Tag Archives: hours

Laura Robson loses to Alize Cornet in Miami

Robson forced to wait for No 1 sport after losing three-set battle to Cornet in Miami

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

11:59 GMT, 23 March 2013

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UPDATED:

11:59 GMT, 23 March 2013

Laura Robson passed up the chance to become British No 1 on Friday night, beaten in three sets in the second round of the WTA Sony Open by Alize Cornet.

The 19-year-old started well but, in a match which lasted two hours 36 minutes but was stretched over seven hours due to rain delays and power cuts in Miami, the 32nd-seeded Frenchwoman eventually emerged a 5-7 7-5 6-1 winner.

World No 36 Cornet, who wrapped up the win with a run of five straight games, will face American Lauren Davis in round three.

Beaten: Laura Robson lost to Alize Cornet in Miami

Beaten: Laura Robson lost to Alize Cornet in Miami

Beaten: Laura Robson lost to Alize Cornet in Miami

Beaten: Laura Robson lost to Alize Cornet in Miami

Eric Bristow sure Phil Taylor will win many more world dart"s titles after capturing his 16th against Michael Van Gerwen

Bristow: Don't expect Taylor to throw in the towel anytime soon, he'll grab a few more world titles before he's gone

By
Thom Drake

PUBLISHED:

10:56 GMT, 2 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:25 GMT, 2 January 2013

Eric Bristow has predicted that Phil Taylor's 16th PDC World Darts Championship title will not be his last after watching him produce a stunning fightback against Dutchman Michael Van Gerwen.

Taylor came out on top in a high-quality final at Alexandra Palace in London last night, battling from 4-2 behind to win 7-4.

It earned 52-year-old Taylor a cheque for 200,000 plus the new Sid Waddell Trophy, named after the late commentator.

Taylor's comeback epitomised his continuing class

Unstoppable: Taylor's comeback epitomised the class which has set him apart in the world of darts

Bristow, who dominated darts in the 1980s, helped Taylor financially in the early stages of his career, and has seen the Stoke man develop into the sport's greatest player.

Bristow cannot see Taylor remaining dominant for years to come, but he expects the latest victory will not be the last world title he takes, even if Van Gerwen is threatening to topple him.

'He won't get to 20 but there most likely will be another one in him,' Bristow said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

'He is getting on a bit now. And Michael van Gerwen is going to win a few, he's a brilliant darts player, he's the best of the rest of the bunch.

Bristow is positive that Taylor can add to his 16 world titles in the coming years

Enduring: Bristow is positive that Taylor can add to his 16 world titles in the coming years

Van Gerwen has proved he is the best of the rest at just the age of 23

New generation: Van Gerwen has proved he is the best of the rest at just the age of 23

'It was great for darts. I think we have seen the newcomer coming through, who's going to take over from Phil, but not yet.'

Bristow puts Taylor's success down to intense practice.

'He's just superb, he's very dedicated. He puts a lot of time into his sport,' Bristow said.

'He plays four, five, six hours a day, even now, 30 years on.

'It was a great final, both of them played superbly.'

Bristow himself won five World Championships between 1980 and 1986

Golden oldie: Bristow himself won five World Championships between 1980 and 1986

Taylor had questioned his own future after his ding-dong with Van Barneveld

Feuding: Taylor had questioned his own future after his ding-dong with Van Barneveld

Waddell, known as the voice of darts, died in August after a battle with cancer, and his name was chanted by the crowd during the final.

'That was lovely,' Bristow said.

'Phil went out there to win the title. Obviously he wanted to win the first ever Sid Waddell trophy, but once you're up on that stage you're playing the game.

'Now he's got the trophy and it's got Sid Waddell's name on it, he'll be over the moon about that.'

Sir Alex Ferguson reveals smuggling history

Fergie: I was a smuggler! United boss brought back cheap goods during playing days

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UPDATED:

11:43 GMT, 19 November 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he would smuggle goods back into Britain from Europe during his playing days as customs staff never checked his luggage.

The Manchester United boss has been travelling to and from all corners of the continent during his playing and managing days.

And he has admitted to packing his bags full of cheap goods on the return leg.

Fill yer boots! Sir Alex would bring back goods in his bags

Fill yer boots! Sir Alex would bring back goods in his bags

He told The Sun: 'I brought a lot of stuff back. In those days nobody checked. You got on the plane and there'd be boxes of this, boxes of that, your bag would be full of stuff. Nobody bothered.'

