Tag Archives: journalists

SJA awards: Lawrence Booth wins scoop of the year for Kevin Pietersen texts

Sportsmail's Booth wins scoop of the year at SJA awards for revealing Pietersen texts

PUBLISHED:

22:41 GMT, 25 March 2013

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UPDATED:

08:10 GMT, 26 March 2013

Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth picked up a prestigious gong at this year's Sports Journalists' Association awards.

Our cricket reporter – who is also the editor of Wisden – led the way with his brilliant story about Kevin Pietersen's text-message scandal last summer.

This was recognised as the scoop of the year at the awards night in London on Monday night.

LAWRENCE BOOTH

Neil Ashton

Recognition: Sportsmail cricket writer Lawrence Booth (left) won the scoop of the year and Neil Ashton (right), Jeff Powell (bottom left) and Jonathan McEvoy (bottom right) were highly commended in their categories

JEFF POWELL

Jonathan McEvoy

Pietersen was revealed to have sent text
messages to members of the South African dressing room about his then
captain Andrew Strauss – later described by Pietersen himself as
'provocative' – which caused an almighty schism in the team's dressing
room.

The scandal led to England's star
batsman being exiled from the squad for the rest of the Test series
defeat against the Proteas. It was also the final straw for Strauss, who
resigned the England captaincy soon after and retired from all cricket.

Meanwhile, Sportsmail's football news correspondent Neil Ashton was highly commended in the specialist correspondent category at the awards, while Jonathan McEvoy was highly commended as a sports news reporter. Boxing correspondent Jeff Powell was highly commended in the feature writer award.

The Mail on Sunday also picked up two prestigious awards, with Patrick Collins named as the columnist of year, while Martha Kelner won the young sports writer award.

Read Lawrence Booth's scoop of the year and his latest Top Spin column
EXCLUSIVE: KP text alert! Pietersen sent messages to opposition during Test

CLICK HERE to read the full award-winning story

The Top Spin: It's the end of an era as throwback Blackwell calls it a day (and ensures he will be a permanent one-cap wonder)

CLICK HERE to read the full column

And don't forget to read Lawrence Booth's latest Top Spin column on Tuesday morning at www.dailymail.co.uk/sport

Montenegro stick boot into England over long balls and weak defence

England are SCARED of us! You complain about the pitch when you play long ball. You should forget about our fans and worry about your 'weak' defence instead, blast Montenegro

qualifier against England in Podgorica in 2011″ class=”blkBorder” />

Passion: Montenegro fans react after the Euro 2012 qualifier against England in Podgorica in 2011

Passion: Montenegro fans react after the Euro 2012 qualifier against England in Podgorica in 2011

Meanwhile, the president of Montenegro’s football association has begged his own supporters to behave during England’s crunch World Cup qualifier tomorrow night.

Dejan Savicevic awarded Mirko Vucinic with the Montenegro Player of the Year award at Podgorica but took the opportunity to appeal for good behaviour from his own fans.

The Montenegro FA were fined 30,000 for a pitch invasion the last time England visited Montenegro.

He said: ‘I would like our journalists in Montenegro to appeal to our fans to cheer on the team in a sporting manner.

‘During
the last year and a half, our association has to pay penalties for up
to 90,000 Euros we had to bear for the behaviour of our supporters on
this ground.’

Vucinic
himself said he did not believe there would be any crowd trouble
tomorrow night, saying: ‘I expect a beautiful, wonderful atmosphere.

'Our
audience is great and they lift us and carry us on their wings like a
12th player. I am only sorry the stadium is not larger.’

Asked
whether Montenegro will try to play on Rooney’s temperament and wind
him up to get him sent off, Vucinic said: ‘It will not be our tactics to
make him lose his temper.

‘It
will be in our favour if he is given a red card but we will not be
doing anything to provoke him or make him lose his temper.’

Doubts: Joleon Lescott is expected to marshal the England defence alongside Chris Smalling

Doubts: Joleon Lescott (above) is expected to marshal the England defence alongside Chris Smalling (below)

Doubts: Joleon Lescott is expected to marshal the England defence alongside Chris Smalling

Doubts: Joleon Lescott is expected to marshal the England defence alongside Chris Smalling

Vucinic added: ‘We feel well considering we played a difficult game in Moldova which we won with 10 men. This victory inspires us with self-confidence and hope against strong opponents like England who we are not scared of at all.

