Tag Archives: rewards

Chelsea at the FIFA Club World Cup: VIDEO – Blues the new darlings of Japan? Graham Chadwick blog

Graham Chadwick's video blog: Are Chelsea set to replace United as darlings of the Far East



16:17 GMT, 11 December 2012

Sportsmail photographer Graham Chadwick has travelled to Japan with Chelsea as they prepare for their first game of the FIFA Club World Cup this Thursday.

Watch Graham's latest video blog as the Blues are given a rousing reception in Yokohama.

Chelsea were mobbed by legions of adoring fans at their hotel in Yokohama ahead of their FIFA Club World Cup entrance against Mexican side Monterrey on Thursday.

The back-in-form Fernando Torres appeared especially popular with the locals hunting autographs from their heroes.

And even Rafa Benitez's signature was in demand – a welcome change from the less than warm welcome he has received from Chelsea's fans back home in west London.

Chelsea's evident popularity in the Far East will be music to the ears of the money men at Stamford Bridge, who dream of emulating Manchester United's global fanbase and reaping the obvious financial rewards.

And it looks like United might have serious rivals for the hearts of Japanese fans if these scenes are anything to go by.

Watch the video…

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Do MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and India still have hunger for Tests? – Nasser Hussain

Do Dhoni, Gambhir, Sachin and India legends still have Test hunger



21:53 GMT, 9 December 2012

India have big questions to answer in the aftermath of the Kolkata Test and the biggest surrounds the attitude of their near god-like top names.

When the likes of MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and the rest went back to their hotel rooms after that defeat in the third Test, how much were they hurting How much hunger for the long-haul form of the game — with its mental and physical demands — have these multi-millionaire players still got

Are they thinking, deep down, ‘Never mind’, and prioritising instead the fun, glamour and huge financial rewards that come from the Indian Premier League

Plenty to ponder: MS Dhoni

Hungry for more Gautam Gambhir

Plenty to ponder: India captain MS Dhoni (left) and Gautam Gambhir (right)

That is the crux of the issue now for India. The last thing their cricket needs, really, is a win in Nagpur and a share of this series because all that would do is paper over the cracks. They would believe everything is OK.

India left Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh out of their squad for the final Test but it is attitudes as much as personnel that need to change. India will always have some good young players but what kind of cricket will they want to play Will they still dedicate themselves to Test cricket or will they look to that lucrative six-week world of IPL Twenty20 instead

We had the sight, just before England completed their famous victory, of India’s chief selector, Sandeep Patil, being caught on TV having what looked like an animated conversation with their coach Duncan Fletcher.

More from Nasser Hussain…

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Nasser Hussain: Sachin just cannot work paceman out as Anderson gets the better of him again

Nasser Hussain: Warne's Ashes return is an exciting prospect, but Aussies must move on

Nasser Hussain: I'd rest Stuart against India, but he will be back for Ashes

Nasser Hussain: Ricky Ponting was a streetfighter, a panto villain… and a true great

Nasser Hussain: Triumph is thanks to fantastic four… but it's time to have a word with out-of-sorts Broad

Nasser Hussain: 'Public enemy No 1' Pietersen is a genius and he is worth a bit of hassle


They could have been talking about what they were going to have for lunch for all we know, but it didn’t look like that. It looked like pretty serious stuff, with some finger-jabbing going on from Patil. And Fletcher would have hated that.

When I worked with Duncan for England he hated anything like that being done in public. He even hated us talking team business in the dressing room because he felt any player watching us might think we were talking about them. He liked to conduct his business in private.

Fletcher has a very different job now. When he was England coach he could take people on for the good of the team. He would incur the wrath of many a county chairman because he knew what was best for England and he wasn’t afraid to upset people along the way. And he turned English cricket around with the help of central contracts and the sort of support for the England team that poor David Lloyd could only dream about when he was coach.

Can Fletcher do that now Perhaps if India lose this series 3-1 the public will realise that there needs to be a shake-up and support Duncan’s attempts to do that, for what is happening in Indian cricket is not Fletcher’s fault. Remember, they have lost two great players in Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, while the greatest of them all, Sachin Tendulkar, is not what he was.