But it wasn't all plain sailing for Fergie, who experienced a different side to football when he travelled as a Dumfermline player in the 1960s.

Far from the 1st class travels today's players are used to, the trip was an arduous experience.

Recalling one visit to Bilbao in Spain, he said: 'We had to get a bus from a town on the border between France and Spain, seven hours along the Spanish coast, and the bus had wooden seats.

'There was no radio to keep us entertained. There was nothing, just wooden seats. We had to travel like that for seven hours and then play the next day.'

Sir Alex added: 'The romance of Europe looks good when you're sitting at home, but if you were actually out there doing it as a player in those days, it wasn't as good.

'European football is so different now. When I was a player you used to go out on a Sunday and come back on a Thursday. It was a long week away.'

No pampering: Fergie and his team-mates were on a coach for seven hours

No pampering: Fergie and his team-mates were on a coach for seven hours

Edge of the Box: For those of us watching at home

Bumble & Co up early to keep cricket fans entertained

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UPDATED:

14:02 GMT, 18 November 2012

'For those of us watching at home'. That’s a phrase I’ve used here many times before in this column. However, I never expected it to encompass the Sky Sports commentary team who are dragging themselves out of bed in the middle of the night and making their way not to the ground, but to Sky HQ in Middlesex for live coverage of the England v India test series.

Because the, shall we say, enigmatic BCCI tail is wagging the ICB dog, Sky has been priced out of broadcasting from the games while the Indian board’s veto of the review system has also ensured the absence of the affiliated technology.

The fact that there also happens to be a Compton playing in the game simply adds to the sense that we’re watching cricket from the olden days. Because not only is the third umpire (do they even have one) deprived of Hawkeye and Hot Spot – so are we, the viewer.

Entertaining us from Isleworth: David Lloyd and the rest of the Sky team are broadcasting from the London HQ

Entertaining us from Isleworth: David Lloyd and the rest of the Sky team are broadcasting from the London HQ

There is Snicko, but on Sunday morning, when Samit Patel was out first ball, it took a full over for it to be used on screen by the domestic broadcaster who were providing the pictures to Sky, and prove that the poor fella had got another stinker of a decision.

Which all adds up to the commentary team having to make do and mend, or as David Gower put it at the end of Day Four ‘no toys to play with’.

Meanwhile, back in the wee small hours of Day One, the whole thing seemed to be affecting Sir Ian Botham the most.

Early morning wake up call: Bumble and Beefy discuss the first Test back in England

Early morning wake up call: Bumble and Beefy discuss the first Test back in England

‘Nice day here’ said Beefy as a graphic about the weather over in Ahmedabad popped up on the TV screen he was watching in Isleworth. A little later, he became positively existentialist when he pondered to Nick Knight ‘ah, but where’s here’ as they prepared to talk through lunch on Day One. At 6 o’clock in the morning.

Back at Day Four, though, and Sir Ian was much happier on more familiar ground. As Matt Prior survived a plumb LBW appeal, DRS was of course not referred to on the field, but was certainly mentioned from the booth. ‘And it always will be while I’m on commentary’ bridled Beefy. ‘Can’t understand why. Statistics proves it works’.

Not quite the same as India: David Gower, Nasser Hussain and Nick Knight discuss the Test match from the Sky studio in Isleworth

Not quite the same as India: David Gower, Nasser Hussain and Nick Knight discuss the Test match from the Sky studio in Isleworth

Perhaps the biggest worry, though, is that the whole affair would send Sportmail’s own columnist Bumble barmy. The great raconteur and homespun philosopher David Lloyd sees the whole world as fair game when he’s on the microphone (lip ones, too, they’re using, to at least try and capture the right kind of sound).

But would a pleasant cab ride along the Great West Road have the same resonance as a white knuckle ride around Mumbai

Well, we may not have many mad cap travel reports, but the rather anomalous graphics that occasionally pop up are but grist t’mill for Bumble. Of particular excitement to him has been the ‘Ask Suny’ pop up which has had him joyously confusing the great Indian batsman Mr Gavaskar with former popular music artist Mr Bono.

