Tag Archives: professional

Jack Rodwell suffers injury in Manchester City game at Aston Villa

Rodwell injury curse strikes again after Man City midfielder limps off at Villa Park

By
Alex Horlock

PUBLISHED:

20:37 GMT, 4 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:58 GMT, 4 March 2013

Jack Rodwell suffered yet another setback in his injury-plagued Manchester City career after hobbling off the pitch at Villa Park this evening.

Little over 20 minutes into City's match against Paul Lambert's Aston Villa, Rodwell pulled up after letting fly with a powerful shot on Brad Guzan's goal.

The midfielder, who made his first start for City since September during their 2-0 win
over Chelsea last weekend, was tonight making his 11th appearance for the champions
this season, but was replaced by the club's top scorer Edin Dzeko
having limped off clutching his hamstring and holding his head in his hands.

Injury curse: Jack Rodwell was marking his 11th appearance for Manchester City since his summer arrival from Everton

Injury curse: Jack Rodwell was marking his 11th appearance for Manchester City since his summer arrival from Everton

The 21-year-old, who joined City in a
12million move from Everton last summer, spoke just last week about his
belief that he had put his injuries behind him.

The England international added that
he had harboured doubts about his ability to withstand the rigours of a
career in football having seen his short spell in the professional game marred
repeatedly by injury during his time on Merseyside and in Manchester.

Rodwell said ahead of City's clash against Chelsea: 'At Everton
last season I doubted whether I was built for it.

'To be honest, I did
think the worst but I had to take the positives and think I'm still
young and in a great position at one of the best teams in the world.

Blow: Rodwell was replaced by Edin Dzeko after suffering an apparent hamstring injury

Blow: Rodwell was replaced by Edin Dzeko after suffering an apparent hamstring injury

'I had between five and 10 setbacks,
and that's not just from the original injury. It's mentally hard. There
are times when you're set back again and you don't know what to do.

'Before the last five or six weeks I
used to go into training and was never confident. I was just praying I
got through it and that's just not the way to be at all.'

David Beckham named by China as a global football ambassador in a bid to revive game

Save us Becks! China name PSG midfielder as a global football ambassador in a bid to revive their faltering domestic game

Olympics last year and Chinese officials expect his popularity and influence to restore the game's credibility in their country.

At a loss: David Beckham came off the bench but couldn't save PSG from a 1-0 defeat by Reims at the weekend

At a loss: David Beckham came off the bench but couldn't save PSG from a 1-0 defeat by Reims at the weekend

Game changer: David Beckham was a second-half substitute as PSG crashed to a shock defeat at Stade Reims

'2013 marks the 20th anniversary of professional football in China and the special ambassadorship of David Beckham will attract global attention to Chinese football and the CSL,' said a spokesman for the CFA.

'While in China, he will attend the CSL and visit clubs to get a deeper insight into football in China.

'He will also help us to inspire and motivate many children to participate in this beautiful game.'

Didier Drogba

Nicolas Anelka

Brief: Former Chelsea forwards Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka both quit early into their spells at Shanghai

VIDEO: Watch match highlights of Reims v PSG here…

Video: Policeman attacks Belgrano"s Juan Quiroga with a truncheon in Argentinian football match

Video: More football violence, but this time it's the POLICE attacking one of the players!

By
Charles Reynolds

PUBLISHED:

00:40 GMT, 4 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:40 GMT, 4 March 2013

The seemingly never-ending problem of football related violence in Argentina reared its head once again this weekend when a member of the police struck a Belgrano player in the face with a truncheon.

The incident happened at the very end of Newell’s Old Boys clash with Belgrano, with the Rosario club leading 1-0.

Trouble began at the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa when sections of the visiting support began throwing projectiles at the home fans and the police moved in to usher them out of the stadium.

