Tag Archives: genuine

New England Nike kit: "Leaked" image of rumoured away shirt

Is this the new England kit 'Leaked' image claims to be latest Three Lions' away strip…

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

13:59 GMT, 20 March 2013

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UPDATED:

14:17 GMT, 20 March 2013

The new England kit will be launched next month but have fans already been treated to a first look at the away strip

A leaked image was posted on various internet sites, claiming that this red jersey will be worn by Roy Hodgson's men.

Sports manufacturing giants Nike are now in control of the Football Association kit sponsorship – including branding of the National Football Centre at St George’s Park – after replacing long-standing partners Umbro.

Is this the new England away kit This 'leaked' image claims to be the latest offering from sports giants Nike

Is this the new England away kit This 'leaked' image claims to be the latest offering from sports giants Nike

It is understood that Nike will officially unveil the new Three Lions' shirts on St George's Day, April 23.

The likes of Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Ashley Cole can look forward to wearing the new white home kit on May 29 at Wembley against the Republic of Ireland, with the away number to be debuted in Rio this summer.

England play Brazil in June as part of the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations, which plays a prominent part in the rumoured away design with a gold FA badge crest embroidered on the chest.

The minimalistic all-red jersey – pictured above – apparently has a polo collar with buttons to complete a smart look, that appears to be inspired by England's historic 1966 World Cup success.

All smiles: Wayne Roney

Training day: England's Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson

Kit special: Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson – all Nike athletes – can look forward to the new strip

Nike, however, refused to confirm whether the 'leaked' image is the genuine article but admitted all will be revealed soon.

'Nike creates different design options and samples at different stages in the kit design process,' a spokesperson told Sportsmail.

'We will unveil the actual designs later this year and until then we cannot comment on images of England kit designs that are circulating on the web.'

England will play in the white Umbro home kit for the last time in the forthcoming World Cup 2014 qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro before switching to the Swoosh.

Farewell: England players will wear Umbro for their next two World Cup qualifying games for the last time

Farewell: England players will wear Umbro for their next two World Cup qualifying games for the last time

Players need to “stand up” says Lampard ahead of San Marino

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Michu bargain of the century? Football"s best ever buys

Is Michu the bargain of the century Sportsmail gives its verdict on the players to rival him for the title

PUBLISHED:

14:57 GMT, 10 January 2013

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UPDATED:

16:51 GMT, 10 January 2013

His manager Michael Laudrup called him the ‘bargain of the season’ but Gary Lineker has hailed Swansea star Michu as the ‘bargain of the century’.

The Spaniard has been the surprise star of the Premier League since his 2.2million move from Rayo Vallecano.

Bargain buy: Michu has had a big impact for Swansea this season following his 2.2m summer move

Bargain buy: Michu has had a big impact for Swansea this season following his 2.2m summer move

MICHU'S GOAL CELEBRATION

Michu’s goal celebration, in which he ‘turns up the volume’ next to his ear, has been the talk of Swansea since he moved to Wales in the summer. He first did the action to Granada fans to let them know he couldn’t hear them after he scored for Celta Vigo. Cheeky.

He scored 15 goals for the Spanish strugglers from midfield last season, helping them survive on the last day of the season.

This season he has already scored 13 for Swansea in the Premier League — does it make him the bargain of the century

We asked our team of writers to pick their best bargain of this century. Who is your pick Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Finding the net: Michu scored the opening goal in Swansea's Capital One Cup victory over Chelsea

Finding the net: Michu scored the opening goal in Swansea's Capital One Cup victory over Chelsea

MATT BARLOW
Robin van Persie (Feyenoord to Arsenal, 2.75m, 2004)

Arsenal got him for 2.75million. Once he got over his injuries and attitude problems he proved to be genuine world-class talent. Sold for nearly 10 times as much and still getting better.

Doing the business: Robin van Persie signed for Arsenal from Feyenoord

Doing the business: Robin van Persie signed for Arsenal from Feyenoord

ALEX KAY
Lionel Messi (Newell's Old Boys to Barcelona, Free, 2000)

The best player in the world… for almost nothing. So impressed were Barcelona with a young Lionel Messi they offered him a contract on a paper napkin and offered to pay for the boy’s medical bills if he moved from Argentina. The 11-year-old had been diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. Luckily for Barca, he turned out all right.

Simply the best: Lionel Messi joined Barcelona for free as a teenager

Simply the best: Lionel Messi joined Barcelona for free as a teenager

SAMI MOKBEL
Edwin van der Sar (Fulham to Manchester United, 2m, 2005)

Sir Alex Ferguson fired plenty of blanks in his attempts to replace Peter Schmeichel. Massimo Taibi and Mark Bosnich, for instance, just could not cut the mustard. Enter Van der Sar. A colossus for United in his six years at Old Trafford.

Safe hands: Edwin van der Sar joined Manchester United late in his career but had a big impact at Old Trafford

Safe hands: Edwin van der Sar joined Manchester United late in his career but had a big impact at Old Trafford

JOHN EDWARDS
Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United, 12.2m, 2003)

It’s probably fair to describe Sir Alex Ferguson’s transfer dealings that summer as varied, until he struck gold with Ronaldo. Up to then, he had recruited David Bellion, Eric Djemba-Djemba, Tim Howard and Kleberson. Howard apart, it was hardly an array of new talent destined to take the Barclays Premier League by storm. Ronaldo, on the other hand, drew comparisons with some of the all-time greats to don a United shirt and had completed a clean sweep of club and individual honours by the time he joined Real Madrid for 80million on July 1, 2009. If we are analysing value, a profit of 68m surely takes some beating.

Making his mark: Cristiano Ronaldo would become the best player in the Premier League

Making his mark: Cristiano Ronaldo would become the best player in the Premier League

SAM CUNNINGHAM
Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United, 12.2m, 2003)

Six seasons at the club returned three consecutive league titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups, one Community Shield, a Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup. So that cost them roughly 2m per season, or 1.4m per trophy. Then they made 68m profit on him. Bargain.

LAURIE WHITWELL
Javier Hernandez (Guadalajara to Manchester United, 7m, 2010)

A relative unknown when Sir Alex Ferguson signed him before the 2010 World Cup. A handful of sparkling displays in South Africa later and 7m already looked a snip. Hernandez stormed the Premier League in his debut season, scoring 20 goals in all competitions as United won the title and made the Champions League final. His place came under threat last term but he has come again, netting 12 times this season despite the arrival of Robin van Persie meaning limited game time. A firebox character and a joy to watch. United can depend on him from the start or from the bench.

Super sub: Javier Hernandez hit the ground running following his move to Manchester United

Super sub: Javier Hernandez hit the ground running following his move to Manchester United

JAMES ANDREW
Louis Saha (Metz to Fulham, 2.1m, 2000)

When Jean Tigana arrived at Fulham in 2000 one of the first things he did was sell Geoff Horsfield to Birmingham for 2.25m and then bought Saha for 2.1m. It proved to be a masterstroke as the Frenchman went on to score 27 goals in Division One (now the Championship) and fire Fulham into the Premier League. While his years in the top flight were blighted by injury he rediscovered his goalscoring touch again in 2003-04 when he netted 15 goals in 22 games before a 12.4m move to Manchester United. A 10m profit and Premier League football is not a bad deal.

