Former Newcastle striker Micky Quinn has claimed that Magpies boss Rafael Benitez will remain with the club beyond the current season if owner Mike Ashley is willing to match his ambition.
Newcastle deservedly defeated Arsenal 2-1 at St James’ Park on Sunday to all but secure their Premier League status for next season. Given the lack of clarity and funds available to the Spanish tactician, the club’s move into the top half of the table has been hailed as a massive achievement.
Watch Rafa Benítez’s post-match interview as Newcastle came from behind to beat @Arsenal yesterday.
👉🏽 https://t.co/Kh6URzB9L9 #NUFC #WeAreUnited pic.twitter.com/BOqv39upuT
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) April 16, 2018
Benitez’s exploits in the north east haven’t gone unnoticed, and a number of clubs have been linked with a move for the former Liverpool boss – including most recently La Liga outfit Real Sociedad.
However, Quinn has sought to quell any fears among the Newcastle faithful and insisted that the Spaniard will stay in Tyneside if he gets the financial backing of the club’s hierarchy.
“Let me put this to bed straight away [that Benitez could join Arsenal]. He wants to stay at Newcastle, he’s got a year left, and he’s had other offers,” the pundit revealed to talkSPORT as quoted by HITC.
“If he gets the backing he will stay at Newcastle. He loves the club and the fans. I was speaking to him on Friday, actually, and he wants to see this job through and see Newcastle above Arsenal next year, possibly in the top six.
“That’s the ambition Benitez has, but it’s whether Newcastle can match that ambition. I got this from the horse’s mouth on Friday.”
Benitez is contracted to the club until the summer of 2020, although he is set for further contract talks at the end of the season when he will reassess his future.
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Landry secures maiden PGA title at Texas Open
Andrew Landry built a big lead and held on for his first PGA Tour victory, a two-stroke triumph at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.
Texas-born Landry, who lives in nearby Austin, birdied the first three holes after starting the day tied for the lead with fellow American Zach Johnson.
In his 32nd start on tour, Landry parred the final seven holes to finish at 17-under 271 at TPC San Antonio, while Trey Mullinax and Sean O’Hair tied for second on 15 under.
Mullinax’s hopes diminished when he chunked a pitch shot at the 17th hole, failing to clear a bunker between his ball and the hole.
The resulting bogey gave Landry the gift of a two-shot lead heading to the par-five 18th.
Graeme McDowell finished in a tie for 51st on level par, while Seamus Power missed the cut for the weekend.
Liverpool star Mo Salah claims PFA Player of Year award
Mohamed Salah has been crowned the PFA Player of the Year after an explosive first season at Liverpool.
Few could have foreseen the Egyptian magician’s impact after he swapped Roma for Anfield last summer in a £34.3million deal.
It has certainly proven money well spent and Salah’s exceptional performances have brought recognition from his peers in his first season back in English football.
The 25-year-old was named Player of the Year at the 45th PFA Awards at Grosvenor House in central London on Sunday evening, having seen off tough competition from Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne.
Congratulations to @LFC’s Mo Salah, crowned the Men’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year 👏🏆 #PFAAwards pic.twitter.com/fpvxwZgfdP
— PFA (@PFA) April 22, 2018
The pair have been the standout players of a memorable campaign, with the Belgium international playing an integral role as Pep Guardiola’s swashbuckling side won the Premier League in style.
Leroy Sane – crowned PFA Young Player of the Year on Sunday – and David Silva were the other City players on the six-man shortlist, with outstanding Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and free-scoring Tottenham striker Harry Kane completing the nominees.
But it is Salah that has come out on top after one of the greatest debut campaigns in Liverpool’s history.
“It’s a big honour. I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy to win it,” Salah said at the ceremony on Sunday evening.
Asked what it meant to become the first Egyptian to win the award, he said: “Hopefully I’m not the last one! I’m very proud to win and I’ve worked very hard.”
His strike at West Brom on Saturday was his 31st Premier League goal of the campaign, tying the record for the 38-game season.
“You’re comparing your name with some great names,” he said, on the prospect of breaking the record. “To break the Premier League record is something huge in England and all over in the world.
“There are still three games to go. I want to break this record and also break the one for (42-game season). Let’s see what will happen.”
Luis Suarez was the last Reds player to win the award in 2014 and Salah could also do the double by winning the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award.
The voting for that accolade is still open and the victor is named on May 1 – the day before the second leg of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final against Salah’s former club Roma.
