Bayern Munich could be set for a busy transfer window.

With Barcelona struggling financially, clubs are eyeing some of their talent.

Bayern are reportedly interested in a number of players at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – DE JONG, TER STEGEN WANTED IN MUNICH

Bayern Munich are eyeing Barcelona quartet Frenkie de Jong, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Pedri and Sergino Dest, according to Sport.

Barca are a club in crisis amid their financial woes, which led to the departure of superstar captain Lionel Messi on a free transfer at the start of the season.

Now, Bundesliga champions Bayern are looking to capitalise, having previously been linked with midfielders De Jong and Pedri, goalkeeper Ter Stegen and right-back Dest.

 

ROUND-UP

Barca's move for Manchester City star Raheem Sterling is dependent on the future of Ousmane Dembele, says Sport. Dembele has been linked with Liverpool and Manchester United previously.

- Calciomercato claims Milan will wait to sign wantaway Torino star Andrea Belotti on a free transfer at the end of the season. Monday's Tuttosport reports Serie A champions and city rivals Inter are also interested in the Italy international.

Bruno Fernandes' contract extension is a priority for United, according to Fabrizio Romano. United are also looking to re-sign Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba, who has been linked with Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

- The Daily Telegraph reports Newcastle United are eyeing a move for Ralf Rangnick as their sporting director following the club's huge takeover. Rangnick currently works for Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow.

Manchester United defender Luke Shaw hailed the impact Cristiano Ronaldo has had on the Red Devils' mentality since returning to Old Trafford.

Ronaldo returned to United in August – via stops at Real Madrid and Juventus – to end a 12-year absence with the club, having first made his Premier League debut in 2003 under Alex Ferguson.

The Portugal captain has hit the ground running since then, scoring five times across the top flight and the Champions League, including a stoppage-time winner against Villarreal.

And Shaw says the character of Ronaldo, who made his 200th Premier League appearance for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side against Everton, is positively impacting his team-mates.

"You know the star he is, what he has been doing over a number of years, it is just unbelievable to be in a dressing room with him," Shaw told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"You see the way he conducts himself, how professional he is. It's clear to me why he has been at the top for so many years.

"His mentality is second to none. I think he has really improved that in and around the changing room."

United have been slightly erratic in their performances, however, as they are two points off top-flight leaders Chelsea after being beaten at home by Aston Villa and drawing with Everton in their last two league games.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, has remained in scintillating form and currently sits on 87 Premier League goals for Solskjaer's men.

The United head coach himself managed 84 goals in his first 200 top-flight outings, with Wayne Rooney leading the way on 93 – apart from that pair, no other player netted more than 47 (Paul Scholes) in their opening double century for the club..

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has been ruled out for Wednesday's Champions League match against Villarreal and could miss "a few weeks" of action with a calf injury.

Maguire and fellow defender Luke Shaw both suffered injuries in the disappointing 1-0 Premier League defeat to Aston Villa last time out.

And manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed the centre-back is set for a spell on the sidelines.

But he had more positive news on Shaw, who is in contention to face the Spanish side and does not look poised for a long spell out regardless of whether he is able to start the match at Old Trafford.

"Luke has been in on Tuesday, so I will give him a chance to be involved," Solskjaer said at his pre-match news conference.

"He did not train with the team [but] hopefully Luke can be involved.

"Harry is more or less definitely out, it doesn't look good. It is his calf, that might take a few weeks.

"Let's see how quickly he recovers. He wanted to play against Villarreal, he missed the last game [against them in the Europa League final]." 

With Aaron Wan-Bissaka already suspended after a red card in the opening Group F defeat against Young Boys, United could be forced to change three members of their regular back four alongside Raphael Varane.

Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles are among the candidates to come into the starting XI.

Solskjaer added: "We will have to make a few changes. You always look at the opposition and sometimes you need to make adjustments.

"But we look at ourselves mostly. The more injuries you get, you might need to do tactical changes. I have got Eric, Rapha, Victor. Alex and Diogo 100 per cent fit." 

