do you ask me? Do you know something? It is so difficult the situation."

Pressed on why he did not pick Eriksen, Pochettino replied: "I can only pick 11. I understand the question. If we win 3-0 or 4-0 then these questions aren't asked."

Tottenham were denied a late penalty as referee Mike Dean rejected claims when Jamaal Lascelles fell in his own area and took Harry Kane with him.

VAR backed up Dean's decision, with the technology having rescued Spurs in their 2-2 draw against Manchester City last time out.

Asked about the incident, Pochettino added: "I am going to have the chance now to see it, but I trust and am fully committed to the VAR.

"When it's for us I'm more than happy and when it's not for us I will respect it, but nothing to complain about."

The win for Newcastle marked Steve Bruce's first as boss. He faced intense criticism of his organisational skills in the wake of successive defeats to Arsenal and Norwich City, with former Magpies striker Michael Chopra claiming senior players had told him some members of the squad do not know their jobs.

In a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Bruce said: "It's really embarrassing some of the stuff, the only way you can respond to it is by your team putting in a performance like that. The discipline, the shape, the organisation was there for everybody to see. 

"I've managed 900 and odd games over 20 years; you think there would be some sort of little bit of respect. Whoever was going to replace Rafa [Benitez] was going to have a tough time, the easiest thing would be to have said no to the challenge.

"I'm determined to take the club forward and days like today, your first win, you remember it for a long time."

Steve Bruce claimed his first win as Newcastle United boss as Joelinton's maiden Premier League goal earned a 1-0 triumph at Tottenham.

Bruce had seen his side slip to a 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal and a tame 3-1 loss to Norwich City in his opening two matches since taking charge.

Those setbacks only served to deepen the gloom that followed Rafael Benitez's departure, but Newcastle produced a superb away performance as Spurs suffered an early slip up in the 2019-20 season.

Tottenham were behind for much of their opening 3-1 win over Aston Villa but were unable to produce a similar turnaround this time, though the hosts were controversially denied a penalty after Jamaal Lascelles appeared to impede Harry Kane.

Newcastle were dealt an early blow when Allan Saint-Maximin limped off with a hamstring injury while wastefully running the ball out of play in a free-kick routine.

The visitors were then fortunate not to concede a penalty when Fabian Schar appeared to bring down the returning Son Heung-min.

However, Tottenham's defence failed to heed the warning of Sean Longstaff forcing Hugo Lloris to tip over, allowing Joelinton too much space to collect a Christian Atsu cross as Newcastle's record signing confidently fired in from close range.

Son stung the palms of Martin Dubravka with a half-volley and then dragged another effort wide before Lucas Moura miskicked a chance to equalise with the goal at his mercy.

A last-ditch tackle from Schar prevented Erik Lamela from levelling from Son's deflected effort and Spurs were apoplectic when Lascelles fell to the ground and took Kane with him, only for referee Mike Dean to reject shouts for a penalty and have VAR back him up.

Lucas and Kane both spurned glorious late opportunities for Tottenham as Newcastle held on for a result that should serve as a much-needed morale boost.

Steve Bruce suggested "there's always a storm" at Newcastle United as he responded angrily to suggestions his players do not know their roles.

Bruce was appointed as Newcastle's new head coach heading into the season, replacing the popular Rafael Benitez, and has endured a tough start.

The Magpies were beaten by Arsenal on the opening weekend following confusion over a second-half substitution, while they were completely outplayed in a humbling defeat at Norwich City.

Heading into a match against Tottenham, for which Newcastle will have £40million striker Joelinton fit, Bruce told a news conference: "After two games, there's a so-called mini-crisis and all the rest of it.

"That is over-sensationalised. Everything seems to be that way. But look, I understand that, it's the nature of the club - it always has been. There's always a storm in Newcastle and, at the minute, we're in one.

"The only way we can do it is to get a couple of results and the team to perform. After two games, it's very, very early to judge just yet."

