City close the gap on Liverpool; Trust in youth paying off for provinces
Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo at the Etihad Stadium. Photograph: EPA
Manchester City closed the gap back to four points on Premier League leaders Liverpool with a 3-0 win over Wolves last night. Pep Guardiola’s team were helped on their way by a first half red card for Willy Boly, with the in-form Gabriel Jesus grabbing a double before Conor Coady scored an own goal. Spurs’ slight title hopes have received a major blow with fears Harry Kane may be absent for at least a month as Tottenham wait for the swelling around the England captain’s injured ankle to subside before scanning the joint. Martin O’Neill is set for a quick return to management with Nottingham Forrest, bringing with him his former Republic of Ireland assistant, Roy Keane. Emmet Malone believes confirmation of his appointment is expected over the next 24 hours, and his first game in charge will be against Bristol City this weekend.
In his column this morning Gerry Thornley explains how we’re now seeing the fruits of the Irish youth programme, and a trust in youth is what is allowing the Irish provinces to punch above their weight: “England are regular finalists in the Under-20 World Cup and France won it last year, but their clubs seem compelled to play more expensively assembled players, often brought in from abroad.” French club Racing 92 have said that the alleged abuse aimed at winger Simon Zebo last weekend in their match against Ulster in Belfast was racist in nature: “Racing 92 strongly condemns the racist insults that Simon Zebo was targeted with on Saturday.”