The last five meetings in European competition between United and Villarreal have all ended in draws.

Four of those encounters were goalless, the exception being the 2021 Europa League final, which Villarreal won 11-10 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

"You expect what you have learned in the last few seasons," added Solskjaer. "We have played each other five times, every time has been a draw. 

"They are very well organised, technically very good. They can play from the back. It is hard to press against them, which I thought we did well in the final.

"Difficult to create chances against and we have to be better to create chances. It was an even final."

United go into the key game looking to end an unwelcome trend.

They are winless in their last seven matches against Spanish teams in the Champions League (D3 L4), with their last such victory coming against Real Sociedad back in October 2013 (1-0).

Bruno Fernandes' stoppage-time penalty miss capped an awful day for Manchester United as they deservedly lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa.

A point would have taken United top of the Premier League, with Chelsea losing to Manchester City on Saturday, but they could have no complaints about the outcome at Old Trafford despite a dramatic finish.

Kortney Hause looked to have gone from hero to zero when he followed a headed goal at one end with a handball at the other.

But Fernandes, taking the spot-kick ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, blazed over the crossbar to condemn United – who lost Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw to injury – to a first league defeat of the campaign.

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire was substituted with an apparent ankle injury in the second half of Saturday's game against Aston Villa.

Maguire was replaced by Victor Lindelof 23 minutes from time at Old Trafford, having attempted to play on.

He had early received treatment after taking a kick from Danny Ings in a tangle in the United area. Villa appealed for a penalty, but Ollie Watkins was flagged for offside earlier in the move.

Maguire's defensive colleague Luke Shaw was substituted in the first half after pulling up.

The two injuries could represent major blows to United ahead of a big week in which they will aim to get their Champions League campaign back on track at home to Villarreal.

Harry Kane's attempt to leave Tottenham did not go according to plan before the transfer window closed.

Despite interest from Manchester City, Kane remains in London with Spurs.

Kane could be prepared to sign another contract at Tottenham…

 

TOP STORY – NEW DEAL FOR KANE?

Tottenham star Harry Kane is open to a contract extension if the offer includes a release clause, according to Eurosport.

Kane wanted to leave Tottenham in the off-season, but a move did not materialise, despite interest from Premier League champions Manchester City.

The England striker, though, could be willing to re-sign on one condition.

Paris Saint-Germain, JuventusReal Madrid and Barcelona have previously been linked with Kane.

 

ROUND-UP

Juventus could face competition from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for City forward Gabriel Jesus, reports Calciomercato. Juve are keen to bolster their attack following Cristiano Ronaldo's exit but face a battle should Robert Lewandowski leave Bayern. Lewandowski has been linked with the likes of City and Madrid.

- Fabrizio Romano claims United are planning to offer Luke Shaw a new contract at Old Trafford. However, United are prioritising new deals for Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.

Liverpool are among the contenders to sign Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, says 90min. Haaland has been linked with United, City, Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern, Juve and PSG but 90min claims Liverpool have held talks with his agent Mino Raiola.

Arguably England's best player in their last three knockout fixtures at Euro 2020, Luke Shaw reportedly struggled through games against Ukraine, Denmark and Italy with broken ribs.

The left-back was part of Gareth Southgate's side that suffered shoot-out heartbreak against Italy in the final, but it has become apparent that Shaw was playing through the pain for his country, after suffering a blow to his ribs against Germany in the last 16.

According to the Telegraph, Manchester United will now wait to assess the left-back, whose sole goal at the European Championship represented the fastest to be scored in a final since 1964, ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

The former Southampton academy product was in scintillating form throughout Euro 2020 as he recorded three assists in six games to add to his final strike past Gianluigi Donnarumma.

 

His three assists, two against Ukraine and one against Germany, could only be bettered by Switzerland's Steven Zuber (four).

The 26-year-old (10) created two more chances than any other player for England and, amongst the defenders at the tournament, only Spain's Jordi Alba (12) provided more opportunities.

