Cherry-Evans wants Barba back in NRL

first_imgManly Warringah Sea Eagles captain Daly Cherry-Evans wants Ben Barba to makes his way back into the Telstra Premiership because few players can entertain like the elusive fullback. “I’d love to see him back because I know how much he would set alight the NRL,” Cherry-Evans told NRL.com. It is well known the pair grew up together in the central Queensland sugar town of Mackay. What might be not so well known is that Cherry-Evans sat in the middle of the Cronulla Sharks fans at the northern end of ANZ Stadium on the night of October 2, 2016 – when a 50-year premiership drought was snapped. “I was in the crowd. I was behind the posts with all the Sharks supporters. I was conservative in my colours, but I sat there with some of Ben’s cousins and brothers,” the Sea Eagles skipper said. “It was certainly undeniable that I was there to support my mate. “I could have selfishly sat at home and watched the game, but a grand final is not an opportunity that comes around very often. So I wanted to be there for my mate.” Barba is going great guns with St Helens in the Super League after heading overseas following the 12-match suspension imposed by the NRL for a second positive cocaine test. Cherry-Evans doesn’t support Barba’s choices but he does think he should come home and continue his career in the Telstra Premiership. “He’s the type of player that you know if he’s comfortable in his environment and confident in his body, he’s going to be able to do some amazing things for you,” Cherry-Evans said. “I want to see him back, one as a spectator because he’s so exciting to watch, and two because he’s my friend. “If I can have a good friend not living on the other side of the world that’d be great as well.” The Sharks have already stated they would welcome him back. Coach Shane Flanagan told AAP in February that while the 28-year-old had made some “poor choices”, he had paid the price and would be able to start afresh at Cronulla. Barba told NRL.com in February, after scoring tries for St Helens in the season opener against Castleford that he wanted to play in the NRL again. Barba, the 2012 Dally M Medal winner, would likely be allowed readmission to the competition but he may have to convince NRL officials he had learned a lesson from his drugs suspension. Cherry-Evans isn’t about to be Barba’s recruitment officer, but he’ll be at the airport to help carry his bags if he returns. “Regardless who he plays for, I’ll support him, except on the field if he’s playing against me,” he said. “Me and Ben are the same age. We grew up together. Dad [Troy Evans] was a junior coach of mine, and Ben’s, for a large proportion of my junior career. “Of course me being the son of the coach, he made Ben the captain and not me. That used to be a very funny running joke between Ben and I. He used to tease me all the time about being captain.” The tables will be turned if Barba did in fact sign with the Sea Eagles since Cherry-Evans is about to enter his second season as Manly’s captain.last_img read more

LSU notes: Miles says Brandon Harris may play vs. Bama

first_imgBATON ROUGE – LSU freshman backup quarterback Brandon Harris, who has basically disappeared since his first and only college start on Oct. 4 at Auburn, may play in a situational role against Alabama on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.“I think Brandon Harris is improving,” LSU coach Les Miles said Wednesday night after practice. “I think there’s a potential of getting him in the game significantly. We’re going to play it situationally.”Harris, who was one of the top prep quarterbacks in the nation out of Parkway, struggled at Auburn, completing just 3 of 14 passes for 58 yards in a 41-7 loss. He did not play a snap the next week against Florida as the Tigers won 30-27 behind quarterback Anthony Jennings, who has started all but one game this season. Harris played briefly in a 41-3 rout of Kentucky on Oct. 18, throwing one incomplete pass. He did not play in LSU’s last game, which was a 10-7 win over Ole Miss.For the season, Harris is 25-of-45 (.556 completion percentage) for 452 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions for a 175.04 efficiency rating. Jennings is 72-of-144 (.500 completion percentage) for 1,190 yards and eight touchdowns with five interceptions.Miles said Jennings has benefitted from the open date after the Ole Miss game. “A couple of extra days in the game plan kind of makes a difference,” Miles said.LSU football coach Les MilesLSU football coach Les MilesWARDROBE MALFUNCTION LEAVES MILES SEEING RED: One of the reporters at Miles’ Wednesday night press conference made the mistake of wearing red with the No. 14 Tigers (7-2, 3-2 SEC) hosting the No. 4 Crimson Tide (7-1, 4-1 SEC) at 7 p.m. Saturday in Tiger Stadium.“You’ve got to get permission to have another color shirt on, especially in certain weeks,” Miles said, pretending as if he was mad. “You should know better.” Then he winked.Miles is known for messing with those who wear red even in weeks when LSU is not playing Alabama.QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There are some very, very violent collisions at our practices, even more so because of the quality of the opponent this week.”— LSU coach Les Miles on his radio show Wednesday night.Connect with Glenn on Twitter @LSUBeatTweetlast_img read more