Fletcher will want to look into the eyes of Dhoni, Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and even Tendulkar to see how much hunger they have.

The day that hunger goes is the day they will have to step down and Fletcher will know what needs to be done. It is whether he will be allowed to do it and whether the players take responsibility for what has happened that will be key.

The turnaround in this series has been incredible. For England to have lost three tosses and to have been defeated in the first Test so heavily but to be 2-1 up with one to play is little short of phenomenal.

When they were 2-1 up in the last Ashes series they went to Sydney and produced their best performance and that is what they want to do now.

There have been echoes in this series of how they came back in Australia after a slightly shaky start in Brisbane and England will not want to share the series.

If they complete the job in Nagpur it will be right up there with the Ashes.

Picture dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from the third Test in Kolkata due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Sachin Tendulkar struggles to work out Jimmy Anderson: Nasser Hussain

Sachin just cannot work paceman out as Anderson gets the better of him again



22:56 GMT, 5 December 2012

Losing another toss like that must have been a real kick in the teeth for England, so to respond the way they did by taking seven wickets on the first day was an outstanding effort.

There really wasn’t much in the Eden Gardens pitch and it is to Alastair Cook’s credit that he has quickly learnt from his mistakes in the first Test and has used his bowlers intelligently.

Cook made sure Jimmy Anderson was fresh enough for when the ball was reversing and still had enough energy to strike late on with the second new ball.

Not up to the pace: Sachin Tendulkar struggled against Jimmy Anderson

Not up to the pace: Sachin Tendulkar struggled against Jimmy Anderson

Anderson was excellent. Long gone are the days when we used to say that he was only the man for the job if the ball swung conventionally. Now he has great control and variations and gave us a reverse-swing masterclass.

Jimmy is all over Sachin Tendulkar at the moment and not many people have been able to say that over the years. He’s almost playing with the great man and the ball he got him with in Kolkata was an absolute beauty.

What is his secret in getting Tendulkar out eight times Well, Sachin likes to work bowlers out. He’s a thoughtful cricketer and he just seems to know what most are going to bowl at him. But with Anderson I just think he has no idea whether the ball is going to swing into him or away from him.

Getting the rewards: Anderson took the wicket of Tendulkar (file picture)

Getting the rewards: Anderson took the wicket of Tendulkar (file picture)

Tendulkar was waiting and waiting for the big inswinger yesterday but it didn’t come and Jimmy got him prodding at one he held out there.

All respect to Sachin, though. He was far from at his best again but he showed that he doesn’t just rely on his huge natural talent to score runs. He was gutsy and displayed a lot of heart and character to get to 76. I have rarely seen him so resolute in defence.

I would have liked him to get a century just to prove to everyone that sometimes even the greats have to get their heads down and work hard for their runs. He deserved one for the way he applied himself when he was so out of nick. As it is, this was very much England’s day.

West Brom: Steve Clarke"s secrets behind Premier League success

Come in No 2: After years in the shadows, Baggies boss Clarke is proving that assistants CAN make top-class managers



17:37 GMT, 23 November 2012

It was easy to sympathise with the problem West Brom had over the summer. How do you go about finding a new manager that could emulate your best season in over 30 years

The Baggies had already taken one gamble and thrown a double six by appointing Roy Hodgson – a widely respected coach but with a heavy Liverpool hangover – and not only easily survived relegation but improved last season too.

But his success in making West Brom an established top flight team earned him personal rewards with the England job and the Baggies board a trip back to square one.

Boing boing Baggies: West Brom are riding high, sitting fourth in the Premier League table

High fliers: West Brom sit fourth in the Barclays Premier League table after 12 games under new boss Steve Clarke (bottom left), who has added the likes of Claudio Yacob (bottom right) to a strong foundation

Flying start: Steve Clarke

Wise buy: Claudio Yacob

There would have been little surprise if the managerial merry-go-round began. Ian Holloway for instance would have been an approachable target at Blackpool. But West Brom gambled again and this time doubled their stake by appointing a ‘No 2.’

Steve Clarke had excelled in his role as assistant at Chelsea and Liverpool (even if it was more personal than team success at Anfield) but any joy in this department has history in the Premier League of meaning very little when making the step up into management.

