Tag Archives: mindset

Sir Clive Woodward says Stuart Lancaster should pick tougher players

Woodward: Lancaster needs to toughen England up rather than worrying about World Cup seedings



22:35 GMT, 18 November 2012

Sir Clive Woodward has told England rugby head coach Stuart Lancaster to stop worrying about the World Cup and to start toughening up his players instead.

Lancaster's team have been widely criticised after losing 20-14 to Australia on Saturday and Woodward, the man who led England to World Cup victory in 2003, joined the disparaging voices.

'He's (Lancaster) got to pick a tougher team. International rugby is a tough, tough game,' insisted Woodward, who believes that England are worrying too much about the seedings for the 2015 World Cup.

Toughen them up: Stuart Lancaster (left) needs to stop worrying about World Cup seedings, according to Sir Clive Woodward

Toughen them up: Stuart Lancaster (left) needs to stop worrying about World Cup seedings, according to Sir Clive Woodward

'I don't give a monkey's about World Cup seedings. You just have to win your next game. This is a bit of a problem.

'We keep talking about World Cups. The World Cup is three years away. It doesn't matter. You have to talk about winning your game Saturday.

'The mindset of the coach and players has got to be, “If we don't win on Saturday then we lose our jobs on Monday”.'

England must pick up the pieces for South Africa and then New Zealand but Woodward still has grounds for optimism.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek, he added: 'The good thing now is that we (England) have two games where we won't be favourites.

'This will be a big reality check for the team and they have a big chance of bouncing back.'

Lancaster is scheduled to announce his team on Thursday. Fans and pundits left Twickenham questioning England's pack, especially prop Joe Marler, lock Tom Palmer and flanker Tom Johnson, plus wing Charlie Sharples.

Not today: Toby Flood (left) and his team-mates suffered defeat against Australia

Not today: Toby Flood (left) and his team-mates suffered defeat against Australia

England have a number of options including giving starting places to substitutes in lock Joe Launchbury, flanker Tom Wood and prop Mako Vunipola.

Three other players, who turned out for their clubs at the weekend, are also in the mix.

They are Gloucester No 8 Ben Morgan and the London Irish pair of centre Jonathan Joseph and prop Alex Corbisiero.

Woodward was furious that England had ignored a kickable penalty 10 minutes from time which, if successful, would have cut the lead to 20-17 and he questioned whether England had sufficiently discussed what options they had in the course of a match.

Speaking from experience: Sir Clive Woodward led England to World Cup glory in 2003

Speaking from experience: Sir Clive Woodward led England to World Cup glory in 2003

'The key thing is to get these things in players' heads before you go on to the pitch. So they know what's going to happen at every single situation,' he said.

'There's no point in reviewing the video after the game when you have lost. You have got to review things before you go in and that's the secret of coaching.'

Sir Clive was disappointed that substitute scrum-half Ben Youngs opted to take a tapped penalty rather than the penalty kick at goal in the 70th minute.

He said: 'In the cold light of day the right decision was to kick for goal and to reduce the margin to just three. If you go for the line-out or go for the try you have to score.

'If you don't score then you just give huge momentum back to the defending team.'

Carl Froch thinks Tony Bellew sparring sessions could be tougher than Yusaf Mack

Froch says heavy sparring sessions with Bellew could be harder than Mack title fight



20:50 GMT, 6 November 2012

Carl Froch believes his explosive sparring sessions with fellow Englishman Tony Bellew ahead of next week's IBF title defence against Yusaf Mack could prove to be tougher than the fight itself.

The Nottingham super-middleweight regularly trades blows with his fiery compatriot in training and despite their friendship, the pair are unashamedly spiteful inside the ring.

Froch, 35, also benefits from his connections with the Team GB set-up due to trainer Rob McCracken's role as performance director in Sheffield and regularly spars with the cream of the country's amateur talent.

Hard work: Carl Froch has been involved in some heavy sparring sessions with Tony Bellew

Hard work: Carl Froch has been involved in some heavy sparring sessions with Tony Bellew

Fierce: Bellew does not take it easy in training

Fierce: Bellew does not take it easy in training

Ahead of his November 17 defence against Mack in Nottingham he has worked with two former amateur stars – Commonwealth Games gold medalist Courtney Fry and ex-Olympic hopeful Callum Smith – as well as Liverpudlian hardman Bellew.

