Tag Archives: contender

Tony Bellew draws with Isaac Chilemba, putting Chad Dawson title fight in jeopardy

Bellew left frustrated in bid to line up Dawson title fight after draw with Chilemba

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

01:10 GMT, 31 March 2013

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UPDATED:

01:12 GMT, 31 March 2013

Tony Bellew was left frustrated in Liverpool after a lackadaisical performance saw him draw with fellow world title contender Isaac Chilemba in Liverpool.

The 30-year-old Scouser knew victory in this WBC light-heavyweight title final eliminator would put him in position to take on American champion Chad Dawson, who first defends his title against Adonis Stevenson in June.

Bellew was unable to force that title challenge, though, with a laboured night's work in front of 7,000 partisan fans at the Echo Arena in his home city.

Bellew – with a record of 19-1 with 12 early wins heading in – is ranked at number one with the WBC having steadily rebuilt since his only career defeat, which came against British rival Nathan Cleverly for the Welshman's WBO title in 2011.

Head-to-head: Tony Bellew (right) drew with Isaac Chilemba

Head-to-head: Tony Bellew (right) drew with Isaac Chilemba

Malawi native Chilemba, with a record of 20-1-1 (9KO wins) heading into the encounter, represented another step up for the Englishman and boasted a number three ranking with the WBC.

Everton fanatic Bellew, watched by Toffees manager David Moyes in the crowd and entering the ring the club's Z Cars theme tune, started positively in an untidy first round, landing a solid early right hand to mark Chilemba's card before the two had to be pulled apart after the bell.

Bellew employed the jab in the second with some success but Chilemba was ready to counter when the chance arose.

Both men landed stiff right hands in an otherwise-tepid third round with Bellew struggling to pin down the visitor. Both men traded close-in in the fourth with Bellew just about coming off better thanks to a stern body shot and right hand.

Another burst of action saw the Scouser repeat the attack with a left hook to the stomach and glancing right but Chilemba was certainly making a fight of it.

Chilemba bullied the home favourite across the ring with one attack without doing any real damage but looked to have done enough to win the round.

Bellew was labouring but did land a long right hand in the sixth, though the African was landing more prolifically. Chilemba was progressing from prey to predator, taking ring centre in the middle rounds. A Bellew right made him think twice for a moment.

Chilemba was more accurate and, as his confidence grew, more aggressive. The consensus at ringside was that the fight was level after eight rounds but Chilemba had the momentum heading into the ninth. Chilemba landed two body shots before Bellew responded with a booming right and following it up with two more decent shots.

The Englishman had sparked into life at last, doubling up the jab before a left to the body and short right gave him a strong finish before the bell.

Chilemba began the 10th well, landing hard shots from range and edging the round. The underdog's combination punching was superior too as he arguably did enough to take the 11th, picking his punches and landing eye-catching shots with the right.

It was all to play for heading into the final round and Chilemba landed a right followed by a counter left hook to Bellew's temple.

Bellew still seemed flat, only sporadically forcing the action as he urged the crowd to gee him up. A right to the body did land for the Briton but he faced an anxious wait before scores were read out.
One judge scored it 116-112 for Chilemba, another 116-115 for Bellew and the third had it level at 114-114 to leave both men disappointed.

Bellew said afterwards: 'I thought I won nine out of the 12 rounds and even Chilemba's trainer Buddy McGirt, one of the most respected men in boxing, told me he thought I won. I've got a lot of time for Chilemba he's a good fighter and a tough man but I won the fight.'

Gus Poyet in contention for Reading job

Poyet in contention for Reading job as they eye new boss for Premier League survival bid

By
Sam Cunningham

PUBLISHED:

19:24 GMT, 12 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:32 GMT, 12 March 2013

Gus Poyet has emerged as a contender for the vacant manager job at Reading following Brian McDermott's sacking.

The Brighton boss is chasing a Championship play-off spot and Reading would only be keen on a move for the Uruguayan if they could agree a financial deal to bring him to the club swiftly, as they look for someone to keep them in the Premier League.

A source close to Poyet said he would be keen on a move closer to London but added he is happy at Brighton and would only consider taking the job if he was part of a long-term project.