Top team: Gower, Hussain and Sir Ian Botham are all part of the Sky commentary team

Top team: Gower, Hussain and Sir Ian Botham are all part of the Sky commentary team

And come Sunday morning, Bumble was ready for it when it next appeared on screen. Brandishing a page of A4 to the camera that occasional cuts to the studio where the team are watching the game, the Sonny, not Sunny facts were flowing.

We then caught a glimpse of Sunny, not Sonny, in the commentary position, causing Bumble to show us an old photo of Sonny, not Sunny, while observing sagely ‘shows you how he’s changed’.

That glimpse of the commentary box was a reminder that there is in fact commentary from the ground, on the red button.

Not only do they have Gavaskar there, but also the likes of Sourav Ganguly, Ravi Shastri, and some English interest in Paul Collingwood (‘probably talking about Sunderland’, reckoned Nasser Hussain when we again got a glimpse inside the commentary box). All of them most entertaining and knowledgable.

Making it authentic: Sportsmail columnist Nasser Hussain and his fellow Sky commentators are using the lip mics to make the coverage appear as genuine as possible

Making it authentic: Sportsmail columnist Nasser Hussain and his fellow Sky commentators are using the lip mics to make the coverage appear as genuine as possible

Nevertheless, we have been spoilt in the past when English and Indian commentary teams mix and match. It brings a completely different dimension to the badinage and is most certainly sorely missed in the situation.

The one ray of hope here is having Michael Atherton on the spot, although again, not from inside the ground. He has been scampering from the press box to report back live to David Gower. This he started doing from what appeared to be the back of a car park (from which at tea on Day Two, he was having a great time ‘listening to Nas and Nick bickering’ about tactics at home in Isleworth). Thankfully, we saw at the end of play on Sunday that Athers has now got a nice bit of green behind him from which to give us the inside dope.

Earlier in the day, though, Bumble’s musical influence was still in the air when Mark Butcher emailed in (‘up at 8.24 on a Sunday morning’, exclaimed Nas. ‘Well done Butch. Not when he was playing he wasn’t) to let the boys know that Zoot Money and Alan Price would be playing at the Bulls Head in Barnes on December 13th.

The good news of which for the Sky Sports cricket commentary team is, that’s just down the road from them.

Nikica Jelavic can help Everton reach Champions League – Steven Naismith

Naismith backs former Rangers pal Jelavic to help Everton hit Champions League

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UPDATED:

14:53 GMT, 11 November 2012

Everton forward Steven Naismith believes Nikica Jelavic can help fire the Toffees to a top-four finish this season.

The Croatian found the net for the first time in a month in a late 2-1 win over Sunderland at Goodison Park, scoring soon after Marouane Fellaini had equalised Adam Johnson's first strike for the Black Cats.

It was far from the 27-year-old's best game but by scoring his first for a month, having entered October on the back of four goals in five matches, he may have rediscovered his touch.

In the hunt: Nikica Jelavic and Co are fighting to finish in the top four

In the hunt: Nikica Jelavic and Co are fighting to finish in the top four

Naismith, who played alongside Jelavic at Rangers, knows the benefit an in-form striker can have.

'It makes a huge difference. He has not scored in his last few games and he'll have be disappointed with that,' said the Scot.

'He's not had many great chances in the game but the one that came his way he was composed and he put it away in the corner and that is why he has such a big reputation.

'Going forward Fellaini has probably been our most prolific and even Kevin Mirallas, in the last few games, has been very direct and arguably our most influential player.

'It is down to the quality we have in the squad. We are happy with the boys we've got and that is why we are pushing for the top spots.'

Jelavic pounced in the 79th minute, swooping on Fellaini's backheel through the legs of John O'Shea to dispatch the winner past Simon Mignolet.

Just three minutes earlier Fellaini had drilled home to cancel out Johnson, who volleyed home his maiden goal for the club he joined in the summer and Sunderland's first in eight hours 54 minutes of football.

The win kept Everton in fourth place and manager David Moyes was pleased to see his main striker back among the goals.

History: Steven Naismith knows Jelavic well after partnering him at Rangers

History: Steven Naismith knows Jelavic well after partnering him at Rangers

'He looked delighted (when he scored) because he didn't have a good game,' said the Scot.

'But I can tell you of a lot of centre-forwards who don't have good games and score – we can live with that.

'I didn't want to take our goalscorer off, especially when you are a goal down, because you want to try to find a way and we hoped something might drop to him.

