Tag Archives: stature

Frankie Gavin will ditch British Lonsdale belt if he necessary for European title shot

Gavin ready to ditch Londsale belt if it gives him chance of European title shot



18:48 GMT, 19 December 2012

Frankie Gavin insists there will be no room for sentiment if he has to dump the prestigious British Lonsdale belt in order to secure a European welterweight shot.

The domestic champion defends his crown for the first time against Jason Welborn at Walsall Town Hall on January 18.

The Birmingham fighter earned the title by outsmarting wily veteran Junior Witter recently and has been rewarded with a seemingly straightforward assignment in nearby Walsall against local lad Welborn.

No room for sentimentality: Frankie Gavin will ditch the belt if needs be

No room for sentimentality: Frankie Gavin will ditch the belt if needs be

'Nobody wanted to fight Witter, nobody was calling him out except me,' the 27-year-old said.

'I got myself into the mandatory position and did what I had to do to get the best of him.

'The dust has settled on that and it's about defending the title now. Jason Welborn will do everything he can to get close to me and knock me out but I've got different feelings about that.

'I'll use my ring smarts and ring craft and hopefully will have too much for him.

'It's going to be a great atmosphere. He sells a lot of tickets, I do too, it's going to be packed. It's great for me to be back in my local area in a Brum v Black Country scrap.'

Gavin (14-0, 10KOs), who is ranked in the European top 10, added: 'It's very important to me to keep busy and keep this belt but if the two defences don't happen quickly and I get offered a European title shot or something different of that stature then I'll take it.

Up for it: Gavin (right) in action against Michael Lomax

Up for it: Gavin (right) in action against Michael Lomax

'It's important that I keep winning. That's all that matters to me.

'I've got a winner's mentality. I just want to win, win, win. Whatever it takes.'

Welborn (11-1, 5 KOs) is happy to postpone Christmas festivities in order to fulfil his dream.

He said: 'It's two local lads fighting in the local area and you don't often get fights like this. That's why tickets have just flown out – he's sold all of his and I've sold all mine. We're trying to get more.

'I've got to be good over Christmas but this is my Christmas present, to get that belt. I felt it earlier and I want it.'

Local favourite Martin Gethin fights for the vacant British and Commonwealth lightweight belts against Ben Murphy on the same bill.

Ricky Ponting retires: Paul Newman tribute

Paul Newman: Ponting's retirement is the Ashes' loss… the Aussie villain will be badly missed in next summer's showdown



09:43 GMT, 29 November 2012

A certain magical something disappeared from next summer’s Ashes today when Ricky Ponting, truly one of the greatest batsmen cricket has known, decided that tomorrow’s Test in Perth will be his 168th and last.

Ponting may have fulfilled the role of pantomime villain in England but he will be sadly missed when they take on Australia for what is still cricket’s greatest prize. The Ashes will never feel quite the same without him.

An emotional Ponting chose the eve of Australia’s third and deciding Test against South Africa in Perth to tell the world that, just short of his 38th birthday, enough is enough. He is sure to have a poignant send-off at the same WACA ground where it all started for him in Test cricket 17 years ago.

Fierce competitor: Ponting (centre) will go down as one of the greats

Fierce competitor: Ponting (centre) will go down as one of the greats

Michael Clarke, the man who succeeded Ponting as Australia captain in the aftermath of England’s historic Ashes triumph last year, could barely hold himself together as he talked about a batsman who is second only to the great Sir Don Bradman himself in terms of Australian achievement. He was that good.

There are many in England who have derided Ponting, who have teased him and treated him as the perfect target to focus all anti-Australian banter. In truth it was a compliment for he was the Aussie opponent we all feared the most.

He wasn’t easy to love on the field even though he was such a magnificent competitor. Ponting could sledge with the best of them, which was fair enough, but he often had a bad attitude towards umpires, displaying a disrespect to them that was unbecoming of the Australian captain and the man himself.