Contender: Gus Poyet is keen on the Reading job

Contender: Gus Poyet is keen on the Reading job

McDermott has left the country with a friend to reflect on the last couple of days after he was left devastated by the decision to sack him.

Paolo Di Canio was installed as an early bookies favourite and is known to want the post and the chance to manage a Premier League club. Roberto Di Matteo is also a candidate, but sources close to the former Chelsea manager say he is not interested.

And Nigel Adkins, who is not currently in charge at a club after he was sacked by Southampton, is under consideration.

Roberto Di Matte

Paolo Di Canio

An Italian's job Roberto Di Matteo is understood not to be keen on the job but Paolo Di Canio is

Reading announced yesterday that owner Anton Zingarevich said it was the 'hardest decision of his life' to sack McDermott but that 'he and Brian remain on good terms after meeting in person on Monday.'

Zingarevich and Eamonn Dolan, head of the club's academy who has been brought in as caretaker manager, met with first team players and staff at their Hogwood Park training ground yesterday.

End of the road: Brian McDermott was sacked by Reading on Monday

End of the road: Brian McDermott was sacked by Reading on Monday

Dolan also held a series of meetings throughout the day ahead of their Premier League match against Manchester United on Saturday, where he is expected to take charge. First team coaches Nigel Gibbs and Yannis Anastasiou have also both left the club.

Following the game against United there is a two-week gap before their next fixture away to Arsenal, and Reading are yet to formally approach any potential candidates.

Brian McDermott sacked by Reading – players informed by text message – Roberto Di Matteo emerges as favourite

Reading callously sack McDermott…and send the players a group text message to let them know with Di Matteo emerging as the firm favourite to replace him

By
Sami Mokbel and Sam Cunningham

PUBLISHED:

22:47 GMT, 11 March 2013

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UPDATED:

23:57 GMT, 11 March 2013

Reading's shocked players learned boss Brian McDermott had been sacked yesterday when they all received a round-robin text message from the club.

A core group of senior players were said to be baffled and angered by the treatment of the manager who led them into the Premier League just 10 months ago, as last night former Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio emerged as an early contender to replace McDermott.

Former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has emerged as the leading candidate for the vacant position with large stakes placed on the Italian returning to English football at the Madejski Stadium.

*Scroll down to watch highlights of McDermott's final match in charge

Sacked: McDermott guided Reading to the npower Championship title last season

Sacked: McDermott guided Reading to the npower Championship title last season

The bottom six of the Premier League

The bottom six of the Premier League

Striker Jason Roberts said: ‘He’s a
football man and a good man and I just think at this moment in time we
take stock of what he has achieved and place on record our thanks.’

McDermott, 51, had been at the club
for nearly 13 years, first as Under 19 and reserve manager, then chief
scout before taking charge of the first team, and sent texts to friends
saying he was ‘devastated’ by the decision.

The Royals’ billionaire owner,
Russian Anton Zingarevich, took the decision after Saturday’s 2-1 home
defeat by Aston Villa, which left the club off the foot of the table on
goal difference.

Leading contender: Former Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio was spotted at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday and is the bookies favourite for the job

Leading contender: Former Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio was spotted at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday and is the bookies favourite for the job

Ruthless: Zingarevich (left) showed no quarter in sacking McDermott

Ruthless: Zingarevich (left) showed no quarter in sacking McDermott

The sacking was confirmed by a club
statement put out just minutes after the players all received the text —
which also ordered them not to speak to the media and said any comments
on Twitter should be pre-approved by club officials.

That didn’t stop Roberts talking,
while Noel Hunt tweeted: ‘Want to say thanks to Brian for everything he
did for me especially. He’s been a great manager, man and friend to me
and will be missed!’

Famous night: Shane Long scores for Reading against Liverpool at Anfield in 2010

Famous night: Shane Long scores for Reading against Liverpool at Anfield in 2010

Taking the applause: Shane Long salutes the Reading fans after the win

Taking the applause: Shane Long salutes the Reading fans after the win

Di Canio was installed as the
bookies’ favourite for the job after he was spotted at the Madejski
watching Saturday’s game (above) but Di Matteo could be offered the job tomorrow.

Former Russia boss Dick Advocaat,
currently in charge of PSV in Holland, is also believed to be on the
wishlist as Zingarevich aims to name a replacement before Saturday’s
trip to Manchester United.