The most high profile casualty has been Brain Kidd (now assistant to Roberto Mancini at Manchester City) who left the comforts of being Sir Alex Ferguson’s sidekick at Manchester United to take over at Blackburn in December 1998.

Who are you calling No 2

Clarke wouldn’t be the first to make a success of it.

Harry Redknapp took over from Billy
Bonds at West Ham and eventually took the Hammers into Europe, while
David O’Leary (aided by an unsustainable transfer policy) took the Leeds
reins from George Graham and led the club to the Champions League

But even the best have started as an
apprentice. Double Champions League winning manager Jose Mourinho was
famously an assistant to Sir Bobby Robson at Sporting Lisbon, Porto and

Like Clarke, Mourinho spent many
years working under a manager honing his coaching skills before making
the full step up and winning major honours at Porto, Chelsea, Inter
Milan and Real Madrid.

Curiously Rovers had just sacked Hodgson after an awful run of results left the club bottom of the Premier League and Kidd started brightly winning Manager of the Month in just his first few weeks in charge.

But despite being given nearly 20million to spend over the winter months on Ashley Ward, Keith Gillespie, Matt Jansen, Jason McAteer and Lee Carsley, he failed to keep Blackburn up with just one win in the last 14 games.

It would only get worse in what was then Division One and just 11 months into his tenure at Ewood Park he was sacked with the club 19th in the table.

Other managers don’t even get as far as starting well. Blackburn (again) only went backwards towards mid-table and beyond when Ray Harford took over the 1995 Premier League champions.

Sammy Lee lasted just 11 league games after taking over from Sam Allardyce at Bolton in 2007, while Chris Hutchings twice stepped up from assistant and lasted no more than 12 league games at Bradford and Wigan before departing. The odds were stacked against Clarke as far as previous assistant managers were concerned.

It’s worth noting that it has only been 12 league games for Clarke so far at West Brom but that’s the same amount of matches after which the wheels started falling off Kidd’s wagon at Blackburn.

More to the point hardly anyone could have predicted that the Baggies would be in the top four and just a point behind European champions, Chelsea, especially after a low key summer in the transfer market.

So what’s Clarke been doing right that so many before him have done wrong

Threat: James Morrison's goals from midfield have helped fire West Brom to wins over QPR and Wigan

Threat: James Morrison's goals from midfield have helped fire West Brom to wins over QPR and Wigan

One key step for the 49-year-old has
been realising that the West Brom team he has inherited has only needed
minor tweaks at best.

Beware the Baggies curse!

Roberto Di Matteo's last Premier League match as Chelsea manager was a 2-1 defeat at the Hawthorns last Saturday.

But the Italian is not the only top-flight boss to lose his job after being put to the sword by West Brom.

Mick McCarthy was given his marching orders from Wolves after a crushing 5-1 defeat to their Black Country rivals last March.

And Andre Villas-Boas was also given the boot from Chelsea after tasting defeat to the Baggies in the same month.

Managers: you have been warned!

The foundations had already been set
by Hodgson but Clarke has kept a team ethic while at the same time
strengthened an already decent squad – not an easy balance to find.

Claudio Yacob’s arrival in front of the back four has greatly improved West Brom’s shape in defence and built a strong platform for a counter-attacking style of football. This has helped not only Peter Odemwingie and Shane Long, but fellow summer arrivals Romelu Lukaku and Markus Rosenberg who have provided healthy competition for the former two in attack.

From there it has snowballed. The fans, encouraged by their team’s strong showing, are behind Clarke’s project and the playing staff (especially James Morrison) have fed off the feel-good factor by making The Hawthorns one of the most difficult places for away teams to take points from this season.

Catch us if you can: Peter Odemwingie's pace helps the Baggies play a dangerous counter-attacking style

Catch us if you can: Peter Odemwingie's pace helps the Baggies play a dangerous counter-attacking style

Only Manchester City have won
anything at West Brom this term, and even that was a smash n’ grab 2-1
win secured in the final 10 minutes. Liverpool,
Everton and Chelsea have all been put to the sword in the Midlands and
it’s got to the point where it’s not even a surprise anymore – a
testament to West Brom’s progress this term.