Saha so good: Louis Saha helped gain Fulham promotion to the Premier League in 2001

Saha so good: Louis Saha helped gain Fulham promotion to the Premier League in 2001

MIKE ANSTEAD

Vincent Kompany (Hamburg to Man City, 6m, 2008)

In among all Manchester City's eye-watering signings, there is Vincent Kompany. An exceptional defender, a leader on and off the pitch and an all-round good guy. Oh, and he became the first City captain to lift the league trophy in 44 years. Not bad for 6million…

Flying start: Vincent Kompany takes on the FC Copenhagen defence in a 2009 UEFA Cup tie

Flying start: Vincent Kompany takes on the FC Copenhagen defence in a 2009 UEFA Cup tie

MARK ALFORD
Gareth Bale (Southampton to Tottenham, 7m, 2007)

Shrewd business by Tottenham – no not selling Berbatov to United for 30milllion – but buying Gareth Bale for an initial 5m fee from Southampton in 2007. That figure was set to rise to 10m depending on honours and appearances but Spurs struck another shrewd deal with the Saints, agreeing an early settlement so the total bill was 7m. The Welsh wizard is coveted by the world’s finest football clubs now and it’ll take 50m to prise him away from White Hart Lane. Kerrching.

Spur of the moment: A youthful Gareth Bale scoring for Tottenham against Middlesbrough

Spur of the moment: A youthful Gareth Bale scoring for Tottenham against Middlesbrough

PHIL GRADWELL
Jay Jay Okocha (PSG to Bolton, free, 2002)

So good they named him twice – and he didn’t cost a penny. Okocha’s brilliance kept Bolton in the Premier League in 2003 and he scored a stupendous free-kick to help them to the Carling Cup final in 2004. Was made club captain by Sam Allardyce and dazzled the Reebok with his tricks, the best of which was an outrageous flick over Ray Parlour’s head.

Scorcher: Darren Anderton looks on in awe as Jay Jay Okocha unleashes a shot

Scorcher: Darren Anderton looks on in awe as Jay Jay Okocha unleashes a shot

CHRIS CUTMORE
Joe Hart (Shrewsbury to Man City, 100,000*, 2006)

Every great team needs a huge presence between the sticks – think Banks, Schmeichel or Casillas – and it cannot be questioned that Hart was a major force behind City’s Premier League title triumph last season. Roberto Mancini’s men saw off local rivals United on goal difference alone and Hart marshalled by far the stingiest defence in the league. His mistakes this season have shocked all the more because of his consistent brilliance previously. But don’t expect the dip in form to last long, or Hart’s Premier League medal to be his last.

*according to City deputy chairman John Wardle

Young at Hart: Joe joined Man City from Shrewsbury for the bargain price of 100,000 in 2006

Young at Hart: Joe joined Man City from Shrewsbury for a bargain 100,000 in 2006

LUKE BENEDICT
Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid to Liverpool, 21m, 2007)

To get 65 goals out of a player and then make a near 30million profit is pretty good business. In fact, it surely ranks as the bargain of the century. Aged 23, El Nino took a pay cut to move to Liverpool for 21m from Atletico Madrid. He scored more than 60 goals in a 102 games. Then Chelsea infamously paid 50m for him and he’s scored only 26 in his first 100 games at Stamford Bridge. That’s an awful lot of profit for a striker who can hardly score.

Hit the ground running: Fernando Torres scores one of his first goals in Liverpool colours

Hit the ground running: Fernando Torres scores one of his first goals in Liverpool colours

England lose to India A by 53 runs

Giles' reign off to losing start as England slump to 53-run defeat in frosty conditions in first ODI warm-up against India A

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

11:52 GMT, 6 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:23 GMT, 6 January 2013

Aside from the numbing cold, Ashley Giles will not remember much about his first match in charge of England’s one-day team, and nor will he wish to do so.

The new jobshare era alongside Andy Flower began in temperatures of a mere four degrees at a windswept Indian Air Force ground, and ended in a 54-run defeat with the tourists dismissed for 175 in 36 overs.

India A made 224 for four from a reduced 39 overs, and the victory target was adjusted to 229 under the Duckworth/Lewis system.

Class act: Ian bell made England's scoreline respectable

Class act: Ian bell made England's scoreline respectable

But England were never in the chase, with Ian Bell’s increasingly belligerent 91 bringing respectability rather than a genuine threat of victory. It served as a timely reminder of why the team Giles has stepped up to coach from Warwickshire have won only once in their last 17 matches in the 50-over format at international level when visiting this country.

Bell correctly pointed out afterwards that it was unlikely to have a huge effect on their chances in the first match of the series on Friday in Rajkot, but they will hope to do better tomorrow in the final warm-up against Delhi.

There was not even the compensation of knowing India are still in freefall, as they clinched a 10-run victory over Pakistan, albeit in the dead rubber of a series in which they already trailed 2-0.

That match, and India’s decision to drop Virender Sehwag for the series against England, were the main talking points in the Indian capital as Giles’s men slipped under one of the many radars around this military venue.

The only way... Kevin Pietersen (right) and Mushtaq Ahmed (left) warm their hands over an open flame

The only way… Kevin Pietersen (right) and Mushtaq Ahmed (left) warm their hands over an open flame

It will have been a learning experience, especially as this was England’s first match under the latest 50-over regulations, which include two bouncers allowed per over and only four fielders outside the 30-metre circle in non-powerplay overs. England overdid the head-high bombardment, while the pick of the bowlers was Jade Dernbach, against determined batting from Indian players keen to impress national selectors.

NEIL ADCOCK (1931-2013)

Former South Africa fast bowler Neil
Adcock has died aged 81 after a long battle with cancer. He played 26
Tests between 1953 and 1962 and was a Wisden cricketer of the year in
1961.

Eoin Morgan had inserted after winning the toss, taking the role of captain in place of Alastair Cook, whose absence through a heavy cold depleted a side already missing Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott and Jimmy Anderson.

A successful run chase probably required something from Kevin Pietersen, in his first one-day international since dual hundreds against Pakistan last winter.

He started brightly enough before chipping Shree Sreesanth to mid-on after making 19. Then, what had been 42 for one swiftly became 72 for six with the kind of collapse Giles will be keen to iron out. Bell had anchored the innings, but then began to play with his trademark fluency, getting support from Tim Bresnan and Steve Finn as he mustered some respectability.

‘It’s disappointing and we aimed to win but we were outplayed,’ said Bell.

‘With more wickets in hand we might have been able to knock it off. It would have been nice to get the full 50 (overs) in. We wanted to get going this morning so that was a bit frustrating.’

We are unable to carry live pictures from the ODI Series in India due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Sir Alex Ferguson"s Harvard management techniques analysed

Analysing Fergie's master class: Sportsmail takes a closer look at Sir Alex's blueprint for success

|

UPDATED:

00:10 GMT, 20 December 2012

An in-depth study of Sir Alex Ferguson and his management techniques has revealed the Manchester United manager at his most candid.

Put together with Ferguson’s help by Harvard Business School in America, the study is entitled ‘Sir Alex Ferguson: Managing Manchester United’ and provides a genuine insight into how the 70-year-old has been so successful for so long.

Here, Sportsmail’s Ian Ladyman picks out his highlights and provides his own analysis of Ferguson’s methods…

University challenge: Sir Alex Ferguson opened up earlier this year for an essay at Harvard

University challenge: Sir Alex Ferguson opened up earlier this year for an essay at Harvard

Study: The front page of the Harvard Business School thesis

ON PLAYER POWER

Sir Alex Ferguson: Some English clubs have changed managers so many times that it creates power for the players in the dressing room. That is very dangerous. Football management in the end is all about the players. You think you are a better player than they are, and they think they are a better manager than you are.

Ian Ladyman: At one English club in the North West the captain tries to tell the manager what he is doing wrong. That wouldn’t happen at Old Trafford. Ferguson welcomes input from his players, but only when he asks for it.

ON HOW ANDREA BOCELLI INSPIRED A TEAM TALK

SAF: I once heard a coach start with: ‘This must be the thousandth team talk I’ve had with you,’ and saw a player respond with: ‘Yeah and I’ve slept through half of them.’ So I tell different stories and use my imagination. I remember going to see Andrea Bocelli, the opera singer. I had never been to a classical concert in my life. But I am watching this and thinking about the co-ordination and the teamwork — one starts and one stops, just fantastic. So I spoke to my players about the orchestra — how they are a perfect team. You can get help from some of the players. Bryan Robson, for example, was brilliant.

