Liverpool Defender Andrew Robertson Reveals How Gary Neville Helped Him Improve This Season

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Andrew Robertson has insisted that he had “no problem” with criticism from Gary Neville, but admits that comments from the Sky Sports pundit motivated him to improve during his first season at Liverpool.

After signing from Hull City in the summer, Robertson was not initially regarded as first choice by Jurgen Klopp and the Scot had made just seven appearances when featuring in the 3-3 draw with Arsenal in December.

Neville was left unimpressed with Robertson’s defensive contribution at the Emirates Stadium, but the full-back has since established himself in the Liverpool defence and has claimed that he was always confident of working his way into the starting lineup.

The 24-year-old told the Daily Mail: “Maybe he hadn’t seen me play enough. Maybe he just thought it’s a signing from Hull.

“I don’t know what his thought process was but it’s one man’s opinion. If he thought I wasn’t good enough, no problem, but these are the people I want to try to prove wrong. You want to make your fans and your family proud. But it’s the people who doubt you who motivate you more.

“I’m quite good at dealing with it. I was confident in my ability that if I could get a run of big games, I would build on it.”

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Liverpool Defender Andrew Robertson Reveals How Gary Neville Helped Him Improve This Season

Featured Image

Andrew Robertson has insisted that he had “no problem” with criticism from Gary Neville, but admits that comments from the Sky Sports pundit motivated him to improve during his first season at Liverpool.

After signing from Hull City in the summer, Robertson was not initially regarded as first choice by Jurgen Klopp and the Scot had made just seven appearances when featuring in the 3-3 draw with Arsenal in December.

Neville was left unimpressed with Robertson’s defensive contribution at the Emirates Stadium, but the full-back has since established himself in the Liverpool defence and has claimed that he was always confident of working his way into the starting lineup.

The 24-year-old told the Daily Mail: “Maybe he hadn’t seen me play enough. Maybe he just thought it’s a signing from Hull.

“I don’t know what his thought process was but it’s one man’s opinion. If he thought I wasn’t good enough, no problem, but these are the people I want to try to prove wrong. You want to make your fans and your family proud. But it’s the people who doubt you who motivate you more.

“I’m quite good at dealing with it. I was confident in my ability that if I could get a run of big games, I would build on it.”

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Liverpool Defender Andrew Robertson Reveals How Gary Neville Helped Him Improve This Season

Featured Image

Andrew Robertson has insisted that he had “no problem” with criticism from Gary Neville, but admits that comments from the Sky Sports pundit motivated him to improve during his first season at Liverpool.

After signing from Hull City in the summer, Robertson was not initially regarded as first choice by Jurgen Klopp and the Scot had made just seven appearances when featuring in the 3-3 draw with Arsenal in December.

Neville was left unimpressed with Robertson’s defensive contribution at the Emirates Stadium, but the full-back has since established himself in the Liverpool defence and has claimed that he was always confident of working his way into the starting lineup.

The 24-year-old told the Daily Mail: “Maybe he hadn’t seen me play enough. Maybe he just thought it’s a signing from Hull.

“I don’t know what his thought process was but it’s one man’s opinion. If he thought I wasn’t good enough, no problem, but these are the people I want to try to prove wrong. You want to make your fans and your family proud. But it’s the people who doubt you who motivate you more.

“I’m quite good at dealing with it. I was confident in my ability that if I could get a run of big games, I would build on it.”

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Theo Walcott Believes Cenk Tosun Is Now Showing ‘His Class’ At Everton

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Theo Walcott has claimed that his Everton teammate Cenk Tosun has started to ‘show his class’ for the club.

During the early weeks after his arrival from Besiktas, Cenk Tosun struggled to make an impact and was taken out of the first-team squad by manager Sam Allardyce.

However, Tosun has scored four goals in three games for the Toffees – including a double in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Stoke City – and Walcott has admitted that he is delighted with the impact of the Turkish striker.

The England international told Evertontc: “I put in a few good ones at Stoke and Cenk showed his class. We see it every day in training. It always takes time to get used to the Premier League and a different culture and to get to know your teammates.

“He has settled in really well. He is a great finisher and a great man, as well. I am really pleased for him.”

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Mikel Obi Likely To Miss Nigeria’s Friendly Match Vs Poland

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Super Eagles of Nigeria team administrator Dayo Enebi Achor has revealed why captain Mikel Obi may not be part of the side that will face Poland on Friday in an international friendly match in Wroclaw.

Mikel Obi is unlikely to make it to Wroclaw as he has been unable to renew his work permit in China, where he currently plays for Tianjin Teda.

According to Enebi Achor as at press time: “We all had been hoping that the renewal would come in good time for him to fly to Poland.

“As it is now, it is not likely that he would make the trip,” Achor told the NFF’s official website.

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Ryan Bertrand Withdraws From England Squad due To Back Injury

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Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand has withdrawn from the England squad due to a back problem and will play no part in the friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy.

Ryan Bertrand, who has 19 caps to his name, was vying with Danny Rose and Ashley Young to secure a role on the flanks in Gareth Southgate’s side ahead of the World Cup.

An FA statement confirmed: “There’s been an update to the Three Lions squad, with Ryan Bertrand returning to Southampton for further assessment on a back issue.

Bertrand’s withdrawal is a precautionary measure, but he won’t play in this month’s matches.”

Neither the FA nor Southampton confirmed the timescale for Bertrand’s recovery but he will be desperate to return in time for the Saints next club match, a relegation six-pointer at West Ham.

“It’s definitely a massive game,” said the former Chelsea defender. “You go there and relish the opportunity because if you come out of there with a result it leaves you in very good stead.”

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Burnley Goalkeeper Nick Pope Determined To Impress After Earning His First England Call-up

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Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope has admitted that he is determined to make an impression during his time with the England squad.