All three are natural light-heavyweights and should prepare Froch well for his meeting with Philadelphian Mack, who is dropping down from that division to attempt to spring a massive upset.

'Sometimes sparring is tougher than the actual fight,” Froch said. 'It's very intense, especially with Tony Bellew because we don't pull any punches in there.

'We train and spar like we're fighting because that's how you need to be. You need to get that mindset and let your big shots go, because what you do in sparring and training, you do on fight night too.

'It can be very tough, but it's all part and parcel of it.'

Froch added: 'Courtney Fry is a
light-heavyweight, Tony Bellew is a very strong light-heavyweight and
Callum Smith is going to fight at super-middleweight as a professional
but had stepped up to light-heavyweight as an amateur before turning

'They are all big lads, tall and rangy and strong. It's a big advantage to get great sparring. It's is one of the most important aspects of your training camp and sometimes you struggle to get the sparring. You fly them in from America and they don't want to be here, you get them from Europe and stay a week before going home.

'But we've got serious fighters here who are serious about the sport and want to do well.

Serious: Froch says sparring can give you a big advantage

Serious: Froch says sparring can give you a big advantage

'Tony Bellew is on the fringes of fighting for a world title. Callum is eager, he's just turned pro and wants to show he's a contender.

'We've never used Courtney Fry for sparring before but he's tall and rangy and throws a lot of straight punches like Mack and he's bigger and heavier than me.

'So it's been brilliant to have good, all-round sparring this camp.'

Froch defends the belt he won in May – with a five-round bludgeoning of Lucian Bute – at the Trent FM Arena in his native Nottingham a week on Saturday.

On the defensive: Froch is fighting for the belt he beat Lucian Bute to win

On the defensive: Froch is fighting for the belt he beat Lucian Bute to win

He does so with a slight injury inflicted by Fry in one of their recent sessions.

'I got elbowed on the nose on Friday but it's nothing serious,' said 'The Cobra'.

'It's nothing serious, I got some butterfly stitches put on as a precautionary measure, more than anything else, because I didn't want it to get any worse.

'It happened in round one of the sparring session and I did a 12-round spar that day, we just patched it up and went again. It's fine and it's healed up.'

Landon Donovan considers Everton snub… to go travelling

Rejoin Everton I think I may go travelling instead, reveals loan star Donovan



09:20 GMT, 24 October 2012

Landon Donovan has admitted he may snub a third loan return to Everton in favour of going travelling across the globe.

The USA forward is loved at Goodison Park following his impressive but short stints at the club in 2010 and again last winter, and boss David Moyes would be ready to welcome the LA Galaxy star back with open arms.

Donovan conceded Everton 'was a fling that grew into a full-blown affair' but insisted he needs some time to think over his future in football before committing to any move.

Galaxy of stars: USA forward Landon Donovan (second left) alongside David Beckham and Robbie Keane in action for Los Angeles in the MLS

Galaxy of stars: Landon Donovan (second left) with David Beckham and Robbie Keane in the MLS (above) and at Everton in 2010 (below left) and 2012 (right)

Fans' favourite: Donovan (left)

On the ball: Donovan

The 30-year-old American even suggested he might quit the game due to prolonged spells away from his family.

And, like countless people before him looking to 'discover themselves', Donovan wants to go globetrotting and ponder his future.

'Right now, I need time to think and that is impossible to achieve while I am playing,' Donovan told EPSN.

'I need to determine if I want to play, and if the answer is yes, I need to work out where and for how long.

'I plan to spend a lot of time travelling to distant places, alone. I am not sure where.

'I want to take time to have some freedom and not worry about my next game or being fit. It may take me two weeks, two months or a year.

'I don’t plan on worrying about the end result. I want to focus on being present and making the decision when I am ready.

'I am at a point where I realize that if I am to come back I need to do so with the right mindset.'

Despite Donovan's present difficulties, he admits a third spell on Merseyside could yet beckon.

'Everton was a fling that grew into a full-blown affair. I do think about them because they really stole my heart when I walked into Goodison Park,' he said.

