Tag Archives: percentage

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain getting better for England and Arsenal

England's Ox growing stronger and stronger after rapid rise with Three Lions stardom

European Championships, where he started the opening game against France in Donetsk.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has certainly come a long way in a short time since being signed by Arsene Wenger as a raw talent from Southampton two years ago.

Better and better: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, pictured here with the new Vauxhall Adam, intends to take everything in his stride as England push on towards the World Cup

Better and better: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, pictured here with the new Vauxhall Adam, intends to take everything in his stride as England push on towards the World Cup

The midfielder, though, is determined to keep himself focused on each new challenge as it comes along.

Speaking at an event organised by England sponsor’s Vauxhall, Oxlade-Chamberlain told Press Association Sport: 'I have a bit more experience now, from both club and international level, on and off the pitch.

'The experience of going to the Euros with tournament football stands me in better stead looking towards the World Cup, but I still have a lot of hard work to do to make that squad for Brazil, if we do qualify.'

Oxlade-Chamberlain added: 'My progress into the first-team at Arsenal and the senior England squad was quite quick, probably quicker than I ever thought it was going to be.

Room to grow: The 19-year-old is likely to play in England's qualifying double header with San Marino and Montenegro this weekend

Room to grow: The 19-year-old is likely to play in England's qualifying double header with San Marino and Montenegro this weekend

'I really just try to keep my head down, focused on my targets, and take everything in my stride.

'I have only achieved a tiny percentage of what I want to achieve in a small fraction of my career.

'I know I have got a lot more hard work to do and a long way to go, so I don’t really think about how quick things have gone because I just want to keep improving myself and keep pushing on.'

Unfazed: Oxlade-Chamberlain fighting the elements and Swansea's Angel Rangel in Saturday's 2-0 win at Swansea

Unfazed: Oxlade-Chamberlain fighting the elements and Swansea's Angel Rangel in Saturday's 2-0 win at Swansea

Natural similarities are drawn between the progress of Oxlade-Chamberlain and his Arsenal team-mate Theo Walcott, another product of the Southampton Academy and now regular for Roy Hodgson’s England squad.

'Theo is a brilliant player, so I don’t really mind getting compared to him,' Oxlade-Chamberlain said.

'He really helps me out a lot and has done ever since I stepped into Arsenal and coming away with England.

Young gunner: Oxlade-Chamberlain has been inevitably compared to teammate Theo Walcott

Young gunner: Oxlade-Chamberlain has been inevitably compared to teammate Theo Walcott

'This season he has been really good for Arsenal, scoring a lot of goals, which is what I am trying to add to my game, so I can learn from him in that sense.

'But I don’t really look at it in terms of what he has done and what I am doing, I just focus on what I need to do to achieve the goals I set for myself.'

Vauxhall are official lead sponsors of England. Check out www.vauxhallfootball.co.uk

Joe Allen can be the new hero at Liverpool

Better than average Joe: Rodgers backs Allen to be an Anfield star

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UPDATED:

21:40 GMT, 26 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

El Nino is dead, long live The Kid. Fernando Torres was the first Liverpool player to have that simple nickname but, to hear Brendan Rodgers speak so animatedly, it would seem a successor for the title has been found.

Step forward Joe Allen. He won’t score goals at a rate like Torres or have defenders petrified they will be left for dead with an exhilarating change of pace but, much more of this, and the little Welshman could soon be enjoying the kind of popularity Anfield only reserves for its special ones.

Thrust into the midst of a frantic midfield battle, where Champions League winners and World Cup finalists roamed, the diminutive Allen was dominant, a little terrier whose range of measured, simple passing had his new audience purring.

Red alert: Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen tussles with Manchester City's Carlos Tevez

Red alert: Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen tussles with Manchester City's Carlos Tevez

A LITTLE PASS MASTER

Joe Allen's pass completion rate against Manchester City on Sunday was 93.5 per cent — the highest in the match.

His Premier League pass completion percentage at Swansea and Liverpool is 91 per cent in 38 games. The average for midfielders who have played more than 30 games is 82.3 per cent.The 22-year-old made 2,177 passes last season — the average midfielder made just 1,321.