It’s also a testament to Clarke and his potential as a manager. There is talk of European football returning to the club for the first time since 1981 and that is not at all far-fetched.

Clarke may be a highly respected coach but such is the curse of the assistant manager that when he was appointed, the expectations of many would have been to prevent a slide back into the Championship rather than a push for Europe.

The coin flips both ways though. Managers who make poor starts should be judged long term and the same apply to the fast starting Clarke.

Step up: Clarke is proving that assistants can make good managers after flops by Brian Kidd (left) and Sammy Lee (right)

Step up: Clarke is proving that assistants can make good managers after flops by Brian Kidd (left) and Sammy Lee (right)

Step up: Clarke proves assistants can make good bosses after flops by Brian Kidd (left) and Sammy Lee (right)

Like all teams and managers, West Brom will hit a sticky spell at some point through injuries or loss of form and this is the acid test the former Chelsea defender will have to pass.

Should the Baggies even end the season in the top 10 it will still be a success and then another test comes for Clarke in trying to build his own squad as players are either poached or move on.

That’s all for the future though. So far Clarke’s appointment looks like another masterstroke from the West Brom board and assistants all round the country may have a new role model to look up to when stepping up to take the top job. Watch this space.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert makes profit as stars flout phone ban

Villa boss Lambert rings up profit as stars flout phone ban



10:24 GMT, 22 September 2012

Paul Lambert's hard-line approach at Aston Villa is reaping cash rewards after several players ignored his ban on mobile phones.

The Scot has clamped down on the use of personal computers and phones at his Bodymoor Heath training base.

But it seems that some members of Villa's first team have not taken the rule seriously.

Hit in the pocket: Carruthers was fined for making a phone call

Hit in the pocket: Carruthers was fined for making a phone call

Samir Carruthers, who scored against Liverpool on his debut at Anfield last season, used Twitter to reveal he had been hit in the pocket.

Brandishing a fistful of notes, the 19-year-old playmaker wrote: '500 fine for a phone call. #paul lambert has me on toast #wallet heavy until tomorrow.'

No nonsense: Lambert has taken a hard-line approach

No nonsense: Lambert has taken a hard-line approach

When quizzed, Lambert said: 'Yes, that's right, he's been fined. No, I didn't text him to inform him he was getting it. But those are the rules and I'm not going to bend them for anyone.'

Asked if other players had erred, he joked: 'Let's put it like this, I won't go short of bread. So if you guys want a lunch – or five – with me that will be fine.'

Lambert heads to Southampton this afternoon on the back of Villa's encouraging 2-0 win over Swansea.

Like under-pressure home boss Nigel Adkins, the Scot managed back-to-back promotions with Norwich. City did not manage a victory in their first four matches last season and Lambert has a warning for the St Mary's decision-makers.

'I think it has been proven that if you give good people time, they will get it right. But if you make a knee-jerk reaction, then you will be back at square one again,' he said.

'I know where he is at. I got my head down and worked through it and I'm sure Nigel will do the same.'

US Open 2012: Andy Murray – Player boycott over prize money "a long way away"

Player boycott over grand slam prize money 'a long way away', insists Murray



15:42 GMT, 28 August 2012

Winning start: Andy Murray beat Alex Bogomolov Jr in the first round of this year's US Open

Winning start: Andy Murray beat Alex Bogomolov Jr in the first round of this year's US Open

An Australian Open boycott is still a long way away, according to Andy Murray.

The leading male players have long been unhappy with the percentage of revenue that is paid out in prize money at the grand slams and have increasingly begun to flex their collective muscle, with the prospect of a boycott emerging over the weekend.

Less than 20 per cent of the revenue from the sport's biggest tournaments currently goes to the players, which is substantially less than in other major sports.

The main issue is not the money paid out to those who reach the latter stages – the winner of the US Open will take home $1.9million – but the rewards for players who lose in the early rounds.

Travel costs and other expenses incurred by players means even those around the top 100 often struggle to do little more than break even, with the trip to Australia in January particularly costly.

The French Open, Wimbledon and US Open all increased their prize money for first-round losers considerably this year, with the Australian Open the lowest at 13,640.

