Kung-fu Evra

Olympique de Marseille defender Patrice Evra was sent off before Marseille’s Europa League match against Vitoria SC for kicking a supporter in the head.

The former Manchester United star was involved in a heated exchange with the travelling French fans in the pre-game warm up.

According to tweets from journalist in attendance, Evra was the victim of insults and chants from the Marseille fans, before the defender decided to retaliate.

Evra had been named on the bench for the game, but was still issued a red card, meaning Marseille had to start the game with six players on the bench.

Marseille manager Rudi Garcia revealed Evra had been taunted by fans but still criticised the defenders actions.

“Pat has experience and he must not react, it’s obvious,” Garcia told BeIN Sports.

“Patrice is a more than just an experienced player. You can’t respond, of course, to insults as bad as they are and as incredible as they might be because they come from one of our supporters.” “He must learn to keep his cool. That’s all I can say.”

Garcia did however blast the fan who taunted the 81-times capped French international.

“He’s not a supporter of Marseille, because you can’t insult your own players, you have to be behind all of us.”

The club will likely face a hefty fine from Uefa, while Evra will be looking at an extended stint on the sideline.

Evra will receive an automatic three-match ban for the red card, but will almost certainly receive a further suspension for the kick.

The incident draws comparisons to another kung-fu kicking French footballer.

In January 1995, Manchester United striker Eric Cantona launched a flying kick at a Crystal Palace supporter, who jeered him after he was sent off for a kick on opposition defender Richard Shaw.

As he walked off the field, Cantona launched a kung-fu kick on the Palace supporter, who had directed insults towards the hot-headed Frenchman.

Cantona was handed an eight-month suspension from all football and had to complete 120 hours of community service.

In 2008 Evra was handed a four-match ban and fined $25,000, following a clash with Chelsea groundsman Sam Bethell as Manchester United warmed down after a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Evra was found guilty of pushing Bethell with his chest and then striking him on the side of the head.

In December 2011, Evra accused Liverpool striker Luis Suarez of racial abuse, which resulted in the Uruguayan being banned for eight games and hit with a $68,000 fine.

The pair then clashed three months later when the Liverpool striker refused to handshake the Frenchman.

Uefa are expected to confirm they are investigating the incident involving Evra.



British managers ‘foreigners’ in local league

Last week, former England manager Sam Allardyce labelled British managers as ‘second class citizens’ in the ‘foreign’ Premier League.

Speaking on beIn Sports ‘Keys and Grey Show’, Allardyce said British coaches were deemed uneducated, compared to their foreign counterparts.

“I think you are almost deemed as second class because it is your country,” Allardyce told beIN Sports.

“It is a real shame that we are highly educated, highly talented coaches now with nowhere to go.”

“The Premier League is the foreign league in England now…when you look across the owners, the managers and the coaches [and] the players, that is exactly what it is now.”

Allardyce’s views draw sentiment to the opinion that British football is losing its grip on the world’s biggest league.

Foreign investors own 13 of the 20 Premier League teams and 65 per cent of Premier League managers are from foreign backgrounds.

Since Ossie Ardiles became the first foreign manager in the Premier League when he was appointed manager of Tottenham in 1993, the league has transformed from a predominately British coaching structure to one that see’s a scarcity of home grown management.

Despite being in a self-imposed retirement, Allardyce is one of few British managers who would attract interest from numerous top-flight clubs. But the interest would only be from the mid-tier sides, instead of the top six clubs.

When appointed England national manager in July 2016, Allardyce was considered the best candidate of any British manager.

But following his controversial departure 67 days after being appointed, Allardyce returned to club management by joining Crystal Palace at a time when they were in the midst of a relegation battle.

The lack of interest from top clubs in the Premier League to sign British managers is a worry for English Football.

The reports Everton are interested in appointing Burnley manager Sean Dyche as their new manager is seen as a step forward for British management.

Despite being ranked the sixth biggest club in England by the Daily Mail, Everton have averaged an eighth place finish in the Premier League for the past 10 years. With little involvement in European football, the Toffees can not be considered one of the leagues top clubs.

The foreign takeover of English football has also begun to seep its way into the lower leagues. The Championship was once home to English players who were not good enough for top-level football, but could still have a thriving career. Today, foreign consortiums own 14 of the 24 clubs in the EFL Championship.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have set the championship alight this season, largely due to the number of foreign players in their team.

Wolverhampton owner, Fosun International have a close relationship with Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes, who helped the club sign Ivan Cavaleiro, Helder Costa and Roderick Miranda.

Ivan Cavaleiro

The on-field success of Wolves will see more championship clubs focus on recruiting foreign players instead of developing English talent.

2017 has been a successful year for England’s national junior setup, which has won the under 20 and under 17 World Cup’s and the under 19 European Championship.

With so many talented youngsters, England are on the cusp of a golden generation, which will not see fruition in the current English football climate.

The amount of money on offer in the Premier League has led owners and managers being unwilling to risk the possibility of relegation for the sake of youth development.

Chelsea and Manchester City have the best youth set ups in England, but both do not promote academy prospects to their senior line-ups.

Some young talents have moved overseas to try their luck in breaking into first team football, with Jadon Sancho, Reece Oxford and Kaylen Hinds moving to Germany in the quest for senior football.

Jadon Sancho unveiled at Borussia Dortmund

One way to ensure academy players get a chance in England would be to deploy ‘B’ teams in the divisions below the Premier League, as evident with Barcelona B in Spain’s second division.

Last years Uefa Youth League final was between Benfica and Salzburg, two teams that have second string sides in the lower national leagues.

Another way to ensure youth development would be to appoint a sporting director and head coach, a system deployed in other leagues across Europe.

Germany’s RB Leipzig have had success developing youth with Ralf Rangnick overseeing the whole club, including nurturing young talent, while head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl focused solely on first team affairs.

“In former times and that is still the case at some clubs today, there is a manager doing the head coach and sporting director role and is responsible for everything,” Rangnick told The Sun.

“But if you sack the manager another one comes in and says ‘I don’t want these players… we should sell them’.”

“But there is a tendency things are changing, a few clubs are now thinking about bringing in a sporting director who is then in charge of the medium and long-term plans of the club.”

If English football continues as it has in recent years then there will be no room for Englishmen in the local league. But with a few changes to the way of thinking, British managers and players may once again rule the English game.