Tag Archives: temperament

Daniel Sturridge must deliver, says Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard

Sturridge must deliver NOW, says Gerrard after Liverpool snap up 12m striker

By
Carl Markham, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

11:41 GMT, 3 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:21 GMT, 3 January 2013

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard insists there can be no excuses from new signing Daniel Sturridge after his 12million arrival at Anfield.

The 23-year-old is already on his third major club, having left Manchester City to join Chelsea.

But he flourished at neither and that has raised questions about everything from his quality to his temperament.

Down to business: Daniel Sturridge trained with his Liverpool team-mates on Thursday

Down to business: Daniel Sturridge trained with his Liverpool team-mates on Thursday

Breather: Sturridge takes a break from Thursday's session at Melwood

Sturridge is likely to get more of a chance under Brendan Rodgers than he had at his previous employer but Gerrard said, at some point, the player had to realise his situation and turn potential into regular goals.

'Daniel has the quality. I know he's got it – I've seen it,' said the England captain.

'He's suffered a bit at Manchester City and moved on to Chelsea where he hasn't played as much as he wanted but has shown flashes of brilliance.

Getting shirty: Sturridge signs Liverpool tops out and about in the city centre

Getting shirty: Sturridge signs Liverpool tops out and about in the city centre

Getting shirty: Sturridge signs Liverpool tops out and about in the city centre

'I think he's at the age now when he needs to settle down, get a settled club and show consistently what qualities he's got.

'If he can start producing that for us on a weekly basis he can help this club move forward to where we want to be.

'He has said he wants to play football for a big club, the stage is set for him.

This is Anfield: Daniel Sturridge watched Liverpool beat Sunderland after signing

This is Anfield: Daniel Sturridge watched Liverpool beat Sunderland after signing

On the dotted line: Striker Sturridge put pen to paper at Melwood

On the dotted line: Striker Sturridge put pen to paper at Melwood

'There will be no excuses for him. He will be playing with good players at a great club.

'It's all there for him. He just has
to go and grasp it with both hands. He's at an age now where he should
be performing week in week out.'

Sturridge is likely to be Rodgers' main signing of the January window
and has been brought in to offer support to leading scorer Luis Suarez.

The
Uruguay international's hot run of form shows no signs of abating as
two goals in the 3-0 win over Sunderland took him to 15 in the Premier
League so far.

Challenge: Steven Gerrard wants to see Sturridge make his mark with the Reds

Challenge: Steven Gerrard wants to see Sturridge make his mark with the Reds

But with fellow forward Fabio Borini edging closer to a first-team return Gerrard believes the addition of Sturridge also will improve their hopes of a top-four challenge.

'Daniel's arrival will help the club. He's got power, pace, strength – he has got huge potential,' added the midfielder.

'He's another attacking option and if
you look at the bigger picture from the beginning of the season up
until now, we have been a little bit short in the final third.

'He
will add more strength in depth for us and let's hope he's not the last
face in January because we certainly need a couple more in.'

Man of the moment: Luis Suarez is on fire with 15 Premier League goals

Man of the moment: Luis Suarez is on fire with 15 Premier League goals

Suarez lit up Anfield with his two goals, after 18-year-old Raheem Sterling had opened the scoring, and Gerrard admits his team-mate is one of the best around at the moment as he trails Manchester United's Robin van Persie (16) by one in the Premier League top scorers chart.

'He's just world class. There are a handful of players in the world who operate on a different level and he is one of them,' he said.

'He can score all types of goals. I was looking in the programme at his goal record: for someone who the critics say doesn't score enough, just have a look at his record (Suarez has scored 31 in 64 league games).'

Suso signs long-term Liverpool contract

This is one of the best days of my life: Suso delighted to sign new Liverpool deal

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UPDATED:

17:19 GMT, 19 October 2012

Happy days: Suso was delighted to put pen to paper at Anfield

Happy days: Suso was delighted to put pen to paper at Anfield

Liverpool midfielder Suso has signed a new long-term contract at Anfield.

The 18-year-old Spaniard, who joined Liverpool from hometown club Cadiz in 2010, committed his future to the Reds when he put pen to paper on the new deal at the side's training complex at Melwood.

