sport Saturday January 20 2018 Tribute today for Regis Black armbands and applause at all Premier League matches page 7 On top Down Under Joe Root leads England to ODI victory in Brisbane as Kyle Edmund triumphs in Melbourne 1,000 games not out Sam Allardyce reaches landmark and looks back with Oliver Kay pages 88-99 Crunch time in Europe C i k pages 2-3 Cricket, 23 Tennis, pages 4-5 Ben Kay on a make-or-break set of games for English teams pages 18-19 2 2G S Saturday January 20 2018 | the times Sport Cricket Root shines with bat and Steve James second odi scoreboard Brisbane Australia v England Brisbane (Australia won toss) : England beat Australia by four wickets It is some exchange of positions. England look as far ahead of Australia in one-day cricket now as Australia were superior to England in the recent Ashes series. In parts, England did not play particularly well here and yet they strolled to victory with 5.4 overs to spare as Joe Root played a typically calm and assured innings of 46 not out to see them home and to put them 2-0 up in the five-match series. Australia may have been missing Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, but the gap between the two sides in this form of the game looks vast at the moment. Do not be fooled by the four-wicket margin of victory. This was a hiding. England’s game plan, with roles so crystal clear and aggression coursing through veins everywhere, just looks so vastly superior. They even found a sixth bowler, as Root took advantage of a Gabba surface that spun just enough to take two wickets, including Steve Smith, the captain, in a seven-over spell that surprised and befuddled Australia. England were sharp in assessing the pitch, using Moeen Ali in the first powerplay and then ensuring that 24 overs of spin were bowled in total, with five wickets taken. Ali might have bowled more than seven overs, but overall Eoin Morgan had a fine game as captain. Adil Rashid was expensive again, but he did take two wickets. Australia looked on in dismay as England’s spinners prospered, because they had omitted theirr specialist spinner, Adam Zampa, relying instead on some parttime stuff from Travis Head and Aaron Finch. It has raised the very obvious question of why Nathan Lyon is not considered in this format. Nobodyy appears to have thee answer to that. Australia really do need to find some answers in general. Mitchell Starc, who took four wickets, cannot carry their bowling attack alone. Finch had scored a century again, just as he had in the first match at Melbourne. It was his fifth — outt of ten in total in ODIs — against England and it was made with typically impressive power. Onee pulled four off Mark Wood early on was simply thunderous. But even he could Australia (balls) D A Warner c Root b Ali....................... 35 (40) A J Finch c Roy b Plunkett............... 106 (114) *S P D Smith lbw b Root....................... 18 (25) T M Head c and b Root............................7 (18) M R Marsh st Buttler b Rashid......... 36 (43) M P Stoinis c Buttler b Rashid.............4 (6) C L White not out......................................15 (21) †A T Carey run out..................................27 (24) M A Starc c Roy b Woakes.....................3 (6) A J Tye run out............................................ 8 (4) Extras (lb 2, w 8, nb 1)..............................11 Total (9 wkts, 50 overs) ................ 270 J A Richardson did not bat. Fall of wickets 1-68, 2-110, 3-124, 4-209, 5-213, 6-216, 7-255, 8-261, 9-270. Bowling Wood 9-0-55-0; Woakes 9-0-37-1; Plunkett 8-0-43-1; Ali 7-0-31-1; Rashid 10-0-71-2; Root 7-0-31-2. England (balls) J J Roy c Finch b Starc............................ 2 (4) J M Bairstow c Warner b Richardson......................................... 60 (56) A D Hales b Richardson....................... 57 (60) J E Root not out.......................................46 (58) *E J G Morgan b Starc........................... 21 (27) †J C Buttler c Carey b Starc.............. 42 (32) M M Ali b Starc.............................................1 (2) C R Woakes not out...............................39 (27) Extras (lb 1, w 5)..........................................6 Total (6 wkts, 44.2 overs)............. 274 A U Rashid, L E Plunkett and M A Wood did not bat. Fall of wickets 1-2, 2-119, 3-129, 4-157, 5-225, 6-227. Bowling Starc 10-0-59-4; Richardson 10-1-57-2; Head 7-0-55-0; Tye 9-0-47-0; Finch 3-0-17-0; Stoinis 4.2-0-34-0; Marsh 1-0-4-0. Umpires K Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and S Nogajski (Aus). TV umpire C Gaffaney (NZ). T Series details: First ODI England won by five wickets (Melbourne). Third Tomorrow (Sydney). T Fourth Friday (Adelaide). F Fifth Jan 28 (Perth). not n go on to make a definitive score and, though he put on 85 with Mitchell Marsh — having shared a partnership of 118 with him at the MCG — again they departed in close succession, just five balls, in fact. That was it for the Australia innings. It never really recovered, i and they lost six wickets for 62 in their last 11 Smith trudges off disconsolately after becoming one of two victims of Root’s off breaks in the second ODI Can they win it? England aim to take an unassailable 3-0 lead. Tomorrow, 3.20am Live BT Sport 1 overs, despite a hugely promising debut innings from Alex Carey, the debutant wicketkeeper, after a late summons in place of Tim Paine, who was ill. The South Australia left-hander made an inventive 27 from 24 balls before being run out after some silky footballing skills from Chris Woakes. Carey looks like the sort of cricketer that Australia could do with. By contrast the 34-year-old Cameron White, replacing Zampa, had a bit of a shocker, scratching around for 15 not out from 21 balls. Both sides ended up bowling spinners in the first powerplay, but the differing attitudes of the batsmen playing them essentially summed up the difference between the teams. When Ali was introduced, you might have expected David Warner and Finch to go after him, but only two runs were conceded from that ninth over of the innings. When Head was used in the seventh over of England’s innings, nine came from it as Alex Hales took two fours. Yes, Head is not Ali, and it seems strange to be placing Ali on a pedestal after his Ashes woes, but you get the drift. The wicket of Smith will have especially pleased Root. It was one of those low-arm slingers we sometimes see from him, and Smith looked to whip away on the leg side a ball that pitched outside off stump but turned a little. Smith was adjudged leg-before and reviewed, on the advice of Finch, but it was in vain. And there was more from Root as he persuaded Head to chip a tame return catch, after labouring over just seven runs from 18 balls. Liam Plunkett took his 100th ODI wicket when persuading Finch to hit a flat catch to mid-on, and Woakes, who ran out Andrew Tye from the last ball of the innings, also deservedly snared Starc to confirm that he is back as a bowler of quality at this level after a moderate beginning in the early overs at Melbourne. Jason Roy could not repeat his Melbourne heroics, which was hardly surprising. He chipped Starc to short mid-wicket in the first over, but Jonny Bairstow and Hales put on 117, with Hales bringing up his fifty with a hoisted six over long on from Finch’s filthy left-arm spin. Hales had made 57 when Jhye Richardson, showing good pace and some swing on his ODI debut, returned and the batsman chopped on. Bairstow had made 60 when he fell to the same bowler, hitting to cover. To think that one of Roy, Hales and Bairstow may have to make way once Ben Stokes returns to this side is quite remarkable. It does show some cavernous depth. Morgan looked in nice touch, helping a short ball from Richardson for six, but he also chopped a ball on, this from Starc, so that England were 157 for four in the 28th over. Jos Buttler played exceptionally well for his 42, putting on 68 with Root, but Starc returned for one last roll of a dice — indeed the last over of his allocation — to induce an edge behind. Ali arrived and was yorked second ball. Starc had his fourth wicket and suddenly the crowd were alive. England were 227 for six in the 38th over. Was there any concern? None at all. Yes, the review of this match may mention the lack of an England centurymaker, but they just bat so deep. Woakes came in and deposited Richardson over mid-wicket for six and continued to play a superb cameo of 39 not out from just 27 balls. He made it look easy. It was. root likes bowling against australia Of Root's 20 ODI wickets he has more against Australia than any other side Australia Ireland West Indies New Zealand Pakistan Sri Lanka Scotland 7 5 4 1 1 1 1 And he's got some impressive scalps Steve Smith 18 runs Travis Head 7 Michael Clarke 17 Shaun Marsh 55 David Warner 65 George Bailey 4 Phillip Hughes 30 January 19, 2018 January 19, 2018 January 17, 2014 January 17, 2014 January 12, 2014 September 16, 2013 June 8, 2013 Australia planning to Steve James Australia look likely to reunite their Ashes fast-bowling attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins for tomorrow’s third one-day international in Sydney. Only Starc played in Brisbane, and while Cummins accompanied him in Melbourne, Hazlewood, who has had a virus over the past few days after being rested for the first match, has not yet featured in the series. “I think all three will be available,” Steve Smith, the captain, said. “We’ve obviously got to get ourselves back into the series. It is a do-or-die clash for us and we have to play some better oneday cricket.” Australia went 2-0 down in the fivematch series after sloppy batting again squandered a promising position, as in the first match in Melbourne, which they lost by five wickets. “It was frustrating as we got ourselves into a reasonable position with 11 overs to go, and everything fell to pieces again,” Smith said. “Scoring 60 off the last 11 overs and getting to 270 isn’t good enough against a quality batting lineup like England’s.” Australia have now won only one of the times | Saturday January 20 2018 3 2G S Sport ball as England show class JASON O’BRIEN/GETTY IMAGES Second court appearance may further delay Stokes’ return How he trapped Smith Elizabeth Ammon Root’s off spin did not turn much but it was enough to beat Smith’s inside edge. Despite a review from the Australia captain, the replay showed that the ball would have just clipped the leg bail He’s starring with the bat too 17.46 Root’s batting average against Australia in one-day internationals before this series. He had a highest score of 69 in 13 innings 51.71 His average in 99 ODIs 137 Runs scored by Root against Australia this series having scored 91 and 46 and being not out on both occasions. He hit only one four in yesterday’s innings Root operates as a highly effective sixth bowler at the Gabba reunite Ashes pace trio for ‘do-or-die’ clash their past ten one-day internationals. “Why? I don’t know the answer to that,” Smith said. “I wish I did. But we have actually got ourselves into some reasonable positions. We just haven’t been able to take advantage of them. “If we get 320 to 330 it’s a completely different ball game. It’s just about executing our skills better in those key moments to ensure we get the scores we need to play against quality opposition like England and India.” Australia decided to omit the spinner Adam Zampa and were made to pay as England’s spinners, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and the surprise package, Joe Root, were the key to their bowling success. “We went in without the spinner on this occasion and tried to make the batting deeper but it didn’t work as well as we would have liked,” Smith admitted. “So we’re still trying to find the right balance. I didn’t think we played Joe as well as we could have done. “There were probably a few soft dismissals in there and the wicket was probably stopping a little bit. It wasn’t as easy as it can normally be playing spin out here [at the Gabba]. He [Root] bowled really well, great lengths, not much width and was looking to hit the stumps. He did all the things you want a spinner to do.” Root also made 46 not out to add to his two wickets and was understandably named man of the match. “It was ugly batting but I just needed to make sure I got the job done and was there at the end,” he said. “I quite enjoyed my bowling. I was pretty pleased with it. Eoin [Morgan] just turned to me. Moeen came on quite early and we saw there was some grip and hold. I was just trying to sneak some overs in and it went a little better than we all anticipated. “That’s quite smart captaincy from Eoin to be able to juggle things round; to make sure you had plenty of options at the death was crucial.” For Root, this one-day series will never be a consolation for the Ashes defeat, but it is serving a purpose. “I was desperate to win that Test series and I’m desperate to win this white-ball series,” he said. “It’s an important time for us against good opposition in their home conditions leading into a really important World Cup in a year and a half’s time. These games are crucial for us, a great way to gather momentum and keep pushing ourselves in the right direction.” Ben Stokes’s return to the England team may be delayed until the Test series against New Zealand in March because of two potential court appearances. Stokes has been charged with one count of affray and given a date of February 13 for an initial plea hearing — the day when the New Zealand leg of the Twenty20 tri-series starts. It had been thought that the player could apply to enter his plea in absentia but it is understood that he will need to appear in person at Bristol magistrates’ court, alongside the two other men charged over the incident. There is a possibility of an additional hearing shortly after the first, further delaying the date he can depart. The ECB board took the controversial decision this week to allow Stokes to return to the team after the CPS had charged him, and said that they expected him to return in time for the New Zealand leg of the T20 tri-series. In theory, Stokes could have flown out to New Zealand after that hearing with time to prepare for England’s fivematch ODI series against New Zealand, which starts on February 25. However, the prospect of a second hearing will push his departure date back. While the England coaching team are welcoming his return, they are mindful of ensuring that he has some preparation time before playing and with the uncertainties around the legal process, they are preparing for the possibility that he will not be available for any of the remaining limited-overs matches of this tour. The ECB is content to be flexible about Stokes’s availability and work around any court appearances he may have to make but there is concern about how to ensure he has enough preparation time before going straight back into the pressure of international cricket. Stokes may have further court appearances before the end of England’s winter tours which could mean that the all-rounder takes the 24-hour flight home and back again. The ECB and Stokes will need to weigh up whether that would take such a toll on him physically and emotionally that it would not be worth hurrying his return, but no decision will be taken until it becomes clear whether there will be any further hearings during February and March. England are due to return home at the beginning of April, although Stokes himself is likely to need to head straight to India to join whichever Indian Premier League franchise buys him in next weekend’s auction, and he is expected to fetch a record price. The opening match of this year’s IPL is on April 4. “It is out of our hands. Nothing we can do about that,” Joe Root said of Stokes’s appearance in court, after the ODI win in Brisbane. “When you’ve got guys like Ben Stokes missing out and still to come back in it’s a great place to be as a side. It’s a great way to keep encouraging guys to work at their game and keep pushing because there’s going to be some difficult decisions for Trevor [Bayliss] and Morgs [Eoin Morgan] down the line.” 4 1G S Saturday January 20 2018 | the times Sport Australian Open Edmund passes brutal test of body and mind Stuart Fraser the route to the semi-finals Fourth round Tennis Writer Melbourne Quarter-finals Semi-finals R Nadal (Sp, world No 1) Nadal or Schwartzman D Schwartzman (Arg,26) Kyle Edmund did not need a reminder of what he had put his body through after an Australian Open third-round match that lasted three hours and 34 minutes in 40C heat, but he was given one nonetheless when he entered the locker room and took off his sweat-soaked shirt. “I’m quite a salty sweater,” Edmund said. “You can see on my shirt it had white lines on it. That’s the salt drying. I sweat a lot of salt, so when I eat food I always put a lot of salt on it, especially after matches like this, because you’ve got to replace it.” Edmund will probably have been tucking into a salt-covered meal, then, at about 8pm last night when he found out the identity of the player standing in the way of a first grand-slam quarter-final appearance. Tomorrow, the 23-year-old Yorkshireman will face Andreas Seppi, the world No 76 from Italy, who overcame Ivo Karlovic, the big-serving Croat, in five sets. What an opportunity this is for Edmund. During his only previous run to the last-16 of a major tournament, he came unstuck at the hands of Novak Djokovic. This time, his section of the draw has opened up like the Red Sea, and he has taken full advantage. As Edmund celebrated his 7-6 (7-0), 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5 victory yesterday against Nikoloz Basilashvili, the world No 61 from Georgia, he looked up towards those in his coaching box and flexed his muscles. It was reminiscent of a certain Andy Murray in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2008. That defining Murray moment came after he fought back from two sets down to defeat Richard Gasquet, of France, and you could not help but feel a sense of déjà vu after witnessing Edmund dig deep into his physical and mental reserves at the Melbourne Park furnace. The mercury reached a peak of 40.2C at 2.25pm, just as Edmund was serving at 3-3 in the deciding set. Overall, this was not a match of high quality — the players produced 132 unforced errors between them — but that was more than understandable in P Carreño Busta (Sp, 11) Carreño Busta or Cilic M Cilic (Cro, 6) G Dimitrov (Bul, 3) Dimitrov or Kyrgios N Kyrgios (Aus, 17) K Edmund (GB, 49) Edmund or Seppi A Seppi (It, 76) Seppi overcomes Karlovic in five sets italian challenge next Edmund Seppi Age 23 49 S Africa Bahamas 6ft 2in 0 4th rnd 2018 £1.5m 1 Ranking Born Lives Height 33 76 Italy Italy 6ft 3in Career titles 3 Australian 4th rnd Open 2013, 15, record 17, 18 Career earnings £6.2m Head to head 0 such brutal conditions. A remarkable 20-minute game at the start of the fourth set will be long remembered, featuring 36 points, 15 of them at deuce, before Edmund, the world No 49, eventually converted his eighth break point and kick-started his greatest comeback. Watching on television in the middle of the night at his Surrey home was Murray, who was suffering from jet lag after arriving back from Australia about 16 hours earlier. He tweeted: “Physical test passed . . . mental strength passed . . . I reckon that’s [the] biggest win of Kyle Edmund’s career! Well done Kedders.” Edmund’s father, Steven, also watching from his home in Yorkshire, replied: “Certainly our most stressful.” Although it was not the best win of Edmund’s career by ranking — that was earned by defeating Kevin Anderson, the world No 12 from South Africa, over five sets in the first round — it is hard to argue with Murray. This was a gruelling test of body and mind, which Edmund passed. “It’s definitely up there,” Edmund replied, when asked for his own assessment of where it ranked. “For sure, the physical test was a great, great win for me to come through like that in a grand slam, the best of five sets in that kind of heat. It’s really good for my career and my confidence going forward,” he said. “On paper, it’s not, but it still doesn’t mean it’s any better or worse, that type of win. The fact that I was down like that and came through a lot of tough moments in the match is really good for me. I showed good character to come through that. Two five-set wins this week against two good players is pleasing for me.” Edmund’s career has been one of steady progress. His powerful groundstrokes — particularly his blistering forehand, up there with the fastest in the world — always had experts predicting a bright future for this levelheaded Beverley boy. But that alone is not enough to take you to the top. An area of significant improvement through the years is his stamina. Only two years ago here, he suffered cramp towards the end of a five-set defeat in the first round by Damir Dzumhur, of Bosnia. Yesterday’s match showed that he has come a long way since then. John McEnroe, the former world No 1, told Eurosport: “Having seen him in the past struggle physically in these big, long matches, it looks like he’s made a huge step forward. He’s looking better than I’ve ever seen him. Bouncing back from two sets to one down in two matches is extremely impressive.” Since bringing the Swedish coach Fredrik Rosengren on board towards the end of last year, Edmund has been encouraged to assert himself more through the use of positive body language. Rosengren is an animated figure on the practice court and in the stands, and Edmund has fed off that. “He is definitely intense and he is always about doing the right work and hard work,” Edmund said. “No point doing the stuff if you’re not working smartly. He’s very passionate for sure, you can see the way he is on the sidelines. He is always right into it. That’s the way he works.” One positive omen for Edmund is that he defeated Seppi to reach his first ATP tour semi-final at the 2016 European Open in Antwerp. Another milestone — the biggest of his career — will be achieved if he wins tomorrow. “He [Seppi] is a guy who works off timing,” Edmund said. “He doesn’t have a huge amount of firepower but in these conditions the ball flies through, so he really likes to time the ball and get it through the court. He likes it here.” exclusive to members For last night’s action and to find out at what time Edmund plays next, go to thetimes.co.uk/sport ‘I wanted Will Smith to think I’m coolest person ever’ Stuart Fraser The courtside attendance of the actor Will Smith was felt by Nick Kyrgios as he claimed a thrilling win at the Australian Open to set up a blockbuster showdown with Grigor Dimitrov in the last 16. Kyrgios, the Australian No 1, beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 32-year-old 2008 runner-up from France, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5) in a match that lived up to expectations. While both have never fulfilled their potential — in the case of 22-year-old Kyrgios, he has time on his side — they rarely fail to deliver entertainment on the court. Smith could not have been sitting any closer to the action unless he had been in the umpire’s chair. Attending his first grand-slam tournament, he was given one of the luxury seats on court level towards the edge of the Rod Laver Arena surface. “When I saw him out here, I was so nervous,” Kyrgios said. “No joke. People think I’m cool but I just wanted him to think I’m the coolest person ever.” There were moments of frustration for both players during this enthralling third-round match that lasted three hours and 17 minutes. Kyrgios was first to lose his temper after dropping his serve in the second set. “Why the f*** did I play doubles?” he yelled, having partnered Matt Reid in a two-hour match on Thursday. Later, a furious Tsonga challenged a member of the crowd for interrupting his service motion. “In between the first serve and the second, the guy was talking to me and Kyrgios turns on the style to impress Smith, but said afterwards that he was nervous in the presence of the actor telling me, ‘You are under pressure now’, when I was bouncing my balls. I lost it and was a bit crazy,” Tsonga said. “It’s not fair. The guy was feeling safe because he was upstairs [in the stands]. I just told him, ‘Come now to see if you feel the pressure or not.’ That’s it.” The tennis was also captivating. A fifth set looked inevitable when Tsonga took a 5-2 lead in the tie-break, but Kyrgios hit back by reeling off five straight points to take the match. It was his first professional win on the main show court here — he landed the junior title on it in 2013 — as he often requests to play on his preferred court, the Hisense Arena. A return for Kyrgios to the Rod Laver Arena is certain tomorrow, when he faces Dimitrov, the No 3 seed from Bulgaria. How he has made giant strides in Melbourne Edmund’s key stats during this championship are up on his averages on hard courts in 2017 First serve in 2018 (Aus Open) 2017 58% 63% the times | Saturday January 20 2018 5 1G S Sport Leon Smith on Briton’s massive improvements Positive energy If you look at Kyle’s body language now compared with six, 12 months ago, it’s different. Because of his personality, he’s probably had to go through a stage where it doesn’t feel natural and it feels a bit forced to do it. It doesn’t have to be “vamos” after every point, that’s not necessary. But at the right times, when he’s realising it’s a big moment in the match, he is turning to his team and doing that. I see him sometimes jogging after the change of ends. It’s little things like that which are different. Serve and return What are the most important, most frequent things to get better at? Serve and return. Those two areas are what Kyle has improved. You can see the improvements in his serve: the rhythm, timing and momentum. A slight technical adjustment is paying dividends. On the return, he is getting more balls back in play, by sometimes chipping or blocking, not always going for the full swing. Belief Kyle has matured a lot, he has worked hard, but you have to put your body through it — and he did that yesterday. I thought the first-round match against Kevin Anderson was a massive step, because he had lost quite a few close matches against top-15 opponents, against Grigor Dimitrov the other week [in Brisbane] and Rafa [Nadal, last year in Monte Carlo]. He is getting a belief where he belongs. New coaching team Kyle has got really good momentum with his new coaching set-up. You have got Freddie [Rosengren] who has a real high intensity and has a wealth of experience working with a lot of top-ten players. Then he has Hilts [Mark Hilton], who did a terrific job with Evo [Dan Evans], getting him to the ranking he was, and is very well organised. Ian Prangley, the fitness trainer, has been with Kyle for a number of years now. He has got a great set-up. 6 Leon Smith is the Great Britain Davis Cup captain, who led his team to victory in 2015 GAME SET MATCH By Stuart Fraser Nadal strolls through again Despite concerns over the fitness of Rafael Nadal coming into the Australian Open, the world No 1 has dropped only 21 games in three matches. He swept aside the challenge of Damir Dzumhur, the No 28 seed from Bosnia, in one hour and 50 minutes with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 victory. “I needed hours on court, hours of practice, hours of playing sets with different players.” Nadal said. “Here I am. I am in the fourth round. That’s because I am doing the right things. Let’s see how far I can go.” Cornet collapses in heat Alizé Cornet, below, struggled in extreme heat of 40C during her 7-5, 6-4 defeat by Elise Mertens, of Belgium, in the third round. The Frenchwoman fell to the court in distress and had her blood pressure taken by medical staff. Australian Open officials admitted that the WetBulb Globe temperature of 31.1C “came close” to the threshold for the extreme heat policy to be implemented, and said they would review the rules at the end of this fortnight. Kostyuk given ‘free’ lesson The run of Marta Kostyuk — the 15-year-old Ukrainian who is the youngest player to reach the third round here since Martina Hingis in 1996 — came to an end with a 6-2, 6-2 defeat by her compatriot, Elina Svitolina, the fourth seed. Kostyuk was asked what she took as a positive from the 59-minute match. She replied: “How much do you have to pay Svitolina to have a one-hour lesson? I got it free.” Agassi: I’m not paid to coach First-serve points won 75% Second-serve points won Service games won 84% 78% 52% Average aces per match First-serve return points won Second-serve return points won 89% 2018 (Aus Open) 57% 52% 13.1 57% Ostapenko crashes out 25% 28% 6.1 2017 2017 2018 (Aus Open) 2017 2018 (Aus Open) 2017 2018 (Aus Open)) Andre Agassi has again insisted that he is not being paid to be head coach of Novak Djokovic. He said: “I’m not doing it for any personal gain. Not even for expenses, to be quite frank. If I can’t help him, then I’m in the way and I’ll be gone. If I can help him, I’ll do that.” The American will, however, be receiving substantial pay in his role as a global tennis ambassador for Lavazza coffee, for whom he is performing promotional duties here. 2017 2018 (Aus Open) 2017 2018 (Aus Open) Yet another high-profile player bowed out in the women’s singles as Jelena Ostapenko, the French Open champion, lost 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 to Anett Kontaveit, the No 32 seed from Estonia. Only two grand-slam champions remain in the draw, and one of them is guaranteed to exit the tournament today when Maria Sharapova faces Angelique Kerber. 6 3GS Saturday January 20 2018 | the times Sport Football Guardiola: Sánchez demands would have destabilised club Wenger hails Wilshere for being ‘much more mature’ STUART MACFARLANE/GETTY Paul Hirst Gary Jacob Pep Guardiola has defended Manchester City’s decision to pull out of the running for Alexis Sánchez, claiming that the club’s financial stability would have been put in jeopardy had they given in to the Chilean’s wage demands. Sánchez’s transfer to Manchester United appeared to be edging closer last night. It emerged that Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the midfielder involved in the swap deal for the Arsenal forward, had bade a tearful farewell to staff at United’s Carrington training ground, while Sánchez was reported to have left the Arsenal team hotel after being told of a breakthrough in negotiations.. Sánchez had returned to first-team training with Arsenal yesterday after being made to train with the youth team on Thursday. Arsène Wenger had suggested that he would feature in the game against Crystal Palace today. Mkhitaryan has been left out of United’s squad for today’s match away to Burnley and José Mourinho hopes that the deal will go through this weekend so Sánchez will be able to make his debut against Yeovil Town in the FA Cup on Friday. City had been favourites to sign Sánchez, but after a meeting between Guardiola, Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, the chairman, Txiki Begiristain, the director of football, and Ferran Soriano, the chief executive, on Monday, they ended their interest. They decided against signing Sánchez because they were worried about paying the forward £14 million a year after tax in wages. “Normally we try to be stable with the wages of the players because it is good for the team and stability of the club,” Guardiola said. “I’ve never put pressure on a club when they believe it is too much. Immediately I accept that decision. The stability of the club is the most important thing.” Another factor in City’s withdrawal was that Fernando Felicevich, the player’s agent, was demanding between £5 million and d £10 million for himself as well as a £20 million signing-on fee for his client. Sánchez could have waited d until the summer to sign for City on a free transfer, but Guardiola suggested d that Felicevich persuaded his client to join United. “I’m not the guy with the mathematics, with the numbers,” the City head coach said. “What I know right now is that he is still an Arsenal player. He is going to United so congratulations to them. At the end, the players, when they have contenders, they decide where they want to play. Their managers [agents] decide where they want to play.” Guardiola did, however, concede Jack Wilshere is playing consistently well for Arsenal because he has finally understood how to protect his body between matches, according to Arsène Wenger. The midfielder, who turned 26 on New Year’s Day, expects to agree a new contract with the club after establishing himself back in the first team over the past five weeks. Wenger says that Wilshere’s renaissance at Arsenal is the product of a more mature attitude to his fitness and lessons that he learnt last season on loan at Bournemouth. Asked how he had changed, the manager said: “He is much more patient and mature. He analyses better. “Before, his desire to play was the only thing that mattered. Today he can analyse better. Is he fit or not fit? What is he to do? He has a lot of prevention to do and he does that religiously now. Before he was a bit more, ‘My body can take that,’ like we all are when we are 20 years old.” Wenger said he hoped that Wilshere would sign a new contract and could become club captain for the long term. “I see him here because he is an Arsenal 10 League goals involving Sánchez this term (seven goals, three assists). Mkhitaryan has six (one goal and five assists) staying power Wilshere’s present run is already his fifth-longest sequence of successive league appearances for Arsenal The last goodbye: Sánchez, right, battles with Jack Wilshere on his return to first-team training with Arsenal yesterday but is set to sign for United this weekend with the midfielder Mkhitaryan, below, heading in the opposite direction that City could buy up to four players in the summer even p though he has spent more than t £220 million this season. City are looking to sign at least one midfielder to replace Yaya Touré, who is expected to leave at the end of his contract, and the club want a full back and centre half. c “We feel we need to invest in the summer, with i three or four,” he said. Although he would not speak about him yesterday, Guardiola is still intent on signing Jonny Evans, the West W Brom- wich Albion defender, before the window closes as Vincent Kompany is still out with a calf injury. Fabian Delph, the stand-in left back, is also out for “a while”, according to Guardiola, with a knee injury that he suffered in the defeat by Liverpool. Mourinho had hoped the Sánchez deal would go through by noon yesterday so he could have made his debut against Burnley, but the finer details of the transfer, principally around the £8 million to £12 million fee Arsenal want in addition to Mkhitaryan, are yet to be agreed. United are usually reluctant to sign anyone in January, but Mourinho insists that their pursuit of Sánchez is not a sign of weakness. “The point of the January transfer window is to help the clubs that didn’t work well in the summer and they feel they have to do something to help what they didn’t do well before,” Mourinho said. “It’s because of that, we don’t like to [sign anyone] in January because it shows that we didn’t give our best [in the summer], we didn’t try our best and we don’t like to do it. “But if you have the chance to do some special players, in special circumstances, you do it now. If it happens, it happens, and we are sure that it is for the good of the team. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.” Mkhitaryan has been ruled out of United’s game at Turf Moor over fears that an injury would jeopardise the deal. “He is not selected,” Mourinho said. “But he is in very good condition.” Mourinho has ruled out a move for a left back because he has seen a vast improvement in the performances of Luke Shaw, who has started five consecutive games for the first time under him. “Luke is playing very well,” said Mourinho, who has been openly critical about the left back. “He is good, solid. Physically he is much better, mentally much stronger, tactically understanding the game much better. I can say that in this moment I don’t see many left backs better than this Luke Shaw.” Carrick agrees role to coach United’s first team Paul Hirst Michael Carrick has accepted José Mourinho’s offer to join his backroom staff at Manchester United. The United manager expects the 36-year-old to assume the role of first-team coach next season. Mourinho appointed Carrick as United captain after the sale of Wayne Rooney to Everton last summer, but he has started only one game this season due to a heart problem. Carrick underwent a cardiac ablation, a procedure designed to correct an irregular heartbeat, after he felt dizzy following the 4-1 Carabao Cup win over Burton Albion in September. Mourinho offered Carrick a place on his staff after learning of the procedure. When asked whether the former England midfielder, who has played 460 games for United, had told him whether he would accept his offer, Mourinho said last night, “Yes, he wants [to]”, and confirmed that the coaching role would be with the first team. The fact that Mourinho took Carrick to Dubai with the rest of the squad for a warm-weather training camp last week indicated that he was being considered for first-team selection again. When it was put to him that Carrick could play again for the club, Mourinho agreed. “I think so,” he said. “He had a few months without even training, but now he is in his second week of training with the team. “He is a very important player for us. I think the decision to join [the coaching staff] will be at the end of the season and not last week, I think it is a good decision for the team and a good decision for him. “We are all happy and at the end of the season I expect him to join, unless he changes his mind, but the club would be very happy for him to do that.” Date of last game in run Mar 3, 2013 Aug 21, 2010 Apr 17, 2011 Nov 19, 2016 Jan 14, 2018 Consecutive starts 15 14 13 8 7* * Present run man. He was here at the age of ten and he’s not only been here for a long time but he has some leadership qualities,” he said. “He has a football brain. He is completely focused on Arsenal. The fact that he has been away and come back, he realises as well that life here is not so bad maybe. That is something that is important. He can be one of the leaders in the future.” Earlier in the season, when Wilshere was being confined largely to Europa League appearances, Roy Hodgson wondered whether he might be able to tempt him to Crystal Palace, who play Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium today. Hodgson admits that idea is now a fantasy. “We couldn’t afford him,” he said. “Jack has moved into a wage category way above what I am certain Crystal Palace could pay. “Obviously if Jack wanted to come here and play for the wages that Crystal Palace could offer, I would be delighted. But it is not going to happen so there is no point me going to bed dreaming of that, is there?” An England recall in time for the World Cup finals is also on Wilshere’s radar and the midfielder was a regular international pick under Hodgson when available. “I would like to see him available for selection,” Hodgson said. “I am not saying for one minute that the current England manager should select him. That is totally up to him. It will be nice if he had that option, at least, of having a Jack Wilshere playing in the form that he is playing in at the moment.” the times | Saturday January 20 2018 7 2G S Sport All top-flight clubs to honour Regis DARREN WALSH/CHELSEA FC VIA GETTY IMAGES Martyn Ziegler Chief Sports Reporter premier league tributes A minute’s applause will be held at all Premier League matches this weekend to mark the death of Cyrille Regis, the first time for five years that such a tribute has been organised across all the top-flight clubs. All players will wear black armbands as part of the commemoration of Regis, who died on Sunday aged 59 after a heart attack. The Premier League usually leaves it up to individual clubs to decide on such commemorations, but there had been calls for a league-wide tribute and, after a request from the Professional Footballers’ Association, it announced that all matches will honour the former England, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and Coventry City striker, who helped to lead the way for black players in English football. It is the first such tribute since the death of Nelson Mandela, the former South Africa president, in 2013 and the first for a footballing figure since Sir Bobby Robson’s death in 2009. Earlier in 2013, the football authorities turned down calls from two club chairmen to have a minute’s silence for Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister. All clubs held a minute’s silence for George Best in 2005 but at many of the matches the fans turned the occasion into a spontaneous minute of applause instead and that practice has become standard. The tribute to Regis is a mark of his place in the game as a pioneer for black players. His breakthrough into top-flight football in the late 1970s at West Brom alongside Brendon Batson and Laurie Cunningham was a turning point for black players in the English game. By 1992, 16.5 per cent of players were from black and ethnic minority backgrounds and 33 per cent at the start of this season. Regis also won respect for the Cyrille Regis ................................ 2018 minute’s applause Nelson Mandela......................... 2013 minute’s applause Bobby Robson...........................2009 minute’s applause George Best................................2005 minute’s silence Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman......................2002 minute’ss silence minute The Premier League will pay tribute to Regis, right, mirroring the minute’s applause after the death of Mandela in 2013 dignified way he dealt with racist abuse from rival fans. Viv Anderson, the first black player to win an England cap, was among those who had urged the Premier League to organise a tribute. “The Premier League recognises the important career of Cyrille Regis, and his special role as a trailblazer for black players in modern English football,” officials said in a statement. Regis’s widow, Julia, said: “We are overwhelmed by the love and support we have received following the loss of Cyrille. “Every message has been important to us and this gesture from the Premier League is deeply moving and appreciated. We were always so proud of Cyrille and it is comforting to know that the wider game and public feel the same way.” Gordon Taylor, the PFA chief executive, added: “Cyrille Regis was such a legend and we felt that football should recognise his contribution to the game and particularly everything he did to help black players.” West Brom will pay tribute at their next home game, against Southampton on February 3, while Aston Villa and Coventry are also planning to honour their former player. 6 The funeral will be held on Tuesday, January 30, with a public service at The Hawthorns at 11am preceded by a private family service. West Brom will announce next week how supporters can attend the public part of the service. Pedro dived ‘because he was tired’ Ian Winrow Antonio Conte has said that Pedro dived in Wednesday’s FA Cup replay with Norwich City because he was fatigued. The Spain forward was one of three Chelsea players booked for simulation during the penalty shootout win, meaning that Conte’s squad have received five yellow cards for simulation this season, two more than Manchester City, the top-flight club with the next highest total. Pedro, who was also cautioned for diving in the Premier League meeting with Stoke City at the end of last month, was subsequently dismissed after collecting a second yellow card and will miss today’s game away to Brighton & Hove Albion. Álvaro Morata, who was sent off after contesting the decision of Graham Scott, the referee, to book him when the forward went to ground in the Norwich penalty area, is also suspended. While Conte continued to dispute the booking of Willian, the third Chelsea player to be cautioned for the same offence, and questioned whether Morata had been fouled, he accepts Pedro was guilty as charged. “For Pedro, we must be honest and accept Pedro dived,” the head coach said. “The player is clever, he’s intelligent to understand when you make a mistake. I think, during the game, the player can be tired, a bit tired, but Pedro’s reaction was to stand up quickly. I think the player understood, at that moment, the mistake.” Chelsea are yet to win in 2018, drawing each of their five games, but Conte will not use his side’s recent difficulties as an opportunity to create a siege mentality. “We have to create a strong mentality and not because you have to feel under attack,” he said. “This is a stupid thing. I have to transfer to my players, ‘Oh, we are under attack from the referees, from the journalists and the other teams’? This is not the right way.” Football on your phone Watch the best moments from all the 3pm kick-offs at 5.15pm and every goal shortly after they go in from the weekend’s other Premier League games with the Times app Download now from the App Store and Google Play 8 Saturday January 20 2018 | the times 3GS Sport Football ‘I’m addicted to management, I couldn’t turn this job down’ On the day of his 1,000th game, Sam Allardyce tells Oliver Kay why he is not yet ready to retire S am Allardyce still has them somewhere: the rejection letters from Kidderminster Harriers, Telford United and Tamworth. “If a job came up, anywhere, I would apply for it,” he says. “My wife, Lynne, typed out all these job applications for me. Most of them, I didn’t even get a reply.” He is sitting in his office at Everton’s training ground — the final stop, he is sure, in a managerial career that has surpassed his every expectation since those days when Lynne was typing out begging letters on his behalf. Today’s match against West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park will be his 1,000th as a manager in English football — including, of course, that solitary game in charge of the national team. That, too, was supposed to be his final job. As, indeed, was Crystal Palace. But these days clubs come looking for him. “I’m addicted,” the 63-year-old says. He was certain that he would not come back this time, however. After leaving Palace last May, he spoke of getting out of management “with my head held high” and wanting to “enjoy all the things you can’t really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing a football club”. He and Lynne started going through their bucket list. They had a wonderful time in Hawaii (“her childhood dream”) and had booked to spend the new year in Dubai, with a safari trip to South Africa next on the agenda. He had turned down other jobs. Not interested. “But I had to take this one. I just had to,” he says. Why? “Because it’s Everton,” he says. “Because of the ambition, but also the history. If you’ve worked in football all your life, you know what Everton is like, but all the lads I know who played for Everton — Peter Reid, Andy Gray, Paul Bracewell, Inchy [Adrian Heath], Sharpy [Graeme Sharp], Joe Royle — the way they talk about the club, you’re desperate to be a part of that. I couldn’t have turned Everton down. I just couldn’t.” It is a far cry from the early days of Allardyce’s coaching career — joining Brian Talbot’s staff at West Brom, only to be sacked after a humiliating FA Cup defeat by non-League Woking in 1991. “I had retired as a player and I knew I wanted to manage, but you’ve still got to earn a living, pay the mortgage, pay the bills and bring the kids up. I couldn’t get a job and it was getting to the point where I was going to have to work behind my bars with Roy, my business partner. I knew I would have to go wherever it took to get a management job. Limerick was the only job I could get, so I went.” In totting up Allardyce’s 1,000 games, the League Managers’ Association did not include his season as player-manager of Limerick. He believes, though, that the experience was invaluable, not least that of collecting door-to-door with Father Joe Young, the chairman and parish priest, to raise funds to keep the club afloat. “Somehow we won the title [the First Division, earning promotion to the Premier Division],” he says, “and it gave me the confidence that, if I could get a bunch of players together — half from Dublin, half from Limerick — and win the league by a big margin, then I could do it.” A coaching job at Preston North End followed, but Allardyce — interestingly, given the longball tag that would later follow him everywhere — felt marginalised and dismayed by what he called the “brain-dead” football philosophy of John Beck. He got an interview at Blackpool in 1994. He changed into his suit in the car park outside before listening to the club’s directors outline the restrictions on the incoming manager. “They said the salary was 18 grand a year, plus a bonus if we got promoted,” he says. “I asked about the contract. ‘Well we don’t really want to give a contract. We’ll see how it goes first.’ I said, ‘I can start tomorrow.’ I wanted it so badly and the only way I could get it was to be desperate and cheap. And it worked.” In his second season in charge, Blackpool narrowly missed out on promotion to the second tier — finishing third, one point behind Oxford United, and then losing to Bradford City in the play-offs. He was sacked by the chairman, Owen Oyston, who was in prison at the time. Redemption came at Notts County, who he led to the Third Division title with six games to “ Everyone knows by now that I was shafted with England. It’s still not easy to take, the way it was dealt with, but I can’t do anything about that spare, still one of his fondest memories, but it was not all plain sailing. “It was the politics, the expectations, the derogatory comments from the chairman, almost bullying tactics at times,” he says. “The following season, after promotion, we were struggling and my job was on the line. “We were playing Luton away and we bought a lad from Brentford, Kevin Rapley, for 50 grand. He joined up with us at the ground, the first time we had met him. He scored on his debut — a handball, the ref never saw it — we won 1-0 and we managed to stabilise, stay up. We started really well the next season, but I didn’t ever forget that. When Bolton came in for me, I was off.” Allardyce calls the Bolton years “amazing”. In his first season he took them from 12th in the second tier, now the Championship, to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, League Cup and promotion play-offs. He was forced to sell Eidur Gudjohnsen, Claus Jensen and others “to satisfy the bank”, but they were promoted the next season and survived their first two years in the Premier League. They finished eighth (also reaching the League Cup final), sixth, eighth Sam Allardyce’s 348 Losses 999 games 389 Wins 262 998 games with English clubs and one with England Draws Who he’s managed 24 Newcastle 90 Blackburn 371 Bolton 181 West Ham 31 Sunderland 146 Notts Co 11 108 Blackpool 24 C Palace teams managed 12 Preston Total attendance 11 Everton Teams faced 22,243,749 104 99 teams beaten at least once Exceptions: Marseilles, Seville, Besiktas, Vitoria Guimaraes, Aldershot – drew with all of those apart from Aldershot Highest 78,523 Allardyce’s West Ham v Blackpool Wembley, Championship play-off final, 2012 Lowest 888 Hartlepool v Allardyce’s Blackpool Football League Trophy, Nov 1995 Faced the most Most wins against Man City W6, D5, L23 Most defeats against Tottenham Newcastle Arsenal W6, D8, L19 33 Man City 12 34 Aston Villa W10, D9, L12 1 England 23 12 Arsenal Fulham 19 11 31 Man Utd Portsmouth 18 11 469 players have appeared for Allardyce Most goals for Allardyce K Nolan G Jones M Ricketts T Ellis K Davies Most games for him 73 37 37 35 31 Most common country by birth England France Ireland Spain Scotland Senegal 258 35 14 13 12 12 K Nolan J Jaaskelainen R Gardner B N’Gotty M Noble 434 371 214 172 150 Games during reigns of prime ministers Major Blair Brown Cameron May and seventh, an unlikely cast of players reinvigorated and inspired under a regime that combined old-school British values, imported flair and cutting-edge sports science. Quite apart from the way that they helped to reinvigorate Jay-Jay Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff and others, Bolton’s sports science staff helped to cure Allardyce of his touchline rage. “Transcendental meditation,” he says, improbably. “We talked about my hot-headedness and angry outbursts and we came up with meditation to help me stay calm and not get so worked up. I became calmer, able to make better decisions, tactical changes.” What does the meditation involve? “You just make the time to switch your mind off for a period and relax and focus on your mantra,” he says. What is your mantra? “It’s your word, which you can’t tell anyone else. “Those years were special. The talent in that side was such a pleasure to work with. Jay-Jay — breathtaking flair and skill, but with accountability. Fernando Hierro was magnificent. He was a bit too old to play and too slow at centre back in England, but we found a position for him in that pivotal