Mike Dean's GOLDEN card, Kalvin Phillips contract UPDATE, Ian Rush's World Cup view – updates on the draw

MIKE DEAN'S retirement will be marked with him receiving a GOLDEN CARD from the Premier League chiefs.

The legendary referee is leaving the field for a VAR role at Stockley Park once the season has concluded.

Meanwhile, Leeds midfield maestro Kalvin Phillips is set to cause a huge blow to admirers having confirmed that he wants to sign a new contract at Elland Road.

Ian Rush has stated his reasoning for rather competing against Scotland or Wales instead of Ukraine.

And make sure to stay tuned because we will have all the latest information as we draw closer to the World Cup draw TODAY.

Get all the latest football news and updates here…


  • Justin Lawrence

    World Cup draw looms

    Fans across the world are anxiously waiting for the World Cup draw which goes live TODAY.

    This will be the final time we witness footballs biggest competition endure 32 teams before it expands to 48 nations in 2026.

    And everyone will be nervous to find out their country's fate will be for the first ever winter World Cup.

    The World Cup draw is set to take place on Friday April 1 at 4pm live from Doha.
    Group stages for the Qatar World Cup will start on Monday November 21.
    The final of this years World Cup will be on December 18, just one week before Christmas.

  • Justin Lawrence

    Ronaldo’s career plan

    Cristiano Ronaldo wants to continue playing for Portugal beyond 2024 – by which time he will be 39.

    And team-mate Jose Fonte reckons there is still plenty left in the tank to see him represent Portugal at Euro 2024 in Germany.

    The veteran Lille defender told talkSPORT: “I think he’s left it pretty clear in his last interview, he’s the one who decides his future.

    “I think that physically he feels good, he feels great.

    “If he had the chance to win it and the chance to keep performing at the highest stages then he’ll keep playing, as he said.

    “Nobody knows exactly what he has in his mind, so only he can decide his future.

    “He wants to play and keep playing so I would assume that he will be in Qatar, and not only in Qatar but in the next Euros at least.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    Az to be done

    Cesar Azpilcueta will reportedly be allowed to join Barcelona by Chelsea this summer despite his contract extension.

    The 32-year-old Spaniard is one of several stars at the club who are due to become free agents when their contracts expire in June.

    Reports have been building for months that the Chelsea skipper was set to return to his homeland with Barcelona.

    However, fears the move would collapse escalated last month due to a clause in his current deal.

    An automatic one-year extension in Azpilicueta’s contract was triggered when he made over 30 appearances this season – an achievement he hit a number of weeks ago.

    The veteran star was hoping to come to a diplomatic agreement with the crisis-hit West London outfit.

    The Blues are currently unable to offer any new deals to their players or sign any new ones due to the sanctions imposed on owner Roman Abramovich.

    Now Marca claims that Chelsea will let the defender join Barcelona for nothing anyway in the summer due to the “excellent relationship” between the player and club.

  • Justin Lawrence

    Ian Rush's World Cup view

    Ian Rush has revealed that he would rather Wales play Scotland in the World Cup play-off finals instead of Ukraine who will have the world's support.

    He told gambling.com: "We’ve got one more game to go – either against Scotland or Ukraine – and I know who I’d rather play.

    "If we play Ukraine, the whole of Europe will be willing them to win, and I can understand that. I wouldn’t want Wales to have to come up against that tidal wave of support, so I’d rather play Scotland.

    "If we meet Scotland again in 2022, hopefully it’ll be third time lucky for Wales."

  • Justin Lawrence

    England face World Cup boredom

    England players face a battle against boredom at the World Cup when they stay in the same hotel for the entire tournament.

    Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has picked the Souq Al-Wakra hotel in the fishing village of Al Wakrah 10 miles south of Doha.

    Like the last two World Cup tournaments at the team hotel, players are likely to be kept entertained by a driving simulator, PlayStation, basketball, table tennis, pool and darts.

    Normally, teams travel from their base and stay in a different venue the night before a game.

  • Justin Lawrence

    Mike Dean's golden card

    Prem chiefs will mark referee Mike Dean’s retirement by giving him a GOLDEN CARD on the final day of the season.

    Wirral whistler Dean, 53, is set for a senior VAR role at Stockley Park next term.

    If the title race is settled, his final outing on May 22 could be Liverpool v Wolves or Manchester City v  Aston Villa — so he can enjoy the carnival atmosphere.

    All other Prem matches  that day are to be paused in the 22nd minute for a round of applause to mark Dean’s 22 years as a Select Group referee.

    The Professional Game Match Officials Limited have commissioned the golden card bust. 

  • Alex Cole

    Good morning, footy fans

    The 2022 World Cup draw is TODAY.