After signing the contract, Suso told the club's official website: 'I am really happy. Liverpool are one of the biggest clubs in the world and this is the right place for me.'

Suso was given his senior debut for Liverpool in the Europa League win over Young Boys last month after impressing in the youth ranks and the reserve side.

'I am happy Brendan has shown trust in me,' Suso said.

'I had no questions about signing a new deal and I am really glad to have done so.

Break through: Suso is becoming a big part of manager Brendan Rodgers' plans

Break through: Suso is becoming a big part of manager Brendan Rodgers' plans

'I am comfortable here. I have played some games for the first team and I hope to continue doing that, but I need to work hard every day for that to happen.

'This is one of the best days of my life.'

Since his debut, the teenager has made four further appearances for the first team, and Reds boss Brendan Rodgers believes he has all of the qualities needed to develop into a top class player at Anfield.

Rodgers said: 'We are all delighted Suso has committed his long-term future to Liverpool Football Club.

'At 18, he has demonstrated outstanding technical qualities but also shown very good temperament to play for such a prestigious club.

'His commitment is very good news for all our young Academy players and the excellent work taken place by the Academy coaches and staff.'

Chris Tremlett is back – Paul Newman World of Cricket

Tremlett is back and ready to hit the heights once more

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 4 July 2012

Back in action: Tremlett has returned from a spell on the sidelines

Back in action: Tremlett has returned from a spell on the sidelines

England’s seam bowling has rarely been stronger, with Jimmy Anderson leading an attack brimming with options and depth. But it is about to get even stronger. The big man is back.

When Chris Tremlett claimed the final wicket in Sydney that completed England’s 3-1 win in the last Ashes series he was at the very top of his game, finally fulfilling the potential that had been blighted by injuries and question marks over his temperament at the highest level.

Sadly, despite a man-of-the-match-winning display on his old home ground of the Rose Bowl last year against Sri Lanka, it was not to last. Tremlett, so often cursed by the fragility of his vast frame, had the most serious injury of the lot and needed a back operation. The man who had at last proved his worth was back on the sidelines.

Now, at a time of tragedy for Surrey following the death of Tom Maynard, Tremlett is providing a crumb of comfort by returning for his county in their Twenty20 team and hopes to step up his comeback over the coming weeks. He has, at 30, a lot of lost time to make up.

‘It’s been a case of so far so good,’ said Tremlett, still an imposing physical presence.

Key man: Tremlett took the final wicket of the 2010-11 Ashes series

Key man: Tremlett took the final wicket of the 2010-11 Ashes series

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‘Mentally it’s been quite hard to deal with but now I’m in a confident frame of mind. I’ve got a few games under my belt, my back is feeling better and I’m trying to enjoy every opportunity I have.’

It would be a welcome good-news story if Tremlett could force his way back into England contention, if not for this summer’s Test series against South Africa then for the winter.

He has all the attributes to be a world-beater, as David Saker quickly recognised when he first set eyes on him after becoming England bowling coach. ‘I want that bloke with us for the Ashes,’ Saker told England coach Andy Flower. The rest is history, but is Tremlett history now as far as the national team are concerned

‘I’ve not been involved with the England team but Andy Flower has kept in touch and I’m sure they’re keeping one eye on me,’ said Tremlett. ‘They’re aware of what I’ve been doing which is nice to know. England is the step to get back up to and I feel that when I’m bowling well I’m as good as anyone.

‘I played in a great side and I don’t think I did much wrong. Now I’ve had an annoying setback which has taken a long time to heal and has been frustrating but I’ve done the work and need to play. I feel I can be as good as I was. It feels the same running in.’

England, with Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan, Graham Onions and Steven Finn all competing for three Test places, do not have an immediate need for Tremlett. But, with the height, pace and bounce that he brings, the Surrey giant would improve any team. It is good to have him back.

Chance to Shine ambassador Chris Tremlett was helping to promote the ‘play hard, play fair’ message of MCC Spirit of Cricket.

D'Oliveira legend lives on

Take a look at the county scoreboards for this year’s Twenty20 competition and a famous name jumps out at you.

