Articles by admin


first_imgA team of police officials from around the country will be coming to Sioux City later this month to assess the performance of the local police department.Lt. Pat McCann says it’s time for the department to renew its standing with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, better known as CALEA:Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC…… onsite visit. :16The inspectors, from Ohio and Texas, will arrive March 26th to begin their work:Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC………our reaccreditation. ;21McCann says public input is an important part of that process:Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC……….public museum. :15For those who are unable to attend, you may provide comments by phone the day of the meeting by calling 279-6112 from 1pm until 3pm on March 26th.last_img read more


first_imgA former football coach and teacher accused of sexually assaulting a child in northwest Iowa has been imprisoned for a similar crime in Nebraska.Court records say 39-year-old Kyle Ewinger was sentenced Thursday to 55 to 85 years and credited for 105 days already served.In January a jury in Omaha found him guilty of sexual assault of a child.Prosecutors say he assaulted the 9-year-old son of a woman he was dating in 2012 and 2013.Osceola County District Court records in Iowa say the former Sibley-Ocheyedan coach was fired after the district superintendent found him sleeping in his classroom next to a 10-year-old in October 2015.Ewinger has pleaded not guilty. His trial start was set to begin April 10 but was delayed until Aug. 28.He also formerly taught in the Sioux City Community School district.APlast_img read more


first_imgJurors in Plymouth County have found an Alta Vista Iowa woman guilty in the death of her infant son, whose lifeless body was found in a baby swing.It took the jury about four hours Wednesday to find 21-year-old Cheyanne Harris guilty of first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death.The charges stem from the death of 4-month-old Sterling Koehn, whose body was found Aug. 30, 2017, in a maggot-infested diaper in the family’s apartment in Alta Vista.First responders found his body in a sweltering bedroom in a baby swing.An autopsy shows he died of malnutrition, dehydration and an E. coli infection.First-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.The baby’s father, Zachary Koehn, already has been sentenced to life in prison in the case.last_img read more

Here’s how OSU gets in the title game

first_imgPhoto Attribution: USATSIPhoto Attribution: USATSII refused to even think about it before Baylor and even now it seems a bit silly but to channel Lloyd Christmas here’s how Oklahoma State would find itself playing in the national title game in 50 days.First, beat OU — This is obvious but it feels like it’s being a bit overlooked right now. Everybody’s like “we’re headed to the Fiesta!” except for that 9-2 OU team coming on Dec. 7….After that there are six teams ahead of OSU right now in the BCS standings. You have to get five of them out of the way by the end of the day on Dec. 7. Here they are:1. Bama2. Florida State3. Ohio State4. Auburn5. Missouri6. Clemson7. Oklahoma StateLet’s get rid of those one-by-one…Clemson — Have to lose at South Carolina this Saturday. South Carolina is a 5-point favorite. Bye, Clemson. Missouri — Have to lose at home to A&M on Saturday. Do your thing, JFF. Go get that Heisman. Missouri is a 4-point favorite, though. The alternative to this is Missouri winning this week and getting killed in the SEC Championship where it will be an underdog to Alabama.[1. If Alabama gets there which we’ll get to in a second.] Bye, Mizzou.If you’re scoring at home, that’s zero upsets OSU needs so far. SC over Clemson and Bama over Mizzou. A&M over Mizzou would be an upset.Auburn — Have to lose to Bama on Saturday. Bama is an 11-point favorite so that should happen. Three not-upsets so far. Bye, Auburn.So if South Carolina, A&M, and Bama win this weekend, we have ourselves a situation. Oklahoma State would likely be No. 4 in next week’s BCS as no teams behind it would jump ahead of the Pokes (I don’t think).Then…Ohio State — Have to lose at Michigan on Saturday where it is a 14-point favorite or to Michigan State in the Big 10 title game where it will likely be a 10ish-point favorite. Maybe seven or eight. I don’t think Ohio State is anything special so either one could happen. Not likely, though. Let’s give Michigan State the Big 10 title for fun. Bye, tOSU.Side note: If Ohio State loses in the Big House on Saturday in addition to Clemson, Mizzou, and Auburn losing, Oklahoma State will almost definitely be No. 3 going to Bedlam. That’s a code red alert situation, by the way. Ohio State will drop below Oklahoma State because Michigan and WVU are nearly equivalent losses (I know that’s hard to believe for Michigan fans) and the silliness of the polls will help our OSU.Why do I say the silliness of the polls? Because when you lose matters. Don’t believe me? Oklahoma State has a chance for the national title and Baylor doesn’t. Tell me which team had a worse loss. Go ahead. Now tell me which had a more recent loss.Because Baylor’s is the freshest in our memory they are penalized. Case in point: If Oklahoma State loses to Iowa State in September 2011, it probably plays for the national title. That’s insanity, when you think about it.Anyway, back to the exercise..Florida State — Have to lose at Flolrida or in the ACC Championship game against either Duke or Virginia Tech. The chances of any of the three happening are somewhere between laughable and “Marcus Smart playing a middle schooler one-on-one.” Even if FSU lost to, say, Duke in the ACC Championship (which, oh my!) I’m not sure it would fall enough for OSU to replace it. We’d definitely have a 2011 situation on our hands all over again, except this time OSU would be playing the role of Alabama.So that’s an issue. But let’s give Duke the ACC title. They play it at Cameron, yes? Bye, FSU.The other thing is the Famous Jameis case. I don’t know how it plays in but I feel like it’s probably going to at some point.Alabama — Oklahoma State needs Bama to win out. Badly.If Bama loses to Auburn, the dream is likely dead because I don’t think Florida State AND Ohio State are losing AND OSU is jumping Bama. That’s just too unlikely.But if Bama smokes Auburn and Mizzou as it will be favored to do and South Carolina beats Clemson as it is favored to do then Oklahoma State only needs to win and have two upsets (albeit two monstrous ones): Duke or Florida over FSU and Michigan or Michigan State over Ohio State.That’s it.I’ve seen crazier things.I’ve seen Ames on a Friday night in November.Can somebody FedEx me a Cameron Crazy outfit?If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

Glenn Spencer Does Hot Yoga

first_imgOther than this incredible Mason Rudolph headline, “Glenn Spencer Does Hot Yoga” would definitely rank in my top 25 of my all-time favorite PFB headlines.Apparently, Glenn Spencer and some of his defensive stars are taking the offseason very seriously by hitting some hot yoga to workout. Here’s a picture from Jeannine Edwards, Glenn’s wife, of Glenn hitting hot yoga with Tre Flowers, Jordan Sterns, and Josh Mabin looking completely exhausted.You know you probably had a tough yoga session when you’ve spent the entire offseason with Rob Glass, and STILL look like this. Tre Flowers, Jordan Sterns & Josh Mabin lookin just as spent as their coach Glenn Spencer!! #HotYoga @CowboyFB— Jeannine Edwards (@jeanninee12) June 22, 2016And another of the group hitting the chaturanga pose, which admittedly I had to google to understand.Hard work + Effort +Great Attitude = Results #Winners #CowboyChaturanga @RedEarthYoga09— Jeannine Edwards (@jeanninee12) June 22, 2016 If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

Poll: Which Player Is Most Important To OSU The Rest of The Season?

first_imgGood day for a poll, eh?I’m curious to see who everyone thinks is most vital to Oklahoma State’s success going forward. I picked three of the biggest names on the team but not the most obvious (Justice, Mason, Vincent).These are guys who are a little more under the radar than those stars.Poll: Who is most important to the success of this year’s #okstate team going forward?— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 8, 2016As always, vote and leave your comments below. I will follow up on Wednesday.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

Granja Comary – at home with Brazil

first_imgBolivia v Brazil Granja Comary – at home with Brazil Raisa Simplicio 20:08 10/5/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy The CBF's Granja Comary training centre Bolivia v Brazil Brazil v Chile Brazil Bolivia Chile WC Qualification South America This week the Selecao have once again adopted Teresopolis, and Raisa Simplicio found out how the city has taken the national team to its heart Situated some 75km away from the hustle and bustle of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s Granja Coamary training complex in Teresopolis is something of an oasis for the national team.And this week it was home to coach Tite for the first time as he prepared his squad for World Cup qualifiers with Bolivia and Chile. The Selecao departed for Bolivia today, where tonight they move on to La Paz before returning to Sao Paulo for Tuesday’s clash with la Roja.READ MORE: Casemiro to captain Brazil | Brazil to meet Japan on BGT | Arthur: Brazil’s new plan BThe logistics of this final competitive international break prior to World Cup 2018 haven’t been ideal, but familiarising themselves with what will be their home ahead of a trip to Russia next year has been vital for the much-travelled Selecao. Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. “It is a place they can call home, it will be where they will begin their preparations in earnest for the World Cup and it’s been important for the technical committee to get to know it better,” Eduardo Mansur of O Globo told Brasil Global Tour.Granja Comary 18072016“For example, being there allows them to use equipment like drones, resources that aren’t available to you in other countries. The tiny details are important. There is a solid structure in place here, with spectacular playing fields, so Granja provides a level of comfort and luxury the Selecao are rarely afforded.”Brazil’s affinity with Teresopolis began long ago, with the national team using it to prepare for World Cups since the 1970s. “You have to keep the national training centre in use, as there has been a lot of investment made here. The first time they trained here was for the 1978 World Cup and there was no Granja Comary then, they trained at the Comary club here and then in 1987 they started to use Granja,” recalled Paulo Vinicius Coelho of Fox Sports.Torcedores Granja ComaryThe entire city is transformed whenever the national team arrive here at Granja. Young people huddle around the doors of the centre, desperate to capture a glimpse of their idols and hoping for the chance to pose for photos and collect autographs. “I live here in Teresopolis and I’m a huge fan of the Selecao,” said local Lucas Garcia. “I always come here but only once have managed to get in, before the Olympics, when I asked someone for help and she gave me a lift. I took a picture with Marquinhos and Gabigol and even talked to Neymar.”Granja Comary 21032016Brazil’s presence here also boosts the local economy, with restaurant owner Leco underlining the importance of the increased media presence to his business.”It has certainly increased, especially for the journalists and the tourists that flock here to see the Selecao. We have been here since 1994 and, since then, we have become accustomed to it all and love to welcome so many people here, some have even become close friends,” he said.”For the bakery, the local hotels, the market, our daily routines are transformed. We expect the team here next year ahead of the World Cup which will again be a boost for us.”Treino Brasil 04102017Ahead of 2014, a new hotel was erected specifically to deal with the demand of the media tracking the Selecao and some local dwellings have already adopted special schemes and are even providing special services, like car hires, for the travelling media.Granja also welcomes the women’s team, who use the complex as their base as well, and the city has embraced its role as a home away from home for the Brazilian national team.last_img read more

