Tag Archives: rehabilitation

Micah Richards will be given special summer training programme to minimise injury risk

EXCLUSIVE: Man City star Richards will be forced to follow special summer training programme after injury-hit season

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And City's medical team are devising a specially-designed training plan, aimed primarily at strengthening his injured knee, for Richards to follow during the close season to ensure his body is ready for the rigours of pre-season given he'll have spent virtually an entire season on the sidelines.

Blow: Richards was stretchered off during the game against Swansea

Blow: Richards was stretchered off during the game against Swansea

Richards had hoped to be back playing at the beginning of this month, but his return was delayed after complaining of tightness in his injured knee during the latter stages of his rehabilitation process.

News of Richards' pending return will be a major boost to City manager Roberto Mancini ahead of his side's run-in.

Wigan defender Ivan Ramis ruled out for season with cruciate ligament damage

Huge blow for Martinez as Wigan defender Ramis is sidelined for season with cruciate injury

By
Simon Stone, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

16:27 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:17 GMT, 15 January 2013

Wigan defender Ivan Ramis will miss the rest of the season after rupturing his cruciate ligament in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Fulham.

Latics boss Roberto Martinez feared the worst immediately after the game and scans have now revealed the Spaniard will be out until the start of next season.

'Nothing can disguise the fact this is a massive blow because Ivan is a key member of the group but we are relieved that the injury is not a severe as we feared it could have been,' Martinez said.

Down and out: Ivan Ramis will miss the rest of the campaign

Down and out: Ivan Ramis will miss the rest of the campaign

The news is a massive blow to Martinez as another senior defender, Antolin Alcaraz, is still to return after suffering a groin injury in August.

Wigan do have another alternative in Roman Golobart but the 20-year-old's relative lack of experience means Martinez may be forced to use Emmerson Boyce as an orthodox defender, rather than in the wing-back role where he has excelled over the past 12 months.

A summer arrival from Real Mallorca, 28-year-old Ramis endured a difficult debut against Chelsea but has since come into his own, making 19 appearances. He had only just returned from a hamstring problem when he suffered the latest setback at the weekend.

'The most important thing now is to think of Ivan's welfare, get the operation completed, and for him to begin his rehabilitation,' said Martinez.

'Ivan is a very strong and positive character and he is determined to return to fitness as soon as he can.

'He will receive the best possible medical rehabilitation as the club ensures to have him return as an even stronger footballer.'

Arsenal handed double boost by Tomas Rosicky and Gervinho

Arsenal boss Wenger handed double boost by Rosicky and Gervinho

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UPDATED:

00:28 GMT, 16 November 2012

Arsene Wenger has been handed a timely lift by the return to training of Tomas Rosicky.

The Czech midfielder has not played
this season due to an achilles injury sustained at Euro 2012, but the
32-year-old has completed his rehabilitation plan and begun light
training.

Gervinho has also stepped up his recovery from an ankle injury he picked up in this month's game against Queens Park Rangers.

Back: Tomas Rosicky has returned to training with Arsenal

Back: Tomas Rosicky has returned to training with Arsenal

It is unclear when manager Arsene Wenger will reintroduce Rosicky and Gervinho into full training but the news comes as a major fillip going into Saturday's north London derby.

Wojciech Szczesny (ankle), Theo Walcott (glute) and Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain all look set to be fit for the visit of Tottenham.

Slowly but surely: Gervinho is also making progress after his injury

Slowly but surely: Gervinho is also making progress after his injury

Szczesny is expected to start the match, replacing Vito Mannone, who was arguably at fault for two of Fulham's three goals in last weekend's 3-3 draw.

EXCLUSIVE: Stuart Broad"s heel injury could scupper England"s hopes in India

EXCLUSIVE: Broad's heel injury could scupper England's chances in India Test series

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 10 November 2012

England expect to discover on Saturday whether fast bowler Stuart Broad will be fit for the opening Test against India this week – or if injury will force him out of the opening two Tests at least.

After Broad's involvement in the second warm-up match of the tour against Mumbai A was cut short last week, England's management denied that they were concerned about his fitness for the series.

