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Fernando Torres has been ruined by Chelsea – Mauricio Pochettino

Chelsea have ruined the striker who once tormented me, says Saints boss Pochettino

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

09:01 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:02 GMT, 30 March 2013

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino believes Chelsea might be responsible for the decline of striker Fernando Torres.

During his time at Espanyol, Pochettino was pitted against a fearsome Torres when he broke into the Atletico Madrid first team and the 41-year-old remembers being tormented by the young striker.

Torres left Atletico for Liverpool in
2007 and took to Premier League life exceptionally well. But since a
50million move to Stamford Bridge, the Spain international has
struggled to recapture the devastating form shown in Madrid and on
Merseyside.

Superstar: Fernando Torres burst onto the scene at Atletico Madrid

Superstar: Fernando Torres burst onto the scene at Atletico Madrid

Shell: Torres has been in decline ever since joining Chelsea from Liverpool for 50million

Shell: Torres has been in decline ever since joining Chelsea from Liverpool for 50million

Pochettino, whose Southampton side aim to topple Chelsea at St Mary’s this afternoon, believes Torres has not looked at ease since moving to west London.

'I have played against Torres many times and he scored some goals against me,’ Pochettino told The Daily Star.

'I remember him being a quality player, full of strength and a player who knew which spaces to run into to create chances.

'Sometimes it happens where a player is comfortable and feels happy at a certain club as he was at Atletico and at Liverpool.

'But when you leave that club and join a new team maybe you do not feel as comfortable and as happy and that can affect your performances.

Candid: Pochettino remembers being terrorised by Torres during his time at Espanyol

Candid: Pochettino remembers being terrorised by Torres during his time at Espanyol

'I do not know if Torres will leave Chelsea but what is clear is there is no doubting his quality.'

Jack Cork further stoked the fires before this afternoon’s match by saying he would not swap Saints’ top goalscorer Rickie Lambert for Chelsea’s World Cup winner.

The 31-year-old Liverpudlian has scored 13 goals in his debut Premier League season, whereas Torres has only netted seven times this campaign.

Cork, who spent 14 years at The Bridge, said: ‘Rickie has been different class for us for the last three or four years.

'For someone of his build, his touch is unbelievable. He is great to have in your team.

'Torres and Demba Ba have scored lots of goals in their careers and you don’t pay 50m for someone who isn’t any good.

No way: Jack Cork says he would not swap Torres for Saints striker Rickie Lambert (second right)

No way: Jack Cork says he would not swap Torres for Saints striker Rickie Lambert (second right)

'But if you asked who I’d rather have in my team, I’d say Rickie.'

Cork, 23, heads into this afternoon’s match to face the club he left in 2011, having been at Chelsea since the age of eight but never making a senior appearance.

He added: 'Chelsea was massive for me and from the age of eight it was my dream to play for them. It was frustrating towards the end but I loved it when I was there.

'We had a good set of young players who have all gone on to play a high standard. That was when Chelsea were doing well and winning titles — so I can understand why nobody was given a chance.

'With the managers chopping and changing there is always a lot of pressure on them to win games, so it’s tough to blood youngsters.'

Heavy heart: Cork (left) left Chelsea after 14 years at Stamford Bridge

Heavy heart: Cork (left) left Chelsea after 14 years at Stamford Bridge

LIVE STREAM: Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby U18 Vase semi-finals

LIVE STREAM: Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby U18 Vase semi-finals – watch the action unfold here

Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby

PUBLISHED:

11:03 GMT, 3 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:15 GMT, 3 March 2013

The Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby has officially entered the business end of the competition with the Finals at Twickenham now only weeks away.

It's day two at Broadstreet RFC where the semi-finals for this season's tournament which is the biggest schools competition in the world of rugby.

Today's games in the Under 18s Vase pits Felsted against St Ambrose College (11am) followed by Yarm versus Plymouth College (1pm).

Yesterday, in the main Cup competition, champions Dulwich and Northampton School for Boys won their semi-finals against Hampton and Warwick respectively.

And two places in the prestigious Vase Final on March 23 are up for grabs. Who will be there Find out here and watch all the drama as it unfolds on the video player below…

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LIVE STREAM: Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby U18 Cup semi-finals

LIVE STREAM: Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby U18 Cup semi-finals – watch the action unfold here

Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby

PUBLISHED:

10:04 GMT, 2 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:05 GMT, 2 March 2013

The Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby has officially entered the business end of the competition with the Finals at Twickenham now only weeks away.