role in front of the back four. He could pass it 60 yards better than most can pass it 30. There was Ivan Campo, Nicolas Anelka, so many others I could mention. The really important one was Youri. His goals kept us up and then it became, ‘If Youri Djorkaeff can go to Bolton, so will I’. It was wonderful, upsetting the big boys, getting into Europe, until it all stopped, sadly, because I 142 495 95 231 36 realised the club had no ambition to go further than we had got to at that point.” The early years of Allardyce’s managerial career were about surviving and, eventually, thriving. His eight years at Bolton were about building a club up and up. The past decade has been something different: his tenure at Newcastle United cut short in its infancy, after a slow and difficult start, and, apart from West Ham United, whom he took from the Championship to three mid-table finishes in the Premier League, a succession of short-term assignments: troubleshooting, firefighting, steering Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland and Palace away from relegation. There was the England job, which he coveted for so long, only to leave office in a state of shock and humiliation after 67 days and one game (a 1-0 win away to Slovakia) in charge as a result of the comments he made — awkward, rather than scandalous — to undercover newspaper reporters in an attempted “sting” operation. “I think everyone knows now that I was shafted on that one,” he says. “It’s still not easy to take, even now, the way it was dealt with, but I can’t do anything about that now. Thankfully Palace and Everton came along.” His impact at Everton was immediate. A team who had been shipping goals at an alarming rate stabilised, going eight games unbeaten in all competitions, conceding just two goals. Since then they have lost four in a row, the latest of them a 4-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur. The statistics from those games have been troubling. the times | Saturday January 20 2018 9 2G S Sport TONY MCARDLE/EVERTON FC VIA GETTY IMAGES ‘I still want to be in charge of Everton, I got us out of trouble’ David Unsworth tells Paul Joyce that he looks back on his time in interim charge at Goodison with pride “When you come into a new club, even at Everton, you’re talking about preaching the basics of stability to get results,” he says, “because somewhere along the line, people have lost sight of what those basics are. They’re not as sexy as flair and skill, but without those fundamentals, you won’t win a game. “We started so well and I’m disappointed in myself really because I felt we were ready to start doing a little bit more in possession, to start making a better impression with the ball, and on reflection I’m not sure they were quite ready for that. I wanted us to take our best game to Tottenham, but we had a complete reverse, dreadful. That set us back. Thinking about our progress, thinking about how these lads psychologically handle these games, they still need a lot of encouragement to be mentally stronger. The job is to build a team going forward, as the club look towards the new stadium, but right now it’s about stabilising.” His contract at Everton runs until the end of next season. “But it doesn’t matter how long a contract is,” he says. “It’s only as long as you keep winning. Or it’s as short as you keep losing. Irrespective of whether it was 18 months or four and a half years, you’ll only see the end of that contract if you keep winning.” Allardyce’s appointment at Everton in a season in which Palace, West Ham, West Brom and Stoke City have turned to the experience of Roy Hodgson, David Moyes, Alan Pardew and Paul Lambert, has led some to accuse the clubs of a lack of imagination or ambition. Is this Allardyce says he has not changed since his first job as a manager at Limerick in 1991, and while some people like his personality and others do not, it is too late for him to change reliance on the tried and trusted holding younger managers back? Where will the next Allardyce come from? “I look at Chris Wilder at Sheffield United, Lee Johnson at Bristol City, Paul Hurst, who is performing miracles at Shrewsbury, and several others,” he says. “Chris played for me at Notts County and he has taken a similar path; he has trudged up through the lower divisions and dragged Sheffield United upwards. I hope he gets them promoted. He will if the owners back him. “It’s the same as it has been for years: that the only way for a British manager to start managing in the Premier League is by getting a team promoted. Moyesy went from Preston to Everton, Roy worked all over Europe, but in the vast majority of cases it’s the only way you do it. “It was the same with Peter Reid, Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce, Alan Curbishley, me. Same with Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew, Paul Lambert, Brendan Rodgers, Sean Dyche, Eddie Howe, Chris Hughton. Chris got Newcastle promoted, got harshly sacked, had to get Brighton promoted to get back into the Premier League. That shows what a good manager he is, yet people rarely mention his name. Why? Is it just about how you sell yourself? It seems it’s not enough to do what you do behind the scenes and what your team does on the pitch. You have to come across the right way.” How does Allardyce believe he comes across? “Ha, I’m just me,” he says. “I’ve never changed. Some people like it. Some don’t. It’s too late for me to change now, isn’t it?” Once his days as an interim had been curtailed, David Unsworth needed a break. A breather to, as he put it, “plug himself back in”. Five weeks in the spotlight at Everton had culminated in the giddy high of a thumping 4-0 victory at home to West Ham United at the end of November, yet the constant peaks and troughs of his brief tenure had taken their toll. His had been a crash course in coaching at elite level. Another period of readjustment has been required since returning to his role as manager of the club’s under-23s, the coach cast back into familiar surroundings, although Monday’s win over Tottenham Hotspur suggests that Unsworth and Everton are safely ensconced back in the old routine. “To begin with I just observed for a few weeks because I felt I needed a period of quiet reflection,” he said. “I would be lying if I said I didn’t initially find there was a comedown because, when you are in front of 40,000 people at Goodison Park and there’s that pressure —a good pressure — it is exciting. It is what I wanted to do. “The under-23s is a wonderful job but it is different in that it is about developing young talent. So it was like getting back on the bike again, but normal service has been resumed because we won the other day and it was a great performance.” Unsworth’s time in the first-team dugout, sandwiched between Ronald Koeman and the Dutchman’s permanent successor Sam Allardyce, opened his eyes to plenty and served to fuel his ambition. It was crushing one moment, challenging the next but, ultimately, invigorating. Whatever steps he now takes in his coaching career, he will be better for the experiences crammed into a packed programme when he took over a team immersed in a relegation battle, whose European aspirations had flatlined and with confidence shot after a run of two wins in 16 matches. There are aspects of the job that Unsworth would have done differently if he had his time again. He listens to the opinion he was, at times, too offensive in his outlook, but counters by saying that his method has always been to attack, thatt Everton’s predicamentt o meant that they had to try to win matches and that, by the end, he and his assistant John Ebbrell, a fellow former Everton player, had hit upon a formula that best suited the players. He passed over the question of whether some players took advantage of the sense that he would not be a long-term solution, pointingg out that only those in the Unsworth took charge of a side who were in 17th place dressing room can answer, but it is not unfair to assume that one or two will not be given their number of chances again as they had during what amounted to a frenzied eight-game run. Interestingly, Allardyce’s patience snapped after last weekend’s supine surrender away to Tottenham, which extended a winless run to six games. Overall, Unsworth, whose credentials had been pushed by the chairman Bill Kenwright, looks back on a steep learning curve with satisfaction. “We were in a difficult period,” he said. “It was a real case of in at the deep end. We were third from bottom and then, when I stepped back, we were 13th. Having spoken to the chairman and Farhad [Moshiri, the majority shareholder] it was job done because they had asked to get us out of trouble. “In Sam’s first game against Huddersfield Town three days after West Ham, he won and we have gone to tenth. People can have their opinions, but that is job well done no matter what anybody says, no matter if Pep [Guardiola] or José [Mourinho] was manager. The most revealing aspect came with the rat-a-tat-tat of matches and the “game-recover-train-game” schedule that would have felt like a whirlwind compared with the under-23s. “The bit that didn’t sit comfortably with me was almost dismissing results because the next game comes round so quickly,” he said. “I didn’t like that, but it has not put me off. To stand on that touchline as Everton manager was brilliant. I don’t know if that will ever come again. If I will have to go and manage elsewhere and then be able to come back, I don’t know.” Seeing Southend United place Phil Brown on gardening leave on Wednesday, making him the 23rd managerial casualty of the season, was a reminder that Unsworth did not need of the precarious nature of his profession. “There is a burning desire to manage,” he said. “But it would have to be something really exciting, with an owner, chairman and board who are honest and who want to do it the right way, to even tempt me to leave.” Unsworth did nothing to disguise that he wanted the job permanently but he understands why, after a 4-1 defeat away to Southampton in which Everton’s defensive ffragility was evident again, Moshiri opted to pursue someone with more experience. Allardyce was in the directors’ box on the night that West Ham were swatted aside, Unsworth having sent out a more robust-looking 4 4-5-1 formation i which Wayne in R Rooney was recalled and struck a hat-trick. “A few days earlier we lost to Southampton and that was upsetting,” Unsworth said. “Then, I am dancing down the touchline at Goodison. Do I have ambitions to one day be Everton manager? Absolutely, I h have never hid that. But the important thing was getting out of trouble and we did that.” 10 2G S Saturday January 20 2018 | the times Sport Football CARL COURT/GETTY IMAGES Ashley is real time-waster at Newcastle, not Staveley George Caulkin Comment “Did you get the feel that she’s really genuine?” The question, imperfectly put, arrived by text and was posed by a former Newcastle United player. It is a question that a lot of people have been asking about Amanda Staveley, the businesswoman who has been attempting to buy the club and who spoke to The Times on Thursday night. It is asked, in part, because Mike Ashley has bent the debate that way. There is no definitive answer, but there is a context. Can you ever make a rounded judgment on another human based on three or four hours with a newspaper deadline approaching, words to write and one eye upon the clock? Of course not. That home, that office around the corner from Hyde Park, felt substantial — grand, if not ostentatious — but that does not mean very much. Except the room we were talking in — grey, wood-panelled walls — was where Theresa May based her leadership campaign for the Conservative Party. Staveley is not really political, she says, but she has the prime minister on speed-dial and counts her as a friend. Does the PM think that Staveley is really genuine? We’ll probably never know one way or the other, but there is some evidence and it looks pretty solid. What of Staveley’s pursuit of Newcastle? “It is only right to let the fans know that there is no deal on the table or even under discussion with Amanda Staveley and PCP,” a source — apparently sanctioned by Ashley — told Sky Sports this week. “Attempts to reach a deal have proved to be exhausting, frustrating and a complete waste of time.” Staveley countered that. “I’m very much still interested in buying Newcastle,” she said. “And our bid remains on the table.” Another source — or perhaps the same one — told Sky yesterday: “We are not aware of any bid that doesn’t contain relegation clauses and we are not considering any further talks with PCP Capital Partners.” That was interesting because The Times is aware of a £250 million bid — payable in full on completion — made for Newcastle on November 17, which doesn’t contain relegation clauses. And they can consider what they want, but Staveley is not going away. Her three bids are there in black and white and so, too, now, is her vision for the club. Can we make a judgment on that? Perhaps not; not unless or until she buys the club and gets on with it, but this is not an idle fantasy. She has held meetings etings with people who matter in n Newcastle, with businesses, sses, bodies and leaders. She he would invest her own n money but says she is also backed by “sovereign wealth funds”. There is an insidious suggestion that she is flimsy. That she is courting publicity, in spite off this being the onlyy time she has mentioned ned Newcastle in public. c. In spite of not doing television. levision. And nobody ever explains xplains why publicity about an attempt to buy a Find out what Benítez thinks The Newcastle United manager joins Times writers for a Game podcast live at the Tyneside Cinema on Thursday, February 8 Buy your tickets online today at mytimesplus.co.uk Benítez fails to clarify his future again George Caulkin Rafa Benítez’s future at Newcastle United remains uncertain after the collapse of takeover talks between Mike Ashley and Amanda Staveley, with the manager rejecting repeated opportunities to clarify his position beyond this summer. As The Times reported yesterday, Benítez has held a conference call with Ashley and Lee Charnley, Newcastle’s managing director, in which the club’s owner promised to clear the logjam that has prevented progress in this month’s transfer window. While Benítez described their conversation as “really positive”, Newcastle have failed to act on the Spaniard’s demands to strengthen a first-team squad threatened by relegation. “We have three or four positions we want to improve,” he said. These include a striker, a goalkeeper and a left-sided player. Retaining Benítez and securing him to a new contract were a fundamental part of Staveley’s three bids to buy the club, the last of which — for £250 million — is still on the table. There have been suggestions that the manager, who has 18 months of his deal left, would consider other options if Ashley failed to sell. Benítez batted away that question yesterday. “My future is against How The Times reported Staveley’s £250m bid for Newcastle yesterday S Staveley, left, has made three bids for a club Ashley has led from one controversy to another since 2007 h football club footba which has h not (yet) come off makes you look She look more credible. c would never say this and almost certainly does not believe it, but is it because she is a woman? A woman and photogenic? A woman in football? But there is another point, too, because some judgment does not have to be deferred. A time-waster? You might argue that Ashley has wasted the past 11 years. Two relegations. Yet another skirmish with it now. A horrific record in the cups. The renaming of the ground, the employment of Joe Kinnear, the abysmal treatment of legends and good men such as Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer and Chris Hughton. A club who make less money, commercially, than a decade ago. All that time. All that waste. Exhausting and frustrating? Like the past three transfer windows? Like Rafa Benítez warning that Newcastle would be in trouble if they did not strengthen last summer and Newcastle not strengthening and then being in trouble? Frustrating, like their inability to put two good decisions together? It feels like an endless list: Jonás Gutiérrez, HMRC, Wonga, written warnings to managers for talking about transfers, the truncation of ambition, the 52,000 souls who troop to matches with their yearning deadened, hope flickering only because of Benítez I do not know Staveley, but I’ve met her. I don’t know Ashley, either, and the only way I’ve got in front of him was by buying shares in Sports Direct (with my own money), and asking questions at a general meeting, one of the most excruciating experiences of my life. I cannot judge Staveley, but I will judge Ashley and I do. Ask yourself the question: do you get the feeling that he’s really genuine? Manchester City [whom they play today] and that is the main thing for us,” he said. Would he look at his future at the end of the season? “My future is Manchester City now and after Chelsea and then Burnley and Crystal Palace and so on.” Would he have a decision to make this summer? “That is too late. It’s Manchester City for now.” The Spaniard was told “two or three” weeks ago that any takeover would not be completed in time to influence signings this month. “As soon as I knew that you need some time to do all the paperwork, that’s it, it won’t affect my January window,” he said. “So I have to carry on doing exactly the same things.” He reported no progress in his loan bid for Kenedy, the Chelsea winger, but exerted pressure on Ashley to invest. “I don’t know if anything is closer, but we have the green light to bring players in,” Benítez said. “It is positive that there will be some money spent this month.” Walcott blames post-match clash with Wenger for Everton move Paul Joyce Theo Walcott has said that Arsenal’s defeat by Crystal Palace nine months ago was the moment he realised that his time at the club was up, but insisted he had not taken a step back in his career by moving to Everton. Walcott, 28, was admonished by Arsène Wenger for criticising the 3-0 reverse last April, when he claimed to have sensed even before kick-off that Palace were more motivated. Wenger described the comments from Walcott, who was stand-in captain on the night, as “unacceptable”. Walcott has highlighted the fallout as one of the reasons that pushed him towards this week’s £20 million transfer to Everton, after a 12-year stint at Arsenal. “There was a period last season when the starts weren’t coming any more,” Walcott — whose departure was so rushed he had to collect his belongings from the training ground in bin bags at night — said. “We had that game at Crystal Palace and I think it was after that. “The conversations between me and the manager will always stay in the room . . . but I have respect for him and he had respect for me and how my feelings were developing. “That’s why I felt it was time to go. I wish the club all the best, I want them to develop, I want them to improve; obviously there has been quite a lot of negativity around the place at this moment in time, but I am an Everton player now and my main concern is being here.” Sam Allardyce was in charge of Palace that night and will now look to revive Walcott’s fortunes. Walcott is hoping for an instant debut against West Bromwich Albion — which is set to be watched by Gareth Southgate, the England manager — as Everton seek to end a run of six matches without a win. “I feel like Everton can really push on and reach the top six and try to make the Champions League,” Walcott said. Walcott trained with Everton for the first time yesterday: he hopes to make his debut against West Brom today “The players they can attract, the new stadium, everything seems to be in place for the club to push on. I want to be a part of that.” Allardyce has said that the club must cut a bloated squad and trim the wage bill before he can bring in a new left back. “We have to balance off wages by moving some players on,” Allardyce said. “We can’t go too high in terms of ratio of wages to turnover.” That process began with Aaron Lennon closing in on a move to Burnley. The 30-year-old was out of contract in the summer and Walcott’s arrival has blocked his path to the first team. the times | Saturday January 20 2018 11 3GS Sport The future with VAR: a game of few goals and referees as the stars Alyson Rudd imagines how the football world may look in 20 years judging by recent events at Stamford Bridge CLIVE ROSE/GETTY IMAGES January 17, 2018 Here’s how it should work January 20, 2038 Mark Clattenburg explained on The Game podcast what officials should be doing to make VAR clearer for fans Luton Town 0 Manchester United 0 Referee S Peterson Capacity 17,500 Attendance 17,500 (9,008 present) Listen for free at thetimes.co.uk T his was the Top Tier Premier League’s 24th goalless draw of the month and it leaves the TTPL on course for its highest number of games without a single goal in a season and has prompted renewed calls for penalty shoot-outs in all matches. Last night’s game was officiated by Sloane Peterson, the winner of Ref School 2037, and in her post-match interview, Peterson smiled and tapped her nose when asked if she had any idea how many fans had turned up or tuned in to see her rather than the players. “VAR is the star, not me,” she said, but her blemish-free skin, coiffed hair and her forthcoming role in Coronation Street paint a different story. It was considered a stroke of ratings genius for ITV to screen Ref School in the hour before the Friday Night Big Match but there is a burgeoning backlash against the cult of the referee which some pundits feel has helped to fuel the increasing sterility in the game. The video assistant referee (VAR), of course, is the root cause of the rise of referees in the mould of Peterson, chosen for their charm, good looks and excellent hearing. A few retired referees have muttered darkly this week about how game management has turned into an ability to compère a sporting light entertainment show. How did it come to this? The game has evolved over the decades but it might be argued that the referee-centric form of football can be pinpointed to an exact time and place. On January 17, 2018 at Stamford Bridge in the nowdefunct FA Cup, the crowd, pundits, players and one manager all bayed for VAR blood and were denied it. Willian, then a Chelsea player, now chairman of Corinthians, fell in the penalty area and was booked for diving. Antonio Conte, the Chelsea manager, made the signal for a TV screen but the referee, Graham Scott, refused to return the gesture. This was the beginning of the end of the desire from the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) for video assistant referees to be a gentle voice in the headpiece. As Scott had not made a clear and unambiguous error, he was under no obligation to take a second look at the incident. As the match referee, his decision was final and could not be overturned. This week’s incident at Stamford Bridge when referee Scott booked Chelsea’s Willian for diving and then refused the call by Conte to use VAR was the decisive moment in the way the game changed The overwhelming reaction was so negative that VAR changed in character and yet another realm of life became Orwellian. There used to be interpretations of what happened on the pitch, now there is only one truth. Last night three goals were disallowed that would, in all likelihood, have been given 20 years ago. All three were scored as the satellite tracking system concluded that two players were offside by 3cm and the third by 0.01mm. Twenty years ago, all three players would have celebrated wildly until noticing the assistant’s flag but such is the frequency with which offside rules out goals, none of them even grinned. Goalscoring has become an inhibited process, like watching regularly-beaten dogs flinch when someone tries to pat them or give them a treat. It is worth pointing out that referees used to be the ones treated like animals. Disgruntled managers would storm into their dressing rooms and accuse them of bias or call for them to be shot. Now, theirs is a blissful and lucrative life. Last night, for example, Peterson indicated, with the customary flourish that led to her Ref School triumph, for a 90th-minute free kick against Manchester United. The incident was shown on all eight Reviewdomes and was, to this observer and probably most inside New Kenilworth Road, bafflingly inconclusive. Peterson beamed beatifically, emanating faith in the system that used to rely on a highly qualified official watching replays but now, of course, uses only computer modelling. At the tail end of his career, five years ago, José Mourinho attempted to rage against the machine when his Arsenal team lost a Super Champions League tie against Bayern Munich but was so ridiculed for it that the Portuguese resorted to blaming his players’ short-term moisturising cream contracts. Dr David Fletcher, sports psychologist at Loughborough University, was the first academic to predict the potential of VAR to result in the banality of post-match interviews. “If technological feedback is instantaneous, then I suspect you would see a shift in what managers say after the game,” Dr Fletcher told The Times in 2018. “It would be ridiculous to argue against detailed analysis. Currently, it is more subjective. Managers are contracted to speak to the media so it is interesting to wonder what they will fill the time discussing. I suspect managers who dwell on referees and things they can’t control will go on to talk about something else like the weather or the pitch.” Twenty years ago, few in the game worried about the long-term impact of VAR. The concerns were, mainly, about communication with fans and transparency as to how much information was being relayed to the referee. Within a few years of its introduction, those officials who attempted to display autonomy, to use their own wits rather than a new TV angle, were roundly castigated as egomaniacal and dropped from the rota. Football turned to compliant, demonstrative and good-looking referees instead. When Luton Town’s Vigo Temple was sent off in the 76th minute, not one home supporter, either physically present or in hologram form, jeered or barracked the officials. For over ten years we have had all cards decided by what was briefly called the “computer committee” until the game became more used to the system that sees any new bookable offence fed into a computer system which then relates it to all other fouls ever committed on camera. As the database now contains ten years’ worth of fouls immune to human interpretation, there are some lone voices worrying that the system is becoming too rarefied, too inbred, that some degree of human insight and human error needs to be reintroduced in order to ensure accuracy. And, dare one say it, some form of lively debate. Tottenham favourites to sign Malcom Pelé recovering after collapse Ian Baker Tottenham Hotspur have moved into pole position to sign Malcom after Arsenal withdrew their interest in the Bordeaux forward. Arsène Wenger has prioritised the purchases of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan after being put off by the French club’s £50 million asking price for Malcom. That has alerted Spurs, who believe that they can bring in the 20-year-old Brazilian, who has scored seven league goals this season, for an initial £30 million with incentive-based add-ons. Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, does not deny the club’s interest. “Yes, but he has been linked with different clubs,” he said yesterday when it was pointed out that the player was available. “I don’t want to speak about players that are in other clubs.” Pochettino reiterated he would not be unhappy if his club failed to make a signing this month. “We are here and relaxed,” he said. “To be honest it is difficult, but always at some point you dream. If it happens, it happens. “I’m not a specialist in the market. I’m a specialist in football. It is difficult to predict and know what is going on. The most important thing is to be focused and ready.” Tottenham will assess the fitness of Hugo Lloris, their goalkeeper, for tomorrow’s Premier League match away to Southampton after he missed training yesterday because of illness. But there was better news on Toby Alderweireld, who is due to return to training today with a view to playing against Newport County in the FA Cup next week, after nearly three months out with a hamstring problem. “We need to wait and assess Hugo,” Pochettino said. “I think it is flu or a virus. If all goes well with Toby he will warm up with the team and will be integrated gradually.” caused by ‘severe exhaustion’ Pelé is receiving treatment in Rio de Janeiro after suffering from “severe exhaustion”. The Brazilian, 77, regarded by many as the finest player of all time, had been due to fly to London for a tribute event tomorrow night, organised by the Football Writers’ Association (FWA). “In the early hours of Thursday morning Pelé collapsed. He has undergone a series of tests, which appear to point to severe exhaustion,” the FWA said. “Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion and everybody at the FWA wishes Pelé a swift and full recovery.” The FWA originally said that he was being treated in hospital but Pelé’s spokesman said he is resting at home. The forward was part of Brazil’s World Cup-winning team in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He scored 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances during a career spanning 21 years, including 77 goals in 92 appearances for his country. Pelé has become increasingly frail in recent years. He was unable to light the flame at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games because of ill health and arrived at the draw for the 2018 World Cup in a wheelchair. 12 3GS Saturday January 20 2018 | the times Sport Football The reluctant icon on his way to becoming Asia’s answer to Messi James Gheerbrant talks to those who have followed the incredible rise of Son n Heung-min It wasn’t the finish that caught Soner Uysal’s attention. Standing on a touchline in Seoul, South Korea, in 2008, the Hamburg youth coach’s eye was instead drawn by the extra-sensory intuition of the player’s run. “I played in the Bundesliga and I’ve seldom seen a player give such an impression of having a picture of the pitch situation in his head,” he recalls. “A midfielder received the ball and broke forward, and this boy had already set off, making a run in behind the defence with absolutely perfect timing. All the midfielder had to do was chip it over the defence and he was one-onone with the ’keeper. The other players were not as far advanced as him between the ears. “The runs he made were not normal for a 16-year-old, in terms of his timing and feel. That was what made me say, I absolutely want to take him with me.” The player Uysal had spotted would go on to be the finest Asian footballer of his generation, and his name was Son Heung-min. These days, Son (Son is his family name; Heung-min his given name) is on the cusp of establishing himself as a genuinely elite player. Since December 1, he has been involved in ten Premier League goals — a total bettered by no other player. With eight goals this season, he has outscored team-mates Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen. But if the image of Son celebrating a goal is familiar, it feels like the player himself is a little less so. Behind his rise is a fascinating story that testifies to his perseverance and personality. Also standing on that Korean touchline that day was Thies Bliemeister, now Son’s agent and friend. “I found him a positive, open young man,” Bliemeister says. “Very unguarded, very friendly and funny.” Bliemeister accompanied Son to Germany, along with two other young Korean players, Kim Min-hyuk and Kim Jong-pil (who are now playing in the Japanese second and third tiers respectively). Son already had a good technical grounding, largely because of the influence of his father, Son Woong-jung, a former professional footballer. “He learnt and trained football under his father until 15 years old,” explains the Korean football journalist Seo Hyung-wook. “His father focused on improving his son’s basic skills. That’s totally different from how players are usually trained in Korea. School football has its own tournament system, so most young players learn how to win, not how to play good football.” Naturally, Son’s early months in Germany — 5,000 miles from home, away 26 Premier League goals scored by Son since he joined Tottenham, the most by a Korean in the competition’s history 4 Assists already this season from the Tottenham forward, only two short of his entire haul last season Son has shone at Spurs after a slow start to his Premier League career from his family — were difficult. Initially he lived in a boarding-house in the club’s academy. But those who knew Son during that period speak of his relentless, unbreakable positivity. “It was a difficult period for him but he was always positive,” remembers Uysal. “He never stopped laughing, he always radiated a lot of joy. “One morning we turned up for training in the snow, and the pitch was unplayable. So I said, ‘OK, let’s go for a run.’ Son was right at the back, he tried and tried but he couldn’t keep up with the rest, but when I looked back to communicate with him, he was still laughing. Dead last and he was still laughing.” If Son’s demeanour was light, his work ethic was serious. “Every time I visited, he was on the training ground,” Bliemeister remembers. Son also mastered German with remarkable speed, speaking it within three months. Off the pitch, fashion is one of Son’s interests. “He doesn’t have what I would call a typical footballer’s style,” Bliemeister says. “Most footballers all dress the same: Gucci, Prada and all that. He has his own very individual style. That’s something he had even when he first stepped off the train in Frankfurt and didn’t have any money.” Bliemeister tells a story of the time he the times | Saturday January 20 2018 13 3GS Sport TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FC/GETTY IMAGES; HANDOUT Matt Hughes Football Notebook Son, right, went to Germany with Kim Min-hyuk and Kim Jong-pil Son’s father, Son Woong-jung, was also a professional footballer How Son shoots from all angles Son has shown his versatility with his past 50 shots, trying to score from all parts of the pitch Left foot Right foot Goal Clubs weigh up one-week window for next January been told he will have to sell before he can buy this month, with Jonny Evans the most likely departure. The Premier League’s short-term cost-control measures are designed to prevent the clubs squandering their television income, although there are exemptions for an overspend above £7 million for clubs who can demonstrate the money comes from increases in commercial or match-day revenue, or player sales. he timing and length of the transfer window is expected to return to the agenda at the Premier League’s annual meeting in June even though the clubs only agreed to close this summer’s window early last September. The motion to shut the window before the start of next season, on Thursday, August 9, was carried by 14 votes to five, with Burnley abstaining, but those clubs who voted against remain adamant that they will be at a competitive disadvantage compared to their European rivals and will push for the old system of an August 31 deadline to be reinstated for the 201920 season. Most clubs are likely to see how this summer pans out before committing either way. Another argument being used by some clubs is that the principle of preserving the integrity of the competition by closing the window early is incompatible with having a 31-day window in January, which many find hugely disruptive. As a result, there have been informal discussions about restricting the January window to one week for emergency signings, an idea that may also be discussed at the next annual meeting. Mata delay true to form T Wages limit West Brom W took the three Koreans grocery-shopping for the first time after they moved into an apartment in Hamburg. “I said to them, ‘Is there anything in particular you want to eat?’ But the very first thing they made a beeline for, all three of them, was a hair-colouring product. They came back with no food in their trolleys, just this packet of hair dye.” But beneath the coiffed exterior, Son also has a tough streak. He once told FourFourTwo that he made a point of learning German swearwords before he left Korea, because “you can’t have people calling you names while you just look at them, smiling politely”. “His greatest strength was his mental stamina,” Uysal says. “If something didn’t come off first time, he’d do it again.” Son needed that quality when, after his first season at Hamburg, the club decided not to offer him a professional contract and sent him back to Korea — “He was an average player,” Uysal said. Son had trials at Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth before playing at the Under-17 World Cup in 2009. Six months later, Hamburg’s under-19 team, coached by Uysal, needed a forward. “He came in and scored in practically every game,” he says. Son soon found himself promoted to Hamburg’s senior team, and after three seasons, moved to Bayer Leverkusen. “He was really focused in what he was doing,” remembers Bristol City midfielder Jens Hegeler, who played with him there. “His finishing was outstanding, and it was obvious that Leverkusen wouldn’t be the last club he’d go to.” Son moved to Tottenham Hotspur in August 2015, but struggled to establish himself in his first season, starting only 13 games, scoring just four goals, and taking criticism in the media. “I met him in the mixed zone after one match and said, ‘Son, are you OK these days?’” remembers Sungmo Lee, a journalist at Goal.com Korea. “He smiled at me and said, ‘I’m fine, don’t you worry about me.’” Son’s resolve has also been tested by some tough experiences with his national team. After South Korea’s defeat in the quarter-finals of the 2016 Olympic tournament, he “cried all day” and “didn’t even eat”, according to coach Shin Tae-yong. Failure to win a medal denied the entire squad an exemption from the mandatory 21-month military service all South Korean men must start before they turn 28. The spectre of conscription still stalks Son’s stellar performances — unless he can win a gold medal at this year’s Asian Games, World Cup or win next year’s Asian Cup, he will have to enlist. At Tottenham, Son is a universally popular figure. He has a different handshake for each team-mate, and has been known to order in platters of food for everyone from his favourite Korean restaurant. He lives in a modest apartment with his parents. The paradox of Son is that this humility belies an enormous commercial potential. “Currently he is the biggest sports personality in Korea,” says Seo Hyung-wook. “Lots of people watch the Spurs game every weekend.” Seo lived in Liverpool between 2003 and 2004 and believes Son is bigger in Korea now than Wayne Rooney was in England then. “He is the best player in the Korean national team, young and handsome. He socialises with famous actors and singers.” A good performance at this summer’s World Cup would cement Son’s status as one of Asia’s biggest, most marketable sports stars, but despite his stylishness, Son is a reluctant icon. “I’m sure Son himself would not want to be compared with David Beckham or Lionel Messi,”Sungmo Lee says. “He is such a humble guy, and he would say, ‘That’s too much!’” est Bromwich Albion’s attempts to strengthen their squad during the transfer window are being hindered by Premier League rules that prohibit clubs from increasing their wage bill by more than £7 million each season. West Brom’s signings included Gareth Barry, Jay Rodriguez and Kieran Gibbs on big money last summer, and they also took over loan signing Grzegorz Krychowiak’s contract at Paris SaintGermain, so have little room for manoeuvre this month. Alan Pardew has yet to sign a single player since being appointed manager at the Hawthorns in November and has J uan Mata should not panic yet about Manchester United’s failure to trigger their option to extend his contract by a further season as the club do not always keep their players informed about such matters. The first that Ander Herrera knew about United’s willingness to trigger his own 12-month option this season, for example, was when he received an updated contract and letter from the club informing him that the clause had already been activated. As it stands, Mata is out of contract at Old Trafford at the end of the season and therefore free to sign a precontract agreement with foreign teams this month, but his club may know differently. City Sánchez confusion M anchester City’s decision to pull out of the race to sign Alexis Sánchez on financial grounds is at odds with recent noises from the boardroom at the Etihad Stadium, where one senior executive was recently boasting of the club’s spending power to a visiting guest from a fellow Premier League club. “Money is like air to us, we have an inexhaustible supply,” the executive is reported to have said when asked about the club’s financial backing from their Abu Dhabi owners. Hot air, presumably. Fuel for Benítez R afa Benítez received an unwanted reminder of Newcastle United’s parsimony in the transfer market from his opposite number, Carlos Carvalhal, after his side’s 1-1 draw with Swansea City last Saturday. In Benítez’s office after the game, Carvalhal said that all of Newcastle’s starting XI had played against his Sheffield Wednesday side in the Championship the previous season, a fact that the Spaniard will no doubt have passed on to Mike Ashley, the owner. Mahrez will stay, says Puel Tim Nash Claude Puel believes that Riyad Mahrez will remain at the King Power Stadium this month. The 26-year-old Leicester City winger has been linked with moves to Liverpool and Arsenal. Liverpool have significant spending power after selling Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £142 million. But Puel, whose side are set to entertain Watford today, is confident that the Algeria player will stay. “He’s enjoying playing for Leicester with his team-mates,” he said. “We have this good feeling that the player wants to stay with us. It is important for us to keep a good feeling with our player.” Another key to Leicester’s hopes is the determination of their chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, to keep his best players; a resolve that has seen Jamie Vardy, the striker who was a target for Arsenal, and Kasper Schmeichel stay. Mahrez captained Leicester in their FA Cup third-round replay victory over Fleetwood, and Puel was delighted with his attitude. “You can see he’s enjoying it. He was a good captain,” he said. Leicester are set to sell at least one forward this month. Islam Slimani has been linked with Besiktas to replace Cenk Tosun, who joined Everton for £27 million. “We have six strikers. It will be important in this transfer window to find a good balance,” said Puel. 14 3GS Saturday January 20 2018 | the times Sport Football CARL RECINE/ACTION IMAGES Jerome denied late penalty as City stop rot Derby County Bristol City 0 2 1 0 Sky Bet Championship Steve Madeley Bristol City completed their preparations to face Manchester City on Tuesday by ending their five-game losing run but Lee Johnson, their head coach, admitted that fortune had smiled on his team. Derby County could be in hot water after they pushed stadium rules to the limit by screening replays of Cameron Jerome, their new signing from Norwich City, going down in the area after tangling with Aden Flint late on. It looked a penalty, but Jerome was booked for simulation. Johnson, whose team host Pep Guardiola’s Premier League leaders in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Tuesday, was angry that the incident involving Flint and Jerome was shown to a packed and angry Pride Park, but conceded that his side had got away with a poor decision and that he Jerome goes to ground under a challenge from Flint, but Derby’s appeals for a penalty were turned away and the striker was yellow-carded for simulation as Bristol City hung on for a 0-0 draw championship top seven P Wolves.................27 Derby....................28 Cardiff..................27 Bristol City...........28 Aston Villa...........27 Sheff Utd ............. 27 Leeds....................27 W D L F 19 5 3 50 15 8 5 44 15 5 7 40 13 9 6 40 13 8 6 39 13 4 10 40 13 4 10 37 A 20 23 25 32 24 31 29 GD Pts 30 62 21 53 15 50 8 48 15 47 9 43 8 43 would have been furious had roles been reversed. “Damn right I would,” Johnson said. “It wasn’t a dive. “When I first saw it I thought it was a dive, but I looked to the replay, which was an illegal move from the Rams TV editors, because you’re not allowed to show the replays, but it was a penalty. “It was a bit cagey in the first half, with both teams showing a bit too much respect to each other. But in the second half it opened up, both teams had some good chances and Luke Steele had to pull off two very good saves. “You could say we were lucky to get away with a point but we worked very hard. It’s a good point for us and it stops the mini rot. Our goalkeepers kept us in it — and a bad decision.” Darren England, the referee, played a key role in earning Bristol City their point but Johnson was also grateful to two goalkeepers. Frank Fielding, his No 1, made a smart first-half save to thwart Matej Vydra while Johnny Russell struck the crossbar and Flint cleared a Curtis Davies header off the goalline. After half-time, with Fielding succumbing to a groin injury, it was Steele’s turn to shine, with saves from Vydra and Tom Lawrence. It was considered two points dropped for Derby, who are second in the Sky Bet Championship and well-fancied for promotion, but it gave Johnson’s team a boost before facing Manchester City, who won the first leg of their semi-final 2-1. Flint said: “It [the penalty] was one of those; sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t. I think we got a bit of fortune but we did well, we could have scored a couple of goals. We had to stop the rot. It was vital that we got a point, minimum. We’ve got a good clean sheet and a point.” For second-placed Derby, a failure to win all three points has left them nine adrift of Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Championship leaders who host Nottingham Forest today. Gary Rowett, the Derby manager, said: “I’ve seen it three or four times and it’s an absolute stonewall penalty. “It was our own big-screen trial of VAR. I spoke to the referee afterwards. He hasn’t done it on purpose but it cost us the chance to win the game at the end. If you showed 1,000 people, 1,000 people would think it was a penalty. I thought we were by far the better team and we created by far the better chances.” Despite last night’s setback, Derby have gone nine league games without defeat. “We’re not conceited enough to think we’re just going to catch Wolves,” Rowett added, “but that’s our aim.” Derby County (4-2-3-1): S Carson — A Wisdom, R Keogh, C Davies, C Forsyth — G Thorne, T Huddlestone — J Russell, M Vydra (sub: C Jerome 76min), T Lawrence (sub: A Weimann 76) — D Nugent (sub: S Winnall 76). Substitutes not used J Mitchell, C Baird, A Pearce, J Hanson. Booked Jerome. Bristol City (4-4-1-1): F Fielding (sub: L Steele 46) — B Wright, A Flint, N Baker (sub: F Diedhiou 46), H Magnusson — J Brownhill, M Pack, K Smith, J Bryan — J Paterson — B Reid. Substitutes not used L Kelly, N Eliasson, L Walsh, R Kent, G Engvall. Booked Bryan. Referee D England. Attendance 26,525. the times | Saturday January 20 2018 15 3GS Sport Oliver Kay Chief Football Correspondent United can learn from shrewd Bayern ULLSTEIN BILD/GETTY IMAGES A mid the madness of the January sales, as Chelsea were switching their attention from Andy Carroll to Peter Crouch and as Arsenal and Manchester United continued to dance to the tune of not just one super-agent but two, Bayern Munich quietly pulled off another masterstroke yesterday. Leon Goretzka, one of the stars of the Bundesliga who has scored six goals in his first 12 appearances for Germany, signed a deal that will take him from Schalke to Bayern at the end of the season. The Bayern chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, talked of having won the battle for Goretzka despite “big-name international competitors”. It is a win-win; not only signing a richly talented 22-year-old who was wanted by leading clubs across Europe — Arsenal and Liverpool among them — but also, in classic Bayern style, weakening a domestic rival, a Schalke team making impressive progress under their 32-year-old coach, Domenico Tedesco. Oh, yes, and it is a free transfer too, since Goretzka’s contract expires at the end of June. Make that a win-win-win. Bayern’s dominance of German football is far from healthy; you could not imagine Rummenigge’s message that “this way Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga” bringing reassurance at Schalke (who lost Manuel Neuer to Bayern in 2011), Borussia Dortmund (Mario Götze in 2013, Robert Lewandowski in 2014, Mats Hummels in 2016), Hoffenheim (Niklas Süle, Sandro Wagner and Sebastian Rudy last summer) and the rest. There is, though, a grudging admiration of Bayern. As great as their financial advantage is, nobody could accuse them of failing to use it. It is striking that Bayern are not rushing to pay £20 million, £30 million or whatever else it might take to get Goretzka to Bayern now, for an extra four months’ work, as per United with Alexis Sánchez. Neither does Bayern’s desperation to weaken their rivals extend to a desire to rival Arsenal for the signature of Dortmund’s goalscoring machine Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. And they do not find themselves trawling the bargain basement for the German equivalent of Carroll or Crouch — Carsten Jancker is long retired — because at the Allianz Arena they are far too sensible to be reacting to short-term anxieties. Those short-term anxieties rarely arise, the autumn defenestration of Carlo Ancelotti aside, because Bayern’s plans for this season, next season and the season after are in place. Because that is how well-run clubs, with a clear football strategy, work. The Premier League elite do not have the luxury of operating within a monopoly — Bayern are 13 points clear just after the halfway stage of a season that started so badly that they sacked Ancelotti — but let us not pretend that this is the only difference. Manchester United’s willingness to meet whatever demands are made by Arsenal, Sánchez and his agent, was not about competing with Manchester City in the Premier League this season. Trying to secure a Bayern have pulled off a masterstroke in their signing of Goretzka top-four place, yes; competing in the Champions League and FA Cup, yes; but by any standards, paying £20 million, or £30 million, with or without Henrikh Mkhitaryan thrown in as a makeweight, plus wages, is an extraordinary premium to pay for four months’ additional work from a 29-year-old who will be available on a free transfer at the end of the season. Bayern would not do that. City, whatever their excesses in the transfer market, decided they would not do it either. High-level sources at the Etihad Stadium told The Times that they ruled out a January move for Sánchez because there was no financial case to do so if, as they strongly suspected, he was going to allow his contract at Arsenal to run down with a view to joining City on a free transfer at the end of the season. Bringing in Sánchez would potentially unsettle the balance among City’s attacking players. Unless something dramatic happened, City would wait. That was the sensible view to take. It is what Bayern would do. City’s sense of urgency increased when Gabriel Jesus was injured during the 0-0 draw Goal-shy Brighton sign Dutch striker for record £14m Brighton & Hove Albion have broken their transfer record for the fourth time since June, signing Jürgen Locadia, the former Holland Under-21 forward, from PSV Eindhoven for £14.1 million (Nick Szczepanik writes). Locadia, 24, has scored nine goals in 15 games this season for the Dutch Eredivisie leaders and Brighton, the Premier League’s second-lowest scorers with 17 goals in 23 games, would settle for a similar return over the rest of this season. “He is a player we have been aware of for some time,” Chris Hughton, the Brighton manager, said. “We have wanted to add a striker of his type. He is a strong, powerful and quick centre forward with a real eye for goal and will increase our attacking options.” Locadia’s deal runs until June 2022 but he is recovering from a hamstring injury that he suffered last month. He has been in the full Holland squad three times, most recently in 2016, but has yet to win a cap. with Crystal Palace on December 30. They contemplated paying £20 million to bring forward the deal. Arsenal said that was not enough — a gamble that, unlike their previous attempts to extract £60 million for Sanchez last summer, appears to have paid off. Sánchez and his