‘From the moment I run onto the field I think of victory. That is my way of thinking when I play in Italy and this is the way I think now. What I can say about tomorrow evening is that we keep fingers crossed for Montenegro to win but what we can say is that it will not be as big a thing as it will be if England fail.

'If England fail, it will cost them more. If I’m not wrong, they will be five points behind if they lose tomorrow.’

Sir Alex Ferguson: The master of fear and intimidation

The master of fear and intimidation: Clever, witty, withering, belligerent, mischievous and slightly deluded… this was classic Fergie

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UPDATED:

22:49 GMT, 28 December 2012

Ten minutes before Sir Alex
Ferguson’s weekly press conference was officially due to begin at
Carrington yesterday, and the Manchester United manager was already in
full flow.

As referee Mike Dean and his
assistants found out at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, Ferguson has been
known to make up the rules as he goes along.

For those reporters who got there in
time to witness it, this was classic Ferguson. Clever, witty, withering,
belligerent, mischievous and, yes it has to be said, slightly deluded.

Poor decision: Ferguson was unhappy with the officials after Evans's controversial own-goal

Poor decision: Ferguson was unhappy with the officials after Evans's controversial own-goal

Poor decision: Ferguson was unhappy with the officials after Evans's controversial own-goal

Dismissing Newcastle as ‘a wee club in the North East’ is a putdown that will be remembered long after Ferguson has left Old Trafford; it’s right up there with ‘knocking Liverpool off their f***ing perch’ and ‘when an Italian tells me it’s pasta on the plate, I check under the sauce to make sure’.

The Scot knew exactly what effect that line would have, what headlines it would create, and that’s the clever bit.

/12/28/article-2254115-063A6BCA000005DC-912_634x476.jpg” width=”634″ height=”476″ alt=”Off you go: Dean sent Wenger to the stands at Old Trafford in 2009″ class=”blkBorder” />

Off you go: Dean sent Wenger to the stands at Old Trafford in 2009

Off you go: Dean sent Wenger to the stands at Old Trafford in 2009

Three days short of his 71st birthday, you had to admire him for rolling
up his sleeves and rolling back the years to put Pardew and Newcastle
in their place.

After walking in shortly before 9.20am, slightly windswept but
completely composed, he was so eager to get started that some
journalists had not even entered the building when he delivered the
killer line that felt like it was prepared in advance.

‘I’m the manager of the biggest club in the world,’ said Ferguson with a
twinkle in his eye and venom in his voice. ‘I’m not like Newcastle, a
wee club in the North East.’

At a stroke he became public enemy No 1 on Tyneside, although his
popularity will have shot up in Sunderland. For pure pantomime you
really couldn’t beat it.

That’s what makes Ferguson’s weekly address such compulsive viewing, and
he knows it. Less of a press conference, more an audience with
footballing royalty.

Empty seats denote those reporters who have been exiled for their sins,
while microphones on handheld metal poles hover around a draughty room
upstairs at United’s academy building to pick up every faltering
question asked from the floor while Ferguson holds court.

His demeanour dictates the mood just as he decides when proceedings begin, regardless of the arrangement.

A cosy cup of tea and a sticky bun with Roberto Martinez at Wigan it
certainly ain’t. And that’s the way Ferguson wants it. Whether it’s
journalists coming to Carrington or match officials walking out at Old
Trafford, it suits him to get people out of their comfort zone.

For all his success in evolving as a manager to cope with the modern
footballer, fear and intimidation remain Ferguson’s most effective
weapons. Dean and his assistants were reminded of that on Wednesday and
did nothing about it.

Ferguson is actually required by the Premier League to conduct an
after-match press conference as well, just like every other manager, but
has refused to do so for years. They do nothing about it. You cannot
therefore blame clubs for feeling that there is one rule for them and
another for United.

A few hundred yards away at their own Carrington training base
yesterday, Manchester City were shaking their heads in disbelief over
the FA’s decision to take action against Roberto Mancini for suggesting
after the defeat at Sunderland that referee Kevin Friend ‘ate too much
at Christmas’.

City have until next Wednesday to give their observations, and will
point out that Mancini was being light-hearted, but a misconduct charge
is sure to follow.

Comparing the two cases, they are baffled that their manager will be
punished and Ferguson will not — although it’s only fair to point out
that the United boss was banned for two games and fined 20,000 three
years ago for saying that Alan Wiley was not physically fit enough to
referee.

This week has been a reminder that no-one stirs up the emotions — his own and everybody else’s — quite like Sir Alex Ferguson.

It’s what makes him who he is. It’s why we’ll miss him so much when he’s gone.