Top talent: Ponting is the second highest run-scorer in Test history

Top talent: Ponting is the second highest run-scorer in Test history

Off the field he was a man of real stature. I can honestly say he was one of the best and most impressive people that I have ever had to deal with. To the media he was courteous, thoughtful, articulate and respectful. Many could learn from him.

I will never forget the audience he granted the English print media, a task above and beyond the call of duty that he always provided for us in Australia because of the difficulties of the time difference, deep in the bowels of the Gabba in Brisbane ahead of the first Test of the last Ashes.

I had travelled to Australia convinced England would win. Hell, I even tipped the score to be 3-1 which, of course, it eventually turned out to be. But that spellbinding 20 minutes, just Ponting and around eight of nine of us, made me wonder if I had got it all badly wrong. So impressive was he in his confidence that Australia would prevail that I severely questioned my own judgment.

Impressive: Ponting was always courteous to the media

Impressive: Ponting was always courteous to the media

Impressive: Ponting was always courteous to the media

Even Ponting, as it turned out, could not stop England on that tour but he never stopped believing he would until the moment that he resigned the captaincy, with huge dignity, when it became clear that England were his match.

The writing has been on the wall for a while now. He has not been the same player for a good year or so and the only question became when he would go. He desperately wanted one, or maybe even two, last cracks at England and deep down we all wanted that too. If we can’t boo Punter then it really won’t be so much fun.

Australia patriotism and myopia may all be a bit much at times for English tastes but they know how to honour their great sportsmen. Ponting was allowed to decide when he would go, the selectors trusting him to make the right call, and by all accounts there was barely a dry eye in the house when he told the players today that he was going. So well respected is he that most did not see it coming.

Ashes stalwart: Ponting squares up to Michael Vaughan before the 2005 series

Ashes stalwart: Ponting squares up to Michael Vaughan before the 2005 series

Ponting’s wife, his young family and the whole Australian team then attended his goodbye press conference at the WACA. It is a worthy tribute to the man.

Perhaps it is also the English way to go more quietly than this. Andrew Flintoff attracted criticism for announcing, on the eve of the Lord’s Test, that the 2009 Ashes series would be his last, because to many he was taking attention away from the team. Someone like Mike Atherton, for instance, would have rather died than told everyone that his next Test appearance would be his last.

Mentor: Michael Clarke (left) has taken on the captaincy from Ponting

Mentor: Michael Clarke (left) has taken on the captaincy from Ponting

But it feels right with Ponting. Great champions, as the Aussies would say, deserve a great send off and the Perth Test will undoubtedly all be about Ricky Ponting. He will go into it with 13,366 Test runs from his 167 games at an average in excess of 50, a true mark of greatness.

I for one have never wanted an Australian to score a Test century more than I want Ponting to do so against South Africa tomorrow. And if it means Australia go to the top of the world rankings on the back of it so be it. England can always take the title back off them next summer. Ricky Ponting is one of the greatest players to ever wear the Baggy Green. He deserves to go out in style.

Twickenham man feeling off-colour as panto season comes early for England

Twickenham man feeling off-colour as panto season comes early for England



23:22 GMT, 17 November 2012

The last Australian drive yielded possession, the ball was lashed high into the West Stand, and the yellow shirts fell upon each other in boisterous celebration. A few yards away, heads were dropping, shoulders slumping and chins sinking into shirts of 'regal purple'. And as this tableau took shape, the sound of jeers came cutting through the November mist.

Twickenham Man was not happy. Defeat was one thing; defeat was no stranger, he could cope with that. But losing to Australia, particularly to an Australian side who had been beaten out of sight in Paris last weekend; that was hard to take. And losing haplessly and carelessly; that was even harder. Above all, losing in those colours.