Asked how likely a boycott was, Murray said: 'There's so many things that go into something like that, with lawyers, forming unions, all sorts of different scenarios that need to be thought through first.

'I think right now it's a long way away, but I don't know how serious everybody is about it. If in the next month or two months they get everything sorted and ready to go, then I'll have a better answer at that time.'

Pay fair: There is unrest among the players over the prize money awarded to early-round losers in grand slams, such as Bogomolov Jr in New York

Pay fair: There is unrest among the players over the prize money awarded to early-round losers in grand slams, such as Bogomolov Jr in New York

The issue of a potential strike by players first surfaced after the US Open last year, where the leading men were unhappy not just with the prize money situation but also the packed yearly schedule, which has been shortened by two weeks this year.

Although the subject has emerged again now after the ATP held a mandatory players' meeting on Friday, Murray revealed the most heated discussions were at this year's Australian Open.

He added: 'This player meeting wasn't, I don't know the word, but when we went through the player meeting at the Aussie Open, it was pretty brutal. Everyone was speaking up. The whole tour was kind of together – they still are.

Latest attempt: Murray is still chasing his first major championship victory

Latest attempt: Murray is still chasing his first major championship victory

'There have been some changes made with regard to the grand slam prize money. But the majority of the players want to see a change in the grand slams.

'Who knows what's going to happen I hope it doesn't come down to that (a boycott). I think that's bad for everybody really.'

The ATP have already said they will not organise a boycott, although they do support the players over the prize money issue, while Australian Open organisers are confident the tournament will not be affected.

Murray reached the second round of the US Open with a patchy but ultimately comprehensive 6-2 6-4 6-1 victory over Alex Bogomolov and next faces Croatia's world No 18 Ivan Dodig.

Bradley Wiggins ready to embrace Tour de France success

'Amazing to think I'm an inspiration': Wiggins finally ready to embrace success



23:12 GMT, 22 July 2012

Half an hour before Bradley Wiggins set off yesterday he spoke to Ivan Speck about being a role model and how his success has affected those close to him…

Fire away. Love me to bits. As these words fell from the mouth of Bradley Wiggins, the glint in his eye betrayed a relish of the life to come.

Not a life on talk shows or at celebrity parties, although his name will already have been written on many invitations. Rather a life as a role model, an inspiration, a sporting idol, the sideburns and the Tour de France yellow jersey on posters plastered on the bedroom walls of teenage cyclists across Britain.

For the first time in a career which has been drizzled in success, you feel Wiggins is finally comfortable with triumph, that he understands that it can be the springboard to fulfilment, not a cliff edge overlooking oblivion.

Not letting go: Bradley Wiggins gets his hands on the Tour de France trophy

Not letting go: Bradley Wiggins gets his hands on the Tour de France trophy

After winning Olympic gold in the 4,000m individual pursuit at the Athens Olympics of 2004, Wiggins tumbled into a pit of alcohol-saturated despair.

Month after month it continued, all-day drinking sessions while at home his wife Cath lived through the pregnancy of their first child mostly alone.

It was a black hole into which his father Gary, a professional cyclist in the 1970s and 1980s had fallen, abandoning his family and returning to his native Australia to die an unsavoury, solitary death.

To his friends, it seemed as if Brad had the same inclination to self-destruct as he struggled to comprehend the lack of opportunities coming his way. He had realised a dream in winning Olympic gold, but wanted to feel appreciated. The birth of his son Ben saved him and gave him a focus.

Over and out: Wiggins crosses the line

Over and out: Wiggins crosses the line

Seven years on, there will be no black hole this time — and not just because the financial rewards of his Tour triumph mean his family’s future is assured. It is because young cyclists from Edinburgh to Exeter will regard him with the same adoration that he looked upon five-time Tour winner Miguel Indurain.

Wiggins said: ‘I think that’s fantastic to have role models. That’s why I’m here today because I was inspired by people like that. It’s nice because you are doing something that is inspirational. Hopefully someone will have watched my time trial yesterday and gone, “I want to be like Brad Wiggins. I want to go and ride my local time trial this weekend”. I remember watching Chris Boardman win the Olympics in 1992 and getting out on my bike on that summer’s evening and pretending I was Chris Boardman.