Scroll down for video

Police brutality: Belgrano's Juan Quiroga on the floor after being hit in the face by a police truncheon

Police brutality: Belgrano's Juan Quiroga on the floor after being hit in the face by a police truncheon. And the moment he was hit (below)

The game was suspended as the police used the somewhat heavy-handed tactic of using truncheons and rubber bullets to attempt to calm the Belgrano fans, who only responded with more aggression.

Members of the Belgrano team moved to calm their own supporters but were also turned on by riot police with Juan Quiroga getting kicked in the leg and then shockingly Gastn Turus getting hit in the face by a truncheon.

The defender, who suffered a deep cut to his eye, told the media: 'The cop hit me with his truncheon.'

Juan Quiroga

In the ensuing melee Belgrano had Luciano Lollo sent off for clashing with a policeman and to add insult to injury they went on to concede a second goal when the game eventually resumed ten minutes later.

The club have subsequently issued a statement condemning the police violence which marred Saturday’s game: 'Belgrano repudiates, rejects and publicly and judicially denounces the pressure and generalised violence to which their supporters and professional squad were subjected to by Santa Fe (province) police.'

'But is it only the police who are responsible The Santa Fe provincial government knows this goes on. More than once we have presented statements and videos to the AFA. They also know and we expect a solution.

Juan Quiroga

Juan Quiroga

Juan Quiroga

'We won't cease in our repudiation, in denouncing all those involved and in the search for an end to the social and club violence that reigns at grounds, especially in Santa Fe province.'

Belgrano president Armando Perez has also asked Rosario prosecutor Enrique Paz to take a statement from Turus after the defender was denied the chance at a police station in the city, instead being charged with aggressive behaviour.

'I went to denounce an aggression towards me and I got my fingers painted,' the defender told local media as a result of having his fingerprints taken by Rosario police.

Angus Porter, Professional Cricketers" Association chief, reveals Tom Maynard was not tested for drugs before death

PCA chief Porter reveals Maynard wasn't tested for drugs last season before death

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

16:57 GMT, 3 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:57 GMT, 3 March 2013

Professional Cricketers' Association chief Angus Porter has revealed Tom Maynard was not drug tested last season before his death in June.

Maynard was killed in the early hours of June 18 after he was electrocuted and hit by a tube train near Wimbledon Park station.

Maynard had been trying to evade police after abandoning his car, and a Westminster Coroners' Court was told last week that he was four-times the legal alcohol limit to drive and that he had also taken cocaine and ecstasy on the night of the accident.

Tragic death: Tom Maynard was not tested for drugs last season

Tragic death: Tom Maynard was not tested for drugs last season

A post-mortem report also revealed the 23-year-old Surrey batsman, who was regarded as a potential England international, had used cocaine for at least three-and-a-half months.

In the wake of the findings the PCA have begun talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board to increase the levels of drug-testing – which would also include out-of-competition samples.

While Porter said Maynard's recreational drug use would have been detected under the current policy – which focuses on performance-enhancing drugs – he confirmed the batsman had not been tested last season.

'We have a drug-testing regime in cricket like those in all professional sports which is primarily focused on detecting performance-enhancing drugs for very obvious reasons,' Porter told BBC Radio Five Live.

Tribute: Maynard is remembered in the pavilion at The Oval

Tribute: Maynard is remembered in the pavilion at The Oval

He added: 'The pattern of drug use in Tom's case suggests he would have been picked up by our existing drugs programme.

'Although the use of recreational drugs outside of competition is not a breach of the anti-doping code, use in competition is a breach.

'So he would have tested for recreational drugs had he been tested in competition. Unfortunately given that is a random process he wasn't tested last year.'

Porter confirmed talks with the ECB to initiate out-of-competition testing were ongoing and that 'hair sampling' was likely to now be used to catch recreational drug users.

Shocking: A post-mortem report revealed that Maynard had been using cocaine for at least three months

Shocking: A post-mortem report revealed that Maynard had been using cocaine for at least three months

'We're in advanced discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board about implementing a testing programme for drugs out of competition and almost certainly using hair sampling,' he said.