Report: Real Madrid 3 Eibar 0

first_imgReal Madrid 3 Eibar 0: Super Asensio spares Ronaldo’s blushes Patric Ridge Last updated 2 years ago 04:35 10/23/17 Asensio - cropped Getty Images Marco Asensio was in fine form for Real Madrid as they overcame Eibar 3-0 in LaLiga, as Cristiano Ronaldo’s woes in front of goal returned. Marco Asensio put in a sparkling display to help Real Madrid overcome LaLiga strugglers Eibar 3-0, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s dire form in front of goal continued.The Madrid youngster had not scored since netting a double against Valencia in August, but he took centre stage in the first-half at the Santiago Bernabeu.Having already crafted a gilt-edged opening for the equally impressive Isco, Asensio played a major part in Madrid’s rather fortunate 18th-minute opener – Paulo Oliveira inadevertently turning in the 21-year-old’s cross. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Madrid’s second goal 10 minutes later was less fortunate, Asensio hammering in first-time from Isco’s sublime cut-back.While Asensio was on top of his game, the same could not be said of Ronaldo, who squandered a glut of opportunities either side of the break.Eibar could have made Madrid pay for Ronaldo’s poor finishing if the referee had awarded what looked like a stonewall penalty, before substitute Marcelo wrapped up the points in style with eight minutes remaining as Zinedine Zidane’s side moved back to within five points of leaders Barcelona.4 – Marco Asensio has scored four goals in his five games against Eibar in La Liga, his favourite opponent in the competition. Gun.— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 22, 2017Isco should have put Madrid ahead inside a minute but, having been picked out by Asensio, the Spain playmaker failed to beat Marko Dmitrovic.In for the injured Keylor Navas, Madrid’s stand-in goalkeeper Kiko Casilla was forced into action soon after – getting down low to keep out Joan Jordan’s effort.Despite a somewhat sluggish opening, however, Madrid soon had their lead, Asensio’s cross looping into the top-right corner off the unfortunate Oliveira.Eibar responded well, Casilla again alert to get down low and prevent Takashi Inui’s dipping free-kick creeping in.Any threat of a quick comeback was swiftly cut short, though – Isco whipping in a low cross that Asensio beautifully swept home on the half volley.1 – Isco Alarcon has scored more goals (10) and made more assists (8) than any other midfielder in La Liga in 2017. Golden.— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 22, 2017Isco and Asensio combined brilliantly again to tee-up Ronaldo, who failed to apply the finish from close range.Madrid’s playmaking duo were at it again shortly after the restart, Asensio the provider with an inch-perfect throughball into Isco’s path, but Dmitrovic pulled off a fine stop.Casemiro – who had been booked in the first half – was fortunate not to pick up a second yellow card and concede a penalty moments later, as he scythed down Inui in the area.Ronaldo netted his first LaLiga goal of the season against Getafe last time out, but the Portugal forward could not get the better of Dmitrovic.And Ronaldo’s woes continued late on, the 32-year-old slamming a close-range strike into the side-netting, before Marcelo took matters into his own hands.Fellow substitute Karim Benzema slipped through a brilliant pass – Marcelo spinning clear of his marker to plant a low finish across Dmitrovic and add gloss to the victory. Key Opta Facts:- Marco Asensio has scored four goals in his five games against Eibar in La Liga, his favourite opponent in the competition.- Isco Alarcon has scored more goals (10) and made more assists (8) than any other midfielder in La Liga in 2017.- Cristiano Ronaldo (33) and Karim Benzema (14) have attempted 47 shots in La Liga this season but only two have ended up in goals. – Karim Benzema has made 59 assists in La Liga since his Real Madrid arrival – only Lionel Messi (113) and Cristiano Ronaldo (83) have more among all the striker since then. – Cristiano Ronaldo had as many shots (five) as the number of touches in the opposite box (five) against Eibar. read morelast_img read more

Mislintat arrival part of Arsenal’s post-Wenger plan

first_imgArsenal Mislintat appointment shows Arsenal are planning for life after Wenger Chris Wheatley Arsenal Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 00:05 11/23/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Arsene Wenger Arsenal 05112017 Getty Arsenal Arsène Wenger Premier League Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga Opinion Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has made a series of astute backroom appointments over the past few months as he looks to the future At this point last season, Arsene Wenger didn’t know whether he’d be staying at Arsenal or leaving the club after 22 years at the helm. The Frenchman has since admitted that the uncertainty over his own future affected the players psychologically going into the latter stages of the campaign and was one of the primary reasons for their failure to qualify for the Champions League.Arsenal 8/5 to beat Cologne Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Wenger has always said in the past that he wouldn’t want a director of football at Arsenal because he doesn’t know what the role entails but it is more likely that he feels that such an appointment would weaken his influence at the club. However, behind the scenes, chief executive Ivan Gazidis has begun to wield his own power by making several changes in terms of both facilities and staff – with the latest being the arrival of the highly-rated Sven Mislintat.Mislintat joins the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund, where he was head of scouting. He came close to joining Bayern Munich in the summer but BVB blocked the move. They were unable to prevent him from departing for north London, though, with the 45-year-old having been left bitterly hurt by Thomas Tuchel’s decision to ban him from the training ground last season.Mislintat had unearthed rough diamonds such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Robert Lewandowski during his spell at Signal Iduna Park and he was happy in his role, but the former BVB boss’ decision to essentially ostracise him affected him deeply.Mislintat PS“I probably never would have considered thinking about other clubs,” he told Kicker. “But the training-ground ban, initiated by the club’s former coach (Tuchel), as well as the instructions to keep away from the inner circle, from players, from the staff, from many friends with whom I worked so closely throughout the years – all of that influenced my thinking.”BVB’s loss is now set to prove Arsenal’s gain.Furthermore, as well as landing one of the most respects scouts in world football, the Gunners are also expected to imminently acquire Raul Sanllehi.The current director of football at Barcelona is expected to become the head of football operations at the Emirates – similar to the role previously held by transfer negotiator Dick Law, who formally left the club in September. These new faces have been primarily identified by Gazidis and it shows an acceptance by Wenger that he needs a forward-thinking network of staff alongside him, and that there has to be a solid structure in place when he does eventually depart.Indeed, while Mislintat and Sanllehi are the two most notable names being bandied about, it is worth remembering that Ben Wrigglesworth was prised away from Leicester City last February to become the Gunners’ new first-team video scout.It’s likely that Wrigglesworth will work closely with Mislintat to inform him on domestic-based scouting trips, while also highlighting and profiling the most talented and available European players.Wrigglesworth also works with the analytics team, who supply Wenger with video and statistical analysis relating to team performance, opposition analysis and player recruitment. StatDNA, the sports analytics company owned by Arsenal and based in Chicago, plays a major part in providing supplementary information to aid in the recruitment process and was involved in the signings of Lucas Perez and Gabriel Paulista.Gazidis Wenger ArsenalHuss Fahmy is another recent addition to the Arsenal staff, brought in during the summer because he specialises in contracts and negotiation. A legal and commercial law expert who worked in professional cycling with Team Sky, he was mentored for the first few months in his new role by the outgoing Law and is now making his presence felt. Fahmy was pictured with youngster Joe Willock when the starlet signed a new contract last month.The summer backroom shuffle also saw Darren Burgess come in as head of high performance, and former goalkeeper Jens Lehmann return to the club as a first-team coach. It’s expected that the latter will eventually replace Boro Primorac, although the Bosnian-Croat is unlikely to call time on his coaching career until Wenger decides to walk away. And the Frenchman isn’t going anywhere just yet.Despite initial fears about power being taken away from his managerial role, it seems that Wenger is now welcoming the changes that Gazidis has been advocating for a long time. Not only is it a sign that the Gunners boss is willing to adapt and move Arsenal onto the next level, it also shows that he has resigned himself to eventually leaving the club he has been guiding for over two decades. With the board set to review his situation at the end of the season, Wenger knows that a performance worse than last season’s fifth-placed finish won’t be tolerated, either in the boardroom or among the fans.Still, he is now, at least, facilitating a changing of the guard that should ensure that no matter when he decides to stand down, he will depart knowing that the club will be in very good hands.last_img read more

Did poor English cost Pep Man Utd job?

