Manchester City star Raheem Sterling revealed he voted for Tottenham striker Harry Kane to receive the PFA Player of the Year award, not Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk.

Sterling and Liverpool defender Van Dijk are the frontrunners for the award ahead of the PFA ceremony in London on Sunday.

Van Dijk said he voted for Sterling – who has scored 17 Premier League goals and tallied nine assists for reigning champions City this season.

However, Sterling did not return the favour, instead opting for England team-mate Kane, who did not make the six-man shortlist.

"It's nice to be recognised on that front but, to be honest, if we don't win the Premier League, I don't really want to be in contention," said Sterling.

"What I want to do is win the Premier League, win the FA Cup, then think about stuff like that, even though the awards are before that. Without that, it doesn't mean much to me, really.

"I voted for Harry Kane. My vote for him is because he scores so many goals every year, he does so much for the team, gives so much for his team.

"There was a lot of talk about Virgil van Dijk. I knew he would have a lot of the votes, so I looked at someone I thought being around him in the national team, how he puts in his work, his work ethic, how he looks after himself.

"He's always there, especially coming back from injury, as a professional I looked at him and that's my reason for voting for him, seeing him on a day-to-day with the national team."

Sterling's City team-mates Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva are also in the running for the award, as well as Liverpool forward Sadio Mane and Chelsea star Eden Hazard.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl believes Shane Long's record for the fastest goal in Premier League history will not be broken anytime soon.

Long's record-breaking goal after just seven seconds helped Southampton to a 1-1 draw at Watford on Tuesday as Hasenhuttl's men moved further clear of the relegation zone.

Ledley King's 10-second record – which had stood since 2000 – was shattered by Long when the Republic of Ireland international closed down Craig Cathcart's attempted clearance and powered through to clip over Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster.

Long revelled in the record post-match, saying: "The manager said to make a quick start and put them under pressure. It's a nice record to have."

And Hasenhuttl heaped praise on Long, telling reporters: "It was fantastic I think. It was a very good signal after the game on Saturday where I was really not happy about the first half where we were not aggressive enough.

"I think they listened very well, especially Shane Long. He was so quick and so quick attacking. After the ball win that is one thing but to score also is another thing.

"I think he has a little bit the image that he doesn't score so much but in the last four games three goals. It's amazing and an amazing performance he shows in the moment. I am absolutely happy with him."

Hasenhuttl added: "It's not so easy [for the record to be broken]. The only chance is to shoot from the middle line. That is the only chance to beat this record because much faster is not possible I think."

Watford managed to secure a share of the points thanks to Andre Gray's late strike at Vicarage Road.

Gray popped up in the 90th minute to salvage a point for Watford, who leapfrogged Everton into seventh position in the Premier League.

"We conceded in the last games two similar goals. But if we speak about players like Ben Foster and Craig Cathcart, they are players who are always very concentrated. It's something, in my opinion, that sometimes happens and you never know exactly why," Javi Gracia said.

"I'm sure in the next game these players and the rest of the team will be very focused and trying to avoid these mistakes, but it sometimes happens and we try to do better and avoid these mistakes in the next games."

Unai Emery insisted Shkodran Mustafi is good enough to play for Arsenal, despite the centre-back coming under fire for his performances.

Mustafi was at fault for two of Crystal Palace's goals in Arsenal's shock 3-2 Premier League defeat at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The 27-year-old has split opinion since joining from LaLiga side Valencia in a reported £35million transfer in 2016, but Emery has no doubt about the German's quality, citing his man-of-the-match showing in the 1-0 win at Watford on April 15.

"I want to protect the players," Arsenal boss Emery said ahead of Wednesday's trip to Wolves. "Mustafi is a very good player, a very good centre-back. He has the habit of doing a tackle and going to ground, using his anticipation against the opposition.

"He can win one [tackle], win two, win three, win four - but if he loses one he is the picture and if we concede a goal he is the big picture. I have spoken to him: 'you are young, you can improve and you need to work hard because you have a big quality for a centre-back'.

"For example, against Watford, he was the best of all the players, he won all the balls in the air with his head and that is a very good statistic for him. On Sunday against Christian Benteke it is more difficult to win every ball in the air but it was 50-50."