Shaw was as testing down the left flank for United throughout the domestic season, too, as he created 72 chances. Bruno Fernandes (95) was the sole United player with more to his name.

The Red Devils must now wait for news of Shaw's fitness - potential another post-Euros blow for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Marcus Rashford underwent shoulder surgery.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the biggest omission as UEFA named the Euro 2020 Team of the Tournament.

Five players from competition winners Italy made the best XI announced on Tuesday, though there was no place for Golden Boot winner Ronaldo.

The Portugal forward scored five times, as did the Czech Republic's Patrik Schick, but Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku got the nod in a front three with Federico Chiesa and Raheem Sterling.

Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire were the other England representatives in the team.

But there was no place for fellow defender Luke Shaw, who scored in the final to cap a fine tournament, or his Manchester United team-mate Paul Pogba, one of the tournament's stars before France's elimination in the last 16.

Player of the tournament Gianluigi Donnarumma was joined by Italy quartet Leonardo Bonucci, Leonardo Spinazzola, Jorginho and Chiesa.

However, midfield star Marco Verratti missed out despite some influential performances in the knockout stages.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Pedri were the sole representatives for Denmark and Spain respectively, both teams having gone out in the semi-finals.

Lukaku also edged out Harry Kane, Karim Benzema and Emil Forsberg, who all ended up with the same goal tally (four) as the Inter forward.

 

The best players to miss out

Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer enjoyed an incredible tournament, saving a Kylian Mbappe penalty in his side's shoot-out win against France in the last 16.

He made a tournament-high 21 saves in total, 10 of those coming in the eventual defeat to Spain on penalties in the quarter-finals.

Denzel Dumfries saw his reputation enhanced during Euro 2020, even if the Netherlands were sent packing by the Czech Republic at the last-16 stage.

He became just the second ever Netherlands player, after Ruud van Nistelrooy, to score in his first two European Championship appearances, while also helping his side to a couple of clean sheets in his four outings.

Bonucci and Maguire earning selection meant their centre-back colleagues Giorgio Chiellini and John Stones narrowly missed out despite playing crucial roles.

England conceded just two goals all tournament, with only one of those coming in open play. A large part of that was down to ever-present defender Stones, who won 20 aerial challenges – the joint-second most of any defender in the competition, one behind Maguire.

Shaw was left out for England's opening game against Croatia, but the full-back soon made himself a consistent presence. He was even compared to the great Roberto Carlos after starring with two assists against Ukraine in the quarter-finals.

The Manchester United defender provided three assists in total and netted the fastest-ever goal in a European Championship final with his volley against Italy. Those four goal involvements were bettered only by Schick (five) and Ronaldo (six).

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Verratti was a major fitness doubt for the tournament and sat out Italy's first two matches, but made an emormous impact in the following five games.

Since his first game against Wales on June 20, all-rounder Verratti ranked first among all midfielders at Euro 2020 for chances created (14), passes completed (388), progressive carries (59), tackles (18) and recoveries of possession (37).

 

Pogba likely paid the price for his team's exit rather than his own displays. 

He scored a stunning goal against Switzerland after getting two assists in the 2-2 group-stage draw with Portugal, and his supreme link-up play with Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Benzema was among the highlights of the early weeks of the tournament.

Schick not only scored the joint-most goals, but he was responsible for surely the most memorable one of the lot - a 49.7-yard lob against Scotland, the furthest ever distance a goal has been scored at a European Championships.

The Bayer Leverkusen forward found the net in all but one of his side's games, with three of his goals coming from open play, compared to just two for Ronaldo.

Even though it was far from a vintage tournament for Ronaldo and dethroned champions Portugal, the Juventus superstar still claimed the Golden Boot accolade thanks to having one assist more than fellow five-goal forward Schick.

Ronaldo's 72 minutes per goal was the best return of any player to have played at least three times in the tournament. 

His haul also moved him level with Iran great Ali Daei as the all-time leading goalscorer in men's international football with 109, a record that he will get a chance to break later this year.

