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Boston marathon: Arsenal v Everton minute"s silence

Arsenal to hold minute's silence ahead of Everton clash in tribute to Boston victims

By
Dominic King

PUBLISHED:

12:35 GMT, 16 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:50 GMT, 16 April 2013

A one-minute silence will be held before tonight’s Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Everton to mark the Boston Marathon bombings and 24th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

The tribute had already been pencilled in to honour the 96 lives lost at Hillsborough but the moment will now be extended to mark the tragic events in Boston yesterday where at least three people were killed.

Both sets of players will also wear black armbands as will referee Neil Swarbrick and his officials.

Tribute: Arsenal and Everton will hold a minute's silence before their Premier League clash on Tuesday night

Tribute: Arsenal and Everton will hold a minute's silence before their Premier League clash on Tuesday night

Everton players and fans observe a minutes silence

More than 140 people were injured after two blasts ripped through the spectator
area near the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday.

There
has been no immediate claim of responsibility as reports emerged later
that one of the dead was an eight-year-old boy and the youngest of the injured is believed to be three years old.

A number of people caught up in the blast remain in a critical condition. The injuries ranged from
cuts and bruises to amputations.

Many victims suffered lower leg
injuries and shrapnel wounds. Some suffered ruptured eardrums.

Blasts: Explosions ripped through the spectator area near the finish line at the Boston Marathon

Blasts: Explosions ripped through the spectator area near the finish line at the Boston Marathon

Injuries: Pavements were stained with the blood of those who were caught directly by the blast

The
twin blasts at the race took place almost simultaneously and about 100
metres apart, knocking runners and spectators off their feet, shattering
windows and sending smoke rising over the street. The devices found
were believed to contain ball bearings.

About
two hours after the winners crossed the finish line in the heart of
central Boston, there was a loud explosion on the north side of Boylston
Street, just before the photo bridge that marks the line.

Another
explosion could be heard a few seconds later.

American sports stars stood shoulder to
shoulder on Monday as the NBA, NHL and MLB paid tribute to the victims
of the bombings.

Tribute: Baseball's St Louis Cardinals line up to pay their respects before facing the Pittsburgh Pirates

Tribute: Baseball's St Louis Cardinals line up to pay their respects before facing the Pittsburgh Pirates

Remembered: San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors had a minute's silence in Oakland

Remembered: San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors had a minute's silence in Oakland

Rio Ferdinand to the rescue: Should Roy Hodgson name Manchester United defender in England squad

Rio to the rescue: Is it time for Roy to bring back Ferdinand for England Keown, Redknapp and Sportsmail's team of experts have their say

PUBLISHED:

10:46 GMT, 13 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:00 GMT, 13 March 2013

Roy Hodgson is set to name his England squad for the World Cup qualifying matches against San Marino and Montenegro and fans are desperate to know if Rio Ferdinand will be in it.

Left out for 'football reasons', Ferdinand has not featured for the national team under Hodgson but, with former captain John Terry now out of the picture, he has been touted for a return.

The 34-year-old has been superb for Manchester United this season and here, Sportsmail's team of experts say whether they feel Ferdinand should take that form back on to the international stage.

Solid: Rio Ferdinand has been tipped for an England return after fine performances for Manchester United

Solid: Rio Ferdinand has been tipped for an England return after fine performances for Manchester United

MARTIN KEOWN

I would bring Rio Ferdinand back into the England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. If Sir Alex Ferguson is picking him as his first-choice centre back for Manchester United, that is good enough for me.

Roy Hodgson is one of the only people who could get away with bringing someone back after not picking them for so long. Hodgson is such a nice man and would find the words to make it a smooth transition.

Ferdinand has every right to feel he should have been in recent squads and he’s the best central defender we have. On top of that, Phil Jagielka is out injured and Gary Cahill has suffered a dip in form. He would benefit from playing alongside some as experienced as Ferdinand.

Tiredness is less of a factor now that United are out the Champions League. Ferdinand has fewer matches to play between now and the end of the season than he would have expected so Ferguson should not have a problem with him playing for his country.

