Tag Archives: fringes

Stoke defender Ryan Shotton found not guilty after fight outside night club

Stoke defender Shotton found not guilty after fight outside nightclub

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UPDATED:

13:09 GMT, 18 December 2012

Shotton has been on Stoke's books all his career

Shotton has been on Stoke's books all his career

Stoke defender Ryan Shotton has been found not guilty of punching a man on a night out.

Shotton was found to have acted in defence of his friend when he knocked out Mark McDonald in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

The fight happened in the early hours of Sunday, June 24.

The single punch 28-year-old Shotton delivered knocked McDonald out, leaving him with a cut, magistrates sitting at North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard.

Shotton pleaded not guilty on the basis of self-defence following the fight with McDonald and his friend David Broomhall.

McDonald and Shotton, who was with friends, had an altercation on the fringes of Torch nightclub’s dancefloor. All parties were drinking on the night.

McDonald and Shotton were shown on the CCTV face to face, with Shotton then punched once in the face by McDonald.

Shotton said he had 'never seen' McDonald before that moment and was taken by surprise.

He said he 'leaned in' to hear what McDonald was saying but that McDonald used the opportunity to land 'a cheeky shot'.

Asked what McDonald said to him, Shotton replied: 'He said “why do you think you run Stoke-on-Trent You don’t run it, I run it. Don’t you know who I am”

'I thought he was just somebody who had come over to talk about football but he was aggressive.'

Mr Broomhall described that altercation as 'a bit of a scuffle; handbags'.

Shotton pleaded not guilty on the basis of self-defence

Shotton pleaded not guilty on the basis of self-defence

Both parties ended up leaving the club within a few minutes of each other.

Outside, Mr McDonald and Mr Broomhall tried to get into another nightclub called Pink when Mr Broomhall said he spotted Shotton and two friends 'walking towards us'.

He said: 'Mr Shotton was beckoning with his arm to Mark to come over.'

Shotton told a different story, saying as he walked along the road 'two men started walking towards us' from across the street.

'I recognised him from earlier and thought “he’s here for round two”,' he told magistrates.

'He came over to me and his body language was very aggressive. His fists were clenched and I was aware he’d struck before.

'I did it (punched him) to protect my friend because he turned towards him just at that moment.'

Outside court, Shotton, who has made seven league appearances for Stoke this season, said he was 'a happy man' and that he had received 'justice'.

Roy Hodgson challenges youngsters to reach 2014 World Cup

Hodgson challenges youngsters Sterling and Zaha to oust England old guard and earn Brazil 2014 place

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UPDATED:

10:52 GMT, 12 November 2012

Roy Hodgson believes England will undergo a 'vast improvement' over the next decade and urged young players to try and oust the old guard in time for the 2014 World Cup.

After calling up youngsters such as Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling, 17, and 20-year-old Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace into his squad to face Sweden on Wednesday, the England manager insisted things can 'only get better' given the talent at his disposal.

Hodgson praised ‘technically good’ young players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck and Kieran Gibbs and called on them to put pressure on established England stars like Wayne Rooney and captain Steven Gerrard in the run up to Brazil.

Flying high: 17-year-old Raheem Sterling has been in excellent form for Liverpool so far this season

Flying high: 17-year-old Raheem Sterling has been in excellent form for Liverpool so far this season

The England boss told Fifa.com: 'There’s no doubt we’re going to see a vast improvement over the coming ten years, and I think you see it already if you look at the young players that are coming through today. Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck, Cleverley, Bertrand, Gibbs, Wilshere – in all of these players you can see that technically they are of a very good level. It can only get better.

'I’m pleased that they have responded, but not proud. When you select a squad of 23 players, there is plenty of space to put some in there who arguably might not be ready today. Bearing in mind if we’re going to qualify for Brazil, it’s nearly two years’ time.

'Who knows Some of these young players who are around the fringes of our squad – getting some experience, getting a feel of what it might be like to be a Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard or Ashley Cole – might, in two years’ time, be right up there alongside these players, might even be taking their places if these players can’t keep up to the standard we’ve acquired.'