 

UEFA's Euro 2020 Team of the Tournament: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy); Kyle Walker (England), Leonardo Bonucci (Italy), Harry Maguire (England), Leonardo Spinazzola (Italy); Jorginho (Italy), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Denmark), Pedri (Spain); Federico Chiesa (Italy), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Raheem Sterling (England).

Italy ended their 53-year wait for a second European Championship crown with victory over England in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

Leonardo Bonucci cancelled out an early Luke Shaw goal to take the game to extra time and then penalties, which the Azzurri edged 3-2 to inflict heartbreak on hosts England.

Italy's triumph was deserved on the basis of the qualifying campaign and the tournament itself; Roberto Mancini's side have now gone 34 games unbeaten in all competitions.

England can also be proud of their run, and it is perhaps no surprise that the two finalists dominate Stats Perform's best XI of the tournament.

Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo is also included in our Opta data-driven side, along with players from Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

 

Goalkeeper: Yann Sommer (Switzerland)

Gianluigi Donnarumma may have been named UEFA's Player of the Tournament for his penalty shoot-out heroics against Spain and Italy, but Sommer gets the nod after enjoying an incredible tournament.

The Swiss goalkeeper saved a Kylian Mbappe penalty in his side's shoot-out win against France in the last 16 and made a tournament-high 21 saves in total, 10 of those coming in the eventual defeat to Spain on penalties in the quarter-finals.

 

Right-back: Denzel Dumfries (Netherlands)

Dumfries' reputation was certainly enhanced during Euro 2020, even if the Netherlands were sent packing by the Czech Republic at the last-16 stage.

He became just the second ever Netherlands player, after Ruud van Nistelrooy, to score in his first two European Championship appearances, while also helping his side to a couple of clean sheets in his four outings.

Centre-back: Leonardo Bonucci (Italy)

Juventus defender Bonucci was a rock at the heart of Italy's defence, particularly in the quarter-finals when frustrating Belgium's plethora of attackers.

No defender made more interceptions than the 34-year-old (12, level with Ukraine's Mykola Matvienko), and it was his bundled finish that drew his country level against England in the final.

Centre-back: John Stones (England)

England conceded just two goals all tournament, with only one of those coming in open play. A large part of that was down to ever-present defender Stones, who carried his club form with Manchester City onto the international stage.

Stones won 20 aerial challenges – the joint-second most of any defender in the competition, one behind Harry Maguire – and his 447 successful passes placed him behind only Jordi Alba (458) and club-mate Aymeric Laporte (644).

Left-back: Luke Shaw (England)

Shaw was left out for England's opening game against Croatia, but the full-back soon made himself a consistent presence. He was even compared to the great Roberto Carlos after starring with two assists against Ukraine in the quarter-finals.

The Manchester United defender provided three assists in total and netted the fastest-ever goal in a European Championship final with his volley against Italy. Those four goal involvements were bettered only by Patrik Schick (five) and Ronaldo (six).

 

Central midfield: Marco Verratti (Italy)

The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder was a major fitness doubt for the tournament and sat out Italy's first two matches, but boy did he make an impact in the following five games.

Since his first game against Wales on June 20, all-rounder Verratti ranked first among all midfielders at Euro 2020 for chances created (14), passes completed (388), progressive carries (59), tackles (18) and recoveries of possession (37).

Central midfield: Pedri (Spain)

A number of young players enjoyed a breakthrough tournament at this edition of the Euros, arguably none more so than Barcelona superstar in the making Pedri, who made more passes in the opposing half (348) than any other player at the Euros.

He became the second European player to start as many as five games at the age of 18 or below in major tournament history, after Northern Ireland's Norman Whiteside. Proving age is just a number, Pedri completed all 55 of his passes in regular time in the semi-final loss to Italy.

Right wing: Federico Chiesa (Italy)

Versatile wide player Chiesa was always going to be one to watch at the Euros, having stepped up on the big occasions for Juventus last season with goals in key matches, including their Coppa Italia triumph against Atalanta.

