Tag Archives: junior

Arsenal players sing Christmas songs in fans video

Santi Cazorla's coming to town: Gunners give us their top three picks from the fans chant competition

|

UPDATED:

10:53 GMT, 21 December 2012

It looks as though Arsenal’s 5-2 thrashing of Reading may have brought a little festive spirit to the Emirates Stadium.

Armed with an array of musical instruments, including some maracas and a harmonica, a few of the Arsenal boys belted out some potential Christmas chants for their fans.

They selected the top three choices from the fans chant competition, which included ‘Santi Cazorla’s coming to town.’

Scroll down for video

Enlarge

The Arsenal team sang their top three fan chants

The Gunners still look merry off the back of their 5-2 victory over Reading

Tomas Rosicky joined the Arsenal team in singing some fan chants

Tomas Rosicky put in a winning performance on the guitar as the team sang 'Santi Cazorla's Coming to Town'

Theo Walcott seemed to be enjoying his turn with the tambourine, while goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny took the lead on vocals.

He was backed up by Tomas Rosicky and Johan Djourou, who were pleased with the team’s rendition of ‘Call Me Szczesny.’

But their best performance had to be their third – ‘A Little Bit of Arsenal’ set to the tune of Mambo No 5.

Fans can vote for their favourite chant on the Junior Gunners website. Those who do will be in with a chance of winning a PS3 games console.

Frankie Gavin will ditch British Lonsdale belt if he necessary for European title shot

Gavin ready to ditch Londsale belt if it gives him chance of European title shot

|

UPDATED:

18:48 GMT, 19 December 2012

Frankie Gavin insists there will be no room for sentiment if he has to dump the prestigious British Lonsdale belt in order to secure a European welterweight shot.

The domestic champion defends his crown for the first time against Jason Welborn at Walsall Town Hall on January 18.

The Birmingham fighter earned the title by outsmarting wily veteran Junior Witter recently and has been rewarded with a seemingly straightforward assignment in nearby Walsall against local lad Welborn.

No room for sentimentality: Frankie Gavin will ditch the belt if needs be

No room for sentimentality: Frankie Gavin will ditch the belt if needs be

'Nobody wanted to fight Witter, nobody was calling him out except me,' the 27-year-old said.

'I got myself into the mandatory position and did what I had to do to get the best of him.

'The dust has settled on that and it's about defending the title now. Jason Welborn will do everything he can to get close to me and knock me out but I've got different feelings about that.

'I'll use my ring smarts and ring craft and hopefully will have too much for him.

'It's going to be a great atmosphere. He sells a lot of tickets, I do too, it's going to be packed. It's great for me to be back in my local area in a Brum v Black Country scrap.'

Gavin (14-0, 10KOs), who is ranked in the European top 10, added: 'It's very important to me to keep busy and keep this belt but if the two defences don't happen quickly and I get offered a European title shot or something different of that stature then I'll take it.

Up for it: Gavin (right) in action against Michael Lomax

Up for it: Gavin (right) in action against Michael Lomax

'It's important that I keep winning. That's all that matters to me.

'I've got a winner's mentality. I just want to win, win, win. Whatever it takes.'

Welborn (11-1, 5 KOs) is happy to postpone Christmas festivities in order to fulfil his dream.

He said: 'It's two local lads fighting in the local area and you don't often get fights like this. That's why tickets have just flown out – he's sold all of his and I've sold all mine. We're trying to get more.

'I've got to be good over Christmas but this is my Christmas present, to get that belt. I felt it earlier and I want it.'

Local favourite Martin Gethin fights for the vacant British and Commonwealth lightweight belts against Ben Murphy on the same bill.

Lewis Hamilton: Best and worst moments at McLaren – Brazilian Grand Prix 2012

Six of the best (and worst)! Sportsmail looks back at Lewis Hamilton's tumultuous career with McLaren as the Brit ace bids farewell

|

UPDATED:

13:26 GMT, 23 November 2012

Lewis Hamilton will end his 14-year association with McLaren after this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix. It will mark the conclusion of a sometimes turbulent six-season spell with the British outfit.