'I am sure that will help him and hopefully we will start to see a run of goals from him again.

'I don't think we found him in the box or he didn't find enough space for us to get him the ball.

'But people who are centre-forwards will tell you they lose confidence when they don't score goals and regain it when they do.

'So it was good to see him and Felli scoring again. They are the people who we rely on a lot for goals and they came up trumps.

'Fellaini has proved this season he is a really important player for us.

'He has great chest control, he has lovely soft feet and he can play.

'When we needed him to drop back with 15 minutes to go he can play deeper as well.'

First: Adam Johnson is the only Sunderland player to net in the PL apart from Steven Fletcher

First: Adam Johnson is the only Sunderland player to net in the PL apart from Steven Fletcher

The only downside to the day was when Mirallas limped off on the half-hour with a hamstring problem. He will have a scan to assess the damage.

'Every time he has been on the pitch for us he's looked a threat,' said Moyes of his 6million summer signing.

'I don't think it's too bad but he'll have to have it scanned.'

Sunderland, having ended their goalscoring drought, looked as though they would bring to an end an 11-year stretch without a victory against Everton.

Johnson paid back some of his 10million transfer fee with a smart volley but Sunderland needed to take more of their chances and manager Martin O'Neill left Merseyside frustrated.

'That will help Adam's confidence. He put in a very strong performance, particularly in the first half,' he said.

'It was a good performance by Johnson, Stephane Sessegnon was outstanding for long periods and I am disappointed we didn't see it through for any of the points.

'With 14 minutes left we could have got three and we didn't get any.

'There was great spirit among the players and that was epitomised by the performance.'

England rugby injuries mount – David Paice called up

All hail Paice! Hooker's joy at call-up but England injuries mount

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UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 29 October 2012

Joe Marler became the latest player to join England’s swelling casualty as the Harlequins prop’s hamstring injury forced head coach Stuart Lancaster to send for Matt Mullan as yet another squad reinforcement.

The flow of late arrivals into the FA’s national football centre in Burton-on-Trent — London Irish hooker David Paice and Quins lock George Robson joined on Sunday — continued with the call-up of the Worcester loosehead for training ahead of the first QBE International against Fiji at Twickenham on November 10.

Marler appeared to come through Quins’ Aviva Premiership victory over Irish on Sunday unscathed, but after reporting for national duty he was diagnosed with a ‘tight’ hamstring.

Call up: David Paice has been drafted into the England squad

Call up: David Paice has been drafted into the England squad

While the RFU insisted that summoning Mullan was just a precaution, Lancaster will, in theory, aim to finalise a matchday 23 for the Fiji game by Thursday, in order to release remaining squad players back to their clubs.

Therefore, Marler has another 48 hours to prove he is fit or his place is likely to be filled by the uncapped Saracen, Mako Vunipola.

This latest alarming development follows a flurry of setbacks over the weekend, with concerns largely focused on the state of two key Northampton forwards — Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes — who both suffered knee injuries on Saturday.

Amid suggestions that the damage sustained by Hartley is ‘significant’, the hooker and his fellow Saint were sent for scans on Monday evening. The RFU medical staff were also monitoring the state of centre Jonathan Joseph’s right ankle.

Hartley had been considered a contender for the captaincy, having led England to a draw in their last outing, against South Africa in Port Elizabeth in June, then following that up with a storming start to the new season. However, Chris Robshaw remained the clear favourite and is due to be confirmed on Tuesday in the role he filled with such distinction for the first seven games of this year.

Race against time: Joe Marler (left) is struggling with a hamstring injury

Race against time: Joe Marler (left) is struggling with a hamstring injury

Mullan was the third forward called up as a late replacement, after Robson and Paice checked into St George’s at short notice on Sunday night.

Paice revealed that he had to check with Joseph, his club colleague, to find out which part of the country he should drive to after being told about his sudden call-up by Exiles director of rugby Brian Smith.

‘I’ve just asked JJ where we’re going,’ he said. ‘I wasn’t sure. I haven’t spoken to anyone from England — just Brian and the media. I don’t know if people are winding me up! I’ll have to get one of the guys at Sunbury (London Irish’s training ground) to open up the changing room to get more boots out, then plug in the sat nav to find my way!’