'As the coroner identified that gives you a longer history and a more certain test.

'We need to be clear we are talking about testing, not to catch cheats, but testing to find people who have a drugs problem.

'Therefore, it will be linked with a confidential programme of help, support, advice and if necessary treatment to get them back on the right path.'

Porter also promised to 'redouble' efforts to educate players on the issues associated with drug taking.

At the inquest: Maynard's former Surrey team-mates Jade Dernbach and Rory Hamilton-Brown (below)

At the inquest: Maynard's former Surrey team-mates Jade Dernbach and Rory Hamilton-Brown (below)

Friend: Rory Hamilton-Brown goes into the inquest

'We work very hard to make sure that all players understand both the challenges they face as professionals and also understand the risks that go with those and the issues associated with being in the public eye,' he said.

'We'll be redoubling our efforts in that respect to make sure they are educated and have access to help when they need it.

'If we are going to turn this in to a positive in any way it's that the things we are wrestling with are ones that are challenges for society at large. If we can draw attention to those challenges then that will be a good thing.'

Lee Mears retires because of heart condition

Former England and Lions hooker Mears forced to retire because of heart condition

By
Duncan Bech, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

11:36 GMT, 11 February 2013

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UPDATED:

11:44 GMT, 11 February 2013

Former England hooker Lee Mears has been forced to retire with immediate effect due to a heart condition.

An abnormality known to occur in some athletes was discovered during a cardiac screening completed by the 33-year-old Bath front row, who announced his international retirement last year.

'There is a significant potential risk of developing further complications if Lee continues to perform the prolonged strenuous exercises required to be an elite rugby player,' read a statement issued by Bath.

A great shame: Lee Mears has been forced to retire because of a heart condition

A great shame: Lee Mears has been forced to retire because of a heart condition

'He has therefore been advised by a specialist to retire from professional rugby.'

More to follow.

Over the line: Mears scores a try for the British and Irish Lions

Over the line: Mears scores a try for the British and Irish Lions

Olympic basketball hopeful Amber Charles reacts to government cuts to funding

Olympic hopeful joins campaign against government cuts to basketball funding

bid, has joined the campaign to pressurise the Prime Minister over the slashed funding that is crippling basketball.

Britain’s basketball superstar Luol Deng delivered a hard-hitting letter to David Cameron this week after UK Sport’s funding was cut in the aftermath of the Olympics.

Now Charles, who as a 15-year-old girl from East London was an ambassdor for the Games, has spoken out too. She had a dream to play basketball for her country in Rio in 2016, but that dream is no longer possible if British basketball receives no funding.

Amber Charles was an ambassador for the Games at the age of 15, and met Lord Coe and David Beckham

Amber Charles was an ambassador for the Games at the age of 15, and met Lord Coe and David Beckham

Disappointed: Amber Charles was an ambassador for the Games at the age of 15, and met Lord Coe and David Beckham

Her letter reads as follows: ‘As many of you may remember I was an Ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic bid back in 2005. I was just 15 at the time and as you can imagine being alongside David Beckham, Lord Coe and people like Denise Lewis was an incredible experience for a young girl from East London. These are memories which are precious to me and will stay with me forever.

‘I travelled to Lausanne to present London’s bid book to the IOC and was part of your team which travelled to Singapore for the final presentation to the IOC. I also had the great honour of carrying the Olympic Torch as part of London’s Opening Ceremony.

‘My London 2012 experiences, from 2004 through to the actual Games, were amazing and the moment London was announced as the 2012 Host City will live with me for the rest of my life. That moment inspired me to pursue my dream to become a professional basketball player.

‘Almost eight years on and I am now studying in my final year of university in Tennessee on a basketball scholarship. London 2012 made me even more determined to follow my dreams and my ambition now – as it was even back then in 2005 – is to make the GB basketball team for Rio 2016. It is my focus and my aim.