agent, Fernando Felicevich, had their heads turned, not unreasonably, by United’s eagerness to do whatever it took to sign him now. City found themselves in an auction and walked away, leaving United to hammer out a deal with Arsenal, Sánchez, Felicevich and indeed Mkhitaryan and his agent, Mino Raiola. By the time transfer fee, wages, signing-on fee and commission have been taken into account, United’s outlay is likely to be £180 million for a player whose qualities are clear but whose appeal, at that kind of price, is rather less obvious at the age of 29, but owes much to the desperation to put one over on City. This is not really about City and United, though. It is far easier to walk away from the negotiations for Sánchez when you are 12 points clear at the top of the table and far more 6 George Best had it. Sir Tom Finney had it. So did Sir Bobby Robson, Graham Taylor, Tom Finney, Alan Ball and Gary Speed. And now, after a disappointing initial oversight by the Premier League, Cyrille Regis is to be honoured by a minute’s applause before this weekend’s matches. Quite right too. It is just strange that someone somewhere initially seemed to decide that Regis, who passed away this week, did not quite merit that special treatment — that the tributes being paid by his former clubs were quite enough. Status within football should not come down to objective criteria — number of goals, international caps, medals, offices attained. Regis’s legacy goes far beyond his excellence on the pitch for West Bromwich Albion, Coventry City and elsewhere. As a pioneer in the game’s battle against racism, an inspiration to so many, he is one of the most significant figures in English football over the past four decades, and indeed one of the most loved. At least now, after some welcome lobbying by fans, journalists and former players via social media, this weekend’s tributes will reflect that. important to flex your financial muscles when you are 12 points adrift. While signing Sánchez on a free transfer has an obvious appeal, though, a £30 million transfer fee, plus all the other additional costs, would seem to make little sense for either of the Manchester clubs now. As what might be described as an inside-forward, naturally inside-left rather than inside-right, Sánchez seems certain to strengthen United’s attacking options without transforming a team in which Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are already competing for one starting place. If we are talking about what adds up, at least United’s interest in Sánchez makes more sense than Chelsea’s willingness, at least until news emerged of his latest injury, to consider paying £20 million for Carroll to meet the most fleeting of requirements when Antonio Conte appears to be on the way out. It also makes more sense than Liverpool’s attempts to pay an extra premium, on top of the one they already paid last summer, to bring forward the signing of Naby Keïta from RB Leipzig. As for Arsenal’s apparent willingness to contemplate a future that includes Mesut Özil and Mhkitaryan together in the No 10 position and Alexandre Lacazette and Aubameyang together up front, the mind boggles. What is certain is that Bayern are content to leave the Premier League elite to their willywaving contests. They were offered Sánchez last summer and found the figures to be wholly unjustifiable. Uli Hoeness, the German club’s president, said last year that they had deemed Sánchez’s wage demands to be “probably not feasible”. They had already set their sights on younger, cheaper, more sensible targets, such as Goretzka. There should be little doubt who gets the better deal this month. Silva backs Richarlison Karius must take chance to prove he’s No 1, says Klopp Marco Silva, the Watford head coach, has vowed to help Richarlison after admitting that interest in the 20-yearold from Arsenal and Chelsea has affected his form. The forward has not scored since November 19 after five goals in his first 12 Premier League games and Silva said: “What we can do is be smart with him and take care of him. I don’t want to put all the pressure on him. He had a fantastic impact on Watford and we need to support him.” Loris Karius will be given a chance to prove that he can be Liverpool’s first-choice goalkeeper in the long term as Jürgen Klopp prepares to give him a prolonged run in the side (Paul Joyce writes). After confirming that Karius would start ahead of Simon Mignolet against Swansea City on Monday, the Liverpool manager said that he would prefer to find a solution for a problem position from his present squad. Klopp is expected to recruit a goalkeeper in the summer, with Roma’s Alisson a target, but he effectively ruled out any interest in Jack Butland, suggesting that the Stoke City player was not better than the options he already had. “I only saw the [Manchester United] game. Fantastic goalkeeper but was he perfect? No,” Klopp said. “It is not nice for Simon but a big chance for Loris. Loris has to deliver.” Mignolet has said he will consider his future after being dropped. 16 2G S Saturday January 20 2018 | the times Sport Football The ultimate Premier League guide 2017-18 How they stand 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 P Man City...................23 Man United..............23 Liverpool..................23 Chelsea.....................23 Tottenham...............23 Arsenal.....................23 Burnley......................23 Leicester .................... 23 Everton......................23 Watford..................... 23 West Ham.................23 Crystal Palace .......... 23 Bournemouth...........23 Huddersfield ........... 23 Newcastle................23 Brighton...................23 Southampton..........23 Stoke.........................23 West Brom...............23 Swansea...................23 W D L 20 2 1 15 5 3 13 8 2 14 5 4 13 5 5 11 6 6 9 7 7 8 7 8 7 6 10 7 5 11 6 7 10 6 7 10 6 6 11 6 6 11 6 5 12 5 8 10 4 9 10 5 5 13 3 10 10 4 5 14 F 67 48 54 41 46 41 19 34 25 33 29 21 24 19 21 17 23 23 18 14 A 17 16 28 16 21 30 20 32 38 42 41 33 35 39 31 29 34 50 30 35 GD 50 32 26 25 25 11 -1 2 -13 -9 -12 -12 -11 -20 -10 -12 -11 -27 -12 -21 Pts 62 50 47 47 44 39 34 31 27 26 25 25 24 24 23 23 21 20 19 17 Top Scorers Harry Kane (Spurs) 20, Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) 18, Raheem Sterling (Man City) 14, Sergio Agüero (Man City) 13, Romelu Lukaku (Man Utd) 11, Álvaro Morata (Chelsea) 10, Wayne Rooney (Everton) 10 Underrated Ox just the man to beef up your fantasy team Charlie Scott Paddy von Behr The Sweeper Now that the dust has settled from Liverpool’s thrilling 4-3 win against Manchester City, we thought it was worth looking at Jürgen Klopp’s Invincible-killers and seeing where — beyond the must-own Mohamed Salah (£10.2 million, owned by 53.5 per cent of managers) and the en vogue Roberto Firmino (£9.2 million, 38.5 per cent) — there might be value going forward. Philippe Coutinho’s decision to jump ship to Barcelona means that Salah and Firmino need greater support and in recent weeks, particularly against City at Anfield, Sadio Mané (£9.3 million) and Alex Today 12.30pm Brighton v Chelsea Oxlade-Chamberlain (£5.6 million) have excelled. Mané has 21 points in his past three gameweeks (6pts, 8pts, 7pts) and is owned by just 7.4 per cent of FPL managers. OxladeChamberlain is an even more enticing prospect and appears to be thriving under Klopp’s management. His price would enable you to channel valuable resources elsewhere in your team, and he has 30 points in his past six gameweeks, including a team-leading haul of 12 against City. He’s a decent differential option too, with a low ownership of 2.9 per cent. 6 For free weekly FPL advice, sign up at thetimes.co.uk/ fantasyfootball BRIGHTON Injured Brown, Sidwell (4-4-1-1) Ryan Duffy Bruno Dunk Bong Gross Batshuayi Alonso Bakayoko Rüdiger Willian Kanté Moses Courtois Saturday 3pm highlights available at 5.15pm Highlights of Uefa Champions League, Europa League and the FA Cup v Dale Stephens Brighton Away win 8/13 (3-4-3) Referee J Moss (16.7 games) Chelsea FINK TANK PREDICTION H 10% D 19% A 71% Christensen Azpilicueta 59 Last 5 Bri WLDDL 2 Che DWWDD Today 3pm Arsenal v Crystal Palace TV Highlights, BBC One, 10.30pm, Radio talkSPORT 2 Times app Highlights, 5.15pm ARSENAL Injured Giroud, Cazorla Doubt Özil, Monreal (3-4-2-1) Cech Chambers Bellerín Mustafi Koscielny Wilshere Xhaka MaitlandNiles Welbeck Ramsey Lacazette Sako Zaha Benteke Cabaye Milivojevic McArthur Van Aanholt Tomkins FosuMensah Kelly CRYSTAL PALACE Injured Sakho, Schlupp, Dann, Loftus-Cheek, Puncheon, Wickham Doubt Townsend 138 Combined age of these managers (Hodgson 70, Wenger 68); average in the other nine top-flight fixtures is 101 FINK TANK PREDICTION H 70% D 17% A 12% Hennessey Home win 8/15 (4-4-2) Referee C Kavanagh (8 games) 0 30 Ars DWDDL CP DLDWW Today 3pm Burnley v Manchester United TV Highlights, BBC One, 10.30pm, Radio BBC 5 Live, Times app Highlights, 5.15pm BURNLEY Injured Heaton, Brady, Ward, Walters (4-4-1-1) Pope Bardsley Tarkowski Arfield Defour Mee Taylor Cork Nkoudou MANCHESTER UNITED Injured Bailly, Blind, Ibrahimovic Hendrick 1.68 Burnley average goals per home league game (scored and conceded combined) since start of 2017 (19 games) Barnes Lukaku Martial Lingard Pogba Shaw Mata FINK TANK PREDICTION H 22% D 27% A 51% Matic Smalling Jones Valencia 1 55 Bur LDDLLL MU DDDWW Today 3pm Everton v West Brom TV Highlights, BBC One, 10.30pm, Times app Highlights, 5.15pm EVERTON Injured Stekelenburg, Baines, Coleman, Funes Mori (4-3-3) Pickford Holgate Jagielka Martina Gueye Schneiderlin Rooney Walcott Tosun Sigurdsson Rodriguez Rondón Phillips Brunt Barry Livermore Gibbs Evans Hegazi Foster Referee S Atwell (9 games) WEST BROM Injured Morrison Doubt Dawson 5 Seasons since a Premier League club last owned a Turkish player (before Everton’s Cenk Tosun) FINK TANK PREDICTION H 43% D 30% A 27% Dawson Home win 23/20 (4-3-3) 1 32 Eve DDLLL Brighton’s Dale Stephens, 28, is on course to be the oldest English outfielder since Swindon Town’s Shaun Taylor in 1993-94 to play every minute of a Premier League season having never previously appeared in the top flight Stephens’s league games before this season 1st tier Draw 11/4 (4-2-3-1) Referee M Dean (15 games) Kenny Watch every Premier League goal first on The Times phone app. Get goal video clips and highlights of every big match 1 Goal conceded by Chelsea before the 90th minute in their past 11 games Murray Hazard N’Golo Kanté CHELSEA Injured Cahill, Fàbregas Suspended Morata, Pedro Knockaert Stephens Pröpper Izquierdo De Gea Don’t miss a goal this season Head to head TV Live, Sky Sports PL, Radio BBC 5 Live, Times app Live updates WB LDDLW 2nd tier 0 168 (Charlton, Brighton) ghton) 3rd tier 96 4th tier 15 (Bury, Rochdale) (Oldham, on, Southampton, Charlton) the times | Saturday January 20 2018 17 2G S Sport In association with By Bill Edgar Today 3pm Leicester v Watford TV Highlights, BBC One, 10.30pm, Times app Highlights, 5.15pm N’Golo Kanté, the Chelsea and France midfielder, has tended to finish on the winning side during his two and a half years in England (4-4-1-1) Simpson Dragovic Maguire Mahrez Ndidi Chilwell James Albrighton Okazaki Deeney Richarlison Won 62 Cleverley Watson Wagué Janmaat Gomes Draw 19 FINK TANK PREDICTION H 55% D 23% A 22% Collins Ogbonna Referee L Probert (9 games) 2 11 Lei DLLWD Wat LWLLD Cresswell Kouyaté Noble BOURNEMOUTH Injured Mings, Defoe Doubt Stanislas Obiang Zabaleta Masuaku Lanzini 5 London clubs in Premier League – all are next to a city rival in the table; Chelsea-Spurs-Arsenal; West Ham-Palace Arnautovic Wilson King Fraser Arter L Cook Ibe Daniels Aké S Cook Francis FINK TANK PREDICTION H 48% D 24% A 28% Begovic Home win 5/6 (4-2-3-1) Draw 12/5 (4-4-1-1) Referee M Atkinson (16 games) 4 53 WH LDWDW Bou LDWDW Team performance compared to performance expected for a team of their player wages Man City Brighton Huddersfield Burnley Liverpool Tottenham Chelsea Man United Bournemouth Leicester Arsenal Watford Crystal Palace Newcastle Everton West Ham Southampton West Brom Stoke Swansea -20% Today 3pm Stoke v Huddersfield TV Live, BT Sport 1, Radio BBC 5 Live, Times app Live updates (4-2-3-1) (4-3-3) STOKE Injured Shawcross, Pieters, Johnson Lost Zouma Martins Indi Wimmer Bauer Fletcher Diouf Allen Shaqiri Sobhi 15 Years since Stoke’s previous mid-season managerial change, before Mark Hughes to Paul Lambert this month Crouch Depoitre Pritchard Lolley Mooy Malone M Ince FINK TANK PREDICTION H 56% D 22% A 21% Zanka Lössl Smith Referee M Oliver (19 games) Sto WDLLL Hud DDDLL Answer in The Game on Monday ? 4 70 N Name the season C you work out which Can sseason this table is from? P 1 2 3 4 5 21 22 Everton Leeds Chelsea Derby County Liverpool Sunderland Sheffield Wednesday Walker Stones 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 W 29 21 21 22 20 6 8 D 8 15 13 9 11 14 9 L 5 6 8 11 11 22 25 F 72 84 70 64 65 30 40 A 34 49 50 37 42 68 71 Pts 66 57 55 53 51 26 25 Otamendi De Bruyne Fernandinho Sterling Pérez Lascelles Darlow (4-2-3-1) Cédric Romeu Son Bertrand Hojbjerg Ward-Prowse Davis Boufal Alli Tomorrow 4pm Dier 6% Sánchez TOTTENHAM Injured Rose, Winks Doubt Alderweireld Aurier FINK TANK PREDICTION H 18% D 21% A 61% Lloris Draw 3/1 (4-2-3-1) 63% New WLDWD 20 Kane’s Spurs league goals this term, five times as many as anyone at West Brom, Burnley, Palace, Newcastle, Stoke and Swansea Eriksen Dembélé 6% 25% MC WWDWL SOUTHAMPTON Injured Austin Doubt Cédric Stephens Hoedt Away team 1-goal half-time lead 12% 23 Forster Davies Vertonghen 93% 0 TV Live, Sky Sports PL, Radio talkSPORT, Times app Live updates win Home team 2-goal half-time lead Home win 1/7 (4-2-3-1) Southampton v Tottenham Kane 17% Yedlin Referee P Tierney (8 games) S Such is football’s low-scoring nature that even a one-goal half-time lead tends to prove decisive h Home Draw Away P Premier League in past ten seasons 77% FINK TANK PREDICTION H 85% D 10% A 5% Diamé Long win Ritchie Merino Dummett Clark NEWCASTLE Injured Lejeune, Gámez, Mitrovic Doubt Gayle 3 Games in row where City have shipped opening goal to Englishmen: Liverpool’s Oxlade-Chamberlain, Bristol City’s Reid, Burnley’s Barnes Sané Joselu Bill Edgar’s weekend numbers B Home team 1-goal half-time lead Danilo D Silva Agüero Away win 16/5 (4-2-3-1) MANCHESTER CITY Injured Jesus, Delph, Mendy Doubt Kompany Ederson Atsu Hogg Schindler HUDDERSFIELD Injured Cranie, Kachunga Doubt Quaner Today 5.30pm Manchester City v Newcastle TV Highlights, BBC One, 10.30pm, Times app Highlights, 5.15pm Butland 11 WATFORD Injured Femenia, Britos, Kaboul, Cathcart, Hughes, Chalobah WEST HAM Injured Reid, Fonte, Antonio, Fernandes, Carroll Doubt Hernandez, Byram Adrián Carrillo Doucouré Zeegelaar Kabasele (3-5-2) 5 Leicester points advantage over Watford, yet Watford led Leicester by nine points in mid-October Vardy Kanté in Premier League (Leicester, Chelsea) TV Highlights, BBC One, 10.30pm, Times app Highlights 5.15pm LEICESTER Injured Morgan Doubt Huth, James Schmeichel Today 3pm West Ham v Bournemouth Referee K Friend (12 games) 0 30 Sou DLDLD Tot WWWDW Away team 2-goal half-time lead 9% 89% 37% Monday 8pm Swansea v Liverpool Level at half-time 38% 25% TV Live, Sky Sports PL, Radio BBC 5 Live, Times app Live updates (4-2-1-3) Naughton SWANSEA Injured Rangel Doubt Abraham, Sanches Fabianski Van der Hoorn Ki Narsingh Mawson Olsson LIVERPOOL Injured Clyne Doubt Lovren, Klavan, Moreno Clucas Carroll Fer 4 Liverpool one-goal wins in row, yet their previous ten victories were all by at least three goals Ayew Firmino Salah Mané Wijnaldum Robertson Van Dijk Can OxladeChamberlain Matip Gomez FINK TANK PREDICTION H 13% D 20% A 67% Karius Away win 3/10 (4-4-1-1) Referee N Swarbrick (13 games) 0 30 Swa DLWLD Liv DWWWW Teams that have replaced managers midseason -10% 0% 10% 20% City success shows that Guardiola is best money can buy Daniel Finkelstein Fink Tank If I was asked for one graph that summarised football, I would draw one that goes straight up to the right and curves at the end. It is the relationship between the wage bill and points. Essentially, the more you pay, the more points you can expect to get. But, at the very top, it becomes hard to gain more points; because you’ve got so many already, and because the amounts of money that others are paying to gain an edge are so large. One way of measuring manager performance is to look at how much better a team do than you would expectt them to with the sort of money that they are spending. Which is hard on those managing the top clubs, because once thee money is taken into nto account, there isn’t all that much room for improvement. Which is what makes it so impressive that, when Henry Stott, Mark Latham and Dinesh Vatvani conducted Fink Tank’s half-season review, they found that the manager who had most outperformed the money was Pep Guardiola. The same study also suggests that the achievements of Chris Hughton and his Brighton & Hove Albion side have not had as much credit as they deserve, with some pundits and supporters perhaps not appreciating how low their wage bill is, and therefore how remarkable the season has been so far. A different way of looking at the first half of the campaign is by observing where teams are, compared with our model’s expectation when we calculated that at the beginning of the season. The model takes into account goals and shots on goal over the previous two years, and then calculates probabilities using a measure that gives more weight to recent games. Its predictive record is strong. Employing this comparison, Sean Dyche and Burnley are doing extraordinarily well. At the beginning of be the season we expected them ex to get 37 points, while p now we n expect them ex to finish with points, a 52 p difference of 40 differ per cent. Huddersfield Town could still be relegated, but we nonetheless expect them to gain 16 per cent more points than we originally anticipated. At the halfway point Harry Kane, above, is the best performing player in the Premier League, and the second-best performer in Europe, after Lionel Messi. Hot on Kane's heels comes Mohamed Salah and then Nicolás Otamendi, the third and fourth-best performers in Europe. Encouragingly for the Premier League, it now features 13 of Europe’s top 20 players, with six of them playing for Manchester City. 18 2G S Saturday January 20 2018 | the times Sport Rugby union English clubs face darkest Ben Kay breakdown of european quarter-finalists This would be the first time since 1998-99, when English clubs did not play in Europe, that none qualify for the quarter-finals, if the top eight stay as they are Prediction La Rochelle to win with a bonus point and top the pool; Ulster to qualify. Pool two Who would have thought at the start of the season that Saracens, the France Scotland Wales Teams 5 4 3 2 1 0 -18 17 -17 16 -16 15 -15 14 -14 13 -13 12 Pool one I would expect La Rochelle and Ulster to win tomorrow and for both to qualify for the quarter-finals, but which team progress as the pool winners could well come down to which of the two English clubs put up the weakest fight. Wasps are technically not out of contention and, if their team selection is anything to go by, they will not roll over for Ulster at the Ricoh Arena. I doubt we will see Harlequins play in La Rochelle, where the atmosphere will be hostile, with the same passion and drive that saw them defeat Wasps last week. There was some age-old rivalry behind that match, though. I cannot see them rousing themselves in the same way this week. It is a tough challenge too for Marcus Smith, who will have the similarly inexperienced James Lang alongside him at inside centre, but also a good day for Lewis Boyce to show what he can do on the loose-head against the monstrous Uini Atonio after being called up by England. Ireland 12 11-11 10 -10 09 9 -0 08 8 -0 07 7 -0 06 6 -0 05 5 -0 04 4 -0 03 3 -0 02 2 -0 01 1 -0 00 0 -0 99 It will be embarrassing for the Aviva Premiership if only one or, for the first time in the history of English clubs competing in Europe, none of them qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup this weekend. Round six of the pool matches is the most open that I can remember and the hardest to predict. It shows that the tournament, which was relaunched after pressure from the English and French clubs, is delivering exciting fixtures and even pools. But there is a lot of animosity within the Celtic nations about how that chance came about and I know plenty of people who would take great pleasure in the irony of English clubs failing to make the knockout stages of a tournament that was their creation. It is too early to know whether the struggles experienced by the English clubs this season are just one of those things or whether there is a fundamental issue. I have written before that English clubs have struggled at the breakdown in Europe because the emphasis has shifted in the Premiership to teams keeping more players on their feet and competing in midfield. The clubs will not be waiting two years before there is a body of evidence that confirms whether or not English teams are on the slide; they will be studying closely tactical issues, such as the breakdown or an inability to adapt in the face of the different styles of opponents, particularly in France where teams want to slow the game. Mind you, that style of play did for Guy Novès as the France coach and Bernard Laporte, the head of French rugby, is determined to change that; you can see the shift already in the youthful squad that Jacques Brunel has selected for the Six Nations. The wider analysis, though, will be for another day. All that matters for those Premiership clubs still in with a shot of qualification is somehow finding their way to the quarter-final draw. England champions cup: how they stand As pool leaders Ulster, Clermont, Leinster, Munster, Toulon As best three runners-up Scarlets, La Rochelle, Ospreys Eighteen points is the magic number. Reaching that mark gives you a chance of qualifying. Keep an eye on pools one and four. If Ulster, La Rochelle, Racing 92 and Munster all win, there will definitely be two runners-up with a minimum of 19 points. The more of those four who lose, the better for Exeter, Saracens and Bath, and the more likely it is that 18 points could be enough. Wasps are the only English side who can win their pool, but they need to beat Ulster with a bonus point, deprive their opponents of any bonus points and hope that La Rochelle lose. If La Rochelle win, 17 points is unlikely to be good enough for the Coventry side to qualify as runners-up. Saracens need a bonus-point win to reach 18 points, but they cannot win the group. If Ospreys beat Clermont Auvergne, Saracens would finish third. A bonus-point win for Exeter would give them 19 points, while Montpellier are limited to 18. Even without the winning bonus point, Exeter would finish second on head to head. Bath need to win with a bonus point to reach 18 points. This is enough for second place if either Scarlets or Toulon lose without a bonus point. Words by Elgan Alderman back-to-back champions, would be entering the final round of the pool stage reliant on results elsewhere? Saracens were undone by that woeful performance at home to Clermont Auvergne, which damaged them mentally. They have since lost over there and drawn with Ospreys. Today they face a Northampton Saints team who are on the rise again. That said, Saracens should win with a bonus point — they have put 50 on Northampton twice this season — and they will have the advantage of knowing how Exeter Chiefs, who are on the same competition points, have done. Do not write off Ospreys. Clermont are still full of quality players but they have lost 13 backs to injury and they do not have the same swagger about them. Pool one P W D L F A T B Pts Ulster 5 4 0 1 125 92 14 1 17 La Rochelle 5 3 0 2 140 114 16 4 16 Wasps 5 2 0 3 128 114 17 4 12 Harlequins 5 1 0 4 99 172 14 3 7 Fixtures: Tomorrow (3.15pm): La Rochelle v Harlequins; Wasps v Ulster. Pool two P W D L F A T B Pts Clermont 5 4 0 1 141 97 14 2 18 Ospreys 5 2 1 2 145 124 17 5 15 Saracens 5 2 1 2 143 132 17 3 13 N’hampton 5 1 0 4 101 177 14 2 6 Fixtures: Today (3.15pm): Clermont v Ospreys; Saracens v Northampton. Pool three P W D L F A T B Pts Leinster 5 5 0 0 153 79 19 3 23 Exeter 5 3 0 2 117 89 15 2 14 Montpellier 5 2 0 3 116 140 16 5 13 Glasgow 5 0 0 5 100 178 14 2 2 Fixtures: Today (1pm): Glasgow v Exeter; Montpellier v Leinster. Pool four Aaron Shingler, Scarlets’ Wales flanker, swats aside Chris Cook, the Bath scrum P W D L F A T B Pts Munster 5 3 1 1 119 84 12 2 16 Racing 5 3 0 2 105 85 12 3 15 Castres 5 2 1 2 108 113 13 2 12 Leicester 5 1 0 4 98 148 11 2 6 Fixtures: Tomorrow (1pm): Leicester v Racing; Munster v Castres. Glasgow Warriors. Exeter must get the balance right between trying to win the game, but knowing they need a bonus point. Teams can come unstuck if they get that wrong, or if the points are slow in coming they can get impatient and panic. Pool five P W D L F A T B Pts Toulon 5 4 0 1 132 95 14 2 18 Scarlets 5 3 0 2 132 96 16 5 17 Bath 5 3 0 2 104 93 9 1 13 Benetton 5 0 0 5 69 153 8 3 3 Fixtures: Today (5.30pm): Benetton v Bath; Scarlets v Toulon. Prediction Clermont to qualify as the pool winners; Saracens to be eliminated Pool three The best three teams in Europe are all in the same pool. Leinster are already through to the quarter-finals and are favourites for the title this year. It is a shame for the competition that Exeter Chiefs and Montpellier could bow out in the group stage. Leinster are purring under Stuart Lancaster and Leo Cullen but I believe Exeter are the team they would fear playing the most in the final, despite having beaten them twice because they have a style that can nullify the Irish province. But to even contemplate that showdown Exeter need to win away to Prediction Leinster Exeter to join them. are through, Pool four This has been a very embarrassing tournament for Leicester Tigers. The former kings of Europe were effectively out of contention after four games and fielded a second string who were beaten 39-0 in Castres last weekend. They have to deliver a performance for their fans and for everyone else this weekend; if they don’t lift the cloud then it will hang over Welford Road because the next two weekends are AngloWelsh Cup. Matt O’Connor has picked a first-choice team for tomorrow and I expect a humdinger of a game because Racing 92 need the win desperately to make sure they qualify. It’s not a done deal that they will and at the end of a poor campaign, Leicester could be kingmakers for who goes through. Munster have been through a rebuilding period and they are recapturing the qualities