Emile Smith Rowe has impressed for Arsenal this term, but he is now revelling in getting the chance to train and play alongside a Tottenham star.

Smith Rowe – who is Arsenal's joint-top scorer in the Premier League this season with four goals – was initially left out of Gareth Southgate's England squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino.

However, the withdrawals of James Ward-Prowse and Marcus Rashford, as well as doubts over Mason Mount's fitness, resulted in the 21-year-old midfielder linking up with Southgate's senior squad at St George's Park.

Smith Rowe is thrilled by the opportunity, though perhaps risked the wrath of Arsenal fans as he singled out training with Harry Kane – England's captain and Spurs' talisman, albeit one who has struggled for form this season – as a particularly surreal moment. 

"Obviously I play against these guys every week but for England it's always different," he told reporters.

"Wearing the same training kit and passing the ball to each other – it's crazy to be alongside these great players. Harry Kane, captain of England, what he's done – it's crazy to be training with him. [Raheem] Sterling as well.

"I always knew training would be difficult. It still hasn't sunk in I'm actually here yet."

Smith Rowe has joined club-mate Bukayo Saka in the squad.

Saka impressed at Euro 2020, though the youngster was one of three England players to miss a penalty in the shoot-out defeat to Italy in the final.

"Me and Bukayo are so close off the pitch, I'm so happy for him every time he plays for England," Smith Rowe said.

"It's extra special to be here with him, we've both come up from Hale End [the Arsenal academy]. It's a big moment for us and for Arsenal as well."

Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic is winning plenty of admirers.

The 21-year-old Serbian has netted 10 times in 12 appearances at club level this season.

Vlahovic is currently under contract until June 23, although La Viola want him to sign an extension.

TOP STORY – PSG TO ENTER VLAHOVIC RACE

Paris Saint-Germain will enter the race to sign Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic, claims Le10Sports.

The Parisians are lining up the Serbian striker as a potential successor to Kylian Mbappe should he exit the club when his contract expires at the end of this season, with Real Madrid circling.

Hot property Vlahovic is being pursued by JuventusLiverpool and Tottenham.

ROUND-UP

- Unai Emery will not be the first permanent manager in Newcastle United's new era, BBC Sport journalist and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague understands. The Basque coach is set to stay at Villarreal for now, though his job there is under threat amid a poor start to 2021-22.

- The Sun reports Antonio Conte's arrival at Tottenham has seen Harry Kane abandon any plans he had to quit the club. Kane apparently wished to join Manchester City during the most recent transfer window.

- New Spurs boss Conte wants to sign Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, according to Metro. Conte also has Inter defender Stefan de Vrij in his sights, claims Football Insider.

Milan are in the race to sign talented River Plate star Julian Alvarez in the off-season, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Fiorentina have also shown interest in 21-year-old Alvarez, who has four caps for Argentina.

Norwich City are considering a move to replace embattled manager Daniel Farke with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, claims the Daily Mail. The Canaries have only two points from 10 games following their return to the Premier League. Howe has also been linked with the vacant Newcastle job.

Newcastle want to make Inter's Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic their first major signing in January, says The Sun. Brozovic is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lazio are looking to convince Luiz Felipe to ink a new deal with the club amid interest from BarcelonaSevilla and Real Betis, reports CalcioMercato. The Brazilian centre-back's contract expires at the end of this season.

Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic is winning plenty of admirers.

The 21-year-old Serbian has netted 10 times in 12 appearances at club level this season.

Vlahovic is currently under contract until June 23, although La Viola want him to sign an extension.

TOP STORY – PSG TO ENTER VLAHOVIC RACE

Paris Saint-Germain will enter the race to sign Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic, claims Le10Sports.

The Parisians are lining up the Serbian striker as a potential successor to Kylian Mbappe should he exit the club when his contract expires at the end of this season, with Real Madrid circling.

Hot property Vlahovic is being pursued by JuventusLiverpool and Tottenham.

ROUND-UP

- Unai Emery will not be the first permanent manager in Newcastle United's new era, BBC Sport journalist and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague understands. The Basque coach is set to stay at Villarreal for now, though his job there is under threat amid a poor start to 2021-22.

- The Sun reports Antonio Conte's arrival at Tottenham has seen Harry Kane abandon any plans he had to quit the club. Kane apparently wished to join Manchester City during the most recent transfer window.

- New Spurs boss Conte wants to sign Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, according to Metro. Conte also has Inter defender Stefan de Vrij in his sights, claims Football Insider.

Milan are in the race to sign talented River Plate star Julian Alvarez in the off-season, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Fiorentina have also shown interest in 21-year-old Alvarez, who has four caps for Argentina.

Norwich City are considering a move to replace embattled manager Daniel Farke with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, claims the Daily Mail. The Canaries have only two points from 10 games following their return to the Premier League. Howe has also been linked with the vacant Newcastle job.

Newcastle want to make Inter's Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic their first major signing in January, says The Sun. Brozovic is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lazio are looking to convince Luiz Felipe to ink a new deal with the club amid interest from BarcelonaSevilla and Real Betis, reports CalcioMercato. The Brazilian centre-back's contract expires at the end of this season.