He scored Italy's extra-time opener in their last-16 win against Austria and put his side ahead against Spain in the semi-finals. He was not afraid to shoot – only three others did so on more occasions – and was arguably Italy's most dangerous player in the final.

Attacking midfield: Patrik Schick (Czech Republic)

Schick not only scored the joint-most goals, his five strikes putting him level with Ronaldo, but he was responsible for surely the most memorable one of the lot - a 49.7-yard lob against Scotland, the furthest ever distance a goal has been scored at a European Championships.

The Bayer Leverkusen forward found the net in all but one of his side's games, with three of his goals coming from open play, compared to just two for Golden Boot winner Ronaldo.

 

Left wing: Raheem Sterling (England)

England's run to the final would not have been possible if not for the fine form of Sterling, the Manchester City winger responsible for his side's first three goals in the competition.

That includes winning strikes against Croatia and the Czech Republic in the group stage, followed by the opener against Germany in the last 16, before assisting Kane's early goal against Ukraine. Even when not scoring he was a real threat, leading the way with 20 dribbles completed – four more than next player on the list in Frenkie de Jong.

Centre-forward: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Even though it was far from a vintage tournament for Ronaldo and dethroned champions Portugal, the Juventus superstar still claimed the Golden Boot accolade thanks to having one assist more than fellow five-goal forward Schick.

Ronaldo's 72 minutes per goal was the best return of any player to have played at least three times in the tournament. His haul also moved him level with Iran great Ali Daei as the all-time leading goalscorer in men's international football with 109, a record that he will get a chance to break later this year.

 

Italy were crowned European Championship winners for a second time after beating England 3-2 on penalties in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

The Azzurri fell behind to Luke Shaw's record-breaking strike inside two minutes, but Leonardo Bonucci hit back and the contest finished 1-1 at the end of 120 minutes.

Roberto Mancini's men held their nerve in London to stretch their unbeaten run to 34 matches and end their 53-year wait to lift the Henri Delaunay trophy – the longest-ever gap between championships in the tournament by a single nation, surpassing Spain's 44-year wait from 1964 to 2008. 

Only Germany (seven) have won more major titles among European sides than the six Italy have now managed, having also lifted the World Cup on four occasions.

On the back of another dramatic clash at Wembley, and the end of a thrilling tournament, Stats Perform looks at the key takeaways from Sunday's action.

Shaw gets England off to fast start

Shaw got on the end of a Kieran Trippier cross to volley England into the lead with one minute and 57 seconds on the clock, surpassing ​Chus Pereda for Spain against the Soviet Union in 1964 (05:04) as the fastest goal in a European Championship final.

That was the third goal scored in the opening two minutes at Euro 2020, which is as many as the previous 15 editions of the tournament combined.

Shaw's strike was also England's fastest ever in a Euros match, 17 seconds quicker than Alan Shearer's effort against Germany in 1996.

Bonucci inspires Italy comeback

England did not manage another attempt of any note until Harry Maguire headed off target in the 56th minute, by which time Italy had grabbed a foothold in the match.

Having trailed for 65 minutes at Wembley – compared to the 44 minutes they were behind in total during their previous 33 unbeaten matches – the Azzurri levelled up through Bonucci's close-range finish.

At the age of 34 years and 71 days, Bonucci is the oldest player ever to score in a Euros final, and the second-oldest ever for a European side at a major tournament after Nils Liedholm for Sweden against Brazil at the 1958 World Cup (35y 264d).

 

A familiar outcome at Wembley

With nothing to separate the sides in the remainder of normal time, this became the third major tournament final at Wembley  – along with the 1966 World Cup and Euro 96 – to go to extra-time.

Of England's last 10 major tournament games that went to extra-time before Sunday, eight went to a penalty shoot-out. So that proved for a ninth time in a row, with neither side showing enough quality to find a winner in the additional 30 minutes.

A dramatic shootout was eventually settled by Gianluigi Donnarumma keeping out Bukayo Saka's penalty, making Italy just the second side ever to win two shoot-outs at a single edition of the Euros, having also gone the distance against Spain in the semis.