Sportsmail looks back at his six best and worst moments since he emphatically burst on to the Formula One scene back in 2007.

'Thank you, McLaren': Hamilton will join Mercedes on a three-year deal after 14 years with the British outfit

'Thank you, McLaren': Hamilton will join Mercedes on a three-year deal after 14 years with the British outfit

BEST
Maiden win
Canadian Grand Prix, June 2007

A star was (officially) born in
Montreal back in 2007. Hamilton claimed the first pole position of his
grand prix career before sealing his maiden win. Despite his tender
years and limited experience, Hamilton led from start-to-finish and his
performance was faultless – even with the safety car emerging on four
separate occasions. It was only Hamilton's sixth grand prix, with
three-times world champion Niki Lauda left 'stunned' by the
British driver's performance. Hamilton became the first black driver to
win a grand prix and the youngest driver ever to lead the world
championship.

Maiden victory: Hamilton celebrates becoming the first black driver to win a grand prix

Maiden victory: Hamilton celebrates becoming the first black driver to win a grand prix

Maiden victory: Hamilton celebrates becoming the first black driver to win a grand prix
Japan-easy
Japanese Grand Prix, September 2007

Hamilton had already forged a
reputation as a wet-weather specialist in the junior ranks of motorsport
before then delivering on the world stage in Fuji. The McLaren driver qualified on pole before mastering the miserable conditions to take the chequered flag – his fourth and final win of the campaign.
Fernando Alonso, already a double world champion and Hamilton's team-mate for the season, spun in his desperate bid to catch his inexperienced McLaren colleague. It left Hamilton leading the title race by 12 points
with just two races remaining.

All smiles: The British star waltzes on to the podium after clinching victory at the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix

All smiles: The British star waltzes on to the podium after clinching victory at the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix

Water performance

British Grand Prix, July 2008

Hamilton arrived at his home grand prix
under huge pressure after two error-strewn races, and could manage only
fourth in qualifying. But in one of the
outstanding performances by a British driver in recent years, the
Stevenage-born star dominated the race, mastering the changeable
conditions and finishing a mammoth 70 seconds ahead of second-place Nick
Heidfeld, whilst lapping the entire field up to third. Unsurprisingly,
Hamilton ranks it among his greatest grand prix victories.

Over the line: Hamilton romped to victory at the rain-affected 2008 British Grand Prix

Over the line: Hamilton romped to victory at the rain-affected 2008 British Grand Prix

Over the line: Hamilton romped to victory at the rain-affected 2008 British Grand Prix
Finest hour
Brazilian Grand Prix, October 2008

'Is that Glock' yelled commentator Martin Brundle. Some four years on and it still sends shiver up the spine. Hamilton sealed the 2008 world title under the most dramatic circumstances after passing Timo Glock at the last corner on the last lap of the last race of the season. Hamilton's championship rival Felipe Massa won the rain-affected grand prix, sparking wild scenes in the Ferrari garage, but their celebrations were premature. It was Hamilton who'd prevailed after he finished fifth and with it sealing the necessary quota of points to claim his first, and to date, only world championship crown.

No 1: Hamilton celebrates his maiden title with father Anthony and popstar girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger

No 1: Hamilton celebrates his maiden title with father Anthony and popstar girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Hungary for success
Hungarian Grand Prix, July 2009

Hamilton was left with a pig of a car to defend his world championship title and arrived at the tenth round of the 2009 season in Hungary with a fourth in Bahrain his best result. Indeed just two races earlier, the McLaren driver had finished a dismal 16th at Silverstone. It's fair to say hopes weren't high in Hungary. But a number of updates on Hamilton's McLaren tied in with the brilliance of the British driver saw him claim his first win of the season. 'It is incredibly special to get back up here, not only on the podium, but to get a win,' said Hamilton. 'It is amazing.' A second victory in Singapore saw Hamilton finish fifth in the championship.