No mistake: Nick Cummins evades the attentions of Toby Flood to score Australia's opening try

No mistake: Nick Cummins evades the attentions of Toby Flood to score Australia's opening try

'Regal purple' is a fashion disaster. Coupled with gold lettering on front and back, it reduced fierce and massive forwards to the stature of pantomime dames. Twickenham Man hated it.

We shall not reproduce the various overheard descriptions, since they offend against taste and decency. Suffice to say they were emphatically expressed. 'D'you know, I wouldn't want our men to win in that bloody gear,' fumed an outraged patron. It was not true, of course, but several heads nodded their agreement. Somehow, this absurd piece of product placement added substantially to the air of discontent. England had been poor, their decision-making awry, their thinking sluggish, their handling erratic, their finishing inadequate.

This was the autumn international they seemed most likely to win, certainly their supporters had carried an air of blissful confidence as they swarmed down Rugby Road. England had done little to modify those expectations. Chris Ashton had given a number of chirpily optimistic interviews, expressing the solid hope that his barren run was about to end. In the event, he pushed his number of try-less matches into double figures.

The assistant coach, Graham Rowntree, was even more confident: 'These (Southern Hemisphere) teams could come over to Europe and lose every other game, but if they beat England at Twickenham they will think it's been a successful trip for them,' he declared.

Toby Flood

Toby Flood

We must doubt that, say, New Zealand would fly home in glory if their only touring success had been gained in south-west London. No, it was the kind of nonsense which can communicate itself to players, especially players who are ill-equipped to indulge in such delusions. For the truth was that England needed no distractions to their attempts to deal with a spirited Australian side.

Of all the teams in world sport, Australia are possibly the last to be under-rated. Missing several important players and coming into the game in depressing form, they possess an inborn cussedness, a determination to be better than the sum of their parts.

That spirit remained unshaken through a first half in which they were unfortunate to fall behind to a dubious late try by Manu Tuilagi. For they knew that they had performed with authority, that their options had been sounder, their execution more intelligent. Their competitive instincts told them that the tide would turn towards them. It was merely a mattter of time. At such moments, you can almost hear Twickenham worrying. Sweet Chariot is sung with a nervous edge, like a prayer offered up in a doubtful cause. Drink is taken thoughtfully, ruminatively, as if the worst is imminently expected.

They were pleased to cheer the parade of Olympians at half-time. Now that was a genuine success. Marvellous summer; all those medals. And Australia were rubbish. If memory serves. Not so yesterday.

Triumphant: Australia's Nathan Sharpe lifts the Cook Cup

Triumphant: Australia's Nathan Sharpe lifts the Cook Cup

The penalties which Berrick Barnes struck early in the half gave his team first equality, then the lead. And they seemed to point to an unmistakeable conclusion. For a kind of panic had crept into the English game. The extravagant manner in which they declined kickable penalties had the air of bluster. Later, the coach Stuart Lancaster would argue, quite reasonably, that he had given his players responsibility and that he would not criticise them for exercising it. Yet the decisions were flawed, and they helped to ensure the outcome.

For the Aussies came home; strongly and, although by just six points, quite comfortably. England were left with the prospect of first South Africa, then New Zealand; just the kind of opponents you need when your own confidence is low, your selection problematical and your methods uncertain.

Twickenham Man glared at the glittering scoreboard, then consoled himself with the announcement that there would be post-match karoake in the Scrum Bar. But the resentment still niggled away. A poor performance, a disappointing day. And those bloody awful colours!

Arsenal fans can"t expect to win trophies, says Fulham boss Martin Jol

Arsenal fans can't expect to win trophies! Jol warning as he seeks to pile pressure on Wenger



17:57 GMT, 8 November 2012

Martin Jol has told Arsenal fans it
was no longer realistic for them to expect a regular diet of trophies as
he looked to add to their 'frustration' ahead of Fulham's trip to the
Emirates Stadium.