At the start of the season, Nick Pope was on the bench for the Clarets, but a long-term injury to Tom Heaton has resulted in the 25-year-old making 27 outings in the Premier League.

At a press conference, Pope told reporters: “If I wasn’t in this squad I would be an outsider for the World Cup at most. I have got to prove myself at this level.

“I’ve come here to enjoy it and show what I am about. In football, you have to be hungry and I am happy to be here.

“There has got to be one number one. Come the World Cup, there will be one goalkeeper who has that slot. There are eight games left of the Premier League season and it is every man for himself.”

A call-up to the England squad is the latest step on a remarkable odyssey for former Charlton goalkeeper Pope, who spent time on loan at Harrow Borough, Welling United and Aldershot Town in his formative years. However it is one the goalkeeper feels he thoroughly merits.

“I’ve played in some cold, dark leagues. It’s a level – this national team – that you think is too far away almost.

“I feel like I’ve put in some hard yards and proven myself at those levels to try and get to this level. I don’t think it’s a fluke to get called up to the England squad.”

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No Talks Ongoing With Liverpool For Roma Goalkeeper Alisson- Agent

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Agent Ze Maria Neis has said that no discussions have been held with Liverpool regarding the possible transfer of Roma goalkeeper Alisson.

Alisson is reportedly attracting interest from both the Premier League and La Liga, with Liverpool and Real Madrid both said to be keen on the 25-year-old.

However, Neis has suggested that no consideration is being given to any offers as Roma continue to compete for a top-three place in Serie A and look to progress past Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Neis told The Sun: “Alisson is certainly one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He loves Roma, 100%. Will he sign a new contract? Now he is focused only in Serie A and on the Champions League.

“We have a great relationship with Roma. We never spoke with Liverpool about him. Now Alisson only thinks in present time. I don’t know how much he will cost. It depends about Roma and the transfer market.”

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Roberto Baggio Backs Juventus To Defeat Real Madrid In The UEFA Champions League Quarter-final

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Italy legend Roberto Baggio believes that Juventus will beat Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

Baggio – who represented Juve between 1990 and 1995 – has predicted that Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain will make a pivotal contribution in what is a repeat of the 2017 final.

The 51-year-old Gazzetta dello Sport: “This season is great. Napoli are doing very well. I think Juventus are a little bit ahead with [Paulo] Dybala and [Gonzalo] Higuain.

“Let’s talk about two exceptional players. If you think Dybala is great, look at what Higuain did against Tottenham. Two crazy things. Even though Real Madrid will be a challenge, I believe that Juventus can compete with them.”

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Alvaro Morata Not Happy With Omission From Spain Squad- Marcos Alonso

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Marcos Alonso has revealed that his Chelsea teammate Alvaro Morata was disappointed with not being given a place in the latest Spain squad.

Alvaro Morata has scored just once for Chelsea since the start of 2018, with that goal coming during the Blues’ 2-1 victory over Leicester City in the FA Cup on Sunday.

However, it was not enough for Morata to be selected in the group to face Germany and Argentina, and Alonso has said that his compatriot was “not happy” with being left in West London.

At a press conference, the 27-year-old told reporters: “Alvaro wasn’t happy. He’s gone through a couple of difficult months because of a back problem. He’s at 100%, he got back to scoring the other day.

“I hope he helps us at the end of the season. He’s really important and I hope he’s at the World Cup.”

Marcos Alonso has a good chance of earning his first senior Spain cap in the next fortnight after being overlooked by Lopetegui despite his role in Chelsea’s title-winning team of 2017.

But the defender insisted he isn’t concerned with getting his first call-up to La Roja late, only on now getting to know his teammates and adapting to the team’s style of play.

“Whether it’s late or not, the important thing is that I’m here,” Alonso added. “I’m grateful. I tried not to think too much about it.

“My focus was on doing well at Chelsea and this was a welcome surprise. This is a reward for the work I’ve done in recent years. I was training when I found out. I went in the locker room and all of my team-mates congratulated me. I’m thrilled and looking forward to this experience.

“I’m very focused on the next two friendlies and on adapting to the team.

“I’m eager to train and to add to this squad. More than an exam, I see this as an opportunity. I think the coach knows me well from my time at Castilla.

“It’s a chance to prove myself and for me to adapt quickly to the side and hopefully, to return to the national team more times.”

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Soyinka And Nigeria’s Dinner With The Devil

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Soyinka And Nigeria’s Dinner With The Devil, By Reuben Abati

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Professor Wole Soyinka was keynote speaker at the maiden annual lecture of the Ripples Centre for Data and Investigative Journalism held in Lagos on March 15. Topic: “Rebuilding Trust In a Divided Nigeria: Can Nigeria Be Fixed?” The Nobel Laureate did not disappoint. His presentation titled “From Miyetti to Haiti: Notes from a Solidarity Visit” took us on a journey to Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Nigeria also, and other parts of the world, including the past and the present, raising questions along the line about the humanity of the average Nigerian – the leaders, the followers – his or her humanity or non-humanity, the possession of a sense of dignity, shame, decency, memory, common sense, or lack of it, in comparison with conditions elsewhere.

This piece was written by Reuben Abati. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

Whereas other countries, classified along with Nigeria by Donald Trump, the loud-mouthed, twitter-obsessed American president as “shithole countries” and who may well fall under the same category with us as developing countries, may claim the right to feel insulted, Professor Soyinka asked his audience whether with the established mentality of enslavement, patterns of alienation between power and society, the distorted relationships within our communities, the failure of governance and the gross idiocy/shamelessness of the political elite and the moral turpitude of the Nigerian, whether indeed the Nigerian has earned the right to feel insulted or not to be insulted.

