Tag Archives: instincts

Steven Finn puts in mature display as nightwatchman

Finn curbs his instincts to deliver one of the great nightwatchman innings in Dunedin

By
Ian Prince

PUBLISHED:

07:01 GMT, 10 March 2013

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UPDATED:

09:55 GMT, 10 March 2013

As Steven Finn made his way to the University Oval this morning, he discussed the day ahead with a member of England's support staff.

The conversation went something like this: 'How are you feeling'

'Good,' said the fast bowler. 'I know I need to bat a long time but there's this little devil on my shoulder telling me to play some shots.'

Assured: Steven Finn put in a mature performance at the crease and hit 56 runs in Dunedin

Assured: Steven Finn put in a mature performance at the crease and hit 56 runs in Dunedin

'Don't listen to it,' came the sensible reply.

Finn did just that, curbing his inner devil to help save this first Test and put New Zealand's bowlers through hell in Dunedin as he produced one of the great nightwatchman innings in the history of English cricket.

Before he took guard on the fourth evening following the dismissal of his captain Alastair Cook, Finn had batted a combined total of 291 minutes across 20 previous Test innings. By the time he was out in the second over after tea today, he had batted for 286.

In one knock he'd managed to cram in almost his entire Test batting career to date.

It was the second longest innings by an England nightwatchman, bettered only by the 306 minutes Jack Russell spent at the crease in a losing cause against the West Indies in Bridgetown, Barbados, in 1990. Russell, who batted at seven and finished his career with two Test centuries, is lucky to be classed as a nightwatchman given his pedigree with the bat.

Finn had little before this match, making his achievement even greater. His score, 56, was his highest in first-class cricket, beating the 32 he made against Essex at Lord's in 2011. His previous Test best was the 20 he managed in the first innings here.

Not since Alex Tudor's 99 against New Zealand at Edgbaston in 1999 has an England nightwatchman made more.

While much has been made of Finn's express pace – it is thought he could develop into England's first 100mph bowler – it is his presence in the dressing-room which has made a big impression on director of cricket Andy Flower in recent months.

And we're off: Finn substituted risky shots for sensible batting to help England draw the Test

And we're off: Finn substituted risky shots for sensible batting to help England draw the Test

And we're off: Finn substituted risky shots for sensible batting to help England draw the Test

At just 23 years of age, he is said by insiders within the camp to be an increasingly influential voice, keen to take on more responsibility.

Given his age, some have tipped him to one day take over the Test captaincy from Cook, five years his senior.

It was that willingness to take on responsibility which came to the fore on day five in Dunedin. When he started his epic knock yesterday, England were 231 for one, still 62 runs behind New Zealand's first innings total.

When he was eventually out early in the evening session today, trapped lbw by spinner Bruce Martin, his side were 93 runs ahead.

He had batted for 33 overs, more than an entire session, and it's fair to say that without Finn's dogged contribution, England would have not saved this match.

Graham Onions, Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar have gone down in folklore for their tailend defiance, the former saving two Test matches in South Africa in 2009/10 and the latter pair famously denying the Australians victory in the opening Test of the 2009 Ashes in Cardiff.

Gotcha: Finn was eventually bowled out lbw shortly after securing his half century

Gotcha: Finn was eventually bowled out lbw shortly after securing his half century

Happy: Both Finn (pictured) and Jonathan Trott made strides to help England avoid defeat

Happy: Both Finn (pictured) and Jonathan Trott made strides to help England avoid defeat

But Finn showed even more grit, at one point on the final afternoon digging in for 49 balls without scoring. In total he went 72 minutes without a run during a session in which he accumulated just 14.

He may have made Nick Compton look like Chris Gayle but the self-control and discipline he showed in curbing the devil inside his head shows what strong stuff mentally Finn is made of.

After the match, Cook confirmed Finn will now take nightwatchman duties away from the previous incumbent James Anderson permanently.

Following a display like this, it appears a wise choice.

Darron Gibson: Everton striker Nikica Jelavic as good as Michael Owen and Ruud van Nistelrooy

Gibson: Jelavic is every bit as good as hot shots Owen and Van Nistelrooy

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UPDATED:

18:31 GMT, 19 December 2012

Everton midfielder Darron Gibson believes teammate Nikica Jelavic’s finishing instincts make him similar to the likes of Michael Owen and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The Croatia international may not have been able to replicate last season’s stunning impact of 11 goals in 16 matches having arrived in January, with six in 17 games this campaign.

