Tag Archives: monster

Kell Brook v Devon Alexander: Sheffield fighter not fazed by underdog status

Brook unfazed by underdog tag ahead of maiden world title shot against Alexander

By
Phil Barnett, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

17:19 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

18:03 GMT, 15 January 2013

Kell Brook knows he will be the underdog for the first time in his career when he travels to Detroit charged with dethroning IBF welterweight champion Devon Alexander next month.

The unbeaten Sheffield star puts his perfect 29-0 (with 19 knockouts) record on the line when he goes to America for his maiden world title tilt.

Some bookmakers see the fight as even but many experts predict the younger but more established American Alexander will have too much for the British challenger.

Underdog: Kell Brook, flanked by promoter Eddie Hearn and his coaching team, knows he faces a tough task against Devon Alexander

Underdog: Kell Brook, flanked by promoter Eddie Hearn and his coaching team, knows he faces a tough task against Devon Alexander

Brook, however, is undaunted by the idea.

'It's the first time in my career I've been the underdog but it doesn't matter to me,' said the 26-year-old.

'He's the champion and people are expecting him to keep the title but we know differently. I'm going to show him – and the world – why people call me the Special One.

'I'll go out there and won't be denied.'

The pair were scheduled to fight this weekend until an ankle injury suffered by Brook forced a five-week postponement to February 23.

He insists he is fully recovered and has been on a training camp in the Canaries as part of his intense preparation.

'The ankle is fantastic now, I'm fully prepared and fully healed,' he said.

'It's helped me because it's given me more time to get prepared and everything's fallen into place with my new team who are helping with my conditioning and making me into even more of a monster.

Fists of fury: IBF king Devon Alexander (left) stands in the way of Brook's first world title

Fists of fury: IBF king Devon Alexander (left) stands in the way of Brook's first world title

'My dietician Dave Stache has even moved in with me to oversee everything. That's a real sacrifice but this is a world title fight so it's well worth it.

'I want to make sure that when the bell rings I'm in the best shape physically and mentally I can be.

'If he has to live with me, so be it. Anything to get the job done and believe you me, the job will be getting done.'

Brook added: 'I'm going over to his backyard but I wouldn't want it any other way.

'Going to the champion's country and taking his title off him on his own patch is going to feel so good. It's going to be the icing on the cake going there to do the business.

'I've got to do whatever it takes to win, whether that's make it a dogfight or a technical fight. Whatever happens in that ring, the job will get done.

'I'm getting more confident by the day and by February 23 I'll be a man on a mission.'

Vintage era for Sheri: Monster prop is blossoming after move to wine country

Vintage era for Sheri: Monster prop is blossoming after move to wine country

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UPDATED:

19:40 GMT, 14 December 2012

There has been an unforeseen, comic complication for Andrew Sheridan since his transfer to Toulon in the summer, caused by the familiar abbreviation of his name.

'To have “Sheri” as my nickname is not ideal over here, because it means “darling”,' said Toulon's former England and Lions prop. 'OK, the spelling is different, but the pronunciation is similar, so I've had some funny looks when I've been called that since moving to France.'

Full-bloodied: the switch across the Channel to Toulon fits Sheridan

Full-bloodied: the switch across the Channel to Toulon fits Sheridan

Yet, if locals are bemused to hear the giant 33-year-old from Bromley – who has also been known as 'Big Ted' in his time – addressed in such a way, he insists they haven't come up with an alternative Gallic nickname so far.

But there is no doubt that the club's fervent fans have taken to him. Sheridan has been a colossal presence in the first half of his first season in the Top 14 league, to make himself truly a darling of the title-chasing team, the city and the region.

He certainly won't talk himself up, though. As he prepared for the second of back-to-back Heineken Cup fixtures against his former club Sale at Stade Felix Mayol tomorrow, the destructive loosehead was as understated as ever in his pronouncements. Hyperbole doesn't get a look-in. Sheridan is an engaging character but in an interview, he is far happier asking the questions than answering them.

First, he wants to know the 'inside story' about the Lions coaching announcement. Then, he veers off on a tangent to suggest, with typically dry humour, that hairstyle fashion is now catching up with his cropped, military look. He is amused at the notion of being a trend-setter.

Even when he is dragged back to more orthodox subject matter, there is a light-hearted undercurrent.