Can any Nigerian really rise to full height and ask Trump to shut the hell up, coming from a country as we do, where the leaders would rather be elsewhere when the people suffer: “I am not even obliged to be here”, they would rather say. Ours is a country where in a conflict between murderous Fulani herdsmen and defenceless farmers, the government’s response is to take sides with the aggressor, rather than check impunity and ensure that justice is done. The Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, the umbrella organisation for Fulani cattle rearers actually, publicly admitted the title ‘Fulani herdsmen’, and so there is no point quibbling over that label, publicly stated as the right tag of identification by its very owners. Human lives invariably mean nothing to Nigerians. Our sensibilities have been inured by too much familiarity with tragedy.

Can Nigerians claim the right not to be insulted, living as they do in a country where mass murder, in fact, no longer means anything to political leaders – right after the slaughter of hundreds of persons or the abduction of young school girls, the leaders would rather troop to a wedding party. And when the main man manages to visit later, he gets a red carpet reception, and talks about sympathy. “Who needs sympathy?”, Soyinka asked. “What we are talking about is justice, evenhandedness, fairness”, the Nobel Laureate declared. These are obviously strange words to the constituted authorities of Nigeria. After all, one minister had the audacity to declare that whoever has been killed by Fulani herdsmen has himself or herself to blame, for planting a farm or a house or even daring to stand, wait or engage in anything at all, including the intake of oxygen, along the cattle route that Fulani ancestors had carved out of Nigeria. Soyinka wondered what such a cruel person is still doing in the corridors of power.

But of course, to further strengthen the climate of fear in the land, any form of opposition or criticism has been branded as “hate speech”. There is even a Bill to this effect before the National Assembly. The prescribed punishment is “death by hanging” – this at a time when the rest of the world is trying to move away from the death penalty. The Bill may never become law but it is a whip to be held above the head of the populace, to enslave, intimidate and frighten the people. And so on and so on, Soyinka delivered one blow after another, painting at the same time, pictures, with anecdotes, humour, and references to particular personalities in Nigerian history, notably his life-long sparring partner, President Olusegun Obasanjo whom he once confronted over his famous “I am not obliged to be here” remark only to be told: “Kampala ti e niyen.” Soyinka had warned at the beginning of his presentation that the moment for introspection and frankness had come and he wanted the audience to “look in the mirror”. He practically held up that mirror; what the audience saw or remembered about their country was ugly and disconcerting.

Professor Soyinka soon took his leave. I joined the director of the Centre to see off our esteemed guest. As he stepped out of the venue, he was surrounded by a group of reporters and admirers who wanted selfies. One of them asked him to provide a quick summary of his keynote address. I thought that was an odd question. Was the reporter not at the event upstairs, did he not just exit the hall with us? One lady pulled at the Nobel Laureate’s shirt, determined to gain his attention.

“Yes, Prof. you have described everything happening in the country but what is the way forward?”

“Way forward?”, Soyinka asked

“Yes. Way forward? What is your solution?”, she persisted

“Way forward”, the Nobel Laureate repeated as if he wasn’t too sure. Then he answered: “Way forward? Just keep walking, you’ll find the way.”

I was pleased with that sarcastic response. It was obvious the reporter did not understand the presentation. Or may be she was fishing for a headline, or a tailor-made sound-bite. This is also a national predilection. Nigerians are very good at over-simplifying everything. They like slogans, sound-bites, the same way they crave short-cuts even in matters that require the minimal use of the brain. Reporters these days are in a class of their own. When they invite you for an interview, don’t be surprised if they ask you for example: “Can we meet you?” How? If you didn’t know who I am, why invite me for an interview?

The debate that followed at the event was of a different tenor, drawing heavily on the energy and excitement Professor Soyinka had infused the audience with. A panel of three led the discussions. Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi reviewed the crisis of governance in Nigeria and spoke about national unity and the urgent need for restructuring. Professor Pat Utomi, represented by Mr. Rasheed Adegbenro spoke about values in leadership, and offered a five-point plan including civic engagement, value re-orientation, civic participation, education, and a more positive role to be played by the Nigerian media. Mr. Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State focused on the failure of governance as the cumulative effect of years of neglect and omissions, the greed and indiscipline of the political elite and the bad politics that Nigerians play, relying largely on his own experience as governor.

Professor Soyinka had spoken for less than one hour, but the discussions went on for about three hours. Everyone had something to say. The event had mostly young people in attendance. As Nigeria enters yet another election season, most young Nigerians –many of whom have just attained the age of franchise since the last election, and frustrated by the travails of their country, insist that they are determined to fix Nigeria.

It is not for nothing that more than 25 young Nigerians within the age bracket of 35 to 45, even when the age of qualification for the Nigerian presidency is 40, want to be president in 2019. They include the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, motivational speaker Fela Durotoye Adamu Garba, Ahmed Buhari, and so many others. The urgency of this task was obvious in the tone of the discussions. When Peter Obi urged that Nigerians should simply “take back their country”, more so as the line between governance and comedy had become blurred, and that it is not really a matter of age, but capacity, because many young people are in government already and have been part of the rot since the First Republic, the audience was ecstatic.

It was time to close the programme with Peter Obi responding to the last set of questions. But one young man wouldn’t have that. He suddenly jumped atop his seat, and raised his hand, towering above everyone and screaming that he must have a say or the programme would not end. Earlier, there had been actual struggle for the microphone, but this particular young man insisted he had found the solution to all of Nigeria’s problems. We had to allow him provide his earth-shaking, cure-all, solution. He ended up merely repeating what had already been said.