‘I’m comfortable as a role model in a sporting sense — everything you do on the bike, how I handle myself on the bike, respecting my fellow opponents — but I don’t want to be a role model as a person because I’m only human at the end of the day. I make mistakes like everyone in life.

‘You don’t want to shatter people’s illusions. You only have to get hurried along by a gendarme and not sign some poor little kid’s autograph because you’ve been moved on and they have a different perception of you then. It’s that I struggle with.

‘But in a sporting sense, fire away. Love me to bits.’

Since Saturday evening in Chartres when his time trial assured him of Sunday’s coronation, Wiggins has been bowled over by the impact his win has had.

He added: ‘The thing that’s struck me most is just what it means to other people around me, my personal photographer breaking down in tears in my room, my mechanic was in tears. You just think, “It’s not just me who’s gone through this, everyone else around me has lived it too”. I’m almost the last person to soak it up and know what it feels like.

Sealed with a kiss: Wiggins celebrates his win with wife Cath

Sealed with a kiss: Wiggins celebrates his win with wife Cath

‘I guess that will happen over time. A lot of it is relief. It’s a little bit like when I won the Olympics for the first time. It’s almost disbelief this is happening and it’s little things like seeing the front page of L’Equipe. You don’t realise it’s you on there. It’s strange.

‘I stood on the Champs-Elysees in 1993. (My family) came to Paris for the weekend and watched (Indurain) finish. I never imagined 19 years later I’d be coming down there in the same position. It sounds cliched and pathetic, but it’s the childhood stuff of dreams.’

A dream he intends to prolong as long as possible. ‘I don’t want this to go t**s up. I’ve got a couple more years and I need to keep going, keep up the momentum.’

Wiggins’s ability has always won him races. You feel it has now earned him a greater prize — fulfilment.

Chris Gunter joins Reading

Forest defender Gunter joins Reading on three-year contract



18:07 GMT, 17 July 2012

Nottingham Forest right-back Chris Gunter has become Reading's second signing of the day.

After announcing the signing of Watford centre-back Adrian Mariappa earlier, Wales international Gunter has completed his move to the Royals.

Everybody loves Chris: Wales international Gunter has joined Reading

Everybody loves Chris: Wales international Gunter has joined Reading

The former Cardiff and Tottenham full-back joins from Forest for an undisclosed fee, although Reading say they have made a 'sizeable outlay' for the 22-year-old.

Gunter has penned a three-year contract at the Madejski Stadium, with the option for a further year.

Moving on: Gunter has left Forest

Moving on: Gunter has left Forest

'Having spoken to the manager, [director of football] Nick Hammond and now the chairman today, everyone has made me feel really welcome and I'm really looking forward to this opportunity,' Gunter said.

'If you form a team spirit, a togetherness, you'll always do well in football – and if you work hard you'll get your rewards.

'Reading have certainly done that in the last few years. Hopefully that can carry on.

'Right now, I need to focus on impressing everyone at this club and I'm really excited to get going.'

Gunter becomes the Royals' sixth summer signing, following the additions of Mariappa, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Nicky Shorey, Danny Guthrie and former Forest team-mate Garath McCleary.

Reading manager Brian McDermott is pleased with his latest acquisition and believes he epitomises the good work the club have done since promotion.

Done deal: Mariappa completed his move to Reading earlier on Tuesday

Done deal: Mariappa completed his move to Reading earlier on Tuesday

'I'm absolutely delighted that Chris has signed.' he said.

'He was very, very keen to come to us and is another player who is young and very hungry.

'He's already played more than 200 games at club level, plus another 37 for his country, which is phenomenal for someone so young.

'Chris already knows our club well, he is very close to Garath McCleary, knows our Welsh players and I also know he met many of our squad over the summer too.

'With all the players we have brought in this summer they will improve and get better, and the most important thing is their hunger and desire.

'With all the business we've done this summer we think we've improved the quality in the squad considerably.'

Everton players at Austrian Alps training camp

Toffees get stuck in at Alps camp with Naismith and Neville backing Everton trip



17:34 GMT, 7 July 2012

Everton players have settled in well at their Austrian training camp in the Alps, where they are being put through their paces before the start of another Barclays Premier League season.