'Everyone was so unbelievably welcoming, from Mr Moyes to the tea lady. I have such affection for the club.

'But I’ve struggled with motivation at many points in my career. I’ve had times where it all came easily but there have been stretches where I have questioned it.

'I have some selfish things I need to do, and I have some things to work out. While most soccer fans think a player’s life is easy as we just seem to play soccer all the time, they don’t see how many milestones I have missed with my family.

'My family want me to either play and be happy or else to have their son and brother back.'

Chelsea captain John Terry "positive and upbeat" amid FA racism hearing

Chelsea captain Terry 'positive and upbeat' amid FA racism hearing



05:27 GMT, 26 September 2012

John Terry has remained 'positive and
upbeat' amid his Football Association racism case this week, according
to Chelsea assistant boss Eddie Newton.

Newton provided the first insight
into the Blues captain's mindset after the first two days of his
personal hearing over claims he used racist language towards Anton

One of the boys: John Terry joins in celebrations for Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand goal against Wolves

One of the boys: John Terry joins in celebrations for Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand goal against Wolves

Terry, who denies the charge, was expected back at Wembley on Wednesday to continue his fight to clear his name once and for all after electing to play for Chelsea in Tuesday's Capital One Cup 6-0 thrashing of Wolves.

Newton revealed manager Roberto Di Matteo had been keeping tabs on the 31-year-old, saying: 'He's been fine, dealing with the situation at hand, coming in and doing what he has to do at the club.

'We've been talking to him, Robbie's been talking to him, and he's been very positive and upbeat.'

The independent FA panel is expected to hear evidence in Terry's favour on Wednesday, with Chelsea team-mate Ashley Cole likely to be called upon to testify.

Cole, who sat out the Blues' game completely, provided evidence that helped exonerate Terry in his Westminster Magistrates Court case in July related to the same incident.

Positive: Chelsea had no doubts about playing Terry

Positive: Chelsea had no doubts about playing Terry

Cole told the court at the time: 'We shouldn't be sitting here.'

Former Chelsea coach Ray Wilkins, who also testified on Terry's behalf in court, was also prepared to go to the FA hearing to support the defender, who announced his international retirement on Sunday.

The case centres around an incident during Chelsea's Barclays Premier League defeat at QPR on October 23 last year when Terry and Ferdinand clashed verbally on a number of occasions.

It set in motion a train of events that saw:

Terry charged with an offence by the Crown Prosecution Service

Terrystripped of the England captaincy

The subsequent resignation of Fabio Capello as England manager in protest

Questions surrounding Terry's inclusion in the Euro 2012 squad and Rio Ferdinand's omission.

Terry was found not guilty in magistrates court in July of a racially-motivated public order offence with the prosecution unable to prove he had called Ferdinand a “f****** black c***” as an insult.

Terry admitted using the words, but insisted he had only been repeating words he thought Ferdinand had accused him of saying.

The FA's decision to press ahead with their own charges infuriated Terry to the extent that, on the eve of the disciplinary hearing, he quit international football with immediate effect, declaring his position 'untenable'.

Liverpool v Manchester United: Stop chants says mother of Hillsborough victim James Aspinall

Margaret Aspinall: My son was 18, going to his first away game. He came back in a coffin. Please don't chant about his death



21:30 GMT, 21 September 2012

I just don't understand anybody chanting obscenities over a disaster. It's incredible to believe it's coming from human beings.

Remember these were young kids at Hillsborough and young players at Munich. To chant about it is a disgrace to society. They're not hurting the people who died; it's too late for them. They're hurting the relatives.

How dare they chant about it. With Munich, we knew the reasons why they died – an air crash. The families must have suffered but they knew why. We're only getting answers from Hillsborough after 23 years.

Hillsborough Disaster

James Aspinall

Horrific scenes: Liverpool fans try desperately to escape on that fateful day 23 years ago, and James Aspinall (right) who was just 18 when he became one of the 96 victims at Hillsborough

After all that time, we've gone through enough. Please don't make it more hurtful for us.The 96 families need compassion, not to hear that about their loved ones.

I can speak for James. He did nothing wrong that day. He was in the ground by 1.20pm. He was just 18 and he was going to his first away game. He came home to me five days later in a coffin.