But can we really fix Nigeria? The consensus was that this is indeed possible. How? Look in the mirror and reflect. Education. Values reorientation. Leadership recruitment. Restructuring. Civic engagement. Media activism. Take back our country! What of the people factor? Are we going to import a new set of Nigerians and value system after restructuring? Professor Soyinka had prefaced his keynote address with the presentation – what he called the informal launch – of his latest book titled The Road Map of a Nation: A Narrative of the First African Road Safety Corps (Ibadan: Bookcraft, 2018, 203 pp). Like a teacher recommending further reading for his students, he had asked us to read the book, copies of which were on display at the venue. Being an obedient student, I complied. The preface to the book: “Table Manners for Dining with the Devil” is an excerpt from Soyinka’s You Must Set Forth At Dawn, there is an appendix titled “The Pyrates” – a commentary on the confraternity which Soyinka founded in 1953, but essentially the book tells the story of Nigeria’s Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), how it began, the challenges faced by the founder and his team of volunteers, the attempt by many forces including internal saboteurs, homicidal figures masquerading as drivers, suicidal passengers, koboko and sword-wielding soldiers, military leaders, Nigerian big men and corrupt elements who tried everything possible to frustrate the vision of the Road Safety Corps, from Oyo state to the national stage. This is a book to be read by all officers of the FRSC and the general reader as well. The FRSC is part of Soyinka’s legacy to Nigeria, his own way of giving back, and here he documents that legacy, and the pains of bringing it to fruition.

There are echoes in this narrative, of previous writings: The RoadFrom Zia with LoveA Play of GiantsOpera Wonyosi, and the recent A Personal Odyssey in The Republic of Liars (2005), making the book much more than a narrative on the FRSC but a further interrogation of the environment called Nigeria and particularly of the Nigerian character. Is there something that can be called a Nigerian character? The setting for this interrogation is the road: the same road that lies famished, claiming lives due to reckless driving, robbing people of their lives prematurely, turning teachers at the time Soyinka was teaching at the then University of Ife, into perpetual mourners and the entire community an arena for endless mourning and condolences. In the mid-70s, Soyinka had drawn up a blueprint for a Road Safety intervention, a volunteer, self-policing initiative which stepped in, to fill the vacuum created by a military and a police force that didn’t care about death on the roads or the odoriferous pile of cadavers that littered them.

But here is where the character issue begins: trying to make any difference in Nigeria is like having a dinner with the devil and to make any difference at all would require special table manners. The Nigerian environment is a sorry theatre of struggle and violence – physical, social and psychological between the forces of good and evil. Governments, the military, the police, and similar institutions, designed for public good have over the years signed up in the corner of the devil, with the oil boom and petro-dollar imposing a level of greed that makes a grab, steal and destroy mentality the new morality. The people themselves, glad to have access to part of the oil largesse, simply assume government would take care of morality.

The road map of Nigeria covered in this book is about the failure of government, institutions and even more so of individuals. A Third Force seeking to make a difference, starting with the roads, soon found itself attacked by the same persons whose lives it sought to save. Wole Soyinka tells the story in a way only he can. His table manner is to deal with the Nigerian pathology by preaching about it, teaching about it, offering advice, intervening where necessary and withdrawing when necessary, guided in all cases by the public good. He sees nothing wrong in direct intervention and in wielding the cudgel to crack the heads of agents of impunity no matter how highly placed.

This dinner with the devil in Nigeria is now in a worse shape: no longer a regular dinner, but a banquet! The forces of evil have seized the nation’s throat. But Soyinka can draw consolation from this: there are still a few good men in our community who are prepared to stand up to evil, even if their table manners may be notably different.

Reuben Abati, a former presidential spokesperson, writes from Lagos.

This piece was written by Reuben Abati. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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Soyinka And Nigeria’s Dinner With The Devil

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Soyinka And Nigeria’s Dinner With The Devil, By Reuben Abati

CLICK here to read more opinion articles

Professor Wole Soyinka was keynote speaker at the maiden annual lecture of the Ripples Centre for Data and Investigative Journalism held in Lagos on March 15. Topic: “Rebuilding Trust In a Divided Nigeria: Can Nigeria Be Fixed?” The Nobel Laureate did not disappoint. His presentation titled “From Miyetti to Haiti: Notes from a Solidarity Visit” took us on a journey to Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Nigeria also, and other parts of the world, including the past and the present, raising questions along the line about the humanity of the average Nigerian – the leaders, the followers – his or her humanity or non-humanity, the possession of a sense of dignity, shame, decency, memory, common sense, or lack of it, in comparison with conditions elsewhere.

This piece was written by Reuben Abati. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

Whereas other countries, classified along with Nigeria by Donald Trump, the loud-mouthed, twitter-obsessed American president as “shithole countries” and who may well fall under the same category with us as developing countries, may claim the right to feel insulted, Professor Soyinka asked his audience whether with the established mentality of enslavement, patterns of alienation between power and society, the distorted relationships within our communities, the failure of governance and the gross idiocy/shamelessness of the political elite and the moral turpitude of the Nigerian, whether indeed the Nigerian has earned the right to feel insulted or not to be insulted.

Can any Nigerian really rise to full height and ask Trump to shut the hell up, coming from a country as we do, where the leaders would rather be elsewhere when the people suffer: “I am not even obliged to be here”, they would rather say. Ours is a country where in a conflict between murderous Fulani herdsmen and defenceless farmers, the government’s response is to take sides with the aggressor, rather than check impunity and ensure that justice is done. The Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, the umbrella organisation for Fulani cattle rearers actually, publicly admitted the title ‘Fulani herdsmen’, and so there is no point quibbling over that label, publicly stated as the right tag of identification by its very owners. Human lives invariably mean nothing to Nigerians. Our sensibilities have been inured by too much familiarity with tragedy.

Can Nigerians claim the right not to be insulted, living as they do in a country where mass murder, in fact, no longer means anything to political leaders – right after the slaughter of hundreds of persons or the abduction of young school girls, the leaders would rather troop to a wedding party. And when the main man manages to visit later, he gets a red carpet reception, and talks about sympathy. “Who needs sympathy?”, Soyinka asked. “What we are talking about is justice, evenhandedness, fairness”, the Nobel Laureate declared. These are obviously strange words to the constituted authorities of Nigeria. After all, one minister had the audacity to declare that whoever has been killed by Fulani herdsmen has himself or herself to blame, for planting a farm or a house or even daring to stand, wait or engage in anything at all, including the intake of oxygen, along the cattle route that Fulani ancestors had carved out of Nigeria. Soyinka wondered what such a cruel person is still doing in the corridors of power.