Brett D’Oliveira is the grandson of the late, great Basil and the third generation of his family to play for Worcestershire, with father Damian having played a big role in his development as second-team coach at New Road. Now he is making his way in the first team.

Legend: D'Oliveira (centre) passed away last year

Legend: D'Oliveira (centre) passed away last year

So keen are Worcestershire to protect a young leg-spinning all-rounder from extra pressure because of his surname that director of cricket Steve Rhodes is reluctant to talk about him, saying only that D’Oliveira is a ‘good prospect’.

But the potential was there to see on Sunday when he took three Somerset wickets in the best of his first-team performances to date. We wish him well.

Calling it a day: Ramprakash

Calling it a day: Ramprakash

Ramprakash signs off

Mark Ramprakash will on Thursday call time on one of the most prolific but enigmatic careers in cricket history when he announces his retirement.

Ramprakash, 42, hit an astonishing 114 first-class centuries before losing his Surrey place earlier this season, but in a 52-Test career he could average only 27.

Sadly, we will never know what he might have achieved had he come along in the modern age of central contracts and continuity of selection.

Under Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss the gifted but volatile Ramprakash just might have become one of the all-time greats in his prime.

Bumble's final word

England are a damn good team in all forms of the game but it is still a crying shame that Kevin Pietersen cannot play Twenty20 cricket after retiring from the 50-over game.

Look at the Aussies. Michael Clarke retired from Twenty20 but still plays in Tests and one-day internationals. Was that what Geoff Miller and John Inverarity, the heads of the England and Australia selection panels respectively, were talking about at Lord’s last Friday

Twenty20 is box-office cricket and KP is a box-office talent. The spectators are being deprived of that talent and I just wonder if the ECB might reconsider and let Pietersen play in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September. Don’t shut the door on him.

LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS: Tatyana Chernova tells Jessica Ennis she has not won gold yet

Ennis' rival Chernova says she has not won Olympic gold yet and will have fight on her hands

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UPDATED:

22:48 GMT, 28 May 2012

Jessica Ennis' Olympic rival Tatyana Chernova has warned the British favourite she still faces a mighty task to claim gold in London despite her emphatic heptathlon victory in Gotzis at the weekend.

Ennis set a new British record en route to finishing 132 points clear of the Russian and installed herself back as Olympic favourite having seen Chernova rip away her world title in Daegu last year.

The 26-year-old from Sheffield – who also lost her world pentathlon title to Nataliya Dobrynska in March – answered her critics with a total of 6,906 points, 75 more than the previous record set by Denise Lewis in 2000.

Rivalry: Tatyana Chernova (left) finished second to Jessica Ennis in Austria and says there will be a fight for gold in London

Rivalry: Tatyana Chernova (left) finished second to Jessica Ennis in Austria and says there will be a fight for gold in London

But Chernova insists she still has room for plenty of improvement and has questioned whether Ennis will have the temperament to cope with such a colossal weight of home expectation once the Games get under way.

Chernova said: 'If people just look at one girl, it will be very hard for her to compete. I don't know what is in her mind. But everyone in the stadium will want her to get a result, and there will be great attention on her.

Fight to the line: Ennis and Chernova are expected to be the two to compete for gold in London

Fight to the line: Ennis and Chernova are expected to be the two to compete for gold in London

'For me there won't be many Russian fans in the stadium. My country is far from London but I know people will be supporting me back home. It (the atmosphere) will help me because I'm not afraid of anyone.'

While Ennis has now wrested back the psychological advantage, Chernova insists she is not downhearted by her result in Gotzis and will work to reclaim the initiative in the same way her rival managed in the wake of the result in Daegu.

'She was the favourite (in Daegu) after winning Berlin but sometimes things change,' added Chernova.

'Every competition is different and at the next competition it will be about who is the strongest at that point and who believes in themselves.

'For me things are going very well. I did a good result – not my best, not a personal best, but I know what I have to do to be better at London 2012. The Olympic Games will be a great competition and I hope the strongest girl in the world wins.'