Emery has switched between a three and four-man defence during his first season in North London, and the Spaniard believes it suits Mustafi playing alongside two other central defenders.

"When we use three centre backs, we protect them more," Emery said. "You can anticipate, and you can lose one [tackle] but we have two who are covering. When we have only two, if you lose the anticipation, there is only one behind. That is happening a lot with Mustafi, but I want him to not do the tackle on the ground every time.

"You have to be clever in your mind about what is the moment to go [to ground] and what is not the moment, but that is part of the process."

Mustafi let Wilfried Zaha get the wrong side of him for Palace's second goal, but Emery has absolved him of any blame.

"He is young, he is improving and Sunday he is in the big picture because of the second goal. But it's not his mistake. The mistake was tactical because we need to protect him with two centre-backs against Zaha. I protect him because I believe in him."

Arsenal are fifth and a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who occupy the final Champions League spot.

Manchester City star Raheem Sterling believes far more can still be done to put an end to racism in football.

The England international has repeatedly spoken out about the issue following a rise in incidents of racial abuse throughout the sport.

Sterling has already called for harsher punishments to be handed out for clubs whose fans are found guilty of targeting players because of the colour of their skin, insisting the current sanctions in place are not enough to stop some people.

But the 24-year-old only expects things to change should the relevant equality and inclusion organisations, such as Kick It Out, receive sufficient backing.

"It's not any disrespect to Kick It Out but the campaigns, with the t-shirts and stuff, I feel it shows people what you're trying to say but what is actually being put in place? We need to help people like Kick It Out push it a bit more," he told Sky Sports.

"The other day the Premier League suggested to post this blackout thing. Again, it was just like 'Ok, it goes on social media. Then people see it. But what does that do? What does that actually do? What is the outcome of that?'

"Is it a campaign for three days and it blows over or are we going to do something that says, 'this is what we're doing and from now on. This is how it's going to go'.

"That's what we, every player who has been in this situation, would like. I don't think these social media posts, these t-shirts are doing anything. It's not going to change anything.

"It needs to be at first within football - because that's where I am and I can't say about in everyday walks of life - to help people in our environment. And for people that have been suffering these things to have something that they know when they go on the football field that no one will dare to even chat one word at them. That's what I'm aiming for."

Sterling, who has enjoyed another incredible campaign on the pitch with 17 Premier League goals and nine assists, hopes the next generation of footballers can avoid the same type of abuse received by himself and his team-mates.

"No one really says anything. No one expresses their feelings, and I think that's wrong," he said. "But, at the same time, no one really wants any backlash or if any of it went wrong. 

"But when I wanted to say something it was purely just to get people on the outside to understand what it's really like for some of these players. I probably had it lightly because I haven't had that many experiences growing up. It was more, as I keep explaining, when I came up north.

"But speaking to players like Fabian [Delph], growing up in Leeds, Bradford, and then telling me about some of their experiences, it's crazy to know some of this stuff happens here to 15, 16-year-old kids.

"We have an opportunity and a chance to make something that's not just now but that, in 10 years' time, players know when they get on a football field that stuff like that can't happen. That's what we need to put in place. Something that makes people think more than twice."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United have to prove they can be consistent if they are to compete with Liverpool and Manchester City for the Premier League title next season.

Ahead of a derby clash with rivals City at Old Trafford on Wednesday, United are 24 points behind leaders Liverpool, although they have played one match fewer.

Solskjaer's side face a battle for Champions League qualification with United, who have lost six of their past eight games in all competitions, three points behind Chelsea in the race for a top-four finish.

United have not won the Premier League since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and Solskjaer is uncertain over how competitive the Red Devils can be in 2019-20.

"I don't think we've got the consistency to do that," Solskjaer told reporters when asked if United can fight City and Liverpool for the title next season.

"Over the last 18 games, we're not far away from them but it's doing it over the course of a season. We've done it for half a season now. Let's see. You can never say never.

"You cannot expect things to happen overnight and we know that. It will happen gradually and we have to be realistic enough as a club that we have to take it step by step. 

"That's not changing 10 players now and bringing 10 players in. It's slowly, slowly but surely. It has to be the right quality, right personality, the right standards to get us back to where we want to be."

