The Marcus Rashford fairy tale continued on Friday with the Manchester United youth product starting and scoring for England against Australia in a Euro tune-up.
Rashford's rise has been almost as out of nowhere as that of Leicester City and the party looks like it may continue into the summer. With Daniel Sturridge (injury) and Jamie Vardy (wedding) unavailable, Rashford started against Australia on Friday and it was a mere three minutes before he was on the scoresheet. Teammate Wayne Rooney came on at halftime for Jack Wilshere and made it two for the United duo as they look to push England beyond their traditional quarter final exit in big tournaments.
Kurt Zouma is hoping to be fully fit for the start of the upcoming season after stepping up his recovery from a knee injury.
The Frenchman was devastated to miss the European championships in his home country this summer after suffering an ACL injury against Manchester United in February that required surgery. However, the six-month recovery period puts the 21-year-old on track to return in August, and Zouma has already started the running on flat ground phase of his rehabilitation. Last season, Zouma made 23 Premier League appearances, 21 of which were starts, forcing John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic out of the lineup at times.
Despite rumors linking him with Real Madrid, Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois said he expects to be at Chelsea next season.
The keeper is on on international duty with Belgium expected to shine at this summer's European championships in France, but he confirmed that he sees himself at Chelsea when he gets back with Antonio Conte set to take over from Guus Hiddink in July: "I am at Chelsea. We are going to have a new coach and I have three years left on my contract. If nothing major happens I will stay at Chelsea. I know that in football things happen fast, but in theory my next season is with Chelsea."
Crystal Palace is prepared to make Steven Caulker its first signing of the summer with a £6.5million move lined up.
The Eagles have reportedly opened talks with Queens Park Rangers over a summer transfer after the Hoops spent £8million to prise Caulker from Cardiff City in 2014, only to be relegated the very next season. The 24-year-old spent the first half of last season on loan with Southampton before moving on loan to Liverpool, only managing to earn one Premier League start last season. Alan Pardew is said to be looking at defensive options to pair with Scott Dann with Adrian Mariappa and Brede Hangeland out of contract and an aging Damien Delaney on a one-year deal.
Roy Hodgson insists the fitness of Gary Cahill is not an issue despite the Chelsea defender struggling due to an ongoing hip problem.
The 30-year-old is one of only three centre-halves expected to be included in the 23-man Euro squad and in spite of John Stones’ lack of international experience, the Three Lions manager is not tempted to take anyone else alongside Chris Smalling. Cahill was a doubt for last weekends’ friendly with Turkey but had an injection prior the game. Even though he came through 90 minutes, Cahill was slightly hampered and a decision was taken on Monday for another jab which would help clear the problem. "I decided with physio Gary Lewin and the doctor that this was the best thing to do," Roy Hodgson said. "He’s played a lot of football and it was very unlikely one player would play in all three preparation games from the beginning."
Wales are taking no risks with Joe Allen and will handle the 26-year-old in kid gloves throughout the build up to Euro 2016 as the Liverpool midfielder recovers from a minor injury.
Allen picked up a slight knee problem towards the end of the domestic campaign and Chris Coleman is not prepared to jeopardise the availability of his key playmaker ahead of the tournament opener against Slovakia on June 11. Allen has trained away from the main group in Portugal, but the former Swansea star is expected to re-join full sessions very soon. Wales have already lost Tom Bradshaw and Adam Henley to injury this week while Preston North End goalkeeper Chris Maxwell has been called up as a precaution with Danny Ward struggling to shake off a knee issue.
Georginio Wijnaldum looks to be in demand given his performances and the fact that Newcastle have been relegated. Roma and West Ham have been linked so far.
It's hard to know what assurances Rafa Benitez sought from Mike Ashley before agreeing to stay on as Newcastle manager in the Championship next season. One thing he might reasonably have demanded is that a couple key contributors be retained despite the high cost of doing so on Championship revenue. Georginio Wijnaldum was one of the Magpies' stronger attacking contributors last season and would certainly be high on Rafa's "Keep" list. He could also bring a pretty return from suitors looking to upgrade their midfield. Adding Wijnaldum to Payet, Lanzini, and Antonio would make for a potentially fearsome group at the Olympic Stadium.
With Dani Alves apparently off to Juventus, the logical link is made to Barcelona trying to reacquire Hector Bellerin who left their youth system for Arsenal.
Bellerin has quickly gone from surprise starter half-way through last season to the best right back in the Premier League over the course of the 2015-16 season. His rapid ascent has fueled speculation that his boyhood team, Barcelona, might come calling in the same way they did with Cesc Fabregas after he'd established himself with the Gunners. Bellerin has recently stated that he's happy in London and considers it his long term home but you can't write off the pull of the Spanish champions, especially for a player who came up through their system.