But Gibson thinks the quality of the striker means he will get plenty more for the Toffees.

Nikica Jelavic

Finishing touch: Nikica Jelavic is proving to be one of Everton's shrewdest signings

'He’s a bit like Michael Owen or Van Nistelrooy in the box,' said the Republic of Ireland international, a former team-mate of both Owen and Van Nistelrooy at Manchester United.

'He’s first class and I don’t think there’s many better than him in the Premier League at the moment.

'The vein of form he had when he first came was special and from a football point of view I think we knew he couldn’t keep it up constantly.

Michael Owen

Ruud van Nistlerooy

Old school: Jelavic has been compared to Owen (left) and Van Nistelrooy

'Every striker goes through a lean spell but it hasn’t taken him too long to score again.

'He’s definitely up there with the best goal scorers I’ve played with to be honest. His finishing is unbelievable.'

Gibson said Jelavic makes life easier for him with the options he offers.

Nikica Jelavic, Darron Gibson and Steven Pienaar

Best of the lot: Gibson says Jelavic makes his job far easier

'He makes some great runs and he makes the passes easier for me,' he told the Liverpool Echo.

'He makes my decision for me by his movement. He’s a great player and luckily he’s scoring again which is important for us.'

Graeme Swann: England can win series in India

Now we must finish the job: Swann says England can win series by being clinical

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UPDATED:

23:29 GMT, 11 December 2012

England need only think back to the last Ashes to remind themselves of their desire to finish off a wounded opponent and return home for Christmas with a job gloriously done.

It was in Melbourne two years ago that, joyously, they retained the Ashes by taking a 2-1 lead with a truly momentous performance against Australia.

England could have been forgiven for considering their mission to be accomplished but they followed it up with an even greater victory in Sydney to ensure the series, as well as the fabled urn, was emphatically grasped.

They find themselves now in an identical
situation, with two of their greatest away Test victories in memory
being followed here in the middle of India by a final Test in which
their ruthless instincts will be tested to the full.

Final act: England celebrate a memorable victory at the SCG to seal the Ashes series - and Graeme Swann has urged a repeat performance in India

Final act: England celebrate a memorable victory at the SCG to seal the Ashes series – and Graeme Swann has urged a repeat performance in India

Most in England would have taken a 2-2 draw at the start of this series, and particularly after India’s heavy victory in Ahmedabad, but that would represent failure now for an England team who sense redemption after a miserable year.

Even Graeme Swann was more serious than usual yesterday after England had practised at the well-appointed VCA Stadium for the first time. Kolkata has been consigned to history. Now it is time, in tomorrow’s fourth Test, to ram home England’s advantage.

‘It would have been very easy to just switch off in Sydney after we had retained the Ashes but we managed to pull out our best game of the tour,’ said Swann.

‘It’s a lot more satisfying as a team to finish the job off. We came here to win the series like we did then and that’s what we want to do now.’

The message then still applies. ‘From what I remember, Andrew Strauss sat us down and stressed that all our hard work would be wasted if we had lost in Sydney. Yes, we’d have retained the Ashes but we would have felt as if we’d let ourselves down. It worked then and it’s a good attitude to take in now.’

Tighten the screw: Swann has urged England to claim victory in India for the first time in 27 years

Tighten the screw: Swann has urged England to claim victory in India for the first time in 27 years (FILE IMAGE)

Nagpur holds good memories for England. It was in the ‘cleanest and greenest’ city in India, but not at this ground, that Alastair Cook scored a century on Test debut six years ago and Monty Panesar and, less memorably, Ian Blackwell, also made their England bows.

Last year England played at what must rank among the nicest stadiums in this country in the World Cup and survived a few scares and a Ryan ten Doeschate century before they defeated Holland.

There have been only three Tests at the VCA Stadium, 10 miles outside Nagpur, and all have provided positive results, with the pitch yesterday looking far from the dusty, used, dry turner that many expected. Pitch reading can be a hazardous business, especially two days out from a Test, but this one looked pretty good.

The most pleasing aspect of England’s transformation is that they have triumphed both on a raging turner in Mumbai and a flat surface in Kolkata and, as Swann revealed, the great comeback has been as much to do with attitudes as conquering playing surfaces.