Hodgson also insisted the success of the FA's national football at St George’s Park in Burton needed to be underpinned by a thriving senior team and said part of his role was to help safeguard England’s future.

Shining star: The likes of Wilfried Zaha have been challenged to usurp the well established stars

Shining stars: The likes of Wilfried Zaha (above) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (below) have been challenged to usurp the well established stars in time for the World Cup in Brazil

Shining star: The likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been challenged to usurp the well established stars

'We need to have a successful team,’ he said. ‘If we’re going to fall by the wayside at national team level then our messages are going to be harder to put forward.

'Some people suggest the eye on the present should be your only focus. I don’t agree with that. I think that you should be trying to do the job in the present while at least bearing in mind that one day you’re no longer going to be the manager.

'I think St George’s Park is going to be a flagship for English football coaching and English football development. When the flagship teams – the national team, the U-21s, the U-19s, the ladies – train there that will be the icing on the cake, but the centre has a much bigger role to play.

'Where it’s going to do its real work, in my opinion, is in the development of younger players and coaches to work with these younger players, and be a focal point which shows how serious the FA are about producing players and producing coaches who can produce players.

'That’s what I see as its major function.'

Stalwart: Wayne Rooney has notched up 78 England caps since his first in 2003

Stalwart: Wayne Rooney has notched up 78 England caps since his first in 2003

Old guard: Steven Gerrard, 32, hopes to seal a place in the 2014 World Cup squad

Old guard: Steven Gerrard, 32, hopes to seal a place in the 2014 World Cup squad

Hodgson said he was ‘moderately happy’ with England’s World Cup qualifying campaign, which has seen the Three Lions earn eight points from four games, but admitted his team had fallen short by not notching up 10 points so far.

The England boss, though, said he was pleased to finally be offered the England job in April, having ‘been a bridesmaid on a few occasions’, and reflected on a 'very happy occasion'.

Hodgson, 65, said: 'There have been cases in the past where it has been mooted that maybe I would be a serious contender but the job has gone to somebody else on those occasions.

'Having been a bridesmaid on a few occasions, it was very nice when I got the phone call.

'It was pretty much a fait accompli – it wasn’t a question of going through long processes. The FA had done all of that and made up their mind.

'It was just a question of reaching an agreement, which was easily done because I wanted the job and they wanted me. It was a very happy occasion and one I’ve wanted for a long time. It’s nice that it finally came to pass.'

Future's bright: Roy Hodgson has backed England to improve over the next decade

Future's bright: Roy Hodgson has backed England to improve over the next decade

England 54 Fiji 12: Lancaster"s young side show promise in perfect warm-up for Australia

England 54 Fiji 12: Lancaster's young side show promise in perfect warm-up for Australia

PUBLISHED:

16:29 GMT, 10 November 2012

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UPDATED:

17:01 GMT, 10 November 2012

Charlie Sharples scored his first two Test tries as England prepared for the more ferocious challenges to come with a record victory over Fiji.

The Gloucester wing, making his first Test start at Twickenham, was joined on the scoresheet by Ugo Monye, flanker Tom Johnson and centre Manu Tuilagi, who touched down twice late on against the tiring Fijians.

England's pack was so superior they struggled to retain control at times but their power did earn a penalty try while Fiji's captain and tight-head prop Deacon Manu was watching from the sin-bin.

Two-try hero: Manu Tuilagi went over twice at Twickenham

Two-try hero: Manu Tuilagi went over twice at Twickenham

England had talked about imposing
themselves from the outset, about being ruthless and showing no mercy on
Fiji as they prepare to face Australia, South Africa and world
champions New Zealand.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster will be
satisfied with the seven-try performance, disappointed by the two tries
England conceded and aware they will need to be more accurate when the
Wallabies come to town next Saturday.

England must retain their fourth place
ranking through this most challenging autumn campaign to be among the
top seeds when the 2015 World Cup draw is made on December 3.

England paid the price for starting
slowly on their summer tour of South Africa and a more clinical team
would have punished them in the first 20 minutes today.

Fiji bossed the opening quarter, with
the powerful Gloucester number eight Akapusi Qera causing England all
sorts of problems around the fringes.