United fans have been left to weigh up whether they would rather see neighbours City or equally fierce rivals Liverpool be crowned champions.

"It's not about taking something away from others," Solskjaer added. "We have to want to overtake them, and not just because it's City and Liverpool.

"For a supporter, as I am, and as a manager now as well, we know [them well] because they are so close in the vicinity. 

"We want to be the best, we have been the best and it's not nice seeing those two at the top."

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has not given up hope of Christian Eriksen extending his contract despite the midfielder having only 14 months left on his deal.

Eriksen joined Spurs from Ajax in 2013 and has been a regular ever since, becoming one of the Premier League's best playmakers.

He was decisive on Tuesday, scoring a fine late winner as Spurs took charge in the top-four battle with a 1-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Spurs and Eriksen have long been in negotiations but do not appear to be getting any closer to an agreement, with some suggesting they could look to offload him at the end of the season to prevent losing him on a free transfer next year.

When asked if he had any updates on the talks, Pochettino told reporters: "I think I was clear a few months ago.

"It is a very special situation. Christian is a special person. I think we are all special, different and we need to understand that.

"The timing for him or for the club to be agreeing something are maybe different to another player. I hope and I wish Christian can be with us in the future, but I think Christian and us, we are so open to talking and we will see what happens.

"I think it is so close to the end of the season, [there is] a lot of time to talk after and I think the most important thing now, not only for him, is for all the players to be focused and try to achieve the things we want.

"We have a lot of big things ahead and we need to be focused only to try and recover, train and compete."

Eriksen has impressed lately and his winner against Brighton capped a strong all-round performance, with Pochettino paying tribute to his technical ability.

"He has an amazing quality," Pochettino added. "He can shoot from outside of the box and have unbelievable shots with his left and right foot.

"Of course, it's about mentality too, but in the end if you don't have the quality then you can shoot 10 times without the goalkeeper and for sure you're not going to score, but with Christian he can shoot and score."

Brighton were agonisingly close to what could have been a pivotal point in their fight against relegation and Chris Hughton accepted it was painful to slip to such a late loss.

"That's very much the feeling," Hughton told reporters when asked if it was a heartbreaking defeat. "We had a little bit of fortune go our away, they hit the post, we defended well.

"The longer it went I thought we would hold out if we had managed the game better at the end. I thought the centre-halves were both excellent.

"It's a pressurised situation but we have put ourselves in it and we have to deal with it. We have an opportunity now at home against Newcastle [United on Saturday]."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will go up against former team Borussia Dortmund in one of three pre-season friendlies the Reds have announced in the United States.

The Reds will face Dortmund, who Klopp guided to two Bundesliga titles and a Champions League final during his seven years at the club, in a high-profile fixture at Notre Dame Stadium in Indiana on July 19.

Liverpool will also take on Sevilla at Fenway Park on July 21, before concluding their Stateside tour with a game against Sporting CP at Yankee Stadium three days later.

Klopp's side are chasing their first top-flight title since 1990 and sit two points above second-placed Manchester City, who play their game in hand away at neighbours Manchester United on Wednesday.

Klopp's men have three Premier League games remaining and meet Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final next Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola insisted Manchester City have not been offered Manchester United star Paul Pogba again despite the Frenchman being linked with the Old Trafford exit.

Pogba has endured another erratic season at United, finding himself in and out of the team under Jose Mourinho, before suffering another dip in form recently.

Although consistency continues to elude Pogba, he has managed to score 13 Premier League goals this term and set up another nine.

Pogba was linked with City last season when Guardiola claimed - just before the derby - his agent had offered him to United's rivals, while Real Madrid are said to be circling following the return of Zinedine Zidane as coach.

But, ahead of Wednesday's Manchester derby, Guardiola refused to stoke any pre-match controversy again, insisting City have not been offered the World Cup-winning midfielder once more by agent Mino Raiola.

"No. No, no, definitely not," Guardiola told reporters when asked if Pogba had been made available to him. "He's a player for Man United."

Guardiola is already spoilt for choice in midfield, even with Kevin De Bruyne expected to miss the derby through another knee injury.

Phil Foden impressed against Tottenham last time out, scoring the only goal of the game in just his second Premier League start and he could start against United for the first time in De Bruyne's stead.