Tottenham moved quickly after sacking Nuno Espirito Santo on Monday, appointing Antonio Conte as his successor just a day later.

The swift changeover is a huge departure from the shambles Spurs found themselves embroiled in during pre-season when initially hiring Nuno, who was apparently way down their list of candidates to replace Jose Mourinho.

Conte was said to have been Spurs' ideal choice back then but was reluctant to jump straight back into a job after leaving Inter. But now he does find himself in charge at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and he's got plenty of work on his hands.

While their 15 points from 10 Premier League matches is by no means a disaster as they sit ninth in the table, the major concerns relating to Spurs have been the style of play and Harry Kane's form.

With this in mind, Stats Perform delves into the Opta numbers to see what Spurs fans can expect from the Italian.

Undoubted pedigree

It really is a sign of the times – and the Premier League's financial might – that Tottenham are able to sack a coach they never really wanted and bring in the bloke who won Serie A just last season.

Granted, Inter winning the Scudetto was hardly a fairytale story, and they spent a fair amount of money to build the team that got the job done, but you can't deny the fine job Conte did in two years there.

His first season saw them narrowly miss out to Juve by a single point, while they also got to the Europa League final only to lose to Sevilla – that was hardly a disgrace given the Spaniards have never lost a Europa League/UEFA Cup final.

It was clear to see Inter were building to something and in 2020-21 they got their first Serie A title in 11 years, ending the Juve domination that stretched back to 2010-11 and coincidentally began with Conte as coach.

Of course, it could be argued that Conte's return to Italian football was timed perfectly, with Juve slipping as a force and Serie A waiting for another team to take over, but there's no getting away from the fact Inter were dominant for a massive part of the season – they were top from matchday 22 all the way through to the end of the season.

After a 2-1 loss at Sampdoria on January 6, Inter did not lose again before sealing the title, with the 3-2 defeat away to Juve on the penultimate day of the season having no impact on the Nerazzurri's end position.

Conte turned Inter from perennial underachievers to champions, and while money was spent, so many of those brought in improved significantly under his guidance as well.

The system

Conte's tactical tendencies are well-publicised. In fact, there aren't many coaches in world football who are more associated with a specific system than he is with his.

During his last spell in the Premier League, which included one title success, his Chelsea lined up with a back three in all but six of his 78 top-flight matches.

In the long run, Spurs fans can expect such a set-up to lead to greater pressing intensity. While Inter's 294 high turnovers may have only been enough to rank sixth in Serie A (and it would have been the same in the Premier League) last term, that total was still far more than Tottenham (228), the third-lowest in the English top flight.

Among the two sides with even fewer high turnovers than Spurs were Nuno's Wolves (205).

Inter's 12.8 PPDA (opposition passes allowed per defensive action) for 2020-21 was roughly average across Serie A and the Premier League, suggesting Inter didn't necessarily do their most aggressive pressing from the front.

Additionally, it could be argued that Spurs actually have a group of players well-suited to making the most of an intense press. Of course, the Nerazzurri's high turnovers total was much greater, but when it comes to efficiency, Spurs were slightly better in 2020-21.

Spurs' shot-ending high turnovers accounted for 16.2 per cent of their total, while that figure was 15 per cent for Inter. They both scored five goals from such situations.

Granted, this doesn't take into consideration the differing cultural styles between the two leagues, with the Premier League quite open and Serie A traditionally a little tighter, but it suggests Conte's ideals might actually translate rather well to the Spurs squad.

That's not to say we should expect overnight changes. So far this season, Spurs rank 82nd out of the 98 teams in Europe's top five leagues for high turnovers (62) and pressed sequences (124). A drastic change of mentality will take a time.

Whipping up a Harry Kane

What Spurs fans will be most intrigued to see, however, is whether Conte can get Kane back to his best.

The England captain could not find a way out of the club in pre-season, with Manchester City lurking, and while he has not exactly kicked up a fuss in public about being made to stay, his performances haven't helped certain perceptions of him.

After all, he achieved the rare feat of finishing top of the goals and assists charts last season – that hadn't been accomplished since Andy Cole in 1994. His form was one of few positives for Spurs.

Yet in 2021-22, his productivity has dipped significantly. He has gone from scoring 0.7 goals per game to 0.1, with just a solitary strike in nine Premier League matches.

Now, it would be fair to suggest Nuno's tactics haven't helped. Spurs are joint-lowest – with relegation-doomed Norwich City – for shots per game (10.3), and it's difficult to blame that on one player, regardless of how much Kane has dropped off.

Kane has seen his own shooting frequency almost halve to just 2.1 per 90 minutes from 3.9 last season and he's not creating much either, his chances created dropping to 0.8 from 1.4 each game.

But with Conte, there is certainly cause for optimism, at least in terms of getting Kane firing again – assuming his poor form is down to system and not a reaction to not getting a transfer.