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Stephen Hendry backs Ronnie O"Sullivan to defend World Championship … if he wants to

Hendry backs O'Sullivan to defend World Championship … if he wants to

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

23:50 GMT, 23 February 2013

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UPDATED:

23:50 GMT, 23 February 2013

Stephen Hendry is convinced Ronnie
O'Sullivan would be a serious Crucible contender if he decides to cut
short his break from the sport to defend the World Championship title.

O'Sullivan, 37, will make a statement regarding his future in the sport at a press conference in London at midday on Tuesday.

He has played only one low-profile
match in competition this season, and announced in November he would be
skipping the rest of the campaign for personal reasons.

Title holder: Ronnie O'Sullivan

Title holder: Ronnie O'Sullivan

But there has been speculation almost ever since that O'Sullivan would be unable to resist the temptation to make a bid for a fifth world title.

He has apparently reached a decision, and Hendry expects it to be that O'Sullivan will make a dramatic comeback.

The entry deadline for the World Championship is the end of February, and the scheduling of his press conference for Tuesday – two days before the deadline – has only heightened speculation O'Sullivan will play.

'I would presume that's what it's for but you never know with Ronnie,' Hendry told talkSPORT.

'When I spoke to him last year, I said, “All you'll need is three or four weeks of really good practice … and you'll be well capable of winning it”.

'Maybe play a couple of best-of-19s against some top players and he'll be ready.'

Hendry says it would be positive news for snooker if the Chigwell cueman was ready to return.

Backing Ronnie: Retired snooker legend Stephen Hendry

Backing Ronnie: Retired snooker legend Stephen Hendry

'Absolutely, especially for the other players because you don't want to win the World Championship with the best player not there,' Scotland's seven-time world champion said.

Hendry retired last May, and it remains a possibility that O'Sullivan will say he too is bowing out of snooker on Tuesday.

Jimmy White, who wrote on Twitter on Thursday that he thought O'Sullivan was planning not to play, is now not so sure what to expect.

'Looking at the time frame, probably he will play,' White said. 'Who says he hasn't been practising, who knows that

'He may be saying he's never going to play again, who knows'

White promised: 'If Ronnie does decide to play, I'll go over there and give him some practice games.'

Australian Open 2012: Novak Djokovic reached quarter-finals after beating Stanislas Wawrinka in five sets

Djokovic survives scare from Swiss No 2 Wawrinka as he comes through early morning marathon

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

14:43 GMT, 20 January 2013

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UPDATED:

19:07 GMT, 20 January 2013

It was 1.42am when we saw the shirt ripped off and Novak Djokovic reveal that increasingly familiar torso – the sight which says: ‘You just can’t beat me’.

Stanislas Wawrinka had played like a raging bull for five hours and two minutes, cutting and thrusting with a brutal forehand and elegant backhand. Still it was not enough to finish off a competitor whose spirit makes him stand alongside the greats of the game.

An astonishing half-volleyed paddle at a sharp angle delivered the final blow and Djokovic had made it into the last eight of the Australian Open with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7, 12-10 victory against the No 15 seed.

Time to relax: Novak Djokovic tweeted this picture of his post-match massage after seeing off Stanislas Wawrinka in an epic five-setter

Time to relax: Novak Djokovic tweeted this picture of his post-match massage after seeing off Stanislas Wawrinka in an epic five-setter

 Djokovic celebrated in his usual manner, ripping his shirt off after taking the fifth set 12-10

Winner: Djokovic celebrated in his usual manner, ripping his shirt off after taking the fifth set 12-10

It took until the early hours of the morning for Djokovic and Wawrinka to complete their five-set marathon

Tired: It took until the early hours of the morning for these two to complete their five-set marathon

Wawrinka won the fourth set tie-break and broke early in the second set, but Djokovic came back to win

Wawrinka won the fourth set tie-break and broke early in the second set, but Djokovic came back to win

So close: Wawrinka won the fourth set tie-break and broke early in the second set, but Djokovic came back to win

The Swiss had been given a fairly easy ride so far, but the World No 1 was always going to be a tough challenge

Shock to the system: The Swiss had been given a fairly easy ride so far, but the World No 1 was always going to be a tough challenge

January is not done, but already there
is a contender for match of the year and, unquestionably, the match of
the year’s first Grand Slam. The 25 year-old Serb is through to face
Tomas Berdych and how much of a toll this has taken remains to be seen.