England fell foul of referee Glen
Jackson, the former Saracens fly-half, and had Danny Care sin-binned for
what was considered to be a dangerous tackle.

It looked harsh but no one could have
denied that Fiji deserved the lead they would have had if fly-half
Metuisela Talebula had not dropped two penalty kicks woefully short.

Make mine a double: Charlie Sharples scored two tries also

Make mine a double: Charlie Sharples scored two tries also

Versatlie: Man-of-the-match Alex Goode operated as a makeshift scrum-half with Danny Care sin-binned

Versatlie: Man-of-the-match Alex Goode operated as a makeshift scrum-half with Danny Care sin-binned

In the end, England negotiated Care's
absence and then turned the tables on Fiji, with man of the match Alex
Goode particularly impressive in his role as the second play-maker.

After Flood had kicked England into
the lead, the men in white attacked in waves and Sharples marked his
first Twickenham start with his first Test try.

The Gloucester wing collected Goode's
offload and cut in-field, wriggling and driving his way through three
Fijian defenders before stretching for the line.

Johnson, debutant Tom Youngs and
captain Chris Robshaw all carried powerfully to keep England on the
front foot and Fiji's only answer to the pressure was to spoil.

Flood added a second penalty, taking
his Test points tally past the 250 mark, before Fiji captain Manu was
sin-binned but England were guilty of butchering chances.

England failed to control their own
five-metre scrum and when they spread the ball wide, the final pass from
Joe Marler to Brad Barritt went forward and straight into touch.

This was not the clinical execution coach Andy Farrell had demanded but England's pressure was too much for Fiji to bear.

When Robshaw was held up over the
line, the pack England remained disciplined and twice shoved Fiji
backwards to earn the penalty try.

Motoring nicely: Ugo Monye's try pushed the score onto 25-0

Motoring nicely: Ugo Monye's try pushed the score onto 25-0

Fiji received a let-off when Sharples'
chip ahead just brushed the in-goal whitewash before he could touch it
down but England kept coming.

Care was scragged just short of the
line but Fiji conceded yet another penalty and Monye benefited from the
quick tap to score on his first England appearance in over two years.

Flood extended England's lead with a
penalty soon after the restart and ran at Fiji again, with Tuilagi and
then Care making a dart for the line.

England spread the ball wide and Dan
Cole crashed over the line in search of his second international try but
the television official ruled he had been held up.

Saracens prop Mako Vunipola was sent
on for his debut and England built from the attacking platform, working
an overlap down the left and Robshaw sent Johnson over for his first
Test try.

England switched off and allowed Fiji
to score an eye-catching consolation, with Malaki Ravulo streaking away
from Tuilagi before Talebula kicked ahead to score.

Flood then scuffed the kick-off, to
cap an unceremonious couple of minutes but they were soon back in the
groove with Monye benefiting from Barritt's decoy run to cut an
excellent line.

Up and running: Charlie Sharples scored the opening try

Up and running: Charlie Sharples scored the opening try

High riser: Geoff Parling holds on as England win a lineout

High riser: Geoff Parling holds on as England win a lineout

Flood then exploited the space out
left, launching a long pass for Sharples, who stepped inside his men and
scored his second try of the match.

England began to ring the changes and
Ben Youngs came on to join his elder brother Tom, who produced an
impressive Test debut before making way for David Paice.

Ben Youngs and Mike Brown both dropped the ball over the line as England looked to turn the screw against a tiring Fiji team.

Qera somehow managed to haul down a
barnstorming run from Waldrom but Fiji were stretched again as quick
hands from Barritt allowed Tuilagi to dive over in the corner.

The Leicester centre then brushed
aside a weak tackle to touch down again but Fiji had the final word,
with Seko Kalou crashing over for their second try.

Tough to stop: Thomas Waldrom is tackled by Vereniki Goneva

Tough to stop: Thomas Waldrom is tackled by Vereniki Goneva

Nani needs more support from Sir Alex Ferguson says Braga coach

Fergie needs to give Nani more support, insists Braga coach Peseiro

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UPDATED:

00:29 GMT, 7 November 2012

Nani is suffering on the fringes at Manchester United and needs more support from Sir Alex Ferguson to convince the Portugal winger he still has a future at Old Trafford.