    England will find out who they will face in the group stages in Qatar, writes DAVE FRASER.

    The Three Lions are still chasing their first major tournament win since 1966.

    Silverware-starved fans sense England are getting closer and closer under Gareth Southgate.

    England were knocked out of the 2018 World Cup at the semi-final stage, losing to Croatia after extra-time.

    And the Three Lions went a step further at Euro 2020, agonisingly losing in the final on penalties to Italy – who have incredibly failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

    Southgate will be hoping for a favourable draw to kickstart their campaign in Qatar, rather than a group of death.

    So what is England's best – and indeed, worst – case scenario?

  • Alex Cole

    USA qualify for Qatar World Cup

    The United States of America clinched their place at the World Cup in Qatar after missing out on the last edition, writes ETIENNE FERMIE.

    American soccer fans were forced to watch on as the rest of the world enjoyed the globe's biggest football party last time around in Russia 2018 – but not this time.

    Christian Pulisic and Co grabbed the third and final automatic Concacaf spot last night – despite losing 2-0 in Costa Rica.

    Credit: INSTAGRAM

    Due to goal difference, Gregg Berhalter's side only needed to avoid a six-goal defeat to progress to the finals in Qatar.

    So it was fairly safe for the US to plan their celebrations in advance.

    The triumphant US stars posed in specially made Nike t-shirts commemorating their qualification.

    Players also bizarrely wore ski masks as they celebrated, with some sipping on cans of Budweiser or Bud Light.

    Originating from NBA players celebrating Finals victories, some US sports stars wear ski masks to avoid getting booze in their eyes.

  • Alex Cole

    'Ronaldo, donate us your….'

    Two Portugal fans took bizarre measures to show off their Cristiano Ronaldo fandom when they watched him play this week, writes ETIENNE FERMIE .

    The Manchester United ace lined up for his country against Italy conquerors North Macedonia with a place in this winter's World Cup on the line.

    Porto's Estadio Dragao was packed with 48,000 fans desperate to help their team get over the line to Qatar.

    And two supporters arrived with a weird pre-prepared sign.

    The female duo held up a piece of card with a message directed at Ronaldo on it.

    It read "Ronaldo doa-nos o teu" in Portuguese – meaning "Ronaldo donate us your…"

    After the written message appeared a crudely drawn sperm.

    Attached to the banner was a Portuguese flag, as well as a Brazilian one.

    It didn't appear to grab CR7's attention, as Portugal eased through to the World Cup by winning 2-0.

  • Alex Cole

    SunSport's best XI selection

    In goal we've selected Chelsea stopper Edouard Mendy.

    The Senegalese ace was arguably robbed of last year's Yashin Trophy – recognising the best goalkeeper in the world.

    England are blessed with a stunning array of right-backs, with Reece James, Kyle Walker and Trent Alexander-Arnold all competing for a starting spot.

    But they are pipped to our first XI by Moroccan superstar Achraf Hakimi.

    At centre-back it's hard to look past Premier League superstars Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Silva – although Antonio Rudiger and Kalidou Koulibaly deserve honourable mentions.

    Canada, led by Englishman John Herdman, have qualified for their first World Cup since 1986 – so fans can look forward to watching Bayern Munich superstar Alphonso Davies on the biggest international stage.

    Declan Rice, N'Golo Kante and Luka Modric would make up a mouthwatering midfield trio – with Pedri and Thomas Partey also set to make their marks on the tournament.

    Sadio Mane has guided Senegal to the finals at the expense of Salah's Egypt, while Kylian Mbappe will hope to shine just as much as he did on the way to winning the 2018 World Cup as a teenager.

    Robert Lewandowski, Harry Kane and Karim Benzema will surely begin the tournament as Golden Boot favourites, as the world class strikers of their generation.

    But in our best XI, it's Bayern Munich's Poland hitman who gets the nod.

  • Alex Cole

    Best XI of stars going to World Cup 2022

    The best footballers on the planet will congregate in Qatar this winter for the greatest show on Earth, writes ETIENNE FERMIE.

    Fans of the 32 teams involved will be able to start plotting their paths to glory tomorrow, when Fifa conduct the draw for the tournament.

    A number of top class players will miss out after their countries failed to qualify – including the likes of Erling Haaland and Mo Salah.

    But let's celebrate those that have made it, and will be vying for glory this December.

    Three spots remain up for grabs, with not all play-offs having quite yet been completed.

    From the 29 that have already punched their tickets, however, SunSport guides you through the best players that will grace Qatar's brand new arenas later this year.

    Despite Argentina and Portugal qualifying, we have not included Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo – with this winter's tournament set to cement the dawn of a new era of football superstars.