Ennis' coach Toni Minichiello is certainly refusing to get carried away despite watching his charge become only the eighth woman in heptathlon history to score more than 6,900 points.

Minichiello said: 'It's lovely to win (in Gotzis) but there are 11 weeks to go, 11 weeks of work – or 10; I might give her a week off.

'It's back home now to have a look through the film and debrief and see where we go from there. I've had my 20 minutes (of enjoyment), I'm not back down to earth. She can enjoy it a lot longer.'

London 2012 Olympics: Alex Ferguson sticks the boot into Rio Ferdinand"s dream

Now Fergie sticks the boot into Rio's Olympic dream

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UPDATED:

21:11 GMT, 19 May 2012

Any hope that Rio Ferdinand's Euro 2012 heartache might be soothed by a call-up to Stuart Pearce's Great Britain team for this summer's Olympics has been dashed by Manchester United.

Ferdinand declared himself 'gutted' to miss out on Roy Hodgson's England squad for the European Championship finals in Poland and Ukraine – but that omission made the 33-year-old defender theoretically available for Team GB instead.

Sitting it out: Rio Ferdinand will miss Euros and Olympics

Sitting it out: Rio Ferdinand will miss Euros and Olympics

Pearce is allowed to select three 'overage' players in his squad of 18, likely to be announced early next month.

Ferdinand's immense international experience and biggame temperament, as well as fine recent form, would have made him a major asset for Pearce.

But United have made a policy decision not to allow any 'overage' player to appear at the Games, except Ryan Giggs, if selected.

Clubs are obliged by FIFA to release players under 23 but not obliged to release overage players. United have already forbidden Javier Hernandez from playing for Mexico this summer.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson wants his players to rest this summer if at all possible and Pearce has been made aware of this.

'There is zero per cent chance of Rio playing at the Olympics,' a source said.

It is thought that Ferguson has made 38- year-old Giggs an exception because he has never played at any international finals, and the United boss feels it fitting that the Welshman should be allowed to participate as he nears the end of his career.

Kenny Dalglish backs Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones

Dalglish backs 'strong' Jones to come through Everton assignment unscathed

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UPDATED:

12:53 GMT, 13 April 2012

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is confident third-choice goalkeeper Brad Jones has the character to come through his biggest test since arriving at Anfield.

The Australian international is set to face Everton on Saturday in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley in what will be only his fourth appearance for the club and his first start in 16 months.

Since arriving from Middlesbrough in the summer of 2010 as former manager Roy Hodgson's signing, Jones has suffered a personal tragedy with the death of his five-year-old son Luca from leukaemia in November last year.

Reflection: Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones has overcome personal tragedy

Reflection: Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones has overcome personal tragedy

That made his footballing difficulties pale into insignificance as the fact he was never selected for any squad once Dalglish took over in January 2011 seemed almost irrelevant.

But with Jose Reina and Alexander Doni both suspended, the 30-year-old is now set for his biggest match at club level, having been on the bench for Middlesbrough's 2004 League Cup win and UEFA Cup final defeat to Sevilla two years later.

Dalglish insists he has no doubts over the goalkeeper's temperament, even though the club had a last-minute unsuccessful appeal to have Doni's ban overturned.

'We're not here to delve into the players' personal lives, but what's happened to Brad would have tested most people,' Dalglish said.

'You can only guess what it must be like to go through what he's been through, but he has done. He's come through it a really strong character.

'We know that to do what he's done has shown a tremendous amount of strength of character.'

Jones, whose partner gave birth to another son Nico last week, would still have been in the wilderness at Liverpool had Reina's suspension not brought him a recall.

Spot on: Jones saved Yakubu's penalty as Liverpool beat Blackburn

Spot on: Jones saved Yakubu's penalty as Liverpool beat Blackburn

Dalglish's hand was forced further when Doni was sent off in Tuesday's 3-2 win at Blackburn, with Jones' first touch on his Liverpool Premier League debut being to save Ayegbeni Yakubu's penalty.

The club have recalled Hungarian Peter Gulacsi from his loan spell at npower Championship side Hull to provide cover for Saturday, after which Reina will be available again.