And even after a scan showed he had a bruised left heel, they continued to insist the problem was no more serious than a 'fast bowler's niggle' and that he was not a doubt for the first Test, which starts in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

All smiles: Stuart Broad's injured heel could cause England's vicecaptain to miss the first two Tests in India

All smiles: Stuart Broad's injured heel could cause England's vicecaptain to miss the first two Tests in India

But while Steven Finn's thigh strain, suffered on day one of the tour against India A, has healed well enough for the Middlesex giant to be in genuine contention, concerns are growing over Broad, who was appointed England's vicecaptain at the start of the tour to new leader Alastair Cook.

Stuart Meaker, called up for the first Test as cover for Finn, said: 'Looking at how Steven Finn is going, he's getting closer and closer to being ready.'

England's original rehabilitation plan for Broad was that he would sit out the final warm-up match in Haryana, completed on Friday, then test his fitness in the nets on Sunday with a view to playing in the Test three days later.

Sources within the coaching staff suggested on Friday that Finn had a better chance of playing than Broad but on Friday a team spokesman suggested that the latter might not bowl until Tuesday.

That fuelled fears that the first Test is too soon to risk him and put a question-mark over his participation in the second, starting in Mumbai on November 23.

The only cure for a bruised heel is rest, depending on the severity of the injury, for a minimum of two weeks.

In contention: Steven Finn has healed well from a thigh strain

In contention: Steven Finn has healed well from a thigh strain

That could even rule Broad out for the first half of the four-match series, with no practice match scheduled between the second Test in Mumbai and the third in Kolkata to prove his fitness in match conditions.

If Broad is not completely fit, he could play on Thursday only after an injection or relying on painkillers, but England will be aware that the effect of such action might put him at risk for the rest of the tour.

Broad is considered vital to England's chance of victory on the Sub-continent for the first time in nearly 30 years, since David Gower's side won 2-1 in 1984- 85.

Despite criticism for what some perceived as a dip in speed and penetration during the summer, the 26-year-old paceman arrived in India as the leading Test wicket-taker in world cricket for 2012.

Vital: Broad's contribution is considered essential if England are to succeed in India

Vital: Broad's contribution is considered essential if England are to succeed in India

Forty scalps in nine matches, against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and South Africa, put him one ahead of Vernon Philander, Saeed Ajmal, Kemar Roach and Graeme Swann and 13 ahead of Dale Steyn, considered the most dangerous quickie on the planet.

If India want reminding of his threat, they need only recall his man-of-the-series performance against them during England's 4-0 win on home soil last year.

His 25 wickets at 13.84 included 7-94 and 8-76 at Trent Bridge, featuring the first Test hat-trick on that ground, and fuelled England's drive to the top of the ICC world rankings.

Broad also showed his ability to take wickets in seemingly placid batting conditions by taking 13 against Pakistan in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in January.

Manchester United youngster Ryan Tunnicliffe banned for 18 MONTHS over drink-driving

Don't let Fergie see you smiling… drink-driving Tunnicliffe beams outside court after being banned for 18 MONTHS

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UPDATED:

12:41 GMT, 25 October 2012

Manchester United starlet Ryan Tunnicliffe has been banned from driving for 18 months for drink-driving.

The 19-year-old crashed his 60,000 Range Rover on October 13 and was later charged with driving with excess alcohol.

He appeared at Bury Magistrates Court on Thursday morning and was banned, as well as being hit with an 800 fine.

Ban: Ryan Tunnicliffe smiled as he arrived at Bury Magistrates Court

Ban: Ryan Tunnicliffe smiled as he arrived at Bury Magistrates Court

Ban: Ryan Tunnicliffe smiled as he arrived at Bury Magistrates Court for his hearing

The 19-year-old crashed his luxury Range Rover into a parked van after he drank 'a lot' of alcohol the night before with his family.

The unattended Ford Transit van in Heywood, Greater Manchester, was shunted five metres (16.4ft) into the stone wall of a house in the incident.

No one was hurt in the collision apart from Tunnicliffe's front seat passenger, a friend, who received minor injuries.

Aside from the damage to the van and the house involved, his Range Rover was written off at a cost of 30,000.

The footballer phoned the police from the scene in Green Lane shortly after 2.15pm on October 13 and officers attended.

A police constable noticed his breath smelt of alcohol.

He provided a positive breath test at the scene and then gave a reading of 62mg/100ml, the legal limit being 35mg, at Bury police station.

Tunnicliffe, of Heywood, pleaded guilty to the offence on his first appearance over the matter at Bury Magistrates' Court.

The court heard both his family and club were 'very disappointed' about the incident.