IL: To Ferguson, the team ethic is everything. He encourages and seeks out individual brilliance, but won’t tolerate anything or anyone who begins to feel they are bigger or better than anybody else. Several players have discovered this to their cost over the years.

Tenor for a team talk: United boss Ferguson revealed Andrea Bocelli has inspired him

Tenor for a team talk: United boss Ferguson revealed Andrea Bocelli has inspired him

ON MOTIVATING PLAYERS

SAF: There is no room for criticism on
the training field. For a player — and for any human being — there is
nothing better than hearing ‘well done’. Those are the two best words
ever invented in sports. Also, you can’t always come in (after a game)
shouting and screaming. That doesn’t work. No one likes to get
criticised. But in the dressing room, it’s necessary that you point out
your players’ mistakes. I do it right after the game. I don’t wait until
Monday, I do it, and it’s finished. I’m on to the next match. There is
no point in criticising a player forever. And I never discuss an
individual player in public. The players know that. It stays indoors.

IL: To hear Ferguson criticise a
player in public is rare. He did it with Rio Ferdinand after the
defender refused to wear a ‘Kick It Out’ T-shirt this season and
regretted it immediately. The issue was sorted in private at the
training ground the next day. Compare that with Roberto Mancini at
Manchester City, for example, who constantly seems to criticise Mario
Balotelli. Two different methods. Who is to say which one is best

ON MANAGING MILLIONAIRES

SAF: We fine them, but we keep it
indoors. You can’t ever lose control — not when you are dealing with 30
top professionals who are all millionaires. And if anyone steps out of
my control, that’s them dead.

IL: The speed at which United hustled
Roy Keane out of the door in 2005 shows how quickly Ferguson moves when
he feels one player has started to have a negative effect on the rest.
As for fines and internal discipline, you can be sure it happens at
United. It’s just that they never tell anyone.

Shifted: Roy Keane was shown out of the door at Old Trafford in 2005

Shifted: Roy Keane was shown out of the door at Old Trafford in 2005

ON UNITED’S YOUTH POLICY AND LETTING OLD PLAYERS GO

SAF: The first thought for 99 per cent
of new managers is to make sure they win — to survive. They bring
experienced players in, often from their previous clubs. But I think it
is important to build a structure for a football club, not just a
football team. You need a foundation. And there is nothing better than
seeing a young player make it to the first team. The idea is that the
younger players are developing and meeting the standards that the
older ones have set before. The hardest thing is to let go of a player
who has been a great guy. But all the evidence is on the football field.
If you see the change, the deterioration, you have to start asking
yourself what it is going to be like two years ahead.

IL: Players like Phil Neville and
Nicky Butt — founder members of the modern United — were both struck
dumb when Ferguson told them their time was up at Old Trafford. Did
their manager and mentor make the right decision, though Absolutely.

Is he talking about you, Scholesy

Sir Alex Ferguson says he would never try to coach the aggression out of his players, but, without naming him, he did pick out one who liked a tackle or two.

Paul Scholes has been hailed as the best English player of his generation, but the midfielder is not known for his tackling prowess.

Though he falls short of Patrick Vieira’s Premier League record of eight red cards, Scholes has four reds to his name and two in the Champions League. He is also third on the all-time Premier League yellow cards list, just five shy of a century.

PREMIER LEAGUE YELLOWS

Kevin Davies 99
Lee Bowyer 99
Paul Scholes 95

ON AGGRESSIVE PLAYERS

SAF: One of my players has been sent
off several times. He will do something if he gets the chance — even in
training. Can I take it out of him No. Would I want to take it out of
him No. If you take the aggression out of him, he is not himself. So
you have to accept that there is a certain flaw that is counter-balanced
by all the great things he can do.

IL: So who is Ferguson talking about
Almost certainly it is Paul Scholes. So much for the theory that all the
United midfielder’s tackles are merely ‘mistimed’

ON TALENT AND HARD WORK

SAF: I tell players that hard work is a
talent, too. They need to work harder than anyone else. And if they can
no longer bring the discipline that we ask for here at United, they are
out. I am only interested in players who really want to play for
United, and who, like me, are bad losers.

IL: Ferguson’s work ethic is
legendary. He is at United’s training ground at 7am every day. It’s his
club and he sets the mood and the standards. As for him being a bad
loser, well, there are referees across the land who will testify to
this.

Experience: Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes has not been tamed by Sir Alex

Experience: Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes has not been tamed by Sir Alex

ON JOSE MOURINHO

SAF: He is very intelligent, he has
charisma, his players play for him, and he is a good-looking guy. I
think I have most of those things, too, apart from his good looks. He’s
got a confidence about himself, saying ‘We’ll win this’ and ‘I’m the
Special One’. I could never come out and say we’re going to win this
game. It’s maybe a wee bit of my Scottishness

IL: It’s nothing to do with being
Scottish, Ferguson is merely too cute to brag before he has achieved
anything. Ferguson has always liked Mourinho, ever since the two men
first clashed in 2004. He particularly admires and empathises with the
Portuguese’s ability to inspire and motivate players.

ON NAMING HIS TEAM

SAF: We never reveal the team to the
players until the day of the game. We think of the media and the
players’ agents. And my job is to give us the best chance possible of
winning the match, so why should we alert our opponents to what our team
is For a three o’clock game, we tell them at one o’clock.

IL: Ferguson is an obsessive man and
his obsession about his team line-ups leaking out has long been high on
the list. He got rid of one very high-profile player, for example,
because he suspected he had leaked the team to the opposition before a
big Champions League game.

Sparring partners: Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have had their fair share of battles over the years

Sparring partners: Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have had their fair share of battles over the years

ON DROPPING PLAYERS

SAF: I do it privately. It’s not easy,
but I do them all myself. It is important. I have been dropped from a
Cup final in Scotland as a player at 10 past two, so I know what it
feels like. I’m not ever sure what they are thinking, but I tend to say:
‘Look, I might be making a mistake here,’ — I always say that — ‘but I
think this is the best team for today.’ I try to give them a bit of
confidence, telling them that it is only tactical, and that there are
bigger games coming up.

IL: Some managers tell players they
are playing or not playing by text message. Sometimes the old-fashioned
ways really are the best.

ON GETTING READY FOR THE HALF-TIME TEAM TALK

SAF: There are maybe eight minutes
between you coming up through the tunnel and the referees calling you up
on the pitch again, so it is vital to use the time well. Everything is
easier when you are winning: you talk about concentrating, not getting
complacent, and small things you can address. But when you are losing,
you know that you are going to have to make an impact.

The last few
minutes of the first half I’m always thinking of what I’m going to say.
I’m a little bit in a trance. I am concentrating. I see other coaches
take notes, but I don’t want to miss any of the game. And I can’t
imagine going into the dressing room, looking at my notes, and saying:
‘Oh in the 30th minute, that pass you took…'. I don’t think it’s going
to impress the players.

IL: Managers and their bits of paper
can look ridiculous. What do they write on them ‘In the second half we
must try to score’ Each to their own, of course, and it’s certainly the
case that Ferguson’s coaches write things down. Sometimes, though, your
eyes are your best tool.

Getting ready for the break: Ferguson prefers not to take notes while watching

Getting ready for the break: Ferguson prefers not to take notes while watching

ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH DAVID GILL AND THE GLAZERS

SAF: My best relationship in this club
is with David. Sometimes we disagree, but we respect each other and we
know that arguments are just arguments. He’s very fair. The Glazers
decide (on transfers). They have generally been very supportive. The
Glazers are very low-key. If I owned United and they won the league, I
would be over the moon. I remember when I played with Rangers, when the
directors were under the shower with their clothes on, dancing about.
But the Glazers shook a few hands and had some photographs taken, that
was it.

