Aston Villa pair urged to make late push for the Euros

Dean Smith backs Ollie Watkins and Ezri Konsa for England call-ups; Celtic hurting after title failure.

SOCCER: Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has urged former Brentford pair Ollie Watkins and Ezri Konsa to follow in the footsteps of Jack Grealish and Tyrone Mings and aim for England call-ups.

According to the Daily Mail, Smith says international recognition from Gareth Southgate would be just reward for Watkins who has scored 12 times since his £33million move from Brentford and defender Konsa who also made the switch from the Bees.

"I'm sure Gareth has been impressed with the season we've had."

"Konsa, Matt Target, Watkins, all have an opportunity to show Gareth they are there if he needs them.

"Ollie has been a fantastic signing and he'll keep getting better. Ezri is a top player. He's not anywhere near his ceiling yet. We've always believed he is capable of getting into the international scene."

Konsa is a 10/1 shot with Sky Bet to make Southgate's Euros squad, with Watkins priced at 8/1.

Matt Targett, the other player mentioned by Smith, is 16/1.

Of the Villa squad, Jack Grealish (1/5) is the only player thought certain to make the squad, with Mings 11/8.

Bhoy we're hurting says Ryan Christie

SOCCER: Ryan Christie has confessed that every member of the Celtic squad is hurting after losing their Scottish title to Rangers.

Celtic relinquished their hold on the crown thanks to a goalless draw against Dundee United which left their Glasgow rivals 20 points clear with six games to play.

Speaking in the Glasgow Times, he said: "Every player, not just me, at the club right now is hurting and wants to put things right.

"Everybody has that champion's mentality. That's how we got to the position we have over the last four or five years.

"Everyone is desperate to have that feeling back again, so everyone has that hunger again. We went to put things right and come back."

Celtic will have a chance for a measure of revenge when they entertain Rangers in their next fixture on March 21. The Bhoys, who have ruled out a guard of honour for their visitors, are priced at 15/8 with Sky Bet to win that one.

Christie and Celtic do still have a chance of silverware, however, this season, with the Scottish Cup due to resume on Tuesday, March 23.

Celtic, who are at home to Arbroath or Falkirk in the third round on April 3, are joint favourites to win the competition alongside Rangers with Betvictor at 13/8.

Steven Gerrard's side kick off their participation at home to Cove Rangers.

Celtic handed the title to Rangers thanks to a goalless draw against Dundee United
Celtic handed the title to Rangers thanks to a goalless draw against Dundee United

Wigan to emerge from League One depths like a Bahraini-funded group of investors?

SOCCER: Wigan Athletic are set to be taken over by Bahraini-funded group Phoenix 2021, according to The Sun.

The Latics, who won the FA Cup as recently as 2013, will finally emerge from their administration nightmare after a deal was agreed at around £3million to pay their bills in full.

Leam Richardson's side will be hoping the deal provides some impetus to pull them away from the League One drop zone.

With 13 games to play, Wigan sit second-bottom, a point adrift of safety in a tightly packed bottom seven.

They are still 1/4 to be relegated with Paddy Power who have Rochdale (1/16) and Swindon (4/9) to join them and then one of Northampton and Bristol Rovers (both 8/13).

However, if you fancy Wigan for an instant boost from their takeover, then they can be backed at 14/5 to beat hosts Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday evening.

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