"Yes, he [Foden] is ready," Guardiola said of the Stockport-born 18-year-old.

"I don't know the importance to be a Man City fan or if being involved in that is going to help or not, but he is ready, of course.

"He would not be here [if he wasn't ready]. We'll see [if he starts] - I have to dream tonight."

Pep Guardiola has strongly denied a claim from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that his Manchester City side deliberately set out to commit fouls.

Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho previously complained about what he described as "tactical fouls" from Guardiola's City.

And Mourinho's successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer followed suit in his pre-match news conference, claiming "there will be fouls" in Wednesday's Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

Victory in the derby would put City in pole position in the title race, moving them back above Liverpool by a point with both sides having three games to play.

And Guardiola bristled at Solskjaer's suggestion City cynically bringing counter-attacks to an end is one of his tactical instructions.

"Receive a lot of fouls? So we are going to make fouls to them? Did he say that?" Guardiola said to reporters. "With 75 per cent the average, or 65 or 70 per cent of the ball, how you do that? I don't have any comments about that.

"I never prepare a game in my 10 seasons as a manager thinking about this kind of thing. Never. And my players can talk better than me about that.

"I'm concerned many, many other things about the game to have to play to beat them than this kind of thing.

"So I don't know. Tomorrow in the press conference after the game you can ask him again about that. So I don't know."

Guardiola indicated he feels Solskjaer's words were an attempt to influence the match referee Andre Marriner.

"I don't like it. I don't like it," the City manager said when asked again about the Norwegian's comments. "My team, our team is not built to think and create for that, not at all. I know exactly what I say to my players from the day one, from the last day.

"So we want to play, want to try to attack, we have to be honest and of course there is contact, of course there are fouls, but when it happens and you arrive late and yellow [card] - that's why there are referees to make a yellow card or a red card, or whatever they decide.

"We want to do our game, I want to do our game. Sometimes it's not possible because the others play too, the people sometimes [find it] difficult to understand that, but the other teams play too. But never, never... I prepare the game to do my, our own game, that is what I want."

Guardiola does not expect Solskjaer's comments to have an impact on the referee, though.

"No I don't think so," he added. "We shouldn't do that.

"Really I don't know. I will be suspended [if we talk about referees]. I will be in trouble."

Southampton's Shane Long scored the fastest goal in Premier League history but Andre Gray's late strike secured a 1-1 draw for Watford on Tuesday.

The Republic of Ireland international closed down Craig Cathcart's attempted clearance and powered through to clip over Ben Foster after just seven seconds. The previous record holder was Ledley King, who scored in just under 10 seconds during Tottenham's win over Bradford City in 2000.

Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster twice denied Nathan Redmond with excellent saves before Gray popped up in the 90th minute to ensure a share of the spoils.

A point moves Ralph Hasenhuttl's side six points above 18th-place Cardiff City, while Watford leapfrog Everton into seventh.

Christian Eriksen's stunning late strike secured Tottenham a crucial 1-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion to give Spurs complete control in the top-four race.

Spurs appeared to be heading for an underwhelming draw that would have seen Brighton edge closer to securing their Premier League safety, but Eriksen struck two minutes from time to cruelly deny Chris Hughton's hard-working side.

After a quiet opening, the first half grew into a lively encounter, with Spurs going closest just before the interval when Dele Alli had an effort blocked on the line.

Spurs stepped things up a notch in the second half bit looked to have run out of ideas after Toby Alderweireld hit the post, but Eriksen continued plugging away and eventually found the net late on, taking Mauricio Pochettino's men four points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal.

Shane Long made history on Tuesday when he plundered the fastest goal in Premier League history in Southampton's clash with Watford at Vicarage Road.

The Republic of Ireland international showed superb determination to block Craig Cathcart's attempted clearance and then wonderful composure to clip over Ben Foster after just seven seconds.

He takes the record from Ledley King, who scored after just under 10 seconds against Bradford City in 2000.

Here, we take a closer look at the top five fastest goals in the Premier League's history.

 

Shane Long: Watford v Southampton, April 2019 – 7.00 seconds

There appeared to be little danger when Cathcart looked to play a long ball downfield from Roberto Pereyra's kick-off but Long had other ideas. His block fell fortuitously into his path but there was nothing lucky about the glorious flick over the onrushing Foster.