Granted, Romelu Lukaku and Kane are very different players, but Conte knew how to get the best out of the Belgian, who scored 47 league goals in 72 games under the Italian at a rate of one every 124.9 minutes (0.7 per 90 minutes).

Only for Steve Clarke at West Brom has Lukaku scored more frequently (one every 117.82 mins) in his career (top five leagues).

Of course, Lukaku wasn't doing it all by himself at Inter – his 3.0 shots per game last season was actually fewer than Lautaro Martinez's 3.8. They were essentially a two-man frontline, perhaps something we can expect to see with Kane and Son Heung-min once again.

Both Lukaku and Martinez averaged more touches (7.3 and 6.7) and shots (2.6 and 3.0) in the box than Kane (5.0 and 2.5) as well, further evidence of how Conte's system enables two central strikers to thrive as an attacking threat.

The relationship between Son and Kane has long been heralded, and last season Martinez and Lukaku linked up for eight goals from 29 overall chances – another tick in the pros column.

There will be those who claim Conte represents a gamble, especially given his rather volatile reputation and how that may not fuse well with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, yet you could argue no manager is a guarantee.

But what is undoubtable is Conte's track record and work ethic as a coach. There's every reason to think this could be a masterstroke for Spurs, but only if he's allowed to do it all his way.

Former Tottenham striker Teddy Sheringham has praised the understanding of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min as the duo close in on a Premier League record.

Kane and Son have directly combined for 35 goals in the English top flight since the South Korea international's move from Bayer Leverkusen in August 2015.

The Spurs pair, who successfully linked up again in last weekend's win at Newcastle United, are now just one behind the leading tally of 36 set by Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba ahead of a London derby with West Ham United on Sunday.

And Sheringham, who scored 124 goals in 277 appearances across two spells for Spurs, is hopeful Kane and Son can continue to link up in such devastating fashion.

In an exclusive interview, the 55-year-old told Stats Perform: "They have a great understanding.

"They're two phenomenal players playing at the top of their game. They have an understanding that clicks. 

"They know what's good and what's bad for each other and they play to their strengths and long may continue for Tottenham."

Sheringham knows all about the benefits of playing with a team-mate on the same wavelength.

Indeed, the former England striker directly combined with Darren Anderton for 27 goals during their time together at Spurs; the fifth-highest tally in Premier League history.

"Every now and again, you come across people that understand how you play and accommodate you perfectly," he continued.

"Not everyone gets on that wavelength, but I definitely had it with Darren Anderton.

"Maybe it'd be a little signal or an eye contact, but he would understand exactly where I wanted the ball. 

"That's one thing understanding it, and there's another thing putting it exactly where it's needed to be. He was unbelievable at that.

"People ask me who my favourite players are that I played with. He's out there in the top three because he was phenomenal at putting the ball exactly where I wanted. He was a feeder. 

"I was the goalscorer at Tottenham, and I made a few for him as well."

After nearly two weeks off due to the international break, Premier League football was back this past weekend and it was as intriguing as ever.

A new era began at St James' Park, though the outcome of the match was arguably as familiar as ever for Newcastle United fans, while similar could be said of Watford as they began Claudio Ranieri's tenure by being battered by Liverpool.

That game saw Mohamed Salah spectacularly edge closer to Liverpool history, while their next opponents – bitter rivals Manchester United – continued their dreadful run by conceding four to Leicester City.

But Harry Kane got himself back among the goals and Wolves pulled off what of the most unlikely comebacks the Premier League has seen.

Below, Stats Perform delves into some of the quirky Opta facts from the weekend…

Salah on verge of historic achievement

The early frontrunner for individual end-of-season awards in the Premier League is undoubtedly Salah, who has made a scintillating start to 2021-22.

He somehow reached a new level of spectacular on Saturday in the 5-0 dismantling of Watford, his incredible solo goal showcasing the kind of improbable dribbling one would expect to see in an unrealistic football film or naff television advert – only this was real.

But more than the sheer audacity of the goal, it was the eighth goal in a row that Salah has scored in for Liverpool – not only was that a personal best for him, it equalled a club record set by Daniel Sturridge.

If Salah scores in his next appearance, which will presumably be either against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday or United at the weekend, he will become the first Liverpool player to net in nine successive outings.

Newcastle, the Premier League's pressing anomaly

Sunday ended up being something of a reality check for Newcastle. While most fans will have turned up to St James' Park with a sense of optimism for the first time in years, all will have left at full-time with the realisation that – Saudi money or not – this is a team that could conceivably be in the Championship next season.

But one area that they are seemingly proving quite efficient is with regards to their pressing leading to goals.

Now, it's worth saying that Newcastle aren't among the most intense teams when it comes to their off-the-ball setup, as their 47 high turnovers is only more than four clubs in the Premier League.

However, three of those situations have led to a goal, which is more than anyone else in the division and speaks to an impressive level of efficiency.

That probably won't come as much of a consolation if they do get relegated, though.

Kane at home on the road

What with all the furore surrounding Newcastle heading into the weekend, Kane's Premier League woes for this season seemed to take a backseat in the build-up.