Today, Sportsmail brings you LIVE action from the U18s Cup semi-finals at Broadstreet RFC in Coventry.

At 11am, Dulwich take on Hampton to get us underway, followed by Warwick versus Northampton School for Boys.

A place in the prestigious Final on March 23 is up for grabs. Who will be there Find out here and watch all the drama as it unfolds on the video player below…

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SIX NATIONS 2013: Chris Robshaw hails England preparation after Ireland win

England preparation key to not choking in Ireland, claims skipper Robshaw after win

PUBLISHED:

15:55 GMT, 11 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:00 GMT, 11 February 2013

England captain Chris Robshaw believes that the way his side nullified the effect of Ireland's 'choke' tackling was key to Sunday's vital win in Dublin.

Irish defenders looked to double up on the ball carrier and swarm their upper body in the tackle, preventing the offload and trying to force a turnover.

It was a tactic that worked brilliantly in their win over Wales last weekend but Robshaw revealed in the Daily Telegraph that England worked hard on countering the threat.

Winners: Captain Chris Robshaw celebrates England's win over Ireland on Sunday

Winners: Captain Chris Robshaw celebrates England's win over Ireland on Sunday

'We had worked hard last week on combating their choke tackle and for the majority of the time we negated it,' he said.

'It is a real strength of theirs, it gets their crowd and their team going and to nullify that gave us a significant edge.

'The key was in running a little bit lower because if you run upright they are very good at holding you up there. You also have to look after your mates.'

The 12-6 win, which has put England well and truly on course to win this year's Six Nations, looked in the balance when Red Rose flanker James Haskell was sin-binned on 57 minutes for not rolling.

Hitting the target: Owen Farrell scored all of England's points in the win at the Aviva Stadium

Hitting the target: Owen Farrell scored all of England's points in the win at the Aviva Stadium

Ronan O'Gara slotted the penalty to level the scores at 6-6 and momentum looked to be swinging Ireland's way.

England were heroic with 14 men though, not only holding out but stretching into a six-point lead before Haskell returned.

Robshaw revealed that, again, head coach Stuart Lancaster's meticulous preparation for such events helped England over the line.

'The big test came for us when James Haskell was sent to the sin bin in the second half,' Robshaw added.

'Their crowd had started to get up, their players started to get up and we had to take the sting out of the situation. That is what we did.'

LIVE: Watch England"s Player of the Year awards from St George"s Park

LIVE: Watch England's Player of the Year awards from St George's Park here

PUBLISHED:

21:40 GMT, 3 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:06 GMT, 3 February 2013

Sportsmail's finest awarded

Our very own Matt Lawton picked up the Brian Woolnough award for best England writer. Read about it HERE

Who will win England's Player of the Year award Follow the action live here with Sportsmail.

Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole Glen Johnson, Joe Hart and Danny Welbeck are the five men in with a chance of winning it.

Awards already issued tonight are England's Young Player of the year, U21 Player of the Year and Team of the Year. Find out who won below.

Here to watch: Leighton Baines, Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka

Here to watch: Leighton Baines, Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka


Brian Woolnough Writer's Award: Matt Lawton (Daily Mail)

Matt Lawton

England U21 Player of the Year: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

Jordan Henderson

2. Martin Kelly (Liverpool)

3. Wilfried Zaha (Manchester United)

England Men's Youth Player of the Year: Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea)

Nathaniel Chalobah

2. Will Hughes (Derby)

3. John Lundstram (Everton)

Club England Team of the Year: England Women

England Women

VIDEO: Backstage at the awards

Wembley set to be renamed in EE deal

Wembley could be RENAMED as FA consider shock 8m rights deal for the home of football

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

07:16 GMT, 18 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:16 GMT, 18 January 2013

The Football Association are considering renaming Wembley Stadium in a controversial move that will outrage fans.

In a deal worth a reported 8million-a-year, the historic ground will be known as 'Wembley Stadium in association with EE' in a tie in with the mobile phone operator.

The FA agreed a similar deal for the FA Cup, which is officially known as the FA Cup Sponsored By Budweiser.