that made them so dangerous in this competition. Their passion and aggression suits European rugby and Thomond Park is an intimi- dating place to go. I doubt Castres will go there with any belief they can win. Prediction Munster the only qualifiers from this pool. Pool five The Scarlets have been the great entertainers of the Champions Cup and they are a real threat. If things fall right for them they could go on and win the competition. Even when they were in a hole, trailing late in the game away to Benetton, they found a way to get out of it because of their ability to pull a rabbit out of the hat. What has led to Wales’s change of tactics? How much of it is a realisation they don’t have the players to play how they did, and how much of it is a revolution sparked by the attacking rugby played by the Scarlets? Seán O’Brien’s wonder try for the Lions in the first Test against New Zealand was made at Parc y Scarlets with Liam Williams and Jonathan Davies counterattacking from their own 22. The Parc will be packed for the visit of Toulon, who are good but not the force of old. Bath face Benetton and are not out of it but they are another team who could finish on 18 points and will need both the bonus point and a boost to their points difference. Prediction Scarlets to win and top the group, Toulon sneak through as final qualifiers. the times | Saturday January 20 2018 19 2G S Sport day in Europe DAN MULLAN/GETTY IMAGES big workload in england Lions players at Premiership clubs have in general played more domestic minutes than their counterparts in the Pro14 and French league, who are held back for European games Premiership half, during the Champions Cup meeting at the Recreation Ground last week Courtney Lawes Anthony Watson Jonathan Joseph Dan Cole James Haskell George Kruis Owen Farrell Mako Vunipola Maro Itoje Jamie George Justin Tipuric Kyle Sinckler Leigh Halfpenny Joe Marler Finn Russell Dan Biggar Taulupe Faletau Jack Nowell Elliot Daly Ken Owens Iain Henderson George North Alun Wyn Jones Ben Te'o CJ Stander Conor Murray Rhys Webb Peter O'Mahony Jack McGrath Greig Laidlaw Liam Williams Jonathan Davies Tommy Seymour Jonathan Sexton Robbie Henshaw Tadhg Furlong Rory Best Stuart Hogg Sean O'Brien Allan Dell Ross Moriarty Jared Payne Sam Warburton PRO14 TOP14 Mins played 815 793 777 736 656 654 607 590 569 562 560 532 516 500 493 488 472 466 432 430 423 422 421 412 400 369 368 314 307 293 288 251 251 246 240 240 147 80 61 22 0 0 0 Newcastle in third winding-up threat exclusive Alex Lowe Deputy Rugby Correspondent Newcastle Falcons were served with a winding-up petition over an unpaid tax bill on December 12. The Aviva Premiership club paid the majority of the bill on receipt of the legal threat from HMRC but The Times understands that there was still around £100,000 outstanding until the start of this week. Newcastle sources say that the club paid the final balance on Wednesday, hours after details of the winding-up petition and the court date had been published on the London Gazette. The club now believe that the case, scheduled to be heard on February 7 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, will be annulled, although there was no record yesterday of a dismissal notice having yet been lodged. It is the third recorded occasion in two years that Newcastle have flown close to the wind with the tax authorities. The Newcastle Chronicle reported in April 2016 that the club had faced two winding-up orders in the space of a few months, but paid the outstanding balance on both occasions. Newcastle Rugby Ltd recorded losses Gary Graham, the Falcons flanker, is part of the England Six Nations squad of £2,651,515 in their last set of accounts, published in June 2016. The strategic report described the financial results as “satisfactory in light of conditions” and said that the club were “optimistic about the long-term prospects for continued growth on and off the pitch”. Newcastle generated a 17.7 per cent increase in turnover in that period. The Falcons’ performances on the field have carried them to sixth in the Aviva Premiership and attracted sell-out crowds to Kingston Park for the first time in almost a decade. The report said: “Investment in the group’s infrastructure, playing/coaching staff and academy/youth programmes has continued which is critical to the continued progression of the club. The group has seen growing match day attendances which is anticipated to continue as a result of strong relations with supporters, sponsors, the local community and an exciting match day experience.” Newcastle, who play Enisei-STM in the European Challenge Cup this weekend, declined to comment. The team arrived in Tblisi, Georgia, for the game, which is part of a Challenge Cup double-header that includes Krasny Yar against London Irish, but only after encountering some bus trouble. Their coach got stuck in a ditch in Istanbul. Leinster’s success points the direction forward for Ireland Brian O’Driscoll tells John Westerby that the increased strength in depth bodes well for their Six Nations hopes While Eddie Jones contends that club performances in the European Champions Cup have little relevance to the forthcoming NatWest Six Nations Championship, in Ireland they are understandably inclined to a different view. All three of the Irish provinces in the Champions Cup go into this weekend on top of their pools, with Leinster the outstanding team of the first phase, the only unbeaten side in the competition, while Munster and Ulster are looking to clinch quarter-final places tomorrow. In the second-tier Challenge Cup, Connacht are top of their pool and unbeaten. Any knock-on effects for the national team should not be taken for granted, but Brian O’Driscoll feels that strong performances across the board are indicative of the greater depth that has been developed. “There’s definitely more depth than there’s been before,” the former Ireland captain said. “You only have to look at the amount of players Leinster have used in Europe this season, Munster as well. There’s more strength in depth than when I was playing.” For Joe Schmidt, developing greater depth has been something of a holy grail. The Ireland head coach sits at the top of a smoothly run system, built around the requirements of the national team, but he can never boast the sheer number of players available to Jones with England. The focus on depth in Irish rugby usually intensifies when injuries begin to whittle away their options at a World Cup. For the quarter-final defeat by Argentina in Cardiff in 2015, Ireland found themselves without Paul O’Connell, Jonathan Sexton, Seán O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony, leaving gaping holes that they were unable to plug. But O’Driscoll feels that the real benefits of greater depth can ripple across the game at provincial level as well as in the national team. “It’s not just for Ireland, you see the importance in any country, look at Stephen Donald kicking the winning goal in the 2011 World Cup final [for New Zealand] when he was fourth-choice fly half,” O’Driscoll, a BT Sport pundit, said. “Having that depth h is not just about coping with injuries. It’s about drivingg o standards. Everyone has to raise their game, in training or in a match, when they’ve seen someone coming up in theirr d position. Strength in depth and the competition it brings helps a country to optimise the resources you’ve got.” It is six years since an Irish province won Europe’s premier n club competition, or even featured in a final. In 2012, Leinster lifted the trophy for the Larmour’s eye-catching displays for Leinster have earned him an Ireland call third time in four years and their performances in a strong pool that features Exeter Chiefs and Montpellier have made them firm favourites to open a new chapter of potential Irish success. O’Driscoll appeared in all of those victories, on each occasion playing under the captaincy of Leo Cullen, now the Leinster head coach. A former lock, Cullen went straight into coaching Leinster’s forwards on retiring as a player in 2013 and, after the unexpected departure of Matt O’Connor in 2015, he became head coach, at 37, rather sooner than he might have expected. It was a year later, after Leinster had finished bottom of their Champions Cup pool in the 2015-16 season, that Cullen had the idea that has helped to transform the province’s fortunes. Recognising that he needed more coaching experience alongside him, he suggested recruiting a more mature coach to work under him and Stuart Lancaster was duly appointed. “Leo was the one that suggested it,” O’Driscoll said. “He was big enough to recognise that it was right to bring in someone of Stuart’s experience. He deserves huge credit for that.” A year on from the bitter disappointment of Lancaster’s World Cup experience, there was widespread fascination with how the new role would work for the former England head coach, and also how the relationship with Cullen would pan out. Still the head coach, would Cullen’s authority survive the arrival of a more experienced assistant? Lancaster’s job title was senior coach but he was still below Cullen in the pecking order. The two had not worked together before, either, so there was an experimental element to the set-up. “Leo was always going to get there as a coach, but the job came earlier than he’d envisaged and it’s been the unit of him and Stuart that has worked particularly well,” O’Driscoll said. “And it’s worked because there are no egos on either side of the relationship, they’ve both realised the benefits of having the other one involved. No one is having to look over their shoulder. I don’t think there have been many coaching units that have worked like that.” The success of the arrangement has been clear in the Champions Cup, with Leinster’s qualification for the quarterfinals assured before their game away to Montpellier this afternoon. Jordan Larmour, the 20-year-old, moves from full back to the wing after being named in Schmidt’s Six Nations squad this week, amid much discussion over whether his eye-catching displays for Leinster should be rewarded with a first i international cap in the n next few weeks. “He’s still incredibly r raw, but he’s scaring a few p people,” O’Driscoll said. “ “He picks things up quickly a he’s got a good understandand i of the game. His defence will ing c come along in time.” Whether Larmour’s chance for I Ireland comes sooner or later, his emergence is further illustration of the increasing wealth of talent bolstering Schmidt’s resources at national level and Cullen’s hopes of reviving Leinster’s European glory days. 6 Watch the final round of this season’s European rugby pool stage this weekend live on BT S Sport. For more information visit: b bt.com/sport 20 1G S Saturday January 20 2018 | the times Sport ‘I’d have had a neck transplant to carry on. Retiring hits you’ Former Leicester and England star Tom Croft tells Owen Slot how he is adapting after calling time on his career in October T wo days after Tom Croft retired, he went back for a gym session with his old Leicester Tigers team-mates. Back with the boys, as though nothing had changed. He had not even told most of them that it had changed and, if they did not know, well, life almost seemed normal. Now, nearly three months later, Croft has moved on. But not far. He has edged into acceptance. He has come so far that he can just about reflect on those weird, delusional gym days for what they were, “a way of me burying my head in the sand” as he puts it, “and keeping normality as much as possible”. This is in many ways an extraordinary interview because Croft is so frank about how he struggled with the end of his rugby career. “You are in a dark place,” he says. He calls it a bereavement, adding: “A huge part of your life has suddenly stopped. You have lost something; I have lost my rugby.” And yet he knows, in telling the story of the end of his career, that his is the story of many. The back-rower was 31 but did not retire on his own terms. That is part of the story. He won 40 England caps, went on two Lions tours, won four Premiership titles with Leicester and yet, for all that this is a CV heavy with success, there remains a sense that if injury had not so heavily preyed on the last seven years of his career, there would have been so much more. People, he says, “are never quite sure what to say. They say, ‘congratulations and commiserations.’ ” He is not bitter, though. If anything, the opposite. This is an age where the danger and health risk are part of rugby’s daily debate, yet Croft is a staunch defender. “I’ve been through the mill, to some extent,” he says, with typical understatement, “and I want the game to stay the same.” Really, he just misses it. You could reminisce with him all day. The early days: being schooled in Leicester hardness by Louis Deacon, not being quite sure if he could look Martin Johnson in the eye. “The 2009 Lions will always be the pinnacle,” he says; “23 years old, surrounded by guys I used to watch when I was growing up.” And the places he will always treasure: “Dressing rooms after big games, regardless of who you’ve been playing for, hanging out of your arse, knowing you’ve put in a good performance. The relief.” What he missed immediately, though, was far more basic. He just did not know what to do next. Due mainly to a neck injury, he had not played for Leicester since March; he managed three league games all last season. Then, one day in late October, he was asked to go to see Matt O’Connor, the Leicester director of rugby, and that was where it all ended. “I thought he wanted to discuss how I was getting on,” Croft says. “I’d had numerous injections into my neck. I don’t like needles at the best of times. Having needles being shoved into the front and back of your neck to try and relieve it was frustrating. I’d just come off the back of another set. I thought we were going to talk about that.” O’Connor did not tell Croft it was over. “Instead, it was a good dose of reality: that you can’t keep shoving needles in your neck to get back on the pitch. Be sensible. Because I would have carried on, trying to force the issues, Photograph: Marc Aspland “ The biggest thing was: what do I do tomorrow? Structure is suddenly taken out of your life and I did break down Bogey-free McIlroy and Golf John Huggan Abu Dhabi Tommy Fleetwood was given quite a treat for his 27th birthday. Playing alongside Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, Europe’s No 1 player in 2017 shot what would normally have been regarded as a commendable 68, four under par, in the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Normally. Instead, Fleetwood’s five-birdie, onebogey effort was eclipsed by an amazing display of powerful and accurate ball-striking from each of his companions. Between them, Johnson and McIlroy made 12 birdies, one eagle and not a single bogey. Their best-ball score added up to an astonishing 59 that could — and should — have been even lower. Johnson’s 64, the lowest round of the day shared with Branden Grace of South Africa and Spain’s Jorge Campillo, and McIlroy’s 66 were marked by numerous missed chances from short-range. “DJ could have shot 58,” his manager, a suitably breathless David Winkle, said. And he was not wrong. Only on the last two holes did the world No 1 knock in birdie putts from outside eight feet. McIlroy was equally frustrated — the times | Saturday January 20 2018 21 2G S Sport Croft admits that he has struggled to move on to a second career Fury’s licence returned by boxing board Boxing Ron Lewis Boxing Correspondent keeping getting more injections. Neck transplants aren’t available but I’d have gone for one. You are never going to admit you need to retire — until you are told. Or nudged.” Croft walked out an ex-professional rugby player. He drove straight round to the house of his best mate, Ben Youngs. Two more of his closest team-mates, Tom Youngs and Matt Smith, were already there; O’Connor had tipped them that it might help if they were there too. In their company, Croft says, “I broke down. The biggest thing was: what do I do tomorrow? I had been at Leicester from 16, at the academy, then straight out of school, straight into being a professional, being told what time I need to be in a certain place, being told what kit I need to be wearing every day. That structure is suddenly taken out of your life and you are: what do I do?” So Croft just carried on doing what he had done before. He went to the gym with the boys; almost all of them thought he was still their team-mate. A fortnight later, Simon Cohen, the Tigers chief executive, pulled him to one side, to ask about how life was going post-Tigers. “I said, ‘I haven’t organised a great deal, I’ve probably improved my bench press PB.’ He said, ‘You need to take yourself away from this environment.’ ” That was the catalyst. It was another two weeks before he felt capable emotionally of standing up in front of the rest of his former team-mates and telling them that he was done. However, he was starting the slow process of finding a life beyond them. “I never planned on retiring,” he says, “so I never had a target other than end of the season and winning a trophy.” Now he is trying to work out what his Croft won 40 England caps and four Premiership titles with Leicester in a career cruelly hampered by injuries new targets should be. He says he is a “fairly driven person” (more understatement) but wishes that he had put more thought and work into his second career while he was on his first. He shares a small coffee business with Ben Youngs. He loves shooting and has started studying digital marketing online and wonders if he can combine the two. He is tentatively enjoying new challenges. “I’ve not had to learn a new skill set for a long time,” he says. “I’ve learnt new calls, but never a new skill set.” He cannot and will not break away, though. He is still on the Tigers’ players admin WhatsApp group — logistics, meeting times etc — and knows that he should disconnect. The day after he retired, he found that he had been added to another group — Droglite, an anagram for Old Tiger. He then got invited to the Droglite Christmas do. “I wasn’t quite in the frame of mind for that,” he says. “I went to the one with the current lads instead.” His latest challenge is his Twitter profile. It still says Tom Croft: Leicester Tigers, England. Another dilemma: “Do I need to change that? Do I need to put ‘former’ or ‘retired’?” Johnson put on show for birthday boy Fleetwood until a 15-footer for that lone eagle found its way to the bottom of the cup on the final green — by his inability to make the most of his sparkling play from tee to green. But nine under par for 36 holes, bogey-free and only three shots behind the overnight leader, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, the Northern Irishman is nicely primed for what would be a remarkable victory after more than three months of competitive inactivity. Certainly, his rivals will be well aware of his presence close to the lead. “I hit the ball very well,” McIlroy, who has four times finished second in this event, said. “I drove it well. I hit most of my iron shots very well. I gave myself plenty of chances, which is what I’m going to have to do over the next couple of days if I want to win this tournament. There just weren’t many fireworks apart from the putt on the last. “I was rewarded for the patience I displayed. It was nice to get a couple of shots closer to Thomas going into the weekend. It’s a very bunched leaderboard.” Indeed, things are far from clear. Five men remain ahead of McIlroy — including Fleetwood and Ross Fisher on ten-under the card — and as many as 20 are within five shots of the leader. Plenty will fancy their chances of picking up the winner’s cheque for $500,000 (about £360,000), although those with Ryder Cup ambitions have perhaps even more incentive to do so than others. One of those with taking on America in Paris on his mind is Paul Casey, the winner here in 2007 and 2009. The 40-year-old Englishman’s 65 hoisted him to nine-under par alongside McIlroy, a score that he feels is not even halfway to a winning one. “Guys these days just keep going,” Casey said. “You used to be able to take the first-round leading score, double it, then add a couple more to calculate the winning score on Sunday. That being said, 14-under would [normally] get the job done. But that number isn’t going to work this week. I see nothing less than 20-under being enough. “There is a lot of firepower on top of the leaderboard. I know they are not all going to back down. So for me today it was ‘foot down’. I was trying to get to double digits. Didn’t quite make it, but I’m very happy with the day. It was great.” Fleetwood too, left happy. At the end of their round, McIlroy presented him with a birthday cake that he claimed to have baked himself. Just one last unbelievable aspect to a memorable day. Tyson Fury could return to the ring billed as “the real world heavyweight champion” after the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) yesterday agreed to return his boxing licence. Fury, who has not boxed since winning the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles from Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015, attended the BBBC’s headquarters in Cardiff for an interview and was informed that his licence would be returned, provided he passes a medical. The 29-year-old has been working with his new trainer, Ben Davison, and could be back in the ring by mid-April, although he is likely to have one or two warm-up fights before stepping up to 12-round level as he attempts to get some momentum back into his career. Fury is still regarded as champion by The Ring, the influential American magazine, and is also seen as the sport’s lineal champion, having never lost the titles in the ring or officially retired. This could lead to him effectively competing as a rival champion to the likes of Anthony Joshua, the WBA and IBF champion, who faces Joseph Parker, the WBO champion, in Cardiff in March 31. He would not be the first world heavyweight champion to effectively ignore boxing’s governing bodies. Michael Spinks and George Foreman continued to be considered lineal champions in the 1980s and 1990s respectively despite being stripped of titles. The BBBC decision had always seemed likely after Fury agreed to a backdated suspension from UK AntiDoping last month, after elevated levels of nandrolone were found in a sample from February 2015. Billy Joe Saunders will defend his WBO middleweight title against Martin Murray on April 14 at The O2 arena, London. Terry Flanagan aims to become a two-weight world champion on the same bill as he faces Maurice Hooker for the vacant WBO lightwelterweight title, having vacated the WBO title at lightweight. It will be 35-year-old Murray’s fifth attempt to win a world title, having previously drawn with Felix Sturm and lost to Sergio Martínez, Gennady Golovkin and Arthur Abraham. “I’ve fought everyone and in my opinion at middleweight I have only one genuine loss which is against Golovkin, who is the best out there,” Murray said. Terms are understood to have been agreed for rematch in Las Vegas in May between Golovkin and Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez, whose world middleweight title bout in September ended in a disputed draw. abu dhabi championship Leading second-round scores (Par 72, GB and Ire unless stated) 132: T Pieters (Bel) 67, 65. 133: J Campillo (Sp) 69, 64. 134: A Levy (Fr) 69, 65; R Fisher 67, 67; T Fleetwood 66, 68. 135: A Sullivan 70, 65; R McIlroy 69, 66; P Casey 70, 65; B Wiesberger (Austria) 67, 68; S Brazel (Aus) 67, 68. 136: D Johnson (US) 72, 64; R Fox (NZ) 70, 66; A Johnston 68, 68; F Zanotti (Par) 67, 69; B Grace (SA) 72, 64; C Paisley 69, 67; D Frittelli (SA) 69, 67. Selected others: 138: R Ramsay 68, 70; P Dunne 68, 70; M Fitzpatrick 68, 70. 142: J Rose 71, 71. 143: L Westwood 74, 69; I Poulter 75, 68. 