'I think the Liverpool supporters will enjoy watching this kid play football,’ Rodgers said after Allen’s impressive performance in a 2-2 draw with Manchester City that could – and perhaps should – have been so much more.

'He’s five foot six but in terms of a footballer, he is seven foot six. He is absolutely immense – his courage to get on the ball, his body work is fantastic; how he reads the game, his football intelligence. This kid will play at the top and is playing at the top.’

Note the emphasis on kid. Shortly after sealing the deal that brought him from The Liberty Stadium earlier this month, Rodgers said Allen had Spanish technical qualities, very much in the mould of the pass masters Xavi and Andres Iniesta, so El Nino Mk II might not be so far off the mark.

'We paid 15million for him,’ Rodgers, who insisted “the best team did not win”, continued. ‘When he came in, I said very quickly that the price would double. People probably laughed at me. He will play here for many years and the supporters will love this kid.’

Allen is only 22 but he plays with a maturity beyond his years and is fearless, too. It never mattered when Yaya Toure or Nigel De Jong snapped at his heels, he simply kept asking for the ball – and Liverpool were all the better for it.

Comfortable on the ball: Allen brushes past Samir Nasri

Comfortable on the ball: Allen brushes past Samir Nasri

Long after the game had finished, around 7.20pm when only a couple of groundsmen were left mowing the pitch, Allen emerged from the tunnel, still in his kit and walked up and down the touchline, appearing to explain to an older male companion where he needed to improve.

'When someone shows faith in you and gives you that responsibility, it makes you desperate to pay it back,’ said Allen.

Such an attitude will see him go a long way. At the moment, though, he is still very good and he dovetailed to great effect with Steven Gerrard, a player who Allen confessed to idolising as a teenager, and it will be intriguing to see where the club’s latest addition Nuri Sahin will fit in.

Rodgers wants Liverpool to play a brave, exciting brand of football and decisions such as making Allen a midfield kingpin and handing a first Barclays Premier League start to the impish 17-year-old Raheem Sterling mirror that philosophy.

Philosophy: Brendan Rodgers wants Liverpool to be brave in their style of play

Philosophy: Brendan Rodgers wants Liverpool to be brave in their style of play

There may have been some surprise to see Sterling given such responsibility but, after a hugely taking display in Liverpool’s Europa League win over Hearts on Thursday night, Rodgers did not baulk at leaving the more established Stewart Downing on the sidelines.

Sterling has been the subject of great excitement on Merseyside since he was prised from Queens Park Rangers as a 15-year-old in February 2010 during the final months of Rafa Benitez’s reign and this bold effort against the champions will have done little to dampen the enthusiasm.

'It was an easy decision to play him,’ Rodgers explained. ‘I said when I came here that I wouldn’t judge people on their status or what they have done. I will make my judgements on what I see now in front of me. He is a young player that has improved every single day since I have come in here.

Exciting debut: Raheem Sterling made his first start in the League for Liverpool

Exciting debut: Raheem Sterling made his first start in the League for Liverpool

'He was a player who played on his own in the one against one. Now if you look at him, fighting for the team; he has a tactical understanding and you could see what he was doing against a really experienced player. He blocked the line of pass, he was coming back to cover the lines.

'I thought for a 17-year-old, playing against the champions, his performance was fantastic. He has got a long way to go and that is something I will keep a close eye on.’

Only a month ago, Rodgers was considering sending Sterling out on loan to accelerate his development but, such has been the progress he has made, the idea of giving him a temporary move has been shelved and his pace and trickery will be potent weapons when he fully matures.

'I’m very happy with our progress,’ said Rodgers. ‘We had an off-day at West Brom but, apart from that, we have shown great resilience and perseverance. I am seeing improvements in our game.'

And improvements will create a wave of optimism that not even Carlos Tevez’s late equaliser could puncture.