Lionel Messi comes third in Argentina"s best athlete poll

Third rate! Messi loses out to boxer and taekwondo fighter for Argentina's best athlete award

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UPDATED:

20:28 GMT, 19 December 2012

Ask a group of people who you think the best athlete or sportsman in the world is, and Lionel Messi will be a name you'll hear a lot.

Unless this group of people is comprised of Argentine journalists, who don't even rate Messi as the best in their country. Or second best for that matter.

Pretty good year: Sergio Martinez with his trophy after beating Sebastian Chrismanich and Lionel Messi to the award

Pretty good year: Sergio Martinez with his trophy after beating Sebastian Chrismanich and Lionel Messi to the award

Ready for it: Martinez will fight British boxer Martin Murray in April 2013

Ready for it: Martinez will fight British boxer Martin Murray in April 2013

No, it was third place for the Barcelona superstar who finished behind boxer Sergio Martinez and taekwondo fighter Sebastian Crismanich.

Messi's incredible record breaking goal haul – he has 90 so far this year – wasn't enough to put him ahead of the competition.

Martinez won the Olimpia de Oro after beating Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in their WBC title fight earlier this year. He will fight British boxer Martin Murray in April 2013.

What, not me Lionel Messi finished third in the poll of Argentine journalists

What, not me Lionel Messi finished third in the poll of Argentine journalists

Crismanich, meanwhile, was Argentina's only gold medallist in the London 2012 Olympics.

'It is an honor having won this prize contending with athletes like Sebastian Crismanich and Leo Messi,' Martinez said at the award ceremony on Tuesday night.

But having picked up the award in 2011 and being the hot favourite for the Ballon d'Or, Messi won't be too upset.

F1 news: Max Chilton set to drive for Marussia in 2013

Young Brit Chilton set to join Hamilton, Button and Di Resta on the grid with Marussia drive

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UPDATED:

16:31 GMT, 17 December 2012

Brit special: Max Chilton is line for a drive with Marussia

Brit special: Max Chilton is line for a drive with Marussia

Max Chilton is set to be announced as the fourth Briton on the Formula One grid next season after finalising a deal with Marussia.

Chilton has long been expected to be the replacement for Charles Pic who has moved to rival outfit Caterham.

The Reigate-born driver got his first taste of a Formula One car on a purpose built circuit in Abu Dhabi this year when he took part in Friday testing.

Flamboyant Marussia co-owner Nikolai Fomenko is understood to have confirmed to Russian journalists that Chilton has indeed got the nod to replace Pic and will join Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Paul di Resta in Formula One for the coming campaign.

In addition, BBC Formula One analyst and former team owner, Eddie Jordan, has subsequently stated that Chilton will be taking the step up from GP2, the rung below full-blown grand prix racing.

Practice makes perfect: Chilton tested for Marussia at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Practice makes perfect: Chilton tested for Marussia at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Chilton, 21, is the son of Grahame Chilton, the non-executive chairman of insurance giant Aon Benfield’s UK holding company who is reportedly worth around 100million.

However, he has previously stated that the estimated 9.5million funding he has secured to realise his Formula One dream does not come from the family coffers.

Wilfried Zaha unkown to Sweden manager Erik Hamren

Wilfried who Sweden boss Hamren admits he has never heard of Zaha

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UPDATED:

11:31 GMT, 14 November 2012

He has mentioned himself in the same breath as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but the man who will have to come up with a plan to deal with Wilfried Zaha on Wednesday night has never heard of him.

Sweden boss Erik Hamren was initially dismissive when asked about the Crystal Palace winger, but he quickly backtracked and asked his scouts to fill him in on the 20-year-old after journalists talked up the player's ability.

Star of the future: Zaha trained at the Friends Arena on Tuesday night

Star of the future: Zaha trained at the Friends Arena on Tuesday night

Star of the future: Zaha trained at the Friends Arena on Tuesday night

'Wilfried Zaha I know some ‘Saha’ but I don’t know if it’s the right one,' Hamren told The Sun.

'I have a scout who can fill me in, but for this game I haven’t been so focused on England. For me, it’s more the team than players.

'It’s the same for Roy Hodgson. Of course, when you have a young and inexperienced player, there have to be some changes. I’m sure he’ll want to play his way of football too.

Unknown quantity: The Palace winger has never played in the top flight

Unknown quantity: The Palace winger has never played in the top flight

'I hope I don’t have a bad surprise with the player. It’s scary what you say.