Whether that played a role in him finally getting his first Premier League goal of the season is impossible to prove, but his clever finish in Spurs' 3-2 win did highlight just how reliable Kane has been as an away striker over the years.

It was his 88th away goal in the competition, taking him past Alan Shearer and to within six of the record holder, Wayne Rooney. But Kane's haul comes from just 128 away games.

Rooney's 94 was from 243 matches on the road, Shearer needed 219 for his total. For Kane to reach such a figure so soon is a truly astonishing accomplishment.

Wolves' turnaround a comeback for the ages

Is there anything in football that matches the sheer joy of a late comeback? You go from being resigned to defeat, then having a little hope and ultimately becoming overwhelmed with emotion as the turnaround is complete. It's a rollercoaster.

Most fans know what it's like to see something similar, but what Wolves supporters witnessed on Saturday was even more remarkable because due to the speed at which everything unfurled.

They were 2-0 down at local rivals Aston Villa in the 80th minute, but then Romain Saiss, Conor Coady and Ruben Neves scored in the final 10 minutes to earn a 3-2 win.

Only once before has a team comeback from two or more goals down later than the 80th minute in the Premier League (Reading against West Brom in 2013), which puts Wolves' feat into historic context.

Sergio Reguilon said the health of a supporter who was taken to hospital during Tottenham's Premier League win at Newcastle United on Sunday was more important than his side claiming all three points.

The Magpies confirmed a fan was stabilised and taken to hospital after a medical emergency temporarily halted play in the game at St James' Park.

Players were alerted to an incident in the ground's East Stand shortly before the 40th minute, with Spurs full-back Reguilon quickly alerting referee Andre Marriner.

Eric Dier and Oliver Skipp went over to the dugout to request medical assistance and a team doctor with a defibrillator ran across the playing surface, with Marriner pausing play and instructing the players to leave the pitch.

Marriner was then seen discussing the situation with a steward and a police officer before the players headed into the changing rooms as the fan continued to receive treatment before later being taken from the stadium.

Both sides later returned to the pitch to play out the rest of the first half, with Spurs going on to seal a 3-2 victory.

Reguilon, who was widely praised for his swift reaction, said the win mattered little after such a worrying incident.

"I think three points is always a moment of happiness but, for me, what's more important is the guy, they are telling me he is okay and stable," he told Match of the Day.

"I saw the fans waving and I saw a guy lying down. I saw something wrong had happened. I looked at the referee and he stopped the match. I think now everything is okay and 100 per cent happiness.

"It was very strange, we went to the dressing room and I was looking at the man lying down, I was nervous because I don't like to watch that."

Harry Kane, whose first Premier League goal of the campaign put Spurs 2-1 ahead, echoed Reguilon's sentiments and sent his best wishes to the supporter.

"Firstly, we want to say best wishes to the guy in the stands, it was not a good sight to see," he told Sky Sports. "We hear that he might be stable now, so we're thankful to the medical teams and the fans who were doing the CPR.

"Hopefully he's okay and we wish him all the best from all the players at Tottenham."

Callum Wilson had put Newcastle into a second-minute lead, but Tottenham hit back through Tanguy Ndombele, Kane and Son Heung-min.

Jonjo Shelvey saw red for the hosts, who were given late hope through Eric Dier's own goal, but Nuno Espirito Santo's side held firm to register back-to-back Premier League wins after three defeats on the spin.

"The game itself didn't start great, we knew they were going to come out fast and they got their early goal," Kane added. "After that, we composed ourselves really well, created some good chances.

"The only disappointment is that we should have seen the game out, got the fourth, the fifth. We made it a bit more difficult at the end there."

Newcastle United's new era started with a familiar feeling of disappointment as Tottenham ran out 3-2 winners at St James' Park, with Sunday's match marred by a medical emergency in the stands.

With the pre-match build up dominated by Newcastle's off-field changes, the club's new PIF owners were served up a stark reminder of the issues on the pitch as Steve Bruce's 1000th game as a manager ended in defeat.

Callum Wilson's second-minute header buoyed an already rampant home crowd, but Tottenham hit back through Tanguy Ndombele before Harry Kane scored his first Premier League goal of the season.

A fan was taken to hospital after an incident late in the first half, which led to a defibrillator being called for and the suspension of play. When it restarted, Kane turned provider for Son Heung-min.

Jonjo Shelvey's red card seemed to erase any Newcastle hopes, only for Eric Dier's late own goal to worry Spurs, but it was ultimately not enough to inspire a comeback.

Newcastle's pre-match elation swiftly carried onto the pitch. Only one minute and 47 seconds had passed when Wilson got ahead of his marker to head in Javier Manquillo's cross.

Yet a blistering following 10 minutes failed to produce another Newcastle goal and, after Lucas Moura fired a warning shot, Spurs drew level through Ndombele's superb, curling strike into the right-hand side of the goal.

Spurs' turnaround was complete five minutes later as Kane darted onto Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's lofted pass and finished deftly over Darlow. The goal was initially disallowed for offside, but VAR spotted Manquillo's failure to step up in time.