Rebrand: Wembley Stadium supported by EE looks set to be the new name of the famous London ground

Rebrand: Wembley Stadium supported by EE looks set to be the new name of the famous London ground

Wembley

According to the Daily Telegraph, the FA insisted that naming rights, in the way Arsenal's stadium is known as the Emirates, were not up for grabs and that 'Wembley' had to remain in place.

Wembley has a number of current commercial deals including a deal with Carlsberg as the 'Official Beer of Wembley Stadium'. EE was formed when Orange and T-Mobile merged in 2010.

The FA has been seeking a lead sponsor for the stadium since it was opened in 2007 and the original stadium, built in 1923, was known as the Empire Exhibition Stadium.

With a capacity of 90,000, Wembley is the second biggest stadium and Europe and cost 757million to build.

The stadium also hosts major rugby league games, including the Challenge Cup and International Rugby League. The stadium has also played host to the NFL.

Carlton Cole latest: Norwich and Reading want West Ham striker

Norwich and Reading set to battle it out for Cole with Hammers striker up grabs

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

10:51 GMT, 12 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:51 GMT, 12 January 2013

Norwich and Reading have joined the race to sign Carlton Cole with West Ham reportedly ready to listen to offers for the striker.

The one-time England international, however, is determined to stay at Upton Park and was said to be disappointed when he learned of the club's plans to cash-in on him, according to the Daily Mirror.

Cole's contract expires this summer and West Ham have added Marouane Chamakh and Wellington Paulista to their growing contingent of on-loan strikers this month with Andy Carroll soon to be fit again.

Furious: Cole has been told he can leave the club

Furious: Cole has been told he can leave the club

Cole has scored twice in 19 games this season and manager Sam Allardyce prefers both Chamakh and Carroll, despite Carroll scoring just once in 14 games for the east Londoners.

The 29-year-old moved to Upton Park from Chelsea in 2006 after loan spells at Wolves, Charlton and Aston Villa.

West Ham have also been linked with Manchester City striker John Guidetti.

City are keen for him to gain Premier League experience but Southampton and Fiorentina are also interested in the 20-year-old striker.

Andy Carroll of West Ham United shows his frustration during the Barclays Premier League

Marouane Chamakh of West Ham United looks on ahead of the FA Cup with Budweiser Third Round

Options: Carroll (left) and Chamakh (right) have both joined the Hammers on loan

QPR keen on West Brom defender Jonas Olsson

Redknapp want 5m Olsson to help save QPR from the drop

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

08:15 GMT, 10 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:32 GMT, 10 January 2013

QPR boss Harry Redknapp has made a 5million bid for West Brom defender Jonas Olsson, according to reports.

Redknapp priority in this transfer window is to strengthen his defence to try and help his side in their battle against relegation and is keen on Olsson, whose outstanding form this season has also seen him watched by Arsenal.

The 29-year-old has a 4m buy-out clause in his contract in the summer and QPR believe they can get him this month.

Top target: Jonas Olsson is the man Harry Redkapp wants to sign

Top target: Jonas Olsson is the man Harry Redkapp wants to sign

According to The Daily Mirror Olsson is keen on a move to London and Redknapp is keen for him to replace Ryan Nelsen, who is off to the MLS to manage Toronto.

Redknapp is also considering a move for Tottenham defender William Gallas.

Looking to strengthen: Harry Redknapp wants to add to his defence

Looking to strengthen: Harry Redknapp wants to add to his defence

The QPR boss is an admirer of the French defender after managing him at White Hart Lane.

But persuading Olsson to join relegation-threatened Rangers from Europe-chasing Albion is his main priority.

Kenny Dalglish lined up for Liverpool return

Liverpool line up offer to bring King Kenny back to Anfield – as an ambassador

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

00:04 GMT, 10 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:43 GMT, 10 January 2013

Liverpool are hoping to lure Anfield legend Kenny Dalglish back in an ambassadorial role.

Dalglish was sacked in May following an 18-month spell as boss, having taken over from Roy Hodgson in January 2011.

Although Dalglish took up a similar position before his appointment as manager – and was involved in the club's academy – it is unclear whether he would be open to the idea of a return.

Tempted Kenny Dalglish could be on his way back to Anfield as an ambassador

Tempted Kenny Dalglish could be on his way back to Anfield as an ambassador

Since being replaced by former Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers, the 61-year-old has only been to Anfield once this season to watch Liverpool in action.