‘It would have been very easy to get into a rut after Ahmedabad, of losing games and thinking about going home rather than winning the next one,’ said Swann. ‘A lot of focus and energy went into ensuring that this tour wasn’t going to be like that.

Ton machine: England will look to Alastair Cook once again on what is expected to be a results pitch in Nagpur (FILE IMAGE)

Ton machine: England will look to Alastair Cook to lead from the front once again in Nagpur (FILE IMAGE)

‘It was made very clear after the first Test, whether it came from management or senior players, that Mumbai was a chance to level the series and anybody who didn’t see it that way wasn’t welcome in the dressing room.

‘We probably approached the tour a bit different this time. We have tried to embrace India and believed that we could win this series. I’m not sure that’s always been the case here.

‘I’ve only been on one other Indian tour but there certainly seemed more belief from the outset on this one.’

England are set to be unchanged, but it was interesting to see Andy Flower call Cook over to watch Jonny Bairstow in the nets yesterday. It would be harsh on Samit Patel if he is left out now, but his bowling is largely redundant in a team including both Swann and Panesar and he has a top score in this series of 33.

For India the repercussions rumble on. Zaheer Khan will not feature for the first time when fit for five years and Ashok Dinda looks set to replace him even though they have the option of a third spinner in Piyush Chawla, who has come into the squad for Harbhajan Singh. Ravindra Jadeja, who has just scored the third triple hundred of his career, replaces Yuvraj Singh.

One last hurrah Sachin Tendulkar could call an end to his Test career after 15,643 runs - and counting

One last hurrah Sachin Tendulkar could call an end to his Test career after 15,643 runs – and counting (FILE IMAGE)

But it is at the top where most of India’s attention is focused. This could really be the last Test for one of the greatest players the game has known in Sachin Tendulkar, while MS Dhoni is playing for his Test captaincy.

It is also difficult to see Duncan Fletcher taking up the year’s option on his coaching contract when it is up for renewal in April.

These are testing times for the richest, most powerful country in cricket but England have the chance to further trouble them by winning a series here for the first time in 27 years and, in the process, ensure that India’s ‘revenge’ series turns to dust. Expect Cook and his team to do just that.

Rio Ferdinand coin fallout: Players must stop taunting fans – Jamie Redknapp

Stars must stop taunting fans… or it could be a knife instead of a coin which is thrown

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UPDATED:

22:26 GMT, 10 December 2012

This isn't an excuse for abuse or throwing coins but players have to take more responsibility for the way they behave on the field.

A goal celebration should be a show of joy, but when it is received as an act of provocation and aggression, especially in an away game, it creates an entirely different reaction.

The behaviour of some players, when leaving the field to celebrate, is dangerous and irresponsible. They are putting their own safety at risk.

Ashley Young

Robin van Persie

Emotion: Ashley Young and Robin van Persie celebrate Manchester United's victory over Manchester City

Football's emotion and tribal instincts can turn normal people into animals, leading to supporters running on the pitch, throwing missiles or making obscene gestures. Some people think they have paid their money so they can say what they want. Now it seems others think they can throw what they want.

I don't want players to become robots but they need to be aware of their environment. Next time, instead of a coin, it could be an idiot with a knife.

I'm not trying to be a killjoy, nor a hypocrite. I remember scoring a last-minute header for Liverpool against Newcastle. I went running for the manager, Gerard Houllier, who I believed had treated me poorly. Luckily, my team-mates knew how I was feeling and stopped me from getting to him. I don't know what I'd have done, but I wasn't planning to hug him tenderly.

Restraining order: Redknapp was held back by his own players from venting his frustrations at Gerard Houllier

Restraining order: Redknapp was held back by his own players from venting his frustrations at Gerard Houllier

The emotion of scoring a late winner; a mixture of joy, aggression, thrill and excitement, is hard to control. You've scored for your team, your manager, your family, your fans and yourself.

So I can understand how Manchester United's players were feeling after Robin van Persie's late winner in the derby. They wanted to share the celebration in front of their own supporters.

I've played in Liverpool v United games and would argue the atmosphere is worse than the derby mood in Manchester, despite the high stakes between the two teams, currently the best in the country.

