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Maradona's 'moral' Hand of God

ESPN FC & Howler

Spurs' Dele Alli should be on senior POTY shortlist, not youth award again

At 21-years-old, Dele Alli is quickly becoming one of the Premier League's best, but can he one day be the world's best?

When it comes to Dele Alli, there is no rush. The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder turned 21 on Tuesday and he has plenty of time to win trophies and personal accolades. Indeed, he is a shoo-in to retain the PFA Young Player of the Year award, having been confirmed on this season's shortlist alongside teammate Harry Kane, and he could conceivably win it five years in a row. Burnley's Michael Keane is also among the nominees, with Romelu Lukaku, Jordan Pickford and Leroy Sane.

Even so, it's an incredible...

Dele Alli's 21st birthday: 21 reasons why Tottenham star can be world great

At 21-years-old, Dele Alli is quickly becoming one of the Premier League's best, but can he one day be the world's best?
Tottenham's Dele Alli continues his unique celebrations, this time with Son Heung-Min.
With or without Harry Kane, Tottenham continue to pile the pressure on league leaders Chelsea.
Tottenham's Dele Alli is rapidly becoming one of the biggest stars in the Premier League.

Dele Alli turns 21 on Tuesday. The Tottenham Hotspur star was playing in League One for MK Dons two years ago but Mauricio Pochettino described him as the best young player in Europe this week, while Harry Kane believes he could finish the season as the club's top scorer.

If Alli continues his remarkable trajectory, he will become one of the biggest superstars in world football, helping to fill the void that will one day be left by ageing legends Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

On his 21st birthday,...

Diego Maradona's Hand of God proved that cheating isn't always immoral

Diego Maradona amused his audience by recreating the infamous 'Hand of God' that sent England home in the 1986 World Cup.

Gino, an Italian waiter at a restaurant I frequent in Miami, was a youngster in Napoli when Maradona played for the city's soccer team. He says he attended every match. Last year, on the 30th anniversary of the Hand of God goal, Gino and I were talking about the great player. Nothing Maradona did could be immoral, Gino said. Besides, he continued after a few seconds of silence, being immoral against the English is not like stealing money from a nun.

Gino makes a valid point.

The English...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

The Next XIs: England, Germany, Spain, Italy, France's emerging stars

The latest international break has seen many top countries trying out their next generation of talent on the road to the 2018 World Cup. The need for regeneration is constant given injuries, loss of form and, simply, the passage of time. So how do the top five nations in Europe look for quality in this World Cup cycle and beyond?

We asked ESPN FC writers to pick the players we'll need to know about during the next decade. There's a lot to be excited about here.


Demarai Gray is remarkably raw but boasts the skills that could help England in the long run.

Gareth Southgate's...

 By Nick Miller

England's "Next" XI: Will Demarai Gray, Tom Davies live up to the rising hype?

The FC crew discuss why England tend to look sharp in qualifying but struggle when it comes time to play in the World Cup.

Young English talent has perhaps its best chance of breaking into and succeeding with the senior side for some time, given the identity of the current manager. Gareth Southgate was in charge of the U-21s side for three years, winning the Toulon Tournament last summer, and is perhaps uniquely positioned to see the potential of the young players coming through for contention in the senior side.

So who are the players who Southgate could call upon in the immediate future? Here are 11 of them:

England have some raw but exciting depth that could get a chance in the 2022 World Cup cycle.


 By Nick Miller

Reluctant leader Gareth Southgate starting to make his mark on England

Shaka Hislop talks which of England's strikers will most likely feature in the 2018 World Cup next summer.

When Gareth Southgate was first appointed senior England manager in late September, as caretaker for the sacked Sam Allardyce, he looked like a man there under duress. Southgate himself had admitted he wasn't ready for the job only a few months earlier, when Allardyce had been handed the keys, and he gave the impression that he'd be much happier back with the Under-21s whom he'd managed with success for the previous three years.

Since taking permanent charge in November, however, Southgate has looked...