I would imagine Hodgson wouldn’t use him for both games because of the recovery time he needs and the only potential problem with that is whether it creates instability in the team. If someone else plays well against San Marino, do you kill their confidence by then dropping them

The answer is probably yes.

Young gun: Ferdinand made his England debut as a teenager - coming off the bench against Cameroon in 1997

Young gun: Ferdinand made his England debut as a teenager – coming off the bench against Cameroon in 1997

JAMIE REDKNAPP

What has he done wrong He seems to have handled his omission maturely… he lost the England captaincy and didn’t cause a fuss. He has played his way back into form. He wants to play for England and add to his 81 caps.

Judging him on ‘football reasons’, he has to be back in for the World Cup qualifiers, doesn’t he Montenegro is a challenge and their centre-forward, the Juventus striker, Mirko Vucinic is a handful as he proved to Celtic in the Champions League. But Rio has handled better strikers.

Okay, he is not the future, but he is the present.

MARK ALFORD

No. Stick by your footballing
reasons, Roy. I'd prefer it if you further explained them to us all, but
as I suspect your argument is that you're building a side – and
specifically a defence – that can win us the World Cup, please go ahead
and conquer. Rio's too old. Yes, he can still pick a pass and play but
he's past his best. He's lost a yard and that's what matters at
international level. In Roy, we trust… There's no other way.

Off the mark: Ferdinand (No 5) scored his first international goal against Denmark at the 2002 World Cup

Off the mark: Ferdinand (No 5) scored his first international goal against Denmark at the 2002 World Cup

Off the mark: Ferdinand (No 5) scored his first international goal against Denmark at the 2002 World Cup

NEIL ASHTON

Yes. He remains the outstanding England defender of his generation. If he can get two games against Real Madrid in the Champions League, he can play against San Marino and Montenegro in the World Cup qualifiers.

LEE CLAYTON

Yes. Pick your best players, qualify for the World Cup, then worry about his age, his ability to play back-to-back games in a short space of time and the future.

There is a risk that England’s future will be an end-of-season tour to the back of beyond while the World Cup is taking place in Brazil. We did that before, let’s not do it again.

Rio must play in Montenegro. What’s to discuss

CHRIS WHEELER

Yes. Forget his age, any personal
issues with the manager and the fact that he might not be the best man
for the job when the World Cup comes around. Ferdinand's performances
for Manchester United this season have proved he's still a defender of
the highest quality. That's all that matters so just go ahead and pick
him.

SAMI MOKBEL

Yes. Simply because he is without doubt one of the best four centre-backs available to Roy Hodgson.

It's been a while: Ferdinand's last England appearance was against Switzerland in June 2011

It's been a while: Ferdinand's last England appearance was against Switzerland in June 2011

DOMINIC KING

No. Roy Hodgson has made his decision
to preclude Ferdinand from international duty, so he should stick with
it. There is sufficient quality in the England team to negotiate a
tricky task without worrying about whether Ferdinand should play or not.
With Phil Jagielka injured, play Joleon Lescott and give the in-form
Michael Dawson a go. Ferdinand is England's past, concentrate on the
future.

NEIL MOXLEY

If he’s the best English player to fill the position – and I think he’s the best option at present – then of course he should be picked. I’m not one for ‘looking to the future.’ It’s a nebulous managerial cop-out. When is ‘the future’ What about the here and now

He’s fit, playing well and wants to resume his international career. What, really, is there to consider

On the box: Kelloggs made special cereal packets for the 2010 World Cup but Ferdinand missed the tournament through injury

On the box: Kelloggs made special cereal packets for the 2010 World Cup but Ferdinand missed the tournament through injury

JOHN EDWARDS

If he doesn’t, then ‘football
reasons’ will no longer wash as an explanation. With John Terry out of
the frame and Phil Jagielka and Chris Smalling injured, there is only
one logical choice alongside Gary Cahill.

Hodgson is to be applauded for
looking to the future, but there is a time and place for experimenting
with potential. A World Cup qualifier away to the group leaders is
neither. That rules out Steven Caulker, while the likes of Ryan
Shawcross, Michael Dawson and Joleon Lescott lack Ferdinand’s proven
pedigree when the international stakes are at their highest.