'He (Jones) will be happy he got a few minutes under his belt at Blackburn and I'm sure he enjoyed his first bit of action, saving a penalty,' Dalglish added.

'He'll be excited, as everyone else is, about playing. It's credit to Doni that he kept himself fit and active and sharp, and Brad's the same.'

Liverpool lifted the Carling Cup at Wembley less than two months ago, their first trophy for six years, but Dalglish does not believe that will have much bearing on the match with Everton, losing FA Cup finalists in 2009, in a much better run of form.

Perfect prep: Liverpool warmed up for Wembley by beating Blackburn

Perfect prep: Liverpool warmed up for Wembley by beating Blackburn

'The Carling Cup victory was a fantastic day for everyone connected with the club but you get your rewards for what happened on the day and you cannot live in the past,' the Scot said. 'We didn't, we haven't and we won't and we will look forward.

'What beating Cardiff on penalties did got us a trophy and that was a very rewarding circumstance, but the Carling Cup win doesn't help or hinder anything we are looking forward to.

'We've never got ahead of ourselves at any stage and we won't now. Just winning the game will be important for us.

'The most important thing for us is to prepare ourselves properly, make sure that we are right and ready for it mentally, physically and tactically.

'Our greatest concern will be ourselves and we are always respectful of the opposition.'

Kell Brook wants to fight Amir Khan

Brook wants blockbuster Khan showdown after outclassing Hattton

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UPDATED:

14:29 GMT, 18 March 2012

Kell Brook is targeting world title glory and a blockbuster showdown with Amir Khan which promoter Eddie Hearn insists can attract 50,000 people at an outdoor venue in England.

Brook continued his ascent to elite level this weekend as he wowed 10,000 fans at the Motorpoint Arena in his Sheffield hometown by outclassing British welterweight rival Matthew Hatton.

The unbeaten 25-year-old, who has been on the cusp of a world title challenge for some time, proved his box office appeal and big-fight temperament with a superb performance of poise and power en route to a wide unanimous decision victory.

Bring it on! Brook wants Khan showdown

Bring it on! Brook wants Khan showdown

Brook has long been linked with fellow Englishman Amir Khan and has called for a fight between the pair for years.

Now, however, he is making a name for himself in his own right and with a world title belt around his waist, hopes he can eventually lure former light-welterweight champion Khan into a scrap.

'Of course I want Khan,' he said. 'I've been banging on about Amir Khan, but I'm going to do my own thing and if that fight happens, it happens, and I'll smash him.'

Matchroom boss Hearn said: 'Money talks. We've sold 10,000 for Kell Brook v Matthew Hatton. I could sell 40,000 tickets for Kell Brook against Amir Khan. It's a pay-per-view fight.

'It's probably one of the few fights that is going to bring back pay-per-view television to British boxing. Will Amir Khan take it I wouldn't imagine so.

'It has to be a pay-per-view, outdoor fight, because he's got big revenue coming from HBO in America. So to bring it to seven, eight, nine o'clock at night, there has to be big money in the UK. With 40,000 fans and pay-per-view TV, that's a fight that can happen.

Outclassed: Brook was the comfortable points victor over Hatton

Outclassed: Brook was the comfortable points victor over Hatton

'Let me tell you, Kell would absolutely destroy Amir Khan. We'll fight him. We'll fight him next, 100 per cent and make it happen outdoors with a crowd of 40,000 or 50,000.'

Hearn insists the numbers add up.
'It's an easy fight to make money from,' he said. 'They would both get
millions of pounds. It sounds easy. Or for us, we'll come back here in
July and sell 10,000 tickets again (against someone else).'

Brook insists he just wants big names and big fights.

He said: 'I want whoever I can get my hands on. I'll be watching Vyacheslav Senchenko v Paulie Malignaggi and Andre Berto v Victor Ortiz with great interest.

'I want to be fighting at that top table now with elite fighters. I think I've proved I deserve to be there.

'Forget Khan. I'm doing my own thing. I'll get a belt and will be packing big arenas out.

Rematch: Khan will first fight Lamont Peterson

Rematch: Khan will first fight Lamont Peterson

'I've done this since I was nine years old and I'm buzzing at the moment. The dream is still popping. We're still unbeaten and it's going to stay that way for a long time.'