Hit: Ferdinand was struck by a coin in the dying moments of the derby while celebrating Robin van Persie's winner

Hit: Ferdinand was struck by a coin in the dying moments of the derby while celebrating Robin van Persie's goal

Confrontation: A City fan makes his way on to the pitch but is held back by Man City stopper Joe Hart

Confrontation: A City fan makes his way on to the pitch but is held back by Man City stopper Joe Hart

But players are putting themselves at risk when they leave the field of play to celebrate a goal, especially away from home.

They
are reminded before games to stay on the field. Referees are told to
use a yellow card as a deterrent, but players are soon overcome with
emotion and lose control when a goal is scored.

This
season, we have seen a seat, lighters, coins thrown and a steward
injured at Chelsea in the aftermath of a goal. It's time for the players
to take a look at themselves and introduce some control.

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Under siege: The United defender holds his head after being struck by a coin thrown from the crowd

Lawrence Booth: Alastair Cook has played an innings of a lifetime

Captain Cook proves he can conquer spin as he plays an innings of a lifetime

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UPDATED:

11:17 GMT, 18 November 2012

Alastair Cook would doubtless tell us that the relevance of his unbeaten 168 will be determined by nothing more than the result of this Test. But lose or draw (the chances of an England win are all but non-existent), he has already played the innings of a lifetime – his own, and many others’.

When the pre-series form was doing the rounds – Sunil Gavaskar calls it 'hype', as if we are wrong to feel excited about Test cricket – Cook rarely featured in lists detailing England’s best players of spin.

While Kevin Pietersen was bestowed with the capacity to take an attack apart, as he did in Colombo, Ian Bell was light on his feet (even if he couldn’t pick the doosra), and Jonathan Trott had shown the way ahead with his century in Galle. Samit Patel had muscled his way into the frame as well.

In the form of his life: Alastair Cook batted all day and scored 168 not out

In the form of his life: Alastair Cook batted all day and scored 168 not out

PICTURE DISPUTE:

We are unable to
carry live pictures from the First Test in Ahmedabad due to a dispute
between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and
international news organisations. The BCCI has refused access to Test
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.

Matt Prior, it’s true, has long been regarded as a streetwise player of slow bowling, and he showed why here, helped by a pitch that has lost most of its bite, an Indian attack that has begun to tire, and his own competitive instincts.

But Cook He was the man with plenty on his plate: the captaincy, a new opening partner, Pietersen’s reintegration, and four Tests in a country where England have not won for nigh on three decades. His batting against spin barely came into it.

It probably should have done. This is Cook’s fifth Test hundred in Asia, following Nagpur (on debut), Galle, Chittagong and Dhaka. Those last two, remember, were made as captain while Andrew Strauss took a breather, which means he has now become the first man to make hundreds in each of his first three Tests in charge.

Yet the stats are as dry as Ahmedabad itself. For this was an innings that started with the sound of mockery ringing in English ears following their first-innings surrender, and could easily have been part of an innings defeat after Umesh Yadav trapped Ian Bell and Samit Patel with successive deliveries.

Staying strong: Cook batted out the whole day and set up a good partnership with Matt Prior in the end

Staying strong: Cook batted out the whole day and set up a good partnership with Matt Prior in the end

Unbeaten: Cook passed 150 on Sunday afternoon

Unbeaten: Cook passed 150 on Sunday afternoon

Even when the plucky Prior slapped Pragyan Ojha through the covers for four to bring England level at 4pm local time, India still needed only five quickish wickets to complete a comfortable win.

At no stage, in other words, was Cook batting with the freedom bestowed by the thought that his side were out of the woods. Deep in north-west India, not far from the border of Pakistan, an Englishman had submitted to a kind of Chinese water torture – and has so far lived to the tell the tale.

Cook has 21 Test hundreds now. While the 110 he made against Pakistan at The Oval in 2010 saved his career, and his Ashes run-fests later that year inked him indelibly into folklore, it’s just possible he may come to regard this as the finest of the lot.

What was his secret It’s prosaic, certainly, but he defended the good’uns and hit the bad’uns. He did not try to manfacture scoring opportunities, like Pietersen, or run down the track to his first ball, like Bell. And, unlike Trott, he had the good fortune not to nick any of the occasional snorters that came his way.

It presumably helps that he barely sweats. But that physical curiosity has assumed the proportions of a handy metaphor. He simply doesn’t get fazed. And, as this series unfolds, England will thank him for it.