Lucas rattled the woodwork as Spurs searched for a third, though play was then suspended due to a medical emergency in the crowd.

Spurs picked up where they left off following a long delay – Kane squaring for Son to make it 3-1.

Devoid of ideas going forward, Newcastle's day turned from bad to worse in the 83rd minute.

Shelvey, brought on as a 60th-minute substitute, brought down Sergio Reguilon, duly receiving his second yellow card.

Newcastle were handed hope by Dier bundling into his own net, though Spurs held firm to condemn their hosts to another damaging defeat.


What does it mean? Champions League? It’s the Championship that Newcastle need to worry about

There has been no shortage of controversy surrounding the Saudi Arabian-backed takeover, but many fans have been left dreaming of what their club can achieve with such wealth at their disposal.

However, talk of mega-money deals for global superstars must now make way for the bleak reality Newcastle face. They sit 19th, without a win to their name and only a point above Norwich City. It may be early in the campaign, but the focus come January has to be retaining the club's Premier League status. 

Harry gets off the mark at his happy hunting ground

Kane's misfortunes have become a major talking point in recent weeks, with last season's golden boot winner far from his best since his failed move to Manchester City.

But he finally opened his league account for the campaign on Sunday, before then combining with his partner in crime Son. Six of Kane's seven top-flight goals for Spurs against Newcastle have come at St James' Park. He has only scored more away goals against Leicester City and Everton.

Time up for Bruce?

Bruce hit out at the media in his pre-match news conference, after numerous stories of his impending dismissal proved to be untrue. Yet on his milestone game as a manager, Bruce's deficiencies were there for all to see. Newcastle started brilliantly, but in the final 10 minutes, a chorus of "sacked in the morning" echoed around the stadium. It was not exactly clear which sets of supporters were responsible.

His record stands at W376, D254, L370, while Bruce has won just four of his 27 encounters with Spurs in all competitions, and the speculation over his future seems set to continue as Newcastle's new owners assess the state of play.

What's next?

Newcastle face another London team in the form of an away game at Crystal Palace next Saturday, while Spurs travel to the Netherlands to play Vitesse in the Europa Conference League on Thursday.

The October international break has provided an opportunity to reflect on the club season so far, with the campaign starting to settle into some sort of pattern.

Paris Saint-Germain have quickly moved clear at the top of Ligue 1, but there look to be genuine title tussles on the cards in the Premier League, Bundesliga, LaLiga and Serie A.

However, while there are familiar names involved in each league, that does not mean the same individuals are excelling as in previous seasons.

A close-season that saw two of the sport's greats make moves shook things up a little, giving other emerging stars the opportunity to establish themselves at the forefront of the European game.

Studying the best shooters, creators, dribblers and goalkeepers, Stats Perform takes you through the standout statistical performers of 2021-22 so far.

Hotshot Haaland and luckless Lorenzo

There were familiar faces at the top of the shooting charts last season, as Lionel Messi (196 shots) led the way ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (168). This term, although Ronaldo has hit the ground running, neither rank among the top marksmen.

Kylian Mbappe (35) has had the most attempts, but Erling Haaland is averaging 5.2 per 90. While that is the most among players with 20 total shots or more, it falls short of the 5.8 Messi was mustering last term.

Haaland is certainly making the most of his opportunities, though. From chances worth just 4.77 expected goals (xG), he has produced finishes worth 7.05 expected goals on target (xGOT) – a metric measured after the shot. These efforts have led to seven goals, performing in line with the quality of his finishing.

The Borussia Dortmund man is not outperforming his xG by as much as Karim Benzema, who leads the way in that regard. His nine goals have come from opportunities worth 4.43 xG, although his shots have only accounted for 5.22 xGOT, suggesting poor goalkeeping has also contributed to his success.

Lorenzo Insigne certainly has not encountered any below-par work from opposition keepers. His 27 attempts have been worth 5.5 xG, and he has narrowly surpassed that mark with his xGOT of 5.57. Yet the Napoli captain, third behind Messi and Ronaldo last year with 144 shots, somehow has only two goals.

Just two players in the whole of 2020-21 – Houssem Aouar (seven goals, 10.75 xGOT) and Edin Dzeko (seven goals, 10.58 xGOT) – fell so far short of their xGOT, suggesting Insigne's fortunes must surely change soon.

Benzema benefiting like Kane last year

Bruno Fernandes is one of Europe's best creators and scarcely gets a rest at Manchester United, so it is no surprise to see him figuring high up the rankings for key passes both this season and last. In 2020-21, Fernandes created the second-most chances (95) and the second-most chances from open play (77). This term, he is joint-fifth for total chances created (23).

Eden Hazard is back producing once again, averaging 3.99 key passes per 90 – all from open play. He is third for chances created and first for chances created from open play among those to forge 10 or more opportunities.

But Hazard has only a single assist to his name, not so far as fortunate as Fernandes' team-mate Paul Pogba or his own colleague Benzema.