'In sport we need heroes and stars. I don’t know about him but sometimes you make a star too early.

'It’s better to make him a star when he is a star in world football. I hope he’s not a star on Wednesday but in the future.'

Big night: Zaha is expected to make his debut from the bench on Wednesday night

Big night: Zaha is expected to make his debut from the bench on Wednesday night

Zaha is expected to make his England debut from the bench in Stockholm.

The Palace star only turned 20 on Saturday and has never made an appearance in the Premier League – though he has helped guide the south London club to the top of the Championship with a string of impressive displays this season.

Marouane Fellaini reveals Everton quit plans as Chelsea bid looms

Chelsea plot 30m Fellaini raid as Everton star hints that he wants out

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UPDATED:

09:36 GMT, 13 November 2012

Marouane Fellaini has dropped the biggest hint yet that he will be quitting Goodison Park.

The Belgian international has told press in his own country that he will be seeking a fresh challenge in the New Year.

Everton boss David Moyes has insisted he will be looking for a 'big price' should the moment come when a bid is received at the Merseyside club.

End of the road: Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini is ready to quit Everton for pastures new

End of the road: Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini is ready to quit Everton for pastures new

Sportsmail understands that Chelsea will lead the way with a 30m offer for the 24-year-old when the transfer window opens.

Fellaini is reported to have told journalists in his own country: 'I've seen everything with Everton and in January or at the end of the season, I will turn to a new club or a new league.'

As the six-foot four-inch tall attacking midfielder is eligible for the Champions League, he is an attractive target for some of European football's richest.

Hair we go: Fellaini has been in tremendous form so far this season, alerting a host of top suitors to his services

Hair we go: Fellaini has been in tremendous form so far this season, alerting a host of top suitors to his services

However, the player who has become a cult figure on Merseyside with his eye-catching head of hair, only signed an improved five-year deal little more than 12 months ago.

But the cash on offer, allied to the club's financial position, may force Moyes's hand – although the Scot is hoping that the player, who grabbed his sixth goal of the season in the Toffees' 2-1 victory over Sunderland will stay to help the club's push towards Champions League qualification themselves.

Indian Grand Prix 2012: Fernando Alonso earns praise

Vettel wins in India but Alonso takes plaudits to keep title challenge alive

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 28 October 2012

Hands up, we British journalists did our share of turning Fernando Alonso into a pantomime villain when he and Lewis Hamilton spent a vicious year together at McLaren.

Team-mates Hardly. Alonso, rattled by his upstart rival, was full of tantrums and truculence. So he deserved most of this approbation he got. But today we can lavish him with praise.

No, Ferrari’s honoured son did not win Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel, in serene command of his superior Red Bull, did that, opening up his lead at the top of the championship to 13 points with three races remaining. But Alonso, the runner-up, is surely still the man who deserves the world title.

Main man: Fernando Alonso celebrates finishing second in the Indian Grand Prix

Main man: Fernando Alonso celebrates finishing second in the Indian Grand Prix

Some in the sport argue that whoever wins the championship is inevitably the best driver. Not always. Vettel’s car, designed by the master, Adrian Newey, is clearly the fastest. A measure of that is that Red Bull have locked out the front row of the grid in the last three qualifying sessions.

So once Vettel had navigated the first corner in the lead on Sunday, he had a clear road to victory. The German accomplished the feat faultlessly, making him the first driver since Ayrton Senna in 1989 to lead every lap for three consecutive races.

No 1: Sebastian Vettel won again

No 1: Sebastian Vettel won again

Vettel is a brilliant driver but the
argument for Alonso is simply that he is surpassing the equipment he is
sitting in with a skill and tenacity currently unmatched. Those
qualities took him up the field from sixth on the grid — a reflection of
Ferrari’s true one-lap pace.

He wrestled his way past both British drivers and zipped by Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber, who was suffering from an intermittent KERS system that finally stopped working altogether and meant he finished third.

What is at stake is important. Both Vettel and Alonso are double world champions in search of the third title that confers legendary status.

Another rightful rival for the laurels of their era, Lewis Hamilton, the British driver Alonso recently credited with being able to win races in a sub-standard car, made his views clear.

‘It’s not for me to say but if I was watching TV I think this year Fernando has driven so well; more so than anyone else here,’ said the McLaren man, whose fourth, a place ahead of team-mate Jenson Button, means he must win the last three races to stand even a theoretical chance of the title.

‘Sebastian has stepped up a lot at the end of the year with the improvements on his car. But Fernando is still pushing. Today he just drove phenomenally well and he’s holding on, still. For me, he really is a three or four-time world champion.’