A telling impact in Tuesday’s first leg at Anfield may see him tip the scales and wrap up another award as a season to cherish comes to a close.
Salah’s performances have captivated and enthralled Liverpool fans this term – and left Chelsea ruing what could have been.
The west Londoners signed the callow attacker from Swiss giants Basel after impressing Europe with his skill and speed.
But things did not work out for the Egypt international at Stamford Bridge, leading to loan spells at Fiorentina and then fellow Serie A giants Roma.
Salah’s move to the Italian capital was made permanent in 2016 and the following year he headed to Anfield, where he has plundered a remarkable 41 goals in just 46 appearances in all competitions.
Such is the forward’s impact that he became the first player in Premier League history to claim Player of the Month awards three times in the same season after winning it for November, February and March.
Salah is a shoo-in for Liverpool’s end-of-season accolades and the man nicknamed ‘The Egyptian King’ looks set to reign at Anfield for a long time to come.
Chelsea Ladies forward Fran Kirby won the women’s Player of the Year award, while Lauren Hemp of Bristol City secured the young player prize.
The PFA’s Merit award went posthumously to Cyrille Regis, the former West Brom forward who died aged 59 in January.
The award was recognition of Regis’ pioneering role in changing attitudes towards black footballers in England.
Flyers’ Sean Couturier Plays Games 5 and 6 Against Penguins With Torn MCL
The Philadelphia Flyers’ season is over after an 8-5 loss in Game 6 against in-state rivals Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
But even with the loss, the Flyers provided the league with the best story of the playoffs.
Center Sean Couturier missed Game 4 with a “lower-body injury” after colliding with teammate Radko Gudas in practice.
Meanwhile in Philadelphia, here is Radko Gudas injuring Sean Couturier at practice pic.twitter.com/oP2wYYwuHP
— Bar South N Celly™ (@BarSouthNCelly) April 17, 2018
But Couturier would return for the final two games of the series, fighting through the injury to post six points (four goals, two assists) in those games including a hat trick in the finale. But, as it turns out, Couturier’s injury wasn’t just another bruise, it was actually a torn MCL.
Couturier played with torn MCL. Said it won’t need surgery but in regular season would have been four week recovery.
— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) April 22, 2018
I know hockey players are tough, but Couturier played Games 5 and 6 on an injury that usually takes at least four weeks to heal, and he was the best player on the team while doing so. And it’s not like Couturier was playing timidly out there, he was battling to do anything in his power to force a Game 7.
I mean come on. Call one or both, but there’s gotta be a call pic.twitter.com/3HWztfJxTd
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 22, 2018
🏥 Flyers’ Sean Couturier reveals he’s been playing with a torn MCL
Coots scored 4 goals in the Flyers last 4 periods and had 5 points today in Game 6 alone @6abc #Flyers #EarnTomorow pic.twitter.com/PAWoODrXqA
— Jeff Skversky 6abc (@JeffSkversky) April 22, 2018
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Sykes stops Rea streak as Marquez wins MotoGP
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Reigning world champion Rea had claimed his eighth straight win at the Dutch circuit on Saturday.
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Sykes started from pole and produced a dominant performance to repeat his 2013 Assen win.
Xavi Fores (Ducati) finished fourth, with Welshman Chaz Davies (Ducati) fifth and Jordi Torres (MV Agusta) sixth.
Rea’s lead at the top of the championship standings from Davies now stands at 30 points.
Marc Marquez bounced back from his torrid Argentinian MotoGP race to win for the sixth time at the Circuit of the Americas.
No other rider has won at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas and the Repsol Honda rider kept his impressive streak going with a dominant performance to take victory by 3.5 seconds ahead of Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales and Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone.
Marquez had been given ride-through and time penalties after an eventful Argentinian GP following a series of incidents, including putting nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi into a gravel trap.
The Spaniard avoided such incidents in Austin and Rossi had a much quieter race as he came home in fourth, four seconds clear of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso in fifth.
The Italian won a battle with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Johann Zarco and Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who was racing despite a fractured wrist suffered in Argentina.
That battle for fifth had also involved LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow who had won in Argentina to take the points lead. The British rider suffered a crash in Austin which meant he finished down in 19th.
Following the Circuit of the Americas race Dovizioso leads the standings by one point from Marquez, with Vinales four points further back.
In a packed top five which is covered by just eight points, Crutchlow and Zarco are tied on 38.