  • Alex Cole

    Kante turned down PSG in January

    Chelsea star N’Golo Kante reportedly rejected an approach to join Paris Saint-Germain in January, writes ANTHONY CHAPMAN.

    Le Parisien claims the French midfielder, who turned 31 this week, was the subject of a lucrative offer from Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

    PSG are long-term admirers of Kante, with Thomas Tuchel admitting he tried signing the World Cup winner several times before taking charge at Chelsea last year.

    And sporting chief Leonardo made yet another attempt to bring Kante to the French capital.

    However, the all-action dynamo spurned PSG’s advances yet again.

    It’s reckoned Kante is still loving life at Chelsea – nearly six years since his £30million switch from Leicester.

    And although his contract expires in 2023, Kante is determined to continue playing for Tuchel’s European champions.

    The fan favourite has clocked up 249 appearances during his time in London, scoring 13 goals in the process.

    Kante’s won the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and Club World Cup during his time with the Blues.

  • Alex Cole

    Phillips set to stay

    Hot target Kalvin Phillips is tipped to sign a new Leeds contract this summer, writes IAN TUCKEY.

    The England midfielder has been linked with Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle and West Ham.

    But although talks on a new deal have been delayed, the 26-year-old is reportedly keen to stay at his boyhood club.

    Credit: Getty

    United are regarded as Phillips’ biggest admirers as they struggle to add craft and graft in the middle of the pitch. 

    But it’s thought Phillips would feel uncomfortable leaving Leeds for such fierce rivals.

    Now the Mirror say he has told Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani he is happy to extend his contract beyond 2024 at the end of the season.

    Discussions have been put on hold as it’s understood Phillips will switch to a new agent in the summer.

    But he is then likely to agree a sizeable pay rise to remain at Elland Road.

  • Alex Cole

    Qatar scenarios for the Three Lions

    MARTIN LIPTON gives his best case scenario for England in Friday's 2022 World Cup draw…

    USA, South Korea and Ghana.

    And the worst?

    Germany, Senegal and Ecuador.

    Credit: Getty
  • Alex Cole

    Hudon-Odoi considering Ghana switch

    Chelsea star Callum Hudson-Odoi is reportedly considering switching international allegiance from England to play at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, writes JOSHUA MBU.

    The Blues academy graduate is eligible to play for Ghana, who booked their place at the tournament on March 29 after drawing 1-1 with Nigeria.

    Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey scored the all important away goal to send his country through.

    Credit: Richard Pelham / The Sun

    And according to Goal, Hudson-Odoi is considering switching his international allegiance from England to Ghana in order to play at the World Cup.

    Hudson-Odoi has three senior Three Lions caps but can still switch as they all took place before he turned 21.

    His father Bismark was a footballer in Ghana for Hearts of Oak. 

    The player is believed to have had dialogue with the Ghanaian FA.

    Hudson-Odoi was also invited to meet with Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo.

  • Alex Cole

    Friday's big draw

    SunSport’s MARTIN LIPTON answers more of your of your 2022 World Cup draw questions.

    So it’s a free draw after the pots?

    No, not at all.

    Fifa wants to separate teams geographically for the group stage but with 13 European sides and eight groups, it means five of the groups will contain two teams from Uefa.

    No other teams can play sides from the same confederation, so England could only possibly play Scotland or Wales if they do not get any of the European sides in Pots Two or Three.

    But we will know who plays who, when and where at the draw?

    Another significant change from the customary World Cup draw process…

    The draw will determine the eight groups and the sequence of matches.

    But with all eight stadia in Qatar covered by a distance of just 42 miles from Al Bayt in the north to Al Janoub in the south, venues for the matches will be allocated by Fifa after the draw, as will the kick-off times.

    Fifa want to ensure the games with the biggest appeal for fans are played at the largest stadiums.

    So if England are drawn with, for example, Germany, it will almost certainly be played at the Lusail Stadium, the 90,000-capacity venue for the final.

  • Alex Cole

    What are the pots?

    Pot 1: Qatar, Brazil, Belgium, France, Argentina, England, Spain, Portugal.

    Pot 2: Holland, Denmark, Mexico, Germany, USA, Uruguay, Switzerland, Croatia.

    Pot 3: Senegal, Iran, Japan, Morocco, Serbia, Poland, Korea, Tunisia.

    Pot 4: Canada, Cameroon, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Ghana plus three play off winners.

  • Alex Cole

    Top draw

    The draw for the 2022 World Cup is nearly upon us and ahead of Friday's big event, SunSport's MARTIN LIPTON answers all of your questions.

    How does it work?

    The qualified teams will be placed in four seeding pots, all decided by the new Fifa world rankings list.

    England, fifth in the rankings, join hosts Qatar, new world No1 Brazil, Belgium, France, Argentina, Spain and Portugal in Pot One.