first_imgGuardiola Did poor English cost Pep Man Utd job? Guardiola remembers Ferguson offer Chris Burton Last updated 1 year ago 16:08 12/10/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(3) Pep Guardiola Sir Alex Ferguson Getty Guardiola Manchester United v Manchester City Manchester United Manchester City Premier League The Catalan coach spoke with the Red Devils’ iconic former boss prior to his retirement but ended up heading to England at Manchester City in 2016 Pep Guardiola has no regrets at having snubbed Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson to eventually link up with Manchester City.The Catalan coach met with the Red Devils’ iconic former manager back in 2012 as the Scot was preparing to head into retirement.Guardiola was taking a 12-month sabbatical at the time after leaving Barcelona and discussed all things football with Ferguson. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player He insists that he never spotted an invitation to head to Old Trafford and has no complaints at having ended up across Manchester at the Etihad Stadium via three years at Bayern Munich.Guardiola told reporters on his meeting with Ferguson: “My English in that period was not as good as it is right now – and so maybe I just didn’t understand what Sir Alex told me.Pep Guardiola Alex Ferguson Manchester United snub“We met in a magnificent restaurant for dinner and I think he has said he suggested to me something about going to Old Trafford.“But I really don’t remember that. We spoke about life, about football, about the Premier League, I remember.“But there was no message sent to me under the table about United. I think I would remember that.“It was just two friends, two colleagues in football, talking about many, many things.“What I do remember was that Sir Alex spoke really fast and it was difficult to understand him.“But it was nice because he chose an amazing restaurant – and of course he paid!”Guardiola added: “In that period I had already talked to Bayern ­Munich and it was clear to me that I was going to experience Germany.Pep Guardiola Manchester City 29112017“Bayern Munich were the first club to call me, and then ­Manchester City, but I had already decided to try to prove myself in Germany and live that experience.“After that, from almost the day I arrived, Manchester City asked me again and I said that if I went to the Premier League I would go to them.“I spoke to [City chairman] ­Khaldoon [Al Mubarak] and [City director of football] Txiki ­[Begiristain] again during my last period in Bayern Munich and they showed more ­interest than any other club to pick me up.“That was so important to me – and believe me, I don’t have any regrets.”Guardiola will be at Old Trafford on Sunday with City, as he prepares to rekindle his rivalry with old adversary Jose Mourinho in another Premier League derby duel.last_img read more

‘Football’s biggest issue’: the struggle facing boys rejected by academies

first_imgHaving worked part-time in a nursery, Morgan began working as a delivery driver, then qualified as an engineer for washing machines, fridges and other white goods. He is happy with the job and has plans to take his HGV license and start his own business; he has had the same partner for 10 years, plays for Beaconsfield Town in the Evo-Stik South East League, and feels, at 27, his life has come together.“But I feel I had wasted years; I could have had this life six or seven years ago. I could have done things, gone travelling, but instead all I was thinking about was football. Really, there are hundreds of boys across the country, being set up to fail.”Morgan’s son, Kairon, six, has been spotted by a Chelsea scout playing children’s football locally, and has been asked to go to their development centre. Clubs can run these pre-academy sessions for six-year-olds, before the first formal affiliation can start at eight. Morgan says he rejected three letters from Chelsea before succumbing to the classic parents’ dilemma, that he may be denying his son an opportunity, however remote. Kairon went, and there were 60 little boys there, says Morgan, who can see the disappointment stretching ahead for most of them.He says he will try to guide his son to have realistic expectations, to enjoy it but take it sceptically. But so far, he has never gone along to watch, to actually see his boy taking his first steps into English football’s youth development system.“I don’t know if I am mentally ready for that,” he says.• In the UK the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at Despite what football clubs say, the support for rejected boys is not there Share via Email Pinterest Share on Facebook The Premier League and Football League adamantly defend the professionalism of their youth processes, coaching and facilities, which have undoubtedly improved since the introduction in 2012 of the Elite Player Performance Plan. Both leagues stress that boys who are taken on for the 16-18 scholarship must continue with education – commonly this is a BTEC sports diploma – and receive a broad range of welfare provision and courses in life skills including emotional wellbeing. The EFL says it is “supportive of the holistic development of young players”, and the Premier League aims “to support the development of well-rounded young players”.The EFL says that its League Football Education department, which delivers the welfare programmes, tracks what happens to players for four years after they have been released; the Premier League says its clubs keep in touch. All the outcomes they cite for these young men are positive.Fifteen Premier League and nine Championship clubs have Category One EPPP academies and operate under-23 teams, so they report a relatively high number of 18-year-olds given initial professional contracts – 65% last year, according to the Premier League. But Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, says that of the boys who make it into the elite scholarship programme at 16, past PFA research has found that five out of six are not playing professional football at 21. Taylor describes this as “a matter of major concern”. The leagues report that many who are released find their level in non-league football, some go to university or secure scholarships in US colleges, and the LFE says it has examples of former apprentice footballers working as solicitors, accountants, cardiothoracic physiotherapists and radio producers. When they are released, they are suddenly rushed into the normal world, and many struggle to cope with it “He was just finding himself then,” she says. After Alex died she and his close friend, Eddie Oshodi, who had been with him in Watford’s academy, set up a foundation with the intention of helping boys’ mental health.“My husband and I aren’t football people; we didn’t know too much about the system,” Faye Stephens says. “Now I think they sign children much too young; they are building boys up to think they’re going to be footballers, giving them false hope, then all of a sudden it’s taken away. I would say boys should wait until 14, at least. Alex loved playing football – for fun, and at a young age they should be playing for fun.”Oshodi, a defender, who left Watford at 19 having made one first-team league appearance as a substitute, then played four seasons at Forest Green Rovers, says that looking back, the academy boys were “in a bubble”, and the wider education provision was limited.“As a youngster you are fed a dream, you know very little else,” he says. “That is all you aspire to: football, football, football. You see the glitz and glamour; 24-year-old players turning up in a new Range Rover or Ferrari, everybody doing everything for you, and you think that’s life, that’s reality.”Oshodi himself was academic as a teenager, but says he did nine rather than 11 GCSEs because training took up a chunk of school time, then studied for the BTEC rather than A levels. The EFL accepts that many clubs struggle to timetable A levels given the amount of training the 16-18-year-olds do, and that only “a small number” take A-levels.Oshodi believes that clubs did not provide enough preparation or support for release: “Being in an academy from such a young age cuts down on normal socialising,” he says. “Football is the centre of everything, and when people are released, they can doubt who they are.” Eddie Oshodi, in action here for Rushden & Diamonds in in 2011, was in Watford’s academy. ‘As a youngster you are fed a dream, you know very little else,’ he says. Photograph: Pete Norton/Getty Images Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn The Premier League and Football League adamantly defend the professionalism of their youth processes Gordon Taylor says that of the boys who make it into the elite scholarship programme at 16, past PFA research has found that five out of six are not playing professional football at 21. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Read more Pinterest Twitter Pitfalls and pressure await little diamonds in cut-throat youth football Really, there are hundreds of boys across the country, being set up to fail Share on WhatsApp Football youth development in England: ‘We’re shouting and screaming. What have we become?’ Read more He now plays semi-professional football for Wealdstone in the National League South, and is taking a psychology degree at Birkbeck College. He says he advises young players not to sign for an academy until they are 16, to avoid having their social experience and development narrowed. “It becomes like a job from the age of 10,” he says. “It completely dominates your growing up. Some people fall out of love with the game.”Gordon Taylor points, like many working in the system, to boys who have benefited from the experience of playing high‑quality football in academies and secured US scholarships or university places after being released. But he acknowledges that although the PFA and clubs have some provision to prepare and help the 500-600 boys who are released every year, he sees some for whom “it’s as though their lives have come to an end”.The PFA sees “the extreme end” of this distress; part of the union’s offer is a 24-hour telephone helpline. This is a recognition of the severe consequences built into England’s and Wales’s modern football system, for fit and healthy young men who have been the best footballers of their generation. “It’s the game’s biggest issue,” Taylor says. The Premier League’s advocacy of the EPPP system was fundamentally challenged last month by one of its own clubs, newly promoted Huddersfield Town, who announced the blunt conclusion of an extensive review by scrapping the academy altogether in the 8-16 age groups. Parents of 100 boys were called to a meeting with the chief executive, Julian Winter, and told that their association with the club was to end in a month. Half the academy’s 25 permanent staff are to be laid off, along with part-time people working evening and weekends. Huddersfield had found that of all the boys who had come through their system, not one had played in the Premier League since Jon Stead, who graduated in 1999. That is 18 years of boys being taken out of local and school football from the age of eight, the overwhelming majority not securing a career.Huddersfield’s landmark Premier League promotion was secured after hiring a German manager, David Wagner, and by signing a clutch of German players. The club’s academy, which has produced several players now at lower-division clubs, was regarded as a model, and ranked as the EFL’s 12th most “productive” of its 72 clubs last season.Oshodi says that in his experience of the many young men he has seen released, he saw a broad class divide in the consequences. Better-off, middle-class parents had absorbed more clearly the bleak chance of their sons attaining a professional football career, had emphasised the importance of continuing education throughout and could draw on more resources to support their boys into alternative options. Many whom Oshodi knows from less advantaged backgrounds struggled to negotiate the system with that perspective, he says. Many, having spent years in the academies, have hard landings back into their disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and fall into crime and drug dealing. The inquest was told that the young man had been “a happy and bright and fun child who was a talented footballer”. The Guardian has agreed not to name him following a request from his family to spare them further distress.He was spotted playing junior football, brought into the academy of a lower-division club, then picked up by the Premier League club, who had him in their system for three years from the age of 13. At 16, when the cut is made for who will be asked to join the scholarship programme, in which boys leave school and have a full‑time, two-year association with the clubs, the young man was released.“I find that it was … that pivotal point that crushed a young boy, a young man’s life and all the dreams that go with it,” the coroner said. “It is the one, I find, the single most important factor that led to the events which ended [in his suicide].”She continued: “I think it’s very difficult to build up hopes of a young man and for them to be dashed at a critical age, when a boy becomes a man. To be found wanting in every way, it’s very cruel …“I am not here to pronounce on football clubs that make the arrangements about … young footballers and giving them hopes, because they are not here to explain it. But it feels to be let go, and from all the evidence that I have heard today there’s not much [support]; to have no support for that letting go seems to be adding cruelty upon cruelty. And that lack of support, I find in absentia of the football clubs … to be a certain and compelling factor in what happened ultimately … and I find [the young man] was a statistic of that.” Share on Messenger Huddersfield Town have scrapped their academy in the 8-16 year groups. They found that of all the boys who had come through their system, not one had played in the Premier League since Jon Stead, who graduated in 1999. Photograph: Reuters David Conn features That view is supported by Geoff Scott, chief executive of the welfare organisation for former footballers, XPRO, who reports a high casualty rate for boys “tossed aside” by academies. “The boys are released and that is the last many ever hear from the club they may have been with for years,” says Scott. “That is the cold, harsh reality of it.”In recent years Scott has visited 108 young former footballers in prison, he says, most convicted of intent to supply class A drugs. One of the most notorious tragic cases was the death in 2009 of Reece Staples, 19, just months after he was released by Nottingham Forest following years in the club’s academy. He was trying, as many do, to get back into football but had not found another club when in May 2009 he became involved in amateurish drug dealing, swallowing 19 packets of cocaine in Costa Rica and flying back to the UK. One burst in his stomach, and the young man died on the floor of a police cell, in dreadful circumstances. The Independent Police Complaints Commission later upheld his mother Clair Dunne’s complaints that Nottinghamshire police officers failed to provide her son with the appropriate level of care.Chris Green, whose 2009 book Every Boy’s Dream chronicled the institutionalised disappointment delivered to so many boys taken into academies so young, believes that the FA inquiry by Sheldon should look at the emotional and psychological impact of the youth development system now.“It is very complacent to imagine that all the abuse was in the past and now we have a perfect system,” says Green. “There are different forms of abuse. These are children, very young, they are not being given the time to play and enjoy their sport, before being taken into a system where they are seen as commodities, then discarded with too little concern about the damage it does.”Green’s book has been followed this year by Michael Calvin’s No Hunger in Paradise, an alarming critique of the system, in which Calvin describes boys released by academies, still trying to catch the eye and clamber back in, as “ghosts in the machine”.Another of Alex Stephens’s friends in the Watford academy, Aaron Morgan, recalls that he too fell into the fringes of criminality after being released by Queens Park Rangers at 18. He recalls that he found the expected disciplines and routines difficult at Watford and QPR, as a teenager from Shepherd’s Bush with only his mother as his rock of support.“As a young footballer, everybody is selling the same dream to you: if you work hard, you will make it. But that just isn’t the case,” he says. “You realise now that a lot of boys are kept there just to make up the numbers. Then for it to be taken away in one second, mentally, that was a lot to deal with, especially for somebody with no father figure. I went through a stage of depression, back home, not wanting to leave the house, and I know loads of people in the same position, struggling. Every year there is a new batch, and people do end up in crime and drug dealing; I see it.”Morgan says that after years of clinging to the dream of being a footballer, his salvation-in-disguise came when he broke a bone in his ankle while playing for non-league Hendon.“The injury finally opened my eyes to real life,” he says. “I was out of the football bubble. My mind became clearer; I was thinking straight and realistically.” In March 2013 a young man killed himself after suffering years of mental health difficulties following his release by a Premier League football club’s academy at the age of 16. The summing up by the coroner who presided over the inquest into his death could hardly have been a stronger or more salutary warning about the potential dangers of English football’s youth development system.Relentlessly ambitious and commercialised professional clubs recruit thousands of boys into intensive, four‑times‑a‑week training from the age of eight, in numbers still broadly based on those first sanctioned by the Football Association’s “Charter for Quality” 20 years ago this month. Hundreds of these boys are released each year, as the clubs narrow their focus on who might have a faint chance of making a career in professional football and becoming a valuable financial asset. Despite the huge numbers housed in this system, currently 12,000 boys, the chinks of first-team opportunities have diminished every year since 1997. In each transfer window, most Premier League clubs overlook their young graduates and instead spend multimillions of pounds on fully formed overseas stars. Facebook Topics Football Facebook Pinterest Twitter Twitter The provision is less sophisticated and holistic for boys who may have been in the academy system for years from infancy, their family lives dominated by travelling long distances to train during the week and play a match at weekends, only to be released at 16 or younger. The starkly unequal nature of British society and its national game means that these boys drop from multimillion-pound, plush youth development complexes back into the generally scrappy environs of the underfunded grassroots.Although the Football Association has set up its inquiry headed by Clive Sheldon QC into the sexual abuse now known to have blighted youth football in the past, there appears to be no thorough assessment of the mental and emotional impacts on young men dealt by the current industrialised academy system.The few academic studies based on limited access to clubs and young players have all produced serious concerns. Dr David Blakelock of Teesside University found in 2015 that 55% of players in his study were suffering “clinical levels of psychological distress” 21 days after being released. Himself previously a youth footballer with Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest, Blakelock says the academy experience can narrow young boys’ perspectives into an “athletic identity”, in which they see themselves almost wholly as footballers, so they can suffer “a loss of self-worth and confidence” when that is taken away. Share on Pinterest Chris Platts, whose 2012 doctorate for Chester University was based on questionnaires and interviews with 303 17- and 18‑year‑olds in 21 clubs’ academies, says only four have professional contracts now – a drop-out rate of 99%. Platts stresses that there are many well-intentioned, hardworking coaches and welfare officers, and regards the EPPP as a well-considered system, although he cautions that there is a quality gap between the Premier League and clubs lower down. His overriding concerns were that education was not taken seriously enough by many of the young men who believed they were within sight of being footballers, that despite the welfare programmes the academies were a high-pressure, “unreal” environment, and there was not enough support for players released.“The clubs have got huge resources and have children from young ages,” Platts says. “For those who leave, the whole process of the academy has had a huge impact on them as a human being, emotionally, psychologically and on their social development. When they are released, they are suddenly rushed into the normal world, and many struggle to cope with it.”In 2014 Alex Stephens, a former academy footballer from Willesden, north London, died aged 21 in an accident while on holiday with friends in Barcelona. His mother, Faye Stephens, says she felt Alex had at that time just “started to find happiness again” after being “a bit lost” following his release by Norwich City at 18, having endured some struggles in Watford’s academy from the age of 10.She says she appreciated the great benefits which serious football involvement gave her son, but that he suffered under the constant scrutiny of his performance and conduct. He developed anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, which she believes was exacerbated by the pressurised academy environment, and was unhappy away from home at Norwich from 16 to 18. After Norwich released him he went for trials, sustained an injury, then struggled for direction, his mother recalls, before starting a plumbing course, widening his circle of friends, and working towards becoming a DJ. Read more Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Cavalier cricket: when Bagenal Harvey brought stardust to the sport