Dalglish, who played more than 350 times for the club, has always been held in high esteem by the supporters.

And Liverpool are keen for him to help attract lucrative sponsorship deals, according to the Daily Telegraph.

After his departure last summer, Dalglish gave the impression that he was warm to the idea of returning to Liverpool.

He said at the time: 'I said when first approached about coming back as manager that I would always be of help if I can at any time and that offer remains the same.'

Liverpool owner John W Henry also hinted he would have his former manager back, describing Dalglish as 'part of the family'.

New boy: Brendan Rodgers (right) took over from Dalglish (left) last summer

New boy: Brendan Rodgers (right) took over from Dalglish (left) last summer

Andy Murray pictures show added muscle ahead of Australian Open 2013

Muscle-bound Murray shows off bulked-up frame ahead of latest shot at Aussie Open

has left him hungry for more.

Murray enjoyed a breakthrough season last year when he became the first British male to win a grand slam in 76 years with his success at the US Open, while he was also crowned Olympic champion during a fairytale summer for the Scot.

The world No 3 is not ready to settle for that, though, and has spoken of his determination to keep on improving and adding to his title collection.

Andy Murray

Murray looks on during practice ahead of the Australian Open

Watch out, Australia: Andy Murray practices serving as coach Ivan Lendl looks on at Melbourne Park

Murray serves as his coach Ivan Lendl watches on during practice at Melbourne Park

Focused: Murray has his sights set on the Australian Open, which begins next Monday

Murray serves as his coach Ivan Lendl watches on during practice at Melbourne Park

Murray once again spent December building his fitness at a gruelling training camp in Miami before flying home briefly for Christmas and then on to Australia via the Middle East. While in Florida, Murray worked hard on his physical strength, doubling his weekly weightlifting sessions from two to four, in a bid to boost his shot power.

The result is an added three pounds of muscle to his already impressive frame. And, judging by the impressive pictures taken of the Scot in practice in Melbourne today, he is in peak physical condition ahead of his latest tilt at the year's opening grand slam title.

Speaking ahead of the upcoming Australian Open, where the 25-year-old will aim to improve on runners-up finishes in 2010 and 2011, Murray told the Daily Telegraph: 'The US Open and the Olympics made me extremely motivated.

'It wasn’t a case of, “Oh, everything’s done now”. It’s taken a long time to get there and to win those sorts of events.

Murray has been hard at work building his fitness over the winter

Murray has been hard at work building his fitness over the winter

What a specimen: Murray has been hard at work building his fitness during the break over the winter

Murray has been hard at work building his fitness over the winter

'I know the feeling when you do win them now and it’s worth all of the work that you put in.'

Prior to his success at Flushing Meadows, Murray had won 22 singles titles but had never managed to go all the way in a grand slam tournament, tasting defeat in four finals and reaching numerous semi-finals.

He added: 'In the past, there were loads and loads of questions. I wasn’t physically strong enough. I wasn’t mentally strong enough. I didn’t listen to my coaches. I was spoilt. Whatever it was, none of that really bothers me any more.

'I’m just looking for ways to keep improving.'

Although Murray has been working hard on the physical side of his game, he is adamant that the real difference between victory and defeat comes from brains, not brawn.

The Scot's love of boxing is well known – he counts David Haye as a close friend – so he was thrilled to meet former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis while filming for the BBC's SPOTY programme, where the pair talked training – and winning.

'Heavyweight boxing is the pinnacle of sport really, especially when he (Lewis) was fighting,' said Murray. 'So to get to pick his brains about certain things was nice.

'I asked a lot of questions about current boxers and how you train. He was saying boxing is 70 per cent mental, 30 per cent physical in the actual talent you need, and I think that applies to a lot of sports.

'The difference in how guys hit a ball is not that huge, but it’s about how you deal with the pressure moments and who can hold their nerve.

'When you get towards the end of sets, some guys make more mistakes than others.'

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES…

Murray at Melbourne Park last year

Murray flexes his muscles back in 2009

Murray's torso is noticeably less ripped during practice at Melbourne Park last year (left) while, despite his best Incredible Hulk impression, his still-impressive physique from 2009 (right) is not as muscular as today