The San Marino game should be plain sailing, whoever gets the nod, but for 90 minutes in Montenegro, it has to be Rio.

ALEX KAY

Of course he should. Ferdinand is the
best English centre back around at the moment and knows how to keep his
head in big games. Also, the alternatives do not fill you with hope:
Joleon Lescott is in and out the team at Manchester City, Gary Cahill
has a wobble in him and Michael Dawson, though playing well, hasn’t
featured for England for a long time.

MIKE ANSTEAD

If
he’s good enough, then yes. With John Terry out of the picture, England
are seriously lacking top-level experience at the back – Gary Cahill,
Phil Jagielka and Co won’t worry the world’s best. Bring Rio back and
he’s still got time to forge a new partnership ahead of Brazil 2014.

TOM BELLWOOD

No. His inclusion would represent a kick in the teeth to those whose performances warrant place in the team and have a long-term future in the national set-up.

LAURIE WHITWELL

Yes. Ferdinand is by some margin the best English central defender playing regularly. He is managing his body well this season and is a major reason United's defence has tightened up in the second part of the campaign. The experience he brings to international football only adds to the compelling reasoning for selection. Surely you pick the best players on offer at any one point rather than worry about a future that is yet to be achieved.

DAN RIPLEY

Judging by Ferdinand’s current form and fitness, the Manchester United centre-back certainly deserves a recall to the England squad. His composure on the ball and experience would be a key asset to a Three Lions side that has yet to have a stable back four under Roy Hodgson’s reign. At 34-years-old Ferdinand isn’t the future, but Hodgson needs to pick a squad that can pick up two wins later this month, not one that is likely to lead England after Brazil 2014.

Decision time: Roy Hodgson is set to name his England squad to face San Marino and Montenegro

Decision time: Roy Hodgson is set to name his England squad to face San Marino and Montenegro

JOE RIDGE

Yes. It's crazy we're even asking this question. Along with Michael Dawson and Gary Cahill he's the only Englishman playing regularly at centre back for a top four club – and he's still head and shoulders above those two.
SUNNI UPAL

No. Ferdinand is 34 so it would make no sense going back to him considering he will be 35 by the time the World Cup kicks off next year. England have enough choices in defence and don’t need to turn back to someone who is in the twilight of his career. The decision was, rightly or wrongly, made a long time ago for ‘footballing reasons’ so let’s just stick to those reasons and move on.

Not spoiled for choice: Gary Cahill's form has dipped while Phil Jagielka (below left) is struggling with injury

Not spoiled for choice: Gary Cahill's form has dipped while Phil Jagielka (below left) is struggling with injury

Struggling: Phil Jagielka (left)

RIK SHARMA

No. Picking a defender who probably won't be worth taking to the World Cup itself would only be acceptable if qualification for said competition would be viewed as an achievement. For England it is a necessity. Roy needs to focus on the men for the years ahead.

DECLAN WARRINGTON

No, and particularly not if Hodgson intends on using him for no more than just the next two games. Despite his decline, Ferdinand remains a polished defender and has lately impressed but he's had another inconsistent season in which Manchester United have frequently conceded. Hodgson needs to look at the bigger picture and build a new-look side: in Gary Cahill, Steven Caulker, Phil Jones and particularly Chris Smalling he has several improving, quality options who are already good but need time to develop partnerships for the World Cup. He should stick with them.

BILL RUNGAY

Yes. Age is not an obstacle. He is on track to winning an inevitable sixth Premier League title along with his first FA cup medal whilst showing he is still one of the most solid defenders in the game.

Old head: Veteran defender Ferdinand has the experience of 10 years at United and 81 England caps

Old head: Veteran defender Ferdinand has the experience of 10 years at United and 81 England caps

Brendan Rodgers wants four new signing to turn Liverpool into top four contenders

Liverpool want Williams, Ben Arfa, Ince and Gameiro as Rodgers targets four summer signings to seal Champions League return

By
Dominic King

PUBLISHED:

00:14 GMT, 13 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:10 GMT, 13 March 2013

Brendan Rodgers has outlined his ambition to make four new signings this summer to give Liverpool’s squad the depth to become credible Champions League challengers.

