FIVE for 2019

Soccer 360 - - Premier League -

FAITH IN YOUTH

There is some ex­cit­ing, young English tal­ent on the fringes of the Pre­mier League’s lead­ing clubs — Phil Fo­den at Manch­ester City, Liver­pool’s Rhian Brewster, Ethan Am­padu of Chelsea and Ains­ley Mait­land-Niles at Ar­se­nal to name just a few.

Hope­fully more will fol­low Harry Winks’ path at Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur and break into the first team on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

COACH­ING REP­RE­SEN­TA­TION

Sol Camp­bell’s ap­point­ment as Mac­cles­field Town man­ager in late Novem­ber brought the num­ber of BAME Coaches [Black, Asian and Mi­nor­ity Eth­nic] in Eng­land’s four tiers to eight — out of 92. A ver­sion of the NFL’s Rooney Rule was in­tro­duced in the Football League at the start of 2018 but if there has been an im­prove­ment in rep­re­sen­ta­tion, it’s hap­pen­ing at a glacial pace. Will 2019 be any bet­ter?

BET­TER BY VAR

The Pre­mier League will in­tro­duce Video As­sis­tant Ref­er­ees af­ter per­form­ing non-pub­lic tests for dur­ing the first part of the 2018-19 sea­son, and the Carabao Cup has had VAR in se­lected matches too. VAR is to be rolled out across the top flight for 2019-20 and with it should come an end to se­ri­ous ref­er­ee­ing mis­takes — and the habit of strug­gling man­agers blam­ing of­fi­cials for their own team’s fail­ings.

ENG­LAND CON­TINUE PRO­GRES­SION

One of the big­gest pos­i­tives of 2018 in English football was the per­for­mance of the Eng­land team — not just reach­ing the fi­nal four of the World Cup, but the way they did it.

Gareth South­gate’s young charges largely won over a cyn­i­cal, jaded fan-base by play­ing en­ter­pris­ing football with a con­fi­dence that stopped short of ar­ro­gance. They should go from strength-tostrength in 2019.

A REAL TI­TLE RACE

The Pre­mier League doesn’t have the same pre­dictabil­ity prob­lem as the Bun­desliga or Serie A, but that’s not to say ev­ery­thing is rosy. The last five sea­sons have pro­duced three dif­fer­ent win­ners — Manch­ester City and Chelsea twice, Le­ices­ter City once — but only City’s win in 2013-14 was a real race as they beat Liver­pool by two points. A to-the-wire con­test would be nice.

NEW FACES ON THE PITCH AND IN THE DUGOUT, THE IN­TRO­DUC­TION OF TECH­NOL­OGY, A BAT­TLE FOR THE TI­TLE AND THE NA­TIONAL TEAM TO CON­TINUE GROW­ING WOULD ALL BEN­E­FIT THE PRE­MIER LEAGUE, AN­DREW TUFT WRITES.

Phil Fo­den is one of English football’s starsin-wait­ing but needs game time

Only eight of the 92 pro­fes­sional clubs in Eng­land are man­aged by BAME Coaches — that should change

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