Hatton delivered a ringing endorsement after being on the end of a boxing lesson.

The former European champion, who pushed vaunted WBC light-middleweight champion Saul Alvarez all the way last year, said: 'I rate Kell very highly after that.

'He's the best fighter I've faced and I include Alvarez in that. Kell broke my nose in the first round and I didn't think things could get much worse. I was wrong about that.'

SIX NATIONS 2012: Is it time to axe Chris Ashton? – Ben Kay

England are making progress, but is it time to axe Ashton

It was a good opportunist try from Scott Williams that won the game for Wales – but it was the one big mistake that England made.

They turned the ball over and had an excellent attacking opportunity with lots of numbers on the outside, but Ben Youngs took too many steps before passing. Courtney Lawes should have had enough time to ship the ball wide but he felt he had to stick his head down and hit contact. The support players stayed wide, thinking ‘we’re on here’ and he was isolated.

Lawes will get a lot of blame for having the ball ripped out of his hands but gone are the days when it is a surprise that a back can rip the ball off a forward – Manu Tuilagi was the most powerful player on the pitch.

Decisive moment: Scott Williams goes over after robbing Courtney Lawes

Decisive moment: Scott Williams goes over after robbing Courtney Lawes

People were doubting if Owen Farrell could fit into the fly-half role but he played better in that position than at centre. He looked more comfortable as the orchestrator, pulling the strings without having to think about being a carrier as well.

With Brad Barritt and Manu Tuilagi alongside him – who did awesome defensive work against Wales’s big ball carriers – that new axis has a really nice balance.

In the first half, Wales’s Jamie Roberts flew out of the line in defence to hit the man outside Farrell, so the fly-half changed his pass and threw a floated ball over the top. It showed temperament and skill.

The scrum was a big area of concern for England and Wales could have transformed the complexion of the game. They had a very early scrum on England’s line and England got penalised – the Welsh just had them on toast. Wales decided to go for the kick at goal when if they had called another scrum I think they would have got a try and the whole psychological dynamic of the game would have changed. Wales would have torn the England scrum apart. Facing Adam Jones was Alex Corbisiero’s biggest test and he looked like he was in real trouble.

Mauled: England's scrum struggled against Wales' Lions props

Mauled: England's scrum struggled against Wales' Lions props

Geoff Parling was my man of the match. He was absolutely exceptional. He put in 10 tackles in the first 20 minutes and I thought he was going to blow up but he never did. He was brought on for the line-out but he was also the top tackler on the pitch.

On Wales’s first line-out, they cut to a six-man line and Parling reorganised the defence instantly. Then they tried to split him and drag him away but he read the dummy and lifted Chris Robshaw for the steal.

I remember hearing Stuart Pearce, now England’s caretaker football manager, once describing a ‘two-cap game’ where if you play well enough you know you are in the next week. For me, that was a five-cap game.

Chris Ashton has lost his swagger and confidence. In the past in possession he would put his foot down and head full-tilt into contact or try to wrestle through. Now it is almost as though he does not want to get caught with the ball so he tries to go into contact in a controlled way, but he does not make yardage and he goes to ground too early.

Struggling: Chris Ashton is lacking confidence

Struggling: Chris Ashton is lacking confidence

Struggling: Chris Ashton is lacking confidence

The whole back three are quiet. Form is a complete myth – they just have to rediscover their confidence. I was working at the Gloucester-Harlequins game on Saturday evening and the Gloucester back three have more cutting edge. It puts a bit of pressure on.

Dropping someone can have one or two effects. Either it hits their confidence and they become worse or it can relieve all the pressure and the next time they get an opportunity off the bench they look transformed. Maybe it is time to give another wing a go.

Wales are a better side at the moment because of where they are in their evolution but England were not helped by the referee. Steve Walsh is a good referee but he had a poor game.

Early on, a Welsh tackler was lying on top of David Strettle, which enabled Wales to make a turnover; at the next ruck the same thing happened the other way around and Wales were given the penalty and were able to level the scores at 6-6. England could feel aggrieved but as a player you should always take the referee out of the equation.