Pogba has created chances worth just 1.45 expected assists (xA) and Benzema 2.05 xA, yet the pair have seven assists apiece thanks to the fine work of their club-mates. It means Benzema has been involved in 16 goals despite his combined xG and xA making up a mere 6.48. He is a man in top form, but this statistical output does not seem sustainable.

It is Harry Kane's example that Pogba and Benzema are following. His 14 assists led the Premier League last term, but he only actually created chances worth 3.63 xA, far and away the most spectacular disparity as Son Heung-min and Co. boosted Kane's figures.

Messi actually went in the opposite direction, last season creating chances worth 13.37 xA but only being rewarded with nine assists.

Adama dominant with Messi missing

As well as being one of Europe's most prominent shooters and creators, Messi was right at the top for dribbles last term. No player attempted (261) or completed (159) more take-ons. Given Neymar attempted the most dribbles per 90 (11.28) among those with 50 or more attempts, slow starts for two Paris Saint-Germain stars have left a gap in the market.

Unsurprisingly, Adama Traore has stepped into that void. The Wolves winger was next behind Messi for attempts (232) and completions (153) in 2020-21 and now comfortably leads the way (61 and 49). Among those with 20 attempted take-ons or more, Traore is now completing more dribbles per 90 (9.63) than any other player in Europe is even attempting. His success rate is an astonishing 80.33 per cent.

The Spain international has 14 times this season beaten multiple players in the same run and has created six chances immediately after a successful dribble – two more Europe-wide highs.

Traore only ranks joint-second for chances created from all carries, however, his nine trailing Allan Saint-Maximin's 11, with the pair out in front of the rest across various metrics with the ball at their feet.

Oblak off the mark and Keylor kept out

There were two clear outstanding goalkeepers in Europe in 2020-21, as Jan Oblak led the way for goals prevented using expected goals on target data (8.58, having conceded only 25 times excluding own goals) while Keylor Navas had the best save percentage of those to face 50 or more shots on target (80.43). Oblak was second for save percentage (80), with Navas third for goals prevented (8.11).

But both men have slipped below those standards this season.

Oblak has endured a significant wobble, saving only 57.14 per cent of 14 shots and conceding five goals from efforts worth 4.22 xGOT. Navas has a better save percentage of 72.73 but still is not having a positive impact, conceding six from an xGOT of 5.02. He also now looks to have lost his place to Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Going the other way, though, there has been a positive change in fortunes for Aaron Ramsdale, who last year had to make 147 saves – behind only fellow relegated England international Sam Johnstone (166). Since joining Arsenal, Ramsdale has faced just 10 shots on target and saved nine of them, a benchmark save percentage.

Matias Dituro is the standout difference-maker this term, however. Despite conceding 11 times, excluding own goals, since joining Celta Vigo, he has actually prevented 4.05 goals.

The thought of Harry Kane joining Newcastle United prompted a Kevin Keegan impression from Rob Lee, who told Stats Perform: "I would love it!"

Kane's Tottenham visit St James' Park on Sunday for Newcastle's first game since their takeover was approved.

Widely unpopular owner Mike Ashley has been replaced by a consortium fronted by Amanda Staveley, whose PCP Capital Partners has purchased 10 per cent of the club, and backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The PIF, which bought 80 per cent of Newcastle, has become the richest football club owner in the world, prompting links to a host of high-profile signings.

Kane has not been among those, but he pushed for a move away from Spurs ahead of this season.

The England captain has scored five Premier League goals at St James' Park as a visiting player, yet ex-Newcastle skipper Lee, who was signed by Keegan in 1992, would like to see him turning out on Tyneside on a more regular basis.

He told Stats Perform: "I would love to see him at Newcastle. I would love it, absolutely love it."

Kane has not scored in the league yet this season, his six-game barren run his longest since a sequence of eight goalless games back in 2014.

His streak of netting in England qualifiers also ended at 15 matches on Tuesday when he failed to find a way past Hungary's Peter Gulacsi.

There are concerns Kane has not recovered from his failure to secure a move to Manchester City, which is understandable to Lee.

"It depends on what's gone on behind the scenes," he said. "We don't know what's gone on.

"I don't know him at all, but it seems to me like he's a level-headed guy, and he's not one to make a fuss.

"If he had an agreement with Daniel Levy of some sort, then I'm sure he did. And if someone's gone back on that, then obviously he's going to be a little bit peed off."

Whether Newcastle or City, though, Lee still believes Kane is worth whatever fee it would take to prise him away from Tottenham.

"I still expect him to play to the best of his ability. For him to come out and say, 'I want to leave', surely he thought it was sorted," Lee said.

"Whatever you pay for Harry Kane, whether it's £150million, it's worth every penny."

Gareth Southgate refused to assess the individual performances of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling or rush to judgement on Phil Foden's role in the England team after their draw with Hungary.

The Three Lions were held 1-1 at Wembley on Tuesday, ending a run of 21 consecutive home qualifying wins.