Liverpool have made significant progress on the back of a positive January transfer window which saw them land Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho and Rodgers wants that to set a precedent.

He is eager to sign similar quality players in the close season and plans have already been put into place for the recruitment drive, with Rodgers wanting to have a number of options.

Top target: Brendan Rodgers wants to be reunited with Swansea's Ashley Williams

Top target: Brendan Rodgers wants to be reunited with Swansea's Ashley Williams

Feyenoord's Stefan De Vrij and Swansea captain Ashley Williams will be considered as potential new central defenders, while Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa, Tom Ince of Blackpool and Paris St Germain’s Kevin Gameiro will also come under consideration.

'There is no doubt there is a natural rebuilding that will come with the likes of Jamie Carragher going,’ said Rodgers. ‘I am happy with the squad if I can then put another three or four quality players to it. It is quality we are after, not quantity.

'If we bring in another three or four quality players to add to what we have got, then we have got a strong squad. Naturally there might be people who aren't playing who might want to think about going elsewhere, but at the moment it's a strong squad.’

Hatem Ben Arfa

Tom Ince

Wanted men: Rodgers is keen on Hatem Ben Arfa from Newcastle and Blackpool's Tom Ince

When Rodgers took over last summer, there was a feeling that Liverpool lacked a strategy in the transfer market, which contributed to the summer window ending in farce as they missed out on signing Clint Dempsey. It is why Rodgers feels it is imperative to have different options to go for.

'Of course you have an ideal target, but we are getting to a situation now where, for me, you have to have three players and if one doesn't come off you have to be comfortable with the other two – If you get one of those you are happy,’ said Rodgers.

'There is a lot of terrific work going on behind the scenes with the scouting department getting those lists together really. We never had that in the summer and what I had to go with was not what I knew but there were some key positions we needed support in.

Wanted: Paris Saint-Germain's forward Kevin Gameiro is a target

Wanted: Paris Saint-Germain's forward Kevin Gameiro is a target

'What I didn't want to do was to waste the club's money. I like to be extensive and know what we are bringing in, but also we did not have the time and that was the big issue. We are much better placed now. There is great collaboration that goes on between all the departments.

'January was a productive window for us and hopefully if we do the similar in the summer then it's going to be a real good place for us.’

If Liverpool maintain the form they have shown in recent weeks until May, they may yet sneak a place in Europe. To achieve that goal, they would need to finish fifth in the Barclays Premier League and defender Jose Enrique says beating Tottenham helped the squad clear a mental block.

Aiming high: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wants the club to challenge for the Champions League

Aiming high: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wants the club to challenge for the Champions League

'I didn't think we would win the game when Tottenham scored their second goal,’ said Enrique. ‘It is difficult to win these games. The statistics speak for themselves, look at how we have done against the top six teams this season.

'Of course, you always try to win every game, but in terms of our mentality we hadn't had good experiences of this type when we've been losing. But the team worked very hard and this is the important thing because when the team stick together you can see the results.’

Swansea players celebrate Capital One Cup victory with party

Let's get the party started! Swansea players hit the town to celebrate cup final victory

By
Riath Al-samarrai

PUBLISHED:

12:01 GMT, 25 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:06 GMT, 25 February 2013

Swansea City's Capital One Cup stars descended on one of central London's most exclusive drinking spots last night after crushing Bradford at Wembley.

Michael Laudrup's side celebrated their 5-0 win into the early hours, with most of the squad heading to their Hilton hotel base at Wembley for a post-match meal with wives, girlfriends and family before a smaller group headed to West End club Whisky Mist at 11.30pm.

Swansea players partying at Whisky Mist

Swansea players partying at Whisky Mist

Out on the town: Swansea players party in London after their Capital One Cup victory over Bradford

Swansea players partying

Swansea players partying at Whisky Mist

The group, which included captain Ashley Williams, Garry Monk, Wayne Routledge, two-goal hero Jonathan De Guzman, Leon Britton, Ben Davies, Kemy Agustien, Roland Lamah and Kyle Bartley, stayed in the Mafair club's VIP room until after 3am.

A source close to the club said: 'It was all very good natured and low key. No trouble.