Damage: This picture shows Tunnicliffe's smashed-up Range Rover

Damage: This picture shows Tunnicliffe's smashed-up Range Rover

His ban is likely to be reduced by
four months after Tunnicliffe indicated he would be interested in
attending a drink-drive rehabilitation course.

He was fined 800 and ordered to pay 85 prosecution costs and an 80 victim surcharge.
Tunnicliffe was told to take his hands out of his pockets before the hearing started.

Caroline Patrick, prosecuting, said
his vehicle left the road and went on to a footpath before hitting the
van which was knocked into the wall and the wooden garden gates of a
house.

Chris Proctor, defending, said: 'My
instructions are that he had consumed alcohol the evening before and
unfortunately, in an error of judgment on his part, he thought he would
be below the legal limit and he was able to drive.

'Generally he is a very sensible
young man. He is a professional footballer and this incident happened in
an international break in the calendar.

'He had some drinks with his family. He generally does not tend to drink alcohol because of his footballing commitments.'

Tunnicliffe had gone to collect a
vehicle he had recently bought before the incident at a notorious
accident blackspot, the solicitor said.

Mr Proctor added this was not a situation in which his client drank alcohol and then immediately got behind the wheel.

A number of letters of character reference were handed to the presiding magistrate, District Judge Richardson.

Mr Proctor said: 'The third parties in this case, his family and club, are very disappointed at what has happened.'

On his way: Ryan Tunnicliffe made his debut against Newcastle - to win his dad 10,000

On his way: Ryan Tunnicliffe made his debut against Newcastle – to win his dad 10,000

The judge told Tunnicliffe: 'I appreciate what is said on your behalf that you did not drink in daylight hours on that day.

'What was reflected is what you drank the night before, which must have been a lot.

'I think you are genuinely contrite
about that and I am going to give you full credit for your guilty plea
and that you had the courage to phone the police yourself.

'There is also nothing like this in your background.

'You are a well-paid athlete and the fine reflects that. It is a reflection of your income.'

It was not stated in court whether the Range Rover was the car he had left home to pick up.

Tunnicliffe hit the headlines recently when he made his debut for United – and made his father 10,000 richer in the process.

Mick Tunnicliffe placed a 100 bet when
his son was nine that he would one day play for United (at odds of
100-1) – and his moment came when Marnick Vermijl was replaced during
the 2-1 win over Newcastle in the Capital One Cup.

And
there could be worse to come for bookmakers William Hill, who revealed
they also took another bet from Tunnicliffe's dad of 100 at odds of
350/1 that the young midfielder will one day play for England at some
stage in his career.

The wager could net Tunnicliffe Snr a whopping 35,000 payout.

'The
last time a bet of this nature cost us 10,000 was when Chris Kirkland
made his debut in goal for England, also landing a 100 bet for his
father,' said Hill’s spokesman Graham Sharpe.

'We will obviously be paying close attention to the progress of Ryan’s career in the future.'

Tunnicliffe, who spent last season under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson's son, Darren, on loan at Peterborough United, was one of a number of youngsters blooded last month.

Winger Robbie Brady and defenders Scott Wootton and Michael Keane were also given run-outs by Ferguson at Old Trafford as United cruised through to a tricky fourth round meeting with Chelsea.

Behind the scenes at St George"s Park

The England Lab: Our man tries out the FA's 100m St George's Park complex before Rooney, Gerrard and company move in

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UPDATED:

14:34 GMT, 27 September 2012

In the hotel at St George’s Park, there’s an evocative photo
mosaic of legendary England players and moments of the past. Becks, Gazza,
Robson and Ramsey are all there, taking pride of place in the plush lobby.

But these images are the only concession to the past in the
Football Association’s shiny new 100m headquarters nestled deep in the
Staffordshire countryside.

For the rest of this place is about the future – both in the
almost Space Age training equipment and facilities on offer at every turn but
in the grand vision that brought the whole thing into being.

Welcome mat: The main entrance to St George's Park, the Football Association's new 100m training complex in the Staffordshire countryside

Welcome mat: The main entrance to St George's Park, the Football Association's new 100m training complex in the Staffordshire countryside

Wacky designs: The reception features a multi-coloured selection of football shirts

Wacky designs: The reception features a multi-coloured selection of football shirts

Next month, the England senior squad will walk through its
doors for the first time as they prepare for the latest couplet of World Cup
qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.