Winner: The British star takes the chequered flag for the first time in 2009

Winner: The British star takes the chequered flag for the first time in 2009

Yanks for the memories
United States Grand Prix, November 2012

Hamilton's displays this term have
arguably been his best since he won the world championship in 2008.
McLaren failures have cost him the chance of battling Sebastian Vettel
and Alonso for the crown, but when his car has been
trouble-free, as it was in Austin last weekend, Hamilton has proven he
still carries all the ability to win a second title. Hamilton kept the
superior Red Bull of Vettel in his sights at the Circuit of The Americas before nailing the German with
12 laps remaining. But will it be his last victory in a McLaren car

WORSTShanghai Noon
Chinese Grand Prix, October 2007

After
a show-stopping debut season, Hamilton arrived at the penultimate race
in Shanghai with one hand on the championship. The McLaren driver led
from the get go but as the heavens opened, the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen
caught and passed his title rival. Entering the pits a flustered
Hamilton then slid off into the gravel, and with it blowing his chances
of becoming the first driver to win a championship in his inaugural
campaign. It must be noted it was Hamilton's only real mistake during a
quite incredible year.

Blow: Hamilton retires from the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix after losing control of his McLaren in the wet conditions

Blow: Hamilton retires from the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix after losing control of his McLaren in the wet conditions

Aussie (break) rules
Australian Grand Prix, March 2009

Hamilton
was disqualified from third place at the 2009 Australian Grand Prix
after he was caught lieing to race stewards. Jarno Trulli was originally penalised
after he passed Hamilton under safety car conditions, but it prevailed
that McLaren had instructed Hamilton to let the Toyota through. The
British team then shamefully tried to cover up the misdemeanour before
Hamilton issued a grovelling apology claiming he was 'misled' and
long-term sporting director Dave Ryan was sacked. The race marked
Hamilton's first as defending champion in a season he won't remember
with much fondness.

Trulli Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Under fire: Hamilton issued after a grovelling apology after he'd allowed Trulli through during the safety car

Racism

Hamilton
was the subject of vile, racist taunts ahead of what turned out to be
his finest hour at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2008. Over 16,000 racist
messages were left on a voodoo-style website taunting the British
driver. Hamilton was referred to as a 'n*****' 'half-breed' and
'Conguito' – a chocolate sweet with racist overtones. Earlier in the
season, Hamilton was jeered at a test in Spain – the home country of
rival Fernando Alonso – where some spectators were seen wearing black
make-up and t-shirts with the slogan 'Hamilton's Family' displayed on
the front.

Enlarge

Shame: Hamilton was jeered by racist fans at pre-season test in Barcelona

Shame: Hamilton was jeered by racist fans at pre-season test in Barcelona

'Don't touch me, man!'
Singapore Grand Prix, September 2011

While Sebastian Vettel took all the plaudits in 2011 after a quite-sublime set of performances, the warring duo of Hamilton and Felipe Massa were never far behind in terms of column inches. The duo clashed six times on the track, with the fractious relationship reaching boiling point at the end of the Singapore Grand Prix when Massa forcefully tugged Hamilton on the shoulder in the TV pen, leaving the McLaren driver to say, 'don't touch me, man.' It was a desperate encounter for both men, who endured equally disappointing seasons.

'It's because I'm black'
Monaco Grand Prix, May 2011

Hamilton is unlikely to look back on the 2011 campaign with much fondness and his ill-advised Ali G impression after the Monaco Grand Prix was probably the pinnacle moment of a miserable year. 'Maybe it's because I am black,' Hamilton quipped after he was penalised by the stewards for a number of clangers during the race. The punishments had nothing to do with Hamilton's ethnicity, but more his kamikaze display around the French port. Pundit Brundle summed up the general mood when he said: 'He's played a card I'd never thought he'd use.'