first_imgIt was exactly 50 years ago this week that the MCC’s Advisory County Cricket Committee took a decision that they hoped might, as the Guardian’s John Arlott put it in a news story, “change the shape and mathematics of county cricket” forever. That, as it turned out, was a significant understatement.Their decision was to introduce, from the 1969 season onwards, a Sunday County League, with matches to be composed of two innings of no more than 40 overs. This, Arlott said, would “present the County game in a fresh way, which may well recall the deserters, attract new and regular spectators from an entire fresh (television) section of the population; and perhaps even achieve the financial solvency so lately tacitly regarded as impossible”. The only county to vote against the idea was Yorkshire, who eventually consented that they would fulfil fixtures on Sundays, though never at home. This form of the game was at the time known as “Cavalier cricket”. Share on Messenger Reuse this content Share on LinkedIn Ben Stokes bags £1.4m deal with Rajasthan Royals in IPL auction Read more Perth’s new stadium: west can still be best once teething problems are solved Cricket Read more Share via Email Sign up to the Spin – our weekly cricket round-up Share on WhatsApp The Cavaliers were a premonition both of the kind of star-studded limited-overs franchise cricket now globally prevalent and of the rise of the sporting super-agent, having been the brainchild of a certain Bagenal Harvey. In Jimmy Greaves’ autobiography the former England striker, briefly a client of Harvey, colourfully describes him as “a dapper man, a gentleman of impeccable manners who often wore a worsted jacket and an open-necked shirt from which billowed a red cravat like a June rose”. He has gone down in history as sport’s first agent, having made his name in the late 1940s by landing a £1,000-a-year contract for Denis Compton to advertise Brylcreem; from there he assembled a bulging roster of Britain’s finest sporting talent of the day, all of whom wanted a slice of that kind of action.In December 1968 Harvey was discussed at a meeting of the Football Association council, where he was described as being “harmful to the game” (when the comments were reported in the press, Harvey successfully sued the FA for libel). There was, we reported, “some disquiet inside the governing bodies of various sports that wherever they turn they meet a Bagenal Harvey face”. Not only did he represent leading figures from cricket, football and athletics. He also negotiated for several television and radio presenters, was involved with Wimbledon and worked with a handful of big-name journalists, including Arlott. He had his finger in every available mid-60s pie. During the battle to end football’s maximum wage Jimmy Hill was working from his offices and, when he won that battle, Fulham’s Johnny Haynes was the first great beneficiary, instantly quintupling his wages – and Harvey represented him as well. Share on Twitter Since you’re here… Share on Facebook Read more … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. features The Cavaliers were born of a conversation Harvey had with one of his clients, Ted Dexter. In the early 60s he had found a sponsor, Rothman’s cigarettes, who were keen on promoting high-profile Sunday matches, and the BBC were interested in broadcasting them – but only if there was a guarantee that play would be finished by 6pm. It was Dexter who created the rules that allowed this to happen – limited overs and restricted run-ups – and Harvey then assembled a roster of talent impressive enough to beguile cricket fans.International stars, emerging youngsters and high-profile Englishmen, frustrated by a lifetime spent, in Dexter’s words, “travelling 150 miles to play in front of two men and a dog at some obscure outpost of cricket’s over-expanded empire”, signed up to spend their day off with the team (though the money also helped). “We had such an amazing side,” Dexter said. “Sobers, Compton, Graeme Pollock – I was only able to creep in at No6 or seven.” Wherever they played, five-figure crowds flocked to witness them. “When we went to Lord’s for the first time we told them to be ready, there’d be a big crowd,” Dexter recalled. “They said, ‘No, no there won’t.’ They’d sold out of everything by 12. We took the place by storm.”They broke new ground not just in the format of cricket but also its broadcasting. Arlott and Learie Constantine commentated; Frank Bough (no prizes for guessing who his agent was) presented. In one match Richie Benaud and Compton wore radio mikes linked to the commentary box. The counties watched their success enviously and eventually decided to drive them out of business and keep the money they were making for themselves. On 1 February 1968 they made their move. Topics Twenty20 The Spin Share on Pinterest The new competition would, MCC promised, allow players to earn “far more than they have previously enjoyed”. They would be paid a minimum of £6 10s (adjusting for inflation, about £107) per game, rising to £11 (£180) if they won, plus prize money and bonuses for the competition’s top performers. Rothman’s, having put their money behind the Cavaliers, said they hoped that “the MCC will come to us and give us first refusal” on sponsorship for the new competition; the counties instead signed a deal with their rivals, John Player, worth £60,000 a year (very nearly £1m in today’s money).The Cavaliers vowed to play on, even suggesting they might compete as a regular member of the new Sunday league, so the counties pressed the nuclear button. English players registered with first-class or minor counties were forbidden from taking part in televised matches without permission; agents were banned; the idea of the Cavaliers joining the league was dismissed; and a deal was signed with the Cavaliers’ own broadcast partners, the BBC, pushing them off the airwaves.“Thus the International Cavaliers, who have become the symbol of Sunday afternoon cricket, Rothmans, who sponsor them, and the Bagenal Harvey Organisation, who administer them, were virtually made illegal,” the Guardian reported, these moves coming despite the fact that “they alone succeeded in creating fresh interest, entertainment and revenue in post-war cricket.” They fought on through the first summer of the Sunday League, in 1969, and disbanded the following year. Where Harvey had led, other agents followed and flourished. He died in 1987, virtually forgotten; his passing was not mentioned in the Guardian.As the world’s leading limited-overs specialists come to terms with the lucrative deals they have just been handed to compete in this year’s IPL, and half a century after the English game moved to sideline him permanently, it is perhaps appropriate to give some measure of thanks to the man who first set cricket on this lucrative path. But though Harvey never had any trouble arousing intense emotions among those governing the game, somehow gratitude was never one of them.This is an extract taken from The Spin, the Guardian’s weekly cricket email. To subscribe, just visit this page and follow the instructions IPL Support The Guardianlast_img read more