Galactico gang: Jonny Wilkinson is Sheridan's team-mate

Galactico gang: Jonny Wilkinson is Sheridan's team-mate

'I've settled in here and I'm really enjoying it,' he said. 'I'm slowly picking up the language – it's a gradual process but we have French lessons every week. I've been picking up the rugby vocab – “le maul”, “le ruck”, “le pick-and-go” – honestly, that's what they say!'

What has been striking about Sheridan's season to date (and let's hope this is not a curse) is his constant state of good health. After so many campaigns blighted by serious injury, he has been able to stay fit. It has been a welcome change.

weekend guide

'I've played in all 17 matches so far,' he said. 'I've had the odd little niggle, but I'm getting old so that is inevitable!

'It's been great to get a run of games week after week, because I spent a lot of time in the previous three years on the operating table. That led to long periods of rehab, which were frustrating, so hopefully this period of playing consistently can continue. I can't say for sure why my luck has changed, but the climate helps. It's starting to get cold now though – I've had to cover up the pool and I haven't been able to go in the sea for a while!'

Sheridan has also relished being surrounded by an array of international-class talent at Toulon. The galacticos include Jonny Wilkinson and Carl Hayman, Matt Giteau, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Frederic Michalak. His preconceptions have been significantly altered in the case of one new team-mate with whom he had previously locked horns – a fearsome Springbok lock.

'Bakkies Botha is an incredibly tough rugby player and competitor, but he's also an amusing guy, it turns out,' he said. 'I must admit, I didn't expect him to be so funny – he's always coming out with little one-liners.'

Sheridan surely gives as good as he gets on that score, in his own softly spoken way. Asked how he has enjoyed the cultural benefits of being in France, the wine enthusiast – who hopes to find work in that trade when his rugby career is over – said he has already enjoyed trips to vineyards, but he mocked the suggestion that he might have tried his hand at surfing.

'There's no surfing here – it's the Med,' he said. 'The Med is dead! It's a flat sea and I'm no surfing expert, but the conditions here don't appear conducive! It's not for me anyway. I like paddling, going for walks along the beach and sitting in the sun.'

While Sheridan is at the forefront of Toulon's compelling double quest for the Top 14 title and Heineken Cup, he was an interested observer of England's autumn Tests. Having seen clips of the games against Fiji, Australia and South Africa, he watched the series finale against the All Blacks in full and was highly impressed.

'I thought it was a very complete performance by England,' he said. 'They played well in all areas, for the full 80 minutes. That was a very good win to have in their minds.

'There are bound to be tough matches in the Six Nations but whenever they are struggling, the players will be able to think back to beating the world champions, and that should lift them.'

Having been forced home from last year's World Cup by injury after the first pool match, Sheridan hasn't played for his country since.

He has not retired from Test rugby, but he does not expect to add to a tally of 42 caps, including two for the Lions. He was able to watch England beat the All Blacks without a trace of regret about the cross-Channel move that took him out of selection contention.

'I'm not an envious person and I don't get bitter,' he said. 'I'm a proud Englishman so I want England to do well. I knew the situation when I signed for Toulon. I know it is unlikely that they would pick people who are playing overseas. Even if I had stayed in England, Stuart Lancaster has looked to pick a younger side.

'My chances of playing for England again are remote. They've got a good batch of young props already performing well at that level. They would have to have quite a few injuries and find themselves really scraping the bottom of the barrel to get to me again! If I was asked, I wouldn't say no, but that is very unlikely.

'As for the Lions, I won't be involved in international rugby and there are good props all over Britain and Ireland, so that is highly unlikely, too.'

He says it all matter-of-factly. Sheridan is a realist, but in many ways, he is living the dream on the Cote d'Azur. 'I've got to go,' he said. 'It's time to open a bottle of wine!'

The new darling of Toulon has undoubtedly earned a glass or two.

MotoGP: Jorge Lorenzo wins Italian Grand Prix at Mugello

Lorenzo completes Italian job as Yamaha rider stretches lead at top after Mugello win

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UPDATED:

15:13 GMT, 15 July 2012

Jorge Lorenzo further increased his advantage at the top of the MotoGP standings with a convincing victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.

The Spaniard (Yamaha) claimed his fifth victory in nine rounds this season after finishing over five seconds clear of countryman Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), with Italian Andrea Dovizioso third on his Monster Yamaha.