Jessica Ennis is not fat, says coach

Ennis is not fat! Coach hits out at UK official who criticised golden girl

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UPDATED:

23:42 GMT, 24 May 2012

Top condition: Jessica Ennis

Top condition: Jessica Ennis

Jessica Ennis' coach Toni Minichiello has hit out at a top UK Athletics official over a 'fat' jibe.

Minichiello, who has coached the heptathlete since she was 11 years old, revealed that a 'high‑ranking person' had suggested 'that she's fat and she's got too much weight'.

Minichiello dismissed the criticism, and added that both Ennis' weight and body fat percentage had remained constant in recent times.

He told The Guardian that 'people in fairly high positions, who should know better' were guilty of adding to a slew of unwanted distractions, although he admitted that the people in question were 'trying to be helpful'.

Minichiello said Ennis is a class act whose consistency will pay dividends at the Olympics.

But Minichiello also concedes a gold medal in the heptathlon could still be beyond his athlete's control over the two days of competition in London.

Ennis was a hot favourite for gold on home soil after winning world titles indoor and out in Berlin and Doha respectively and following that with another triumph at the European Championships in Barcelona in 2010.

However, she has since lost both world titles in the space of seven months after inspired performances from two of her rivals, a situation which does give Minichiello pause for thought, despite his faith in Ennis' abilities.

Class act: Ennis (centre)

Class act: Ennis (centre)

'She is a class act,' Minichiello said. 'Every championships she has been to since 2009 she has been on the podium.

'She has been on podiums and showing an upward profile and I think we are continuing to do that. I'm pleased with the progress we are making, but in the back of my mind you can't legislate for what others do.

'She was in great shape in Istanbul (for the world indoors in March) but suddenly Nataliya Dobrynska breaks the world record.

'That's what Olympic year does. It goes steady and then there is this huge hike because people start to buzz. They think “This is the winter I need to get serious, this is the winter I need to train,” and I think we've seen that from the indoors.

'We have seen improvements in some of our first-day events in the shot, the hurdles and an indoor PB (personal best) of 6.47 metres in the long jump and I am hoping there is going to be a bit of improvement across the board.

'Whether that's going to be good enough I really, really don't know. She could score 6,900 points, which would be a British record and massive PB, and still finish second or third.

Golden girl: Ennis will have great hopes

Golden girl: Ennis will have great hopes

'There is nothing you can do about the opposition. They will do what they do and improve how they improve.'

Ennis will contest her only full heptathlon before London at this weekend's Hypo Meeting in Gotzis, where she is seeking a third straight win.

And with the 26-year-old's main rivals for Olympic glory also on the start line in Austria, Minichiello admits the result on Sunday will be significant.

'Gotzis is much closer to the Olympics than it has been to the major championships before because there is only about 11 weeks left, so your performance there is important,' he added.

'I think normally what happens is that whoever is in the top three or four there is going to be the top three or four in the Olympics.

'A win in Gotzis doesn't naturally mean you're going to win (the following major championship) as you saw last year, but if Jess wins this year though it does mean she's going to win!'

Tim Henman: Rise in Wimbledon prize money shows how good game is now

Henman: Rise in Wimbledon prize money shows how good game is now

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UPDATED:

13:36 GMT, 25 April 2012

Tim Henman believes Wimbledon have
answered the demands of players with the 10% increase in prize money for
this year's tournament announced yesterday.

The four-time semi-finalist, who is
on the board at the All England Club, travelled with chairman Phillip
Brook to Indian Wells last month to discuss the issue with Novak
Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray after they asked
for a meeting.

Claire Lomas and Tim Henman during her charity walk of the London Marathon

Claire Lomas and Tim Henman during her charity walk of the London Marathon

Many players feel they are not adequately rewarded for their part in the success of grand slams in particular, with prize money accounting for less than 20% of revenue. Henman said: 'Not so long ago I was a player and I'm sure I was asking for the same thing.

'The percentage increase in prize money over the last five years has been very substantial considering there is a recession at the moment. Wimbledon is very generous compared to a lot of other tournaments and I think this is a good deal all round.'