But of course, to further strengthen the climate of fear in the land, any form of opposition or criticism has been branded as “hate speech”. There is even a Bill to this effect before the National Assembly. The prescribed punishment is “death by hanging” – this at a time when the rest of the world is trying to move away from the death penalty. The Bill may never become law but it is a whip to be held above the head of the populace, to enslave, intimidate and frighten the people. And so on and so on, Soyinka delivered one blow after another, painting at the same time, pictures, with anecdotes, humour, and references to particular personalities in Nigerian history, notably his life-long sparring partner, President Olusegun Obasanjo whom he once confronted over his famous “I am not obliged to be here” remark only to be told: “Kampala ti e niyen.” Soyinka had warned at the beginning of his presentation that the moment for introspection and frankness had come and he wanted the audience to “look in the mirror”. He practically held up that mirror; what the audience saw or remembered about their country was ugly and disconcerting.

Professor Soyinka soon took his leave. I joined the director of the Centre to see off our esteemed guest. As he stepped out of the venue, he was surrounded by a group of reporters and admirers who wanted selfies. One of them asked him to provide a quick summary of his keynote address. I thought that was an odd question. Was the reporter not at the event upstairs, did he not just exit the hall with us? One lady pulled at the Nobel Laureate’s shirt, determined to gain his attention.

“Yes, Prof. you have described everything happening in the country but what is the way forward?”

“Way forward?”, Soyinka asked

“Yes. Way forward? What is your solution?”, she persisted

“Way forward”, the Nobel Laureate repeated as if he wasn’t too sure. Then he answered: “Way forward? Just keep walking, you’ll find the way.”

I was pleased with that sarcastic response. It was obvious the reporter did not understand the presentation. Or may be she was fishing for a headline, or a tailor-made sound-bite. This is also a national predilection. Nigerians are very good at over-simplifying everything. They like slogans, sound-bites, the same way they crave short-cuts even in matters that require the minimal use of the brain. Reporters these days are in a class of their own. When they invite you for an interview, don’t be surprised if they ask you for example: “Can we meet you?” How? If you didn’t know who I am, why invite me for an interview?

The debate that followed at the event was of a different tenor, drawing heavily on the energy and excitement Professor Soyinka had infused the audience with. A panel of three led the discussions. Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi reviewed the crisis of governance in Nigeria and spoke about national unity and the urgent need for restructuring. Professor Pat Utomi, represented by Mr. Rasheed Adegbenro spoke about values in leadership, and offered a five-point plan including civic engagement, value re-orientation, civic participation, education, and a more positive role to be played by the Nigerian media. Mr. Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State focused on the failure of governance as the cumulative effect of years of neglect and omissions, the greed and indiscipline of the political elite and the bad politics that Nigerians play, relying largely on his own experience as governor.

Professor Soyinka had spoken for less than one hour, but the discussions went on for about three hours. Everyone had something to say. The event had mostly young people in attendance. As Nigeria enters yet another election season, most young Nigerians –many of whom have just attained the age of franchise since the last election, and frustrated by the travails of their country, insist that they are determined to fix Nigeria.

It is not for nothing that more than 25 young Nigerians within the age bracket of 35 to 45, even when the age of qualification for the Nigerian presidency is 40, want to be president in 2019. They include the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, motivational speaker Fela Durotoye Adamu Garba, Ahmed Buhari, and so many others. The urgency of this task was obvious in the tone of the discussions. When Peter Obi urged that Nigerians should simply “take back their country”, more so as the line between governance and comedy had become blurred, and that it is not really a matter of age, but capacity, because many young people are in government already and have been part of the rot since the First Republic, the audience was ecstatic.

It was time to close the programme with Peter Obi responding to the last set of questions. But one young man wouldn’t have that. He suddenly jumped atop his seat, and raised his hand, towering above everyone and screaming that he must have a say or the programme would not end. Earlier, there had been actual struggle for the microphone, but this particular young man insisted he had found the solution to all of Nigeria’s problems. We had to allow him provide his earth-shaking, cure-all, solution. He ended up merely repeating what had already been said.

But can we really fix Nigeria? The consensus was that this is indeed possible. How? Look in the mirror and reflect. Education. Values reorientation. Leadership recruitment. Restructuring. Civic engagement. Media activism. Take back our country! What of the people factor? Are we going to import a new set of Nigerians and value system after restructuring? Professor Soyinka had prefaced his keynote address with the presentation – what he called the informal launch – of his latest book titled The Road Map of a Nation: A Narrative of the First African Road Safety Corps (Ibadan: Bookcraft, 2018, 203 pp). Like a teacher recommending further reading for his students, he had asked us to read the book, copies of which were on display at the venue. Being an obedient student, I complied. The preface to the book: “Table Manners for Dining with the Devil” is an excerpt from Soyinka’s You Must Set Forth At Dawn, there is an appendix titled “The Pyrates” – a commentary on the confraternity which Soyinka founded in 1953, but essentially the book tells the story of Nigeria’s Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), how it began, the challenges faced by the founder and his team of volunteers, the attempt by many forces including internal saboteurs, homicidal figures masquerading as drivers, suicidal passengers, koboko and sword-wielding soldiers, military leaders, Nigerian big men and corrupt elements who tried everything possible to frustrate the vision of the Road Safety Corps, from Oyo state to the national stage. This is a book to be read by all officers of the FRSC and the general reader as well. The FRSC is part of Soyinka’s legacy to Nigeria, his own way of giving back, and here he documents that legacy, and the pains of bringing it to fruition.