They will enter a building that is part-science lab,
part-training ground, part-rehabilitation clinic and part-medical college. For
the first time, our national team will have everything under one roof – no more
working out of hotel rooms and suitcases.

The new home for all 24 English representative teams, from
schoolboys to seasoned pros, St George’s Park is the end result of a
quarter-century of wrangling, planning, budgeting and building.

But this will all be worthwhile if this state-of-the-art
technology helps deliver a first major tournament success in nearly 50 years.

World of wood: One of the changing rooms at St George's Park. Each one is named after a famous England player

World of wood: One of the changing rooms at St George's Park. Each one is named after a famous England player

Inspirational: Quotes from famous names adorn the walls throughout

Inspirational: Quotes from famous names adorn the walls throughout

England’s head physiotherapist Gary Lewin says: ‘This is the
culmination of a 25-year process. In all the time I’ve been involved with
England teams, we’ve always worked out of hotel rooms wherever we are in the
world.

‘At last, we have a ‘home’ and a ‘base camp’ for our medical
staff. But St George’s Park will be much more than that – it’s a centre of
excellence for medical education, coach education and data collection, which
will be shared with universities.’

And those members of staff will have the best of everything.
From this point forward, England failures will owe nothing to physical
deficiencies.

At the heart of the complex is the Human Performance Lab,
full of machines which can tell you everything about the make-up of your body
in nanoseconds.

Ready to race: Four Wattbikes are hooked up to the computers in the Human Performance Lab

Ready to race: Four Wattbikes are hooked up to the computers in the Human Performance Lab

Anti-gravity and anti-oxygen: The AlterG treadmill (right) next to the altitude training chamber

Anti-gravity and anti-oxygen: The AlterG treadmill (right) next to the altitude training chamber

The anti-gravity treadmill is based on technology borrowed
from NASA and strips away up to four-fifths of your body mass to literally take
the weight off your feet.

England stars who pick up knocks on the field can keep up
their training routine without needless pressure on aching joints.

Four Wattbikes – exercise bikes which accurately measure the
amount of power your legs produce on the pedals – add an element of competition
for the players through programmable races.

In the corner, an altitude chamber with a treadmill, bike
and rowing machine to test the efficiency of your respiratory system in low
oxygen.

Alpine air: There's an exercise bike, treadmill and rowing machine in the altitude chamber

Alpine air: There's an exercise bike, treadmill and rowing machine in the altitude chamber

And when the elite athletes move in, every second of their
work out will be logged, recorded and pored over at great length by the finest
medical minds.

Along the tall corridor is the rehabilitation gym, which is
cunningly positioned above the full-size indoor Astroturf pitch, the idea being
that any injured players can be inspired in their recovery by watching their
teammates training below.

Lush: The indoor Astroturf football pitch will be used for training games when the England team move in next month

Lush: The indoor Astroturf football pitch will be used for training games when the England team move in next month

Again it’s packed with the latest equipment as you’d expect.
Technogym won the commission to fit out all the gyms at St George’s and there’s
kit here that looks genuinely frightening – until you start to play about with
it.

The ‘Kinesis’ sounds especially daunting, but its flexible
cables and pulleys allow for an infinite number of different exercises that
work muscles you forget you have.

Elsewhere in the room are good old-fashioned weights and
medicine balls, which the England players will no doubt relish chucking around
in a month’s time.

Inspirational: Exercise bikes overlooking the indoor pitch, so injured players can watch their teammates training below

Inspirational: Exercise bikes overlooking the indoor pitch, so injured players can watch their teammates training below

Im-press-ive: This Technogym leg press is the only one in the world at the moment

Im-press-ive: This Technogym leg press is the only one in the world at the moment

State-of-the-art: Exercise machines in the gym, including the versatile Kinesis One (left)

State-of-the-art: Exercise machines in the gym, including the versatile Kinesis One (left)

To make sure the reactions of Joe Hart, Robert Green and
company are as sharp as they need to be, BATAK boards have been installed.
They’re grids of lights that flash up in random sequence, leading to a flurry
of palm-bashing as players go head-to-head to record the highest score.

Down in the underbelly of the building are the more sedate
surroundings of the Hydrotherapy Suite, where the players will unwind after a
hard training session.

This time, cutting edge technology meets the water – the
Variopool has a moving floor to adjust the depth, there’s an underwater
treadmill for resistance training and the dreaded ice pool, positioned
mercifully close to the warm bubbles of the jacuzzi.