22 3GS Saturday January 20 2018 | the times Sport Racing Surgery rules risk ‘tainting’ horses HUGH ROUTLEDGE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK Mark Souster Racing Writer Early last Saturday morning, shortly before his wedding in Scotland, Nicky Henderson received a text message from Barney Clifford, the clerk of the course at Kempton. The gist of it was: “Sorry you’re not here today for racing, but in your absence we’ve allowed the bulldozers in this morning and started work on the housing development.” Henderson chuckled to himself. In his absence from the track as he married Sophie Waddilove, his partner, he still sent out three winners at his beloved Surrey course, plus a fourth for good measure at Warwick. Not a bad present to himself. The champion trainer enjoys a cause. Kempton is one about which he is passionate, with his views well documented — not least the fact that he would chain himself to the railings in the manner of a suffragette if he got warning of moves to dig it up. Wind operations are another issue that Henderson has strong opinions on — at least the publication of such information on racecards, which began this week. He cautions whether every procedure, even the most routine soft-palate cauterisation, should be included under the one heading. Wind operations have been a sensitive issue for Henderson with regard to Altior, the country’s outstanding two-mile chaser. But the air has now cleared. Altior is progressing well after his procedure last November, and remains on course for the Champion Chase at Cheltenham. It is likely that he will have a couple of racecourse gallops first, rather than make the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on February 10. The wedding was a roaring success; 50 guests, with Barry Hills his best man, and a big celebration. With no time for a honeymoon he was back at Seven Barrows first thing on Monday morning ready to plot this week’s runners. Among them on Wednesday, somewhat appropriately, was Morning Vicar who obliged at 5-1 at Newbury. This afternoon Jenkins, who completed 4 Number of times Henderson has won the Clarence House Chase. Today he can equal the record of five, held by Paul Nicholls, his nearest challenger in the trainers’ championship Brain Power represents Henderson at Ascot today but he faces a tough task in beating the two-times winner, Un De Sceaux his Saturday four-timer, is set to make a swift reappearance, with the in-form teenager James Bowen claiming 5lb. Most intriguing of all is Henderson’s decision to send out Brain Power to challenge Un De Sceaux in the Royal Salute Whisky Clarence House Chase, the feature race at Ascot. Brain Power is still a novice, with two starts over fences behind him, and unseated his rider at Sandown in his previous outing. He will be one of four rivals to Un De Sceaux as Willie Mullins’s ten-year-old bids for a record-breaking third successive victory in the race. Under the circumstances, is that not a lost cause? “It’s a bizarre thing to be doing and everyone is asking the same question: why?,” Henderson, who believes the likely strong pace of the race will play to his horse’s strengths, says. “A, there’s an awful lot of prize money and B, he has got to get some good experience of jumping at pace and he will have to settle. He did too much early on in the Champion Hurdle [last season]. He has got to get switched off. “ Back to wind operations. “A hobday, which Altior underwent, is declarable anyway.” he says. “If it’s been hobdayed and you put it in a sales ring and don’t declare it, that’s returnable. “There are a lot of procedures, such as cauterising of a soft palate which are carried out on thousands of horses. But all horses with ‘WS’ are now tainted for life. It’s in every stud book throughout the world. It becomes a very complicated issue for breeding. Bringing cauterising into that [declarable] bracket is wrong. You are potentially completely contaminating the stud book. “How many does it make any difference to?” he asks. “Two out of ten maybe. I’ve got a horse here, Percy Street. He ran two stinkers, had an op and he’s run two more stinkers. It’s made sod-all difference.” Un De Sceaux can make it three in a row Rob Wright Racing Editor Un De Sceaux could become the first triple winner of the grade-one Royal Salute Whisky Clarence House Chase (3.35) at Ascot today. Willie Mullins’s brilliant performer has won 19 of his 25 starts under rules, including two Cheltenham Festival victories and seven successes at the highest level over fences, and looked as good as ever when making a winning return to action at Cork last month, beating Top Gamble by 25 lengths. Un De Sceaux sets a clear standard here, rated at least 11lb higher than his rivals, and will be hard to beat. There have been a host of promising conditional jockeys catching the eye this jumps season and Jonjo O’Neill, who has impressed, can claim the biggest win of his fledgling career on Crossed My Mind in the Ascot Spring Garden Show Holloway’s Handicap Hurdle (2.25). O’Neill rides mainly for his father, the former champion jockey-turnedtrainer of the same name, but is getting ever more support from other yards and will have his first ride here for the veteran Irish handler Arthur Moore. Crossed My Mind is lightly raced and just lacked the pace to challenge when third to A Hare Breath in a listed handicap over two miles at Sandown Park last time out. A combination of this stiffer test of stamina and the 7lb allowance that O’Neill receives can make the difference here. Richard Johnson, the champion jockey, can make the trip to Haydock Park worthwhile by landing the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase (3.15) on board Rock The Kasbah. This progressive chaser is unexposed given a real test of stamina and stayed on powerfully when winning over slightly shorter at Chepstow on his reappearance. A winner on his only previous visit here, Rock The Kasbah relishes testing conditions and will be tough to beat. Fixtures Today Football Kick-off 3.0 unless stated Premier League: Arsenal v Crystal Palace; Brighton v Chelsea (12.30); Burnley v Man Utd; Everton v West Brom; Leicester v Watford; Man City v Newcastle (5.30); Stoke v Huddersfield; West Ham v Bournemouth. 6 Table on page 16 Sky Bet Championship: Aston Villa v Barnsley; Bolton v Ipswich; Fulham v Bolton; Leeds v Millwall; Norwich v Sheff Utd; Preston v Birmingham; QPR v Middlesbrough; Reading v Brentford; Sheff Wed v Cardiff (5.30); Sunderland v Hull; Wolves v Nott’m Forest. P Wolves...................27 Derby......................28 Cardiff....................27 Bristol City.............28 Aston Villa.............27 Sheff Utd ............... 27 Leeds......................27 Fulham...................27 Middlesbrough.......27 Preston...................27 Brentford ............... 27 Ipswich...................27 Norwich..................27 QPR ........................ 27 Nottm Forest.........27 Millwall..................27 Sheff Wed..............27 Reading..................27 Barnsley.................27 Hull.........................27 Bolton.....................27 Burton....................27 Birmingham...........27 Sunderland.............27 W 19 15 15 13 13 13 13 11 12 10 10 12 10 8 10 7 7 7 6 5 6 6 6 4 D 5 8 5 9 8 4 4 9 5 11 10 3 7 9 2 10 10 8 9 10 7 6 5 10 L 3 5 7 6 6 10 10 7 10 6 7 12 10 10 15 10 10 12 12 12 14 15 16 13 F 50 44 40 40 39 40 37 40 35 31 41 40 27 31 33 29 30 30 27 39 25 21 15 29 A 20 23 25 32 24 31 29 34 27 27 35 39 31 37 43 30 34 35 37 44 45 46 38 47 GD Pts 30 62 21 53 15 50 8 48 15 47 9 43 8 43 6 42 8 41 4 41 6 40 1 39 -4 37 -6 33 -10 32 -1 31 -4 31 -5 29 -10 27 -5 25 -20 25 -25 24 -23 23 -18 22 Sky Bet League One: AFC Wimbledon v Blackpool; Bristol Rovers v Bradford; Charlton v Walsall; Fleetwood v Blackburn; Northampton v MK Dons; Oxford v Bury; Peterborough v Oldham; Plymouth v Wigan; Rochdale v Southend; Rotherham v Portsmouth; Scunthorpe v Gillingham; Shrewsbury v Doncaster. P Wigan.....................26 Shrewsbury............26 Blackburn...............26 Scunthorpe.............27 Bradford.................27 Charlton ................. 27 Portsmouth............27 W 17 16 15 14 15 12 13 D L 6 3 6 4 7 4 8 5 3 9 7 8 3 11 F 50 34 48 38 43 34 34 A 12 18 24 23 36 32 31 GD Pts 38 57 16 54 24 52 15 50 7 48 2 43 3 42 Rotherham.............27 Peterborough.........27 Oxford Utd.............28 Fleetwood .............27 Doncaster...............27 Plymouth................28 Gillingham..............27 Walsall...................26 Blackpool................28 Bristol Rovers........27 Southend................28 MK Dons.................27 Oldham...................28 Northampton.........28 AFC Wimbledon.....26 Rochdale.................26 Bury........................27 12 5 10 45 36 9 41 11 7 9 43 37 6 40 10 8 10 43 41 2 38 10 6 11 38 41 -3 36 9 8 10 30 29 1 35 9 8 11 30 35 -5 35 8 10 9 29 30 -1 34 8 9 9 33 35 -2 33 8 9 11 34 38 -4 33 10 3 14 36 43 -7 33 8 7 13 32 47 -15 31 7 9 11 28 38 -10 30 7 8 13 40 50 -10 29 8 5 15 25 48 -23 29 7 7 12 22 31 -9 28 4 10 12 26 37 -11 22 4 5 18 19 42 -23 17 Sky Bet League Two: Accrington v Port Vale; Barnet v Lincoln; Colchester v Grimsby; Coventry v Swindon; Crewe v Wycombe; Forest Green v Cambridge; Luton v Morecambe; Mansfield v Cheltenham; Notts County v Exeter; Stevenage v Carlisle; Yeovil v Chesterfield. P Luton......................27 Notts County ......... 27 Accrington .............26 Wycombe...............27 Newport County .... 28 Exeter.....................26 Lincoln City............27 Mansfield...............27 Coventry.................27 Swindon.................26 Colchester..............28 Cambridge..............27 Carlisle...................27 Crawley..................28 Stevenage..............27 Cheltenham............28 Grimsby..................28 Port Vale................28 Morecambe............27 Crewe.....................27 Yeovil.....................27 Chesterfield...........28 Forest Green..........27 Barnet....................27 W D L F A GD Pts 16 6 5 62 27 35 54 14 9 4 46 28 18 51 14 4 8 44 30 14 46 13 7 7 49 36 13 46 12 9 7 39 32 7 45 14 3 9 36 32 4 45 12 8 7 37 26 11 44 11 11 5 38 29 9 44 13 5 9 28 19 9 44 14 2 10 39 34 5 44 11 8 9 37 34 3 41 10 8 9 25 31 -6 38 10 7 10 38 37 1 37 10 6 12 28 33 -5 36 9 7 11 37 40 -3 34 9 7 12 37 41 -4 34 9 7 12 27 38 -11 34 9 5 14 30 36 -6 32 7 8 12 27 37 -10 29 9 2 16 29 42 -13 29 7 7 13 37 48 -11 28 6 6 16 28 51 -23 24 6 5 16 26 48 -22 23 5 5 17 26 41 -15 20 Vanarama National League: Sutton Utd v Dag and Red (12.30); AFC Fylde v Macclesfield; Aldershot v Ebbsfleet; Boreham Wood v Dover; Chester v Gateshead; Halifax v Leyton Orient; Guiseley v Barrow; Hartlepool v Wrexham; Maidstone v Eastleigh; Solihull Moors v Woking; Torquay v Bromley; Tranmere v Maidenhead. P Macclesfield...........29 Aldershot...............29 Sutton United........29 W 16 14 14 D 7 9 7 L F A GD Pts 6 38 26 12 55 6 46 30 16 51 8 42 34 8 49 Wrexham ............... 28 Tranmere ............... 29 Boreham Wood......29 Dover Athletic ....... 29 Dag & Red .............. 29 Bromley..................29 Ebbsfleet Utd.........29 AFC Fylde...............28 Maidenhead Utd .... 29 Maidstone Utd.......28 Eastleigh................29 Woking...................28 FC Halifax .............. 29 Hartlepool..............28 Gateshead..............26 Leyton Orient.........29 Barrow ................... 29 Chester...................28 Solihull Moors........29 Guiseley ................. 28 Torquay..................29 13 13 12 11 12 12 10 11 9 9 8 10 8 8 7 8 7 5 6 4 4 9 8 11 12 9 8 12 9 11 11 13 5 10 9 11 8 10 11 6 10 8 6 8 6 6 8 9 7 8 9 8 8 13 11 11 8 13 12 12 17 14 17 31 43 40 38 46 46 41 45 37 35 42 38 31 31 32 35 36 25 26 26 24 22 26 29 23 35 37 33 38 40 40 43 44 38 38 28 42 40 44 45 52 47 9 17 11 15 11 9 8 7 -3 -5 -1 -6 -7 -7 4 -7 -4 -19 -19 -26 -23 48 47 47 45 45 44 42 42 38 38 37 35 34 33 32 32 31 26 24 22 20 Vanarama National League North: Telford v Nuneaton; Alfreton v Leamington; Blyth Spartans v FC Utd of Manchester; Bradford PA v Gainsborough; Curzon Ashton v Kidderminster; Darlington v Chorley; North Ferriby v Boston; Salford v Harrogate; Southport v Stockport; Tamworth v Brackley; York v Spennymoor. South: Bath v Concord Rangers; Bognor Regis v Wealdstone; Braintree v Hemel Hempstead; Chippenham v Dartford; East Thurrock v Oxford City; Eastbourne v St Albans; Hampton and Richmond v Hunderford; Havant and Waterlooville v Gloucester; Poole v Welling; Weston-Super-Mare v Chelmsford; Whitehawk v Truro. William Hill Scottish Cup: Fourth round: Aberdeen v St Mirren (12.15); Albion v St Johnstone; Alloa v Dundee Utd; Ayr v Arbroath; Celtic v Brechin; Dundee v Inverness; Dunfermline v Morton; East Fife v Brora Rangers; Kilmarnock v Ross County; Livingston v Falkirk; Motherwell v Hamilton; Queen of South v Partick. Ladbrokes Scottish League One: Stranraer v Raith. League Two: Berwick v Elgin; Montrose v Clyde; Stirling v Edinburgh City. Rugby union Kick-off 2.0 unless stated European Champions Cup: Pool two (3.15): Clermont Auvergne v Ospreys; Saracens v Northampton. Pool three (1.0): Glasgow v Exeter; Montpellier v Leinster. Pool five (5.30): Benetton v Bath; Scarlets v Toulon. European Challenge Cup: Pool one: Dragons v Bordeaux-Begles (3.0); Enisei-STM v Newcastle (10.0). Pool two (5.0): Lyons v Cardiff Blues; Toulouse v Sale. Pool three: Zebre v Agen. Pool four: Krasny Yar v London Irish (1.0). Pool five (2.30): Brive v Worcester; Connacht v Oyonnax. British and Irish Cup: Bedford v Nottingham; Leinster A v Doncaster (3.0); Newport Dragons v London Scottish; Yorkshire Carnegie v Jersey; Richmond v Ealing; Cornish Pirates v Hartpury; Scarlets v Ulster A. National League One: Caldy v Darlington MP; Hull Ionians v Blackheath; Old Elthamians v Cambridge; Ampthill v Bishop’s Stortford (2.15); Moseley v Old Albanian (3.0); Coventry v Esher (3.0); Plymouth Albion v Loughborough Students (3.0); Rosslyn Park v Fylde (3.0). National League Two North: Blaydon P Luctonians P; Leicester Lions v Macclesfield; Sheffield Tigers v Hinckley; Wharfedale v Sheffield; Sale v South Leicester (2.15); Sedgley Park v Tynedale (2.30); Chester v Stourbridge (3.0); Huddersfield v Otley (3.0). South: Barnstaple v Canterbury; Redruth v Taunton Titans; Wimbledon v Bury St Edmunds; Broadstreeet v Henley (2.30); Cinderford v Redingensians (2.30); Old Redcliffians v Clifton (2.30); Chinnor v Worthing (3.0); London Irish Wild Geese v Tonbridge Juddian (3.0). Women: Tyrrells Premier 15s: Darlington Mowden Park v Harlequins (2.0); Wasps v Saracens (2.0); Worcester v Richmond (Sixways stadium, 2.0); Gloucester-Hartpury v Bristol (Hartpury College, 2.30); Firwood Waterloo v Loughborough (Memorial Ground, 4.45). Tomorrow Snooker Snooker Alexandra Palace, London: Dafabet Masters. Alexandra Palace, London: Dafabet Masters. Bristol 68 Cardiff Blues 0; Connacht A 3 Rotherham Titans 27. Quarter-finals: J Trump (Eng) bt S Murphy (Eng) 6-4; J Higgins (Scot) bt R Day (Wales) 6-1. Cricket Tennis Second one-day international, Brisbane: Australia v England: scoreboard on page 2 Fifth one-day international, Wellington: New Zealand 271-7 (M J Guptill 100, L R P L Taylor 59; Rumman Raees 3-67); Pakistan 256 (Haris Sohail 63, Shadab Khan 54; M J Henry 4-53, M J Santner 4-30). New Zealand won by 15 runs and won five-match series 5-0. Tri-series, Dhaka: Bangladesh 320-7 (Tamim Iqbal 84, Shakib Al Hasan 67, Mushfiqur Rahim 62; N L T C Perera 3-60); Sri Lanka 157 (N L T C Perera 29; Shakib 3-47, Rubel Hossain 2-20). Bangladesh won by 163 runs. Australian Open, Melbourne Third round (seeds in brackets): Men: K Edmund (GB) bt N Basilashvili (Geo) 7-6 (7-0), 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5; (10) P Carreno-Busta (Sp) bt (23) G Muller (Lux) 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-5, 7-5; (3) G Dimitrov (Bul) bt (30) A Rublev (Russ) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; (24) D Schwartzman (Arg) bt A Dolgopolov (Ukr) 6-7 (1-7), 6-2, 6-3, 6-3; A Seppi (It) bt I Karlovic (Cro) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (3-7), 6-7 (5-7), 9-7; (1) R Nadal (Sp) bt (28) D Dzumhur (Bos-Herz) 6-1, 6-3, 6-1; (17) N Kyrgios (Aus) bt (15) J-W Tsonga (Fr) 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5); (6) M Cilic (Cro) bt R Harrison (US) 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). Women: P Martic (Cro) bt L Kumkhum (Thai) 6-3, 3-6, 7-5; D Allertova (Cz) bt M Linette (Pol) 6-1, 6-4; E Mertens (Bel) bt A Cornet (Fr) 7-5, 6-4; (4) E Svitolina (Ukr) bt M Kostyuk (Ukr) 6-2, 6-2; (19) M Rybarikova (Slovakia) bt K Bondarenko (Ukr) 7-5, 3-6, 6-1; C Suarez (Sp) bt K Kanepi (Est) 3-6, 6-1, 6-3; (32) A Kontaveit (Est) bt (7) J Ostapenko (Lat) 6-3, 1-6, 6-3; (2) C Wozniacki (Den) bt (30) K Bertens (Neth) 6-4, 6-3. Football Premier League: Southampton v Tottenham (4.0). William Hill Scottish Cup: Fourth round: Fraserburgh v Rangers (12.0); Hearts v Hibernian (2.05). Rugby union European Champions Cup: Pool one (3.15): La Rochelle v Harlequins; Wasps v Ulster. Pool four (1.0): Leicester v Racing 92; Munster v Castres. Results Football Sky Bet Championship Derby (0) 0 Bristol City (0) 0 26,525 Sky Bet League Two Newport Co (2) 2 Crawley Town (0) 1 Amond 40 Demetriou 44 (pen) Smith 48 5,741 Rugby union European Challenge Cup: Pool three Gloucester 24 Pau 34 Gloucester: Tries: Thrush, Braley, Polledri. Conversions: Twelvetrees 3. Penalty goal: Twelvetrees. Pau: Tries: Armitage, Halai, Adriaanse, Ramsay. Conversions: Slade 4. Penalty goals: Slade 2. HT: 7-13. Pau Gloucester Agen Zebre P W 6 6 6 4 5 1 5 0 D 0 0 0 0 L F A BP Pts 0 207 125 5 29 2 253 139 5 21 4 118 182 2 6 5 95 227 3 3 British and Irish Cup: Munster A 27 Ospreys 0; Golf PGA Tour: CareerBuilder Challenge, California, United States: Leading first-round scores (par 72, US unless stated): 62: J Rahm (Sp). 63: J Kokrak; A Landry; A Cook. 64: A Wise; B Hossler; B Harkins; M Piller. 65: B Harman; T Gooch; W Bryan; J Vegas (Ven); N Watney; G Murray. Snooker Alexandra Palace, London: Dafabet Masters: the times | Saturday January 20 2018 23 2G S Sport 138 Lizzie Kelly (3) 6 110-02 NIGHT OF SIN 30 (S) N Williams 5-10-11 140 A Tinkler 7 O-1146 WHATMORE 19 (H,G) H Daly 6-10-11 140 T Humphries (7) 8 6-2310 JABULANI 49 (D,S) N Twiston-Davies 5-10-6 146 9 416-33 CROSSED MY MIND 42 (BF,S) A Moore (Ire) 6-10-3 Jonjo O'Neill (7) 411201 140 THORPE 19 (T,P,D,G,S) Miss L Russell 8-10-3 B Campbell (5) 10 142 M Bastyan (5) 11 32-221 OXWICH BAY 33 (D,S) E Williams 6-10-3 146 S Houlihan (7) 12 223255 MAN OF PLENTY 28 (T,V,D,G) Mrs S Leech 9-10-2 146 A Coleman 13 0-1203 VIVAS 25 (T,D,G,S) C Longsdon 7-10-0 126 R Patrick (5) 14 4-3305 MONTY'S AWARD 14 (H,G) C Longsdon 6-10-0 4-1 Jenkins, 6-1 Crossed My Mind, Le Breuil, Oxwich Bay, 9-1 Night Of Sin, 12-1 Air Horse One, Burbank, 14-1 Jabulani, 16-1 Man Of Plenty, Thorpe, 20-1 Caid du Lin, Vivas, 25-1 others. Ascot Rob Wright 12.40 Nayati 3.00 Minella Daddy 1.15 Crievehill 3.35 Un De Sceaux 1.50 Graceful Legend 4.05 Santini 2.25 Crossed My Mind (nb) Thunderer: 1.50 La Bague Au Roi (nap). 2.25 Oxwich Bay. Going: soft (good to soft in places) Racing UK 12.40 Horse Comes First Juvenile Hurdle Wright choice: Crossed My Mind lacked the pace to land a blow when third at Sandown and this stiffer test will suit Dangers: Oxwich Bay, Le Breuil (4-Y-O: £6,758: 1m 7f 152y) (6 runners) 1 NAYATI 21 (D,S) A King 11-4 W Hutchinson v122 1 41 OISTRAKH LE NOIR (S) B Pauling 11-4 -D Jacob 2 -ET MOI ALORS G L Moore 10-12 Josh Moore 3 0 LEORO 31 (T) C Mann 10-12 70 N Fehily 4 F4 SPECIAL RELATION 21 H Morrison 10-12 109 D Crosse 5 -HARMONISE 85F (H) Sheena West 10-5 M Goldstein 6 5-4 Nayati, 6-4 Oistrakh Le Noir, 6-1 Et Moi Alors, 12-1 Special Relation, 25-1 Harmonise, Leoro. 1.15 3.00 1.50 olbg.com Mares' Hurdle 132 135 134 127 136 128 v141 Wright choice: Minella Daddy, off since striking into himself in grade one company at Kempton, goes well here Dangers: Acting Lass, Tenor Nivernais 3.35 (Grade II: £28,475: 2m 7f 118y) (6) Wright choice: Un De Sceaux is an outstanding chaser and will be hard to beat as he bids for a third win in this race Danger: Brain Power 4.05 Rob Wright’s choice: Graceful Legend stayed on well at Cheltenham and has been crying out for this stiffer test Danger: La Bague Au Roi Ascot Spring Garden Show Holloway's Handicap Hurdle 40-430 41-001 242-06 11P-52 310220 AIR HORSE ONE 28 (CD,G,S) H Fry 7-11-12 JENKINS 7 (B,G,S) N Henderson 6-11-8 BURBANK 31 (P,BF,G,S) N Henderson 6-11-7 LE BREUIL 42 (D,BF,S) B Pauling 6-11-4 CAID DU LIN 28 (T,P,D,G,S) Dr R Newland 6-11-0 N Fehily J Bowen (5) J McGrath D Jacob C Hammond (7) Lingfield Park Rob Wright 12.20 Kreb’s Cycle 12.50 Court House 1.25 Venetian Proposal 2.00 Ginger Lady Going: standard Draw: no advantage 2.35 Lawless Secret 3.10 American Gigolo 3.40 Cosmic Love 4.10 Secret Strategy At The Races 12.20 Handicap (£5,531: 1m 1y) (9) 1 (4) /004- CHESTER STREET 98 (H,D) R Charlton 5-9-9 A McNamara (3) 2 (7) 000-3 MR BOSSY BOOTS 3 (P,C) Mrs A Perrett 7-9-7 J Haynes 3 (5) 45-54 PEARL SPECTRE 3 (P,CD) Phil McEntee 7-9-7 Nicola Currie (5) J Duern (3) 4 (6) 400-0 KADRIZZI 15 (H,C) D Ivory 5-9-4 M Harley 5 (3) 0405- GOTHIC EMPIRE 38 R Rowe 6-9-2 Jane Elliott (5) 6 (8) 2104- INTENSE STYLE 64 L Eyre 6-9-2 7 (2) 2010- BRISTOL MISSILE 38 (B) R Hannon 4-9-0 T Marquand O Murphy 8 (9) 4200- BRIYOUNI 113 (D) R Beckett 5-8-13 S Donohoe 9 (1) 2020- KREB'S CYCLE 35 I Williams 4-8-11 3-1 Chester Street, 4-1 Intense Style, 5-1 Mr Bossy Boots, 6-1 others. 12.50 Handicap (3-Y-O: £7,246: 1m 1y) (4) T J Murphy 1 (3) 1231- MOTOWN MICK 31 (C,D) R Hannon 9-7 R Havlin 2 (4) 62-1 COURT HOUSE 16 (D) J Gosden 9-1 S A Gray 3 (2) 100-5 BUNGEE JUMP 16 K A Ryan 8-4 4 (1) 6012- CRISTAL PALLAS CAT 20 R Ingram 8-3 Rhiain Ingram (5) Evens Court House, 5-2 Motown Mick, 3-1 Cristal Pallas Cat, 20-1 Bungee Jump. 1.25 Handicap (£3,105: 1m 2f) (11) 135-1 ROCK ICON 7 (H) J Hughes 5-9-13 H Burns (7) 514-3 BROUGHTONS STORY 12 (D) P McBride 4-9-8 S Donohoe 54-01 BETSALOTTIE 7 (CD) J Bridger 5-9-8 M Godwin (3) 0336- ATTAIN 21 (CD) A Watson 9-9-7 E Greatrex 3036- BLOODSWEATANDTEARS 21 W Knight 10-9-6 K Fox 6105- ESTIBDAAD 21 (T,CD) P Butler 8-9-5 C Shepherd (3) 2/60- MONDAY CLUB 35J (B,D) D Ffrench Davis 5-9-3 Nicola Currie (5) 8 (6) 1000- UNSUSPECTED GIRL 56 (T,D) J M Bradley 5-9-3 L Morris 9 (8) 333-6 VENETIAN PROPOSAL 14 (P) Miss Z Davison 4-9-1 K O'Neill 10 (3) 000-0 SHARP OPERATOR 9 (H) C Wallis 5-8-8 C Bennett (3) 11 (9) 655-0 TILSWORTH LUKEY 17 J Jenkins 5-8-8 Gina Mangan (7) 3-1 Rock Icon, 9-2 Broughtons Story, 5-1 Attain, Betsalottie, 6-1 others. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (5) (10) (2) (4) (7) (1) (11) 2.00 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (4) (3) (8) (1) (7) (5) (10) Handicap (£3,105: 1m 2f) (10) 3063- ZEPHYROS 21 (D) D Bridgwater 7-9-10 P Bridgwater (7) 064-1 KARAM ALBAARI 7 (V,CD) J Jenkins 10-9-8 M Harley 2032- RELEVANT 21 (H,T) S C Williams 4-9-8 A Jones (3) 046-4 PIVOTAL FLAME 14 (D) P Phelan 5-9-6 Paddy Bradley (5) 640- GINGER LADY 38 M Tompkins 4-9-5 J Haynes 0/00- EPICURIOUS 253 (P) B Meehan 4-9-5 O Murphy 000-0 EMBANKMENT 7 (CD) M Attwater 9-9-3 R Havlin Rosling King British EBF Novices' Hurdle (£6,758: 2m 5f 141y) (9) 1-1 SANTINI 50 (S) N Henderson 6-11-8 N De Boinville v131 1 11 VINNDICATION 48 (G,S) K Bailey 5-11-8 127 S Bowen 2 12- CHAMP 329 (BF,S) N Henderson 6-11-2 -A Coleman 3 122 Doubtful 4 0-F425 IMPERIAL ELOQUENCE 49 (S) F O'Brien 6-11-2 11-23 JUST A STING 42 (BF,S) H Fry 6-11-2 125 N Fehily 5 100 L Aspell 6 F-4300 LORD GETAWAY 17 (S) H J Evans 6-11-2 16/ MERE IRONMONGER 644 (BF,G) B Powell 6-11-2 -B Powell 7 118 8 21-304 OVERWORKDUNDERPAID 42 (S) C Longsdon 5-11-2 Paul O'Brien (5) 1/ QUARRY LEADER 643P (S) A Hales 7-11-2 -K K Woods 9 11-8 Santini, 4-1 Just A Sting, Vinndication, 5-1 Champ, 20-1 Mere Ironmonger, 25-1 others. ITV4 (Grade III: £28,475: 2m 3f 58y) (14) 1 2 3 4 5 Royal Salute Whisky Clarence ITV4 House Chase (Grade I: £85,425: 2m 167y) (5) 162 N De Boinville 1 105-1U BRAIN POWER 42 (C,D,G,S) N Henderson 7-11-7 156 N Fehily 2 2554-P KYLEMORE LOUGH 63 (D,BF,G,S) H Fry 9-11-7 164 N Scholfield 3 3-2245 SAN BENEDETO 42 (T,P,CD,F,G,S) P Nicholls 7-11-7 148 S Bowen 4 11-121 SPEREDEK 14 (P,D,S) N Hawke 7-11-7 P Townend v172 5 1112-1 UN DE SCEAUX 41 (CD,G,S) W Mullins (Ire) 10-11-7 4-7 Un De Sceaux, 5-2 Brain Power, 11-1 Kylemore Lough, 16-1 Speredek, 20-1 San Benedeto. ITV4 N Fehily v153 1 061-11 LA BAGUE AU ROI 54 (D,G,S) W Greatrex 7-11-4 149 W Hutchinson 2 32-22F DUSKY LEGEND 50 (G,S) A King 8-11-0 146 K K Woods 3 1-3613 GRACEFUL LEGEND 35 (P,C,G,S) B Case 7-11-0 140 L Aspell 4 110-33 HITHERJACQUES LADY 14 (G,S) O Sherwood 6-11-0 22-211 141 MIDNIGHT TUNE 24 (T,S) A Honeyball 7-11-0 A Coleman 5 143 S Bowen 6 U4-1U2 SAINTE LADYLIME 17 (D,S) K Bailey 7-11-0 Evens La Bague Au Roi, 11-4 Dusky Legend, 6-1 Graceful Legend, 7-1 Midnight Tune, 12-1 others. 2.25 145 143 144 146 v148 S Donohoe 8 (6) 0060- BEAST 74 (T,V) J Farrelly 4-9-1 Jane Elliott (5) 9 (2) 000-0 ROYAL RETTIE 10 (H) P Butler 6-8-8 M Godwin (3) 10 (9) 6000- FAIRY MIST 21 (V,C) J Bridger 11-8-8 3-1 Karam Albaari, Relevant, 9-2 Zephyros, 6-1 Pivotal Flame, 13-2 others. 2.35 Handicap (£11,828: 1m 4f) (6) 1 (5) 5030- FIRE FIGHTING 252 (B,D) M Johnston 7-9-11 F Norton Fran Berry 2 (6) 1224/ GWAFA 461J (D) P Webber 7-8-13 K Shoemark 3 (4) 5122- AL HAMDANY 20 (D,BF) M Botti 4-8-13 L Morris 4 (3) /023- BURCAN 58 (CD) M Botti 6-8-12 5 (2) 4410- GRAND INQUISITOR 25 (P) I Williams 6-8-9 S Donohoe R Powell 6 (1) 320-3 LAWLESS SECRET 18 (H) S Crisford 4-8-4 2-1 Al Hamdany, 11-4 Burcan, 3-1 Lawless Secret, 6-1 Fire Fighting, 12-1 others. 3.10 Maiden Stakes (£3,752: 1m 4f) (8) AMERICAN GIGOLO 77J (H,T) H Fry 6-9-8 Fran Berry 1 (5) GIVE HIM TIME 71J (T) N Gifford 7-9-8 T J Murphy 2 (1) HAAFAPIECE 30J Mrs P Sly 5-9-8 C Shepherd (3) 3 (2) REEDWAY Mrs L Mongan 5-9-8 O Murphy 4 (6) 4- BARRSBROOK 21 G L Moore 4-9-5 H Crouch (3) 5 (8) T Marquand 6 (7) 3333- FEARSOME 94 N Littmoden 4-9-5 J Mitchell 7 (3) 2243- GAKKU 53 (V,BF) R Varian 4-9-0 6- KERRE 100 W Jarvis 4-9-0 C Bishop 8 (4) 11-8 Gakku, 11-4 American Gigolo, 9-2 Fearsome, 8-1 Barrsbrook, 12-1 others. 3.40 ITV4 161 1 43120- TENOR NIVERNAIS 287 (CD,G,S) Miss V Williams 11-11-12 A Coleman 161 M Bastyan (5) 2 P-5PP2 SHANTOU FLYER 19 (T,P,D,G,S) R Hobson 8-11-8 156 N Fehily 3 124-11 ACTING LASS 9 (T,D,S) H Fry 7-10-12 155 Mr Z Baker (5) 4 0-PU11 ROBINSHILL 54 (T,G,S) N Twiston-Davies 7-10-12 161 S Bowen 5 2112P- MINELLA DADDY 390 (B,C,G,S) P Bowen 8-10-8 158 R Day (3) 6 222101 GUITAR PETE 35 (D,G,S) N Richards 8-10-8 J McGrath v163 7 50-236 KILCREA VALE 35 (D,BF,G,S) N Henderson 8-10-6 159 D R Fox 8 13-111 FOREST DES AIGLES 36 (T,D,S) Miss L Russell 7-10-2 158 L Aspell 9 -53510 FORTUNATE GEORGE 28 (V,CD,G,S) Miss E Lavelle 8-10-2 5-2 Acting Lass, 5-1 Guitar Pete, 11-2 Robinshill, 6-1 Shantou Flyer, 8-1 Kilcrea Vale, 9-1 others. Thames Materials Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase (£9,608: 2m 2f 175y) (7) Mr D Maxwell (3) 1 213651 CHEF D'EQUIPE 14 (H,S) P Hobbs 6-11-12 Mr Z Baker 2 0-0132 CRIEVEHILL 21 (S) N Twiston-Davies 6-11-8 Miss Aine O'Connor (3) 3 25B-01 DRUMCLIFF 58 (T,S) H Fry 7-11-8 4 33-214 FLAMING CHARMER 43 (T,D,S) C Tizzard 10-11-6 Mr J L Thomas (7) 5 4-0326 RED DEVIL STAR 28 (T,C,S) Miss S Smith 8-10-13 Mr A Ferguson (3) Mr H Nugent (5) 6 424U-3 UHLAN BUTE 14 (S) Miss V Williams 10-10-12 7 03P/4- RUSSBOROUGH 624 (D,G) Miss V Williams 9-10-10 Miss L Turner (7) 11-4 Drumcliff, 100-30 Chef D'Equipe, 5-1 Crievehill, 6-1 Flaming Charmer, 13-2 others. bet365 Handicap Chase (£46,920: 2m 5f 8y) (9) Fillies' Novice Stakes (3-Y-O: £3,752: 1m 1y) (9) 1 (7) 5-1 MORNING HAS BROKEN 14 D Elsworth 9-7 Hollie Doyle H Crouch (3) 2 (2) 01U- INDISCRETION 59 (D) J Portman 9-4 AIGLETTE L Dace 9-0 K O'Neill 3 (6) 6- CHLORIS 52 J Gosden 9-0 R Havlin 4 (5) CORALIE W Muir 9-0 M Dwyer 5 (9) 2COSMIC LOVE 31 W Haggas 9-0 Georgia Cox (3) 6 (4) 4 DOLLY MIXTURE 14 John Best 9-0 Nicola Currie (5) 7 (3) 5- FLORA TRISTAN 36 (H) M Botti 9-0 L Morris 8 (1) 0- NESS OF BRODGAR 77 M Tompkins 9-0 J Haynes 9 (8) 6-4 Morning Has Broken, 7-4 Cosmic Love, 4-1 Chloris, 14-1 others. Rob Wright 12.55 Reverant Cust 3.15 Rock The Kasbah (nap) 1.30 Testify 3.45 Lake Field 2.05 Lostintranslation 4.15 Apollo Creed 2.40 Ch’tibello Going: heavy Racing UK 6 Inspection 8am 12.55 Jockey Club Haydock Park Racing Club Handicap Hurdle (£6,498: 1m 7f 144y) (12) D Cook 1 6-6215 JOKE DANCER 28 (CD,S) Mrs S Smith 5-11-12 H Cobden 2 0422-5 BRYNMAWR 11 C Tizzard 8-11-12 S Coltherd (5) 3 P-3245 GRAYSTOWN 18 W S Coltherd 6-11-12 F O'Toole (3) 4 133-06 REVERANT CUST 52 (T,D,S) P Atkinson 7-11-7 R Johnson 5 -54316 CHOZEN 56 (H,S) T Vaughan 6-11-5 H Skelton 6 4-6F05 ATLANTIC STORM 13 (T,S) D Skelton 6-11-4 J Best 7 -00U46 LORD FENDALE 17 (H,D,G) T Vaughan 9-11-2 3-43 LE FRANK 18 (T) Miss L Russell 6-11-2 T Scudamore 8 A P Cawley 9 3-5U20 AKULA 9 (P,D,G,S) B Leavy 11-10-11 D R Fox 10 66P033 BINGO D'OLIVATE 59 (H,D,S) G Anderson 7-10-10 D England 11 1-000 WESTERN MORNING 16 (T,G) O Greenall 5-10-10 Ryan Winks (5) 12 006F34 HARTSIDE 9 (T,D,S) P Winks 9-10-2 11-2 Le Frank, 6-1 Brynmawr, 13-2 Joke Dancer, Reverant Cust, 7-1 Chozen, 8-1 others. 