There will be no closure for us. I will never close my mind on my child. We live with it every day. But I hope it will bring closure for the rest of the city. They can move on because they've got the truth.

End hatred: Margaret Aspinall has condemned the sick chants about Hillsborough

End hatred: Margaret Aspinall has condemned the sick chants about Hillsborough

I'm sure the gestures from both clubs will help on Sunday but it's so important the chanting that's been going on for years stops because it's a disgrace. I just don't understand the mindset of these people.

They don't have a right to sit in a seat that 96 people died for and go home in safety when 96 people didn't. When they go into all-seat stadiums, do they ask themselves why that is Because those people were crushed to death and that's their legacy.

I can't believe they don't know what they're singing. They know. Until recently I didn't realise it's gone on about Munich in the past as well. They give Manchester United and Liverpool fans a bad name because most supporters aren't like that.

I don't feel angry because they're morons. Sad people. I just feel sorry for the rest of them. You get troublemakers at games and nothing will change that. Being hard on these people is the only way. Ban them and then you might stop the others – because this has to stop.

They've got CCTV now. Zoom in on them and ban them. Who needs them If you hear somebody singing like that then get the stewards to throw them out and never let them into a football ground again. That goes for fans signing about Munich as well. Get rid of them.

It's a game of football. We've already seen what football has cost us. Life is so much more important. You can have your rivalry but that's about football. Why have this hatred

Scoring days are numbered in new England role, warns Lampard

Scoring days are numbered in
new England role, warns Lampard



21:54 GMT, 8 September 2012

Frank Lampard has warned fans not to expect a flurry of goals from him after England manager Roy Hodgson handed him a new role.

Chelsea midfielder Lampard scored twice — once from the penalty spot — in the 5-0 romp over Moldova on Friday night, but said: ‘I’m playing a bit more of a disciplined role now and those goals might be few and far between.

Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard

Golden boys: Hodgson used Gerrard and Lampard in more defensive roles against Moldova

'But when you are part of a good performance and see the young players coming through, it gives you a bit of excitement.

‘We trained very hard and with an attacking mindset. We are looking to get the ball into our pacy players on the wings or behind the front men.’

Lampard played alongside Steven Gerrard, a partnership which has seen questions raised about its compatibility on the pitch, but Lampard said: ‘Stevie is always a pleasure to play with. He is a top player.’

Gerrard added: ‘Frank’s a good player. We’ve got the understanding there.’

England's Frank Lampard (L) celebrates scoring a penalty against Moldova with Tom Cleverley

Master and the apprentice: England's Lampard is likely to play behind Cleverley in future England games

Despite Lampard’s warning, Gerrard is convinced the pair still have something to offer, despite the emergence of youth. He said: ‘We still feel like kids.

‘The important thing is to get the right blend of youth and experience.

‘It’s not fair if you put 11 kids out in games like this one. The older lads can help the younger lads a lot.’

Brendan Rodgers: No room for complacency at Liverpool

No room for complacency, insists Rodgers after bright start to Liverpool career



08:02 GMT, 13 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Brendan Rodgers insists he has plenty to prove at Liverpool despite an encouraging start to his Anfield reign.

The former Swansea boss watched his side beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 on Sunday to complete their pre-season campaign.

But Rodgers believes some fans remain unconvinced he is the man for the job.

Work to be done: Brendan Rodgers is in no mood to get complacent

Work to be done: Brendan Rodgers is in no mood to get complacent

‘I do feel at home but I will never be complacent,' he said.

‘I will come in and I’m sure the majority of supporters are still not sure about me.

‘I’ve got so much to prove here. I have got to fight for my life to prove I am good enough to be here. I feel comfortable in relation to my position and work on the field. My promise was to fight for the club every single day.

Easy does it: Liverpool ran out comfortable winners over Bayer Leverkusen

Easy does it: Liverpool ran out comfortable winners over Bayer Leverkusen

‘We’re in a good moment and a good position. We’ve had a terrific pre-season and we’ve already started our competitive games in the Europa League. We now arrive into the Barclays Premier League next week with a real strong mindset and hopefully that can continue.