David Luiz mistakes don"t matter – Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo

Luiz mistakes don't matter… he's a matchwinner, insists Chelsea boss Di Matteo

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UPDATED:

10:02 GMT, 6 November 2012

Roberto Di Matteo has vowed to stick with David Luiz in Chelsea's defence despite mounting criticism over his mistakes at the back.

The Brazil defender was in the Blues team that conceded seven goals over two games against Manchester United last week, one of which was a Luiz own goal.

Luiz also scored a penalty at the right end in the second match and Di Matteo insists that his ability on the ball is crucial to Chelsea's new short-passing game.

Hit or miss David Luiz is prone to defensive lapses but is brilliant on the ball

Hit or miss David Luiz is prone to defensive lapses but is brilliant on the ball

The Italian is adamant that his centre-back does not need to change his style to succeed in the Barclays Premier League.

'You need to see both sides,' Di Matteo said of Luiz in the Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle. 'On one hand we have a fantastic player that can decide games for you and on the other hand you have to take into account that everybody can make mistakes.

'But we want our defenders to play and be involved when we attack so I know more focus is put on the mistakes.

'But he scored a fantastic free-kick against Nordsjaelland and other important goals for us.

'You need to be able to take the best out of the players and I would never take his qualities or restrict qualities that a player had.'

When asked if he had any plans to curb Luiz's attacking instincts, Di Matteo replied 'no'.

'He is a fantastic player for us,' added the Blues boss. 'We are working on the fact that in certain moments maybe its better to play simple but he is a player with great qualities that has decided many games for us as well.'

Hugo Lloris sends message to Spurs with penalty save against Spain

Lloris message for AVB while Arsenal's Giroud nets in France fightback

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UPDATED:

23:23 GMT, 16 October 2012

Olivier Giroud's header deep into stoppage time salvaged a deserved draw for France against world champions Spain in Madrid and ended the hosts' run of 24 consecutive qualifying victories.

Sergio Ramos had fired home after his initial effort had come off the post in the 26th minute to give Spain the lead but they were left to rue Cesc Fabregas' missed penalty just before half-time.

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris can barely get a game for Spurs at the moment due to the form of team-mate and rival Brad Friedel, but France's captain sent a message back to Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas with a fine stop from Fabregas's strike.

All smiles: France captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (left) celebrates the draw in Spain

All smiles: France captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (left) celebrates the draw in Spain

Karim Benzema and Moussa Sissoko looked to have squandered France's best chances to claim a point as they missed clear openings late on but with the last attack of the game Franck Ribery crossed for Giroud to head low into the far corner.

The striker has also been struggling to impose himself at Arsenal following his summer move to England from Montpellier, but he proved his predatory instincts with a deadly header.

The draw means that both sides remain locked together at the top of Group I with seven points from three games.

As expected Vicente del Bosque had made just the one change from the side that started the 4-0 victory over Belarus on Friday as Andres Iniesta replaced Santi Cazorla, but the Arsenal midfielder was forced into action after just 10 minutes when David Silva had to come off with an injury.

Cazorla even had the first effort on goal after a slow start but his low drive was easily held by Hugo Lloris, but French boss Didier Deschamps will have been hugely frustrated that after comfortably soaking up the hosts' usual probing they conceded such a sloppy goal from a set-piece midway through the half.

Tres bon: Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud (left) celebrates his goal with France team-mate Blaise Matuidi

Tres bon: Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud (left) celebrates his goal with France team-mate Blaise Matuidi

Xavi's corner found Ramos completely unmarked just six yards from goal and after his initial header came back off the post, the defender was on hand to turn the ball high into the net when Pedro pulled it back across the area.

The goal though forced France forward and they were very nearly level 10 minutes later when Benzema was released by Ribery but his cross-shot could not beat his Real Madrid teammate Iker Casillas as the Spain captain turned the ball behind for a corner.

France threatened again moments later when Jeremy Menez was ruled narrowly offside when he prodded in Benzema's knock down from Yohan Cabaye's free-kick, but the visitors were then thankful to Lloris to only be 1-0 down at the break.

The Tottenham goalkeeper first produced a fine save down to his right to parry Fabregas' penalty after Laurent Koscielny had clattered into Pedro inside the area and three minutes later the French skipper saved his side again as he denied fierce efforts from Pedro and Fabregas inside the area.