1.30 2.05 4-411 FIRST FLOW 21 (D,S) K Bailey 6-11-4 D Bass v144 1 201 LISDOONVARNA LAD 24 (D,S) C Longsdon 6-11-4 131 J J Burke 2 4-221 LOSTINTRANSLATION 50 (D,S) C Tizzard 6-11-4 141 H Cobden 3 21-51 127 MCGOWAN'S PASS 29 (D,S) A Thomson 7-11-4 H Brooke 4 138 D Cook 5 20-122 MIDNIGHT SHADOW 42 (D,S) Mrs S Smith 5-11-4 140 W Kennedy 6 42/611 WATERLORD 21 (CD,G,S) D McCain 7-11-4 2-1 Waterlord, 5-2 First Flow, 11-4 Lostintranslation, 9-1 Midnight Shadow, 10-1 others. Handicap (£3,752: 6f 1y) (12) 1 (1) 5601- SECRET STRATEGY 151 Miss J Feilden 4-9-7 Shelley Birkett (3) 2 (6) 241-3 INDIAN AFFAIR 7 (T,B,CD) J M Bradley 8-9-7 Kerrie Raybould (7) T J Murphy 3 (4) 6300- PICKET LINE 134 (D) G Deacon 6-9-6 4 (5) 3406- YORKEE MO SABEE 43 (H,T,D) S C Williams 5-9-6 A Jones (3) C Bennett (3) 5 (2) 3021- GOLD CLUB 20 (CD) L Carter 7-9-5 Doubtful 6 (11) 240-0 DUKE COSIMO 16 (D) M Herrington 8-9-4 7 (12) 000-0 ANONYMOUS JOHN 7 (D) D Ffrench Davis 6-9-4 L Keniry 8 (3) 502-2 STRATEGIC HEIGHTS 10 (V,D) J Osborne 9-9-3 D C Costello L Morris 9 (10) 5661- MET BY MOONLIGHT 20 (C) R Hodges 4-9-3 10 (9) 001-0 COMPTON PRINCE 10 (B,CD) J M Bradley 9-9-0 F Norton K Fox 11 (7) 0005- MOSSGO 28 (T,C) John Best 8-9-0 C Bishop 12 (8) 035-1 BRIDGE BUILDER 10 (V,CD) P Hedger 8-9-0 4-1 Strategic Heights, 9-2 Bridge Builder, 5-1 Gold Club, 7-1 others. 2.40 Unibet Champion Hurdle Trial Hurdle (Grade II: £42,713: 1m 7f 144y) (4) Novices' Hurdle (£5,458: 2m 3f) (7) Novices' Handicap Chase C Ring (3) 1 2F556 THE GIPPER 28 (D) E Williams 8-11-13 2 R4655 MASTER OF VERSE 17 (D) Miss V Williams 9-11-8 R Dunne H Bannister 3 6-201 ENOLA GAY 23 (D) Miss V Williams 5-11-5 C Poste 4 0-212 VOCALISER 9 (D) R Dickin 6-10-12 5-4 Vocaliser, 5-2 Enola Gay, 9-2 The Gipper, 5-1 Master Of Verse. Handicap Hurdle(£11,574: 2m 3f) (6) Bryony Frost (5) 1 F36-2 IRVING 49 (C) P Nicholls 10-11-12 G Sheehan 2 003-2 BOITE 25 W Greatrex 8-11-2 1/111 MONBEG LEGEND 177 (D) N Henderson 8-10-10 N Curtis (5) 3 H Bannister 4 51P3- COLD MARCH 278 (D) H Whittington 8-10-7 N P Madden 5 /0-03 GENERAL GINGER 61 (T,D) H Fry 8-10-0 P Brennan 6 44P6/ KINGS LAD 641 (T,D) C Tizzard 11-10-0 7-4 Monbeg Legend, 11-4 Boite, 3-1 Irving, 7-1 General Ginger, 10-1 others. Novices' Handicap Chase 630-4 GEORDIE DES CHAMPS 70 (BF) Miss R Curtis 7-11-8 N P Madden A Johns 2 03-F4 DADSINTROUBLE 31 (D) T Vaughan 8-11-6 R McLernon 3 3445P MATORICO 70 Jonjo O'Neill 7-10-12 4 -2033 CAPTAIN BUCK'S 25 (T,P,C,D) P Nicholls 6-10-12 Mr L Williams (7) 6-4 Captain Buck's, 5-2 Geordie Des Champs, 3-1 Dadsintrouble, 5-1 Matorico. 1 Novices' Hurdle (£5,458: 2m 104y) (10) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ITV4 1 4-1422 THE NEW ONE 25 (CD,G,S) N Twiston-Davies 10-11-10 S Twiston-Davies H Skelton 2 5132-4 CH'TIBELLO 35 (CD,S) D Skelton 7-11-4 R Johnson 3 23-232 CLYNE 28 (CD,BF,S) E Williams 8-11-4 Matt Griffiths 4 10-105 UNISON 24 (D,G,S) J Scott 8-11-4 Evens The New One, 7-4 Ch'Tibello, 4-1 Clyne, 33-1 Unison. (£6,758: 2m 12y) (4) 3.25 ITV4 152 S Twiston-Davies 1 2-0430 PTIT ZIG 28 (B,D,G,S) P Nicholls 9-11-10 135 2 0/20-0 CAROLE'S DESTRIER 49 (D,G,S) N Mulholland 10-11-6 T Scudamore 153 R Johnson 3 4126-1 ROCK THE KASBAH 98 (C,G,S) P Hobbs 8-11-6 157 C Deutsch (3) 4 41-P36 YALA ENKI 28 (C,D,S) Miss V Williams 8-11-4 P2-361 156 CAPTAIN REDBEARD 28 (C,G,S) W S Coltherd 9-11-1 S Coltherd (5) 5 157 A E Lynch 6 0-3320 FINE RIGHTLY 20 (H,D,S) S Crawford (Ire) 10-11-0 158 J Best 7 00-513 WALK IN THE MILL 28 (S) R Walford 8-10-12 D Cook v161 8 135-P1 HAINAN 56 (C,D,S) Mrs S Smith 7-10-11 157 H Brooke 9 P/2P-3 HIGHLAND LODGE 42 (P,C,D,S) J Moffatt 12-10-9 156 J Bargary (3) 10 -2F4U1 TINTERN THEATRE 24 (S) N Twiston-Davies 7-10-9 160 H Cobden 11 220-26 THE DUTCHMAN 36 (T,BF,S) C Tizzard 8-10-6 157 D R Fox 12 13-111 FOREST DES AIGLES 36 (T,S) Miss L Russell 7-10-4 160 D Bass 13 526-23 KNOCKANRAWLEY 21 (P,D,S) K Bailey 10-10-4 5-1 Tintern Theatre, 11-2 Rock The Kasbah, 7-1 Hainan, Walk In The Mill, 15-2 Yala Enki, 8-1 others. Wright choice: Rock The Kasbah made a pleasing reappearance at Chepstow and will relish this test Dangers: Tintern Theatre, Knockanrawley 3.45 Watch Racing UK In HD Handicap Chase R Johnson 1 15-043 TORNADO IN MILAN 33 (D,S) E Williams 12-11-12 H Skelton 2 121136 AZZURI 7 (T,D,G,S) D Skelton 6-11-12 W Kennedy 3 P-P531 UBALTIQUE 28 (T,B,CD,S) D McCain 10-11-8 D Bass 4 00-211 LAKE FIELD 23 (D,S) K Bailey 9-11-2 T Kelly 5 311-24 HALCYON DAYS 32 (P,D,G,S) R Menzies 9-10-13 11-8 Lake Field, 9-4 Ubaltique, 6-1 Halcyon Days, 7-1 Azzuri, Tornado In Milan. 124 123 130 v132 126 Peover Handicap Hurdle (£8,123: 2m 6f 177y) (8) 123 H Skelton 1 2-2235 SHELFORD 62 (BF,S) D Skelton 9-11-12 138 D Cook 2 310-03 DE VOUS A MOI 28 (D,S) Mrs S Smith 10-11-2 138 T Scudamore 3 F0-PP2 SOUTHFIELD ROYALE 28 (G,S) N Mulholland 8-11-1 C Bewley (3) v139 4 44/U4- DONNA'S DIAMOND 427 (D,S) C Grant 9-11-1 133 S W Quinlan 5 5-5532 TANARPINO 32 (P,BF,G,S) J Candlish 7-10-12 128 6 35-133 THE HOLLOW GINGE 35 (S) N Twiston-Davies 5-10-11 S Twiston-Davies 136 H Brooke 7 0541-2 BRUICHLADDICH 18 (S) I Jardine 6-10-6 62-31 APOLLO CREED 57 (S) E Williams 6-10-5 133 R Johnson 8 5-1 Apollo Creed, De Vous A Moi, Southfield Royale, The Hollow Ginge, 11-2 Shelford, 13-2 others. Wright choice: Lostintranslation improved for a switch to front-running tactics at Newbury and can handle this higher grade Danger: Waterlord (£9,357: 2m 7f 3y) (4) 4.10 Peter Marsh Handicap Chase (Grade II £42,713: 3m 1f 125y) (13) 4.15 (Grade II: £17,085: 1m 7f 144y) (6) 1 2-166 DIAMANT BLEU 43 N Williams 5-11-12 Mr C Williams (7) 2 1-441 DAN MCGRUE 21 (T,CD) P Nicholls 6-11-8 Bryony Frost (5) 5 COTSWOLD WAY 31 P Hobbs 5-11-2 T O'Brien 3 0/ DRAMA KING 658 D Pipe 7-11-2 D Noonan 4 40 FARMER BOY 57 N Hawke 5-11-2 B Hughes 5 T Cannon 6 -4462 NOTRE AMI 25 N Gifford 7-11-2 0 TELSON BARLEY 73 G McPherson 5-11-2 C Shoemark 7 15-8 Notre Ami, 2-1 Diamant Bleu, 3-1 Dan McGrue, 13-2 others. 2.50 149 150 v157 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington ITV4 Main Novices' Hurdle 1.05 Dan McGrue 2.50 Captain Buck’s 1.40 Vocaliser 3.25 Brianstorm 2.15 Cold March 3.55 Kauto Riko Going: soft (heavy in places) Racing UK 2.15 S Mulqueen R Johnson W Kennedy 3.15 (£9,747: 2m 67y) (5) (Grade II: £18,224: 2m 3f 203y) (3) 1 26-313 LAKE VIEW LAD 28 (D,S) N Alexander 8-11-0 2 1333U1 POSITIVELY DYLAN 7 (D,G,S) E Williams 7-11-0 3 120-11 TESTIFY 28 (C,S) D McCain 7-11-0 8-13 Testify, 11-4 Positively Dylan, 9-2 Lake View Lad. Rob Wright 1.40 114 109 103 113 108 99 111 100 108 112 93 v115 Altcar Novices' Chase Taunton 1.05 Wright choice: Ch’tibello was hampered approaching the last when fourth to My Tent Or Yours at Cheltenham and can do better Danger: The New One Haydock Park -5624 ANOTHER CRICK 19 (H) N Williams 5-11-2 /6U-P BLUE SIRE 19 (T,V) N Hawke 7-11-2 -5323 BRIANSTORM 31 (H) W Greatrex 6-11-2 3 DJIN CONTI H Whittington 5-11-2 1F EY UP ROCKY 25 (D) Jonjo O'Neill 5-11-2 055 IRISH PRINCE 21 D Pipe 5-11-2 P OFF THE SCALE 54 Sarah Robinson 6-11-2 T Garner (3) T Cannon G Sheehan H Bannister R McLernon D Noonan L Edwards v162 161 154 133 Course specialists Ascot: Trainers W Mullins, 4 from 12 runners, 33.3%; H Fry, 11 from 48, 22.9%; N Henderson, 24 from 120, 20.0%. Jockeys N De Boinville, 13 from 50 rides, 26.0%; A Coleman, 13 from 81, 16.0%. Haydock Park: Trainers P Nicholls, 12 from 51, 23.5%; T Vaughan, 3 from 13, 23.1%. Jockey C Deutsch, 4 from 12, 33.3%. 00 VOODOO DOLL 51 E Williams 5-11-2 C Ring (3) 8 C Shoemark 9 4-30P BALLINA LADY 25 G McPherson 7-10-9 6P BOMBAY RASCAL 59 R Walford 5-10-9 H Teal (7) 10 2-5 Brianstorm, 6-1 Djin Conti, Ey Up Rocky, 10-1 Another Crick, 20-1 others. 9-2 Poetic Imagination, 5-1 Mount Victoria, Short Head, Sweet Symphony, 11-2 Kath's Lustre, 6-1 No More Thrills, 12-1 others. 7.15 Maiden Fillies' Stakes (£5,175: 1m 2f) (12) 3.55 Handicap Chase (£9,357: 2m 12y) (5) -1420 SPACE ODDITY 50 (H,C,D) H Fry 7-11-12 K Edgar (3) 3-223 UT MAJEUR AULMES 17 (T,P,D) V Dartnall 10-11-7 C Gethings (3) T O'Brien 3 13P-0 SANDY BEACH 11 (C,D) C Tizzard 8-11-0 B Hughes 4 123-1 KAUTO RIKO 28 (D) T Gretton 7-10-11 J Davies 5 2P-04 MR FITZROY 33 (T,D) Jo Davis 8-10-7 13-8 Kauto Riko, 3-1 Space Oddity, 100-30 Ut Majeur Aulmes, 11-2 others. 1 2 Chelmsford Rob Wright 6.15 Berryessa 7.45 Spinning Melody 6.45 Sweet Symphony 8.15 Dor’s Law 7.15 Menuetto 8.45 Olive Mabel Going: standard At The Races Draw: 5f, low numbers best 6.15 Apprentice Handicap (£4,399: 5f) (9) 1 (3) 6150- BERRYESSA 43 (D) Rae Guest 4-9-7 Sebastian Woods (5) E Greatrex 2 (5) 4550- ZIPEDEEDODAH 23 (T,CD) J Tuite 6-9-7 3 (7) 1146- ENTERTAINING BEN 28 (P,CD) A Murphy 5-9-6 Nicola Currie (3) C Noble (5) 4 (6) 5205- FAST ACT 36 (P,CD) K A Ryan 6-9-6 5 (8) 1121- SWENDAB 24 (B,D) John O'Shea 10-9-4 Rossa Ryan (3) 6 (2) 04-00 AWESOME ALLAN 7 (V,D) P D Evans 4-9-1 Katherine Glenister (5) H Crouch 7 (9) 4050- SANDFRANKSKIPSGO 28 (D) P Crate 9-9-0 8 (1) 623-0 RED STRIPES 11 (B,CD) Mrs L Williamson 6-8-13 G Malune (5) 9 (4) /050- GO CHARLIE 20 (H,D) Mrs L Williamson 7-8-7 Keelan Baker (7) 100-30 Swendab, 9-2 Fast Act, 5-1 Red Stripes, 11-2 Berryessa, 7-1 Awesome Allan, 15-2 Zipedeedodah, 8-1 Entertaining Ben, 12-1 others. 6.45 Fillies' Novice Stakes (£5,434: 6f) (12) Hollie Doyle 1 (2) 00- CRAZIE MAISIE 31 B Barr 3-8-11 S W Kelly 2 (4) 02- KATH'S LUSTRE 20 R Hughes 3-8-11 MARIETTA ROBUSTI M Channon 3-8-11 C Bishop 3 (3) Fran Berry 4 (5) 00- MARILYN M 31 (V) G Scott 3-8-11 6- MISS MOLLIE 24 J Given 3-8-11 L Morris 5 (8) T Eaves 6 (10) 206- MOUNT VICTORIA 224 J Given 3-8-11 T Marquand 7 (11) 36- NO MORE THRILLS 85 R Hannon 3-8-11 8 (7) 0245- POETIC IMAGINATION 29 (B) J Gosden 3-8-11 R Havlin E Greatrex 9 (6) 40- RENNY'S LADY 20 P D Evans 3-8-11 Nicola Currie (5) 10 (9) 00- SEAQUINN 108 John Best 3-8-11 4 SHORT HEAD 14 (BF) W Haggas 3-8-11 O Murphy 11(12) 12 (1) 5-2 SWEET SYMPHONY 14 (BF) M Botti 3-8-11 M M Monaghan (3) 03/ IDYLLIC 536 B Barr 5-10-0 Rossa Ryan (5) 3- CRUMBLECREEK 33 Clive Cox 4-9-13 H Crouch (3) 3-0 FROWN 10 R Beckett 4-9-13 O Murphy 46- MUNDERSFIELD 38 D Simcock 4-9-13 L Keniry 33- BEAUTIFUL MEMORY 107 (H) S bin Suroor 3-8-5 W Cox (5) G Malune (7) 6 (8) 0-5 BLAME ME FOREVER 16 M Botti 3-8-5 BRIGHT SAFFRON G Scott 3-8-5 E Greatrex 7 (4) 0-0 CULTURE SHOCK 14 (P) R Hannon 3-8-5 Hollie Doyle 8 (2) N Mackay 9 (12) 623-3 HEATHER LARK 15 (BF) J Gosden 3-8-5 MENUETTO C Appleby 3-8-5 K O'Neill 10 (5) 4- MISS MILLA B 36 E Vaughan 3-8-5 L Morris 11(10) 0- THAMA 31 (H) Mrs I G'-Leveque 3-8-5 P P Mathers 12 (1) 3-1 Beautiful Memory, Heather Lark, 100-30 Menuetto, 10-1 others. 1 2 3 4 5 (9) (7) (6) (3) (11) 7.45 Fillies' Handicap (£7,310: 1m 2f) (5) 1 (1) 12-11 TITAN GODDESS 9 (C) Mike Murphy 6-9-12 Nicola Currie (5) 2 (3) 06-03 COILLTE CAILIN 5 (CD) D M Loughnane 8-9-7 D C Costello 3 (5) 134- SPINNING MELODY 30 (V,CD) S Crisford 4-9-6 K Shoemark C Lee (3) 4 (4) 065-6 DAISY BERE 16 (P,D) K Burke 5-9-3 L Morris 5 (2) 066-0 INDIGO PRINCESS 12 M Appleby 5-8-7 13-8 Titan Goddess, 2-1 Spinning Melody, 4-1 Coillte Cailin, 13-2 others. 8.15 Handicap (£3,429: 1m) (10) 1 (5) 11112 SPARE PARTS 2 (C,BF) Phil McEntee 4-10-7 Nicola Currie (5) J Duern (3) 2 (3) 524-1 DOR'S LAW 14 (P,D) D Ivory 5-9-8 W A Carson 3 (10) 645- LUNAR MIST 34 Rae Guest 4-9-7 4 (8) 4325- SATCHVILLE FLYER 22 (C) P D Evans 7-9-5 Fran Berry O Murphy 5 (9) 005-0 STEEL HELMET 16 (P) H Bethell 4-9-4 T Eaves 6 (7) 000-3 SIMPLY CLEVER 17 (D) D Brown 5-9-0 Hollie Doyle 7 (6) 002-4 TOUCH THE CLOUDS 10 W Stone 7-9-0 L Morris 8 (1) 0604- MOWHOOB 30 (P,CD) B Barr 8-8-12 T Marquand 9 (2) 2004- LUDUAMF 37 (B) R Hannon 4-8-12 P P Mathers 10 (4) 650-0 EMIGRATED 6 (V) D Shaw 5-8-12 5-2 Spare Parts, 5-1 Dor's Law, 6-1 Lunar Mist, Satchville Flyer, 8-1 others. 8.45 Handicap (3-Y-O: £3,429: 1m) (11) R Havlin 1 (3) 5004- GLOBAL WONDER 36 (H) E Dunlop 9-9 C Bishop 2 (10) 500-5 THE NIGHT KING 8 M Channon 9-7 O Murphy 3 (7) 650-2 AUTHENTIC ART 16 (B,BF) R Beckett 9-7 L Morris 4 (6) 33-46 WATCHING SPIRITS 8 M Appleby 9-6 C Shepherd (3) 5 (4) 600-6 BE MINDFUL 15 C Hills 9-5 J Duern (3) 6 (8) 660- OLIVE MABEL 199 D Ivory 9-3 T Marquand 7 (5) 000- BELOVED KNIGHT 31 Mrs L Mongan 9-1 Fran Berry 8 (2) 0040- CHERUBIC 123 P D Evans 8-12 9 (1) 400-0 DRAGON TATTOO 10 (P) H Palmer 8-11 Nicola Currie (5) P P Mathers 10(11) 600-0 POLITICAL SLOT 6 (H) D Shaw 8-10 K O'Neill 11 (9) 0060- PAMMI 37 A Carson 8-7 2-1 Authentic Art, 9-2 Be Mindful, 11-2 The Night King, 13-2 others. Yesterday’s racing results Lingfield Park Going: standard 12.55 (6f 1yd) 1, Quick Recovery (Charlie Bennett, 5-1); 2, Red Snapper (9-2); 3, Summer Thunder (8-11 fav). 6 ran. 1Nl, nk. J Boyle. 1.25 (5f 6yd) 1, Sir Hector (William Carson, 7-1); 2, Avon Green (15-8 jt-fav); 3, Hornby (10-1). 6 ran. NR: Cool Baby. 1Nl, Kl. C Wallis. 2.00 (1m 2f) 1, Cayuga (Callum Shepherd, 20-1); 2, Jumping Jack (7-1); 3, Native Fighter (14-1). 8 ran. Nk, Kl. B Johnson. 2.30 (6f 1yd) 1, Kachy (R Kingscote, 3-1); 2, Magnus Maximus (16-1); 3, Shamsaya (8-1). 9 ran. 1Ol, 3Nl. T Dascombe. 3.05 (1m 4f) 1, Oregon Gift (Fran Berry, 12-1); 2, Malt Teaser (3-1); 3, Ban Shoof (2-1 fav). 6 ran. NR: Sanches. Nk, 1l. C Mann. 3.40 (1m 2f) 1, Roundabout Kitten (S Donohoe, 20-1); 2, Native Appeal (4-9 fav); 3, Shakour (4-1). 8 ran. Kl, ns. D Lanigan. Placepot: £1,732.80. Quadpot: £203.40. Chepstow Going: heavy 1.05 (2m 3f 100yd hdle) 1, Scorpion Sid (G Sheehan, 11-8 fav); 2, Snuff Box (4-1); 3, North West Wind (7-2). 8 ran. 15l, 18l. J Snowden. 1.35 (2m 7f 131yd hdle) 1, Jammin Masters (R Johnson, 4-7 fav); 2, Rocco (4-1); 3, Frankly Speaking (12-1). 6 ran. 27l, 3Nl. W Greatrex. 2.10 (2m 7f 131yd ch) 1, Ramses De Teillee (T Scudamore, 11-8 fav); 2, Rons Dream (7-4); 3, Impulsive Star (11-4). 4 ran. 7l, 3Nl. D Pipe. 2.45 (2m 3f 100yd hdle) 1, Naranja (G Sheehan, 13-8 fav); 2, Lerichi Belle (9-2); 3, Carnspindle (4-1). 6 ran. 9l, 5l. J Snowden. 3.20 (2m 7f 131yd ch) 1, Back To The Thatch (R Johnson, 11-4 fav); 2, Catching On (12-1); 3, Paddy The Oscar (7-1). 10 ran. NR: Only Gorgeous. 11l, 10l. H Daly. 3.50 (2m 3f 98yd ch) 1, Becauseshesaidso (Charlie Deutsch, 4-1 fav); 2, Kings Cross (17-2); 3, Badilou (12-1). 13 ran. 14l, 1Kl. Miss V Williams. Placepot: £17.10. Quadpot: £14.90. Musselburgh Going: soft 12.40 (2m 3f 81yd hdle) 1, Spectator (Alan Johns, 9-2); 2, Morning With Ivan (10-3); 3, Royal Mandate (10-1). 7 ran. NR: Oromo, Red Ochre. Nk, 2Kl. T Vaughan. 1.15 (2m 7f 170yd ch) 1, Misfits (D R Fox, 11-2); 2, So Satisfied (17-2); 3, More Madness (17-2). 11 ran. 1Ol, 14l. Miss Lucinda Russell. 1.45 (1m 7f 124yd hdle) 1, Toboggan’s Fire (W T Kennedy, 9-2); 2, Northern Beau (16-1); 3, Tokaramore (9-2). 7 ran. NR: Shipwreck. Ol, 9l. D McCain Jnr. 2.20 (1m 7f 124yd hdle) 1, Treshnish (Danny Cook, 3-1); 2, Asum (5-1); 3, Je Suis Charlie (2-1 fav). 7 ran. 2l, hd. Mrs S Smith. 2.55 (2m 3f 193yd ch) 1, Nefyn Bay (B Hughes, 9-4); 2, Boy’s On Tour (13-2); 3, Swing Hard (2-1 fav). 6 ran. NR: Rancher Lass, Running In Heels. Sh hd, 2Ol. D McCain Jnr. 3.30 (2m 7f 180yd hdle) 1, Jump For Dough (Thomas Willmott, 6-5 fav); 2, Fraser Canyon (7-2); 3, Tap Night (13-2). 6 ran. NR: Apachee Prince. 6l, 19l. Miss Lucinda Russell. 6.45 (5f) 1, Nearest Green (Kevin Stott, 4-1); 2, Choice Encounter (6-5 fav); 3, Mayfair Rock (14-1). 6 ran. 2l, 1Nl. K Ryan. 4.00 (1m 7f 124yd flat) 1, I’m To Blame (B Hughes, Evens fav); 2, Dr Hooves (5-1); 3, Star Of Lanka (7-1). 8 ran. NR: Accost, Sueno Toms. 2Nl, 6l. K Dalgleish. 7.15 (1m 5yd) 1, Plansina (Cam Hardie, 22-1); 2, Odds On Oli (9-4 fav); 3, Barbara Villiers (10-3). 6 ran. Nk, 2l. R Fell. Placepot: £342.50. Quadpot: £47.70. Newcastle Going: standard 5.45 (7f 14yd) 1, Completion (J Fanning, 6-4 fav); 2, Chingachgook (5-1); 3, Evince (13-8). 8 ran. 2Nl, Kl. W Haggas. 6.15 (6f) 1, Lady Lintera (J Fanning, 9-2); 2, Cherry Oak (9-4 fav); 3, Peas On Earth (12-1). 8 ran. Ol, 7l. Mrs A Duffield. 7.45 (7f 14yd) 1, Joyful Star (A Mullen, 15-2); 2, Thorntoun Lady (7-1); 3, Picks Pinta (5-1). 11 ran. 1Ol, 4Kl. F Watson. 8.15 (7f 14yd) 1, Dandy Bird (Callum Rodriguez, 7-1); 2, Jessie Allan (7-1); 3, Tagur (7-1). 10 ran. Ol, hd. Miss J Camacho. 8.45 (5f) 1, Windforpower (Barry McHugh, 7-2); 2, Little Kingdom (14-1); 3, Star Cracker (3-1 fav). 9 ran. NR: Kirkby’s Phantom, Roman Times. 1Nl, nk. Miss Tracy Waggott. Placepot: £187.10. Quadpot: £72.10. 24 1G S Saturday January 20 2018 | the times Sport Giles Smith Calm down, Russia, our media criticise every tournament T hat’s a deeply troubling accusation from Maria Zakharova. Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman accused the British media this week of colluding in a government-led campaign to run down Russia in the build-up to its hosting of the World Cup this summer. Her claim is that newspapers have come under pressure from the highest quarters to find negative angles on the tournament before it even kicks off. “We learnt,” Zakharova said, “that reporters from the United Kingdom — not just one media outlet, but a number of them — received, in the truest sense of the word, a state order to launch a smear campaign for holding the World Cup in Russia.” She went on: “Talking points were developed and offered to the UK media to be used in their materials. Among these subjects and stories, I can name the following: Russia’s alleged lack of the necessary infrastructure and conditions to hold the championship, the aggressive behaviour of Russian fans, a lack of professionalism among local law enforcement officials and the inability to guarantee tourists’ safety. The western media will be actively pumping out this story in the run-up to the World Cup in Russia.” Maria, may we introduce you, somewhat belatedly, to Fear Factor 2018? This column’s prize for recognising the very best of the western media’s efforts at doom-mongering before the upcoming footballing festival has been scouting for worthy contenders since early last year. As a consequence, the BBC’s Panorama on Russian hooligans and their training programmes sits narrowly behind the Daily Mirror’s “World Cup squad to get rabies jab”, a response to the ghastly possibility of infected squirrels and hedgehogs roaming in the woods near England’s proposed base. Meanwhile, off the pace, but still in with a shout, is The Independent’s “England fans warned to limit drinking at World Cup to one pint per game”, a sorrowful warning that Russian police may not look entirely kindly on any supporter under the influence of more than three units of alcohol. All of which, you could argue, rather supports Zakharova’s point. Except that it doesn’t. Because, as loyal readers will be well aware, this column also ran Fear Factor 2014, before the World Cup in Brazil and, in a golden year for negative pre-publicity, had no hesitation in awarding the top prize to “Giant hornets may be an unexpected problem for Roy Hodgson” (Daily Mail), despite strong support across the panel for “Dengue fever threat to fans” from the BBC News website and “Rio police to be armed with Couch potato’s guide to the weekend’s TV 6 Grammar corner: “As we’ve entered the dressing room after the game . . .” (Mike Dean, describing his confrontation with a vexed Arsène Wenger after the match between Arsenal and West Brom). Note here how the use of the perfect tense — or “footballers’ past tense” as grammarians sometimes refer to it — has somehow, unconventionally, entered the realm of the referee’s written report. A further indication of the dissolving barrier between referees and players (at least in referees’ heads)? It’s one to keep an eye on. MIKE EGERTON/PA Big moment blown: the VAR somehow missed Willian being tripped by Klose, the Norwich defender Time to celebrate the impact of VAR . . . I t was the moment that changed a game — and changed a sport. Now celebrate it again and again in the comfort of your own home with our exclusive, hand-curated range of memorabilia, designed to honour the first VAR-assisted goal in English football. deluxe-framed artwork Wenger was banned for his comments to Dean grenades that disorientate and maim”, again courtesy of the Daily Mail. This is why Fear Factor exists. Every time a top sports meeting appears on the calendar, media outlets compete to make it look the worst idea anybody had, and to make the prospect of going to it look utterly foolhardy. And then the event happens, and pretty much everything is fine and everybody has a great time. But that’s just the natural and established rhythm of it. There’s nothing personal or selective going on, either. Rio or Repino, it makes no difference. Which is why Fear Factor 2018 is up and running, but also why we have already opened Fear Factor 2024, for the Olympics in Paris, following some staggeringly early work on funding shortfalls by the France-based ESSEC international business school on the day of the hosting announcement. Indeed, as we wrote in September last year, “If anyone wants to clatter one in from distance and rubbish the Los Angeles Olympics of 2028, we’re listening.” This is not state-led propaganda, then, even assuming the state could be bothered. On the contrary, it’s what we, here in the sports departments of the western media, mean by “build-up”. Conspiracy theories down, Maria. And get with the beat. Today 6am Cricket, Under-19 World Cup, New Zealand v South Africa, Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Cricket. Tennis, Australian Open, Eurosport 2 and Eurosport 1. 7.45am Tennis, Australian Open, Eurosport 2 and Eurosport 1. 8.30am Golf, European Tour, Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event. 8.45am Golf, European Tour, Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event. 11.30am Football, Premier League, Brighton v Chelsea, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League. 12pm National League, Sutton United v Dagenham & Redbridge, BT Sport 1. 12.30pm Rugby union, European Rugby Champions Cup, Montpellier v Leinster, Sky Sports Action. 1pm Snooker, The Masters, Eurosport 2. 1.15pm Snooker, The Masters, Magnificent canvas photographic print, in full colour with a gilt frame, 6ft by 4ft, showing the moment that Kelechi Iheanacho, of Leicester City, was flagged offside in an FA Cup replay against Fleetwood Town — only for Michael Jones, in a cupboard somewhere near Heathrow, to use film footage to overturn the decision and make history. Also available as a king-size duvet cover, an all-over vinyl car-wrap and a quilted cat bed. commemorative chinaware Limited edition, artisanal ten-inch plate with the time, date and location of English football’s first VAR goal engraved around the rim and, at its centre, a delicately inlaid image of the referee Jon Moss with his finger in his ear. One hundred per cent dishwasher-friendly. Giant teapot also in production. var baby bibs Messy mealtimes are a hoot with this three-pack of towelling newborn coveralls, cutely emblazoned with the slogans, “It’s clear and obvious!”, “My decision isn’t final!” and “Trust me: I’ve seen the replay!” Cotton/ polyester mix. Not remotely inflammable. scaled replica of stockley park Comprising 34,000 individual pieces for self-assembly, our beautifully detailed model of the Premier League match centre, complete with miniature Neil Swarbrick, will be the proud BBC One. 1.30pm Horse racing, Live from Ascot, ITV4. 3pm Rugby union, Saracens v Northampton, BT Sport 2. 4.30pm Snooker, The Masters, BBC Two. 5pm Football, Manchester City v Newcastle United, BT Sport 1. 5pm Rugby union, Scarlets v Toulon, Sky Sports Action. 5.15pm Football, Championship, Sheffield Wednesday v Cardiff City, Sky Sports Main Event. 5.30pm Football, Bundesliga, Hamburg v Cologne, BT Sport 2. 6.45pm Snooker, The Masters, BBC Two. 7pm Snooker, The Masters, BBC Two. 7.30pm Rugby union, Treviso v Bath, BT Sport 2. 7.40pm Football, La Liga, Las Palmas v Valencia, Sky Sports Main Event. 8pm Golf, PGA Tour, The CareerBuilder Challenge, Sky Sports Golf. 9.45pm Golf, PGA Tour, The CareerBuilder Challenge, Sports Main Event. centrepiece of any amateur modeller’s collection and a guaranteed conversation starter. Requires glue, paint and one or two further instructions. mini-var home play-set Perfect for the kids, our ready-to-use kit has everything you need to bring the magic of VAR to your own back garden. Arrange the blue, Velcro-backed strips in a grid on your lawn, stream the GoPro footage to your remote monitor and away you go. “Offside!” No! Not, in fact! Not at the point of contact!’ And so on, for hours. Note: earpiece not suitable for children under 12. Football, goal, boots, etc. not included. squeaky lino rubber dog chew Loads of fun for Fido with this highly tossable assistant referee figurine, flag wrongly aloft. Suits most jaw-sizes and is individually formed in our own factories from ethically-sourced, slobber-absorbent Isoprene. Go get him, Fido! “you aren’t the ref” quiz book Test your wits against the professionals using our bumper collection of refereeing brainteasers, many of them based on real in-game situations, and in which the answer is always, “Haven’t got a Scooby. Hoping the Stockley Park boys can tell me.” Stop press!! New in!! giant willian barrage balloon Inflating to fully 40 feet in height, this hardwearing dirigible shows the Chelsea winger being tripped up in the penalty area by Timm Klose, of Norwich City, on Wednesday night. The referee missed it, VAR missed it — but that’s where the rot stops because nobody else will miss it with one of these bad boys tethered to your chimney! Hey, even VAR makes mistakes, right? Tomorrow 3am Cricket, Third one-day international, Australia v England, BT Sport 1. 8.30am Golf, European Tour, Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Sky Sports Golf and Main Event. 11.25am Football, Serie A, Atalanta v Napoli, eir Sport 1. 11.30am Football, Serie A, Atalanta v Napoli, BT Sport 2. Football, Scottish Cup, Fraserburgh v Rangers, Sky Sports Main Event. 12.45pm Rugby union, European Rugby Champions Cup, Munster v Castres, Sky Sports Action. 1pm Snooker, The Masters, BBC Two. 1.30pm Snooker, The Masters, Eurosport 2. 1.45pm Football, Lazio v Chievo, BT Sport 1. 1.55pm Football, Sampdoria v Fiorentina, eir Sport 1. 2pm Football, Hearts v Hibernian, Sky Sports Main Event. Football, Ligue 1, Nice v St Etienne, BT Sport/ESPN. 3pm Rugby union, La Rochelle v Harlequins, Sky Sports Action. Rugby union, Wasps v Ulster, BT Sport 2. 3.30pm Football, Premier League, Southampton v Tottenham, Sky Sports Premier League. (Sky Sports Main Event 4pm). 4pm Football, Monaco v Metz, BT Sport/ESPN. 4.55pm Football, Cagliari v AC Milan, eir Sport 1. 5pm Football, Cagliari v AC Milan, BT Sport 1. 6.45pm Snooker, The Masters, Eurosport 2. 7pm NFL, AFC Championship Game tbc, Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action. 7pm Snooker, The Masters, BBC Two. 7.30pm Football, Inter Milan v Roma, BT Sport 1. 7.45pm Football, Lyons v PSG, eir Sport 1. 8pm Golf, PGA Tour, The CareerBuilder Challenge, Sky Sports Golf. 8.30pm Basketball, NBA, Los Angeles Lakers v New York Knicks, BT Sport 2. 11pm Ice Hockey, NHL, Carolina Hurricanes v Vegas Golden Knights, eir Sport 1.