‘It’s not like I wanted to miss’ – Danny Welbeck hits back after Arsenal win

first_imgShare on Pinterest Reuse this content Read more Danny Welbeck Share via Email “In professional football, there are always going to be critics,” said Welbeck, who also created Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opener. “You see people are criticising Cristiano Ronaldo and he’s at the pinnacle. Every day in every single walk of life, you can do something good and people will have something bad to say about you. You just get on with it and do your job as best you can.”As Meat Loaf’s song said, “Two out of three ain’t bad” – and Welbeck duly made no apology for refusing to beat himself up over his failure to make the most of an opening conjured by Alex Iwobi and Jack Wilshere. “It isn’t like I wanted to miss,” Welbeck said. “I just couldn’t stretch enough to get there – but that’s football.“In your mindset you just have to know there’s going to be another opportunity and you have to keep focused. I’ve been through much tougher stuff than that. So it’s nothing. You just have to keep your mindset strong.”After missing more games than he cares to remember in the wake of serious injuries to both knees sustained between May 2015 and January 2017, Welbeck has scored nine goals this season, his best return since the 2013-14 campaign.“Danny is getting sharper and has slowly come back to his best,” Arsène Wenger, Arsenal’s manager, said. “He had every reason to feel sorry for himself and think that this mountain was too big for him to climb but he worked hard with people questioning him. It’s the most difficult test for a sports person. What he has done is exemplary.”With a knee injury prompting Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s absence from Wenger’s side for the Europa League quarter-final second leg at CSKA Moscow on Thursday night, Welbeck is likely to start in Russia as Arsenal aim to extend their 4-1 first-leg lead.“As you’ve seen I can play with Pierre [Aubameyang] and Lac [Alexandre Lacazette],” he said. “It’s nice. The competition for places gives you that added motivation to improve and better yourself. I’ve had it my whole career. It’s healthy but I know I can link up with plenty of players in this team.”Like Wenger he will always have his critics but, right now, Welbeck feels the north London horizon is bright enough to quite possibly help him ensure a successful return to Russia in England colours this June. “I’ve been through seasons where I’ve not played a lot of games and its been difficult due to injuries and stuff like that,” he said. “But that’s past, that’s gone.“I’m looking forward now. I just want to carry on progressing and improving. That’s my mindset. It’s fully focused on Arsenal at the moment. The England stuff will take care of itself.” Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter Share on Facebookcenter_img Arsenal Share on LinkedIn Danny Welbeck has learned to deflect criticism and is no longer overly influenced by those who wonder whether he really belongs at the highest level of club and international football.The Arsenal and England forward confounded the doubters by scoring twice in his club’s 3-2 home win against Southampton on Sunday but somehow spurned a three-yard sitter that looked a strong candidate for “miss of the season”. features Share on Messenger Topics Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck atones for horror miss and sinks Southamptonlast_img read more

Wimbledon diary: Feliciano López reveals secret of playing long game

first_img … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Wimbledon 2018: Wozniacki out, Federer and Williams sisters win – as it happened Share via Email Andre Agassi: ‘Novak Djokovic wouldn’t listen to my advice’ Since you’re here… Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp López’s milk barWhat is the secret to eternal life? Or, at least, the tennis equivalent: taking part in every grand slam tournament for the past 16 years? Feliciano López knows, the 36-year-old having now appeared in 66 consecutive majors since his debut at the French Open in 2002. That’s a record – one formerly belonging to Roger Federer – so when López shares his tips on a long career, you tend to listen. Even when it’s a bit weird. Take López’s diet tips, for example: “I don’t drink Coke. I don’t eat bread and I don’t drink milk.” And as for avoiding injury, the Spaniard says the secret is not to try too hard. “I don’t play many rallies. Also, I play quite easy, so I don’t make a huge effort in every single shot I play.” This sporting longevity lark sounds a doddle. Read more Share on Twitter Share on Messenger Topics Read more Wimbledon 2018 features Tim still king of the hillOf all the topics doing the rounds at the grounds, from protected seeding to slipping on court, one burns hotter than all the rest: what to call that slope out the back of Centre Court? Once known as Henman Hill, its name was changed to Murray Mount or Mound if you prefer. But with neither player here this year, shouldn’t it be called something else? “Can we have something named after a woman?” asks Lucy Cartwright, sitting on that very hill. How about Konta’s Contour, the Diary humbly suggests. “That’s awful,” says Lucy’s mum Judy. OK, how about Edmund’s Edge? Nothing. Knoll Edmund? Silence. “It will always be Henman Hill!” chips in a fiery Julie Hallwood from another picnic blanket. And that, for now, puts the matter to rest.Sam serves up sledgeSpeaking of Britain’s best hope, Johanna Konta followed up her win against Natalia Vikhlyantseva with a long press conference discussion about baked goods and an insistence she will “stay my own biggest fan”. You understand what might have prompted such a remark when you see what some Australians have to say about the player who was born in Sydney and lived in the country until she was a teenager. One such Aussie is the player Sam Groth, who holds the record for the fastest ever serve and did not hold back when talking about Konta recently on The First Serve podcast. “She’s got the strongest English accent of anyone I’ve ever heard who hasn’t lived in the country,” he said. Support The Guardian Tennis’s forgotten cousin, croquetA new exhibition is designed to raise awareness of the All England Club’s forgotten cousin, croquet. Yes, the sport whose technical lexicon includes the “hong kong” (when your opponent’s ball goes out of bounds) and an “Aunt Emma” (describing a player who sets out to frustrate their opponent),The sport was the first to be played on the lawns of the All England Club in 1869, six years before the first tennis match. The story of croquet is long and glorious and nothing much happens after 1904, but suffice to say tennis gradually outgrew its original landlord. If you want to find out more and are on-site, head to the basement of the Wimbledon museum. Given that you will likely have the place to yourself, it’s also a nice place to chill out. Share on LinkedIn Wimbledon Tennis Share on Facebook Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Harry Kane talks of pride as he is confirmed Golden Boot winner