Luol Deng spoke out against the cuts in a letter to David Cameron

Critical: Luol Deng spoke out against the cuts in a letter to David Cameron

‘But I am utterly dismayed and shocked by the decision by UK Sport to cut funding to the GB Basketball programme to zero. London 2012 was about inspiring the youth of the world through sport. People like me, keeping my dream alive. I just do not understand how all the great work of the 2012 Games – with so much focus on legacy – can then mean my sport being cast aside so soon after London 2012.

‘Without UK Sport funding, GB Basketball is dead and my dream to compete in Rio 2016 is over. I please urge you to do whatever you can to help reverse the short sighted decision by UK Sport and help to keep the inspiration of London 2012 alive for young people like me.

‘I have copied two of the wonderful and treasured photos which will remind me of my experiences and one day I would love to be able to send you a photo of me realising my dream, playing basketball for my country, and, who knows even winning a medal for my country. Imagine our pride and the size of our smiles on that day.’

Lance Armstrong: Australian library brands his books works of fiction

From inspirational tale to work of fiction: Australian library re-shelves Armstrong books after doping confession

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

17:46 GMT, 20 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:46 GMT, 20 January 2013

Lance Armstrong's fall from grace after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs shows no signs of slowing.

The professional cycling fraternity has shunned him, the sponsors have dropped him and just about everyone else he's ever crossed is about to sue him.

And now, his books – once an inspirational story of how to overcome adversity – have been re-shelved and re-categorised from 'must-read autobiography' to 'fiction.'

Works of fiction: This sign was on display at Manley Library in Sydney, Australia following the Lance Armstrong revelations on the Oprah Winfrey Show at the end of last week (below)

Works of fiction: This sign was on display at Manley Library in Sydney, Australia following the Lance Armstrong revelations on the Oprah Winfrey Show at the end of last week (below)

Confession time: Lance Armstrong is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey

Confession time: Lance Armstrong is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey

Manly Library in Sydney, Australia caused a few smirks after they moved three Armstrong titles this weekend.

A sign at reception read: 'All non-fiction Lance Armstrong titles, including 'Lance Armstrong: Images Of A Champion,' 'The Lance Armstrong Performance Program' and 'Lance Armstrong: World's Greatest Champion,' will soon be moved to the fiction section.'

I wonder how many people will be suddenly very keen to find out what 'The Lance Armstrong Performance Program' involves.

It comes as Armstrong, 41, took to the Oprah Winfrey chat show in the United States to come clean about being at the centre of one of the most sophisticated doping programmes in the history of sport and appealed for forgiveness from the public.

Seventh heaven: Armstrong celebrates winning his final Tour de France title in 2005 - he was stripped of all seven titles after confessing to taking performance-enhancing drugs

Seventh heaven: Armstrong celebrates winning his final Tour de France title in 2005 – he was stripped of all seven titles after confessing to taking performance-enhancing drugs

In a sensational interview, broadcast late last week, Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champion, admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs during the most successful part of his career.

But his confession came with a belief that he should be given a second chance to compete.

Today, disgraced former sprinter Ben Johnson said that Armstrong will be quickly forgiven by the American public following his admission.

Johnson, who was stripped of his 100m gold medal from the 1988 Seoul Olympics after testing positive for anabolic steroids, said 'It's going to be fine for him in a few months.'

Disgraced: Sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his 100m gold from the 1988 Seoul Olympics after testing positive for banned steroids

Disgraced: Sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his 100m gold from the 1988 Seoul Olympics after testing positive for banned steroids

Victor Valdes is refusing to sign a new contract at Barcelona

Valdes refusing to sign new contract fuelling rumours he will join Guardiola at Bayern

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

23:21 GMT, 17 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:13 GMT, 18 January 2013

Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes is planning to leave the Spanish giants after he had turned down the chance to sign a new deal.

Valdes, who has spent his entire professional career at the Nou Camp, is contracted to Barcelona until the end of the 2013/14 season.