    But aren’t there some countries who haven’t qualified yet?

    Yes, for the first time the draw will take place without all the qualified teams known.

    There are three outstanding play-offs, one in Europe – with Scotland due to play Ukraine for the right to meet Wales in Cardiff – and two one-game intercontinental play-offs to be played in June.

    New Zealand will meet Costa Rica while Peru await the winners of the Asian play-off between Australia and the UAE.

    So how does that affect the draw?

    There are only five qualified teams in Pot Four and the three outstanding play-off ties will fill the last three places in the lowest tier.

  • Alex Cole

    It's a new Diego

    Diego Forlan is rocking a new look after ditching his iconic golden locks.

    The 42-year-old has been snapped at the 72nd Fifa Congress at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center with dark brown hair and a beard.

  • Justin Lawrence

    Tete quits Donetsk for Lyon

    Brazilian star Tete has quit Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk to join Lyon until the end of the season amid the war with Russia.

    Players based in both nations have been granted special dispensation by Fifa to sign for new clubs, initially only until the summer.

    A host of Premier League clubs have been linked with the attacker.

    However, English top-flight sides have been blocked from using the approved window to get new talents. 

    Now Lyon have confirmed that they have won the race for Tete's signature,

    Brighton, Everton, Brentford, Leicester, Southampton and West Ham had all been keen on Tete.

    And they may go for him again at the end of the season depending on the situation in Ukraine.

  • Justin Lawrence

    Messi's awkward interaction with fan

    Lionel Messi had to awkwardly push off a pitch invader after Argentina's draw with Ecuador.

    And at full-time, a pitch invader tried to take a video with seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi, who didn't look comfortable with the attention.

    The fan told Messi: "Leo, Leo. A photo, I come from the United States."

    Security then managed to wrestle the fan away, who caught the interaction on camera.

  • Justin Lawrence

    Barca Women star gets emotional

    Caroline Graham Hansen fought back her tears after the 5-2 victory over Real Madrid at the Nou Camp in a historic night for women's football.

    Barca broke the women's attendance record as 91,553 fans watched them punch their ticket to the Champions League semi-finals with an 8-3 aggregate triumph over bitter rivals Real.

    The midfielder got emotional after the match with the loud home crowd celebrating their achievement against Real and stated this is a "game-changer" for women's football.

    Hansen told DAZN: "At the end of the match I do holds my tears back because this is just too crazy.

    "One thing is to play in Camp Nou, but it's full and we're winning 5-2 in a quarter-final Champions League and the fans are not leaving home.

    "They're just staying to celebrate with us. I didn't imagine anything like it. Just goosebumps all over the place."

  • Justin Lawrence

    Barcelona's Chelsea raid

    Barcelona are planning a stunning hat-trick of transfer raids on Chelsea as they plot their way back to greatness.

    The Spanish giants have now entered the race as shock contenders to sign Blues’ defender Antonio Rudiger.

    Barcelona’s shock move for Rudiger also comes just two days after the club’s president Joan Laporta boasted that his side have already completed the signings of two big name players for the summer.

    One is believed to be Rudiger’s team-mate Andreas Christensen.

    And Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta is also edging closer to a move to Spain despite having a contract extension automatically triggered.

    Rudiger and Christensen will be allowed to leave for free at the end of this season under the Bosman ruling.

    And insiders close to talks between Azpilicueta and Chelsea hinted that he may be released as a gesture of goodwill if he can find a better offer elsewhere.

  • Justin Lawrence

    Carragher picks Klopp's successor

    Jamie Carragher revealed that he would love for Diego Simeone to become Liverpool's manager when Jurgen Klopp leaves.

    While discussing the Atletico Madrid boss' credentials with Gary Neville on Sky Sports, Carragher said: "Yes, I think so. He has that stature. Gary (Neville) talks about coming up against him. He has got that presence, hasn’t he?

    "I was talking to someone last night actually about Simeone for Liverpool, talking about when Klopp would leave in a couple of years.

    "I would love to see Simeone in the Premier League."

  • Justin Lawrence

    Aguero open to football return

    Sergio Aguero has admitted he is itching to get back on the football field despite rejecting Inter Miami’s advances – for now.

    The star was forced to quit the game late last year because of a heart problem just months after joining Barcelona.

    He now says he is counting down the days to the six-month deadline doctors gave him to put his boots back on.

    But the 33-year-old father-of-one has insisted his only plan at the moment is to play with friends once he gets the go-ahead from medics.

    TYC Sports claim that the Argentine has been offered a comeback by David Beckham’s MLS side, with him telling them: “Yesterday, it crossed my mind that I could play again.

    “Inter Miami called me but I refused. In two years? Let’s see…”

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