International Break Links: England in transition, danger for Drogba, and next up for USMNT…

– Is MLS Making the Rest of CONCACAF Better at the Expense of the U.S. National Team? – When the United States men’s national team fell 2-1 last month in Jamaica, it was the squad’s first loss in 19 games against the Caribbean country. But American supporters no doubt noticed something familiar about the match: the faces of the Reggae Boyz. Four of Jamaica’s starters and two of the substitutes play in Major League Soccer. In total, coach Theo Whitmore had nine MLS players on his roster for the vital World Cup qualifier… (Grantland)

– England negotiate San Marino mismatch – England goalkeeper Joe Hart did not have many touches at Wembley but every one was cheered resoundingly. The rafters almost shook when he finally laid hands on the ball in stoppage time. Roy Hodgson’s side got the job done against San Marino, a 5-0 margin slightly better than the tiny republic’s average defeat from a record of 108 losses in 113 games. But was it a job England should have had to do?… (BBC – Phil McNulty’s Blog)

– Premier League considers youth incentives for clubs – The Premier League is considering the introduction of financial rewards to clubs who develop more Britons as part of its Elite Player Performance Plan… “We don’t want to be like tennis; having the best competition in the world but little British showing,” said director of youth Ged Roddy… (BBC Sport)

– Who should the USMNT start vs. Guatemala – With three points in the bag following Friday’s last-minute World Cup Qualifying win against Antigua & Barbuda on Friday, the U.S. Men’s National Team heads into Tuesday’s match needing just a draw to guarantee a place in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying… (Soccer by Ives)

– Such a Little Thing Makes Such a Big Difference – Duncan has been around since about 2009, and in November 2011 he took to Twitter for the first time, in what was surely another doomed bid to find the fame he so desperately craved. Incredibly, and laughably, Slam Dunc did find some sort of fame. Almost 40,000 followers, including a healthy number of football journalists, eminent Twitter football people, and even the likes of Dara O’Briain… If you’re reading this you will almost certainly know what happened to Dunc during 2012 – the two transfer windows, a few ‘scoops’, the change of manager at Liverpool FC, live webchats, columns for etc. It was absolutely fucking mental… (Duncan Jenkins)

– Sunset for the Golden Generation – John Terry’s racial-abuse trial and the end of an era in English soccer… (Grantland)

– Roy Hodgson set to make six changes to England team for Poland match – Roy Hodgson will demonstrate his ruthless streak by making up to six changes to his England line-up for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifying tie inPoland, despite seeing his hopes of recalling Frank Lampard dashed by his withdrawal with a calf injury… (The Guardian)

– Didier Drogba and Premier League players caught up in Senegal riot – The former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and seven Premier League players were caught up in a riot as Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations tie with Ivory Coast in Dakar was abandoned after police fired teargas inside the packed stadium when thousands of fans lit fires and threw rubbish in protest at the home team’s show… (The Guardian)

– Manchester United captain buys flat for father of friend who passed away – Bad news about footballers travels fast and good news takes just a little longer to make it to the top of the agenda. We were sent a link to a Serbian newspaper by Montenegran football fan Uros Popovic and it details a nice story about Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic and the way he continues to keep an eye out for the father of an old team mate… (Sport Witness)

– Wayne Rooney’s top five least “England captain material” moments – Line one, paragraph one of Being An England Captain reads: “Do not under any circumstances criticise the fans.” Rooney chose to do just that with an impromptu piece to camera following the 2010 World Cup group match against Algeria… (Off the Post)

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