Stay away from the keyboard, Lewis
Belgian Grand Prix, August 2012

Hamilton's
social media career reached its miserable climax after this year's
Belgian Grand Prix when he issued a verbal volley at team-mate Button.
'I thought we respected one another, but clearly he (Button) doesn't,'
Hamilton bemoaned after he was unreliably informed that Button had
stopped 'following' him on Twitter. But it emerged that Button had never
befriended Hamilton and the latter was forced into a grovelling
apology. The clanger was Hamilton's final act on Twitter after he'd
earlier released sensitive McLaren data to his one million followers.

Why can”t the R&A see sense on women members? – Derek Lawrenson

If Augusta can see sense on women members, why can't the R&A

|

UPDATED:

22:59 GMT, 12 November 2012


Open season: R&A chief executive Peter Dawson will be under fire

Open season: R&A chief executive Peter Dawson will be under fire

Watching grown men defend the indefensible is never a comfortable experience and so it was with Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National, at the Masters this year.

One minute he was waxing lyrical about all the initiatives the club were doing to grow ‘the great game of golf.’ The next he was being skewered by a very reasonable question: ’If you’re that keen on growing the game, why haven’t you got any women or junior members’

Let’s say this about Mr Payne. Sure, he squirmed and shifted in his seat and tried to save face, like so many of his predecessors. But here’s the difference. He then went away and made sure he was never put in such a position again. A month later, the first two women members were invited to join the club and Billy Payne had put right the obvious hypocrisy.

Now we come to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. They are already bracing themselves for unfavourable headlines next year. A men-only club taking The Open to another men-only establishment in Muirfield At least over the past week they’ve had a warm-up, as one former Minister of Sport in Colin Moynihan and then present incumbent Hugh Robertson laid into them over their anachronistic stance.

Breakthrough: Augusta National, home of the Masters, which was won by Bubba Watson in April, have now admitted women members

Breakthrough: Augusta National, the world-famous home of the Masters, which was won by Bubba Watson in April, have now admitted women members

Peter Dawson, the R&A’s chief executive, believes this subject to be simply a Press obsession, that most golfers couldn’t give two hoots, and he’s at least partly right. Most golfers couldn’t care less.

But it doesn’t make the R&A’s stance right. There’s no hiding from the fact it is embarrassing for the sport to have a governing body who don’t have any women members, and that will not change until the R&A do. It’s all well and good to allow juniors to attend The Open for free but what message are you sending out if you then take the event to clubs that don’t allow juniors to join

And so next summer, like so many before it, we’ll watch grown men defend the indefensible – and pray silently for the day when the R&A finally comes up with its own Billy Payne.

Another side to the glamour game

‘Rory McIlroy leads a galaxy of stars to Hong Kong’ proclaimed the main headline on the European Tour’s website on Monday. He also leads a cavalcade of dead men walking.

No disrespect to the leading players like Rory at either the Hong Kong Open or the South African Open being played at the same time on another continent this week, but these final full-field events of the regular season are all about the men at the other end of the table.

Men like the English trio, Tommy Fleetwood, Jamie Elson and Richard Bland, all within agonising touching distance of the top 115 who keep their cards for next year but in need of a good last week to seal the deal.

Last year in Hong Kong I sat in a courtesy car with two of the fallen, Nick Dougherty and Oliver Wilson, and the devastation they were feeling at missing out was plain.

No-one would seek to minimise the pressure that McIlroy so adeptly copes with as the world’s No 1. But that is surely a nice kind of pressure. Down among those worried about keeping their jobs, the pressure exerted by a game that is supposed to be all about relaxation must be hell.

Quote of the Week

’When Luke Donald won both money lists last year we thought “how good was that” Now Rory has done it and won a second major as well at the age of 23. The sky really is the limit.’

Eight-time Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie eloquently sums the feelings of a sport regarding the extraordinary Rory McIlroy.