Cottagers boss Jol, who spent three
years in charge of the Gunners' arch-rivals Tottenham, suggested Arsene
Wenger's men were not competing on a level playing field with Manchester
United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Under pressure: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Under pressure: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

The Dutchman admitted seven years without silverware was 'a long time' for a club of Arsenal's stature but insisted their supporters would miss Wenger when he finally left the manager's hotseat.

The longer the Gunners' trophy drought has continued, the more the pressure on Wenger and the board from the fans has intensified, and Jol said: 'If you look at the likes of Man City with almost half a billion spent, Man United, it's not easy nowadays.

'Can you expect a team like Arsenal to win things, with Chelsea, Man City, Man United, all these clubs'

Asked if supporter anger was justified, Jol said: 'I don't think you have to be angry. Frustrated is probably the better word.

'Angry with Wenger Wenger created the new Arsenal, almost.

'Maybe in three years' time, they will hope and pray to get someone like Wenger.'

Admiration: Fulham manager Martin Jol

Admiration: Fulham manager Martin Jol

Jol famously clashed with the Frenchman while in charge at White Hart Lane and added: 'I'm not an Arsenal fan – as you well know – but I always admired Wenger for what he did.

'There is not one other team in the top four doing the same thing with the same philosophy.

'They always manage to find the players who are younger and create value on the pitch.

'Of course, it's probably not what an Arsenal fan wants.

'Seven years That's a long time'

Wenger was criticised in some quarters for suggesting 15 successive seasons inside the Barclays Premier League top four was the equivalent of a trophy.

Jol said: 'He's one of the few managers who will never be under pressure because people realise what he has done, not only in the past but last year.'

Arsenal recovered last season from their worst start in 58 years to finish third.

They are only seventh this season after 10 matches, nine points off top spot and level with Jol's Fulham, who they host on Saturday.

'I would always put my money on Arsenal to be in the top four,' Jol added, who admitted the loss of Robin van Persie was a big blow to them.

'Of course, they miss him, but we miss a few people and we get other people in.'

Jol insisted it was 'ridiculous' to suggest Fulham had any chance of finishing above the Gunners this season, although he did not rule out leapfrogging them this weekend.

The Cottagers have never won at Arsenal but went as close as ever last season, leading 1-0 at the Emirates with eight minutes remaining.

'If we have a good day with our team, I think we could cause them a problem,' said Jol, whose side have taken five points off the Gunners in their last three meetings.

'We did that last year. They scored in the 85th minute or so.

'At home, we scored the winner with Bobby Zamora in the last couple of minutes, so hopefully we can do the same.'

Jol was sweating on the fitness of midfielder Mahamadou Diarra, who he rated '50-50' with a knee injury.

Kieran Richardson should return to Fulham's squad, with Simon Davies the only long-term absentee.

Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta join in Celtic"s 125th birthday celebrations

Barca boys Messi, Xavi and Iniesta join the Bhoys to celebrate Celtic's 125th birthday



13:53 GMT, 7 November 2012

Spanish giants Barcelona added a touch of glamour to Celtic's 125th anniversary celebrations.

First Barca stars Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta took time out from preparing for Wednesday's Champions League clash in Glasgow to mark the occasion.

Three wishes: Barcelona stars Lionel Messi (left), Xavi Hernandez (centre) and Andres Iniesta join in the celebrations

Three wishes: Barcelona stars Lionel Messi (left), Xavi Hernandez (centre) and Andres Iniesta join in the celebrations

Then board members from the Spanish giants joined Celtic boss Neil Lennon and Dermot Desmond for a thanksgiving service on Tuesday.

The gala event was held at St Mary’s Church in the Calton area of Glasgow — the
venue where Brother Walfrid founded Celtic Football Club on November 6, 1887.

Lennon said: 'The men who had the foresight and ambition to create
Celtic will, I’m sure, be very proud if also overwhelmed at the success
of the club. While it has grown in size and stature, the club remains
true to its roots and its founding principles.'