Last year he managed to rebound from a
match of four hours, 50 minutes against Andy Murray in the last four to
overcome Rafael Nadal and win the final in five hours, 53 minutes. So
there is no reason for the 27-year-old Czech powerhouse to think that
some of the work has been done for him.

Murray’s effort in the US Open final,
when he emphatically put Djokovic away in the fifth set and caused him
to severely cramp, was left looking all the more impressive by the
Serb’s typical refusal to submit and the way his body held up.

The 25-year-old Scot was this morning
due to play Gilles Simon, who featured in another late-night epic on
Saturday against compatriot Gael Monfils, although that was not in the
same bracket of quality as this five- part drama.

Wawrinka, Switzerland’s eternal
bridesmaid to Roger Federer, did everything but win this match and again
showed that he is capable of causing extreme discomfort to the very
best players if they are slightly below their top level.

The Serb is attempting to win his third consecutive Australian Open, which no man has managed before

Big dreams: The Serb is attempting to win his third consecutive Australian Open, which no man has managed before

There were five deuces in Wawrinka's final service game, and the Swiss played a stunning final rally, but Djokovic was just too good

There were five deuces in Wawrinka's final service game, and the Swiss played a stunning final rally, but Djokovic was just too good

Shattered: There were five deuces in Wawrinka's final service game, and the Swiss played a stunning final rally, but Djokovic was just too good

Djokovic felt that his experience of
these situations was the difference. ‘In the end these kind of matches
help your confidence, they are what you live for and practise for,’ he
said.

‘I had a flashback of the 2012 finals.
I feel sorry that one of us had to lose, but I am just thrilled that I
was able to fight up until the last moment.’

That Wawrinka cannot quite deliver the
knockout punch explains why he has spent much of his career just
outside the top 10. ‘It was the best match I have ever played and the
worst I’ve ever felt afterwards,’ he said. ‘I fought like a dog.’ He
will look upon the four break points he created at 4-4 in the deciding
set and ponder how he failed to make one count, particularly the last of
them.

That was when he drilled an unplayable
service return onto the baseline only for the line judge to mistakenly
call it out. Wawrinka had one Hawkeye challenge left but neglected to
use it. Umpire Enrique Molina declined to over-rule and his foe escaped.

Whether he would have gone on to serve
out the match we will never know and such is Djokovic’s capacity to get
himself out of scrapes that it cannot be assumed.

Djokovic has won the last two titles
here and, with the exception of September’s defeat in New York, not
lost in one of the hard-court Grand Slams since 2010.

Djokovic will face Czech Tomas Berdych in the quarters, after Berdych beat South African Kevin Anderson in straight sets

Quarter-finals: Djokovic will face Czech Tomas Berdych in the quarters, after Berdych beat South African Kevin Anderson in straight sets

had Wawrinka challenged a call, he would have been serving for the match

Lucky: had Wawrinka challenged a call, he would have been serving for the match

The final set ended as the clock approached 2am in Australia

The final set ended as the clock approached 2am in Australia

Exhausting: The final set ended as the clock approached 2am in Australia

It took more than five hours for the pair to finish their match in the Australian heat

Thrilling: It took more than five hours for the pair to finish their match in the Australian heat

His game is perfectly suited to absorb
what is thrown at him in this environment and the barrel-chested
Wawrinka hurled everything he could.

By the end it seemed a distant detail
that Djokovic had hardly helped himself by coming out with a defective
pair of shoes that caused him to slip all over the place in the first
set when faced with Wawrinka’s devastating start.

The Swiss took the first set in 25
minutes and served for the second at 5-3, by which time one of the
Serb’s gophers had brought him some new footwear. By then Wawrinka’s
certainty had faded and it could have all been over in the fourth set
but, unusually, his trademark backhand was more than backed up by
everything else in his game.

Only in the 24th game of the fifth set
did he crack and Djokovic clinched it on a third match point to the
delight of a Melbourne crowd who, not for the first time here, had
ignored thoughts of work to come later in the day.