Remarkable talent: Life just gets better and better for Rory McIlroy

Remarkable talent: Life just gets better and better for Rory McIlroy

Challenge Tour goes East

The Middle East has become such a vital part of the regular European Tour over the past two decades it is surprising that no event is staged in the region on the Challenge Tour.

That will all change next year when the Sultanate of Oman joins the party, with the National Bank of Oman Classic becoming the penultimate event, complete with a very respectable 200,000 prize fund.

One nice thing about the tournament is that there will be a reciprocal arrangement with five other Challenge Tour events during the season whereby promising Arab National players, both amateur and professional, will have the opportunity to gain some invaluable experience.

Beljan's Miracle moment

They say the traditional closing event on the US Tour might not take place next year, which would be a great shame. ‘Where Dreams Come True,’ declares the slogan outside the gates at Walt Disney World in Orlando, and so it has proved these past two years at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic.

Last year, Luke Donald complemented the fireworks seen at the Disney theme parks with some of his own, as he won the final event when nothing else would do if he were to clinch the US Tour money list.

Fairytale: Charlie Beljan won the Children's Miracle Network Classic

Fairytale: Charlie Beljan won the Children's Miracle Network Classic

This time it was 28-year-old American Charlie Beljan making the headlines. On Friday, he was rushed to hospital after suffering a panic attack on the course that left him fearing he might die. Two days later he was in heaven all right, as he claimed his maiden victory to end all thoughts of anxiety for at least the next two years.

‘You never know what’s going to happen in this game or this game of life,’ he said. ‘You just keep plugging away.’

Keep plugging way like this, Charlie, and you might even become that rarest of creatures. A famous Beljan.

Frankie Gavin takes Junior Witter"s British welterweight title after unanimous points decision

The future's bright for Gavin after beating Witter to claim British welterweight title

|

UPDATED:

00:27 GMT, 2 November 2012

Frankie Gavin suggested he may yet realise his undoubted potential by dethroning veteran champion Junior Witter to claim the British welterweight title at York Hall.

The 27-year-old had not fought since May and had mustered just 13 bouts since turning professional over four years ago but proved too strong for Witter who suffered his sixth career defeat in a dull affair.

Gavin, who remains Britain's only world amateur champion, extended his unbeaten record at the iconic London venue and will have his sights set on bigger prizes in 2013.

Celebrate good times: Frankie Gavin is hoisted off the canvas after beating Junior Witter by a unanimous points decision

Celebrate good times: Frankie Gavin is hoisted off the canvas after beating Junior Witter by a unanimous points decision

Witter, 38, won a world title six years ago and claimed the British belt for a second time earlier this year but despite starting brightly, quickly ran out of ideas and was outpointed by margins of 119-109, 117-110 and 117-112.

A tense and cagey opening round was shaded by Witter who produced the cleaner blows while an accidental clash of heads left Gavin with a small cut on the bridge of his nose.

The Birmingham man's face continued to mark up in the second as Witter, a product of the same Wincobank Gym as fellow welterweight Kell Brook, used his right hand to good effect.

Deploying his tried and tested switch-hitting style, Witter banked another round as he continued to control the fight and prevent Gavin from letting his hands go, as highlighted by the younger man's corner.

Breaking out in a sweat: Gavin connects with a savage left jab

Breaking out in a sweat: Gavin connects with a savage left jab

The fourth session was something of a non event with neither man boxing on the front foot but Gavin delivered a timely reminder of his punching power in the next with two solid lefts over the top and although Witter returned the favour later in the round, he conceded his first of the night.

And Gavin, the won gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, continued to work his way back into the contest as it reached the halfway stage while Witter fell to the canvas when attempting a rather wild shot.

The bout may have been entering the second half but neither man looked keen to grab it by the scruff of the neck although Gavin looked to have the momentum. He was however warned for hitting the back of the head, something not helped by Witter's tendency to turn away from his opponent.

Gavin was growing in confidence as he took the fight to his opponent and Witter's reluctance to engage provoked his trainer Dominic Ingle to read the riot act at the end of the eighth round.