There are echoes in this narrative, of previous writings: The RoadFrom Zia with LoveA Play of GiantsOpera Wonyosi, and the recent A Personal Odyssey in The Republic of Liars (2005), making the book much more than a narrative on the FRSC but a further interrogation of the environment called Nigeria and particularly of the Nigerian character. Is there something that can be called a Nigerian character? The setting for this interrogation is the road: the same road that lies famished, claiming lives due to reckless driving, robbing people of their lives prematurely, turning teachers at the time Soyinka was teaching at the then University of Ife, into perpetual mourners and the entire community an arena for endless mourning and condolences. In the mid-70s, Soyinka had drawn up a blueprint for a Road Safety intervention, a volunteer, self-policing initiative which stepped in, to fill the vacuum created by a military and a police force that didn’t care about death on the roads or the odoriferous pile of cadavers that littered them.

But here is where the character issue begins: trying to make any difference in Nigeria is like having a dinner with the devil and to make any difference at all would require special table manners. The Nigerian environment is a sorry theatre of struggle and violence – physical, social and psychological between the forces of good and evil. Governments, the military, the police, and similar institutions, designed for public good have over the years signed up in the corner of the devil, with the oil boom and petro-dollar imposing a level of greed that makes a grab, steal and destroy mentality the new morality. The people themselves, glad to have access to part of the oil largesse, simply assume government would take care of morality.

The road map of Nigeria covered in this book is about the failure of government, institutions and even more so of individuals. A Third Force seeking to make a difference, starting with the roads, soon found itself attacked by the same persons whose lives it sought to save. Wole Soyinka tells the story in a way only he can. His table manner is to deal with the Nigerian pathology by preaching about it, teaching about it, offering advice, intervening where necessary and withdrawing when necessary, guided in all cases by the public good. He sees nothing wrong in direct intervention and in wielding the cudgel to crack the heads of agents of impunity no matter how highly placed.

This dinner with the devil in Nigeria is now in a worse shape: no longer a regular dinner, but a banquet! The forces of evil have seized the nation’s throat. But Soyinka can draw consolation from this: there are still a few good men in our community who are prepared to stand up to evil, even if their table manners may be notably different.

Reuben Abati, a former presidential spokesperson, writes from Lagos.

This piece was written by Reuben Abati. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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M.I Abaga Reveals List Of His Top 5 African Rappers

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Ace Nigerian Rapper, M.I Abaga has recently dished out his list of his top 5 African rappers of all time and 5 of his top African rappers at the moment.

In response to a question asked by one of his fans on Twitter, Mr. Incredible named Mode 9, Proverbs (of South Africa), Jesse Jaggz, Freestyle and Ghost as his all-time greatest African rappers.

However, his list of 5 hottest African rappers right now include; Nasty C, Cassper Nyovest, Poe (of Mavin Records), Ghost and Khaligraph Jones (of Kenya).

Meanwhile, it’s quite surprising that lots of talented Nigerian rappers didn’t make the list.

See tweets below:-

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“Only Fela Kuti Does Afrobeat As Far As I’m Concerned” – Burna Boy

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Afro-Fusion star singer, Burna Boy made known his view about the common use of Afrobeat in Nigeria. During an interview on Radar Radio, the singer negates popular opinion about afro-beat when he said, only FELA does Afrobeat.

The term ‘Afrobeat’ is a commonly used term in the current Nigerian music scene.

According to Dennis Peter, a Nigerian music journalist in his article about music activism in Afrobeat, stated that “Afrobeats simply lumps every contemporary genre of music being made in Africa into a giant blob.”

Meanwhile, several artistes have described their kind of music genre as Afrobeat but Burna Boy has come out with a contrary opinion.

During the interview with Radar Radio, where he was referred to as the “King of Afrobeat”, Burna Boy corrected the journalist by stating that he makes Afrofusion music and not Afrobeat.

He stated that only FELA Kuti does Afrobeat as far as he is concerned, even though a lot of other Nigerian artistes would like to be seen as Afrobeat singers.

Watch video below:-

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#BBNaija 2018 Day 50: Housemates Engage In A Lumapil Malaria Awareness Task

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The night of day 50 in the #bbnaija house was a pretty eventful one for the Housemates, as they first Wagered 75%, of their BB earnings and then went straight into the Fake Nominations, followed by the Lumapil Forte Task.

After being separated into three teams, the #bbnaija Housemates were required to formulate presentations about Malaria and the major effect it has throughout Africa.

Team A consisted of Tobi, Lolu and BamBam. Team B was Rico, Alex and HoH Miracle and Team C saw Teddy A, Nina and Cee-C. The team pairings presented an interesting dynamic, especially after the fake Nominations where a lot of true feelings were revealed.

There was a definitive difference in each of the presentations, it was quite obvioua that Team A lacked a bit of chemistry as their presentation was extremely formal and stiff. Team B showed a lot more flair with Rico being his usual funny self and Alex beaming with positivity at the podium.

Finally Team C brought a healthy dose of drama with Teddy A playing a doctor and Cee-C and Nina performing a medical re-enactment. They poked fun at Miracle and Nina’s relationship in the #bbnaija House and even though they got a few facts wrong, it was still a good laugh.

The #bbnaija Housemates appear to be fully in the game now and have learned that they need to make the most of their Tasks not only because they can win big but also because they cannot mess with Biggie.

After Tobi got two Strikes on day 49 and Anto’s Eviction still fresh in their minds, all the #bbnaija Housemates know now that they need to play the game with everything they’ve got.

This was evident in their effort tonight and the last few Tasks before this. It will be interesting to see how the dynamic shifts when two of the Evicted Housemates get to return to the #bbnaija House.

Which Team do you think will win tonight’s Lumapil presentation?

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“I Was Once A Poor Boy” – B-Red Declares, Fans React

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Nigerian Singer and son of Senator Ademola Adeleke, B-Red took to his twitter account to reveal that he used to be a very poor boy to the extent that he couldn’t boast of common N1,000 in his pocket.