Centre of attention: Barcelona train on the Celtic Park pitch

Centre of attention: Barcelona train on the Celtic Park pitch

Eye on the ball: Barcelona star Andres Iniesta

Eye on the ball: Barcelona star Andres Iniesta

Chief executive Peter Lawwell said: 'The celebration couldn’t have coincided better than with a game
against Barca.

'The club has come such a long way to be facing the best side in the world.

'It was very humbling. 125 years ago the football club was formed in the
church hall at St Mary’s so the service was very humbling.

'It all just shows you how far we have come. Being a part of the club, as
chief executive, the occasion does humble you.

Focused: Lionel Messi gets ready to take Celtic

Focused: Lionel Messi gets ready to take Celtic

Barcelona's Lionel Messi

'It helps you understand the responsibility to do the best for the club and
its history, the traditions and the support.

'It shows you just what a privilege and honour you have to be a part of it.

'We are competing against the best team in the world on Wednesday night and we
have had a fantastic 125 years.'

Liverpool v Newcastle: Brendan Rodgers is under pressure, says Alan Pardew

You're under pressure! Pardew ups the ante on Rodgers ahead of Anfield clash



16:24 GMT, 2 November 2012

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew thinks the pressure is all on Brendan Rodgers and his 'vulnerable' Liverpool side ahead of their Barclays Premier League clash at Anfield on Sunday.

Newcastle have not won a league game at Anfield for more than 18 years, when Andy Cole and Rob Lee both scored to earn the Magpies a 2-0 victory back in 1994.

However, Liverpool have struggled to find their feet so far this campaign under the leadership of Rodgers, leaving Pardew confident he can end the Reds' seven-game winning run against the Magpies on Merseyside.

Under pressure: Alan Pardew believes Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers' side are 'vulnerable'

Under pressure: Alan Pardew believes Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers' side are 'vulnerable'

'There's a little bit more pressure at Liverpool because of the stature and the trophies that they've won,' Pardew said ahead of the game.

'You have to look at Newcastle and say we haven't won a trophy in so long. You'd have to put them, historically, much higher than us.

'It's a period for Brendan and the team when they're evolving and when they're evolving they're vulnerable.

'Perhaps they are at the moment but they still have some fantastic players. The England captain (Steven Gerrard) and (Luis) Suarez are two of the best players in the Premiership, so we have to make sure we are very much on top of our game.'

Pardew has also backed Rodgers to find a solution to Liverpool's sluggish start to the season and has called for him to be given a chance to make his mark at the club.

Speaking out: Pardew believes Rodgers' has not been given the 'tools' he needs at Anfield

Speaking out: Pardew believes Rodgers' has not been given the 'tools' he needs at Anfield

Training day: Jose Enrique, watching team-mate Luis Suarez at Melwood, will face his former side on Sunday

Training day: Jose Enrique, watching team-mate Luis Suarez at Melwood, will face his former side on Sunday

Liverpool have only won twice this season, against Reading and Norwich, and were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Swansea on Wednesday.

'You have to remember that Brendan Rodgers is someone who was brought in to play a style of football and a vision they believe in,' Pardew said.

'They have to give him time and the right tools. In the last window, if I'm honest, I don't think he was given the tools that he needed so I think it was always going to be difficult for him.

'Hopefully he will get to the next window in a good competitive place, as that's what Liverpool want to be, one of the top teams.

'I think for British football it's good that Liverpool have a strong side, like Newcastle. They are two clubs that are very similar at the minute. We're both striving to be a top-six team.'

Newcastle are currently 10th in the overall standings, two places above Liverpool.

Cracker: Newcastle boss Pardew expects Sunday's match to be an entertaining affair

Cracker: Newcastle boss Pardew expects Sunday's match to be an entertaining affair

The Magpies are unbeaten in their last
three games in all competitions after a win over West Brom last weekend,
victory over Club Brugge in the Europa League and a draw against
arch-rivals Sunderland in the Wear-Tyne derby.