There had even been talk of a strike, with the prize money issue one of a number vexing the top players, who feel they do not have enough power within their sport. Henman is glad that now appears to be off the agenda, and he said: 'It's not good for the players, it's not good for anyone, but I don't think that was ever really a possibility.'

The total prize money for the 2012 Championships will be 16.1million, up from 14.6million 12 months ago and more than 42% higher than in 2007.

The intervention of Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray was not principally to benefit themselves, though, with the biggest increase coming for the early losers.

Claire Lomas with Tim Henman and his wife Lucy Henman during her charity walk

Players who go out in the first round of the men's or ladies' singles will earn 14,500, up 26% from last year, while the winners will receive 1.15million, an increase of 4.5%.

Henman said: 'We have been discussing it for quite some time. The total increase is a reward for how good the game is right now.

'Prize money has really been targeted towards the right-hand side of the draw in the past but it's important everyone has the opportunity to earn a living and we want to make sure the lower-ranked players don't get forgotten.'

The 37-year-old was speaking as he walked with fundraiser Claire Lomas, who is attempting to become the first person to complete the London Marathon using a bionic ReWalk suit.

Lomas, who was paralysed in a horse-riding accident in 2007, is hoping to raise more than 50,000 for the charity Spinal Research during her walk, which is expected to take around a fortnight.

Henman said: “It's been amazing. Claire is just an inspiration. To see what she's doing and her attitude is incredible.”

For more information on Claire Lomas and to keep up to date with her progress, please visit www.get-claire-walking.co.uk. You can also sponsor Claire online at www.justgiving.com/Claire-Lomas.

You can learn more about Spinal Research, the UK's leading charity funding medical research around the world to develop reliable treatments for paralysis caused by a broken back or neck, by visiting www.spinal-research.org.

Australian Open 2012: Ivan Lendl is perfect for Andy Murray, says Tony Roche

Lendl just champion for Murray, insists Roche as world No 4 awaits Australian Open draw

In a near-deserted corner of Melbourne Park, Andy Murray’s practice session crackled with intensity under the watchful eye of Ivan Lendl, with the British No 1 pounding winners past Argentinian sparring partner Juan Monaco.

As he did so, Tony Roche, who did for Lendl what the Czech now hopes to do for Murray, gave a ringing endorsement of the coaching appointment that has the tennis world abuzz.

Australian Davis Cup coach Roche, who turned the former world No 1 from Grand Slam final loser into a serial winner of big titles, described the new match-up as a ‘statement of great confidence’ in the abilities of the 24-year-old Scot.

A few pointers: Ivan Lendl dictates Andy Murray's training in Melbourne

A few pointers: Ivan Lendl dictates Andy Murray's training in Melbourne

Lendl had fallen short in his first four Grand Slam finals when Roche hooked up with him and that was converted into a career that bagged eight of the world’s biggest tournaments.

‘It’s obviously a similar situation to that which Andy finds himself in,’ said Roche. ‘Ivan knows what it takes to turn it round and win on the big occasions.

‘He was very strong on studying the opposition and working out their strengths and weaknesses. He was so professional about that and this is what he will bring to the table.’

Watching brief: Lendl has his eye on Murray

Watching brief: Lendl has his eye on Murray

Murray is set to discover who he will be facing next week in the first round of the Australian Open.

‘It might be only about finding that extra percentage point in your performance and at this level that may be all it needs,’ said Roche, a left-hander in his playing days.

‘When I got together with Ivan the two guys giving him most trouble were John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. He wanted to know how lefties thought.

‘We ended up having eight great years. Andy should draw great strength from the fact Ivan wants to coach him. It’s a statement of great confidence in him.’

Murray has arrived off the back of winning the ATP event in Brisbane and is seeded fourth for a tournament where he has reached the final for the last two years.

Caroline Wozniacki, however, is facing a battle to be fit for the year’s first grand slam after being reduced to tears during a dramatic quarter-final defeat by Agnieszka Radwanska at the Sydney International.

Wozniacki has injured her left wrist and lost 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, which could signal the end of her reign as world No 1. Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is set to take top spot.