Paying the penalty: Cesc Fabregas saw this spot kick saved by Lloris in the France goal

Paying the penalty: Cesc Fabregas saw this spot kick saved by Lloris in the France goal

Spain's start to the second period was disrupted just as it was in the first by an early injury as this time Alvaro Arbeloa limped off, replaced by Juanfran, and that change seemed to give Ribery some encouragement as he attacked with far more purpose than he had before the break.

The Bayern Munich playmaker saw a shot deflected just wide on 58 minutes before Koscielny failed to make a clean connection to turn in the resulting corner.

Fabregas and Xavi then had chances to seal the points but both were denied by last ditch French defending as they bore down on goal.

Benzema really ought to have brought Deschamps' men level as he somehow miscued from Ribery's fantastic cross with the goal at his mercy from five yards.

Worrying: Manchester City midfielder David Silva (right) hobbled off injured after just 10 minutes

Worrying: Manchester City midfielder David Silva (right) hobbled off injured after just 10 minutes

France continued to threaten though with Benzema's movement in particular causing all sorts of problems and he teed up another great chance for substitute Sissoko 17 minutes from time but the Toulouse midfielder blazed his volley over.

Benzema was eventually forced off himself with a knock two minutes from the end but it turned out to be a fortunate change for Deschamps as, with his only real involvement in the game, Giroud delicately directed Ribery's pinpoint cross into the net.

Rafael confirms new Manchester United contract

Delight for Rafael as Brazilian seals new Manchester United contract

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UPDATED:

16:17 GMT, 18 June 2012

Manchester United defender Rafael is set to sign a new contract that will keep him at Old Trafford until 2016.

The Brazilian full-back has made 90 senior appearances since his arrival in July 2008, and started the 2009 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona in Rome.

Although there are plenty who feel Rafael is still too rash in the tackle, there is no doubting his attacking instincts and Sir Alex Ferguson evidently believes he has a big future.

United he stands: Rafael will sign a new deal with Manchester United until 2016

United he stands: Rafael will sign a new deal with Manchester United until 2016

Rafael won his first senior caps for the Brazil national side last month and the 21-year-old's agent, Cassiano Pereira, told Estadao ESPN: 'Rafael is very happy to stay at Manchester United, who are one of the giants of world football and always play in Europe's biggest competitions.

'Manchester United are the club that opened the door to Europe for him. He is loved, respected and has prestige at the club. We are all very happy that he is renewing his contract.'

Rafael is due to be separated from his twin brother Fabio next season though as he is being lined up for a loan move to QPR.

England coach Stuart Lancaster defends decision to ditch Owen Farrell

Gambler Lancaster defends decision to ditch Farrell for second Test

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UPDATED:

20:56 GMT, 14 June 2012

Stuart Lancaster has rejected suggestions that his overhaul of
the England back line represents a 'radical' gamble, after confirming
the recall of Toby Flood in place of Owen Farrell and a full Test debut
for Jonathan Joseph.

As revealed in yesterday's Sportsmail, the No 10 shirt has been passed
from the off-colour Saracens rookie Farrell to Leicester's
Flood, the most-capped player in this England touring squad, for
tomorrow's pivotal second encounter with the Springboks at Ellis Park.

All change: Flood (left) is in while Farrell (right) misses out

All change: Flood (left) is in while Farrell (right) misses out

All change: Flood (left) is in while Farrell (right) misses out

We told you first…

Sportsmail's Chris Foy reveals Lancaster's plans to drop Farrell

Further changes behind the scrum see Manu Tuilagi shift to inside centre to form a new midfield partnership with London Irish sensation Jonathan Joseph, while David Strettle returns to the starting XV on the wing.

There is a clear sense of Lancaster and his assistant coaches, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt, showing their full hand here with a bold selection designed to ignite the national team's attacking game with youthful vigour.

The pairing of Tuilagi and Joseph is a positive move, audacious even, but Lancaster was adamant that it is not a step too far.

'I've never been afraid to trust my instincts and trust the instincts of the other coaches,' he said. 'If you'd sat down at the end of the World Cup and tried to pick the team that would play against Scotland (at the start of the Six Nations) most people would have said, “That is a pretty radical selection”.

'We have never been afraid to do that if we are confident in the players, so I wouldn't describe it as radical. Opportunities have been presented due to injury. We have to learn about the players and see if they can step up to the highest level.'