Liverpool, on the other hand, have strung together four games without defeat in the Premier League – their longest unbeaten run in 2012.

Newcastle's league position does not match their efforts from the start of the last season, where they found themselves in the top four for extended periods.

However, they are enjoying good form in Europe where they are unbeaten and currently top of Europa League Group D.

'I still think we're two very good sides though and it will be a cracking game,' Pardew said.

'Both of us have ambitions, us again to finish in the top six, hopefully the top four, and that's what we're going to stick with.

'I do think we're in a good position. We've done very well in Europe. We've had a good start and we've had some tough games, and we're coming into a period of games now where I think we can do very well.

'So we're nicely poised and now it's about getting two or three wins back to back and suddenly we'll find ourselves in the top six and that's what we want to do.'

Carlos Tevez brings back the sparkle to Manchester City: Jamie Redknapp

Weekend watch: Star man Tevez brings back the sparkle to Manchester City



23:14 GMT, 28 October 2012

After defeat by Ajax, the one thing
you could be sure of was that Carlos Tevez would be on the Manchester
City teamsheet against Swansea. His energy was the lift they needed in
an otherwise lacklustre display. He’s had his ups and downs at City but
he’s like a bottle of pop, fizzing with energy. You knew he’d score the

All-action: Carlos Tevez (centre) was at his fizzing best against Swansea

All-action: Carlos Tevez (centre) was at his fizzing best against Swansea

The diving debate

I hate diving and want to see it
eradicated. But referees are under so much pressure to act on it that
we’re seeing dreadful decisions like Mark Clattenburg sending off
Fernando Torres. It ruined a fantastic game and we must be
careful with this agenda. Refs must be sure it’s a dive before acting on

Javier back to his best

couple of seasons ago, I I called Javier Hernandez ‘buy of the
century’. Then concussion and other injuries affected him and he looked
tired. Now his spark’s back and goals are coming thick and fast, even if
yesterday’s had a hint of offside. Antonio Valencia was fantastic too, a
real power player, quicker and stronger than most defenders.

Back in business: Javier Hernandez has returned to top form

Back in business: Javier Hernandez has returned to top form

Small guys, big hearts

little men with massive performances stood out for me in the Merseyside
derby. Joe Allen was exceptional in his first derby for Liverpool,
intercepting well and getting his team playing. For Everton, Leon Osman
was an unsung hero. They are both small in stature but big in heart.

More from Jamie Redknapp…

Jamie Redknapp: Electric Sterling and Liverpool are a match made in heaven

Jamie Redknapp: The flair will return for England when Jack's back in the team

Jamie Redknapp: Cazorla and returning Wilshere could be Premier League's Xavi and Iniesta

Jamie Redknapp: Suarez must follow Ronaldo and give up the theatrics

Jamie Redknapp: Liverpool and Manchester United did the 96 proud but why did minority spoil it

Jamie Redknapp: City’s chance for Bernabeu hit and run…

Jamie Redknapp's weekend watch: Hoping for justice for Hillsborough sufferers

Jamie Redknapp's weekend watch: Arsenal's defence is a mean machine


The new odd couple

Sunday was only the second time Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse have scored in the same match. The other was Cisse’s debut in February. I hear they don’t get on well but they have to find a way of playing together, like Teddy Sheringham and Andy Cole did at Manchester United. The win over West Brom should kick-start Newcastle’s season.

Wigan's foreign output

Wigan's win against West Ham was important and I saw an incredible stat — all 34 PL goals they have scored in 2012 have come from foreign players. Even Aylesbury-born Emmerson Boyce plays for Barbados. Shows how tough Roy Hodgson’s England job can be.

Villa in rack and ruin

In February 2011, Fabio Capello called up five Aston Villa players — Gabriel Agbonlahor, Stewart Downing, Darren Bent, Ashley Young and on-loan Kyle Walker — for England. But now, Villa have become dreadful to watch. No-one to get the fans off their seats. They were lucky not to lose to Norwich.

