Daily Briefing

Today’s back pages: ‘Leip too far’ for toothless Tottenham and Marcus Rashford is a major doubt for Euro 2020

A round-up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 20 February

Spurs slump to defeat

Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to RB Leipzig last night in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash has provided inspiration for many of the fourth estate’s finest headline writers.

“Jose’s hopes down the pan”, screams the Daily Star, while Metro goes for “A Leip too far” and The Sun opts for “Strop-Spur”.

The latter is a reference to the antics of Dele Alli who, according to the Sun “threw a tantrum after being subbed” as Spurs struggled to break down their German opponents. 

The paper says that Alli hurled his boots in disgust after being removed by Mourinho, although the Daily Mirror - under the headline “bottled it” - says that when the England ace was subbed midway through the second half he “slumped on the bench before throwing a water bottle to the ground”. 

His reaction summed up the frustration felt by Spurs, says Metro, who were left “toothless” by the injury absence of strikers Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son. 

Lucas Moura tried his best up front, says the Daily Express, but as Mourinho told reporters after the defeat: “It’s a situation like going to fight with a gun without bullets.”

The Leipzig goal came courtesy of a penalty from Timo Werner on 58 minutes and Mourinho expressed his concern at the state of his injury-ravaged squad going forward. 

“What worries me is that these are our players for the next however many matches,” he said. “Moura was absolutely dead, Bergwijn was absolutely dead, Lo Celso was absolutely dead. 

“We are really in trouble. If it was just this game I’d say ‘no problem’ but we have FA Cup and Premier League games.”

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Man Utd and England striker Marcus Rashford was injured in the FA Cup game against Wolves

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Marcus misery

Nearly all the papers find space on their back pages for the news that Marcus Rashford could miss the European Championships on account of the double stress fracture in his back. 

The Times says that Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has cast “fresh doubt” on Rashford’s participation in Euro 2020 after his star striker hobbled off against Wolves last month. 

The paper claims that Solskjaer has warned Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate “against selecting Rashford for the tournament, which begins on 12 June, unless he is fully fit”. 

Under the heading “Euro heartbreak”, the Daily Mirror quotes Solskjaer saying: “It’ll be touch and go. It takes time. I’m not a doctor but I was hoping that he would recover quicker than it actually looks like he will. He’ll be out for another few months, definitely.”

i Sport points out that the news will alarm Southgate, who “is already sweating on the fitness of Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane”, and is therefore facing the prospect of going into the tournament without two of his first-choice frontmen.

Rashford injury setback for England: Man Utd star ‘touch and go’ for Euro 2020

Today’s sport headlines

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