His representatives – Gines Carvajal is his principal agent – confirmed in a statement to Spanish national news agency Efe that Valdes intends to depart.

Victor Valdes will always be a favourite of Barcelona fans

Solid: Victor Valdes will always be a favourite of Barcelona fans

The statement read: 'The agents of Victor Valdes have communicated to Barcelona in a meeting held this afternoon the irrevocable decision of the player to not renew his contract.'

The 30-year-old has recently suggested he would consider a move to another league. With former Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola heading to Bayern Munich next season, Valdes may become an early target of his old boss.

Valdes has been Barcelona's number one throughout the last decade, winning a host of trophies and earning recognition with Spain, however Real Madrid's Iker Casillas has remained the regular international goalkeeper.

Valdes has had to play second fiddle for Spain behind Iker Casillas

Too much quality: Valdes has played second fiddle for Spain behind Iker Casillas

Paul McGinley named Ryder Cup captain for Europe at Gleneagles in 2014 ahead of Colin Montgomerie

Player power sinks Monty! It's Rory's choice as McGinley is named Ryder Cup captain

.

McGinley has never been involved in a losing Ryder Cup side.

European Tour wins: Four (plus five other professional titles).

Best finish in a major: Tied sixth at the 2004 US PGA Championship.

P.S. In the 2009 and 2011 Seve Trophy, McGinley was the winning captain of Great Britain and Ireland over Continental Europe.

But it was McIlroy and the rest of
the miracle makers at Medinah who held sway; McIlroy's intervention on
Twitter last December that turned everything McGinley's way.

Where he went, other critical voices
followed, such as Luke Donald, Justin Rose and the hero in the last
match in America, Ian Poulter.

Thomas Bjorn, chairman of the
Players' Committee, said: 'Our players on tour wanted us to make this
choice and we listen to our players.'

As so often these days, McIlroy was
spot on with his judgment. McGinley might not have the star persona of
other captains but this was a deserved victory for a decent man who will
leave no stone unturned in his quest to complete a successful defence.

Never have you seen a golfer look
more proud than the 46-year-old Dubliner, who becomes the first Irish
captain in Ryder Cup history.

'I am obviously thrilled and also
feel very humbled to become the captain and I'm relishing the chance to
go up against one of my all-time gol f ing heroes i n Amer ican skipper
Tom Watson,' he said.

'I thought I had a strong hand
because I had the support of the players and, obviously, when the new
star of golf is so vocal in your favour, that is very gratifying as
well. If Rory doesn't make the team I think he has got a good chance of
getting a pick.'

All smiles: McGinley at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club on Tuesday ahead of this week's championship

All smiles: McGinley at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club on Tuesday ahead of this week's championship

McGinley on the course

The kingmaker was in the back of the
room to see his nominee gain his due, as was another architect of
Ireland's wondrous recent success on the world stage – McGinley's
long-time friend and golfing partner, Padraig Harrington.

'I couldn't be more thrilled for him,
he's a dogged man with a real passion for team golf and I think he will
be a brilliant captain,' said Harrington. One of the first to send his
congratulations was Watson.

'Paul is a class act,' he said.
Ironically enough, given what transpired, it was Montgomerie who gave
McGinley his first stab at captaincy, when he invited him to become
Britain and Ireland skipper at the 2009 Seve Trophy.

One of the team members was McIlroy.

'Paul made me feel so comfortable from the start,' said McIlroy.

'He makes you feel so good about
yourself. He put me out as No 1 and I was so determined to deliver a
point for him. He is the best captain I have ever played under.'

McGinley has fewer tournament wins in
526 European Tour starts than Watson has triumphs in The Open – four to
five – but it matters little.

Common sense: Rory McIlroy was pleased with the decision to install McGinley

Common sense: Rory McIlroy was pleased with the decision to install McGinley

More Twitter reaction

EUROPE

IAN POULTER (Ryder Cup specialist, looking to make his fifth appearance next year): 'Paul Mcginley Ryder Cup captain truly really happy that he has given the opportunity to captain the 2014 Ryder Cup team.'