Paice had learned last week that he had been overlooked for a place in the senior squad yet again, with Tom Youngs of Leicester promoted from the Saxons ahead of him. Yet the sense of dejection didn’t last long.

‘They called me on Tuesday night and said that I wasn’t in,’ he said. ‘I was disappointed but I’m very excited now. Brian told me in the changing rooms just after the game, and it’s a great honour. This news is a great surprise for me. I got engaged on Wednesday night, so it is a great engagement present!’

Sitting it out: Courtney Lawes (centre) and Dylan Hartley (right)

Sitting it out: Courtney Lawes (centre) and Dylan Hartley (right)

The hooker, 28, born in Darwin, Australia, made two replacement Test appearances on the tour of New Zealand in 2008, but then fell off England’s radar. He has worked hard for another shot and his chance follows the retirement of first Steve Thompson, then Lee Mears, and the injuries which sidelined Rob Webber and Joe Gray.

‘I think I’ve been playing well for the last couple of seasons and if I get my shot, I will take it with both hands this time,’ said Paice. ‘My game has come along in leaps and bounds, and I know I’m a much better player than I was in 2008.

‘The biggest thing I had to work on was my set-pieces and I think it is a major strength in my game now. I got my opportunity in 2008 through injuries and I guess it has happened again, but this time I’m going to take the chance.’

Daniella Anderson: No one told me that when Jimmy was with England he would never be at home. This wasn"t the life I wanted…

Daniella Anderson: No one told me that when Jimmy was with England he would never be at home. This wasn't the life I wanted…

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UPDATED:

22:13 GMT, 20 October 2012

Precious time: James Anderson and wife Danielle enjoy being together before he jets off again

Precious time: James Anderson and wife Danielle enjoy being together before he jets off again

James Anderson will confront the cricket challenge he hates most: packing his bags, getting on a plane and saying goodbye to his wife and young family, knowing that he will not see them again for nine weeks.

And the home-loving Anderson admitted: ‘It perhaps sounds quite cold and calculating when you say you have to just switch off from your family and home. But it’s what you must do.’

Any cricket tour for the Andersons, of course, brings back the painful memories of five years ago this month, when England were playing their final one-day international in Colombo against Sri Lanka.

Twenty-four hours earlier, on the eve of the match, Anderson’s wife Daniella, who had been due to travel with her husband to the Maldives for their long-delayed honeymoon, had phoned to tell him she had miscarried.

‘In situations like this, when you’re thousands of miles away and a loved one needs you, you feel pretty hopeless as a husband,’ said Anderson. ‘All I wanted was to be with Daniella, right there and then.

‘What she had to endure, and my absence so far from home, highlighted the downside to being an international sportsperson. That was one of the most painful experiences of my life.’

He flew back to England on the first flight after the match and, sitting alongside Daniella as they recalled that agonising time, he added: ‘I was so full of angst that I wished away every minute of the 10-hour flight.’

While James and Daniella talk, Ruby Anderson (aged one) amuses herself, chiefly by pressing her lips together to make gurgling noises. Her sister Lola (aged nearly four) is at playschool from where, while Daniella gets ready for a rare girls’ day out with her friends, James will collect her later that afternoon.

We are in the Lowry Hotel, Manchester, coincidentally the venue for the couple’s wedding reception in February 2006, and the Andersons are talking fondly of what they have crammed into the last three weeks: family trips to Nickelodeonland, to Legoland and to London to see the Thomas the Tank Engine movie, then a short break in Spain.

And the time is precious because Anderson will soon say goodbye to them all again to continue his career as the leader of the England Test and ODI attack.

Attack bowler: Anderson in full flight against the West Indies at Trent Bridge

Attack bowler: Anderson in full flight against the West Indies at Trent Bridge

Since the couple were married, Lancashire paceman James has spent every winter abroad. The latest starts with a tour to India that runs until the end of the fourth Test in Nagpur on December 17. If Anderson is required for the two Twenty20s that follow, he will not see his family again until December 23. Then, after either nine days or a fortnight at home, he is due to fly back to India on January 2 for five ODIs, then on to New Zealand for a tour that will keep him away until March 28.

Nine days off in three months!

England players have a marathon winter ahead, with tours to India and
New Zealand either side of Christmas. Those who play in all three
formats – Tests, one-dayers and T20s – will be at home for just nine
days in the 155 until the squad return to England in March. And then
it’s back to training for the New Zealanders, the Ashes and the
Champions Trophy!