Roger Federer is on in the same late
evening slot today against the powerful Canadian Milos Raonic as he
attempts to reach his 35th consecutive quarter final at a Grand Slam.

He will do so knowing that big danger still lurks in the other side of the draw – as hard to put away as ever.

John Hartson says Martin O"Neill is the right man to be the next Manchester United manager

Only one man to succeed Fergie, according to John Hartson… the 'genius' Martin O'Neill

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UPDATED:

16:44 GMT, 27 December 2012

The question of who will take over as manager of United (if Sir Alex can ever be removed from Old Trafford) is likely to become a hot topic of debate in the coming year.

But one former footballer reckons he’s already got the answer, and it’s not who you’d expect.

Former Arsenal and West Ham striker John Hartson says there’s only one man for the job, and that’s… Martin O’Neill.

Hartson feels that O'Neill would be a better choice than a foriegn manager

British Connections: Hartson feels that O'Neill would be a better choice than a foriegn manager

‘Only one man could have got Sunderland out of the hole they were in..’ Hartson tweeted. ‘That’s the genius Martin o'neill.. Next man united manager..’

He followed that assertion by adding: ‘Moyes not in the same class. Mourinho is proven but is a liability with his behaviour. Pep taking a break not sure for how long..o’neill cert.’

Now it’s true that Sunderland have seen an improvement during their year under O’Neill.

They’re on track to finish a few places higher than last year in the Premier League, and the Northern Irishman will be riding the high of beating Manchester City for quite some time.

Ferguson's perseverance has been mirrored by United's comebacks this season

Never-say-die: Ferguson's perseverance has been mirrored by United's comebacks this season

Pep Guardiola may be a long-shot for the Manchester side, especially now that Barcelona are in need of a manager in the absence of Tito Vilanova.

However, the idea that O’Neill would be a contender ahead of Jose Mourinho is slightly questionable.

Real Madrid are sitting 16 points behind Barcelona in La Liga and it is widely thought Mourinho's stay in then Spanish capital will not last past the end of the season.

What he does have is extensive experience of topping European tables, whereas O’Neill has yet to lead a team to a finish in the top five of the Premier League.

Last season Real Madrid won their 32nd League title and scored a record-breaking number of goals. Mourinho’s ‘behaviour’ hasn’t made him too much of a liability for the Spaniards it seems.

Mourinho looks set to leave Madrid in the Summer after falling too far behind Barca

Not a happy bunny: Mourinho looks set to leave Madrid in the Summer after falling too far behind Barca

Moyes has been installed as the front-runner for the job owing to his success with limited resources

Popular: Moyes has been installed as the front-runner for the job owing to his success with limited resources

And as far as Moyes is concerned, the Scot has an impressive record with Everton, having taken them from a side that continually finished in the bottom half of the table to one that has made consistent appearances in the top half at the end of each season.

There are also some similarities between Ferguson and Moyes which might make him a preferable option. Both are long-serving managers for one thing.

And of course, there is the Scottish connection. But who knows, maybe the Welshman will be proved right. It’s doubtful though.

Alex McLeish set to beat Roy Keane to Nottingham Forest job

McLeish emerges as the favourite to take Forest job ahead of old boy Keane

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UPDATED:

12:32 GMT, 27 December 2012

Alex McLeish has emerged as a serious contender for the vacant Nottingham Forest post after bookmakers slashed his odds this morning.

The former Aston Villa boss was a rank outsider with Roy Keane leading the running for the post which was surprisingly left open following Sean O'Driscoll's shock departure.

McLeish has been out of work for eight months after losing his job at Villa Park. However, with Blackburn Rovers also looking for a manger, the Scot is also likely to be interested in a position at Ewood Park.

Wanted: McLeish has been out of a job since he was sacked as manager of Aston Villa on the final day of last season

Wanted: McLeish has been out of a job since he was sacked as manager of Aston Villa on the final day of last season

The ex-Villa and Birmingham City chief retains a base in the Midlands and would have little trouble stepping into the role after Forest's owners, the Al-Hasawis, took the decision to axe O'Driscoll and his odds have tumbled this morning.