'The lads had a great time after a great day. Leon Britton kept his medal on the whole time he was out.'

Swansea celebrate

Swansea

Backstage pass: Swansea stars pose with the Capita One Cup in the Wembley dressing room

Get the party started: Swansea celebrate in the dressing room at Wembley

Get the party started: Swansea celebrate in the dressing room at Wembley

swansea

Christopher Samba in London to seal 12.5m QPR move

Samba in London to seal 12.5m QPR switch as Anzhi manager Hiddink blasts: He didn't even say goodbye

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

14:09 GMT, 30 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:18 GMT, 30 January 2013

Nearly there: Samba looks set to join QPR

Nearly there: Samba looks set to join QPR

Christopher Samba is in London to put the finishing touches on his move to QPR after the Premier League strugglers met the 12.5million release clause in his contract.

Samba has been playing for Anzhi Makhachkala but Guus Hiddink, manager of the Russians, has conceded defeat in his bid to hold on to the defender.

Hiddink said: 'He left for England yesterday. I hope that today or tomorrow we'll find out what has really happened.

'It's a shame to talk about this but he didn't even say goodbye, he didn't explain anything to us.

'Whatever happens to you, you should take into account the people with whom you work.

'It's not a great situation for us. He started the pre-season camps with us but then suddenly in the last few days he started to make contact with England, that's despite still being on contract with Anzhi.'

Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes asked manager Harry Redknapp last week if he wanted former Blackburn defender Samba at Loftus Road.

Fernandes is tying up the deal for Rangers and they expect him to be registered in time to make his debut in the must-win Barclays Premier League clash with Norwich this weekend.

Case for the defence: Redknapp needs Samba (left) at Loftus Road

Case for the defence: Redknapp needs Samba (left) at Loftus Road

He was a previous target for Redknapp
when he was Tottenham manager but moved to the Russian side almost a year ago after
being offered a huge financial package. Samba's family still live in England and the 28-year-old has been keen to return.

Rangers are desperate for central defenders as Ryan Nelsen played his final game in the 0-0 draw against Manchester City on Tuesday evening and will move to Toronto this week. Anton Ferdinand has gone to Turkey on loan at Bursaspor.

Meanwhile, QPR have given Alejandro Faurlin permission to speak to Palermo over a loan move.

On the move: Alejandro Faurlin looks set to leave QPR on loan

On the move: Alejandro Faurlin looks set to leave QPR on loan

The 26-year-old is one a handful of survivors from the Hoops side that secured the npower Championship title in 2011.

However, the midfielder could now be off to Serie A side Palermo on loan until the end of the season.

Faurlin has been given permission to speak to the Sicilian outfit, although it is understood the deal is not with a view to a permanent move.

QPR have been one of the most active clubs this month, with Loic Remy, Tal Ben Haim and Yun Suk-young all arriving at Loftus Road.

Several players have also left the club in January, with Anton Ferdinand, Djibril Cisse and Rob Hulse amongst those loaned out.

QPR, who also tried but failed in a bid to sign Portugal defender Bruno Alves from Zenit St Petersburg, are continuing talks over a 6.5m deal for Stoke striker Peter Crouch. Stoke manager Tony Pulis has opted against taking Jamie Mackie as a makeweight.

Samba is swapping a title challenge for a relegation battle…

Russia

Premier

Alessandro Del Piero and Patrick Dempsey form motor racing team

Italy legend Del Piero forms motor racing team with Hollywood actor Dempsey

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

01:04 GMT, 22 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:04 GMT, 22 January 2013

Former Juventus striker Alessandro Del Piero has formed his own motor racing team together with American actor Patrick Dempsey.

The World Cup winner said Dempsey/Del Piero Racing has submitted an entry for the Le Mans 24 hour race in June and would run two cars in the American Le Mans Series from March.

Branching out: Del Piero's team will enter the Le Mans 24-hour race

Branching out: Del Piero's team will enter the Le Mans 24-hour race

The US-based team will have three riders in the 24-hour race – Dempsey and American veterans Joe Foster and Michael Avenatti. Drivers for the ALMS series have not been announced but Del Piero is not expected to have a driving role.