His tweet reads:

With knowledge of the fact that he is from a wealthy family, fans have disagreed with B-Red’s claim. See reactions below;

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#BBNaija 2018 Day 50: Anto’s Departure Affects Lolu

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There is no denying the fact that Lolu and Anto shared a special bond, they were like partners in crime who were known and feared for their formidable mind power and highly cerebral perspectives in the #bbnaija house.

Early in the morning of day 50 saw Lolu admitting that his bed suddenly felt too big and empty in the #bbnaija house.

After the workout and the breakfast, Lolu and Bambam sat at the dining table for what turned out to be quite an intriguing conversation. Lolu said that he felt he and Bambam understood each other even though they had rarely spoken.

He added that their fellow #bbnaija housemates always expected a reaction from them, and tended to feel that both Bambam and he were fake because they felt they had a ‘water knows no enemy’ attitude.

In an unusually candid mood, Bambam said that she felt like an ATM machine, always expected to give back what she gets, while she didn’t feel that she needed to react all of the time to every single jab, joke or juice.

Lolu patiently listened and deeply analysed her, while he nodded in agreement for he also shared the same trait. Bambam believed that people should just mind their own business and not meddle into others’ lives. For Bambam, the only #bbnaija Housemates she owed an allegiance to were Teddy A and Rico Swavey, and she said she didn’t care what others thought of her.

However Bambam added that she had to confront Alex about her comments made during the previous day live Eviction show. Lolu then advised her to come out of her shell, and show more of herself as much as she may want to use the ATM analogy.

Bambam appeared to take great comfort in Lolu’s words and admitted she hadn’t come with a strategy and was only taking every day as it comes. Lolu cheered her up that he never thought she was fake but felt she could have acted differently in certain situations.

While it seems like Lolu strategically sweet-talked Bambam, as a way of stopping her from nominating him, there is a chance that he was also sincere with his chat.

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Football Papers: All The Latest Football News And Transfer Gossips This Evening

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LONDON EVENING STANDARD
Manchester United are keeping tabs on Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin with a view to a possible summer move.
Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has appeared to confirm he has no interest in leaving Stamford Bridge this summer. Paris Saint-Germain have made the signing of Kante one of their main targets when the transfer window reopens.
Tottenham will consider selling Toby Alderweireld in the summer, but he has no firm offers on the table. The club would prefer to sell him to an overseas club rather than a rival and hope PSG will make a bid.

MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS
Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford is a transfer target for Real Madrid, according to reports.
Anthony Martial’s agent has not guaranteed that the attacker will be at Old Trafford next season following speculation about his future.
Emre Can has no regrets over leaving Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich as the Liverpool midfielder prepares to meet his old boss again.

LIVERPOOL ECHO
Liverpool have an interest in Leicester midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, according to reports.

NEWCASTLE CHRONICLE
Newcastle midfielder Mackenzie Heaney is set to leave St James’ Park at the end of the season.

SUNDERLAND ECHO
Sunderland’s Championship rivals Bolton Wanderers are taking a close look at midfielder Chris Allan.

BIRMINGHAM MAIL
Former West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis is reportedly plotting a Hawthorns raid to take influential duo Chris Brunt and James Morrison to Middlesbrough.
Diogo Goncalves, the player who Wolverhampton Wanderers came close to signing in the summer, is being linked with a move to England again – this time to Leeds United.

EXPRESS & STAR
Aston Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia is poised to step up his recovery from long-term injury by appearing in a behind-closed-doors friendly.

LEICESTER MERCURY
Ian Burchall, who coached Basel winger Mohamed Elyounoussi while working as former City striker Brian Deane’s assistant at Sarpsborg, has confirmed Leicester interest in the Norwegian international.

NOTTINGHAM POST
Tim Erlandsson is targeting promotion with new club Salford City, after joining the non-league outfit on loan from Nottingham Forest.

HULL DAILY MAIL
Hull City goalkeeper Allan McGregor has admitted he could be tempted in a return to Scotland in the summer to continue his playing career.

THE PINK UN
Angus Gunn is on Scotland’s international radar – and former Norwich City coach Peter Grant is ready to use his Carrow Road connections to try and entice him.

READING POST
Jaap Stam insists he has no intention of quitting Reading.

BOURNEMOUTH ECHO
Lewis Cook insisted he would not be overawed by facing the Netherlands – despite admitting a senior England cap had been a lifelong dream.

WATFORD OBSERVER
Watford are reportedly among a number of Premier League teams looking to sign Fulham captain Tom Cairney this summer.
Sebastian Prodl has spoken of the love he feels for Watford and their supportive fan base.

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Juventus Looking To Sign Cologne Defender Jonas Hector

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Juventus have lined up Germany international Jonas Hector as a replacement for one-time Chelsea target Alex Sandro, according to sources in Italy.

Juve are expecting to lose Alex Sandro, who is attracting interest from PSG, this summer.

However, they are already working on bringing in another left-back, with Tuttosport and Sport Mediaset reporting that Cologne’s Hector is their main target.

If Cologne are relegated from the Bundesliga, Jonas Hector could cost as little as €8m.

Juventus are believed to be extremely keen on Hector who is expected to be a vital member of Joachim Low’s World Cup squad this summer.

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Naby Keita Forced To Withdraw From International Duty With Guinea Due To Injury

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RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita has pulled out of the Guinea squad with a lower back injury and the flu.

Naby Keita was substituted 68 minutes into RB Leipzig’s 2-1 win over Bayern Munich on Sunday.

The midfielder put in a man-of-the-match performance as Leipzig inflicted a first defeat on Bayern after they went unbeaten for 18 consecutive games.

He cancelled out Sandro Wagner’s lead and set up Timo Werner for the deciding goal before being withdrawn.