Winning feeling: Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo (C) celebrates on the podium with second-placed Honda rider Dany Pedrosa (L) and third-placed Yamaha Andrea Dovizioso

Winning feeling: Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo (C) celebrates on the podium with second-placed Honda rider Dany Pedrosa (L) and third-placed Yamaha Andrea Dovizioso

Italian job: Lorenzo stretched his lead at the top of the standings

Italian job: Lorenzo stretched his lead at the top of the standings

The triumph means Lorenzo, who was also victorious at Mugello last year, now has 185 points in the overall standings at the midway point of the season, 19 clear of second-placed Pedrosa.

Reigning champion Casey Stoner of Australia, who has three victories to his name this season but could only finish eighth today, is in third spot on 148 points, with Dovizioso's fourth in 108.

Britain's Cal Crutchlow, who came home sixth on his Monster Yamaha, is fifth overall on 95.

Turning the corner: Britain's Cal Crutchlow came home in sixth place

Turning the corner: Britain's Cal Crutchlow came home in sixth place

Wimbledon 2012: Brad Gilbert – my verdict on the seeds

My verdict on the top eight from the men's and women's Wimbledon draw

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UPDATED:

07:35 GMT, 25 June 2012

THE BOYS

Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic

Best finish: Winner 2011

Has the ability to ‘shrink’ the court with his balance and flexibility, but he is so much more than an outrageously good mover.

His return has developed so that he can properly get a racket even on monster serves. Perhaps the most underrated part of his game is his improved second serve.

He is fearless on the big points and he just seems to be getting better.

Rafael Nadal

Best finish: Winner 2008, 10

One of Rafa’s greatest qualities is his ability to adapt. He comes off the clay – which he dominated again – and subtley changes his game for the grass, which involves playing closer to the baseline and flattening his swings.

Seems to use the first week to get to where he wants to be for the second. Despite baseline power, he's one of the best volleyers with very soft hands. Look how accurate his serve is.

Roger Federer

Andy Murray

Roger Federer

Best finish: Winner 2003, 04, 05, 06, 07, 09

He has to be the youngest nearly 31-year-old I’ve ever seen, and overall he is playing better than a year ago.

His movement and balance are majestic on grass, and he can vary the spin on his shots like nobody else. He has the best approach shot in history and my favourite speciality is his half-volley off the baseline.

Andy Murray

Best finish: Semi-finalist 2009, 10, 11

I think his coach, Ivan Lendl, has been doing the right thing in working on trying to make his forehand bigger and his second serve more effective.

Andy has great dexterity and his movement is superb, never better than on grass. He remains a brilliant returner. His biggest problem is winning six sets against two of the top three.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

David Ferrer

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Best finish: Semi-finalist 2011

One of the reasons Jo-Willy is so great to watch is that you are never quite sure what is going to happen. Of all the top guys he is the one most likely to reach soaring highs in his game and mix it up with some real lows.

The first delivery is a big ace-ing serve and his forehand is massive. His return of serve is a slight weakness.

David Ferrer

Best finish: 4th round 06, 10, 11

I find it amazing what he is doing at the age of 30 and how he has improved, turning himself into a good fast surface player after being known as a clay courter in his early career.

He is a deceptively good returner with great reach. A real animal of a competitor with a good first serve but, on grass, he is less of a threat against the best.

Tomas Berdych

Janko Tipsarevic

Tomas Berdych

Best finish: Finalist 2010

He doesn’t look like he’s killing the ball but his easy power makes him lethal off both sides. There is probably nobody else who can hit through the court like the Berdman and he is ultra-aggressive.

When he is ‘on it’ it’s like trying to stop a juggernaut, but he can go missing. He does not always like the low bounce and his movement is only decent for someone 6ft 5in, rather than outstanding.

Janko Tipsarevic

Best finish: 4th Rnd 2007, 08

Bearded Serb is another late bloomer we're seeing, his career surging after being part of the Davis Cup winning team in 2010.

He has a good serve for a guy who is not that big and is very quick, hitting the ball explosively off either side when on the run.

A bright, interesting guy who spent much of his career around the 50 mark in the rankings, so he should be an inspiration to others.

THE GIRLS

Maria Sharapova

Victoria Azarenka

Maria Sharapova

Best finish: Winner 2004

In
the last few months we have started to see the Sharapova of old. It was
startling how much she had improved on clay, culminating in the French
Open title.