Del Piero, who now plays for Sydney FC in the Australian league, said he expects the team to be competitive and 'our central focus will be on winning world championships.' Dempsey is best known for his role on 'Grey's Anatomy' but is a racing enthusiast and has previously competed in Le Mans.

Vegard Forren abandons Liverpool trial for Southampton talks

Saints set to snatch Forren as 4.2m defender abandons Anfield trial for St Mary's talks

By
Matt Barlow

PUBLISHED:

11:43 GMT, 15 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:43 GMT, 15 January 2013

Vegard Forren is considering the option of a permanent transfer to Southampton rather than his planned trial at Liverpool.

Forren, a Norwegian international central defender, arrived in England last night and was expected to report to Liverpool for a trial today.

Change of plan: Molde defender Vegard Forren has abandoned a trial at Liverpool in favour of talks with Southampton

Change of plan: Molde defender Vegard Forren (also in action, below) has abandoned a trial at Liverpool in favour of holding talks with Barclays Premier League side Southampton

Heading off: Norway international Forren (No 5) looks set to leave Molde for a move to England

But the 24-year-old has other options in the Barclays Premier League including Saints, who are keen to strengthen their defence and thought to be among the clubs who have agreed a 4.2million transfer fee with his club Molde.

Fulham and Everton are other clubs who have been monitoring Forren, who has been capped five times by Norway.

Molde boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed earlier this month that the defender was set to leave the club, possibly for the Barclays Premier League.

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

Upper hand: Southampton boss Nigel Adkins is leading the race to sign Forren ahead of Brendan Rodgers (R)

Joey Barton and Dietmar Hamann in Twitter war

Don't try to call me out, maggot: Raging Barton's tirade at former City team-mate Hamann

, and his family life.

Hamann began gambling after his marriage broke down towards the end of his footballing career.

When it all kicked off: Hamann told Barton to keep out of club politics

When it all kicked off: Hamann told Barton to keep out of club politics

Old team-mates: Hamann left and Barton (centre) playing for Man City

Old team-mates: Hamann left and Barton (centre) playing for Man City

'There was a time when I was on my own
when I got into spread betting. A painful and expensive experience,'
Hamann told BBC Radio Manchester last year.

'You have to look in the mirror and say “Can you carry on like this or this is way you want to carry on”'

He added: 'There was one night which cost me over 200,000 and that was obviously a long and painful night.

To and fro: The argument got personal with Barton persisting on his tangent

To and fro: The argument got personal with Barton persisting on his tangent

Blue boy: Hamann with Stuart Pearce when he signed for Man City

Blue boy: Hamann with Stuart Pearce when he signed for Man City

'You've got face up to it and when you wake up the next morning you look in the mirror and don't like what you see.'

The Twitter row continued with Barton seemingly becoming increasingly angry as the jibes he sent to Hamann became more personal.

'What a player you where (sic)' typed Barton. 'Tragic. Now do one Tourette's face!'

Using the term 'England international', with reference to Barton's international career which has seen him win just one cap, Hamann antagonised his target.

In a bizarre conclusion to the conversation, Barton tweeted: 'Disappointed in myself for getting involved in that. But never let a dog try to tell u its not a dog an that u are! A dogs a f****** dog…'.

The pair had played alongside each other in City's central midfield in the 2006-07 season.

Barton then moved to Newcastle at the end of that year, a club Hamann had played at almost a decade earlier.

Former Newcastle player Nolberto Solano then chipped in, telling Barton he was a 'good player but lack(ed a) yard of pace. Also lost temper too much.'

He also had kind words for Hamann, saying the man who had won the Champions League and played for Germany over 50 times deserved respect.

Tom Daley goes to Mahiki nightclub in week TV programme Splash! is criticised

Daley lets off steam at London nightclub after week in which sofa critics and swimming chiefs slate his new TV show

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

11:12 GMT, 13 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:12 GMT, 13 January 2013

Following a week in which his new TV programme was universally panned and his mum had to step in to defend him from critical British swimming chiefs, Tom Daley might be excused a few drinks.

The Olympic bronze medallist diver, 18, was snapped looking a little worse for wear leaving the Mahiki Club by the back door in central London last night.