Out of the running: Roy Keane attended Forest's 4-2 victory over Leeds yesterday

Out of the running: Roy Keane attended Forest's 4-2 victory over Leeds yesterday

The Kuwaitis have confirmed that they have a meeting with a manager of Premier League experience today and that points towards McLeish being the man most likely at present to succeed O'Driscoll.

However Keane, who was in the crowd to watch Forest defeat Leeds 4-2 yesterday, is aso out-of-work following his sacking by Ipswich Town and remains among the favourites with the bookmakers for the role.

Rendall Munroe retires from boxing

End of the road for Munroe as English fighter hangs up his gloves after Quigg defeat

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UPDATED:

12:30 GMT, 13 December 2012

Rendall Munroe has retired from boxing following defeat to Scott Quigg last month.

The 32-year-old, who won 24 of his 28 contests, challenged for the super-bantamweight world title against Japan's Toshiaki Nishioka in 2010.

But he suffered his first stoppage loss to Quigg on the undercard of Ricky Hatton's unsuccessful comeback in Manchester and has decided to hang up his gloves.

Last bell: Munroe (right) has called time on his boxing career

Last bell: Munroe (right) has called time on his boxing career

'I'm always positive and forward thinking and I've had a great career. I am 100 per cent proud of what I have done,' Munroe said.

'I was English, Commonwealth, European and WBA international champion and a world title contender.'

Munroe was stopped in the sixth round by Quigg who displayed an impressive array of devastating body shots.

The pair originally met in June but a nasty cut above Munroe's right eye, which required nine stitches, stopped the contest in the third round, resulting in a technical draw.

Paula Radcliffe decision to keep on racing welcomed by UK athletics chief

Radcliffe decision to keep on racing welcomed by head of UK athletics

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UPDATED:

13:02 GMT, 10 December 2012

UK Athletics head coach Peter Eriksson has welcomed Paula Radcliffe's determination to resume her career next year, insisting only she knows when it is time to retire.

Radcliffe was unable to compete in the marathon at this summer’s London Olympics due to injury, and lost her Lottery funding as she is no longer seen as a realistic medal contender in global championships.

But despite turning 39 next Monday, the marathon world record holder said she is 'desperate' to return to competition in 2013.

Flying the flag: Radcliffe has vowed to continue racing

Flying the flag: Radcliffe has vowed to continue racing

'I know she had an operation on her foot and it will take some time for her to get back to running, but I see it as very positive if she is still hungry to perform,' Eriksson told the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC Radio Five Live.

'If she does the right things and doesn’t push it too hard, I think she will be fine.

'The athletes know by themselves when it’s time to retire and they have to come to terms with that on their own, it’s nothing you force people into.

'She is a very talented athlete and if she is hungry to race then I think that’s great for us.'

Eriksson was appointed in October and is helping to oversee UKA’s plans for a single high performance institute in Loughborough.

Loughborough will be used as 'the engine' of British athletics according to Eriksson, but the Swede acknowledged that the likes of Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Adam Gemili will not be required to use the facility on a full-time basis.

Greek tragedy: Radcliffe pulled up during the marathon at 2004 Olympics

Greek tragedy: Radcliffe pulled up during the marathon at 2004 Olympics

Gemili’s coach Michael Afilaka lost his
full-time position with UK Athletics recently and the 19-year-old world
junior champion does not want to move from his London base to work with
another coach in Loughborough.

'I talked to him and he is very
comfortable in his environment,” Eriksson said. 'We have supported his
coach this year and we will find a way to do that in the future.

'We are having coach-based support so there will be some funding going towards Adam’s coaching. He is really keen on staying where he is because he goes to the university, he is close to the training facility and has his coach there so I don’t see a reason to change that at all.

Tough cookie: Radcliffe is desperate to return to competition next year

Tough cookie: Radcliffe is desperate to return to competition next year

'We need to ensure that each athlete and their coach get as much support as we can give them and we need to build a team, but in addition to that we also have a lot of athletes coming up in under-18, under-20, under-23 age groups that are performing really well.

'We need to have those and turn them into medallists and that’s why we try to hire the best coaches and have one central hub that is the engine of the sport.

'You don’t want to take an athlete out of their environment where they are comfortable and have good support, but we also want them to come and be part of the centre. They can come and go, they don’t have to live there, to move anywhere.