On the front foot: Witter feels the force of a Gavin attack

On the front foot: Witter feels the force of a Gavin attack

But the champion failed to land a noteworthy punch in the next as the fight slipped away from him and although Gavin was far from fluent, he was doing enough to edge the rounds and increase his narrow advantage.

Witter's efforts to haul himself back into the contest resulted only in him pushing Gavin through the ropes in the tenth stanza and the messy exchanges continued until the former was deducted a point for continued holding which all but ended his brief second reign as domestic No 1.

Witter by now required a knockout to retain his title and he looked for such a punch in the penultimate session but succeeded only in falling significantly short.

The punch never came and Gavin safely saw out the final three minutes to confirm his superiority on all three scorecards.

Getting in a tangle: Gavin gets caught up in the ropes after stumbling

Getting in a tangle: Gavin gets caught up in the ropes after stumbling

Jack Laugher denied hat-trick in Australia

Laugher denied hat-trick in Australia as teen star settles for second place

|

UPDATED:

09:47 GMT, 11 October 2012

Jack Laugher narrowly missed out on securing a hat-trick of titles at the World Junior Diving Championships in Adelaide.

The 17-year-old Olympian was beaten into second place by China's Peng Jianfeng in the boys one-metre springboard.

Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling then also grabbed second in the girls 3m synchro to continue Great Britain's impressive meet and leave them second in the medal table.

Not to be: Jack Laugher (left) missed out on a hat-trick Down Under

Not to be: Jack Laugher (left) missed out on a hat-trick Down Under

Laugher won the 3m springboard and the 3m synchro, alongside Tom Daley, on the opening two days of competition but missed his penultimate reverse two-and-a-half somersaults to deny him a third gold in the South Australian capital.

Laugher's silver medal meant he finished a remarkable junior career with four youth world titles after he won the 3m and 1m lower age group springboard events in Tucson two years ago.

The Ripon diver has been touted as a future senior world champion by American diving legend Greg Louganis and has established himself inside the world's top 10 in the past 12 months despite a horror London Olympics that saw him crash out in the first round of the 3m springboard.

'I guess 4 junior world titles is what I'll have to settle on 😛 haha! I'm so happy :),' Laugher wrote on his Twitter page.

Great Britain remained only behind diving superpower China on the medal table after City of Leeds duo Blagg and Starling won their silver medal in the girls synchro.

Starling won Team GB's first ever girls world junior medal on Wednesday, when she took bronze in the 3m springboard, and went one better as she teamed with Blagg in competition for the first time in six years.

The pairing scored 278.70 to finish nine points behind gold medallists Zheng Qulin and Liu Jiao from China.

City of Sheffield's Ross Haslam just missed out on adding another medal to Team GB's tally. The 15-year-old finished fourth in the lower age group 'B' category 10m platform.

England"s six young guns who MUST take the world by storm, including Tom Cleverley, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

England's six young guns who MUST take the world by storm to reach Brazil 2014

|

UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 12 September 2012

If England are to navigate their way through a tricky qualifying group and make the World Cup in Brazil, the young talent at Roy Hodgson's disposal must step up.

From captain Steven Gerrard to Frank Lampard, the old guard is getting even older, and now is the time for the junior members of the squad to stake their claim.

Here Sportsmail takes a look at six young players who should be ready to take the stage.

Bright young thing: Tom Cleverley has looked promising for Manchester United and England

Bright young thing: Tom Cleverley has looked promising for Manchester United and England

Tom Cleverley

Age 23 Caps 3 Goals 0. Will be 24 in Brazil 2014

His key asset is that he offers Hodgson something a little different to the likes of Gerrard, Lampard, Parker, Barry or Carrick.

He is mobile and technically sound, operates with intelligence and appears to understand what is asked of him.

England lack a top-class player of this ilk, although when they had one – Paul Scholes – they failed to make the most of him.