Water world: The Hydrotherapy suite has a main pool (background), ice bath (centre) and jacuzzi (foreground)

Water world: The Hydrotherapy suite has a main pool (background), ice bath (centre) and jacuzzi (foreground)

But despite all this being created ostensibly for the
advancement of the England team, the bosses at St George’s are insistent it
will be accessible to all.

Surprisingly, there are no security gates at the start of
the winding drive to the front door and club sides, local junior teams, individual
athletes in rehab from injury and those simply curious about fitness are being
actively encouraged.

‘This is a centre for the whole football family,’ says the
Park’s Managing Director Julie Harrington. ‘We want to encourage a sense of
belonging for clubs in the Football League, the Premier League and players from
other sports as well.

‘We’re already had Olympic and Paralympic athletes through
the doors, as well as the England rugby team. There’s been interest from people
who like extreme sports and from those who’ve written to us and asked for help
in their recovery from injury.

‘It all about the exchange of ideas this creates.’

There’s no disputing that St George’s Park is an impressive
place. It's value will hopefully become apparent with future England success.

Perform, part of Spire Healthcare, is the official healthcare provider for St. George’s Park, the FA's new training base for the 24 England teams. Visit www.spireperform.com

HEART OF ST GEORGE HOW I DID ON THE EQUIPMENT ENGLAND WILL USE

My visit to St George’s Park was more than just a tour – it
was a hands on chance to try out the same pieces of equipment Wayne Rooney,
Steven Gerrard et al will be using in a few weeks’ time.

Far from being an elite athlete like them, I content myself
with two or three jogs around the park each week and an occasional game of
five-a-side with my mates.

So how would I get on when put through my paces

TEST ONE: THE
WATTBIKE

Everyone likes a tootle out on a bike, but there’s suddenly
a very different feel when you’re lining up in an interactive 1km race against
three fellow journalists.

Strapped in and hunched forward as though bracing for a
gale-forced headwind, I make the decision to power off from the starting line,
pumping my thighs until I’m topping 900 watts of power.

On the screen in front of us, my virtual bike lurches into a
wheel’s lead but I’ve ignored rule number one and gone out far too fast.

On your marks! The contenders line up for the 1km Journo Wattbike race. I'm on the second bike from the left

On your marks! The contenders line up for the 1km Journo Wattbike race. I'm on the second bike from the left

Power surge: During the kilometre race, the bikes accurately record the amount of power output from our legs. I averaged just over 900 watts

Power surge: During the kilometre race, the bikes accurately record the amount of power output from our legs. I averaged just over 900 watts

Close run thing: A win for the Mail Online... but only just

Close run thing: A win for the Mail Online… but only just

Thankfully the early pace means the metres are tumbling down
on the display in front of me and despite the pain creeping into my knees, I’m
able to cling on and win in a time of 1 minute 18.5 seconds.

It’s no exaggeration to say this will probably be the
pinnacle of my sporting life, but I’m soon brought crashing back down to earth
by the trainer, who points out that the guys on the Tour de France do that 200
times over every day… for three weeks.

TEST TWO: THE ALTER G
TREADMILL

This piece of
equipment really is something else. It’s essentially a normal treadmill that’s
been ‘pimped’ by NASA boffins.

You slip on a pair of tight neoprene shorts and then are
zipped into the airtight ‘tent’ which totally encases the treadmill.

As you step on, the AlterG weighs you and adjusts itself
accordingly. As you ramp up the pace, the pressure inside the ‘tent’ can be
altered to strip away your body weight in increments up to 80 per cent.

Space age: Working into a light jog on the AlterG Treadmill as my coach adjusts how much of my body weight has been taken away

Space age: Working into a light jog on the AlterG Treadmill as my coach adjusts how much of my body weight has been taken away

Treadmill tent: You're zipped in to an inflatable enclosure when running on the AlterG

Treadmill tent: You're zipped in to an inflatable enclosure when running on the AlterG

The idea is that athletes can run long distances without
exerting harmful pressure on their knees and ankles. Mo Farah used the
technology before the Olympics to build stamina without straining his joints,
but its main use would be for recovery from injury.

I’m not going as far as Mo, but feel I could run all day
with so much weight taken off my feet.