IL: United fans feel uncomfortable
when they hear Ferguson talk so fondly of the Glazers and that’s
understandable. They don’t choose players, by the way, they merely
sanction, or otherwise, the spending. Ferguson’s relationship with Gill,
meanwhile, is the concrete on which the club is built. I have had
run-ins with both men but were it not for Ferguson and Gill’s combined
effectiveness, United would have sunk during the years of Glazer
ownership.

ON THE SHAPE OF THE SEASON

SAF: We don’t start the pre-season
training at one hundred miles an hour. We do a gradual build-up. And
we’re not normally the strongest in the early part of the season, but
October is usually a month where we get ourselves going again.

I always tell the players, every
season, that if we are within three points from the top come New Year’s
Day, we’ve got a great chance at the title.

IL: This is interesting because United
have tweaked pre-season routines in recent years to try and keep pace
with Chelsea and Manchester City, who tend to come out of the blocks at
lightning speed in August. Ferguson realised United were getting caught
cold and has tried to address it. Mind you, they lost their opening
game this season…

Mr Motivator: Sir Alex has his own ways of getting the best out of his players at Old Trafford

Mr Motivator: Sir Alex has his own ways of getting the best out of his players at Old Trafford

ON MOVING WITH THE TIMES

SAF: Some managers are ‘pleasing
managers’. They let the players play 8-a-sides — games they enjoy. But
here, we look at the training sessions as opportunities to learn and
improve. Sometimes the players may think: ‘Here we go again,’ but it
helps to win. The message is simple: we cannot sit still at this club.

IL: Ferguson admires managers like Sam
Allardyce, younger men who innovate to improve. He is happy to take
ideas from them. The club are currently building a ‘sleep room’ and have
installed tanning booths at the training ground so players can top up
their Vitamin D levels.

ON PRACTISING FOR FERGIE TIME

SAF: We practise for when the going gets tough, so we know what it takes to be successful in those situations.

IL: I have no idea how you can
replicate the pressure of added time but it clearly works. Look at what
happened in the Manchester derby recently.

ON TELLING THE REFEREE ABOUT FERGIE TIME

SAF: All I do is point at my watch to help the referee make the right decisions.

IL: Ferguson has always intimidated referees, sometimes on purpose and other times not. Has it worked Occasionally.

Watch it: Fergie time is usually a good time to grab a goal

Watch it: Fergie time is usually a good time to grab a goal

ON HOW HAVING BEEN A PLAYER HELPS HIM AS A MANAGER

SAF: Do you think Rooney cares He’ll
laugh at me and say: ‘Boss, it was so long ago, and in Scotland. Are
they still part-timers up there’

IL: Ferguson’s success debunks the old
myth that you need to be a successful player to earn respect as a
coach. It’s brains and not medals that get the job done.

ON MELLOWING OVER THE YEARS

SAF: Players live more sheltered
lives. They are more fragile than 25 years ago. I used to be very
aggressive. I am still very passionate and want to win but I have
mellowed. Age does that to you.

IL: Try telling this to Nani, David de
Gea and Alex Buttner, all of whom have been monstered by Ferguson in
the United dressing room this season.

The Fergie files

Revealed: The Fergie blueprint – Man United boss reveals secrets of his success to Harvard academics

I want to pass on my expertise to the next generation of bosses, explains Fergie on decision to reveal all to Harvard professors

Ferguson installed tanning booths so United players could top up their Vitamin D levels

ON LOSING THE TITLE TO CITY

SAF: Another day in the history of
Manchester United, that’s all it was. It created the drama that only
United can produce. I’ve still got a wee bit of anger in me, thinking of
how we threw the league away last season. My motivation to the players
will be that we can’t let City beat us twice in a row.

IL: This is slightly disingenuous. The
drama last May was largely created by United’s neighbours across town.
You can be sure of the anger he still feels, though. Very sure.

Agony: Ferguson was on the pitch at Sunderland on the final day of the season when Man City pipped United

Agony: Ferguson was on the pitch at Sunderland on the final day of the season when Man City pipped United

ON WINNING THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AGAIN

SAF: We are in a country where
tribalism is rife so that puts tremendous pressure on you to win your
league. But the European Cup is the biggest trophy. I made a mistake
last season in Europe. I played too many young players and we went out.
It was a shock.

IL: Ferguson is obsessed with winning
the Champions League again. Defeats by Barcelona in 2009 and 2011 hurt
him more than he ever really lets on. He still refuses to talk about
2009.

ON A GLASS OF WINE WITH THE OPPOSITION MANAGER

SAF: You have to get the game out of
your system quickly or it becomes an obsession. Win, lose or draw. We
show our face and keep our dignity. We are Manchester United.

IL: Some of Ferguson’s post-match TV
comments can lack the dignity he talks about, but he isn’t alone there.
He does always offer visiting managers a drink, though. One of the
reasons Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger is shown so little warmth by Premier
League bosses is that he has never embraced this tradition.

Unpopular: Arsene Wenger never sticks around for a drink with other bosses

Unpopular: Arsene Wenger never sticks around for a drink with other bosses

A few other choice cuts…

ON TACTICS

SAF: Tactics can change depending on whom we are playing I tend to concentrate on one or two players of my opponents—the ones that are the most influential. Who’s the guy who is taking all the free kicks Who’s the guy who’s on the ball all the time Who’s the one urging everyone on

The rest of the time I concentrate on our own team. On Friday we take our players through a video analysis of our opponents: their strengths, their weaknesses, their set-pieces, what their team is likely to be, and so on.

On Saturday, we might give them another, shorter version—just a recap of the previous day.

ON PEP GUARDIOLA

SAF: Guardiola is an impressive guy. He’s brought about change in Barcelona, urging the team to always work hard to get the ball back within seconds after losing it. They are gifted but work hard. It was a fantastic achievement. He elevated the status of his players.

Pep talk: United boss Ferguson was impressed by the way Guardiola transformed Barcelona

Pep talk: United boss Ferguson was impressed by the way Guardiola transformed Barcelona

ON THE HAIR-DRYER

SAF:
You can’t always come in shouting and screaming. That doesn’t work. No
one likes to get criticized. But in the football dressing room, it’s
necessary that you point out your players’ mistakes.

I
do it right after the game. I don’t wait until Monday, I do it, and
it’s finished. I’m on to the next match. There is no point in
criticizing a player forever.

ON HOW BEING A PLAYER HELPS HIM AS MANAGER

SAF:
Do you think Rooney cares He’ll laugh at me and say “Boss, it was so
long ago, and in Scotland. Are they still part-timers up there'”

Amir Khan"s former trainer Freddie Roach reveals wrist injury

Amir's chin is fine (…but his right hand is an issue): Former trainer Freddie Roach reveals Khan's wrist injury

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UPDATED:

19:56 GMT, 13 December 2012

The problem with Amir Khan is not his chin, it’s his right hand.

Freddie Roach, the world renowned trainer sacked by Khan after the knock-out which has put his career in jeopardy, has revealed the injury which has to be overcome on the climb back to the boxing summit.

As if regaining world titles is not tough enough, Roach spelled out the extra degree of difficulty confronting Khan as he goes into his rehabilitation fight against local hero Carlos Molina here tomorrow night.

With Khan no longer in attendance and Manny Pacquiao back in the Philippines licking his wounds after his shock KO by Juan Manuel Marquez, the fabled Wild Card gym in Hollywood was relatively quiet as Roach explained why Khan’s move up in weight divisions, to light-welter, is not the reason for his apparently reduced punching power of late.

Wounded: Roach believes Khan's right wrist injury could cause him problems

Wounded: Roach believes Khan's right wrist injury could cause him problems

Roach said: ‘Amir’s hitting as hard as ever in sparring because he knows that if something goes wrong its not as important in the gym as if it happens in a fight in the ring. The problem is that he’s a little wary throwing his right hand now.