They had to come from behind, too, with Roland Sallai dispatching a penalty after Luke Shaw was penalised for a high boot, before John Stones nodded a leveller.

Southgate sought to change the game – avoiding a repeat of the Poland game, where he made no substitutions in an England match for the first time since Euro 96 – but Jack Grealish was an odd choice for the first withdrawal.

Grealish had caused Hungary problems, unlike Kane and Sterling, who both followed.

Although Sterling had two of England's biggest chances, he could not beat Peter Gulacsi, while Kane's run of goals in 15 consecutive qualifiers came to an end without the struggling Tottenham superstar netting.

Southgate was asked if poor club form, with Sterling out of the first team at Manchester City, had contributed to below-par showings from two of England's most consistent performers.

But he told ITV: "I don't think we should look at individuals, because collectively we didn't perform at the level we needed to.

"When you have that sort of situation, it's difficult for individuals as well."

Southgate took a similar tact when asked about the make-up of his midfield, where Foden again played a central role – as in Andorra on Saturday – but this time joined Mason Mount alongside Declan Rice.

Mount represents a similarly adventurous option, and Southgate had recognised a need to look at "the balance of the team" after Hungary posed England "a tactical problem".

"We've got to go away and reflect," the manager said. "We shouldn't just judge things on one game in terms of that experiment, if you like, because I think right across the board, from the start, we weren't sharp with our play, gave the ball away, we were overrunning things.

"I just think we were underneath it. It's the first time in a long time, but we've got to hold our hands up to that."

Despite the difficult outing, which was further marred by clashes between police and the Hungary fans, one of whom was arrested for a "racially aggravated public order offence", England remain in control of Group I.

And discounting penalty shoot-outs, Southgate's side are now unbeaten in 18 – their longest such sequence since a run of 19 that included their 1966 World Cup win.

England manager Gareth Southgate believes Harry Kane's underwhelming Tottenham form is at least partly down to upheaval and "changes" at the club, something he has not had to contend with at international level.

Kane finished 2020-21 with more Premier League goals (23) and assists (14) than any other player, becoming the first to top both charts in a single season since Andy Cole in 1993-94.

But after unsuccessfully attempting to force a move away from Spurs in pre-season, Kane's productivity and decisiveness have taken a massive hit.

In six league games this term, he is without a single goal – the last time Kane went more Premier League appearances games without a goal was eight matches between April and October 2014.

Some have put his struggles down to playing under a new head coach in Nuno Espirito Santo, and Southgate agrees that upheaval can have an impact, particularly if a manager implements a change of system.

"What's going on with his club is none of my business, really," Southgate said told reporters ahead of Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Hungary.

"There's a lot changes at the club, a new manager and new tactical formations, so like all players there will be an adaptation to that.

"In terms of what we ask him to do, I think we've obviously got a settled way of playing here. His team-mates know him, he knows his team-mates, he knows the patterns of play that we play towards.

"I can't talk about the club, but I think he feels settled in our environment. It's an environment where he knows we have belief, but we have to push him. We want improvement from the team all the time.

"Of course, as the captain, he knows he has to set the standard in the training sessions every day as well. I can't fault his application and dedication to what we're doing. He's got a real desire to go well with us."

Kane's form with England certainly is not of concern, however.

He has scored in each of his previous 15 World Cup and European Championship qualifying appearances and is closing in on a number of goals records.

Firstly, he is just one away from equalling England's all-time record for most competitive goals (Wayne Rooney, 37).

And after that Kane – whose overall goals tally for England is 41 – will undoubtedly have his eye on the most sought-after England record of them all: Rooney's unrivalled haul of 53.

The only other players to have scored more for England than the current captain are Jimmy Greaves (44), Gary Lineker (48) and Bobby Charlton (49) – to be anywhere near such feats further highlights just how reliable Kane is for the Three Lions.

"When you compare with the five or six other players at the top of that scoring chart, and you look at those names, it's a reminder of how much Harry has already achieved at a personal level," Southgate continued.

"And I know what's been more important to him, it's the team getting to two semi-finals and a final. Without a doubt, he's a player who has to keep proving himself.

"I think he knows that, I think he relishes that, and we know that when those chances fall, you've got huge faith they're going to hit the back of the net, such is his technical ability and his mentality and calmness when those chances come."

Tottenham managing director of football Fabio Paratici said in-demand Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic is not part of the Premier League club's transfer plans.

Vlahovic will not re-sign with Fiorentina and the Serbia international – out of contract at the end of 2022-23 – has been linked to the likes of Tottenham, Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Arsenal, Liverpool and Inter.

The 21-year-old forward scored 21 Serie A goals last season. Of players aged 22 or under in Europe's top five leagues in 2020-21, only Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland (27) scored more top-flight goals than Vlahovic.

Vlahovic – who also became the first player born after the year 2000 to reach 20 Serie A goals – already has four league goals in seven appearances this term, and six across all competitions.

However, Paratici said Tottenham will not be making a move for Vlahovic amid uncertainty over the future of Spurs star Harry Kane.