England have now won just two of their nine major tournament penalty shoot-outs, the lowest ratio of any European nation to have been involved in three or more.

Penalties. It just had to be penalties.

Having grown immeasurably as a football manager and a statesmanlike public figure over recent years, Gareth Southgate might one day consider himself a specialist in exorcisms.

Demons have been slayed from 12 yards and now here are another legion of them to haunt poor Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka – the latter remarkably taking the first penalty of his career.

English football, 55 years of hurt and counting, allows these events to stick to the collective consciousness.

When England beat Colombia in a 2018 World Cup shoot-out, Southgate let out a guttural roar; a cathartic celebration to banish memories of his decisive miss against Germany in the semi-final of Euro 96.

Except they needed snuffing out all over again when Germany arrived back at Wembley in the last 16. Then there was all the tension of a Wembley semi-final against Denmark. England's demons arrive in Whac-A-Mole form.

But there was another more subtle and ever-lurking tormentor for Southgate's excellent team as they came agonisingly close to immortality.

 

Dream opening scripted by Southgate

The absence and then avalanche of pre-penalties substitutions brought understandable questions over Southgate's decision-making, but the opening to the match felt like Pinewood Studios transplanted across town – a perfectly scripted demonstration of a coach's every call coming up trumps.

Luke Shaw's quickest goal in any European Championship final gave emphatic answers to all of the pre-match quandaries over Southgate's tactical plan for Italy, effectively ticking off all the of the key plot points like a neatly crafted screenplay.

How was Harry Kane going to deal with the formidable central defensive duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci? Would he be effective dropping deep to occupy the Azzurri's slick midfield operators? Before the England captain's tournament took off with that late goal in the last-16 win over Germany, his lack of penalty area involvement became a source of concern and conjecture.

 

He came into his own half to receive a Shaw pass, turned smoothly into space and released Kieran Trippier – opening up the whole pitch and a field of dreams.

Yes, Trippier. The experienced Atletico Madrid defender was introduced in place of livewire Arsenal teenager Saka as Southgate reverted to a 3-4-3. Would that end up being an overly defensive note sounded by the manager, leaving Italy's centre-halves untroubled and undercooked left-back Emerson without examination?

Well, here were England flying at their opponents in the second minute. Kyle Walker, the right-sided centre-back, clattered past Shaw on the overlap like a freight train full of Gatorade. Trippier measured his cross to perfection.

But with this defensive formation and Kane as the deep-lying forward, paying an audacious tribute to his opponents by turning in a fabulous Francesco Totti impersonation throughout he first half, would England have enough players attacking balls into the box? Oh, there was Shaw, up from left wing-back and measuring a superb finish to spark pandemonium in the stands.

Azzurri's pass masters tame Three Lions

Two hours later, the mood music was sharply different as Southgate's men headed into extra time somewhat bedraggled.

Roberto Mancini's decision to remove Ciro Immobile after the centre-forward did 55 minutes of great work in the name of nominative determinism was key. With the electrifying Federico Chiesa leading an attack without a fixed focal point, Italy were a team transformed.

The Juventus forward sent a blistering left-footed drive just wide in a rare moment of first-half defiance from the Azzurri and he remained their main threat. Behind him, Jorginho and Marco Verratti were enjoying Wembley's green expanses amid wearying legs. During the first half, they looked more like tourists trying to shove their way through the impromptu pre-match revelry in Leicester Square.

 

Italy's equaliser came courtesy of the artisans rather than the artists – Chiellini manhandling John Stones at a corner and Bonucci on hand to scramble in the rebound after Jordan Pickford saved from Verratti's diving header.

Southgate changed shape after that leveller, introducing Saka for Trippier. Jordan Henderson followed in place of Declan Rice, whose influence had declined sharply along with that of Mason Mount.