first_imgTwo of his goals against Panama came from penalties as the Central American side were punished for ill discipline and a third deflected in off his heel following a Ruben Loftus‑Cheek strike.Kane expressed disappointment he was not able to score in England’s final three games but was celebrating the achievement. “It’s been a fantastic campaign for me personally and the team as well,” the England captain said. “But there’s still stuff I can improve on. Obviously I can get better. England’s Harry Kane wins World Cup 2018 Golden Boot after scoring six goals Read more Share on Messenger Harry Kane news Harry Kane says he has now proved he can perform on every major stage in football after winning the World Cup Golden Boot. The 24-year-old scored six goals at Russia 2018, holding off competition from Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku and France’s Kylian Mbappé among others to win the trophy. “I feel like there have been games in this tournament when I could have done better but that’s all part of the learning curve.”Kane has flown home but expects Fifa to send the trophy to him. He will store it at his home in London alongside his two Premier League golden boot accolades from the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. “It will go with the other two, the Premier League ones,” he said. “It’s a big achievement. Not many people get to say they’ve won a Golden Boot at a World Cup. I’m sure they’ll send it to me in a nice secure package.”Meanwhile John Stones says he will watch England’s seven games in Russia back in full. The Manchester City defender was one of England’s standout performers and was singled out for praise by Gareth Southgate after his performance against Belgium in the third-place play-off. But he was in a self-analytical mood afterwards, reflecting on his header which was saved in extra time in the semi-final against Croatia as well as allowing Mario Mandzukic to sneak in behind him for the winner.“I could have done better in a lot of things,” he said. “If that header against Croatia had been two feet closer – things like that. In any situation, making a misplaced pass, it’s difficult because if you make a misplaced pass teams are so good now they invariably punish you, so you study everything little thing. Share on Pinterest 17 things we learned from Russia 2018 – World Cup review Share on LinkedIn “Look at Belgium,” he said. “Their counterattacking was frightening at times. I wouldn’t like to come up against that every week. I am self-critical but I don’t want to be too negative about the whole tournament. There are ifs and buts in any field of life. We should be so positive after this experience. How we have been is the way forward for England. We will take all the good things out of it. Everyone has enjoyed it, coming up against teams who are not easy to play against.“We never underestimated anyone and knew that every team had their own qualities,” he added. “Some were defensively solid, others had a great set piece; in the main we dealt with those moments. We set a lot of markers and should be really proud of that.” Share via Emailcenter_img Share on WhatsApp World Cup Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Kane scored five of his six goals in the group stages, including a hat-trick in England’s 6-1 rout of Panama. He said that after the disappointment of Euro 2016, when he failed to score and the team crashed out against Iceland, it was a welcome tonic.“I said before coming into this tournament that I wanted to prove I could do it on these stages,” Kane said. “The Euros were disappointing. If anything I wanted to prove to myself I could score at this level. I’ve scored at every other level and it was important I did that.“I’m extremely proud and I’m sure I’ll look back in a few weeks’ time and take all these experiences in. It’s hard to do that now because we are still disappointed.”The award puts Kane in exalted company, with Eusébio, Garrincha and the Brazilian Ronaldo among the previous winners of the Golden Boot. He demonstrated a lethal instinct in front of goal in England’s opening game against Tunisia with two goals including a stoppage-time header which played a vital part in the team advancing from the group. England World Cup Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. World Cup 2018 Topics Read more Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Lewis Hamilton soars in Singapore but Sergio Pérez plumbs the depths

first_imgFerrari found wantingA weekend that had begun with such optimism for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari ended with the team and driver bearing the demeanour of the defeated. They should have done better. Vettel had hit the wall in FP2, ending his session. He insisted it made no difference to his preparation but crucially second practice was the only one run in exactly the same night conditions as qualifying. Lewis Hamilton pointedly noted that small events have ramifications and he was right. The race might have been different had Vettel been on pole but, forced to go aggressive, Ferrari’s strategy failed. The undercut did not work, he hit traffic and he was on the wrong tyre – losing second to Max Verstappen. The title looks as if it has gone and the Scuderia increasingly appear to need a comprehensive overhaul. Vettel can deliver but he needs the car and sharp minds on the pit wall that have been missing of late. … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Read more Support The Guardian Share on Twitter Hamilton takes the breath awayHamilton has put in some extraordinary performances to take the 40-point lead he now enjoys over Vettel. He has been open in his desire to improve his qualifying and he proved in the wet in Hungary and Belgium just how well it has gone. But nothing has quite demonstrated his mastery of the single lap as the run in Singapore. Mercedes had done well to improve their car’s performance on what was considered a bogey track for the team but nothing prepared them for where Hamilton took their machinery. Pete Bonnington, his race engineer, summed up the remarkable reaction in the garage as Hamilton pumped in a series of unprecedented sector times. “You were impressed by the silence,” he said. “There wasn’t a lot of jumping. It was a lot of jaws hitting the floor, to see a gap like that.” The superlatives flowed deservedly and bear repeating – this was a driver on a different level altogether.Pérez makes for painful viewingForce India’s Esteban Ocon can be forgiven for questioning the slings and arrows as he contemplates what is looking almost certain to be a future out of F1 next season, while his teammate Sergio Pérez retains his drive. On the evidence of Singapore, a ride justified largely by the backing he brings. Pérez opened poorly, squeezing his teammate into the wall at turn three. The Mexican protested his innocence and the stewards deemed it a racing incident. The team principal, Otmar Szafnauer, however squarely blamed Pérez. “There wasn’t any room, Checo [Pérez] should have given him room and Checo had plenty of room,” he said. Worse followed as, frustrated at being held up by the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin, he swerved into the Russian between turns 17 and 18. He was given a drive through penalty but it could have been worse. As a showcase for the “pinnacle of motorsport” this was a pitiful display. Motor sport Lewis Hamilton ‘going from strength to strength’ after Singapore F1 win Formula One 2018 Share on Facebook Formula One Topics Sportblog Share on Messenger Share on Pinterest Max has mighty meeting /sport/2017/may/15/the-recap-sign-up-for-the-best-of-the-guardians-sport-coverage Perhaps overshadowed by Hamilton’s superlative weekend, Max Verstappen put in a performance to remind everyone of just how good he can be when his judgment is spot on. He was suffering with engine mapping problems all weekend but drove an exceptional lap to take second on the grid, three-tenths up on Vettel. In the race he matched it. Vettel came at him off the start and, when the German made a superb move round the outside of turn seven on the opening lap, there was no clumsy defence. Verstappen gave him just enough room to make it and to Vettel’s credit he did. The Dutchman stayed focused, however, and pumped in the laps to ensure he was in front again after his pitstop. With track position he flew ahead and secured a fine second place. This was the performance that underlines his potential future world champion credentials and a world away from biffing Valtteri Bottas at Monza.New cars by dope demandF1’s sporting director, Ross Brawn, made the schoolboy error of showing the proposed designs for 2021’s new cars to a behind closed-doors seminar in Singapore, forgetting of course that the pictures would be captured on phones and posted all over social media soon after. The concepts were promptly expanded on to give the pictures some context, with Brawn emphasising the aim of allowing the cars to race. The designs he believed would enable cars to lose only 20% of downforce when in proximity to one another. One featured the 18-inch wheels that are part of the future tyre tender for F1. The front wings are simpler and the sidepods less complicated. More simply, they were also designed to look more exciting. Hamilton approved, suggesting if this is the future he may well race on past 2020. “This shit looks dope,” he wrote on Instagram. “I’m definitely going to be driving if cars look like this.” Since you’re here… Share on WhatsApp Share on LinkedIn features Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. Share via Email Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Krzysztof Piatek’s glorious run goes on as Genoa swat aside Chievo

