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News Extra: Kante caution, 'Unconvincing' Fred, Newcastle "f***ing embarrassment"

The latest news snippets from across the footballing world, including Frank Lampard's fitness assessment of N'Golo Kante, Gary Neville's comments on Fred and Sean Longstaff's brutal assessment of Newcastle United.
WARNING! This article contains strong language and/or content that some readers may prefer to avoid.

Here, Sports Mole rounds up the latest news snippets from across the footballing world, including Frank Lampard's fitness assessment of N'Golo Kante, Gary Neville's comments on Fred and Sean Longstaff's brutal assessment of Newcastle United. Scroll down for more!


Mertens 'unlikely' to stay at Napoli

Dries Mertens celebrates scoring for Napoli on September 14, 2019© Reuters

Dries Mertens is on course to leave Napoli as a free agent when his contract expires at the end of the season, according to Corriere dello Sport. The 32-year-old striker's agent is "no way near" coming to fresh terms with the Serie A side, who are believed to be offering a reduced salary due to the player's age.


Longstaff brands Newcastle defeat "fucking embarrassment"

Sean Longstaff in action for Newcastle United on July 24, 2018© Reuters

Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff has branded his side's 5-0 defeat to Leicester City last weekend "a fucking embarrassment". Manager Steve Bruce is said to have laid into the squad with an expletive-ridden rant after the game, and Longstaff - linked with Manchester United over the summer - is in full agreement with his boss.

"It's embarrassing. It's fucking embarrassing. Sorry for swearing, but it is. There's nothing else to say other than it's embarrassing," he told reporters afterwards. "As a team, that's not good enough. You can talk about tactics, the way we were set up or how we didn't set up. We must be much, much better and put it behind us and move on quickly. It's a massive wake-up call. Hopefully, there's no more days like that."


Rodri unfazed by City injury list

Rodri pictured in a Manchester City shirt on August 4, 2019© Reuters

Rodri has played down fears that Manchester City may struggle in the coming months due to a growing defensive injury list. Pep Guardiola's side, who claimed a 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb last night, are currently without Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Leroy Sane.

"We're missing some important players but it'll make us stronger for the next months," Rodri is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. "It's not an excuse. We can't give up. We have to fight in all the games. Personally I think we have enough players to beat this problem. We're working hard to win every game in this situation."


Lampard vows caution with Kante

N'Golo Kante in action for Chelsea on September 15, 2018© Reuters

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has insisted that he will remain cautious with N'Golo Kante as he returns to full fitness. The Frenchman suffered an ankle injury early in the season and missed Saturday's 2-0 win over Brighton after picking up a hamstring injury in training.

"My feeling is that he has played a lot and that's because he has been so successful and so important to the teams he has been in. At the minute, he has injuries," Lampard told reporters. "This little niggle he had is a small, small injury. We just need to get it right. We are just careful and it is my duty to work with him. The medical team are working so hard with him.

"I have been there as a player and, if you miss a pre-season through an injury in particular, then you are playing catch-up. At the moment he is playing catch-up and that's no fault of his own. He has played four seasons now full-on, game after game with international tournaments. So, it is right to be a bit careful."


Mina admits "really hard" first season

Yerry Mina warms up for Everton on March 9, 2019© Reuters

Everton defender Yerry Mina has thanked Marco Silva and the club's fans for sticking with him during a difficult first season at Goodison. The Colombian endured an injury-plagued first campaign with the Toffees after joining from Barcelona but has now started every league game so far this season.

"I really want to thank the coach for the belief he has shown in me," Mina told the club's website. "Last season was really hard, the adaptation, the language barrier, many things. Some injuries, too. But Marco Silva was always speaking to me and showing he had belief in me. That kept me strong.

"I know I need to give my all on the pitch for my team and my fans. I have grown and, bit by bit, I have improved. I have got to know my teammates and the coach. And the fans have been with me and helped me get stronger."


Big Sam "very concerned" for United

Sam Allardyce takes Soccer Aid training on June 7, 2018© Reuters

Sam Allardyce has claimed that the current Manchester United side is "the weakest" that he has seen during his time in football. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have had an underwhelming campaign to date, taking just nine points from their opening seven Premier League games and requiring penalties to get past League One side Rochdale in the EFL Cup last week.

"There are lots of doubts around Old Trafford at the moment. The Rochdale game has made everyone sit on the edge of their seats asking, 'what is going on with Manchester United?'" Allardyce told talkSPORT. "Playing at Old Trafford and only winning on penalties with a side that was more than capable of scoring four or five against Rochdale... that sends a shock wave through Old Trafford.

"I'm very concerned for Ole and Manchester United that things may not get better if they are not very careful."


Pepe hails Arsenal's "ambition"

Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe in action on August 17, 2019© Reuters

Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe has explained why he spurned offers from a host of top European clubs to move to North London over the summer, despite their lack of Champions League football. The 24-year-old became the Gunners' club record signing when he left Lille to link up with Unai Emery's side in a £72m deal in August.

"It was a decision that might surprise people, because it is not a club that is in the Champions' League, but it is also a club with a lot of ambition," Pepe told Canal+. "We are playing the Europa League which is still a European competition. We want to win it. The coach is used to this competition, he has already won it with Sevilla, last year they were in the final. The aim is to do better and therefore win this competition."


Neville still unconvinced by Fred

'Fred' celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers on September 22, 2018© Reuters

Gary Neville has said that he is still not sure Fred is worthy of the £52m fee Manchester United paid to bring him to Old Trafford more than a year ago. The Brazilian midfielder has struggled to nail down a regular place in the United squad - either under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or his predecessor Jose Mourinho - and has played a part in just three of the side's nine games so far this season.

"I'm not sure [on Fred]," Neville told Sky Sports News. "I've not seen anything of him in the 12 months he's been here to justify the price tag. There's been flashes, he played a really good game away at PSG in the Champions League, he takes the ball, he's tidy on it, but I don't see a goalscorer, a defensive midfielder, a runner, so I'm not quite sure what I do see. For £60m, you'd like to fit into one of those categories."

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool12111028101834
2Leicester CityLeicester128222982126
3Chelsea1282227171026
4Manchester CityMan City1281335132225
5Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd12453139417
6Arsenal124531617-117
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd124441612416
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves123721615116
9Bournemouth124441515016
10Burnley124351718-115
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton124351517-215
12Crystal Palace124351016-615
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle124351118-715
14Tottenham HotspurSpurs123541817114
15Everton124261318-514
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham123451420-613
17Aston Villa123271720-311
18Watford12156823-158
19Southampton122281129-188
20Norwich CityNorwich122191128-177

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