Mancini's in-game intuition, honed through seasons of elite club management, proved more decisive in terms of changing a story told by a final pass count of 823-424 in Italy's favour. Before his thunderous penalty, Harry Maguire made the most England passes with 66. Five Italy players attempted more, with Verratti and Jorginho clocking 119 and 99 respectively.

As Italy's battery of playmakers shuffled into the ascendancy, Phil Foden's injury absence felt cruel for Southgate. For all the exciting talent in his squad, for all England's improvement in terms of game management and tactical flexibility, faced with a technically superior midfield there were problems beyond the footballing capabilities of the men in white.

It felt like Mount remained on the field too long, but Southgate does not have a Verratti or a Jorginho up his sleeve, however effective Rice and Kalvin Phillips have proved over the past month.

 

The world-leading academy system in England and the manner in which it feeds St George's Park suggests those players will come.

Imagine, even five years ago, an attacking midfielder such as Leicester City's James Maddison not being in the England squad because the likes of Jack Grealish, Foden and Mount already are. Talent will continue to bloom. Just think how good Jude Bellingham will be by Qatar 2022.

Midfielders to dictate alongside those who create are the next requirement if a team taking giant strides in the right direction are to make the final step towards glory and away from those gruesome trials by combat from 12 yards.

Gianluigi Donnarumma was Italy's hero as he saved from Bukayo Saka to clinch a 3-2 penalty shootout victory over England after a 1-1 draw in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley. 

Jordan Pickford saved two of Italy's spot-kicks, yet it was his counterpart who came up with the goods to clinch the Azzurri's second European Championship title. 

It was a night that started so well for England, with Luke Shaw scoring the quickest goal in a Euro final. 

Yet mounting Italy pressure told when Leonardo Bonucci scored midway through the second half, and after late substitutes Marcus Rashford hit the post and Jadon Sancho failed to beat Donnarumma in the shootout, Saka fell foul of Italy's goalkeeper as England suffered heartbreak on home soil.

England wing-back Luke Shaw scored the fastest goal in a European Championship final with his strike inside two minutes against Italy.

Shaw got on the end of a Kieran Trippier cross at the far post and thumped a volley past Gianluigi Donnarumma to give Gareth Southgate's side an early lead in Sunday's clash at Wembley.

The goal was Shaw's first for England on his 16th appearance and was timed at one minute and 57 seconds, surpassing the previous record held by Chus Pereda for Spain against the Soviet Union in 1964 (05:04)

It was also England's fastest goal in a European Championship match, 17 seconds quicker than Alan Shearer's effort against Germany in 1996.

Shaw has been a key player in the Three Lions' run to the final on home soil, having also assisted three goals prior to the Italy showdown. In fact, only Cristiano Ronaldo (six) and Patrik Schick (five) have been directly involved in more goals at Euro 2020 than Shaw.

 

Gareth Southgate and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are benefiting from Jose Mourinho's "hard-line" approach to managing Luke Shaw at Manchester United.

That is according to former England boss Steve McClaren, who believes the United full-back's strong recent form owes much to the lessons he learned under his former manager.

Shaw started just 17 Premier League games out of a possible 76 during Mourinho's two full seasons at Old Trafford and was a regular target for criticism from his boss throughout.

Disagreements between the pair have not subsided since the latter's departure from United, either, with his punditry during Euro 2020 prompting their most recent war of words.

However, McClaren is convinced that Shaw's improved performances for club and country over the past 12 months are a consequence of the tough love he received from Mourinho.

He told Stats Perform: "The key relationship is always the player and the manager. Whenever you move clubs, whenever you go to a new situation, internationals, whatever. 

"Maybe Shaw was in a moment also in his career where he needed Jose Mourinho’s management – maybe everybody's [previously] accepted [his behaviour]. 

"And maybe you come with a hard-line manager who won't accept this, won't accept that. And this player needs teaching and this player needs the hard line. 

"Unfortunately, you're the manager that suffers because of that. Because Shaw’s probably been through that and is a more mature, more professional, and a better player.

"Who's benefiting? The manager after, which is Ole and which is now Southgate with England. 

