Sport Soccer

Saturday 24 February 2018

Hughton takes the reins at Blues

Chris Hughton has been appointed as Birmingham's new manager -- just 10 days after Alex McLeish resigned to take charge of Aston Villa.

The ex-Newcastle boss edged ahead of Roberto di Matteo in the battle to take charge of the Carling Cup holders.

A statement on the club's official website confirmed that Hughton will take charge of the Blues immediately and they will be hoping he can repeat his achievement at Newcastle in steering them to promotion from the Championship.

Hughton has been out of football since parting company with the Magpies after a 3-1 defeat at West Brom in early December, but he impressed Birmingham acting chairman Peter Pannu when being interviewed over the past few days.

Young close to switch

Aston Villa winger Ashley Young has edged closer to becoming Manchester United's second signing of the summer after undergoing a medical with the Premier League champions.

It is understood the England international was in Manchester yesterday to undergo a series of physical examinations prior to completing his transfer to Old Trafford for a reported £15m.

The 25-year-old Young has just a year left on his contract at Villa Park and made it clear to the club he had no intention of extending that deal.

Bhoy Murphy back

Celtic players returned for pre-season training yesterday with striker Daryl Murphy happy to get the first day's work under his belt.

The club's Lennoxtown training complex sparked back in to life as most of Neil Lennon's squad began preparations for the forthcoming campaign.

"It's good to get back into it because you want to get your fitness levels up so you can look forward to the games again. I've missed it," the Irishman said.

Celtic head to Australia on Sunday where they will continue their pre-season preparations with three games, with the Dublin Cup to follow at the end of the month.

Rising stars to collide

Sixteen of Europe's elite football clubs -- including Barcelona, Liverpool and Inter Milan -- will compete in a new U-19 international competition for Europe's finest young talent.

The NextGen Series will kick off in August and will be run over six months in a Champions League-style format, with the top two clubs from the four groups progressing to the knockout phase in January.

The 16 clubs competing are: Aston Villa, Barcelona, FC Basel, Celtic, Fenerbahce, Inter Milan, Liverpool, Manchester City, Marseille, Molde, PSV, Rosenborg, Sporting Lisbon, Tottenham Hotspur, Wolfsburg.

Irish Independent

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