So what are we to make of stories that Vettel has agreed to join Ferrari for 2014 ‘Bull**** on the BBC website,’ said Vettel’s team principal, Christian Horner. Vettel also used the bovine and manure terminology.

Fighting back: Alonso overtook both McLaren drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button in India

Fighting back: Alonso overtook both McLaren drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button in India

One theory says that Vettel is going nowhere: Ferrari favour an outright No 1 driver and Alonso is that man.

Yet the source in this instance is Italian and so far impeccable in such matters. Sportsmail sources suggest Vettel has signed some sort of agreement, with ifs and buts.

For now Alonso, though trailing in the table, is Ferrari’s jewel in the smog.

Indian Grand Prix

England must avoid slip-up in Poland – Martin Samuel

Beware travel sickness! Hodgson must avoid slip-ups on the road – now that Wembley is no longer a fortress

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UPDATED:

22:12 GMT, 15 October 2012

Martin is British No 1

Martin Samuel has been named Britain’s top sports journalist. Chief sports writer Samuel, whose columns every Monday and Wednesday tackle sport’s biggest issues with power and ingenuity, came first in the Press Gazette’s top 50 sports journalists.

The awards list was compiled by polling some of the biggest names in British sports journalism. Sportsmail’s Des Kelly was recognised for his weekly column, as was Charles Sale for his work on Sports Agenda.

There was a time when a draw in Poland was a good result. That was the mistake Graham Taylor made all those years ago. His team played poorly in Katowice, sneaked a point, and he dismissed them in public as headless chickens. The players took umbrage, went to Norway and lost, and began an inexorable slide out of the 1994 World Cup.

In the aftermath it was widely agreed that Taylor made a hash of the trip to Poland. Criticise the players behind closed doors, yes, but accept that a 1-1 draw is still a decent result and be diplomatic beyond those confines.

Times have changed. On the surface, a draw in Warsaw is good news. Poland are a young, improving team, playing in front of a noisy, full house. Many teams would settle for a draw in Poland. Germany and Portugal did in friendly matches here last season; Argentina lost in June 2011.

Big night ahead: England manager Roy Hodgson (left) and striker Wayne Rooney (right) in training in Warsaw

Big night ahead: England manager Roy Hodgson (left) and striker Wayne Rooney (right) in training in Warsaw

Yet, for England manager Roy Hodgson, the problem is this: England can no longer be guaranteed to win at home. Away draws only have worth if accompanied by home victories in the corresponding fixture, and nobody talks of fortress Wembley any more.

In May 1993, it was anticipated that a point in Katowice would soon be accompanied by three more at Wembley in September and so it proved, with a 3-0 win.

Yet England have already dropped two points at home to Ukraine in this campaign and while the 3-2 reverse against Croatia in 2007 is the only qualifying defeat in 12 years, there are an increasing number of draws and a worrying air of uncertainty.

Few would bet with any confidence against further slip-ups in this group. England’s final two matches are at home to Montenegro — who closed ranks and drew 0-0 on their last visit to Wembley, in the time of Fabio Capello — and Poland, a year from now.

Banana skin: The Poland squad warm up at the National Stadium in Warsaw on Monday night

Banana skin: The Poland squad warm up at the National Stadium in Warsaw on Monday night

If six points are required to avoid a
play-off or, worse, the exit, these could prove very tense affairs,
given England’s variable home form.

At the National Stadium in Warsaw, Hodgson attempted to make sense of a match some see as the most critical of his 11 in charge. If the European Championship tournament was blessed with low expectation — giving it a slightly unreal air — Hodgson has now had enough time to be handed responsibility for any failure.

Lose in Poland and there will be few excuses, even if the international retirement of John Terry is a greater blow than his many detractors would have us believe.

Hodgson said that the idea of a ‘must-win’ match was a football cliche that left him cold. He has been around the block plenty of times and, after his unofficial meet and greet on the London Underground, was not about to let another slip of the tongue cause him more problems than the opposition ever could.

Hart at work: England goalkeeper Joe is put through his paces in the Polish capital

Hart at work: England goalkeeper Joe is put through his paces in the Polish capital

There is no result that could
eliminate England in Poland, Hodgson made clear. He knows how quickly
the balance of power changes in group football.

Ukraine drew 1-1 at Wembley and no
doubt felt that the advantage was with them; then they drew 0-0 last
Friday away in Moldova, where England won 5-0 last month. Back to
square one.