‘Certainly, I am very, very pleased with where we’re at. The players have shown great determination and they want to learn. They’re very happy to work in this way.

‘I am delighted with where we’re at because I know the vision and where this leads too, and hopefully it will continue to improve.’

The Open 2012: Paul Azinger backing US stars to sparkle

Fit and feisty: Azinger is backing US stars to sparkle this week



21:30 GMT, 15 July 2012

Captain America: Paul Azinger hoists the Ryder Cup at Valhalla in 2008

Captain America: Paul Azinger hoists the Ryder Cup at Valhalla in 2008

Paul Azinger has aspirations that might see him in Washington one day, representing the state of Florida and giving speeches filled with the sort of passion that made him such an inspiring Ryder Cup captain.

For now, however, politics can wait.

It's not the state of the nation that's exercising him but the state of US golf, where the green shoots of recovery have blossomed.

'What we are seeing are a group of young Americans who grew up watching Tiger Woods and have taken on board that different mindset that separated him from everyone else,' said Azinger.

'They're physically fit, feisty, and they're going to keep on winning majors. In the last two Ryder Cups the US have been clear underdogs but this time I'd give them the edge and make them favourites in Chicago. They will have home-field advantage and they will be hard to beat.'

Who better than Captain America to ask about this stunning US revival, one that has seen them dominate the leading prizes over the past 11 months

This time last year, Darren Clarke's Open victory extended the major-less US sequence to six, the longest in history.

Since then, a trio of bright young things have won the last three and Tiger is appearing more like his old self by the minute.

'What I like about players such as Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson is they don't play golf by numbers and that's why the public has taken to them as well,' said Azinger, who will be at The Open for ESPN.

'As for Tiger, ever since I first saw him I've expected only greatness and that greatness will continue.

'The longer he's healthy the more convinced I become that he will beat Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 majors.'

Azinger doesn't view the game purely through Stars and Stripes-tinted spectacles.

He's full of praise for the likes of Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald, for instance. Ask him if he thinks that, after this week, Americans will hold all four majors for the first time since the 2004 Masters and, for once, he hedges his bets.

'After seeing 15 different players from all over the world win the last 15 different majors, you will excuse me if my crystal ball is a little cloudy,' he said.

'I don't know how you pick a winner any more. '

Patriot games: Azinger waves the stars and stripes after their Ryder Cup victory

Patriot games: Azinger waves the stars and stripes after their Ryder Cup victory

It seems almost insulting to say I like this guy or that one.

It was certainly a lot easier when Tiger was winning all the time! 'What we can say is that no-one will fluke their way round Lytham and win. It's a hard golf course with lots of cross-winds and lots of bunkers.

'Look back through history and Lytham winners generally had great short games, so don't be surprised if a grinder wins.'

This Open marks the 25th anniversary of Azinger's first visit to these shores and what turned out to be a golden opportunity to win. Leading Nick Faldo at Muirfield by one stroke with two to play, he finished bogey, bogey to lose by one.

'It was a great experience but also my greatest heartache in golf,' said Azinger.

'After that I thought I would have contended more often but it wasn't to be, that was my best chance.'

He did eventually get his name on a major title, beating Greg Norman in a play-off to win the 1993 US PGA .

He was at the height of his career, only to be diagnosed with lymphoma in his right shoulder just weeks later.

In his pomp: Azinger lines up a putt

In his pomp: Azinger lines up a putt

Azinger fought his cancer and won, but was never the same player again, and had to wait until becoming 2008 Ryder Cup captain to return to the spotlight.

The methods he used to mastermind America's only win of the 21st century – splitting his team into three 'pods' of four, as they do in Navy SEAL training and encouraging them to bond – made his book not only a sporting bestseller but also in the mainstream as well.

'I didn't do it from a military viewpoint but with the idea the players would grow as people,' said Azinger, the son of a US Air Force navigator.

'My thinking was to say things that would make Nick Faldo (his opposite number as captain) underestimate me while all along we had this unbelievable plan, and I guess it worked out.

'The whole experience was amazing. I remember our kids were coming to the end of home schooling and we had a room set aside for that. Well, I went away on a three-week trip and when I came home my wife had redecorated it completely in Ryder Cup stuff. “What if we lose” I asked her. “Don't you think you're putting pressure on me”. Now it's a lovely Ryder Cup room, filled with happy memories.'