Welcome return: Jack Wilshere looked impressive against QPR

Welcome return: Jack Wilshere looked impressive against QPR

Crackerjack's back

Great to see Jack Wilshere after his long lay-off, just the lift Arsenal need. I love the one-twos he plays around the box — so hard to play against and just what Andres Iniesta and Xavi do for Barcelona. Jack misplaced just three passes v QPR — the best of any starter.

Jermaine Pennant vows to seize chance to shine at Wolves

Pennant vows to seize chance to shine at Wolves after being frozen out by Stoke



09:40 GMT, 16 October 2012

Jermaine Pennant is relishing the chance to get his career back on track at Wolves after joining the Championship side on loan.

The out-of-favour winger agreed a deal to link up with
Stale Solbakken at Molineux until the new year after he was told he
could leave the Britannia Stadium by Stoke manager Tony Pulis.

Future's bright: Wolves' loan signing Jermaine Pennant

Future's bright: Wolves' loan signing Jermaine Pennant

And the 29-year-old is eager to impress and help Wolves maintain their promotion push.

'I'm excited to have made the loan move,' he said.

'Wolves are a massive club and it's been a tough game and a great encounter every time I've played against them.

'And there has always been a really good atmosphere in the games at Molineux which is a great ground.

'I'm just looking to do the best I can for Wolves and try to keep them towards the top of the table.

'Hopefully at the same time it will be good for me as well to get some games.

'Obviously it's not gone as planned for me at Stoke so far this season.

Fresh challenge: Pennant has a point to prove

Fresh challenge: Pennant has a point to prove

'But I've got a great opportunity now.

'It is in the Championship but it is at a very good club in a very competitive league.

'Wolves are going well at the moment and are third in the table and hopefully I can help maintain that and give the team a boost.'

Pennant boasts plenty of Premier League pedigree after spells with Stoke, Liverpool and Arsenal and he had plenty of options after being frozen out by Pulis.

He added: 'There were other teams involved but with the stature of Wolves, and their position in the table, helped make my mind up.

'I did some research into it and know they want to play good football and have got good training facilities.

Boost: Pennant boasts plenty of Premier League pedigree

Boost: Pennant boasts plenty of Premier League pedigree

'It is close to home as well and in all was the perfect choice.

'If I can get on the ball as much as possible hopefully I can benefit the club.

'I have come in here to do a job as any professional would and I'm ready to give it my all.'

Pennant joining in with full training on Tuesday and set his sights on making his debut against Huddersfield on Saturday.

'I know Karl (Henry) from back with the England Under-21s a few years ago and also Sylvan Ebanks-Blake a bit from playing against him,' Pennant explained.

'All the lads have made me feel welcome and I feel a part of it already.

'I'm looking forward to my first proper training session today and the first game.

'It's always a little bit like your first day at school when you're at a
new club but hopefully once I get going I'll get into the pace of it

'My fitness levels are great and I'm 100 per cent and I just came in and did a few medical tests and bits and pieces yesterday.

'I'm not presuming I'm going to go straight into the team on Saturday –
I might be on the bench and need to get used to it a bit.

'After that there are two home games and by then I am sure I will be bedded in a lot more.'

Wolves players and fans may remember Pennant notching the third goal in a hugely disappointing night at the Britannia in a 3-0 defeat 18 months ago.

Now though he is committed to putting smiles on Wolves faces.

'I won't be mentioning that one!' he says when asked about the goal.

'I'm playing in the black and gold now so hopefully can give Wolves fans some better memories of me.'

Is Stoke"s Ryan Shawcross good enough for England?

Shawcross watch: Is Stoke defender up to filling Terry's shoes in England set-up



21:16 GMT, 7 October 2012

Ryan Shawcross links up with England this week after being the beneficiary of circumstances but is the Stoke defender ready to fill the void left by John Terry’s retirement Sportsmail studied his sure-footed performance in the 0-0 draw at Anfield.