That's the verdict of Braga coach Jose Peseiro, Ferguson's opposite number in the Estadio Municipal de Braga on Wednesday night and the man who gave Nani his senior debut at Sporting Lisbon seven years ago.

United bought him for 17million in July 2007 but it looks increasingly likely that the 25-year-old will leave after failing to agree terms over a new contract and seeing his relationship with Ferguson grow increasingly strained.

Support: Braga's coach says Nani needs more backing from Sir Alex Ferguson

Support: Braga's coach says Nani needs more backing from Sir Alex Ferguson

Watching on from a distance: Jose Peseiro thinks Nani is not being treated in the optimum way

Watching on from a distance: Jose Peseiro thinks Nani is not being treated in the optimum way

The Old Trafford boss took the unusual step of publicly criticising Nani for his error in the build-up to Chelsea's equaliser when United lost in the Capital One Cup last week, and is still furious over a training ground bust-up in September in which he punched young teammate Davide Petrucci.

It is understood that Nani has refused to apologise to Petrucci with Ferguson's assistant Mike Phelan forced to step in and act as a mediator.

Peseiro knows Nani better than most after Sporting plucked the player from poverty on the streets of Santa Filomena outside Lisbon and turned him into a star.

The Braga boss believes his former charge will not be happy until he is playing again.

'After Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester, he had two or three fantastic seasons and Manchester depended on him,' said Peseiro.

'At this moment it isn't the same but Nani can improve more. But a player can only play at the maximum level when he's happy. If he's not happy, he can't.

'I know him. If he doesn't play, it is not easy for him. He doesn't feel well when he doesn't play.

'I don't know why Nani doesn't play now. I know the team is good. Manchester United doesn't just have 11 players but 20 at the similar top level and it's hard. I don't know if the problem is that he doesn't sign another contract, if the coach has less confidence in him or if he just doesn't feel right at this moment.

Blamed: Nani was criticised after the Capital One Cup defeat to Chelsea

Blamed: Nani was criticised after the Capital One Cup defeat to Chelsea

'I hope he finishes the season well because it is important for him, the national team and important for me because I took Nani from the Under-18s and put him in the first team at Sporting.' Peseiro believes the foreigners in the Premier League need more reassurance and support than English players, and that Nani is no exception.

'All players have a different personality,' he added. 'Some need an embrace and support, others don't need any support.

Back in business: Chris Smalling training on Tuesday

Back in business: Chris Smalling training on Tuesday

'Sure, the English players don't need too much support, but the Portuguese, Brazilian and Spanish players need more emotional contact.

'When Nani arrived at Manchester United he needed to forget this situation because he needed to play to the maximum and to fight for his place against others.

'Sir Alex Ferguson can't speak differently to him than to the others, but I know some players need more. Nani needs more, I think.'

Special treatment: Does Nani need to be handed differently

Special treatment: Does Nani need to be handed differently

Part two: Braga gave United a fine match in their first encounter

Part two: Braga gave United a fine match in their first encounter

James Milner will see toe specialist for injury

Toe trouble for Milner leaves Mancini waiting on specialist report

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UPDATED:

11:44 GMT, 24 September 2012

Manchester City midfielder James Milner will see a specialist on Monday after missing the 1-1 draw against Arsenal with a toe problem.

The England international has been on the fringes of things for City this season, making only one Barclays Premier League start and another late appearance as a substitute but he remains a valuable member of boss Roberto Mancini's squad.

Injury: James Milner (right) has a toe problem

Injury: James Milner (right) has a toe problem

The Italian admits he does not know how long Milner might be out for, saying: 'Milner has a problem in his toe. He has pain. He will see a specialist on Monday and after that we'll decide what to do.'

Defender Maicon also missed Sunday's clash after taking a kick in the Champions League defeat by Real Madrid and will also be unavailable for Tuesday's Capital One Cup tie against Aston Villa.

Dan Gosling wanted by Aston Villa

Lambert keen on 2million rated Gosling to boost Villa midfield

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UPDATED:

05:57 GMT, 24 September 2012

Paul Lambert is keen to boost his Aston Villa midfield with a January move for out-of-favour Newcastle star Dan Gosling.