RORY McILROY (World No 1, and McGinley's biggest supporter for the job): 'Common sense prevailed in the end…. Paul McGinley 2014 European Ryder Cup captain!!! Couldn't be happier for him… Roll on Gleneagles'

EDOARDO MOLINARI (Italian who played in the 2010 match): 'I am sure that Paul will be a fantastic captain! Well done to him…and now it's time to work even harder to be part of his team!'

SCOTT JAMIESON (Scot who has made a flying start to the season): 'Congrats Paul McGinley, def gets my vote, will be a great Ryder Cup captain.' UNITED STATES

TOM WATSON (United States Ryder Cup captain): 'Congrats to Paul McGinley on your R/C Captaincy. Looking forward to our future competition. You're a class act.'

DUSTIN JOHNSON (2011 Open runner-up, Ryder Cup player in the last two events): 'Heard the Ryder Cup news about McGinley… @TomWatsonPGAPro & the USA will be ready!!!!'

DAVID DUVAL (former world No 1 and two-time Ryder Cup player): 'Congrats to McGinley for the captaincy. We competed first 20 plus years ago in the Walker Cup.'

In the Ryder Cup he has been a lion,
sinking the winning putt at The Belfry in 2002. Alongside Donald, he is
the only European never to have been on the losing side having played at
least three Ryder Cups.

He was a vice-captain in 2010 and at
Medinah. 'I don't know what it is but team golf and the Ryder Cup have
always brought the best out of me,' said McGinley, who was forecast to
become a Gaelic football star for Dublin until his career was cut short
by a knee injury at the age of just 19.

McGinley's nomination as captain was a
victory for modesty, for he never felt the need to blow his own trumpet
in the months leading up to the announcement.

He started the drawn-out process
trailing Darren Clarke by a seemingly hopeless margin until the
Ulsterman's campaign was derailed by McIlroy's tweet of support for
McGinley before Christmas.

Then came Montgomerie as those committee members who wanted a big personality switched their allegiance to the Scot.

Sky were trailing in the days leading
up to the announcement that Montgomerie was confident he would get the
nod. Still McGinley kept silent.

'It's amazing how much you hear when you don't talk,' the Irishman said wryly.

'To be honest, it was my wife,
Alison, who told me not to join in but I didn't need much persuading. I
watched the story grow legs and the speculation swell but I thought I
was much better just letting the players speak for me.'

It is that sort of judgment call that
will serve McGinley well when he lines up opposite Watson. After 30
minutes of usual committee business, McGinley and Montgomerie, both
members of the body that decides on the captaincy, were asked to leave.

Glory days: Europe won the Ryder Cup in incredible fashion in 2012

Glory days: Europe won the Ryder Cup in incredible fashion in 2012

Not chosen: Colin Montgomerie was not asked to reprise his role as captain

Not chosen: Colin Montgomerie was not asked to reprise his role as captain

Thinking man: McGinley says he loves the tactical side of the game

Thinking man: McGinley says he loves the tactical side of the game

McGinley retreated to a room with his
brother, Michael. Thus began the longest two hours of his life. They
ate oatmeal cookies. Still no knock on the door.

'I've been there so I knew what was going on but it didn't stop the time dragging on,' he said.

Eventually, the call came, the one
that signalled the proudest moment of his professional life. Down an
escalator he went and into a world where the phone never stops ringing
and there's always another interview to give.

'I don't mind all that,' he said,
smiling broadly. Indeed, the grin never left his face all night. He was
wearing a 2014 Ryder Cup sweater of Seve Ballesteros blue, and he might
never take it off.