The no-try decision at the end was spot on. England were playing an advantage but they should not have come back for it because Strettle had got over the line – England had a try-scoring opportunity but did not quite land it and so the chance was gone.

Ben Kay is a rugby analyst for ESPN’s Aviva Premiership Rugby coverage

Six Nations 2012: Owen Farrell to step into Jonny Wilkinson"s boots

Farrell is 20 and still lives at home with his mum. Now he has
to step into Jonny's boots

Handed the keys to No 10: Farrell practises his goal-kicking

Handed the keys to No 10: Farrell practises his goal-kicking

Stuart Lancaster backed up his bold
selection of Owen Farrell at fly-half by claiming that the man likened
to Jonny Wilkinson has all the credentials to be England's next iconic
No 10.

After a training-ground accident
ruled Charlie Hodgson out of Saturday's RBS Six Nations showdown with
Wales at Twickenham, 20-year-old Farrell was switched to stand-off.

It is a gamble by the interim management
team led by Lancaster – who rejected the safer option of picking Toby
Flood in place of Hodgson – but the head coach has no doubts the
Saracens rookie can handle the added responsibility.

Lancaster said: 'It is a great testament to him as a person, his game understanding, his core skills and his temperament that he is able to do it, and do it in such a way that if you asked the players about him switching to fly-half, no one would be concerned in the slightest.

'I wouldn't want to compare any young player to Jonny Wilkinson because I think it sets them up. Owen Farrell is Owen Farrell – he has great temperament but he's still on a journey, he's still only 20. But he retains the confidence of the squad to run the game from 10.

England expects: Farrell's move to fly-half comes as Lancaster makes four changes for the clash with Wales

England expects: Farrell's move to fly-half comes as Lancaster makes four changes for the clash with Wales

'Owen has the ability to deliver quality passes, put people through gaps and play the ball,' added the coach. 'He probably hasn't done that as much as we'd want but that's a reflection on the conditions and on a new team coming together. He is one of the best young players I've ever coached in that regard.'

Hodgson suffered a cut and swollen finger when he caught it on a team-mate's shirt in training on Monday and was ruled out on Thursday.

With Farrell shifted in-field one place, in a new half-back pairing with Lee Dickson, Manu Tuilagi has been recalled at outside centre alongside Brad Barritt. Up front, Geoff Parling and Ben Morgan have been selected for first starts at lock and No 8 respectively.

Confident: Stuart Lancaster

Confident: Stuart Lancaster

Six Nations 2012: England have "Charge down Charlie" to thank again

One week on and poor England have 'Charge-down Charlie' to thank again

They have a new nickname Charlie Hodgson in the England dressing room after Saturday's win over Italy: Charge-down Charlie.

Last Saturday, the fly-half charged
down Dan Parks's clearance and pounced on rebound for an early
second-half try to set England on their way to victory in Edinburgh.

Cool finish: Charlie Hodgson of England slides past Andrea Masi of Italy to score

Cool finish: Charlie Hodgson of England slides past Andrea Masi of Italy to score

Yesterday, the Saracen was again, this time blocking back Andrea Masi's kick touching down just as England were on the brink at down in the second half.

They call me “Chargedown Charlie” now,' said Hodgson. 'It's weird because although team-mates have scored tries before from my charge-downs, I don't think I've ever scored from my own charge-downs. Now I've scored two in a row.

'It's not all down to luck. We work hard in training to create such opportunities and put enough pressure on the opposition to force them into such mistakes.

'We also research the players we're facing and work out who is sometimes slow in clearing, but I'm very happy to see how it has worked out for me. It still needed Owen [Farrell] to kick his goals. His temperament is second to none and for him to kick as well as he has in his first two England games shows what a quality player he is.'

Ben Foden was also smiling last night, but only as a relieved man after he played a major role in both the tries England conceded in a hectic last few first-half minutes.

'If we'd lost today I would have blamed myself completely,' said Foden. 'As it is I'll probably beat myself up a little. It wasn't my best day at the office but we turned it round and showed great character in doing so.'