Shaw bet The Stoke man battles with Martin Skrtel

Shaw bet The Stoke man battles with Martin Skrtel


He set the tone for his performance in the first minute, showing good anticipation to when a header in front of Luis Suarez and then blocking a shot from Raheem Sterling. Shortly after Stoke’s supporters sang 'Shawcross for England!' and he continued to grow in stature. There will be bigger tests than this – no Liverpool player, for instance, got in behind him – but he went about his job effectively and without fuss.


There have been questions over how Shawcross uses the ball but he never had the opportunity to answer them here. He only started three attacks and two of them were long balls forward to Peter Crouch. He is certainly not a ball playing central defender in the mould of Rio Ferdinand.


This was arguably the most impressive part of his game. He was constantly barking and cajoling his team-mates, telling them where to stand. Right-back Geoff Cameron received a flea in his ear from Shawcross after 35 minutes when he strayed out of position. Later in the game, when Liverpool tried to find a way through, Shawcross ensured Stoke kept their discipline.

Fall guy: Shawcross after a tussle with Luis Suarez

Fall guy: Shawcross after a tussle with Luis Suarez


He was booked for one mis-timed challenge on Suarez in the second half but he never found himself in a position where he had to make a last-ditch sliding challenge to cut out danger. He read the game superbly and was resolute whenever challenged. The handshake he received from Liverpool and England skipper Steven Gerrard at the final whistle was richly-deserved.


Should Roy Hodgson turn to him the forthcoming games against Poland and San Marino, there is no reason why he won’t acquit himself with credit. Could even be that training with better players elicits further improvement.

Jordan Henderson to play for Liverpool v West Brom

Henderson's big chance as Rodgers gives midfielder nod for West Brom clash



21:30 GMT, 25 September 2012

Brendan Rodgers has challenged Jordan Henderson to seize his chance and convince him he can become a Liverpool regular.

The England Under 21 captain was surprisingly offered to Fulham before the transfer window closed as a makeweight in a deal that Liverpool hoped would have enabled them to sign Clint Dempsey.

But Henderson, who moved to Anfield for 16million from Sunderland in June 2011, refused to leave, even though he has fallen down the pecking order in Liverpool’s midfield.

Chance: Jordan Henderson (right) will play against West Brom

Chance: Jordan Henderson (right) will play against West Brom

However, Jonjo Shelvey’s three-match suspension and an injury to Lucas Leiva has re-opened the door to Henderson and he will be given a chance to stake his claim at West Brom on Wednesday, as Liverpool begin their defence of the League Cup.

‘It is about the balance in the team,’ said Rodgers, who is expected to make wholesale changes at The Hawthorns to the side that was beaten by Manchester United on Sunday. ‘We have got one controlling midfielder in Joe Allen.

‘We have got Steven Gerrard, who is a great player and speaks for himself. He has got a goal in him, he has got influence and he has got stature. He carries his qualities on the field. Then we have got Jonjo, who is a goalscoring midfielder.

‘But Jordan is working his socks off every day. He has got a great appetite to learn; he lives his life right and he doesn't do stupid things off the pitch. He works hard, he works well. Really it is just games like (tonight) that offer me the opportunity to see him.

‘Can he affect the game going forward
but play also with that tactical discipline, which keeps us nice and
strong in the middle of midfield I have said to him that whatever
happens, whether he stays or goes, there is nothing changes in the
relationship him and I have.’

Banned: Jonjo Shelvey was sent off against Manchester United

Banned: Jonjo Shelvey was sent off against Manchester United

Meanwhile, Darren Burgess, Liverpool’s Head of Fitness, has left his role at Anfield. He moved to England from Australia two years ago and received a promotion after Dr Peter Brukner, the club’s head of Sports Science, was sacked in April.

His role changed after the appointment of Colin Driscoll, who followed Rodgers from Swansea to Anfield.