‘He suffered some damage to the right wrist a while back and once any fighter gets hand trouble it’s with him for the rest of his life.

'That’s part of boxing and you have to live with it. He doesn’t want it to go again in a fight. It often stops him punching properly with the right as well.’

Amir Khan sparring

Amir Khan sparring

Must win: Khan knows he can't afford another loss after losing his last two contests to Garcia and Peterson

Roach talks about Khan with genuine concern, even though the young man from Bolton chose to move up the California coast to join rival trainer Virgil Hunter in the San Francisco bay area.

‘You get hired and you get fired in this game,’ says Roach. ‘It doesn’t bother me. Amir said he wanted me to make him my priority but as Manny Pacquiao’s trainer I couldn’t do that.

'What did surprise me was when he came out with that stuff about my Parkinson’s affecting me. If there was a problem with me as his trainer why ask me to put him before Manny

‘Was I disappointed Yeah. But I don’t care. I don’t wanna be angry with Amir. He’s a good boy. Works hard. I wish him well. We had three good years. He was never a problem.’

What Roach does not believe is Khan’s insistence that Hunter has already changed him into a more mature, better defensive, smarter boxer.

Khan was knocked off his world championship perch by Danny Garcia’s thunderbolt left hook earlier this year and Roach, who saw Pacquiao suffer an even more devastating shock from Marquez on Saturday, says: ‘Of course when Amir came back to the corner I told him to use his jab for a round or two and stay out of trouble. Then he could have gone back to beating up Garcia the way he was before he got caught by that strange punch to the neck.

‘But that’s not his instinct. He likes to exchange. He’s a fighter. When he gets hit and hurt his instinct is to hit back. No trainer in the world can change that. Amir will always fight that way and he can do it most of the time because I don’t believe he has an especially suspect chin.'

Khan was brutally punished by Danny Garcia in Las Vegas last time out

Khan was brutally punished by Danny Garcia in Las Vegas last time out

He added: ‘He made the same mistake as Manny, instead of continuing to dart in and out he stayed in the pocket too long when he sensed he was close to winning and got caught by a huge shot. That’s also boxing. But I will always be an offensive trainer because that’s the way to win fights.

‘I don’t know how good a trainer Virgil Hunter is. I know he’s got a great fighter in Andre Ward but however good he is Amir will box aggressive whenever he fights.’

Khan accepts he cannot afford a third successive defeat now but Roach says: ‘He should be okay, even though he should still be a little careful.’ He passes on that warning from his own unbeaten prospect Frankie Gomez, who fights on the undercard here.

Roach says: ‘Frankie fought Molina in the amateurs and tells me he punches harder than his record suggests. Still, Molina is small and Amir should win. You never know what psychological damage may have been done by a big knock-out until the fighter gets in the ring. But I don’t see Amir troubled. And I don’t see that in Manny either.’

Far from splitting from Roach, Pacquiao has invited his trainer to spend Christmas with him in the Philippines as they plot the return of the PacMan.

But if they do go ahead with a fifth Marquez fight Roach will insist on Olympic standard drugs testing. Eyebrows were raised at the muscular transformation of Marquez and his elevated punching power, not least because he recently hired as his physical conditioner one Angel Heredia, who confessed to supplying shamed American Olympic athletes Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery with steroids. Both he and Marquez deny any wrong-doing.

Fourth time lucky: Marquez finally got the better of Khan's former gym-mate Pacquiao

Fourth time lucky: Marquez finally got the better of Khan's former gym-mate Pacquiao

Juan Manuel Marquez celebrates after defeating Manny Pacquiao by a sixth round knockout in their welterweight bout

Roach reveals that he asked for random blood testing prior to Saturday’s shock, adding: ‘The Marquez people refused. I went to the (Nevada) commission but it is their practice not to do that unless both sides agree. If not, they just take a urine test on fight night. But that can be too late.

‘I’m not saying anything specific about Marquez but its not good for boxing if cheats win. There is too much stuff going on now about drugs. We had it with Lamont Peterson being on steroids before he was adjudged to have beaten Amir. It’s not right.’

Pacquiao’s chin is not his problem, either. Roach explains: ‘That punch from Marquez would have knocked out anyone. The issue with Manny will be that even if we don’t get agreement on drugs testing in our training camps, Manny will fight him again, anyway.’

Roach would still prefer that fourth re-match – and, yes, then the big one against Floyd Mayweather – to having Pacquiao start taking on ‘the young guns like Brandon Rios.’

Mayweather After that KO

‘Floyd has got the perfect excuse not to fight Manny now,’ says Roach. ‘But I say why not do the fight. Mayweather is talking about having two fights next year. The first looks like being against Tim Bradley (the beneficiary of a scandalous decision over Pacquiao). Then they are talking about Canelo Alvarez. But that’s too early in Canelo’s career. He needs to continue developing.

‘Canelo is already a bigger star than Floyd in many places so it makes financial sense, also, to let that build towards a mega-fight in 2014. So why not fight Manny after Bradley’

Roach remains convinced of this: ‘I still believe that there are only two men who can beat Mayweather. And they are Pacquiao and Khan.’

Wrap those wrists tight! Roach warns Khan to wrap his hands properly to prevent any further damage

Wrap those wrists tight! Roach warns Khan to wrap his hands properly to prevent any further damage

If Khan is to get that opportunity in the future, he must win in the historic Los Angeles Arena here and now.

To help ensure that victory, his immediate past trainer gives him one reminder, for free: ‘I hope he doesn’t forget to wrap his hands properly. I always wrapped them really stiff because he needs that to protect that right wrist.’

Jamie O"Hara will close Twitter account

O'Hara closes Twitter account as Wolves midfielder suffers backlash after bemoaning stress of 35k A WEEK salary

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UPDATED:

10:21 GMT, 6 December 2012

Wolves midfielder Jamie O'Hara will close his Twitter account after sparking a social media fury on Wednesday following claims about his hard life as a professional footballer.

The former Spurs player – who is thought to be paid about 35,000 a week – posted a tweet where he appeared to bemoan his life situation, longing for 'easier' days on 100 a week.

O'Hara, 26, who is married to former Miss England Danielle Lloyd, 28, wrote: ‘Things were so much easier when I earned 100pound a week on wts #stress’.

Hard time: Jamie O'Hara, right, enraged his Twitter followers when he posted a tweet about the hard life of a footballer

Hard time: Jamie O'Hara, right, enraged his Twitter followers when he tweeted about the hard life of a footballer

Tough life: Jamie and Danielle O'Hara married in a lavish ceremony in May and she often posts tweets and pictures of their glam life together

Tough life: Jamie and Danielle O'Hara married in a lavish ceremony in May and she often posts tweets and pictures of their glam life together

The tweet referred to his days on the Youth Training Scheme, and it did not take long before he was bombarded with furious responses.

‘Why do people think cos I earn good money I don't have bills to pay we all pay tax an we have mortgages to pay, some people are deluded,’O'Hara continued.

But after hundreds of tweets mocking him, the Wolves star revealed on Thursday that he will close his account.

'Had a good think last night and today is my last day on Twitter,' O'Hara wrote. 'I'll be starting a private Facebook account and anyone who is a genuine fan can send me a friend request.

'Too many trolls on here with nothing nice to say, sorry to people that actually like following me but I'll let you know what my Facebook account is.

'Thanks to my real fans on here. It's a shame that there's too many a******** would love to see some
of them face to face because I'm sure they wouldn't say it to my face, they'd probably ask for a picture sums up society these days.'

Twitter users had accused O'Hara of being out of touch with the lives of ordinary people on Wednesday.