He had arrived earlier in the evening looking smart in a light grey blazer, black jeans and t-shirt featuring Big Ben and a London phone box.

Night on the tiles: Tom Daley slips out the back door of the Mahiki club in the small hours

Night on the tiles: Tom Daley slips out the back door of the Mahiki club in the small hours

Tom Daley arrives at Mahiki nightclub

Tom Daley pictured leaving the Mahiki nightclub

Smart: Daley leaves the club in central London after his night out

Daley was clearly letting off some steam after a difficult week in which his new ITV programme Splash!, in which he teaches celebrities how to dive, was slated by TV critics.

And on Monday, British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes expressed concerns that such commercial commitments were taking time away from his training schedule.

Sparkes said: 'Tom is an incredibly talented young man, but he's yet to acheive his full potential and it's only going to get harder to achieve that Olympic gold medal as he gets older.

'You can rest assured the next Chinese diving superstar will not have such distractions from training.

Chief executive of British swimming David Sparkes poses for a photograph after he was awarded an OBE by the Queen during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace

Tom Daley celebrates after winning bronze at the Olympics

Criticism: David Sparkes, the Chief Executive of British Swimming (left), said Daley, seen winning Olympic bronze (right) had got his priorities wrong in presenting the ITV Saturday night show, Splash! (below)

Tom Daley presenting the ITV series Splash!

Tom Daley presenting the ITV series Splash!

'He should look at the example of skaters Torvill and Dean who waited until the end of their competitive careers before doing such programmes.

'I'm concerned Tom is putting the cart before the horse and I've expressed those concerns to his agent.'

It led to a stinging rebuke, published in Sportsmail, from Daley's mum, Debbie, who pointed out that her son had probably kept Mr Sparkes in his job following a poor Olympics overall for British swimmers.

She also argued strongly that Daley had sacrificed a great deal in his preparations for the Olympics, including 18th birthday and A-Level celebrations.

Defence: Tom's mum, Debbie, hit back at the criticism by Sparkes, saying her son probably kept him in a job

Defence: Tom's mum, Debbie, hit back at the criticism by Sparkes, saying her son probably kept him in a job

The model Caprice on the diviing block during the ITV show Splash!

Charlotte Jackson on the driving board during the Splash! show

Making a splash: The ITV Saturday night programme has featured celebrities including Caprice (left) and Charlotte Jackson (right)

Joey Essex prepares to dive from the 10m platform board

Joey Essex dives from the 10m platform

Plunge! Joey Essex dives from the 10 metre platform during the Splash! show

QPR join race to sign Joleon Lescott

Redknapp enters race to sign defender Lescott from City with QPR ready to pay 90k wages

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

09:51 GMT, 5 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:42 GMT, 5 January 2013

QPR have joined the race to sign Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott as Harry Redknapp bids to beat the drop.

The west London side are looking to strengthen their defence and Redknapp is keen on England defender Lescott and QPR are understood to be prepared to meet his 90,000-a-week wages.

But he is not the only one as former club Everton and boyhood team Aston Villa are also keen.

One the move: Lescott has struggled to hold down a regular first team place at City this season

One the move: Lescott has struggled to hold down a regular first team place at City this season

If QPR miss out on Lescott then they will turn their attentions to Everton’s Sylvain Distin.

Yesterday, Aston Villa were linked with the defender as owner Randy Lerner is set to back Lambert in the transfer window and an experienced central defender is the top target.

Lescott
was born in the Midlands and grew up supporting Villa before playing
for Wolves, Everton and now City and is available for a move.

Villa bound Joleon Lescott could be set to leave Manchester City

Villa bound Joleon Lescott could be set to leave Manchester City

Villa are just one point above the relegation zone and have conceded 17 goals in their last four games.

The 10million rated defender would
have to take a drop in his wages if he were to join his boyhood club as
Lerner is trying to reduce player salaries, and Villa would face
competition from both Everton and Sunderland who are also interested in
taking the 30-year-old.

Lescott
would also have to negotiate a pay-off from City to leave the club –
just as Richard Dunne and Stephen Ireland did.