England in India 2012-13
October 25 to December 23: 60 days away
4 Test matches
2 Twenty20 internationals
3 Tour matches

January 2 to January 28: 27 days away
5 One-day internationals
2 Tour matches

England in New Zealand 2013
January 29 to March 27: 68 days away

3 Test matches
3 One-day internationals
3 Twenty20 internationals
3 Tour matches

In total, from late October this year to late March 2013, those England cricketers selected for all formats can look forward to a maximum of nine nights at home out of 155, or the best part of five months.

Daniella freely admits that this is not what she signed up for when she accepted James’s proposal of marriage in early 2005. A highly successful model regularly on the catwalks of New York, Milan and Paris whose previous boyfriends include former Oasis front man Liam Gallagher, Daniella ‘gave up a lot’, says Anderson, to be with him, including her London home and, were they not so besotted with each other, they might not have been able to overcome the long absences that put cricketing relationships under occasionally unbearable strain.

‘It’s true,’ said Daniella. ‘It wasn’t the life I wanted. I’d thought if I ever got married I’d be with that man all the time. I’d started this new life with a man that I loved and I wanted to make new friends with him, but he was never here, so it was a struggle.

‘I had my life in London which I loved, now I was on my own in a strange place and I was miserable, I missed all my friends, I missed him and I was like, “Oh crap, what have I done How am I going to cope if he’s never here”

‘I just had no idea he would be away from home so much. Before the children came I really thought, “Well, if he’s away over the winter, that’s fine because I can go. Then if he’s here in the summer, he’ll be here”. I didn’t realise that when he’s in England they’re never at home either because they’re away for a week at a time in different cities. It’s constant.’

Unhappy travels: England and Anderson suffered on their last tour, losing 3-0 to Pakistan in the UAE

Unhappy travels: England and Anderson suffered on their last tour, losing 3-0 to Pakistan in the UAE

James said: ‘She told me at one point that she couldn’t do it any more. It was difficult. I guess at one stage … I don’t know if unhappy is the word, but we were a little bit lost.’

Since then, as well as the actual time they have been apart, they have had to cope with Daniella’s miscarriage — ‘I was in bits,’ she said. ‘It was so tough for him and he wanted to come home but I told him to stay and play and he did really well. I was so proud’ — and a variety of other concerns well understood by partners living apart.

There were also crises like the England tour security fears in the aftermath of the terrorist atrocity in Mumbai in 2008. Daniella describes that as ‘really scary’. ‘He was trying to reassure me that all would be well …’ she said. ‘All I wanted was for him to come home.’

But James was at least able to make sure he was present for the birth of their two beautiful girls even if, for Ruby, that meant a round-trip home from Australia in 2010, mid-Ashes. His three days at home attracted a measure of Blimpish criticism.

Plans had even been discussed for Daniella to set up camp in Perth for the winter, going out well before the start of the tour and having Ruby born there because Daniella ‘couldn’t imagine James not being at the birth —I just couldn’t cope with that’.

Familiarity with what is about to happen again has eased certain aspects of the hurt and James and Daniella are prepared for their emotions to take another battering in the days and weeks ahead. They have found a way to put their family life on hold. They have had to.

Rise to the top: England are determined to regain their status at the top Test nation after a chastening defeat to South Africa

Rise to the top: England are determined to regain their status at the top Test nation after a chastening defeat to South Africa

But while neither would dare compare their experience to that of those posted abroad on duty for the armed forces, for example, the idea of what they must do is one thing, doing it quite another.

‘I definitely do feel like a single parent sometimes,’ said Daniella. ‘It’s horrible having to take the kids to a party or a situation where other kids are there with mums and dads and Lola says, “Where’s my Daddy” She is at the age when she gets cross if he isn’t around. She hates cricket because it means Daddy going away.’

James added: ‘I’m not allowed to watch it on TV. And when one of our matches is on telly and Daniella tries to point me out to her, she wants the channel changed.

‘Daniella does a great job while I’m away. She tries to explain why and keeps them busy …

‘I try to make a huge fuss of them all when I’m around. I asked Stuart Broad, whose dad Chris was often away with England, what he remembered of his childhood and he says he recalls his dad being away a lot. But he also remembers the fun they had when he was back, so I try to make sure we have fun.’