Lambert is a fan of the midfielder who has fought back from injury but is now stuck on the fringes of Alan Pardew’s side and the Villa boss hopes to take him to the midlands for 2million.

In need of games: Dan Gosling could swap Newcastle for Aston Villa in a bid to get more first team opportunities

In need of games: Dan Gosling could swap Newcastle for Aston Villa in a bid to get more first team opportunities

Gosling joined the Toon on a
controversial free transfer from Everton – but his career was held back
by a knee problem that put him out for a year.

Now Gosling is fit but cannot force his way into Pardew’s plans.

Lambert likes to pick up bargains and thinks Gosling would be ideal for his midfield where he also tried and failed for Charlton ace Dale Stephens in the summer market.

Gosling needs games and he could be prepared to move, despite being cool on a summer switch to Blackburn.

Cesc Fabregas happy to fight for Barcelona place

I'm going nowhere! Fabregas up for Barca fight as he eyes Champions League revenge

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UPDATED:

06:15 GMT, 17 September 2012

Cesc Fabregas has backed himself to win his fight for a place in the Barcelona starting line-up, quashing speculation he could leave his boyhood club.

The former Arsenal captain moved back to the Nou Camp in 2011 for 35million, and despite a flurry of goals early his career, his form has slipped and he is back on the fringes of the first team.

Fabregas recently allowed his frustrations to show in an interview with Catalan radio, leading to talk that he could return to the club where he spent eight years of career.

Not so mellow yellow: Cesc Fabregas is ready to fight for his place at Barcelona

Not so mellow yellow: Cesc Fabregas is ready to fight for his place at Barcelona

However, the 25-year-old was aware the switch back 'home' would represent a major challenge and he insists he is ready for the fight.

He said: 'I said when I signed here that it was going to be the most exciting and difficult challenge of my life. I knew I was coming to compete for a place against the best players in the world. But I like big challenges.

'If I didn’t I would have stayed at Arsenal where I was the captain, where I played every game and where I was treated so well.

'I have a big heart, a strong character and I have the courage to carry on competing for my place.'

Fabregas moved to the then Spanish champions confident of winning silverware, something which alluded him for much of his time in north London.

Disappointments: Fabregas was the main man but won little at Arsenal

Disappointments: Fabregas was the main man but won little at Arsenal

However, Barca were beaten to the La Liga
title by Real Madrid and missed out on a place in the Champions League
final to Chelsea in what proved to be the final straw for Pep Guardiola.

The former manager was Fabregas' idol
growing up at the famed La Masia academy, but now he works under Tito
Volanova and has every hope that his team can avenge their shock
semi-final exit to the 10 men of Chelsea this time around.

Speaking to The Sun, he added: 'To play in the Champions League final at Wembley would be a dream. I would love to be there, that would be something very special.

Frustrations: Fabregas was part of the Barca side knocked out Europe by Chelsea

Frustrations: Fabregas was part of the Barca side knocked out Europe by Chelsea

'Special for me because I love London so much and had eight happy years there. But special for Barcelona too because we have very happy memories there.

'Wembley is a big part of our history. It was at Wembley in 1992 that Ronald Koeman’s free-kick won Barcelona the European Cup for the first time.

'And last year Barca beat Manchester United at Wembley to become the champions of Europe again. People said it was the perfect performance, they praised the “beautiful football”.

'In an ideal world it would be great to play Chelsea in the final and get revenge for last season. That would be unbelievable.'

Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana: Just surviving will be a real bonus for us

Just surviving will be a real bonus for us, says Southampton midfielder Lallana

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UPDATED:

21:46 GMT, 18 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Adam Lallana is 24, has already spent
half of his life at Southampton and, after the lows of recent years,
does not need reminding the magnitude of the Saints' return to the
Premier League.

They open their campaign on Sunday afternoon with the most daunting of fixtures, away to champions Manchester City.

'They've got a great home record,
they'll have 50,000 fans and they've got two or three brilliant players
in every position,' Lallana says. 'The way they won the title was
amazing. It's their first match defending it. It doesn't get any better
for them – and we must be doing something right to be there playing
them.'