Tough life: The tweet from earlier today which caused a storm as it appeared Mr O'Hara complained about his lifestyle

Easier then: The tweet from earlier today which caused a storm as it appeared Mr O'Hara complained about his lifestyle

Tough life: The tweet from earlier today which caused a storm as it appeared Mr O'Hara complained about his lifestyle

Defence: The torrent of hateful tweets saw Mr O'Hara post further messages defending his original one

Defence: The torrent of hateful tweets saw Mr O'Hara post further messages defending his original one

JOBS WHICH EARN 35K IN A YEAR
Civil engineersArchitects, Town Planners, Surveyors Secondary education teaching professionalsDesign and development engineers Recycling and refuse disposal managersSecurity managers Transport and distribution managers Chartered and certified accountants Quantity surveyors Management accountantsSocial services managers

Christian Wainwright tweeted: 'Feel
sorry for Jamie O'Hara, must be so stressful doing a few training
sessions and playing 2 games a week for 1000s a week. #getagrip.'

Meanwhile
Nick Daniels tweeted: ‘Must be so hard being Jamie O'Hara , great
career, beautiful wife, nice family, rich, Saturdays off and still he is
stressed! #prayforjamie.'

And Graeme Wallace tweeted: ‘Wish I had a hard life like professional footballer Jamie O'Hara.’

But O'Hara, who has two children
Archie, two, and Harry, one, with his wife Danielle hit back with
references to his charity work.

He tweeted: ‘I wonder how many people are
doing hospital visits this Xmas or giving clothing to the homeless this
winter, or setting up a charity to raise money for hospitals Southey
can buy equipment that save people lives, u can talk on here but what
are YOU doing.’

But his tweet further angered Twitter users who called him a spoiled millionaire.

Aaron Ingham tweeted: ‘I see Jamie O'Hara's banging on about how charitable he is….after his disgusting tweet about life being easier when he earned 100 a week.’

Later O'Hara continued his rant,
tweeting: ‘I'm not saying I'm not privileged I'm so lucky to have what
I've got but trust me when I was 17 on wts it was a lot more easier.

‘Many peeps hating about me earning good
money that show how jealous u are, instead of realising the tweet was
about how hard life gets.’

Glam WAG: Mrs O'Hara was pictured Christmas shopping in Liverpool city centre earlier today and was later seen enjoying a pampering session at Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar

Glam WAG: Mrs O'Hara was pictured Christmas shopping in Liverpool city centre earlier today and was later seen enjoying a pampering session at Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar

Mr O'Hara posted that he wished he could reveal to his followers the real reason behind the original tweet but that there were 'too many a******** on twitter' and that 'people should worry about their own lives'.

The midfielder has been injured and unable to play for his team since August but returned to full training yesterday.

In July O'Hara was involved in a Twitter spat with Leon Knight after the ex-Chelsea player called his wife a ‘raging s**t bag’.

His own words: Jamie O'Haras twitter biography where he describes himself as a hard worker who will never 'forget where I've come from'

His own words: Jamie O'Haras twitter biography where he describes himself as a hard worker who will never 'forget where I've come from'

Enraged O'Hara retaliated: ‘If at @leonknight82 has got a problem he should give me a call instead of giving the bigun on twitter to a women with two kids.

‘And follow me and I'll direct message you my number, anytime mate, your a disgrace to your name go and do something with your life.’

Wolves were contacted by MailOnline but declined to comment.

Is Gareth Bale the new Cristiano Ronaldo?

Is Bale the new Ronaldo Diving antics draw Cristiano comparisons, but Spurs winger must make Spain switch to reach greatness

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UPDATED:

10:49 GMT, 3 December 2012

The hints about experiencing 'other leagues and other cultures' are coming almost as thick and fast as the yellow cards for simulation.

But while Gareth Bale appears to have developed a penchant for all things continental, he is certainly giving referees plenty to think about every time he goes to ground, has the time really come for the Welsh wing wizard to be considered as the hottest commodity in the European transfer market

Former Spurs team-mate, Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, certainly feels Bale would not be out of place gracing the hallowed turf of the Bernabeu with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo for company.

Gareth Bale

Cristiano Ronaldo

Running men: Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of the best wingers in Europe

Ronaldo on the right and Bale on the left, a mouth-watering prospect that might even convince Jose Mourinho to hang around in La Liga for one more season.

Comparisons between Ronaldo and Bale are becoming increasingly easy to draw, and not just because the controversy regarding the latter's susceptibility to hit the deck under the slightest contact, or sometimes no contact at all, is starting to bear a striking resemblance to his Portuguese counterpart's interpretation of what constitutes a foul.

QPR manager and Bale's ex-boss at White Hart Lane, Harry Redknapp, set the ball rolling when it came to comparing his former charge to the current giants of world football.

'He's an amazing talent and he's after the Ronaldos and Messis of this world and he's getting better and better,' said Redknapp recently.

'He's almost unplayable when he's on his game. He is a genuine world-class player. There's nobody he couldn't play for. He'd improve any team.'

Fulsome praise from a manager who gave serious consideration to selling Bale early on in his managerial career at Spurs.

Any doubts that Bale might not live up to his youthful promise were soon banished from Redknapp's mind, however, as a switch from left-back to left-midfield saw him become an integral part of Tottenham’s attacking force.

Indeed, in a recent, money no object, exercise, Redknapp selected Bale in his fantasy XI alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and, remarkably, ahead of Ronaldo.

Claiming Bale is the best left-sided player in the world, Redknapp said: 'He can head it, he can dribble, he can shoot, he’s got a great physique, he's an amazing athlete, he can score with both feet – there are no weaknesses in his game.'

Beating his man: Gareth Bale skips past Stephen Kelly

Beating his man: Gareth Bale skips past Stephen Kelly

Getting his shot away: Bale shoots at goal and injures his right hamstring in the process

Getting his shot away: Bale shoots at goal and injures his right hamstring in the process

Take Bale's name out of the equation and that description could just as easily be applied to Ronaldo. But is Bale really in Ronaldo's class despite possessing such similar attributes

He certainly does not have the trickery in his boots that the former Manchester United winger can rely upon to release him from a tight spot, even if the step-overs can infuriate just as much as they delight.

Meanwhile, Bale's goal scoring record is not a patch on that of Ronaldo – the Real Madrid star is already up to 18 this season compared to seven for the Spurs man.

And while the selectors' recent preference for Messi in the race for the FIFA Ballon d'Or is something of a sore point for Ronaldo, he has once again made the three-man shortlist alongside his Argentine nemesis and Barca midfielder Iniesta in the fight to be crowned the best player on the planet.

Bale, by comparison, did not even feature on the 23-man preliminary list. It seems he still has some way to go before he catches the eye of the panel comprised of coaches, captains and prominent football writers from across the globe.

On target: Cristiano Ronaldo has a shot at goal during the Madrid derby

On target: Cristiano Ronaldo has a shot at goal during the Madrid derby

All smiles: Ronaldo celebrates Real Madrid's win over city rivals Atletico Madrid

All smiles: Ronaldo celebrates Real Madrid's win over city rivals Atletico Madrid

A move to a European giant would
doubtless help in that regard, if Bale could reproduce the sort of
displays in a Real, Barca or Milan shirt that have made him the darling
of the Tottenham faithful his claims to be classed in the same bracket
as the likes of Ronaldo and Messi would certainly be harder to ignore.

Indeed, there is an argument that since the departure of Modric and Rafael van der Vaart in the summer, Bale’s performances have been all the more eye catching for Spurs by dint of the fact there is simply less talent on show for him to be judged against.

The fact remains that if Bale is to be truly considered in the same bracket as the Ronaldos and Messis of this world then many observers will feel he needs to be stealing their limelight in La Liga.

Tottenham fans are doubtless already bracing themselves for the prospect of Bale becoming the protagonist of this summer’s transfer saga at White Hart Lane, as chairman Daniel Levy digs his heels in right up until deadline day once more.

Cut it at the Bernabeu or the Camp Nou next season, and Bale might find himself in need of a new tuxedo before very long.