Her service
return is lethal, her backhand excellent, but the forehand can be less
consistent. She is a great competitor and must be super-confident.

Her movement is not great but she seems to be compensating for shortcomings again.

Victoria Azarenka

Best finish: SF 2011

She looks to stand up to the plate and take it to her opponent, hitting hard from the baseline.

Last year’s Wimbledon semi-final will help, and Kvitova won her title last year after making the semis 12 months before.

The
Belarussian's groundstrokes are punishing and she is great at pouncing
on anything short. She will appreciate the true bounce at Wimbledon.

Agnieszka Radwanska

Petra Kvitova

Agnieszka Radwanska

Best finish: QF 2008, 09

There’s something about her eclectic game that reminds me of Martina Hingis and makes her interesting to watch.

She’s
not a power merchant but uses the angles well and is a great defender.
There is plenty of guile and she has great anticipation to add to her
movement.

She’s a good volleyer, too, but lacks a real killer shot.

Petra Kvitova

Best finish: Winner 2011

As
natural a grass court game as you will find, up there with Serena.
Kvitova has a great swinging serve and can hit all the spots in the
service box.

Her returns are aggressive and the surface rewards the way she plays, going for short points.

She struggled after the Australian Open but has come into form this month. How she reacts to being defending champion is unknown.

Samantha Stosur

Serena Williams

Samantha Stosur

Best finish: 3nd rd 2009

It’s one of the great mysteries of the women’s game to me that she has such a poor record at Wimbledon after nine years.

It
might be something to do with her Western grip, meaning that she does
not like the low bounce, but she has the potential to go well at SW19.

Has one of the best serves in women’s tennis and she plays an aggressive game.

Serena Williams

Best finish: Win 02, 03, 09, 10

There’s no doubt in my mind she should be seeded higher as there is more to come from Serena.

The best first serve in women's history, great movement and massive power off either flank.

Like
Venus she is inherently confident on grass and murders any short
serves. Despite an early exit at the French, where she had little luck,
probably my favourite in an open field.

Caroline Wozniacki

Angelique Kerber

Caroline Wozniacki

Best finish: 4th Rnd

A tough year for someone who began it as world No 1. She has taken on
former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson as coach, which could
give her a boost.

No ‘Wow’ shot, although the backhand is strong and she has a good
return of serve. A fine athlete. Confidence is a big thing for her

Angelique Kerber

Best finish: 3rd Rnd

The rise of the German has been one of the most remarkable stories of
the past 12 months. Before the US Open she was not even in the top 100.

She is an example of what can be achieved through consistent hard work. A
solid all-rounder with a good left-handed backhand, her poor Wimbledon
record can be overlooked.

PS –
I've got a sneaking feeling we might see a good run from one of the
British women. I won’t be completely surprised if someone makes the last
16.

Moto GP leader Jorge Lorenzo wins British Grand Prix

Lorenzo wins British Grand Prix and extends lead over Stoner in the championship

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UPDATED:

13:51 GMT, 17 June 2012

Jorge Lorenzo extended his MotoGP World Championship lead over nearest rival Casey Stoner with a comfortable win in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Lorenzo, who this week signed a new two-year contract with Yamaha, eased to the win at the Northamptonshire circuit which put him 25 points ahead of reigning champion Stoner on the Repsol Honda.

The race was also a triumph for British rider Cal Crutchlow, who finished sixth despite starting from the back of the grid following a crash before qualifying on Saturday.

Winning feeling: Spain's Jorge Lorenzo celebrates his victory during the British Grand Prix and celebrates on the podium (below)

Winning feeling: Spain's Jorge Lorenzo celebrates his victory during the British Grand Prix and celebrates on the podium (below)

Jumping for joy: Jorge Lorenzo

Jumping for joy: Jorge Lorenzo

Crutchlow defied the pain from a badly sprained left ankle to beat a host of riders including Ducati's multiple world champion Valentino Rossi.

The British rider, who had started from 20th on the grid after spending most of Saturday in hospital getting his ankle checked out, said: 'I'm a little bit emotional, it's been a tough weekend.'

Crutchlow told BBC2: 'I'm pleased, we did a good job. It was a long day yesterday, they told me I wasn't allowed to ride at the hospital.

'It was a tough lot of laps and a shame I wasn't at the front of the grid because I would have been on the podium.'

The sixth place moved Crutchlow back up to fourth in the standings after his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Andrea Dovizioso pulled out when challenging for a podium spot.