Long haul: Southampton's Adam Lallana (right)

Long haul: Southampton's Adam Lallana (right)

Lallana is the highest-profile home-grown Southampton player still at a club forced to sell a string of other stars, including fellow academy products Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, to help keep the club afloat through a financial meltdown.

He was in the junior ranks when Southampton reached an FA Cup final in 2003, a season when they finished eighth in the top flight, their highest finish of the past 20 years.

He was on the fringes of the first team when Saints' 27-year stay in the elite division ended with relegation in 2005 and was a devastated first-team regular by the time they subsequently tumbled from the Championship into League One in May 2009.

'That's got to be the low point, relegation from the Championship and a 10-point penalty to start in League One,' Lallana recalls. 'That summer we didn't even know if the club would exist to begin the next season. There was a month when we didn't get paid. We were all wondering about our futures.'

Target: Bologna's Gaston Ramirez

Target: Bologna's Gaston Ramirez

What happened next is South Coast lore. A Swiss billionaire, Markus Liebherr, saved the club with a last-gasp 15m takeover and appointed Alan Pardew as manager.

Eight months later, Saints won the Football Trophy, 4-1 against Carlisle at a packed Wembley. Lallana was on the scoresheet as his club picked up their first silverware since the FA Cup in 1976.

'Aside from the last game of last season, when we beat Coventry to guarantee getting to the Premier League, that was probably the biggest game of my career so far,' says Lallana.

Saints failed to escape League One at the first attempt and Pardew paid with his job. He was replaced by Nigel Adkins, who led them to the backto- back promotions that have brought them to Sunday – and a whole new world.

On Friday, Lallana saw a TV report saying a deal had been agreed to sign Bologna's Gaston Ramirez for 11.8m.

'This is someone who's been linked to Spurs and Liverpool and to see that he might he coming here instead, it shows we're serious.

Lallana and his team-mates are not looking too far ahead, however. 'We haven't spoken about anything specific beyond City,' he says.

Manchester United and Arsenal are also among their first four opponents.

'Survival is our first and main objective,' he adds. 'Anything beyond that in the first season is a bonus.'

Jonjo Shelvey signs new Liverpool contract

Shelvey signs new long-term Liverpool deal as youngster looks to impress Rodgers

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UPDATED:

13:00 GMT, 10 July 2012

New deal: Youngster Shelvey has signed on at Liverpool

New deal: Youngster Shelvey has signed on at Liverpool

Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has signed a new contract with the club.

The 20-year-old has found himself on the fringes of the first team at Anfield, making 37 appearances in all competitions since joining from Charlton in May 2010, but the club confirmed he has put pen to paper on a new long-term deal.

Shelvey played 10 games in the first half of last season while on loan at Blackpool before returning to the Reds and making 16 appearances.

More to follow…

Steve Harmison joins Yorkshire on a month"s loan from Durham

Frustrated Harmison joins Yorkshire on a month's loan from Durham

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UPDATED:

20:39 GMT, 7 July 2012

Former England paceman Steve Harmison has joined Yorkshire on a month-long loan from Durham.

On the move: Harmison

On the move: Harmison

Harmison, 33, has been on the fringes of the first team at the Riverside this season while Yorkshire are short of seam options with Ryan Sidebottom injured and Mitchell Starc due to link up with Australia A.

Homegrown quick Ajmal Shahzad has fallen out with the club and is playing for Roses rivals Lancashire.

Harmison, a veteran of 63 Tests and 58 one-day internationals, said: ‘It’s been a frustrating first half of the season and I don’t want to be playing second-team cricket.
‘I’m pleased I can be helpful to Yorkshire when they are struggling with their senior bowlers, and I’m looking forward to our first game on Wednesday.’

Yorkshire head coach Martyn Moxon said: ‘We’re pleased Durham and Stephen have agreed to the loan, providing us with cover for Ryan Sidebottom’s calf injury and the unavailability of Mitchell Starc. He still has a great presence on the field.’

Durham chief executive David Harker added: ‘We are fortunate to have an especially strong bowling attack who have been performing well. It’s been a frustrating summer for everyone because of the weather.’