Daniella said: ‘We’ve been through this parting business before. But this time I’m not going to be with him or see him. I’m trying not to think about it. I won’t until the day. Then I’ll get very upset.

‘And, inevitably, as the time to go approaches, for him the excitement of what he’s about to embark on builds. I understand. This is what he does and he loves it and is doing it for us. I don’t want to bring him down.

‘He wants to enjoy it while it lasts because it’s not going to last for ever. Few people get to do what he does. We both appreciate that and think he should get on with it while he can, because when it’s over, he’ll miss it.’

Oh, happy days: Alastair Cook, Graeme Swann and Anderson celebrate winning the Ashes last year

Oh, happy days: Alastair Cook, Graeme Swann and Anderson celebrate retaining the Ashes last year

James said: ‘I have to switch off when I go away because the more you think about the things you’re missing, the more you can get distracted and upset, particularly when things aren’t going well on the pitch.’

And Daniella knows that being together on tour can create problems. ‘We’ve managed to spend time together on tour in the past but that’s hardly ideal either,’ she says. ‘The guys want to give time to their families, but the fact is they’re working. Then you think, “What am I doing here” All that angst. And it’s worse when the kids are there.’

James said: ‘Clearly there are downsides — not seeing Daniella and the children for long periods, missing birthdays [Lola’s fourth and Ruby’s second this winter] — but at the same time I want to create a stable base so the kids can grow up and have a happy childhood without worry.

‘The great thing about absences is that they come to an end. The intensity of reunion is pretty strong. Maybe that’s a reward for being away.

‘Daniella once asked me what age fast bowlers play to in international cricket, and when I said 32, 33, she was quite happy, especially as I’m 30 now.’

‘Our life together hasn’t been anything like what I envisioned,’ said Daniella. ‘You can’t help who you fall in love with, so you’ve got to lump it really.

‘But he has a bit of making up for lost time to do, and when the moment finally comes, I’ll make sure he does.’

Liverpool line up January swoop for Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge

Liverpool line up January swoop for Chelsea striker Sturridge

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UPDATED:

07:36 GMT, 17 October 2012

Liverpool will make a loan bid for Daniel Sturridge during the January transfer window.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers wants to
bolster his forward ranks by signing the England striker, who has been
told he can leave Chelsea.

Out of favour: Daniel Sturridge has been frozen out at Chelsea

Out of favour: Daniel Sturridge has been frozen out at Chelsea

Liverpool have dismissed the idea of making a 20million bid.

But Rodgers would be interested in
signing Sturridge on loan with a view to making it permanent in the
summer if he proves to be a success.

Sturridge has been strongly linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge in the New Year, after refusing an extension to his current contract, which has 18 months left to run.

The new Anfield boss has made clear
his determination to bring in another striker in January after missing
out in the last hours of the summer window, and then losing Fabio Borini
to injury last week, leaving just Luis Suarez as his only senior
option.

While Sturridge was
reluctant to accept a loan agreement in the summer, it may prove a more
attractive option in January, given his desire to move after getting so
few opportunities at Stamford Bridge this term.

Sturridge
is out of contract at the end of next season, and with former club
Manchester City entitled to 15 per cent of any fee, a loan would ease
the way for a cut-price summer move.

Rodgers is also keeping tabs on Newcastle forward Demba Ba, but has no plans to sign Aston Villa's England striker Darren Bent.

Stuart Pearce believes "things have moved on" since Serbia race rap

Pearce confident England Under 21's Euro 2013 trip to Serbia won't be marred by racism

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 14 October 2012

Stuart Pearce has expressed confidence that the spectre of racism will not stain England’s Under 21s quest to reach Euro 2013 in Serbia.

This is the Under 21s first trip to this part of the Balkans and they will defend a slender one-goal advantage in the town of Krusevac, which is two-and-a-half hours from the Serbian capital Belgrade, on Tuesday night.

Serbia’s players have promised England will receive a hot reception but while Pearce is expecting the environment to be hostile, he does not believe there will be anything more sinister, even accounting for what happened when these nations first met in 2007.