'Mo Farah and Jess Ennis have a great environment so why change that We just have to optimise it for them.'

Eriksson also reiterated that, unlike his predecessor Charles van Commenee, he has a good relationship with triple jumper Phillips Idowu, who failed to reach the Olympic final after a controversial and injury-hit build-up.

'He is aiming to bring back a gold medal at the World Championships (in Moscow next year) and I am looking forward to seeing him back on the team again,' Eriksson added.

'If he is fully healed from all his injuries, which he is now, there is no reason why he shouldn’t perform good again so you have to say it’s over now and we have to move forward and do better.'

Euro 2020: Michel Platini insists good for fans

Platini insists Euro 2020 will be good for fans as hopes raised of major role for England

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UPDATED:

13:40 GMT, 7 December 2012

UEFA president Michel Platini has claimed the pan-continental Euro 2020 will be good for fans – and gave a boost to British hopes of hosting some matches at the tournament.

Platini said UEFA had held talks with fans group Football Supporters Europe and convinced it that the 'zany' format of holding games in 13 matches across Europe would benefit the majority of supporters.

The Football Association will bid for Wembley to host the final while Wales and Scotland will also bid for Euro 2020 games.

Big idea: Michel Platini came up with the concept for Euro 2020

Big idea: Michel Platini came up with the concept for Euro 2020

Platini told reporters at a briefing in Nyon: 'We have talked to the fans. They were against it originally but we told them we are going to help them and suddenly they had a much more positive attitude.

'Certainly it will be easier for the English to go to Wales and Scotland to watch a match instead of having to travel the world.

'We have some decisions to make now – some political, some geographical – for example we cannot have an English fan going to Lisbon, Kazakhstan and Sweden.

'We will have an intelligent solution – not chasing the fans all over Europe.

'The Euros are coming to the fans and taking matches to quite a number of countries.

'We have met with supporters’
associations recently and have reassured them we will do whatever is
possible to make sure fans get the necessary support when they travel.'

Platini
himself came up with the idea of staging the tournament but he said it
had been supported by every European country apart from Turkey, who had
hoped to host the Euros on its own.

Up for it: Wembley is a contender to host the Euro 2020 final

Up for it: Wembley is a contender to host the Euro 2020 final

He added: 'I just bring forward ideas and then national associations have their own meetings and workshops and 52 out of 53 said yes, I don’t decide, the national associations have decided.

'Poland and Ukraine was a great Euro but it was very expensive, almost as expensive as the Olympic Games.

'It is perhaps a bit of a zany idea but it is a good idea.'

Platini added that he wanted the finals and semi-finals to be in one city – and the FA will put London forward as a candidate.

He
said: “I’m in favour the final phase being in one city to give it more
importance, that’s my idea. The executive committee will decide whether
it’s a good or bad idea.

'I
think this would create a very special atmosphere among the supporters
and it will be a week of national teams and it could be a great party.'

Platini said FIFA president Sepp
Blatter had congratulated him on the Euro 2020 idea – and that he is
succeeding where the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi failed.

Champions: Spain will defend their title in France in four years' time

Champions: Spain will defend their title in France in four years' time

Gaddafi had suggested moving the
African Nations Cup around the continent, and Platini said: 'I got
congratulations from the president of FIFA, he said it is a marvellous
idea. He said somebody wanted to do it a few years ago with the African
Nations Cup and it was Gaddafi.'

He also hit back at criticism from FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke pointing out that the world governing body had ratified Japan and Mexico playing in South American competitions.

'FIFA accepts Mexico and Japan taking part in the Copa America and that is much more against the spirit than what we are suggesting,' said Platini.

The UEFA president also insisted he wants to support the Europa League rather than scrap it – an interview he gave to a French newspaper last week led to reports UEFA are considering getting rid of the tournament and having a 64-club Champions League.

He added: 'All I said is that there is a reflection going on to figure out what shape we want – we are discussing it, nothing is decided.

'I never said I am going to stop the Europa League. We have to look at all 53 countries and I believe the Europa League is great and that we need to support it and continue with it. It is a very popular competition.

'I am never going to organise competition for money's sake, only in the interests of football.'