Cleverley is not in the class of Scholes but made a solid start to his international career, even if the chances missed against Ukraine demonstrated where he can add to his game.

He scored goals in the Championship, on loan at Watford, and hopefully will work hard to add a clinical edge to his game as Lampard did when he moved to Chelsea at the age of 23.

Jack Wilshere

Age 20 Caps 5 Goals 0. Will be 22 in Brazil 2014

Everything hinges upon his return to fitness.

For a short spell in early 2011, Wilshere was arguably the best player in the country, combining wonderful balance, vision, technique and aggression.

But he has not been seen for club or country for 15 months and it may be March before he can contribute to this campaign.

With Wilshere and Cleverley in a three-man midfield, England could expect more possession but would the team have enough creativity elsewhere to convert it into goals

And would Hodgson take such a leap when one injury would leave him exposed

Class act: Jack Wilshere is widely tipped for greatness by England and Arsenal fans

Class act: Jack Wilshere is widely tipped for greatness by England and Arsenal fans

Daniel Sturridge

Age 23 Caps 3 Goals 0. Will be 24 in Brazil 2014

Made a good impression on competitive debut against Ukraine and his former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti would marvel at his ability to find a yard inside the goalmouth and reel off a shot.

His left foot is lethal but there remain questions about his attitude.

He has only started eight league games in six months under Roberto Di Matteo and seems in a constant tussle with coaches who are reluctant to trust him in his preferred centre forward position but unhappy with his work-rate when he plays wide.

Can he convince this season Or will he spend it agonising over his next move If he fulfils his potential, England may have a source of goals.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Age 19 Caps 7 Goals 0. Will be 20 in Brazil 2014

Unpredic table, spontaneous and versatile but the element of surprise which helps young attackers when they burst on to the scene will begin to fade this season.

Opponents will scrutinise him in an attempt to resist his strengths and exploit his weaknesses.

He must adapt and learn how to maintain an influence against better defenders.

In Moldova, Ox destroyed poor Simeon Bulgaru and was instrumental in England seizing control early.

At Wembley, 77-cap Oleg Gusev was a different proposition. England could not get Ox on the ball and failed to jolt him back into the game.

Much will depend on how he attacks this challenge, but he seems ready to do it with relish.

The future's bright: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's willingness to take on his opponents makes him a dangerous proposition

The future's bright: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's willingness to take on his opponents makes him a dangerous proposition

Theo Walcott

Age 23 Caps 29 Goals 4. Will be 25 in Brazil 2014

Knows all about the shine and shade of international football after an explosive beginning to his England career.

Hodgson has yet to start him but never failed to use him from the bench when fit.

It suggests a future as an impact sub, used against tired defenders – as he did to turn the game against Sweden in Euro 2012.

Walcott's pace remains a vital weapon and, while his game may lack sophistication, he has a better strike rate than England's other wingers.

He scored 11 for Arsenal last season, when his interplay with others also improved.

Hopefully the contractual issues at Arsenal, which appear to be limiting his time on the pitch, can be overcome.

Danny Welbeck

Age 21 Caps 11 Goals 2. Will be 23 in Brazil 2014

Stepped smoothly into international football last year and it was a surprise when Hodgson picked Jermain Defoe in Moldova after preferring Welbeck in Euro 2012.

A lack of action will probably be an issue for a striker who competes with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie for a game at Manchester United.

Still, he is a big threat. He hit the post against Ukraine, and won the penalty, and has the assets to be a top striker: quick feet, a quick mind and an exquisite touch.

He is strong in the air and scores different types of goals.

He could be the closest thing England have to Van Persie at present and will hopefully learn from the Holland star at Old Trafford this season.

