MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. — Things are a little different for Tim Howard these days. One thing, however, that remains unshakable, and will likely do so until the end of his career, is Howard’s refusal to accept less than maximum commitment, from both himself and his colleagues. Which is why, in an interview on a sunny Tuesday, overlooking a picturesque golf course, Howard spoke about the recent troubles of the United States national team with as much fire and conviction as if he’d just stepped from the field. For the veteran goalkeeper, even more troubling than a pair of November defeats to begin the final stage of World Cup qualifying, was the growing sense that under former head coach Jurgen Klinsmann a group of players had allowed their pride in representing their country to slip.
Early in the morning on December 27, the day after watching his team lose 4–1 at home to West Ham, Bob Bradley went back to work at Swansea City’s Fairwood headquarters in South Wales. The American coach took a training session with the players who hadn’t competed on December 26, rewatched their defeat to West Ham and prepared for the next game against Bournemouth, before heading home at 5:45 p.m. Swansea Chairman Huw Jenkins wanted to meet at the club’s academy. A half hour later, Jenkins greeted Bradley in the main conference room at Fairwood, where, in a 15-minute meeting, he asked Bradley to step down, offering little explanation besides noting that he had “come to Swansea at a difficult time.” Bradley told him it was the wrong decision but the two men shook hands and parted ways.
Suffice to say, it’s been a rough few days for Paul Pogba. The world’s most expensive player put in an entirely underwhelming performance in Manchester United’s draw with Liverpool on Sunday, offering little distribution and giving away a bizarre penalty