Criticism of Bruce built this week as former Newcastle striker Michael Chopra claimed he had been told "some of the players don't know their jobs".

Meanwhile, defender Paul Dummett had to clarify on Twitter that issues with the warm-up at Norwich were "about us as players and as a team, not the coaching staff".

Bruce has been frustrated by the scrutiny, and said: "The Chopra thing was blown out of all proportion.

"It's laughable, really, for the people in the dressing room and my staff. Some of this stuff is just nonsense, but obviously it gets mentioned regularly."

Bruce said many of the claims made about Newcastle have been "fabricated and lies", adding: "When it's like that, you think, 'Why is that making national headlines?'.

"For the past four or five weeks, it's been relentless - let's make no mistake about it - but I've grown accustomed to it and if I can protect the players then I will.

"Ultimately, it's always my responsibility. I'm the one who sits here, I'm the one who talks to [the media], I'm the one who picks the team.

"No formation, no tactics, substitutions wrong? It's the whole thing at the minute. We can't even take a warm-up?

"Some of it is a bit laughable, but you just have to try to get through it and keep your dignity and make sure you're strong enough to see it through."

Unai Emery concedes Arsenal "struggled" in their 1-0 win over Newcastle United but felt a collective team effort led to an ultimately deserved three points.

Arsenal came away from St James' Park with a slender victory on Sunday thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's strike just before the hour mark.

Aubameyang made the most of some slack defending from Newcastle to score what proved to be the winning goal in a game of few clear-cut chances.

After equalling last season's away clean sheets tally in their first match of the 2019-20 campaign, Emery targeted more shutouts if Arsenal are to improve on their fifth-place finish from last time out.

"I want to win. I want to score and I want to keep a clean sheet," he said at his post-match news conference. "Today we won and we did that. 

"I think we created chances and we need also to create chances for our strikers and today with Auba we won. 

"We want to start defending with Aubameyang and we want to start attacking with Bernd Leno. I think every player worked very well today. Aubameyang scored, but I think it was because every player worked together.

"Our idea is to continue being one team, mostly offensive. But we need to also take the balance defensively. To win away we know is difficult in each match. Today we struggled but we deserved it."

Arsenal started without any of their new signings, with deadline-day arrival David Luiz remaining on the bench for the full 90 minutes.

Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos and Gabriel Martinelli made their debuts as second-half subs, though, and Emery said he intends to integrate them all into the first team.

"David Luiz did pre-season with another team and he is okay to play physically but he only trained completely with us yesterday," he said. 

"Pepe came one week ago and physically he needs to get his best fitness to be ready to play 100 per cent for 90 minutes. I think that today 20 minutes is good for him. 

"And Ceballos is in the middle because he came before Pepe but he got an injury and he stopped training. But he needs to know the Premier League, so today was important for him and for us."

Arsenal's winning goal came after a mistake from loanee Jetro Willems, who hesitated on the ball and allowed Ainsley Maitland-Niles to charge forward and play in Aubameyang.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce was disappointed that the lapse resulted proved decisive in his first competitive match in charge of his boyhood club.

"It's the manner of it," he told reporters. "We gave a sloppy goal away. If Arsenal open you up, you can applaud the opposition but to give away a bad goal is frustrating.

"We defended fantastically well through the game - I don't remember my goalkeeper making a mistake. We left ourselves open and got punished."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang marked his 50th Premier League appearance by scoring the winner as Arsenal beat Newcastle United 1-0 in their season opener at St James' Park.

Arsenal coach Unai Emery put his faith in last season's top scorer, while leaving Alexandre Lacazette and new signing Nicolas Pepe on the bench, and he was repaid 13 minutes into the second half when Gabon international Aubameyang fired his side ahead.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce had seen his new charges compete admirably until that point but an error from loanee Jetro Willems presented the visitors with an opportunity that they did not pass up.