"Many clubs like the Serbian's profile, but for now he is not in Tottenham's plans," Paratici said at the Festival dello Sport event on Sunday.

Kane was tipped to leave Tottenham for Premier League champions City at the start of the season but a transfer to Manchester did not materialise.

The England international is yet to find the net in any of his opening six Premier League matches of the campaign, though he scored a Europa Conference League hat-trick prior to the international break to take his tally to five goals for the 2021-22 tournament.

As rumours continue regarding his Tottenham future, Paratici said: "Harry Kane loves Tottenham.

"We've decided to keep Harry last summer to start the re-building, and we're happy with our choice. There's no need of any new talk with Harry.

"He knows how to share the sense of belonging to Spurs."

Harry Kane sits fifth in England's all-time scoring charts, but he could overtake Wayne Rooney's competitive record for the Three Lions against Andorra.

Kane has found the net nine times in 13 appearances in 2021 for Gareth Southgate's men to leave him 12 goals behind Rooney (53) as England's leading scorer.

However, the Tottenham forward has 36 goals to his name in competitive international fixtures – one fewer than Rooney – before the trip to the Estadi Nacional on Saturday.

Kane is also one shy of becoming just the second player to score 10 or more in two separate calendar years for the Three Lions, after Vivian Woodward in 1908 and 1909.

But comparisons between Kane and Rooney are likely to be the focus in the coming months, as the England captain targets his records – starting with this competitive benchmark.

Kane quicker to this point

Since opening his account on debut against Lithuania in March 2015, Kane has scored 36 times across 53 competitive fixtures – averaging a goal every 118 minutes.

By contrast, Rooney played 21 more matches for his 37 goals, netting once every 156 minutes on average having played an additional 1,545 minutes.

Kane, who is still waiting on his first Premier League strike of the season, has needed just 82 shots on target to reach his 36-goal mark as well, with Rooney requiring 32 more to achieve his tally.

Overall, Rooney has attempted 99 more shots than his counterpart, which translates into a 13.8 per cent conversion rate. Kane has turned 21.3 per cent of his 169 shots into goals.

 

Kane delivers on the biggest stage

Rooney may have scored five more goals than Kane (25) in major tournament qualifiers, but the latter shines when it comes to the showpiece events.

Despite playing in just one World Cup, Kane impresses ahead of Rooney in terms of goals at the finals, with his six to claim the 2018 Golden Boot towering above the former Manchester United forward's one across three tournaments between 2006 and 2014.

While Kane's goals were subsequently not enough to see England past Croatia in the semi-finals in Russia, the current Three Lions captain also guided his side to their first major tournament final in 55 years at Euro 2020.

However, Rooney (six) has scored two more European Championship goals than Kane, netting four times at Euro 2004 as he briefly became the youngest scorer in the tournament's history.

Nevertheless, Kane outscores Rooney by three at major tournaments, having proven himself the man for the big occasion on the international stage.

 

Rooney filled his boots with five competitive goals versus San Marino, against whom Kane has netted just once, but England's record scorer had an impressive four against both Croatia and Switzerland.

Kane's best hauls have been his four against Bulgaria and Montenegro, although he did score three in one match against Panama at the World Cup.

Two stars similar finishers

Strangely, Kane and Rooney have almost identical records when it comes to the breakdown of how their goals have been scored.

The pair have each scored four with their left feet and 24 with their favoured right boots, with Rooney heading in nine to Kane's eight.

Kane's swerving long-range finish against Poland last time out was his sole goal from outside the box to date, however, whereas Rooney has smashed in six goals from outside the area – two of those being free-kicks.

Rooney has six from the penalty spot, too, where Kane has proved particularly prolific, his 10 conversions from 12 yards allowing him to close quickly on a fellow great.

Could Darwin Nunez be the next Benfica star to make a big move?

Portuguese sensation Joao Felix swapped Benfica for Atletico Madrid in a club-record deal in 2019.

Now, Uruguay international Nunez is attracting interest from across Europe.

 

TOP STORY – CITY FRONT OF QUEUE FOR NUNEZ

Manchester City are leading the race to sign Darwin Nunez from Portuguese giants Benfica, according to the Daily Star.

Premier League champions City are desperate to sign a forward amid links with Tottenham's Harry Kane, Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic.

Nunez has also reportedly attracted interest from BarcelonaLiverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Milan, Inter and Atletico Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

– United forward Edinson Cavani could join Real Madrid in January, claims Mundo Deportivo. It comes as Cavani finds himself battling Cristiano Ronaldo for regular game time at Old Trafford, where the club's hierarchy are concerned amid their form under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

- The Daily Star reports Arsenal are weighing up a move for out-of-favour City forward Raheem SterlingBarca are also believed to be interested in Sterling, according to The Sun, as they face the prospect of missing out on Leipzig's Dani Olmo. The Spain international has been linked with United, Juventus and Bayern.

Liverpool are eyeing Pogon Szczecin midfielder Kacper Kozlowski, says the Mirror. The 17-year-old has been linked with Bayer Leverkusen, Milan, RB Leipzig and Salzburg.

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