Smooth operator: Danny Welbeck (right) has taken his club form up to international level

Smooth operator: Danny Welbeck (right) has taken his club form up to international level

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

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

|

UPDATED:

21:46 GMT, 18 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

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

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

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

Long haul: Southampton's Adam Lallana (right)

Long haul: Southampton's Adam Lallana (right)

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

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

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

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

Target: Bologna's Gaston Ramirez

Target: Bologna's Gaston Ramirez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christine Ohuruogu finishes third in Diamond League meeting in Stockholm

The Olympians return to action as Ohuruogu finishes third in Stockholm

|

UPDATED:

23:20 GMT, 17 August 2012

Olympic silver medallist Christine Ohuruogu was third in the 400 metres on her return to competition following London 2012 at the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm.

The 28-year-old was second behind Sanya Richards-Ross at the London Games, and the American again triumphed tonight in 49.89 seconds, with Botswana's world champion Amantle Montsho in second.

Ohuruogu completed the podium in a time of 50.77secs.

Re-match: Sanya Richards-Ross wins the 400m with Christine Ohuruogu coming third

Re-match: Sanya Richards-Ross wins the 400m with Christine Ohuruogu coming third

Adam Gemili just missed out on making the 100m final at the Olympic stadium and on Friday he was fifth in 10.22 as his burgeoning career continued in Sweden.

The world junior champion is only completing his first full season in the sport but he has shown no fear against his more decorated rivals and tonight he was 0.10 off the podium.

The United States' Ryan Bailey – fifth in London – won in 9.93 ahead of Nesta Carter and Michael Frater, both of whom were part of the Jamaican 4x100m relay that set a new world record.

Winning in style: USA's Ryan Bailey won the 100m in Stockholm

Winning in style: USA's Ryan Bailey won the 100m in Stockholm

Britain's Shara Proctor was fourth in the women's long jump with a best effort of 6.68m, just one centimetre off the top three. Yelena Sokolova, silver medallist in London, was first with 6.82m, with Olympic champion Brittney Reese down in ninth.

Holly Bleasdale, sixth in the capital, returned to action in the pole vault to finish seventh with 4.46m.

Olympic champion Jen Suhr showed she signs of a victory hangover as she failed to record a height tonight after removing the bar three times at 4.55m.

Elsewhere, Olympic finalist Laura Weightman was eighth in the women's 1,500m in 4:06.09.

London 2012 Olympics: Keshorn Walcott lands javelin gold

Trinidad teenager Walcott completes remarkable double by landing javelin gold

|

UPDATED:

21:53 GMT, 11 August 2012

Trinidad's Keshorn Walcott completed a
remarkable double by taking a surprise Olympic javelin gold less than a
month after becoming world junior champion.

Trinidad is better associated with
cricket – Brian Lara, after all, is the island's favourite son – or
sprinting. Their relay team did claim bronze behind Jamaica
and the USA.

Teen sensation: Gold medalist Keshorn Walcott

Teen sensation: Gold medalist Keshorn Walcott

But now we must think javelin after Saturday night's extraordinary competition in the Olympic Stadium which saw Walcott win gold with a throw of 84.58 metres.

In winning the title Walcott became only the second non-European to take the crown in 100 years of the Olympic Games, the last being an American back at the 1952 Helsinki Games.

He took the lead in the first round with a healthy opener of 83.51 metres and increased it in the second round with 84.58 metres which proved to be enough to win on the night, despite the Ukraine's Oleksandr Pyatnytsya third effort of 84.51 metres with Finn Antti Ruuskanen back in third after a throw of 84.12m.

Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago

There had looked to be plenty of potential winners in the field, including defending Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen from Norway and the Czech Republic's Vitezslav Vesely, who threw 88.34 metres in the qualifying rounds and is coached by three-time Olympic champion Jan Zelezny.

However, Thorkildsen could only manage sixth as Walcott, just 19, and winner of the world junior title earlier this summer, proved too strong on the night and as a result may just have provided another sporting option for the children of Trinidad.

'I just went out there to relax and enjoy it and it worked for me,' said Walcott, after his second-round effort was good enough for gold.

'It means everything to me. I just train my hardest and try to enjoy every time I come out.'

It was Trinidad and Tobago's first victory in an Olympic field event.