While You Were Asleep: Rice urges Southgate to stay, Bruno’s emotional message to Portugal fans, Chelsea’s Broja suffers knee injury

England and West Ham United mid-fielder Declan Rice has urged Gareth Southgate to stay on as England manager after the Three Lions boss admitted he ‘needs time’ to decide on his future following World Cup exit.

“He has taken us so, so far, further than people can expect”, Rice told The Athletic.

“Tonight he got everything spot on and it’s not on him.

“The tactics were right, we played the right way, we were aggressive and we stopped [Kylian] Mbappe, who was quiet. It was two goals against the run of play and that’s not down to the manager, it’s up to us on the pitch.

“I really hope he stays because the core group that we’ve got and what he has made for us is so special and I love playing for him and I love playing for England.”

Southgate is contracted until the Euros in 2024, but could step down following Saturday’s defeat.

“I want to make the right decision, whatever that is — for the team, for England, for the FA. And I’ve got to be sure that whatever decision I make is the right one.

“I think it’s right to take a bit of time to do that. I know in the past how my feelings have fluctuated in the immediate aftermath of tournaments,” Southgate had said after England’s quarter-final loss.

Bruno’s emotional plea to Portugal fans

Bruno Fernandes has penned down an emotional message to Portugal fans following their shock World Cup exit.

Fernandes admitted his side’s ‘dream fell apart’ following the loss against Morocco.

“It’s difficult to express in a few words everything we felt yesterday after the game ended,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Our dream fell apart when we did everything to make it end differently.

“It’s sad and painful because representing ours means much more than just playing football. Despite the elimination, I am very proud to be Portuguese and even more proud of all those who represented our country with me in this World Cup.”

The Manchester United mid-fielder also congratulated Morocco on their victory.

“I would also like to congratulate the Moroccan team for the great game and for deservedly qualifying for the semi-finals of the World Cup.”

Armando Broja suffers knee injury

Chelsea forward Armando Broja suffered a horriffic knee injury during their friendly match against Aston Villa in Abu Dhabi. Chelsea lost the match 1-0.

Broja was hurt in a collision with Villa defender Ezri Konsa early in the first half, and the 21-year-old taken off on a stretcher.

Graham Potter, the Chelsea manager, confirmed the initial prognosis “doesn’t look positive” for Broja, who spent last season on loan at Southampton.

“It was an unfortunate action, I think he got caught up with their player and the ground,” Potter said. “It doesn’t look positive at the moment, but it is too early to say. Fingers crossed, but it is an awkward one.”

Chelsea host Bournemouth on their return to Premier League action on December 27.

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