Leading the way: Lorenzo extended his lead in the championship

Leading the way: Lorenzo extended his lead in the championship

Lorenzo had a poor start to the race and dropped back to sixth but gradually worked his way to the front where he battled with Stoner.

When Lorenzo made his move the lead changed hands five times in half a lap before the Yamaha man finally pulled away.

Lorenzo said: 'I was fifth or sixth (off the start) so I did not want to make mistakes and I had to wait (to close on the lead).

'Fighting with Casey, I enjoyed it a lot. This season is just perfect.'

Stoner held off team-mate Dani Pedrosa for third with pole man Alvaro Bautista just missing out on a podium spot on the San Carlo Gresini Honda.

Fifth went to Ben Spies on the second factory Yamaha ahead of Crutchlow, Nicky Hayden (Ducati), Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda), Rossi and Hector Barbera (Pramac Ducati).

The win moved Lorenzo 25 points clear of Stoner, who has 115 points. Pedrosa is third on 101 and Crutchlow fourth on 66.

Kell Brook vows to get nasty but highly-rated Carson Jones says he"s in for a monster mauling

Brook vows to get nasty but highly-rated Jones says he's in for a monster mauling

PUBLISHED:

18:30 GMT, 15 May 2012

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UPDATED:

18:55 GMT, 15 May 2012

Kell Brook has branded his July 7 showdown with highly-ranked American Carson Jones as the last stepping stone to a long-awaited world title shot.

The unbeaten Sheffield welterweight has been on the verge of a challenge for global honours for over a year as he tries to make a final push to the front of the queue.

He is currently riding the crest of a wave having established himself as a box office star in his native Sheffield. After outclassing domestic rival Matthew Hatton earlier this year he now focuses on manoeuvring himself directly towards a world title opportunity, taking on a fighter ranked third with the IBF.

Brook, rated fifth by that body, then hopes to fight the winner of June's clash between Mike Jones and Randall Bailey for the vacant title.

Step up: Kell Brook faces up to Carson Jones in Sheffield

Step up: Kell Brook faces up to Carson Jones in Sheffield

The 26-year-old said: 'It's a big fight. Carson Jones is ranked higher than me and the winner basically goes on to fight for the world title against the winner of Bailey and Jones.

'I'm two fights away from being a world champion now. I've dreamed about this since I was nine years old and so this will be one of the biggest fights of my life.'

Brook came face-to-face with his opponent and said: 'He's said the things he's going to do and that he'll come to my city and do things to me.

'In my last fight I was a bit too nice with Matthew Hatton but in this one, you're going to see the nasty side of me and he's going to get taken out.

'This kid is going to get taken out in style. It's not going 12 rounds. It's going to live up to expectations and an amazing fight. Carson Jones, you need to train hard mate!'

At a lively press conference, Jones (34-8-2, 24KO wins) warned Brook not to overlook him.

Belts on the line: Brook and Jones

Belts on the line: Brook and Jones

'Thank you, Kell Brook, for making this huge mistake,' he said. 'A lot of your fans are saying a lot but when it comes down to it, you're the only person in the ring and the only person that can fight. Please, please, I'm asking – I'm begging you – please come straight forward and fight like you say you're going to do.

'Because you might be a beast, but I'm a monster. On July 7 I'll show you. I'm sure there are going to be 9,995 Kell Brook fans and about five Carson Jones fans but I'm still going to whoop his a** on the night.'

Brook (27-0, 18KOs) responded to Jones' taunts in kind.

'We're going to war, mate,' he promised. 'We'll stand in the middle of the ring and go toe-to-toe. No backward steps.'

Brook will be supported by two European title fights on the undercard at the Motorpoint Arena, while amateur star Kal Yafai makes his professional debut on the bill.

Gardner brothers face off in Aston Villa v Sunderland

Gardner brothers face off for takeaway tab as Sunderland travel to Villa

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UPDATED:

07:29 GMT, 20 April 2012

Gardner played Gardner at the Belfry this week and as they go into their first meeting on opposite sides in the Barclays Premier League this weekend, older brother Craig of Sunderland leads Aston Villa's Gary 1-0.

On Saturday at Villa Park, it's double or quits. Whoever finishes on the losing side pays for the family takeaway – and it promises to be a monster bill.