There were better debuts for Magpies signings Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin - the latter introduced from the bench - but when Emery sent on Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos midway through the second half, it only drew further attention to a gulf in quality that had already been made clear.

The performances of young Gunners Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles were encouraging for Emery, who will have been relieved to see his defence - widely considered his side's major weakness – enjoy a largely comfortable afternoon.

While Jonjo Shelvey and Fabian Schar injected steel into Bruce's side, Javier Manquillo and Matt Ritchie gave the hosts their out-ball and it was the latter whose cross found the head of Joelinton, but the Brazilian sent a glancing effort wide.

Shelvey hit the outside of the post with a rasping shot from the edge of the box before Emery's men began to probe, Henrikh Mkhitaryan blazing over the crossbar from 12 yards with the Gunners' first clear chance.

Joelinton went closer at the other end, jinking into the box and testing Bernd Leno with a firmly struck shot before Aubameyang latched onto Mkhitaryan's exquisite chipped pass and drew a good near-post save from Martin Dubravka with a rocket.

Granit Xhaka's vision and passing technique afforded Aubameyang a shooting chance early in the second half but Dubravka turned his shot around the post.

Bruce sent on Eintracht Frankfurt loanee Willems for Shelvey, but moments later the Dutchman called for the ball and then hesitated as Schar's pass rolled towards him, allowing Maitland-Niles to steal the ball, burst down the right flank and centre to Aubameyang, who poked a shot past the on-rushing Dubravka.

Saint-Maximin and Pepe both came off the bench to excite their respective supporters, and the former found the angle to fire a low shot at goal seven minutes from time, but Leno got down well to make the save and ensure all three points went south to the capital.

What does it mean? Clouds gather on Tyneside

On a rainy Sunday in Newcastle, thousands of Magpies fans boycotted their team's first league game of the season, but had they attended they would have seen little to lighten the mood around a club where expectations are at a low.

Aubameyang back in the groove

Aubameyang looked sharp and alert from the outset, and had Newcastle not gifted him an opening in the way they did, you felt he would have carved a goal out for himself.

Willems the foe

Dutch defender Willems had been on the pitch for just four minutes when his moment of hesitation gifted Maitland-Niles the ball with the chance to break for Aubameyang's opener.

What's next?

Arsenal's first home game of the new season sees Burnley travel to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, while Newcastle make the journey south to face newly promoted Norwich City.

Newcastle United have completed their third signing of the transfer window, bringing in Nice winger Allan Saint-Maximin in a deal believed to be worth £16million.

The acquisition of Saint-Maximin, 22, followed the loan arrival of Jetro Willems on Friday, with the former signing a six-year deal at St James' Park.

The ex-Monaco winger scored six Ligue 1 goals in 34 appearances for Nice last term, and will wear the number 10 shirt for Newcastle.

"I'm delighted to bring Allan to St. James' Park. He is a very talented young player with a big future ahead of him," head coach Steve Bruce told Newcastle's official website.

"He has all the attributes you would want in an attacking player, including lightning pace, so I'm sure he'll excite everybody. He is a great addition to Newcastle United and the Premier League."

Saint-Maximin could be in line to make his Newcastle debut against one of his previous clubs, with the Magpies taking on Saint-Etienne on Saturday.

As well as Saint-Maximin and Willems, Newcastle have also signed Joelinton from Hoffenheim this close season for a club-record fee.

Steve Bruce expects Joelinton to be "a big hit" with Newcastle United supporters but admitted the former Hoffenheim striker is "not a typical Brazilian".

Joelinton's Newcastle debut started brightly when he weaved his way into the Preston North End box and won his side a penalty within seconds of his introduction in the second half of the Magpies' friendly at Deepdale.

But Miguel Almiron missed the ensuing spot-kick and Joelinton later conceded a penalty that Preston's Paul Gallagher scored to clinch a 2-1 win for the Lilywhites, though Bruce was impressed with his new signing nonetheless.

"I think he'll be a big hit," Bruce told the Chronicle.