Confident: Tom Ince (right) and his England Under 21 team-mates will be hoping to defend their slender lead in Serbia

Confident: Tom Ince (right) and his England Under 21 team-mates will be hoping to defend their slender lead in Serbia

The Serbian Football Federation were fined 16,000 at the Under 21 European Championships in Holland after their supporters racially abused England’s Nedum Onouha.

The defender described the experience as 'horrific'.

But when Pearce was asked whether he was concerned if there would be any repeat, he said: ‘No. That was five years ago. I believe that everything has moved on since then. We have no fears in that respect.

‘My only concern is the football match and making sure our players are prepared for the game and any eventuality that may occur during it.

'Anything else over and above that will be dealt with by the authorities and the referee – as it normally is – on the night.’

Serbian captain Slobodan Medojevic said after Friday’s first leg at Norwich, which was decided by Craig Dawson’s penalty, that England should expect to be confronted by 'a real noisy atmosphere' in Krusevac that will be 'quite intimidating' for Pearce’s squad.

But far from fearing his players will shrink in the circumstances, Pearce believes it will bring out the best of a group that was last night hit by the withdrawal of Jack Rodwell.

The difference: Craig Dawson scored the only goal in the first leg from the spot

The difference: Craig Dawson scored the only goal in the first leg from the spot

The difference: Craig Dawson scored the only goal in the first leg from the spot

The difference: Craig Dawson scored the only goal in the first leg from the spot

The Manchester City midfielder has returned to his club as precaution for treatment on a hamstring injury.

‘Listen, it is a game of football and this is the beauty of international football,’ said the head coach.

‘They won’t face that hostility anywhere they have played in club football to what they might face in Serbia. It is not something to be worried or concerned about.

‘We will go there, we will attempt to put the opposition under pressure with our talent and moving the ball quickly.

'We will go there to try and win the game again. We have got some solid citizen and some talented players. We have just got to make sure that we prepare properly.’

Homeward bound: Jack Rodwell has returned to Manchester City as a precaution with a hamstring injury

Homeward bound: Jack Rodwell has returned to Manchester City as a precaution with a hamstring injury

Pearce’s confidence stems from the fact England have kept seven clean sheets in nine games during this qualification campaign; they have also been prolific scorers and feels they have sufficient knowhow to get through a test that bares similarities to the 2010 play-off success against Romania.

‘We have got some experienced heads in the dressing room,’ he pointed out.

‘Our players have all played at a good standard of football. This tie is far from finished but we will set the team up to win.

'There is pressure on our players as there was (in 2010). They have to be big enough to deal with it.’

Lance Armstrong in Nike adverts denying drugs

'What are you on' The astonishing Nike adverts in which drug cheat Armstrong took on the world

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UPDATED:

13:26 GMT, 11 October 2012

This is my body and I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it and study it, tweak it, listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on I’m on my bike busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on

Those words are spoken by Lance Armstrong in a TV advert for Nike that was first aired back in 2001.

Upon release, it was considered strong stuff – but over a decade on, it delivers a much more stunning blow.

With hindsight, it is a quite astonishing statement and question from an athlete who would later be outed as a drugs cheat.

Nike put together the commercial after Armstrong was accused of using drugs to win the Tour de France.

Armstrong is filmed with a needle in his arm during a drugs test, with the seven-time Tour winner stating that he 'can do whatever he wants to it (his body)'.

He is shown during training wearing the uniform of the US Postal team – who ran the most 'sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen.'

The advert ends with Armstrong almost accusing the doubters of using drugs by saying: 'Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on I’m on my bike busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on'

Viewers can now rightly turn the question back on the disgraced American.

In another advert released in 2009 titled Driven, Armstrong is filmed cycling up – footage that is interspersed with clips of cancer patients.

Again, Armstrong's voiceover drills home his message: 'The critics says I’m arrogant, a doper and washed up, a fraud. That I couldn’t let it go. They can say whatever they want. I’m not back on my bike for them.'

Nike are refusing to cut their ties with Armstrong despite his role as ringleader in the scandal that has rocked cycling.

Despite the mounting backlash against the one-time icon, Armstrong's main sponsor continue to back him.

After the latest revelations emerged, Nike re-released the same statement first issued in August. It reads: 'We are saddened that Lance Armstrong may no longer be able to participate in certain competitions and his titles appear to be impacted.

'Lance has stated his innocence and has been unwavering on this position. Nike plans to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a foundation that Lance created to serve cancer survivors.'