Derek Lawrenson weighs up the two captains in their areas of influence

Playing Record

Watson: If this counted for very much, Europe might as well hand over the trophy right now. Eight majors and still going strong at the age of 59 says it all. Such a glorious CV earns Watson the guaranteed respect of his team. But that's about all. McGinley: No captain in the modern era has had so few wins as the four mustered by McGinley. However, like Watson, he has never been on a losing Ryder Cup side (he played in three winning ones) so something will have to give. USA one up. Partnerships

Watson: An area where the great man may well struggle. How can he possibly know the different personalities of his team and what makes them tick when he's never played alongside them on a regular basis

McGinley: One of the Irishman's great strengths. Will know the players inside out and whether the time is right to put an arm around the shoulder or deliver a kick up the backside. All Square

Tom Watson

Tactics

Watson: Before Peter Baker played his matches at The Belfry in 1993, captain Watson made a beeline for the young Englishman and looked him squarely in the eye while shaking his hand. Baker was left with the clear impression Watson was trying to intimidate. Expect similar moves at Gleneagles.

McGinley: One of the reasons why Rory McIlroy was so effusive about McGinley for captain is his work in this area, where his attention to detail is second to none. Brilliant in this regard when Britain and Ireland captain at the Seve Trophy. Europe one up Home advantage

Watson: One of the reasons why Watson was picked was to nullify the partisanship of the Gleneagles crowd. Will the cheers ring out quite so raucously when the opposition is led by the golfing hero of so many Watch Watson play on this for all it is worth – and it is worth a lot.

McGinley: Not one of life's cheerleaders like all the other recent captains on home soil. His relatively low profile means that the roars when he appears on the first tee may well feel slightly muted when compared to previous matches. All Square

McGinley

Media Relations

Watson: In the press room, Watson is second to none. When he's telling one of his stories he has an audience of usually hard-bitten journalists eating out of his hand. Anticipate glowing testaments from the usually hostile UK press.

McGinley: Contrary to popular opinion, journalists like a bit of intelligence and the erudite McGinley has it in spades. Expect passionate and articulate answers laced with enough lines to keep even the most cynical tabloid man happy. All Square Speeches

Watson: One thing's for sure – he won't be standing up and forgetting how many children he has, like Hal Sutton did in 2004. At the opening ceremony expect a speech that strays perilously close to cheese territory but is also filled with grace and warmth.

McGinley: The fundamental reason why so many of the Medinah miracle makers wanted McGinley as captain is to do with his powers of persuasion in the team room. Knows what to say at the right time. Europe one up

McGinley factfile

1966: Born December 16 in Dublin. 1986: Promising Gaelic football career is ended by a broken kneecap. 1987: Wins an Irish youth cap in golf. 1988: Becomes Irish youths champion. 1989: Crowned Irish amateur champion. 1991: Earns a Walker Cup cap and turns professional. 1993: Makes his Dunhill Cup and World Cup debuts. 1996: Claims first European Tour win, in Austria. 1997: Achieves his second European Tour victory, and wins World Cup with Padraig Harrington. 2001: Wins Wales Open. 2002: Finishes 18th in first Masters. Makes his Ryder Cup debut and holes the winning putt. 2004: Earns second Ryder Cup cap and finishes unbeaten in a record nine-point win for Europe. 2005: Wins Volvo Masters to finish third on European money list and reach a career-high 18th in world rankings. 2006: Third Ryder Cup cap, and again McGinley plays his part in a nine-point win. 2009: Captains Britain and Ireland to Seve Trophy win. 2010: Among Europe's vice-captains in Ryder Cup win at Celtic Manor. 2011: Makes his 500th European Tour start and captains Britain and Ireland to another Seve Trophy win. 2012: Among vice-captains in another Ryder Cup win for Europe, this time at Medinah. 2013: Named Europe's captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup, to be staged at Gleneagles.