TEST THREE: BATAK
BOARD

You might have seen this on the Jonathan Ross show and while
it is a fun game, it’s used here to test the agility and reactions of
the players – especially the goalkeepers.

It’s a series of pads mounted on a steel frame – some above
your head, some below your waist and some in between – which light up in random
sequence. You turn them off with your palm as fast as you can manage.

Lights, camera, action! The BATAK Board tests agility and reflexes

Lights, camera, action! The BATAK Board tests agility and reflexes

One hit every second: I scored 30 from my 30 second run

One hit every second: I scored 30 from my 30 second run

I have 30 seconds and record what I thought was a
respectable score of 30 – exactly one light switched off a second.

But it’s a long way short of the records set by the Formula
One drivers who use the BATAK regularly – Fernando Alonso and Heikki Kovalainen
can do 138 in a minute, while the unofficial world record is 155!

TEST FOUR: STRENGTH
GYM CIRCUIT

Next, we’re introduced to Grant, whose title of ‘Master
Trainer’ suggests what’s about to unfold isn’t going to be easy. ‘You won’t
need your notebooks for this one,’ he says.

He’s set up a circuit of eight exercises in the strength and
conditioning gym which overlooks the outdoor pitch designed to mimic the
precise dimensions of Wembley Stadium.

Heave! Testing our one of Technogym's Kinesis machines in the St George's Park gym

Heave! Testing our one of Technogym's Kinesis machines in the St George's Park gym

It’s a mix of push-ups, pull-downs, medicine ball throwing,
squat thrusts and pretend kayaking in intense 30 second blocks, a guaranteed
way to shock your muscles into action.

We’re all struggling to get our breath after just four minutes
of rapid-fire exercise, but the England players will do hour after hour on
these shiny new machines.

TEST FIVE: FUNCTIONAL
MOVEMENT EXAM

This is a series of seven apparently straightforward tests
to measure our susceptibility to injury – and it’s harder than it seems.

The trainer awards three points for perfect posture and
form, two if there’s a few wobbles and one if you’re utterly hopeless and can’t
do the exercise at all.

There’s a squat balancing a metre-long ruler above your
head, a step over a piece of string, a plank and an elbow to knee stretch while
balancing on your other arm.

It also shows how balanced you are and it’s soon apparent
that I’m not as symmetrical as I thought. I score 16 out of 21 which is
respectable but doesn’t make me immune from knocks and niggles.

TEST SIX:
HYDROTHERAPY

/09/27/article-2209412-153AFE0C000005DC-636_634x419.jpg” width=”634″ height=”419″ alt=”Chilly: The journalists brave the ice bath in the Hydrotherapy suite, while luckier ones get to relax in the jacuzzi” class=”blkBorder” />

Chilly: The journalists brave the ice bath in the Hydrotherapy suite, while luckier ones get to relax in the jacuzzi

Weird feeling: Time for a jog on the underwater treadmill

Weird feeling: Time for a jog on the underwater treadmill

Monitored: The coaches can check stride and posture with the aid of the treadmill's underwater cameras

Monitored: The coaches can check stride and posture with the aid of the treadmill's underwater cameras

The underwater treadmill is a treat at the other end of the
room. You stand on the platform and are lowered into the water, before the band
starts turning and you’re running at a light jog.

Obviously the resistance of the water makes it a hugely
beneficial experience and large television monitors in front of you allow views
of your stride from under the water. I'm sure they can pick up Sky Sports News as well.

TEST SEVEN: FOOTBALL
TRAINING

Our day ends with a chance to try out the luscious Astroturf
surface we’ve been given tantalising glimpses of all afternoon.

A couple of FA coaches oversee the kick around, with their
emphasis on trying to change the mentality of Saturday and Sunday morning coaches
all over the country.

It’s certainly true that if you give a group of Spanish,
Italian or Brazilian lads a ball on the beach and they’ll caress it, pass it
amongst themselves and try to outdo each other with skills and tricks.

English lads in the same situation would have divided
themselves into teams on a pitch with towels for goalposts as quickly as the
next wave comes in.

Dome of dreams: The indoor Astroturf football pitch certainly looks impressive

Dome of dreams: The indoor Astroturf football pitch certainly looks impressive

Tag! The journalists take part in a warm-up exercise on the indoor football pitch

Tag! The journalists take part in a warm-up exercise on the indoor football pitch

The FA is desperate to get kids away from never-ending game
scenarios and into drills designed to improve their technique – so the next
generation can address the gaping technical deficiencies of English teams.