Follow Azinger on Twitter and you will see he's as interested in politics these days as he is in golf.

Now 52, he will give consideration to political office before the end of his sixth decade.

'I wouldn't mind representing Florida in some capacity,' he said.

If he does, expect him to do it the way he captained America's Ryder Cup team, surrounding himself with people he likes and trusts.

And with passion. With Azinger, there's always passion.

ESPN will be showing daily highlights of The Open, plus extensive coverage via ESPN.co.uk, with reports, live scores, comment and galleries.

Wimbledon 2012: Novak Djokovic – I am ready to be the new grass master

I am ready to be the new grass master, says defending champion Djokovic



22:15 GMT, 5 July 2012

It may have second billing on a day
when all British eyes are on a man from Dunblane – but Novak Djokovic's
encounter with Roger Federer will serve as no mere prelude.

It is the six-time champion versus
the reigning champion. Add in that this will be the pair's first meeting
on grass after 26 previous contests and it is clear those witnessing
the first match on Centre Court today are in for a mouth-watering treat.

Focused: Novak Djokovic with hitting partner Dusan Vemic during a practice session at Wimbledon

Focused: Novak Djokovic with hitting partner Dusan Vemic during a practice session at Wimbledon

Djokovic said: 'Roger's rated probably as the best player in history. He has won everything and he's coming back for more.'

Federer said: 'Obviously I'm aware Novak is the defending champion and the world No 1. That's not going to make it easy to come through. I'd better prepare well.'

Federer leads the series 14-12 but Djokovic has won six of the last seven. At the semi-final of the French Open last month, the Serb beat the Swiss 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.

Relaxed: Djokovic with his team

Relaxed: Djokovic with his team

But this is grass, and both know they are playing in Federer's domain.

After two disappointing years at the All England Club, in which Federer was knocked out in the quarters, he seems back to his best. Indeed, if he wins his seventh title here, he will reclaim the world No 1 spot he last held in May 2010.

Djokovic said: 'My mindset is very positive. (Last year) was actually the first tournament I won on a grass court. But now I'm feeling great about playing on grass.'

Tour de France 2012: Bradley Wiggins confident

Favourite Wiggins confident and ready to put last year's Tour agony behind him



08:43 GMT, 29 June 2012

Bradley Wiggins is full of confidence ahead of his challenge to become the first British winner of the Tour de France.

Wiggins crashed out of last year's race with a broken collarbone but starts in Liege on Saturday highly-fancied following victories in the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine this season.

The three-time Olympic champion won two gold medals in Beijing four years ago and admits he has the same mindset as he had back then.

Sky is the limit: Bradley Wiggins is raring to go in this year's Tour de France

Sky is the limit: Bradley Wiggins is raring to go in this year's Tour de France

'I really feel this could be my year. It's simply the way I've felt all season, and that's how it was in 2008,' Wiggins said. 'There have been no upsets, no setbacks, just one phase after another. Now we are finally there.

'Before Beijing in the Great Britain team we were aware of the expectation, knew we were the favourites, but also knew that we had to concentrate on what we had to do. I feel poised, hopefully to make history.

Give me a break: Wiggins broke a collarbone during the seventh stage of last year's Tour

Give me a break: Wiggins broke a collarbone during the seventh stage of last year's Tour

'That doesn't mean I'm dreaming of what might be: I've got my businesslike head on. I feel relaxed and businesslike.'

The 32-year-old Team Sky rider believes there are a number of factors in his favour – most notably the absence of Andy Schleck, who misses out due to a broken pelvis.

'There are good reasons to be confident: the team I've got, the way the guys in the team have been riding, the fact that Andy Schleck won't be at the Tour. All those factors add up and give you greater confidence and belief,' added Wiggins in the Guardian.

'That feeling of confidence is a hard thing to explain. It's not confidence that you are unbeatable but confidence that you have done the work to the maximum of your ability, and all you have to do now is empty it, be the best athlete you can be and take what you get from it at the end.

'It's not going to be pleasant, but it's what needs to be done. It's not going to be nice. In fact, it's going to be horrible.'