Ryder Cup record:

Caps: 3 (2002-04-06) Matches played: 9 (4 foursomes, 2 fourballs, 3 singles) Wins: 2 (1 foursomes, 1 singles) Halved: 5 (2 fourballs, 1 foursomes, 2 singles) Lost: 2 (2 foursomes) Points: 4 1/2

Tom Stalker becomes second London 2012 British boxer to turn pro after signing with Matchroom

Stalker becomes second London 2012 British boxer to turn pro after signing with Matchroom

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

13:17 GMT, 9 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:35 GMT, 9 January 2013

Thomas Stalker has become the second British Olympic boxer to turn professional.

The 28-year-old has signed with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom outfit and follows London team-mate Anthony Ogogo into the paid ranks.

The Sportsmail columnist will make his debut in February and will also be on the undercard of Tony Bellew's world title eliminator against Isaac Chilemba at Liverpool's Echo Arena on March 30.

Turning pro: Stalker has signed with Matchroom

Turning pro: Stalker has signed with Matchroom

Stalker is a former European and
Commonwealth gold medalist and was controversially beaten in the
quarter-finals at the London Games.

'I feel I am going to be exciting to
watch as a professional boxer,' Stalker said. 'I felt it was time for me
to turn professional now and see how far I can go. I have done
everything I could possibly do as an amateur, bar winning an Olympic
medal.

'Even though I didn’t medal myself,
as a team I have captained the most successful amateur boxing team we
have ever had and that was a big thing for me.

Leader: Tom StalLeader: Tom Stalker (second right) was Team GB's captainker was Team GB's captain

Leader: Tom Stalker (second right) was Team GB's captain

Stalker is a former European and
Commonwealth gold medalist and was controversially beaten in the
quarter-finals at the London Games.

'I feel I am going to be exciting to
watch as a professional boxer,' Stalker said. 'I felt it was time for me
to turn professional now and see how far I can go. I have done
everything I could possibly do as an amateur, bar winning an Olympic
medal.

'Even though I didn’t medal myself,
as a team I have captained the most successful amateur boxing team we
have ever had and that was a big thing for me.

Dedicated: Stalker hard at work

Dedicated: Stalker hard at work

'It wasn’t just a three-week
tournament it had been four years of trying to qualify to win those
medals so to see all the lads and women do so well and win medals was
amazing and I am very honoured to have captained that team.

'Winning the Commonwealth Games gold
medal was obviously a highlight for me in the amateurs but I would say
qualifying for the Olympics was a big moment after all the hard work it
took to qualify.

'Since the Olympics I haven’t had a
goal and I have been a bit depressed, especially seeing the other lads
doing all sorts of stuff but now I have that hunger back and to get in
that ring and fight is going to be amazing. The one for me is going to
be March, boxing a homecoming in Liverpool. It is going to be amazing
for me to be boxing in front of all my friends and family in Liverpool
and that is when I will really feel like a professional.

First: Anthony Ogogo had already turned pro

First: Anthony Ogogo had already turned pro

'I think a lot of Eddie Hearn and I
think a lot of the fighters he has; Carl Froch, Kell Brook and of course
the Liverpool fighters he has got, Tony Bellew, Rocky Fielding and
Callum Smith. I thought it made sense to go with Matchroom because Eddie
is doing really well for his fighters at the moment.

'Kal Yafai, Scotty Cardle and Martin
J. Ward were all really good friends in the GB squad and I see them
doing really well now with Matchroom. When I was watching Scott Cardle’s
last fight I was picturing myself against the opponent he was fighting
because he is about the same weight as me.'

Stalker will be trained by Paul and
Mick Stevenson at Everton Red Triangle boxing club alongside British
flyweight champion Kevin Satchell.

Guide: Eddie Hearn will promote Stalker

Guide: Eddie Hearn will promote Stalker

Rob McCracken, GB Boxing performance
director, said: 'It has been very good working with Tom over the last
three years, when he has shown himself to be a fine boxer with the
ability to win medals at major tournaments.

'It is disappointing for us that Tom
has decided his future lies away from the GB Boxing squad but he departs
with our best regards and we wish him every success in his future
career.'