Hitting the deck: Ronaldo is brought down during his Manchester United days

Hitting the deck: Ronaldo is brought down during his Manchester United days

Rugby World Cup 2015: Dan Carter assesses the teams

Now that England have beaten us, they must use home advantage in 2015

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 2 December 2012

One thing is certain when the draw for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, to be held in England, is made on Monday— defending champions New Zealand are already the favourites.

Here the All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter gives his assessment of the teams most likely to challenge his country.

AUSTRALIA

They are always a dangerous side. Australia do not have the depth of some of the other top teams, but they always produce their share of very talented players.

Given they do not have quite that depth, it is going to be important they do not get too many injuries. At the moment they have a young side who are only going to get better.

Flying high: Australia will be contenders at the next World Cup

Flying high: Australia will be contenders at the next World Cup

Australia are going to learn a lot from the Lions series next year and I am sure that when the World Cup comes around they are going to be a genuine threat. Their back line are especially talented, and can break open any team in the world.

SOUTH AFRICA

I have watched them a lot lately. It has been a long season for South Africa and they are in something of a transition.

They have a new coach and lost some key players after the last World Cup and are looking towards the future as well, but you can already see some younger guys coming through. They will have learned a lot this year.

Traditionally South Africa are a very strong side physically, with immense power, and you always know that it is going to be a huge battle with them. There are very big men up front who can really take it to the opposition, and they service their backs very well.

FRANCE

The French have really impressed me. We all know what happened at the last World Cup and once they got to the knockout stages they played fantastically well. We saw in this autumn series, with that big win over Australia, what they are capable of and that will have been great for French confidence.

In with a shout: France can blow hot and cold at major tournaments

In with a shout: France can blow hot and cold at major tournaments

Of course there is always this thing about them that you are never quite sure what you are going to get, but they are able to beat any side on their day and are another nation who always produce their share of very talented players.

When everything comes together France are very strong.

ARGENTINA

They are genuine outside contenders and have always shown what they can do at World Cups. They have had a history of catching teams by surprise, maybe because people have seen them less than other sides.

Now that they are playing Australia, New Zealand and South Africa on a regular basis they might lose some surprise, but that will be outweighed by the experience it gives them. Argentina beat Wales convincingly the other week and by the time the competition comes round you would fully expect them to be better. I’m impressed by their loose forwards, workaholics who love the rough stuff.

They scrummage well and the backs are skilful.

ENGLAND

When you are hosting the World Cup it is important to see it as wholly a positive thing and not a burden. Some people can feel the pressure because of the expectation — we know about that in New Zealand. But as an individual player you have to think that it does not get any better than this, playing at home in familiar surroundings, and that you are going to use it to your advantage and embrace the challenge.

On form: England impressed in beating New Zealand on Saturday

On form: England impressed in beating New Zealand on Saturday

If England do that then they are going to be very difficult to beat. They are still experimenting a little bit at the moment and developing a lot of players. The World Cup is three years away so they have plenty of time. I am sure they will develop more consistency in the next couple of years.

WALES

I know they have had some disappointing results, but I would not worry too much. The form they showed at the last World Cup suggested they can be real contenders. I would say the last month has been more of a hiccup that they will have learned from. You always feel this sense of pride they have when you play Wales.

Some of the younger guys like Sam Warburton have put their hands up and it is important that those guys who have already shown they can do it at the highest level now push on in their careers so others can follow. It looks to me like they have quite a few good young players who will emerge.

SCOTLAND

They have had their struggles in the last few years, but they love their rugby and are a very proud nation. I am sure they will be working hard to turn things around. The new coach will have quite a bit to work with, although they are never going to have quite the depth of England, which makes it even more important that they properly develop their best players.

IRELAND

A quality side with world-class players. I always find it a tough match playing against Ireland. They have a strong mental edge and are the kind of team who, if they get on a roll with some confidence, are a hard team to play against.

Tough: Ireland are hard to beat when they're on top form

Tough: Ireland are hard to beat when they're on top form

You have to start well against them and they are a try-scoring team, so you have to stop them getting that momentum. At the moment Ireland have got some fantastic players with a lot of experience and I guess there is going to be a job over the next few years blending the experience with younger players who are going to come through. I really enjoyed watching their recent game with Argentina.

An outsider to watch out for

If you look at the Pacific Island nations there are some great individuals now playing all around the world. These are tough teams to play against, as Samoa and Tonga have shown recently. They seem to love playing against the bigger nations and never hold back. They love the physical side of the game, so if any bigger team has a bad day against them they are likely to be in trouble.

Interview: Mike Dickson

Sports Personality of the Year 2012: Who will win?

Sports Personality of the Year: The shortlist is in… but who do our writers think will win

PUBLISHED:

12:13 GMT, 27 November 2012

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UPDATED:

15:34 GMT, 27 November 2012

Names in the frame…

Nicola Adams (boxing)
Ben Ainslie (sailing)
Jessica Ennis (athletics)
Mo Farah (athletics)
Katherine Grainger (rowing)
Sir Chris Hoy (cycling)
Rory McIlroy (golf)
Andy Murray (tennis)
Ellie Simmonds (swimming)
Sarah Storey (cycling)
David Weir (athletics)
Bradley Wiggins (cycling)

Winner announced on Sunday, December 16

This year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award is as wide open as it has ever been following 12 months of remarkable achievement from our British athletes.

A stellar year for British sport has seen countless timeless moments created by our sporting stars at the London 2012 Olympic Games as well as some stunning winning performances from Brits in annual events such as the Tour de France and the US Open.

All 12 nominees are in with a genuine chance of winning and, as such, next month's vote promises to be the most hotly contested since the award's inauguration in 1954.

With the countdown to the showpiece on December 16 well under way, Sportsmail's panel of experts give their views on who they think should win the coveted award…

Last time out: Mark Cavendish (centre) collects the 2011 award ahead of second-placed Darren Clarke (left) and third-placed Mo Farah (right)

Last time out: Mark Cavendish (centre) collects the 2011 award ahead of second-placed Darren Clarke (left) and third-placed Mo Farah (right)

JONATHAN McEVOY

Bradley Wiggins

The greatest natural
extrovert in British Olympic sport since Daley Thompson. Both could
offend – Daley turned up in a tracksuit to accept his BBC award and then
swore live on air – but you can’t deny they are both personalities.

Even without his Olympic gold medal,
Wiggins would be the supreme candidate for becoming the first Briton to
win the Tour de France, and to do so clean.

Stellar year: Wiggins celebrates winning the Tour de France

Stellar year: Wiggins celebrates winning the Tour de France

Ben Ainslie, who has just retired
from Olympic competition, is the only Briton to have won four
consecutive individual gold medals and, therefore, my second choice.
Andy Murray is my third.

Charlotte Dujardin and Laura Trott,
two of only four women to claim two golds at one Games, are both unlucky
not to be on the list. So are triathlete Alistair Brownlee and sprint
cyclist Jason Kenny. Their omissions reinforce how 2012 was the year of
unsurpassed sporting achievement.

LAURA WILLIAMSON

David Weir

Until the Paralympic Games I would have voted for Bradley Wiggins or Mo Farah – but then the Weirwolf came along. I watched all of his races in London and still can’t comprehend the drive and mental toughness, never mind the physical toll, that took him to four gold medals.

His performances and personality –
particularly the change that occurred when he put on his red helmet,
ready to race – opened my eyes to the intense, challenging sport of
wheelchair racing. And I would hazard a guess I’m not the only one.

Weirwolf: David Weir won four gold medals at the Paralympic Games

Weirwolf: David Weir won four gold medals at the Paralympic Games

After the debacle of last year, when not a single woman made the shortlist, I was really pleased to see Nicola Adams made the final 12. Personality The woman defines the word. So too, though, do double gold medallist Laura Trott and Ian Poulter, the inspiration behind Europe’s Ryder Cup win. I was surprised Trott missed out, in particular.

