Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Sir Kenny Dalglish: The World Cup could be decisive for England’s title

© Graham Conaty/Speed Media/ShutteJohn McGinn, complete with captain’s armband, challenges Diego Dalot of Manchester United.
John McGinn, complete with captain’s armband, challenges Diego Dalot of Manchester United.

The English Premier League kicks-off this week and already we’ve had one good news story, from a Scottish perspective.

Steven Gerrard has appointed John McGinn as his captain at Aston Villa, and it’s great to see him take the armband.

John is a popular figure with the Villa fans, and they have taken him to their hearts because of his quality, commitment, desire and energy.

He cares about the club, and the fans relate to that.

John has been a consistent performer for four years at Villa Park, and he will keep that going, I’m sure.

That’s also good news for Scotland manager, Steve Clarke, and he will hope to see John, Andy Robertson, Scott McTominay, Billy Gilmour, Che Adams and the rest all do well.

But, of course, at the end of the EPL campaign, I hope Andy has another winners’ medal!

Manchester City start the defence of their title away to West Ham, while Liverpool travel to Fulham. Tough fixtures for both as they look to try and reproduce another mouthwatering campaign of excellence and consistency.

The standards set by Pep Guardiola’s team last season were exceptional.

Jurgen Klopp and the lads gave it their all to overtake them, but just couldn’t quite get there.

But they won the two domestic trophies and reached the Champions League Final against Real Madrid.

I would imagine both clubs will be the ones to beat this season, and if you finish above City in the table, then you are more than likely to be Champions.

City added Erling Haaland to their squad, and his goalscoring stats as a No. 9 are incredible.

There is no doubt that the powerful and skilful Norwegian will improve the Etihad team.

But they have lost a few players, and it looks as though Arsenal have bought well by getting in Gabriel Jesus from City. He has started very well at the Gunners.

Liverpool added Darwin Nunez from Benfica. Having sold Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich, Darwin is an excellent option.

I watched him play against us for Benfica in the Champions League quarter-final tie at Anfield last season. He looked extremely accomplished at centre-forward, but equally as good when he played out on the left-hand side.

It was as if he was having an audition for Liverpool that night!

He has started pre-season very well, and has scored four goals. But we can’t expect that from him every time he pulls on his boots.

Darwin is only 22, and everyone needs to be mindful of that. Certainly, however, his start this summer will do him no harm.

He only has to look at Diaz and Jota for inspiration for the way they hit the ground running when they moved to Anfield.

Getting results in pre-season is nice, but if you are a manager, it’s mainly about fitness and trying one or two things. The real stuff starts next weekend.

It’s not been a great build-up for Chelsea, and they will look to settle down quickly. They will still be right in the mix, for sure.

Manchester United are in the headlines because of the situation with Cristiano Ronaldo.

I’m not certain what is going to happen, but he is a wonderful footballer and still has much to offer, I’d say.

Remember the important goals he scored last season for United. He sets high standards for himself and those around him.

What could also be decisive this season is how the clubs handle having the World Cup in the middle of the season during November and December.

It will be interesting to see the different strategies used by the managers to cope with it.

The way they go about their business, and the way the players adapt as individuals, will play huge roles in how it goes when the prizes are handed out.

That just adds an extra dimension, a bit of an unknown, to the proceedings, and it will help to make it yet another exciting campaign in the EPL.

Whatever the next few months bring, enjoy it!