'He's all right at golf to be fair,' said Sunderland midfielder Craig. 'I give him a few shots but I beat him every time because he always crumbles with the pressure.'

Brothers in arms: Craig Gardner of Sunderland will face Aston Villa's Gary

Brothers in arms: Craig Gardner of Sunderland will face Aston Villa's Gary

'We're both looking forward to this one but all the banter goes out of the window until afterwards. And then whoever loses buys the takeaway to take back to mum and dad's.'

Saturday's meeting between Villa and Sunderland is Martin O'Neill's long-awaited first return to Villa Park since his departure at the start of last season.

But it is also a significant date for the Gardner family, and a proud one for parents Gary and Sharon and the four older brothers. Just don't ask anyone who they will be supporting.

'It's a good question,' Craig said. 'I really don't know, so I'll have to ask them.

'Everyone will just be happy if we come through the game and are all right after it, that it's a fair result and the best team wins.

'My mum will probably end up crying so we'll have to tell her to shut up but they will be the proudest parents in the world.

'Without our parents we wouldn't be where we are today. They took us all over Europe and England and they have been absolutely brilliant and this is our chance to thank them really, watching their two sons on the same pitch in the Premier League playing against each other is pretty rare.'

After an initial settling in period, Craig is happy at Sunderland now, all thoughts of homesickness long gone.

Settled: Craig Gardner has overcome a bout of homesickness at Sunderland

Settled: Craig Gardner has overcome a bout of homesickness at Sunderland

He has become a regular under O'Neill – the man who sold him from Villa to Birmingham City – and part of the side which was striving for Europe until the recent run of two wins in 10 games.

But the major bonus has been the emergence of his younger brother at Villa this season and his recovery from the devastating injury he suffered on one of the best days of Craig's career.

He said: 'Gary found out he'd suffered a serious cruciate ligament injury on the day I signed for Birmingham. I remember sitting in the toilet that day and I did have a tear in my eye because I knew that it would be a long way back.

'He did the injury in an academy game against Birmingham. I was there watching and he just pulled up and went off so I went and sat next to him and asked him what he'd done. He said he'd done his knee and I said “you'll be all right”.

'The day I signed my forms at Blues, he found out he'd done his cruciate. He was just 17 at the time but he's worked so hard and shown so much character to come back, showing he's mentally and physically strong. He deserves everything he gets out of the game.

No shying away: Gary Gardner (right) has impressed at Villa this season

No shying away: Gary Gardner (right) has impressed at Villa this season

'He is my brother but I've been telling everyone for ages how good he is and that he'll come through and show people that. He's got many strengths, he's good in the air, he's good on the ball, he's quick and he's strong, he's a top player but I'm not going to blow his trumpet too much. It's up to him now to show how good he is.

'I am here to help him. I've walked every step he's taking now so I can be like a mentor and he's a good listener and he learns.

'He makes me the proudest brother in the world. I get more nervous watching him than before my own games.' Gary makes no secret of the guidance he has sought from his older brother and, like Craig, his ambition is to play in the same team one day, at a more senior level.

'I've played with him for the reserves and it was brilliant when I set him up for a goal,' he said.

'To play against him is a different thing because you want to tick that box that you have played against your brother.'

Back in the day: Craig (right) played for Birmingham before moving on

Back in the day: Craig (right) played for Birmingham before moving on

On Saturday they could come up against each other in the central midfield battle and Gary, who made his debut against Stoke on Boxing Day, knows just how competitive it will be at Villa Park.

He said: 'He taught me how to get aggressive and when I was young he wouldn't hold back a target even though I was nine or ten and he was 17. He still hit me hard. That is where I got all my strength and bravery from to be fair.

'I'm actually the tallest. When I was little, I was always the smallest but I had a mad growth spurt when I was 16. Hopefullly that will give me the advantage on Saturday.

'Craig is a good player and someone I've looked up to all my life. He never got the chances he wanted here but that's football. If you don't get the chance then you have to move on. He loved the time he was here at Villa and he's got another chance under Martin O'Neill and is doing well at Sunderland.

'After every game me and Craig talk. He's the first person I go to because he's played in the game and he knows what it's like. We help each other a lot. That's the plus side of having a brother in the game.'