"He is full of life and full of energy and plays with his heart on his sleeve.

"He is not a typical Brazillian - all the silky skills that you associate - however, I think he will be an effective number nine."

Joelinton's record-breaking £40million (€44.6m) arrival from Hoffenheim on a six-year deal created a buzz around St. James' Park, where the most the club had previously spent on a player was the £20.5m paid for Almiron in January.

Almiron has made 10 Premier League appearances for the club without finding the net, but Bruce backed his leading lights to shine as he aims to steer Newcastle into the top half of the table in 2019-20.

"The two of them [Joeliton and Almiron] will be a handful," said Bruce.

"After one minute, they combined, which could have won us the game.

"It was nice to see Miggy [Almiron], it was the first time I have seen him live.

"He is a very good player."

Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce is "very confident" Sean Longstaff will be staying at the club amid reported interest from Manchester United.

Longstaff, 21, broke into Newcastle's first-team last season, making nine Premier League appearances between December and March, before suffering a knee injury.

The talented midfielder is said to have emerged as a primary transfer target for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men following several encouraging performances.

The Red Devils are said to have been put off by Newcastle's apparent £50million asking price for the inexperienced talent, though it is claimed United are preparing to test Newcastle's resolve.

Bruce is convinced Longstaff will be at St James' Park next term, however.

"We don't want to sell our best young players, that's for sure," Bruce told reporters on Wednesday during Joelinton's presentation.

"So, that won't happen. I'm very confident [Longstaff will not leave]."

Newcastle United have smashed their club transfer record to bring in striker Joelinton from Hoffenheim, boosting Steve Bruce's short-staffed front line.

The Brazilian forward has signed a six-year deal at St James' Park and is said to have cost in the region of £40million (€44.6m).

The transfer surpasses the £20.5m Newcastle spent to secure Miguel Almiron earlier this year, that fee having finally topped their long-standing record figure of £16.5m, paid for Michael Owen in 2005.

Joelinton, 22, scored 11 goals in all competitions for Hoffenheim last term, starring after spending the previous two years out on loan at Rapid Vienna.

"I’m really happy to be here," he told Newcastle's official website. "I know it's a large investment that the club has made in me and that comes with a huge responsibility.

"I'm highly motivated and hope to give back on the pitch."

Bruce, confirmed as Newcastle's new head coach last week, had earlier told the club's official website they were "working on" bringing in attacking players.

"The kid’s got an exciting time ahead of him. He’s a smashing young player and we're obviously delighted to get him," Bruce said.

"It's been going on for a little bit now, so to get him is great for everybody.

"He's got everything that a modern-day player wants. He's big, strong and athletic, and of course he’s got age on his side too which is vitally important."

Since the end of last season, the Magpies have seen Salomon Rondon go to Dalian Yifang after a productive spell on loan from West Brom, top scorer Ayoze Perez join Leicester City and fringe striker Joselu return to Spain with Deportivo Alaves.

With Dwight Gayle out injured, Yoshinori Muto and teenager Elias Sorensen shared striking duties during last week's opening pre-season defeat to Wolves in the Premier League Asia Trophy.

Muto then scored the only goal of the game against West Ham in Bruce's first win on Saturday.

Newcastle United have smashed their club transfer record to bring in striker Joelinton from Hoffenheim, boosting Steve Bruce's short-staffed front line.

The Brazilian forward has signed a six-year deal at St James' Park and is said to have cost in the region of £40million (€44.6m) and £47.6m (€53m).

The transfer surpasses the £20.5m Newcastle spent to secure Miguel Almiron earlier this year, that fee having finally topped their long-standing record figure of £16.5m, paid for Michael Owen in 2005.

 

Sheffield Wednesday have reported Newcastle United to the Premier League for their conduct concerning the appointment of Steve Bruce as head coach.

Bruce was announced as successor to Rafael Benitez at St. James' Park last Wednesday, with Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence confirmed as his assistants.