first_imgThank you for your feedback. 8Genoa5-19 Twitter Genoa’s Krzysztof Piatek celebrates after scoring against Lazio. Photograph: Angelo Carconi/EPA Share on WhatsApp 17Bologna6-54 Pinterest PosTeamPGDPts 3Lazio6312 12Atalanta616 Italian football is running out of precedents. By scoring in the sixth minute of his Serie A debut, at home to Empoli, he became the fastest foreigner to open his account in the division since Luis Vinicio for Napoli in 1955. Piatek has as many goals as Andriy Shevchenko did at the equivalent stage of his first Serie A season but, unlike the Ukrainian, has struck in every match.His latest victims were Chievo on Wednesday. Piatek opened the scoring in the 42nd minute, but you could feel the goal coming long before. In the 22nd minute, he took a pass from Goran Pandev and shot over from the edge of the D. Soon after, he bullied a defender off a bouncing ball, pivoted away from two more and crashed a low shot against the post.Piatek appeared incredulous at the ball’s refusal to go in. He would be even more so at a decision by the referee, Fabrizio Pasqua, to book him for simulation after the striker appeared to be fouled by Luca Rossettini in the box.None of it mattered. With half-time approaching, Darko Lazovic launched a forceful dribble down the left. Four Chievo defenders were caught ball-watching. Piatek, noting that his marker was one of them, halted his own run and waited for the space to create itself. A cut-back duly arrived, and he took a touch to help the ball across his body before finishing right-footed into the far corner. Inter 2-1 Fiorentina, Udinese 1-2 Lazio, Atalanta 0-0 Torino, Cagliari 0-0 Sampdoria, Genoa 2-0 Chievo, Juventus 2-0 Bologna, Napoli 3-0 Parma, Roma 4-0 Frosinone 13Torino6-26 Facebook Was this helpful? Photograph: Marco Bertorello/AFP Share on Pinterest Serie A Hide Such cool-headed opportunism has been Piatek’s calling card in Serie A. These are early days yet, and not even he might predict that his current strike rate can endure, but his poacher’s instincts are clear.Several of his goals have come from outside the box but none have required more than three touches. That is because he has often done the hard work already, either by forcing defenders into mistakes or simply by recognising the errors that they are about to make and putting himself in position to take advantage.“On the pitch I think constantly about how a move could develop, where I need to position myself to receive a pass,” Piatek told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Often it plays out that way for real. In Italy there was a striker who seemed to draw the ball to him: [Pippo] Inzaghi. I would like to be the same way.”He insisted in the same interview that he had not been surprised by his own fast start. “I only have one target: to score goals in every game,” Piatek continued. “That doesn’t mean I have to succeed every time, it’s just the mentality with which I want to step onto the pitch for each match.”As a kid he had posters of the Brazilian Ronaldo on his wall, though curiously another of his idols is now playing alongside him at Genoa. Piatek’s favourite team to play on Fifa was the treble-winning Inter side in which Pandev played a supporting role to Diego Milito and Samuel Eto’o. Now the Macedonian serves as the wise old head in an otherwise youthful Genoa attack.The formation preferred by manager Davide Ballardini so far this season has been a 3-4-1-2, with Pandev in the No 10 role. Piatek has started every game up front, and alongside him on Wednesday was Christian Kouamé, a 20-year-old Ivorian with pace to burn. The success of their partnership has thus far restricted the 21-year-old Italian Andrea Favilli to just a single substitute’s appearance, but he produced two assists in his 45 minutes on the pitch against Sassuolo.It was Pandev who sealed the win for Genoa on Wednesday, producing what Italians sometimes refer to as “un biliardo” – literally, a billiards shot – aimed with gentle spin along the floor and through a crowd of defenders into the bottom corner of the net. The game ended 2-0, raising Genoa to a share of seventh place with a game in hand.They are not kidding themselves about the season’s ambitions. This team has plenty of flaws – exploited vividly during defeats to Lazio and Sassuolo in which they conceded a combined nine goals. Their first target is simply to avoid relegation.A prolific Piatek can go a long way in that regard. The striker has explained his goal celebration, in which he uses his hands to mimic pistols held across his chest, as a reference to the lexicon of Polish football – where strikers are often likened to gunslingers. For followers of Italian football, it carries echoes of Gabriel Batistuta and his famous machine gun.Piatek has a very long way to go yet before he could be compared to Batigol. Then again, perhaps there is no need to draw parallels for a striker who is already scoring goals at a rate that nobody else in the division can match.Talking points (to follow)• I’m not sure anyone still cares for statistical evidence of Juventus’s domestic hegemony buy, hey, this is now the first time since 1930 that they have won seven consecutive games to start a Serie A season. More significant, with Saturday’s game against Napoli looming into view, is that Paulo Dybala opened his account for this campaign, and for the first time looked like he was working out how to play with Cristiano Ronaldo. • Napoli were brilliant as they dispatched Parma 3-0 – all the more impressive when you consider they had changed 9 out of 11 players from the team that beat Torino 3-1 on Sunday. Carlo Ancelotti is showing his team they can rotate and win, and his decision to shift Lorenzo Insigne into a more central role as a second striker is also paying dividends. • Three wins in a week for Inter. Corner turned? I’m not convinced – with better finishing Fiorentina might have won and Stefano Pioli’s team played the more engaging football. But there is a confidence and aggression that was missing previously.• An emphatic and much-needed win for Roma. A gorgeous strike by Cengiz Under. Another backheel goal by Javier Pastore. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This Frosinone team have no wins, no goals scored, and 16 conceded after just six games. 15AC Milan405 5Sassuolo5410 1Juventus6918 2Napoli6515 Share on Twitter Share on Facebookcenter_img 9Sampdoria668 11Udinese618 20Chievo6-10-1 14Cagliari6-36 16Empoli5-24 10Roma628 7SPAL509 Reuse this content Share on Messenger 19Frosinone6-161 Krzysztof Piatek did not require any act of misdirection to save himself from getting mobbed at the airport when he arrived for his medical at Genoa this summer. There was no need to keep travel plans secret, or to wait until everyone was busy watching the World Cup final.Why would there be? This was not another Cristiano Ronaldo arriving to upend Italian football, but an uncapped striker one month away from his 23rd birthday. At €4.5m, Piatek was only Genoa’s fifth-most expensive signing of the summer.So far, though, he it outscoring the Portuguese by two to one. On Wednesday night, the Rossoblu played their fifth league game of the season, and Piatek grabbed his sixth goal. He is the first Genoa player to find the net in five consecutive games to start a top-flight campaign. Throw in the four strikes he piled up in a Coppa Italia rout of Lecce, and Piatek has already hit double figures. Quick guide Serie A results 4Fiorentina6710 European club football 6Inter Milan6310 Paul Pogba: which clubs could offer him escape from Manchester United? Topics Genoa Show Share on LinkedIn Read more features 18Parma6-22 Share via Emaillast_img read more

Sport on TV this week: the highlights for UK viewers

first_imgShare on Pinterest … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Vallecano head to Barça. Photograph: Alejandro García/EPA Since you’re here… Twitter Chievo v Milan – Serie A, 7.30pm (Premier Sports 1)New Zealand v Bangladesh – second Test, 9.55pm (Sky Sports Cricket)SundaySouth Africa v Sri Lanka – third ODI, 8am (Sky Sports Cricket)Bologna v Cagliari – Serie A, 11.30am (Premier Sports 1)Liverpool v Burnley – Premier League, 12pm (BT Sport 1 or BT Sport 4K UHD)Birmingham City v Aston Villa – Championship, 12pm (Sky Sports Football or Main Event)Internazionale v Spal – Serie A, 2pm (FreeSports)Chelsea v Wolves – Premier League, 2.05pm (Sky Sports Premier League or Main Event or Ultra HD)Hoffenheim v Nürnberg – Bundesliga, 2.30pm (BT Sport 1)Ireland v France – Six Nations (3pm, ITV 1)Girona v Valencia – La Liga, 3.15pm (Premier Sports 1)Rennes v Caen – Ligue 1, 4pm (BT Sport 3)Arsenal v Manchester United – Premier League, 4.30pm (Sky Sports Premier League or Main Event or Ultra HD)Hannover v Bayer Leverkusen – Bundesliga, 5pm (BT Sport 1)Sassuolo v Napoli – Serie A, 5pm (Premier Sports 2)Sevilla v Real Sociedad – La Liga, 5.30pm (Premier Sports 1)Players’ Championship Snooker – 6.45pm (ITV 4)Fiorentina v Lazio – Serie A, 7.30pm (FreeSports)Real Valladolid v Real Madrid – La Liga, 7.45pm (Premier Sports 1)Marseille v Nice – Ligue 1, 8pm (BT Sport 1)New Zealand v Bangladesh – second Test, 9.55pm (Sky Sports Cricket) Sport (All times GMT)MondayPartick Thistle v Hearts – Scottish Cup quarter-final, 7.05pm (BBC Scotland)Sheffield Wednesday v Sheffield United – Championship, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football or Main Event)Severn Stars v Saracens Mavericks – Netball Superleague, 6.45pm (Sky Sports Action, Mix)Leganés v Levante – La Liga, 8pm (Eleven Sports 1 or Premier Sports 1)TuesdayNetherlands v Germany – Men’s FIH Hockey Pro League , 5.45pm (BT Sport 1)West Indies v England – International T20 cricket, 6pm (Sky Sports Main Event)Derby County v Wigan Athletic – Championship, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Red Button)Borussia Dortmund v Tottenham Hotspur – Champions League last 16, second leg, 8pm (BT Sport 2 or 4K UHD)Real Madrid v Ajax – Champions League last 16, second leg, 8pm (BT Sport 3)Japan Women v England Women – SheBelieves Cup, 10pm (BBC Four) Pinterest New Zealand and Bangladesh meet at the Basin Reserve. Photograph: Michael Bradley/AFP/Getty Images Facebook Facebook features Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Share on Twittercenter_img Share on Facebook Share on Messenger Twitter Share on LinkedIn WednesdayChina v Germany – Women’s FIH Hockey Pro League, 7am (BT Sport 1)South Africa v Sri Lanka – second ODI, 11am (Sky Sports Main Event)WTA Tennis – Indian Wells, 7pm (BT Sport 1)PSG v Man Utd – Champions League last 16, second leg, 8pm (BT Sport 2 or 4K UHD)Porto v Roma – Champions League last 16, second leg, 8pm (BT Sport 3)ThursdayQatar Masters Tennis – 7.30am (Sky Sports Main Event)Rennes v Arsenal – Europa League last 16, first leg, 5.55pm (BT Sport 3)Premier League Darts – Aberdeen, 7pm (Sky Sports Main Event)Warrington Wolves v Castleford Tigers – Super League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Arena)Chelsea v Dynamo Kyiv – Europa League last 16, first leg, 8pm (BT Sport 2 or 4K UHD)Valencia v FC Krasnodar – Europa League last 16, first leg, 8pm (BT Sport 3)Napoli v RB Salzburg – Europa League last 16, first leg, 8pm (BT Sport ESPN)New Zealand v Bangladesh – second Test, 9.55pm (Sky Sports Cricket) Support The Guardian Topics Pinterest Share via Email Facebook England take on Japan in Tampa. Photograph: Lynne Cameron for The FA/Rex/Shutterstock Twitter FridayNew Zealand v USA – Women’s FIH Hockey Pro League, 5am (BT Sport 3)New Zealand v Spain – Men’s FIH Hockey Pro League, 7am (BT Sport 3)Anthony Yarde v Travis Reeves – boxing, 7.30pm (BT Sport 1)Werder Bremen v Schalke – Bundesliga, 7.30pm (BT Sport Extra 4)Juventus v Udinese – Serie A, 7.30pm (Premier Sports 1)Hibernian v Rangers – Scottish Premiership, 7.45pm (BT Sport 2 or Sport Extra 1)Norwich City v Swansea City – Championship, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football or Main EventNew Zealand v Bangladesh – second Test, 9.55pm (Sky Sports Cricket)SaturdayCrystal Palace v Brighton – Premier League, 12.30pm (Sky Sports Premier League or Main Event or Ultra HD)Scotland v Wales – Six Nations, 2.15pm (BBC 1)England v Italy – Six Nations, 4.45pm (ITV 1)Manchester City v Watford – Premier League, 5.30pm (BT Sport 1 or 4K UHD)Mainz v Borussia Mönchengladbach – Bundesliga, 5.30pm (BT Sport 3)Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano – La Liga, 5.30pm (Premier Sports 1) Reuse this contentlast_img read more

