THE OBSESSION WITH WINNING
I've been playing FIFA for a long time. Since 2005, I've had a copy of almost every FIFA to date. I think I've gotten so familiar with the game, that sometimes winning seems boring. Sometimes losing the occasional game makes me feel a little more alive, and it makes the game feel a little more relatable. Don't worry this isn't a gaming article, give me a minute to elaborate.
The training session came to an end and one of the triallists made his way over to say thanks for the opportunity. Instinctively, he offered his hand ... but right now in England, handshakes are off limits. As sport cautiously returns to action, everyone has plenty to learn.
Seemingly brought to life by Donald Trump’s controversial proposal of a border wall with Mexico, the debate on immigration policy has turned into one of the most divisive and exhausted topics in all political discourse. But even if it seems that the majority of headlines come from Texas or California, the discussion is not reserved for North America.
Sunderland fans and communist Albania shouldn’t have much in common. Even allowing for the north-east’s left-leaning political reputation, the unreconstructed Stalinism of Enver Hoxha was seldom debated on the terraces. Yet, for a generation of fans clutching crackly radio sets, midway matches meant the Red-and-Whites of Roker were accompanied by the Reds of the Marxist-Leninist vanguard.
A cog in Brentford's attacking trident, Said Benrahma operates as a left winger acting mostly as an inside forward. A very technically gifted player and still young, aged only 24, Benrahma should be playing Premier League football make no doubt. With the likes of Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins also in Brentford's attacking line-up, Benrahma has many outlets for his outstanding creativity. Most definitely a creator more than anything else, let's see what makes the Algerian so valuable to The Bees.
Randell Williams is a 23 year old normally operating off the right wing for League Two side Exeter City. With his breakthrough season this season, Williams has taken League Two by storm this season. Blessed with blistering pace, Randell can dribble, shoot and create and all prolifically. Definitely operating at a level higher that England's fourth tier, Randell could be moving on up, be that with Exeter City or if a move to another club.
Ivan Toney is probably not a name you've heard before. An ex-Newcastle United player that featured in 2 substitute appearances before being sent on a plethora of loan spells was purchased outright by League One side Peterborough United for what Transfermarkt reported to be £650,000. He has repaid The Posh in bags, leading Peterborough to 6th in League One, only 2 points from 2nd place, before coronavirus brought footballing activity to a standstill.
Manuel Locatelli might be a name you've heard of before, having scored a scorcher against Juventus a couple of seasons ago for AC Milan. Since then, Locatelli has dropped off a little bit, spending the 2018/19 season with Sassuolo, before being purchased outright in the summer of 2019 for what Transfermarkt reported to be £11.25m. Still only 22 years old, Locatelli has used his time with Sassuolo to really demonstrate his qualities at the base of midfield, leaving I Neroverdi 11th in Serie A, 4 points from 7th placed AC Milan, before coronavirus brought footballing activity to a halt.
Marc Roca is a 23 year old defensive midfielder currently playing for bottom of La Liga side Espanyol. In an extremely disappointing campaign for Espanyol, one thing is for certain, Marc Roca is definitely operating above and beyond for Los Periquitos. Having made his debut in the 2016/17 season, Roca has gone from strength to strength, appearing for Spain's U21's in 2019. With clear quality, why is he still at Espanyol and will there be suitors in the summer of 2020, if RCD are to be relegated?
At 21 years of age, not many footballers have 3 seasons worth of meaningful minutes under their belt. This man boasts just that. Ezequiel Barco is an argentian currently playing with Atlanta United in the MLS. Having transferred to the US from local side Independiente in January of 2018 for what Transfermarkt report to be a fee of £11m, Barco has gone from strength to strength for the MLS outfit. A true creative force, Barco is a winger by nature, possessing bundles of pace and a wicked eye for a cross, as well as goal, occasionally.
Having only played 1,715 minutes of senior club football in his life, gambian Musa Barrow has scored 7 goals and 7 assists since the 2017/18 season, in which he made his debut. Playing 444 minutes for Bergamo outfit Atalanta, he scored 3 and assisted 2, a goal contribution every 89 minutes. The following season, Barrow still only played 592 minutes of league football, scoring 1 and assisting a further 2, soaring to a goal contribution every 197 minutes. Move onto the 2019/20 season and Barrow was behind Josep Ilicic, Duvan Zapata, Luis Muriel and Papu Gomez in the pecking order. So he waited for his chance and grabbed 2 assists in 186 Serie A minutes for Atalanta, before jumping ship to Bologna. Thriving, Barrow has 3 goals and 1 assist in 492 minutes played for the side based in northern Italy. Let's see why he deserves a shot in a bigger team.
Certainly not a spring chicken, Teji Savanier is aged 28 and is currently operating deep in the Montpellier engine room. Having switched Nimes for the southern France side in the summer of 2019 for around £8.5m, per Transfermarkt, he has gone from strength to strength. With some truly outrageous statistics for someone opperating in the relative unknown, lets see what makes the frenchman so undervalued.