MIKE DICKSON

Mo Farah

In this toughest ever ballot it has to be an individual who triumphed without the assistance of team-mates.

Therefore, as the most memorable face of
Britain’s greatest ever sports event, Mo Farah wins by a short head
from Andy Murray, whose historic triumphs give him second by a short
head from Bradley Wiggins.

Historic double: Farah won both the 5,000m and 10,000m at London 2012

Historic double: Farah won both the 5,000m and 10,000m at London 2012

Ben Ainslie, Katherine Grainger and Rory McIlroy would have made an outstanding triumvirate in any other year. Ian Poulter and Alastair Brownlee are ridiculously unlucky not to have made the shortlist.

CHARLES SALE

Bradley Wiggins

Wiggins would be a worthy
winner even in this stellar year for Sports Personality. His Tour de
France success was even more of an achievement for a Briton than Andy
Murray’s first Grand Slam title at the US Open, which would have been
the landslide choice in almost every other year, as would Mo Farah’s
5,000m and 10,000m Olympic double.

The most glaring omission is golfer
Ian Poulter after his unbeaten heroics at Medinah brought that most
unlikely of Ryder Cup triumphs for Europe. And Laura Trott’s two cycling
gold medals should have been rewarded with a place in the final 12,
especially in this girl power year.

Unlucky: Laura Trott and Ian Poulter both missed out on nominations

Unlucky: Laura Trott and Ian Poulter both missed out on nominations

Unlucky: Laura Trott and Ian Poulter both missed out on nominations

PAUL NEWMAN

Bradley Wiggins

It’s the toughest decision ever faced in a Sports Personality of the Year competition but for me Bradley Wiggins just edges out Andy Murray as the No 1 choice.

What these two have on the other top quality runners in the field is that they both won Olympic Gold AND another major competition in their sport. Murray’s triumph over Roger Federer in the Olympics at Wimbledon followed by his first major title in New York makes him the runner-up for me but for Wiggins to win the Tour de France and then win Olympic Gold a few days afterwards, not to mention trying to help Mark Cavendish win his, makes him the winner.

After such a vintage year someone has to miss out but I think Ian Poulter is unlucky not to make the short-list after the Miracle of Medina.

Golden girl: Ennis

Golden girl: Ennis

Legend: Hoy

Legend: Hoy

Thumbs up: Grainger

Thumbs up: Grainger

CHRIS FOY

Andy Murray

The Scot should be recognised for his feat in ending the perennial wait for a British winner of a tennis Major title. While Bradley Wiggins was similarly ground-breaking in his Tour de France triumph, there was less of an all-consuming national obsession with that particular title.

Murray has had to carry the burden of the country’s desperation to anoint a successor to the legendary Fred Perry and he achieved the elusive target in the greatest era his sport has ever witnessed. Not only that, in the time of Federer and Nadal and Djokovic, he also rose to the challenge of claiming an Olympic gold in the iconic setting of Wimbledon’s Centre Court. For this double achievement, Murray deserves to shade the vote ahead of Wiggins and Month Farah.

Sealed with a kiss: Murray lifts the US Open title

Sealed with a kiss: Murray lifts the US Open title

What do you think

Tell us who you think should win and why by leaving a comment below…

One man who should have made the short-list is Ian Poulter. While Rory McIlroy made the cut for his individual feats as world No 1 and USPGA champion, it was Poulter who stood tall in the cauldron of an ‘away’ Ryder Cup, to spark a comeback success which gripped the nation.

Papiss Cisse considers resigning as Senegal captain after Newcastle ban

Cisse considers resigning as Senegal captain after being barred from Newcastle duty

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UPDATED:

16:03 GMT, 17 November 2012

Papiss Cisse is considering his position as Senegal captain after being prevented from playing in Newcastle's clash with Swansea on Saturday.

The 27-year-old was unavailable to manager Alan Pardew after the Senegal Football Federation, with the support of FIFA, invoked the governing body's five-day rule following his failure to report for international duty in midweek because of a back injury.

Newcastle released a statement which said they were 'dismayed and angry' at the situation and voiced the opinion that they may be being punished for refusing to allow Cisse to represent his country at the Olympic Games earlier this year.

Barred: Papiss Cisse was not allowed to play on Saturday

Barred: Papiss Cisse was not allowed to play on Saturday

The player also expressed his disappointment and revealed the decision could have wider implications.

Cisse said: 'I am deeply disappointed by the actions of my Federation which have punished me and my club.

'I love playing for my country and would only withdraw from a squad – for either a friendly or competitive game – for a genuine reason.

'I am fully supportive of the position my club has adopted in this matter and am sorry that the Federation seem to doubt my honesty and integrity.

'I will now consider if I wish to continue to captain my country.'

Cisse was withdraw from the Senegal squad for their friendly against Niger after limping out of last Sunday's 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat by West ham with a back problem.

Newcastle claim they sent details of the injury to the federation's medical department, but heard nothing back until it emerged that they were seeking to stop him playing today, and are now seeking legal advice on the matter.

The statement said: 'Newcastle United is dismayed and angry at the position adopted by the Senegalese Federation, and supported by FIFA, which means that Papiss Cisse is unable to play any part in today's Premier League fixture against Swansea City.

'Immediately following the Premier League fixture against West Ham United on Sunday, the club went through the normal communication channels to advise the Senegalese Federation that both Papiss and Demba Ba would not be available for the international friendly match between Niger and Senegal scheduled for Wednesday, 14 November 2012 due to injury.

'No reply was received and as such further communications were sent to the federation on Monday 12th November.

'The club was not prepared to allow Papiss to travel to Niger as this would have been detrimental to his clinical condition. In accordance with FIFA regulations, the club was more than happy for the player to be examined in England by a doctor of the Federation's choice in order to validate the player's medical condition.

Missing man: Newcastle say Cisse's ban was unjust

Missing man: Newcastle say Cisse's ban was unjust

'The federation did not take this option and instead contacted FIFA to ask them to apply the regulation that effectively prevents Papiss from playing this weekend.

'It is the opinion of the club that it is wrong and wholly unjust for a national association to behave in this manner and for FIFA to endorse their stance and automatically apply the sanction without taking into account the specific facts of the case.

'The club is disappointed, although not in any way surprised, that FIFA has disregarded its submissions and valid points in relation to this matter and instead have supported a national association which ignored repeated attempts by the club to engage with them and, furthermore, insisted on a course of action which would have had a detrimental impact on the player's physical condition.

'The club understands that in addition to Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba, a number of other players were withdrawn from the Senegal squad.

'To the best of our knowledge, Papiss Cisse and Newcastle United are the only parties that the national association has sought sanctions against.

Go on alone: Demba Ba was without his strike partner for the visit of Swansea

Go on alone: Demba Ba was without his strike partner for the visit of Swansea

'It is the club's genuinely-held view that the Senegalese Federation have an agenda against Papiss and/or Newcastle United, possibly as a reaction to the club's decision earlier this year not to allow Papiss to participate in the London Olympics 2012.

'The club intends to take this matter up with the Football Association and any other relevant body within the game to try to stop national associations/federations and FIFA from preventing an employee (a player) from fulfilling their contractual obligations to their employer (a club).

'The club acknowledges the importance of international football and the great honour players undoubtedly get from representing their country.

'That said, national associations and FIFA should have a duty of care to clubs with regards to their players and it cannot be allowed to continue that national associations can, as in this case, seek to act in a way which is not in the best interests of a player and compromises their well-being and, furthermore, is then able to apply to FIFA who impose a sanction which damages that individual and his employer without a fair and equitable process being applied.

'The club will be speaking to its legal advisors to see if it has recourse against the Senegalese Federation and/or FIFA.'