WGC-Cadillac Championship: Live leaderboard

WGC-Cadillac Championship leaderboard: Keep up to date with the latest scores

The PGA Tour is at Doral this week for the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Nick Watney took the title at the Blue Monster last year and you can keep track of all the latest scores right here.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIVE LEADERBOARD

In good Nick: Watney celebrates with the trophy last year

In good Nick: Watney celebrates with the trophy last year

Rory McIlroy joins Caroline Wozniacki on court against Maria Sharapova

McIlroy and Wozniacki take courtship to new level as world's top golfer helps out against Sharapova

The Wozzilroy roadshow touched down in New York on Monday night as the world's No 1 golfer tried a whole different ball game.

Rory McIlroy hit the summit of the global rankings at the weekend and celebrated by showing off his tennis skills in front of thousands at Madison Square Garden.

McIlroy was watching girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki take on Maria Sharapova in an exhibition match in when the Danish star invited her man on court.

Give us a hand then: Rory McIlroy is invited on to court by Caroline Wozniacki

Give us a hand then: Rory McIlroy is invited on to court by Caroline Wozniacki

My hero: McIlroy makes his way down from his seat as Wozniacki cheers

My hero: McIlroy makes his way down from his seat as Wozniacki cheers

The 22-year-old Northern Irishman was not exactly dressed for the occasion in jeans and a jumper but he displayed a mean one-handed backhand and took a point when Sharapova played his lob wide.

Modest McIlroy said: 'I’ve won a few off Caroline before.'

He later tweeted: 'Never thought I'd play tennis at Madison Square Garden! Had a great time watching Caroline and Maria out there! I even won a point.'

King of the swingers: Rory McIlroy

Fore-hand: Rory McIlroy lines up

This is how it's done: McIlroy addresses the ball the way he knows how and draws a giggle from Wozniacki

The US Open champion could not prevent Wozniacki, a former world No 1 herself, crashing 6-3, 6-4 to her Russian opponent.

Wozniacki, now the fourth ranked player in the world, said on Twitter: 'Had great fun playing the exhibition with Sharapova in Madison Square Garden. Even got Rory on court and win a point Ha ha.'

McIlroy reached the top spot with his victory at the Honda Classic on Sunday night.

He signed autographs and posed for photos in New York and will head for the Blue Monster at Doral in Miami this week for the second World Golf Championship of the season.

He said: 'It’s nice to take a little break from golf.'

In the swing: McIlroy wastes no time in getting involved against Sharapova as Wozniacki watches

In the swing: McIlroy wastes no time in getting involved against Sharapova as Wozniacki watches

Love match: McIlroy and Wozniacki celebrate him winning a point against Sharapova

Love match: McIlroy and Wozniacki celebrate him winning a point against Sharapova

Wozniacki's next tournament is in Indian Wells and the pair have been spending time together when their busy schedules offer them the opportunity.

But when asked if she sent McIlroy flowers after his win at the Honda, Wozniacki said: 'Well, I don’t want his head to become too big, so, um, no.'

Twinkle toes: Sharapova finds a man of her own as she dances with a fan between points

Twinkle toes: Sharapova finds a man of her own as she dances with a fan between points

Woods" challenge falters as Mickelson charges through to take Pebble Beach title

Woods' challenge falters as Mickelson charges through to snatch Pebble Beach title

Phil Mickelson upstaged playing partner Tiger Woods while charging past overnight leader Charlie Wi to win the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in spectacular fashion by two shots on Sunday.

Six strokes behind South Korean Wi going into the final round at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Mickelson fired a flawless eight-under-par 64 to clinch his 40th victory on the PGA Tour.

The American left-hander took control of the tournament with a stunning outward nine of five-under 31 and holed two monster par putts after the turn on the way to a 17-under total of 269.

While Mickelson won the pro-am celebrity event for a fourth time, former world No 1 Woods had to settle for joint 15th place after closing with a five-bogey 75 in his bid for a first PGA Tour win in more than two years.

More to follow…

Stunning: Phil Mickelson celebrates winning at Pebble Beach

Stunning: Phil Mickelson celebrates winning at Pebble Beach

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Fine display: Mickelson (right) outshone his playing partner Tiger Woods

Fine display: Mickelson (right) outshone his playing partner Tiger Woods

Anguish: Woods was unable to maintain his challenge for the title

Anguish: Woods was unable to maintain his challenge for the title

Nearest challenger: Charlie Wi finished three shots behind the winner Mickelson

Nearest challenger: Charlie Wi finished three shots behind the winner Mickelson