From League Two to the World Cup – Morsy’s amazing story

first_imgWorld Cup From League Two to the World Cup – the remarkable rise of Egypt star Morsy Peter Staunton Click here to see more stories from this author Chief Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 23:49 6/6/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Sam Morsy Egypt James Rodriguez Colombia Getty Images World Cup Egypt v Uruguay Uruguay Egypt Opinion The Wigan captain helped his team earn promotion to the Championship this year and his remarkable journey now takes in a World Cup with Egypt Last Friday, Wigan’s Sam Morsy took his place in the Egypt line-up opposite James Rodriguez, Colombia’s Champions League-winning midfielder in a pre-World Cup friendly in Bergamo.Four years ago, Rodriguez stood on the brink of becoming the most-talked about young player on the planet. His talents were already well known but his six goals at the 2014 tournament in Brazil were about to send him Galactic.That summer his exploits for the national team – including a remarkable swivel volley against Uruguay – earned him a transfer to Real Madrid from Monaco and set him on the path to superstardom. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Sam Morsy would have been feeling pretty chuffed that summer too; for he had just helped Chesterfield gain promotion from the fourth tier of English football to the third. He earned their player of the year honour into the bargain.As far as contrasts go, those are pretty dramatic. But, on Friday, Rodriguez and Morsy stood as equals. When, on Monday, the midfielder was named in Hector Cuper’s final 23 for Russia 2018, his remarkable journey took another turn. There are plenty of talented players in the Egypt squad – Morsy among them – but few who can give the team what he can from the centre of midfield. He is schooled in the hard-knocks of the British game and will boast a wildly different football upbringing than his national team colleagues.“I’m competing with some good players,” he tells Goal. “I’d like to see myself as a tenacious ball-winning midfielder but also I like to get on the ball, start attacks from deep. The system we play I’ve had success. It suits me down to the ground. I got the opportunity to show the manager what I can do.”Born in Wolverhampton to an English mother and Egyptian father, Morsy studied in the Wolves academy before being let go as a teenager. He would have to tumble back to the bottom of the pyramid – with Port Vale in League Two – in order to get back to the level he belonged.It’s fair to say that Morsy was an outside bet for international honours in either of his countries’ colours while negotiating his way through the bottom divisions of English football.But the football world has become a much smaller place as a result of technological innovations and through a professional scouting and analysis platform the Egyptian FA began their tracking of Morsy.In the summer of 2016 he answered the call from his father’s homeland, making his debut in a friendly that August against Guinea in Borg al Arab.Sam Morsy Egypt Wigan“They knew about me for a while,” he says. “They had been watching the games and watching my performances.“It’s very easy to access performances now. They were happy with me and since then I’ve been involved in many of the camps.”He had signed for Wigan from Chesterfield in January 2016 and the day after his international debut he was to join Barnsley on loan. Back to the grind.Morsy’s road to Russia may have a few more outposts on it than your average World Cup star but it is testament to his hard work, his tenacity and drive. Those are exactly the kind of characteristics that appealed to Cuper, Egypt’s Argentine head coach.And this year all that effort – and Morsy’s relentlessness – paid off.After suffering relegation from the Championship the season before, Wigan are back. They were promoted as champions of League One and Morsy inspired the team from midfield as captain.“The manager [Paul Cook] came in and he’s brought his own staff in and they have a set way of playing which suits the players,” says Morsy. “At times it was working like clockwork. It’s a really great team to be a part of and a great team spirit and that showed with the results on the pitch as well.“We’ve got a great team spirit and obviously we’ve got very good players and that coincided with winning the league as well and having a really good FA Cup run.”Wigan beat Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the FA Cup fifth round although Morsy didn’t play that night. He was suspended for a 10th booking; not an uncommon occurrence for a player unafraid to put in a tackle.“The squad’s stronger this time around and I feel the manager is a lot better this time around,” he says. “With the new investment in the club, we’ll be giving it a real good go next season.”His caps total for Egypt might not have grown much in the two years or so since his debut – the 0-0 draw with Colombia made it four – but he has stayed in and around the national team picture.And his capacity for maintaining his place in the picture could not have been timed better. He could have played for Egypt any time over the past 28 years and not made a World Cup. Egypt have suffered; they have been miles off and there have been near misses. As they stacked up the Africa Cup of Nations titles, qualification to the World Cup stubbornly refused to bend to their will.But Morsy was there that night last October – just outside Alexandria – when Mohamed Salah secured Egypt’s place at the finals for the first time in a generation. It sparked jubilation; a once-in-a-lifetime moment that every single Egyptian wanted to be part of.Egypt celebrations Congo“All my Dad’s side of the family are still there,” says Morsy. “I’m regularly speaking to my cousins and my uncles about it.“In the lead up when we were a couple of games away and we were doing well they were telling me how much it meant. Qualifying is like winning the World Cup final. It’s been such a long time. We’ve had to wait so long and now it’s finally here.”Salah had scored the first goal against Congo in a game Egypt had to win to guarantee their passage to the draw in Moscow that December. When the visitors sprung an equaliser with four minutes to play, it would be easy to forgive Egypt for thinking that yet again destiny was against them. Out of the blue though Salah got his penalty and stroked it calmly home.When Congo drew level, Egypt were immediately worried about going away to Ghana and having to get a result. Instead the 2-1 victory took the pressure off and gave Morsy the opportunity to gain his first competitive experience on the field.“The manager made a lot of changes so it was a really respectable result and it was a good performance,” he says.“The weather was crazy, the humidity was crazy. It gave me a lot of confidence that the manager played me in this game.“It was a game I really enjoyed and hopefully getting my game I’m earning more of the manager’s trust.“That’s what it’s all about especially at international level with a large pool of players and the manager has to be able to trust you to do the job he wants you to do.”Morsy then has completed one of the most remarkable tales of any player at the World Cup. James Rodriguez doesn’t have Port Vale, Chesterfield and Barnsley on his CV; but Sam Morsy does and he can be proud of it. He’s just had the season of his life and, on the brink of the World Cup, the best is yet to come.“It’s been an amazing season,” he says. “It’s something which has been a long time coming. To be a part of that, to see that, to see what it means to the people of Egypt, and to the players, the staff, it’s been amazing.“We’re all looking forward to Russia now and will give a really good account of ourselves.”last_img read more


first_imgDAY 2 ALL NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIPS Here are all the results from day two of the All Nations Championships in New Zealand. These results will be updated regularly throughout the day as results come to hand from TouchNZ. Christchurch weather for today: Maximum 26 degrees, low 11 degrees. For all the results please click here: ***************************************************************** MENS OPEN: Round 4 New Zealand (14) def Fiji (1) Australia (13) def England (1) New Zealand Maori (15) def Niue (1) Cook Islands (14) def Tonga (2) Round 5 Australia (7) def New Zealand (6) Fiji (11) def Niue (2) Cook Islands (9) def England (4) New Zealand Maori (7) def Tonga (3) ***************************************************************** WOMENS OPEN: Round 3 New Zealand (20) def Singapore (0) Australia (14) def Cook Islands (1) New Zealand Maori (14) def England (2) Niue- Bye Round 4 Australia (7) def New Zealand (2) New Zealand Maori (14) def Singapore (0) England (2) def Niue (1) Cook Islands- Bye Round 5 New Zealand (6) def New Zealand Maori (1) Singapore (6) def Niue (3) Cook Islands (4) def England (2) Australia- Bye ***************************************************************** MIXED OPEN: Round 4 New Zealand (6) def Australia (4) Singapore (4) def Scotland (3) Samoa (8) def Cook Islands (2) Niue (11) def Thailand (3) Round 5 New Zealand (10) def Singapore (0) Australia (17) def Cook Islands (0) Niue (14) def Scotland (2) Samoa (9) def Thailand (3) ***************************************************************** MENS 30’s: Round 4 Australia (7) def New Zealand (4) Samoa (7) def USA (1) Cook Islands (7) def Fiji (6) Wales- Bye Round 5 New Zealand (7) def Samoa (3) USA (5) def Fiji (4) Cook Islands (12) def Wales (1) Australia- Bye ***************************************************************** WOMENS 30’s/35’s: Round 2 New Zealand 30 (14) def Cook Island 35 (0) New Zealand 35 (2) def Oceania 35 (0) Australia 30 (3) def Australia 35 (0) Round 3 New Zealand 30 (6) def Oceania 35 (1) Australia 30 (5) def Cook Island 35 (0) Australia 35 (8) def New Zealand 35 (2) ***************************************************************** MIXED 30’s: Round 3 New Zealand (7) def New Zealand Maori (3) Australia (12) def Samoa (1) Round 4 New Zealand (17) def Samoa (1) Australia (6) def New Zealand Maori (4) ***************************************************************** MENS 35’s: Round 3 New Zealand (12) def Niue (0) Australia (9) def Samoa (0) Round 4 New Zealand (10) def Samoa (1) Australia (10) def Niue (0) ***************************************************************** MENS 40’s: Round 5 Cook Islands (10) def Singapore (3) Australia (6) def New Zealand Academy (3) New Zealand- Bye Round 6 New Zealand (10) def Cook Islands (6) Australia (15) def Singapore (1) New Zealand Academy- Bye Round 7 New Zealand (8) def New Zealand Academy (2) Australia (7) def Cook Islands (2) Singapore- Bye ***************************************************************** MENS 45’s: Round 3 New Zealand (7) def Niue (1) Australia (4) def New Zealand Academy (0) Round 4 New Zealand (4) drew New Zealand Academy (4) Australia (9) def Niue (1) By Rachel Grant, read more