What a moment! #SaintsFC's @ShaneLong7 celebrates the fastest goal in #PL history!  pic.twitter.com/M4fpU1sIcj

— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) April 23, 2019

Ledley King: Bradford City v Tottenham, December 2000 – 9.82 seconds

It might have held the title of quickest goal for nearly 19 years, but it certainly was not the prettiest. The former England international powered forward from midfield and dispatched a bobbling effort past Matt Clarke, who might feel he should have done better.

Alan Shearer: Newcastle United v Manchester City, January 2003 – 10.52 seconds

The Premier League's all-time top goalscorer scarcely needed a helping hand to find the back of the net but he got one from Carlo Nash. The Magpies hero closed down the City goalkeeper's attempted clearance and tapped into an empty net for possibly the easiest finish of his decorated career.

 

Christian Eriksen: Tottenham v Manchester United, January 2018 – 10.54 seconds

The Denmark international took full advantage of some generous United defending to set Spurs on their way to a 2-0 win. Son Heung-min's attempted shot was blocked into the path of Eriksen, who coolly slotted past a shell-shocked David de Gea.

 

Mark Viduka: Charlton Athletic v Leeds United, March 2001 – 11.90 seconds

The former Australia international was known for his languid style but he was quick out of the blocks against Charlton. Alan Smith's header fell kindly for his strike partner and Viduka made no mistake, steering a fine finish past Sasa Ilic.

Shane Long scored the fastest goal in Premier League history during Southampton's clash with Watford on Tuesday.

The Republic of Ireland international closed down Craig Cathcart's attempted clearance and powered through to clip over Ben Foster after just seven seconds.

The previous record holder was Ledley King, who scored after 10 seconds during Tottenham's win over Bradford City in 2000.

Long has struggled for game time this season but his goal took his tally to four in just nine starts.

Trent Alexander-Arnold says he will be among the Liverpool fans cheering on Manchester United in this week's derby against the Reds' title rivals Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola's side play their game in hand at Old Trafford on Wednesday knowing a victory would move them back above Liverpool in the Premier League table.

City have won 10 league games in a row in a relentless run, but Jurgen Klopp's men have kept up the pressure on the defending champions by going unbeaten since losing at the Etihad Stadium on January 3.

Former City midfielder James Milner said he would not be tuning into the Manchester derby as he feels it is "a waste of energy" to wish for his old club to slip up.

Alexander-Arnold's England team-mates Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard could also boost Liverpool's chances of winning their first title of the Premier League era.

But although Reds supporters would not ordinarily find themselves hoping United win, Liverpool-born Alexander-Arnold feels it is a small price to pay.

"It's a funny one," he told reporters. "At this stage of the season you sometimes need to support someone you wouldn't normally like.

"There's no secret, for our ambitions and goals we need a team to do us a favour somewhere along the line.

"On Saturday we all supported Tottenham [against City] and on Wednesday the majority of Liverpool fans I think will want United to get a win.

"Without even saying it they [Rashford and Lingard] know they'll be doing us a massive favour if they get anything.

"With what they're going for and going for the top four, they probably need to get a result. I'm sure it will be a good one.

"I probably will watch it. I don't know if there are any other games on, but I'll watch. It's exciting, but you try not to get too caught up in hoping that City lose."

Chelsea have confirmed Callum Hudson-Odoi suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in Monday's 2-2 draw with Burnley and he will have surgery on Tuesday.

Hudson-Odoi was forced off just before half-time at Stamford Bridge having gone down after a heavy touch of the ball.

The 18-year-old winger instantly looked in agony and was later seen leaving the stadium on crutches and with his right foot in a protective boot.

Hudson-Odoi wrote on social media after the game that he had ruptured his Achilles tendon, and although assistant coach Gianfranco Zola said at the time the severity of the injury was unconfirmed, that initial diagnosis ultimately proved accurate.

A brief statement on Chelsea's website confirmed Hudson-Odoi is due to have surgery on Tuesday.

He will miss the rest of the season and England's Nations League Finals campaign, while he could potentially be absent at the start of the 2019-20 Premier League calendar as well.

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