"So, it's a journey for a player and you always want a manager that likes you and loves you, plays you. 

"Sometimes you don't [have that] and that teaches you lessons that stay with you when you do come to a manager who does like [you], you love and you will play."

Shaw's recent renaissance at international level has come under the guidance of one of McClaren's former charges in Southgate.

This year, the England boss has backed up leading his country to a World Cup semi-final by helping them to the same stage of Euro 2020, prompting a nation to dream that glory could lie ahead.

And that success has come as no surprise to McClaren, who believes the Three Lions are being coached by a man who has always shown a knack for leadership and bringing people together.

He said: "I remember signing him as my first signing for Middlesbrough. [He was] an important signing and I wanted a captain, I wanted a leader in the dressing room, and I bought him for leadership. 

"He epitomised exactly what I wanted in the dressing room and on the field. One, he was a winner. He’d proven that at Aston Villa and England – he was a winner, he wanted to win. 

"Number two, he was so professional. And that's what I wanted. That was the main thing. Gareth always did the right thing every day: first in, then last away, fantastic professional. 

"And the third and most important thing was as a leader in the dressing room. He brought people together. We had a lot of foreign players, a lot of cliques in that dressing room at Middlesbrough. 

"And he would mix with them all. I always remember dinner times, lunch times, breakfast, whatever meetings we had, the cliques would always sit on one table and everyone would always sit on one side, which was fine. 

"But every meal-time Gareth used to flit from one table to the other. And he used to mix with everybody, he knew the importance of the squad, the team sticking together. 

"And that's what he's brought to England. The key thing for me is it's like England's like a club side in the present moment.

"I think being the Under-21 coach for that many years, he's had all these players, he knows them inside out. He's got a story with every one of them. 

"He knows the best ones, he knows the characters, knows what will gel, he's brought them into the England team, grown up with them really. And now they're like a club side. 

"And that's what's driving it for us."

Jose Mourinho has spoken highly of Luke Shaw's performances at Euro 2020 following his standout display in England's win over Ukraine.

The Manchester United left-back was voted as the Three Lions' man of the match in a fan poll after providing two assists in the 4-0 quarter-final victory in Rome.

Shaw appears to have cemented his place as Gareth Southgate's first-choice left-back at these finals, a fitting reward for an impressive season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at United.

The former Southampton man has enjoyed arguably the strongest 18 months of his career, a far cry from a difficult spell when Mourinho was in charge at Old Trafford, when the Portuguese would often single out Shaw for criticism.

Mourinho took aim at Shaw again after England's group-stage win over the Czech Republic, claiming his delivery from corners was "dramatically bad". That prompted a response from the player, who accused his old boss of having a "strange" personal agenda, adding: "Clearly, I'm in his head."

However, Mourinho appeared far more impressed with Shaw's display in the Italian capital on Saturday, saying the form of England's defenders means Southgate should resist any temptation to revert to a back three for the semi-final against Denmark.

 

"The question is, do England need to play with a back three like they did against Germany? My view is no," he told talkSPORT.

"The back four is really, really solid. Luke Shaw is playing better and better and better. Kyle Walker is having an amazing tournament.

"The two centre-backs are very solid and the back four with the amazing Euros that both central midfielders are doing is more than enough to control Denmark offensively. Then, you have four players to decide the creativity of the game. It is there that Gareth may have some doubts.

"Walker, [Harry] Maguire, [John] Stones and Shaw is clear. [Kalvin] Phillips and [Declan] Rice is clear. [Raheem] Sterling and [Harry] Kane is clear and there are two places that in my opinion are open and two positions where the options are different.

"[Jadon] Sancho played well, [Phil] Foden started the tournament, the same with [Mason] Mount, while [Jack] Grealish looks like he's not the favourite player of Gareth but, every minute he's on the pitch, he does well. There are lots of options for these two places.

"I believe playing at Wembley, England will be solid as always but you have to try and win the match as soon as they can and I don't believe that they need to play with a back three like they did against Germany."

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