Owen going: Farrell has made changes to his team for the second Test

Owen going: Farrell has made changes to his team for the second Test

Much of the focus inevitably falls on the change at stand-off, where
Flood returns after a strong impact as a replacement during last
weekend's defeat in Durban. Being dropped to the bench is a setback for
Farrell, but Lancaster claimed the 20-year-old has reacted in a way that
suggests it will be a temporary hitch.

ENGLAND TEAM v SOUTH AFRICA

B Foden; C Ashton, J Joseph, M Tuilagi, D Strettle; T Flood, B
Youngs; J Marler, D Hartley, D Cole; M Botha, G Parling (Leicester); T
Johnson (Exeter), B Morgan, C Robshaw (capt).

Subs: L Mears, A
Corbisiero, T Palmer, P Dowson, L Dickson, O Farrell, A Goode.

'He took the news in an extremely professional way,' said the head
coach. 'He's trained fantastically well since and has been an example of
how a player should treat a disappointment and respond. The reality is
that we've not dropped him out of the 22 so there's a very good chance
he will play a big part as the game goes on.

'I sat down with him at the start of the week to tell him the news, then
I gave him 24 hours to think about our conversation and had another sit
down. His question to me was, “What do you think I need to work on
going into this Test”.

'I'm not going to talk publicly about that but his strengths far outweigh the areas that need developing.
'I think it is important to remember this time a year ago Owen was
playing in the Premiership final and the Under 20 World Cup Final. He
has got a fantastic future ahead of him.'

Assessing what Flood will offer in his first start since the World Cup,
Lancaster added: 'Toby plays flat to the line, kicks well, moves
defences around and that's what I hope he'll bring to the game.'

Flood alert: Toby is in as Farrell drops down to the bench

Flood alert: Toby is in as Farrell drops down to the bench

Flood alert: Toby is in as Farrell drops down to the bench

The theory behind the centre switch is to employ a gainline- busting,
off-loading 12 and a sharp, nimble, astute 13 capable of making outside
breaks. Tuilagi will be away from his familiar position, but there is a
positive omen for England as the Samoan-born centre wore the No 12 shirt
when the Tigers beat the touring Springboks at Welford Road in
November, 2009.

'/06/14/article-2159170-13870D5F000005DC-172_634x421.jpg” width=”634″ height=”421″ alt=”Best foot forward: Farrell kicked four penalties in Durban” class=”blkBorder” />

Best foot forward: Farrell kicked four penalties in Durban

John Guidetti warns Manchester City to play him or lose him

Guidetti warns City to play him or lose him after taking Holland by storm on loan spell

Manchester City striker John Guidetti has warned he may look to leave the Etihad Stadium if he is not promoted into the first team when he returns from loan at Feyenoord.

Guidetti has made his name during a loan spell with the Dutch giants, scoring 18 goals in just 17 games, and is not prepared to give up first-team football now he has had a taste.

Bayern Munich are known admirers of the 19-year-old Sweden striker, who was signed as a youth player by Sven-Goran Eriksson but has so far not had a sniff under Roberto Mancini.

Remember the name: John Guidetti has shone on loan at Feyenoord

Remember the name: John Guidetti has shone on loan at Feyenoord

Debut: Guidetti in action for Sweden

Debut: Guidetti in action for Sweden

But although Guidetti said it would be a wrench to leave Feyenoord after such a successful spell, the forward also admits he does not care where he ends up, so long as he remains a regular in the starting line-up.

Guidetti had a brief spell on loan at Burnley last season, scoring just one goal for the Clarets in five games.

But his striker's instincts have been more apparent in Holland, where he has become just the second player in the history of the Eredivisie to score hat-tricks in three consecutive home games.

Rare sighting: Guidetti (right) has hardly featured for parent club City

Rare sighting: Guidetti (right) has hardly featured for parent club City

And his stunning form has led to international recognition, with Guidetti making his Sweden debut in the 3-1 friendly win in Croatia last week.

Asked whether he had considered leaving City in the summer, Guidetti told FC Inter News: 'No, not yet.

'But the question is very simple: I want to play and if in Manchester they see me as the fourth or fifth choice, then Id rather go to a club where I can play.'

He added: 'It does not matter [where I go], what counts for me is to play.

'It would be painful for me to move from a place where I always play, like Feyenoord, to another where I might end up sitting on the bench constantly.'