We were shown a few drills but then the pressure to get into
a bit of five-a-side became too much. We played initially in three zones, with
the focus on two-on-one or two-on-two contests, before opening up into a more
traditional knock-about.

It’s the perfect way to let off steam at the end of a great
day.

Ricky Hatton attacked by his dad

Hatton attacked by his own dad hours before announcing comeback

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UPDATED:

11:59 GMT, 15 September 2012

The father of former boxing champion Ricky Hatton was arrested for attacking his son the day before he announced his comeback, police sources said.

It is understood that Hatton, 33, had to protect himself after his dad Ray, 61, attacked him during a heated row in the car park outside his Manchester gym.

Police were called and Hatton senior was arrested and cautioned.

Attack: Ricky Hatton (left) was hit by his father Ray (right) in a car park

Attack: Ricky Hatton (left) was hit by his father Ray (right) in a car park

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: 'Shortly before 11.45am on Thursday, police received reports that there had been a fight involving two men outside a health and fitness club on Market Street, Hyde.

'A 33-year-old man was assaulted by a 61-year-old man, who was arrested on suspicion of common assault and subsequently given a police caution.

'The 33-year-old man was not injured in the incident.'

On Friday, Hatton – nicknamed The Hitman – said he would strive to earn the nation's pride again after seeing his life 'turn to mush' in the three years since he last fought.

He's back! Hatton announced his comeback in Manchester on Friday

He's back! Hatton announced his comeback in Manchester on Friday

The Hyde fighter has suffered a series of well-publicised issues in his private life since his last fight saw him knocked out by Manny Pacquiao in their IBO light-welterweight title fight in Las Vegas.

Hatton insisted he did not want to see those demons tarnish his legacy in the sport, with another world title belt in his sights.

The fighter was the subject of allegations of cocaine abuse two years ago and within days he was admitted to a rehabilitation facility.

Drink and depression were major issues for Hatton at the time.

Flattened: Manny Pacquiao destroyed Hatton in his last fight in 2009

Flattened: Manny Pacquiao destroyed Hatton in his last fight in 2009

'I don't want people telling my kids that I blew it,' Hatton said as it was announced he would return to the ring on November 24 in Manchester.

'I want my kids to be able to say, 'He was a world champion, he had his problems, but my did he bounce back'.

'I want people to be proud of me again. I want British sport, my kids and my fans and my friends to be proud of me.'

Hatton's agent declined to comment on the incident.

Darren Bent refuses to rule out Euro 2012 dream

Bent on the mend as Aston Villa star refuses to rule out Euro 2012 dream

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UPDATED:

07:45 GMT, 4 April 2012

Aston Villa and England striker Darren Bent has started rehabilitation work after suffering ankle ligament damage in February but says it is too early to indicate whether he will be fit for Euro 2012.

The 28-year-old has been ruled out for the remainder of the domestic season but has come off crutches and is undergoing gym work and swimming as the first part of his recovery programme.

Down and out: Bent suffered ankle ligament damage

Down and out: Bent suffered ankle ligament damage

He said: 'It's too early to say for England. We'll have to wait until I'm outside running and kicking a ball.

'The quicker I'm out on the pitch running, the quicker I can have an inkling about Euro 2012.

'But I am on the mend, can walk without crutches and have just started rehab work in the pool and also doing stuff in the gym as well.'

Bent had established himself as one of England's first-choice strikers since his 18million move from Sunderland 15 months ago.

International honours: Bent had established himself as one of England's first-choice strikers

International honours: Bent had established himself as one of England's first-choice strikers

Meanwhile, Villa manager Alex McLeish is hopeful injured duo Charles N'Zogbia and Alan Hutton can return ahead of schedule and play some part in the Easter programme.

Winger N'Zogbia was expected to be out for a month with a knee injury suffered a fortnight ago and defender Hutton for three weeks with a calf strain picked up against Arsenal 11 days ago.

But the pair have resumed training – although not with the main squad – and McLeish is optimistic they may be available for Saturday's trip to Liverpool or Monday's home clash with Stoke.

The Scot said: 'They are making good progress and we hope, if not available for Saturday's game, then they will possibly be available for the Stoke match.

'Charles and Alan are working separately from the main group with Alan Smith (club physio) and he is happy with their progress. The players have also said they feel good.'