Yet Hodgson was equally aware what a fillip a victory in Warsaw would be. ‘It reduces the pressure enormously if you can get a result away from home,’ he said, ‘and those victories are not as difficult to achieve as they once were.

Road to Brazil: England have already dropped points at home to Ukraine and cannot afford to let more slip

Road to Brazil: England have already dropped points at home to Ukraine and cannot afford to let more slip

Roy Hodgson's perfect start

‘Games are more open, with teams
having to come at you and leaving themselves vulnerable. At Wembley,
teams hope they can catch us on the counter-attack if we open ourselves
up too much. Look at the number of away wins in the Premier League in
recent seasons as well. That did not used to happen, but football is
changing.

‘And I know the
statistics, we did draw against Montenegro, we did lose to Croatia and
draw with Ukraine, but I still think the record at Wembley is pretty
good. We can remain confident of playing at home.’

That is not always how Capello saw
it. He thought England suffered an inferiority complex, particularly at
Wembley and came to the conclusion very early in his tenure that he
preferred away games.

Hodgson has only played two
competitive matches in London, a joke fixture against San Marino, and
the more stringent examination presented by Ukraine, which England
failed. The manager is beginning to experience the fragility that can
strike English players at any time.

Capello’s team sailed towards South
Africa in 2010 as one of the strongest European contenders, only to be
affected by torpor once there. England battled their way out of a
difficult group in Ukraine this summer, only to freeze against Italy in
the quarter-finals.

And
what happened to the Sven Goran Eriksson team that beat Germany 5-1 in
Munich They were stumbling and on the plane home from the World Cup in
2002 long before Germany reached the final.

‘The one thing we know is that, in Warsaw, we will face a very highly motivated team with a very vocal and enthusiastic support, because we are a scalp,’ Hodgson said. ‘England have always been a scalp.

‘We watched games about San Marino and, in those matches, their performance was nothing like it was at Wembley. They gave a bit to the game, rather than just being ultra-defensive. Their respect was a flattering aspect, seeing them simply trying to keep the score down.

‘So we know that Poland will be
rubbing their hands with glee at this game, given that, if they win,
it’s such a feather in their cap. First, we have to make sure we’re not
the victims.’

To this end, Hodgson is leaning towards experience rather than the cavalier approach: Michael Carrick not Tom Cleverley, Jermain Defoe not Danny Welbeck.

Away wins may be easier to come by in international football these days, but Hodgson’s tendency to caution suggests he will attempt to snaffle one, rather than enter the refurbished National Stadium with guns blazing. That is his prerogative. What he cannot afford to do, however, is allow conservative leanings to result in a missed opportunity.

This is a Poland team without captain Jakub Blaszczykowski and ranked 54th in the world, marginally higher than the Bulgarians who England beat home and away en route to the 2012 European Championship. No England manager since Sir Alf Ramsey in 1973 has lost in Poland, either.

‘Historical moments don’t really interest me,’ said Hodgson. ‘I don’t dismiss history, knowledge of it gives you some perspective: but it doesn’t help you win a football match.’

He must hope he locates what does in Warsaw; otherwise the road could get rather dicey from here. Even that familiar road home.

Barcelona"s Andres Iniesta named UEFA"s best player in Europe

Simply the best! Barcelona's Iniesta pips Ronaldo and Messi to top European gong

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UPDATED:

17:54 GMT, 30 August 2012

Andres Iniesta was named UEFA's best player in Europe at an awards ceremony in Monaco.

The Barcelona midfielder, who inspired Spain to retain their crown at Euro 2012, won the vote by 53 sports journalists representing each of UEFA's member nations.

He was chosen ahead of Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi and Real Madrid midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo.

UEFA created the honor after France Football magazine combined its traditional European award with FIFA's world player prize.

 In a league of his own: Barcelona's Andres Iniesta was named UEFA's best player in Europe

In a league of his own: Barcelona's Andres Iniesta was named UEFA's best player in Europe

Club division: Barcelona's Iniesta and Lionel Messi stand on stage a few feet apart from Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo

Club division: Barcelona's Iniesta and Lionel Messi stand on stage a few feet apart from Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo

Well done: UEFA president Michel Platini congratulates Iniesta as Messi and Ronaldo look on

Well done: UEFA president Michel Platini congratulates Iniesta as Messi and Ronaldo look on

Team solidarity: Iniesta is congratulated by Messi as Ronaldo stands by

Team solidarity: Iniesta is congratulated by Messi as Ronaldo stands by