The squad left Liverpool on Thursday afternoon and after flying to Salzburg took a coach to the mountain village of Obertraun, their home until Tuesday.

Training camp: Everton made the most of their surrounding with an early morning run

Training camp: Everton made the most of their surrounding with an early morning run

They also went to the same camp last season, which obviously worked well as they ended up finishing seventh – although they did lose six of their first 10 games.

Captain Phil Neville knows how important it is to take the training camp seriously.

'I always say in pre-season you cannot
look back on what you have achieved because if you stand still in
football, and in life, you get overtaken by the young lads coming
through and wanting your position,' he said.

'You constantly have to be making
improvements, assessing what you did last season but making improvements
on that and that is what I did over the summer.

Spectacular: Everton players enjoy the magnificent scenery

Spectacular: Everton players enjoy the magnificent scenery

Foundations: Will their hard work reap rewards

Foundations: Will their hard work reap rewards

'I used the summer to re-evaluate where I want to be and what I want to do with my career and how to improve myself.'

New signing, striker Steven Naismith was also hoping the Austria trip would help him acclimatise to Everton life.

'Being away in that kind of environment will give you that chance to get to know your teammates a bit better,' he said.

'Not everyone's here at the moment but I'm sure over the course of the next month or so I'll get to know them all.

'I met a lot of the players first
thing this morning and they were more than welcoming and made a point of
coming to see me. It's really nice to get that from your teammates at
such an early stage.'

Bedding in: Steven Naismith hopes to get to know his team-mates at the camp

Bedding in: Steven Naismith hopes to get to know his team-mates at the camp

There was some sad news for the club amidst their pre-season preparations.

Former Toffees defender Jimmy Tansey, who made 142 appearances for the team during the 1950s, has died.

He was brought up through the youth system and made his debut in 1953, eventually leaving for Crewe in 1960.

Tansey passed away on Saturday morning at the age of 83.

Sebastian Vettel hopes his tyre gamble won"t blow up as Red Bull chase glory in Spain

Vettel hopes his tyre gamble won't blow up as Red Bull chase glory in Spain



14:52 GMT, 12 May 2012

Sebastian Vettel is hoping a tactical qualifying gamble will reap its rewards in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Vettel will start eighth after failing to set a time in the top-10 shoot-out, aborting his hot lap in order to give him 'a free choice of tyres' on which to start the race.

With wear and degradation of the Pirelli tyres crucial ahead of the event, grid position is potentially not as important as has so often been the case at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

Gamble: Sebastian Vettel will start from 8th on the grid with a free choice of race tyre

Gamble: Sebastian Vettel will start from 8th on the grid with a free choice of race tyre

In 21 races at this track the man on pole has gone on to win on 16 occasions, whilst only once has the victor not come from the front row, in 1996 when Michael Schumacher won from third.

But in this topsy-turvy season, in which there have been four different winners in the opening four races, it would not be a surprise if those statistics were turned on their head.

Reigning champion Vettel said: 'There was nothing wrong. We decided to abort the lap to have a free choice of tyres for the race. If I had set a lap (time) we would have to start the race on soft tyres.

Point to prove: World champion Vettel leads the drivers' championship

Point to prove: World champion Vettel leads the drivers' championship

'In Q2 the first run was crucial. I didn't manage to pull a lap out, so I had to use my final set of (soft) tyres to get into Q3.'

Vettel has conceded, though, his Red Bull was 'simply not quick enough', adding: 'We'll see how it goes for tomorrow. We were a bit surprised how much of a step the others have made, but I'm quite confident for the race, we always have a good race car.

'And we have a couple of new sets (of the hard tyre) which has proved successful for others in previous races this year.'

Supporting Vettel, who currently leads the title race by four points from Lewis Hamilton who grabbed pole with ease, team boss Christian Horner said: 'It's a very different game this year. Ultimately Sebastian didn't have great one-lap pace – maybe it was the wind – but you have to look at it two ways.

'Going into the race with four new sets of tyres is an advantage. Mark (Webber, who qualified 12th) has four sets of new tyres.

'Seb has effectively used one more set, so F1 is a strategic game.'