Wednesday were angry that the news was made public as they said there were still "outstanding legal issues to be resolved between the club and the staff and Newcastle United".

The Championship side have now approached the Premier League to begin an investigation.

In a statement released on Monday, they said: "Following Newcastle United's announcement on July 17, 2019 of its appointment of former Sheffield Wednesday staff Steve Bruce, Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence, the club confirms that it has today reported Newcastle United's conduct to the Premier League.

"As the Premier League will now initiate and carry out investigations into the club's allegations, the club will not be commenting further on this matter whilst such investigations are ongoing."

Bruce has been in China to watch Newcastle against Wolves and West Ham in the Premier League Asia Trophy.

The Magpies meet Preston North End in their next pre-season friendly match at Deepdale on Saturday.

Manchester City failed to collect their first trophy of the 2019-20 season after losing the Premier League Asia Trophy final to Wolves on penalties.

Following a goalless draw in Shanghai on Saturday, Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio saved three penalties to seal a 3-2 shoot-out victory for Nuno Espirito Santo's side.

Pep Guardiola's men completed a domestic clean sweep of silverware last term but must wait until next month's Community Shield for a chance to add to their growing collection of medals.

City were gifted the chance to take a first-half lead when Adama Traore fouled Leroy Sane in the box and referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the penalty spot.

But Raheem Sterling, who started in a central attacking role after he scored twice against West Ham to send City into the final, blazed his effort from 12 yards well over the angle of post and bar.

David Silva's 77th-minute free-kick tested Patricio, who earlier needed lengthy treatment on a facial injury, as City continued to fruitlessly probe for the breakthrough.

Conor Coady and Ilkay Gundogan were each denied in the first round of penalties, with Patricio also keeping out Silva's strike before Maximilian Kilman fired his kick wide for Wolves.

Danilo made it 1-1 after three kicks each with a low shot that squeezed under Patricio, who then saved the decisive effort from Lukas Nmecha to secure the trophy.

Earlier in the day, with new head coach Steve Bruce watching from the stands, Newcastle United beat West Ham 1-0 in the third-place play-off thanks to Japan striker Yoshinori Muto's goal.

Steve Bruce has revealed David Beckham backed him in taking the Newcastle United job despite Alan Shearer's doubts.

Boyhood Magpies fan Bruce was appointed as the club's head coach this week, replacing Rafael Benitez, whose popular reign ended as he failed to agree with controversial owner Mike Ashley on a route forward.

Newcastle supporters are set to boycott their first match of the Premier League season amid anger at Ashley, while the arrival of Bruce - a former Sunderland boss - has not gone down well with many.

Club great Shearer, Bruce's friend, was vocal in advising the new man against moving to St James' Park, but ex-Manchester United team-mate Beckham was more positive.

"Tons of them [were positive]," Bruce said of his friends. "'You've got to do it,' people said.

"I don't want to mention names, but David Beckham was one of them. I'll have to show my daughter that text message.

"[Shearer] said 'no, no, no'. I said 'yes, yes, yes'. He's a big friend and he's a big Newcastle fan, but I had no hesitation as soon as I got the phone call.

"When it became real, there was no hesitation. I had to have a crack."

One of Bruce's first tasks at Newcastle will be to settle the future of Sean Longstaff, who is linked with a switch to Old Trafford.

Bruce is adamant Longstaff will not leave amid reports of a £50million valuation.

"[Longstaff] is a player we want to keep, he's had a remarkable rise," the coach said. "He is everything you would want in a player, big and athletic and he handles the ball well.

"We've got to be mindful of the fact he's had a nasty injury, we've got to nurture him through pre-season so he is ready for Arsenal [on the opening day].

"He is the type of player you want to build your team around. I’ve only seen him for a day, but he has had an unbelievable rise. He very much reminds me of a Michael Carrick.

"I'm not aware that he is going to Manchester United, I'm not aware of that at all."

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