Leipzig, who shared an update on Keita’s fitness on their website, said he would miss the friendly against Mauritania on Saturday but did not say how long he will be sidelined.

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Doctors Suspend 72-Day-Old Strike In Kogi

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Doctors under the auspices of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Kogi chapter, have suspended their 72-day old strike to enable further negotiations with the state government.

The chairman of the chapter, Godwin Tijani, said this on Tuesday in a statement after an Emergency Congress Meeting of the association in Lokoja.

He said the suspension was to honour the NMA National President, Mike Ogirima, who appealed to the congress to suspend the strike, to further dialogue with the state government.

Mr. Tijani also said that the congress decided to suspend the strike due to the plea from the general public, coupled with the love the doctors had for the patients.

“All doctors working with Kogi Government are hereby directed to resume work as from Thursday, March 22.

“The congress also expected the state government to pay the arrears of salary owed its doctors within the next one month and address other issues that resulted in the strike, to avoid another round of strike.

“The congress warned against any form of victimisation of any member of the association that participated in the strike as such action will be resisted by NMA,” Tijani said.

‘’The association, however, commended ‘’the medical elders’’, CMD KSSH, CMD HMB, Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Matters, Dr Attah Ahmed.

‘’We also praise the Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Audu, all for their role to ensure amicable resolution of the crisis.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NMA on January 7, directed its members in all the state hospitals to embark on strike due inability of the state government to meet their demands.

 The demands include: “Irregularities in salary payment for doctors. 10 doctors owed salary ranging from four to 15 months, gross underpayment of salaries to doctors with some receiving as low as N35, 000 per month.

“Non-promotion and annual step increment for several years, non-implementation of Revised CONMESS, 60 per cent payment of August to December 2017 salary to doctors while implementing 100 per cent tax deduction from the same salary.

“Retirement of senior doctors yet to attain the statutory age or year of retirement, implementation of ‘No-work-No-Pay’ policy in the ongoing strike by not paying doctors January 2018 salary.”

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Andreas Christensen Reveals How Chelsea Legend John Terry Helped Him With His Form

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Andreas Christensen says he sought out former Chelsea captain John Terry to help address concerns over his form.

The 21-year-old centre-back has broken into the first team at Stamford Bridge this season, making 36 appearances in all competitions, but has made costly errors in recent weeks.

Andreas Christensen admitted to mistakes leading to goals in key games against Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City, and says he asked Terry – now captain at Aston Villa – for advice.

He told Eurosport: “My team-mates have seen all my other performances, so they know these mistakes aren’t typical for me. I had a smaller talk with John Terry – he has also experienced setbacks, and it is always nice to talk to someone watching it from the outside and to learn they have experienced the same.

“He told me it is natural to make mistakes and he tried to put it in perspective for me, saying we can’t change a goal scored against us, so when we make mistakes it is more crucial and it is easy for people to point fingers. I have realised it, looked at it and now I have moved on.”

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Jose Mourinho Is Destroying Luke Shaw- Matt Le Tissier

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Matt Le Tissier believes Jose Mourinho is “destroying” Luke Shaw and a summer exit from Manchester United looks inevitable for the left-back.

Mourinho hauled the 22-year-old off at half-time in Saturday’s FA Cup win over Brighton and, not for the first time this season, publicly criticised some of his players’ personality after the 2-0 victory.

Le Tissier suggests Mourinho might be bitter because Luke Shaw chose to join United rather than his Chelsea side back in 2014, when he departed Southampton for a then world-record fee, in excess of £30m, for a teenager.

Le Tissier told Sky Sports: “I think if Mourinho is still there then it is inevitable Shaw will leave this summer. I have no idea what he is trying to achieve. There is just a really strange relationship going on there and I don’t understand what he’s doing because he’s just destroying the player at the moment.

“I’m not sure if it was anything to do with him choosing Manchester United over Chelsea despite being a Chelsea fan when Mourinho was manager at the time. You also don’t know what happens at training or how he lives his life to give an accurate assessment but, while there are players that this sort of approach can work with, I just don’t think Shaw is one of them.”

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AC Milan Interested In Signing Torino Striker Andrea Belotti

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AC Milan missed out on Torino striker Andrea Belotti last summer but are primed and ready to make another attempt to bring ‘the rooster’ to the San Siro when the season ends, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Coach Gennaro Gattuso has won over people at the club and will be rewarded with a new, long-term deal. His first bit of summer business will be to replace Nikola Kalinic, who hasn’t impressed, with Torino hitman Belotti, and due to his poor form this season, Milan believe they’ll get their man for a knockdown price.

Aldo, according to Premium Sport (H/T Italian Football Daily), club president Urbano Cairo could be regretting his decision to keep Belotti, who won’t see his value increase during the summer due to Italy failing qualify for next year’s World Cup.

Football’s biggest tournament won’t be an avenue for the player to showcase his talents at the end of the season, leading to the notion that it will be easier for interested clubs to purchase the 24-year-old.

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Roberto Firmino Reveals How Liverpool Have Adapted To Life After Philippe Coutinho

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Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino has revealed that the team have changed the way in which they play following Philippe Coutinho’s transfer to Barcelona.

Philippe Coutinho was heavily pursued by Barcelona in the summer, but Liverpool did not allow him leave until the January transfer window.

Philippe Coutinho was widely regarded as Liverpool’s best player, but the team have barely missed him thanks to the goalscoring heroics of Firmino and Mohamed Salah.

When asked about Coutinho’s departure during an interview with Goal.com, Firmino said: “We changed the way we played after his exit. Which team in the world would not like to have a player of the quality of Coutinho?

“But he continued his life at Barcelona and Liverpool remained strong, as we always were. I just worry about playing well and helping Liverpool go as far as possible in the Premier League.

“If that is achieved by me scoring goals, even better. Thank God, the goals are coming! Winning the title is difficult this season, so we will fight to secure a Champions League place again. That’s one of the goals.”

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