Brady claims first WTA title at Top Seed Open as WTA marks U.S. return

first_img(Reuters) – American Jennifer Brady clinched her first career WTA title yesterday, defeating Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann 6-3 6-4 in the Top Seed Open final. The hard court, outdoor competition in Lexington, Kentucky, marked the WTA’s first tournament in the United States since the coronavirus outbreak forced almost all sport into a long break earlier this year.In the first set, a defensive effort saw Brady save all four break points faced before going on the attack in the second set, winning more than 80% of her first serve points in front of the empty stands.“Before I walked onto the court I was like, ‘Okay, I have to believe in myself that I can win this,’ otherwise it doesn’t really make sense for me to walk out there,” said Brady, who did not drop a set the entire tournament. Brady, who defeated Coco Gauff in straight sets in the semifinal, thrust her hands into the sky after firing off a forehand winner to clinch the match and walked to the net to tap her opponent’s racket in a socially distanced gesture of sportsmanship.“Everything I’ve imagined, it’s definitely reality,” said Brady, who Facetimed her parents after the win.With limited options to celebrate under health and safety protocols, Brady said she would celebrate the win by ordering in “something delicious” to eat. “And I’m buying for anybody else who’s here,” she added.The Cincinnati Masters is scheduled to be played at Flushing Meadows, New York from later this week, followed by the U.S. Open, also at its usual Flushing Meadows home, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13.last_img read more

Updates to IMCA procedures, general rules few for 2017

first_imgVINTON, Iowa – Minor updates to procedures and general rules for 2017 will help IMCA keep up with motorsports industry trends.Other than that, there’s not much different than 2016 guidelines.“Not a lot was changed for this season. Our 40-point system, the bonus point system and lineup procedures have all withstood the test of time,” explained IMCA President Brett Root. “We have tweaked our bonus point structure over the years but as an executive committee couldn’t find a good reason to make changes this season.”“Issues like automatic penalties are also unchanged,” he continued. “We will still do our best to make sure penalties fit the offense.”What’s new this year includes:Fourteen and 15-year-old drivers will be allowed to compete in the Late Model and RaceSaver Sprint Car divisions, providing they detail their racing experience, a list of the tracks they’ll race at and submit required paperwork.No driver under the age of 14 is allowed to compete in any IMCA division; all drivers age 18 and under must submit a notarized parental consent form and a copy of their birth certificate.Unsportsmanlike conduct or participating in any action or activity deemed detrimental to IMCA or an IMCA track at any sanctioned event or on social media by drivers, car owners and/or pit crews will be grounds for disqualification and/or punitive action by IMCA.And the ban on using any type of device to signal to drivers is prohibited at all sanctioned events.“That includes all illuminated devices, like flashlights, glow sticks and foam fingers. We want to make sure decisions are made by the driver on the track and not a car owner or crew member watching the race,” Root said. “Signaling has a profound effect on the quality of the racing, not unlike two-way radio communication.”Updated procedures and general rules will be posted on the IMCA website. The 2017 operations and inspection manual will be mailed to track officials beginning in March.last_img read more

Orioles announce four additional promotions for the 2019 season

first_imgFor more information on the 2019 promotions, call 1-888-848-2473 or visit orioles.com/promotions. Please follow and like us: The Orioles released a statement regarding these new promotions. Along with these three new giveaways is the newest Theme Night package. Nurses Appreciation Week, presented by MedStar Health, will take place May 6 through May 10. Fans who purchase this ticket package will receive a game ticket and a limited-edition Orioles scrub top. Today the Baltimore Orioles made additions to the promotional schedule for the 2019 season. These additions include three new giveaways and a new week-long Theme Night ticket package.center_img On Memorial Day, May 27, the first 20,000 fans 21 and over will receive a set of two Orioles Outdoor Pint Glasses, presented by Sam Adams. On June 1, the first 20,000 fans 15 and over will receive a pair of Orioles Retro Sunglasses. Lastly, on July 21, all fans will receive an Exclusive Baseball Card Pack, presented by Topps. “We will continue to develop fun and engaging promotions, while creating added value for our fans and giving back to the community, as we add even more promotions this season. Whether in the form of a gate giveaway, a special event, a theme night, or a fundraising effort, the Orioles will continue to make Camden Yards the place to be this summer.”Orioles Vice President of Communications and Marketing- Greg Baderlast_img read more

Frustration boils over for Larry Krystkowiak as he is ejected during another big road loss for Utah basketball team

first_imgTEMPE, Ariz. — It was another big road loss — the third in a row for the Utah basketball team as the Utes were beaten 83-64 by Arizona State Saturday night at Desert Financial Arena.Once again, the Ute offense was “atrocious” as coach Larry Krystkowiak called it, as they shot just 39.3% from the field and turned the ball over 18 times. Defensively, the Utes allowed their opponent to shoot well again as ASU shot 51.7% overall including 61.1% from 3-point range. The most interesting part of the game, however, happened with 1:23 left in the game when Krystkowiak blew a gasket and was ejected from the game for protesting a technical foul call on one of his players, Matt Van Komen. Ralph Freso, AP Arizona State forward Romello White (23) shoots over the defense of Utah’s Branden Carlson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona State guard Remy Martin (1) collides with Utah’s Rylan Jones (15) as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Utah forward Riley Battin (21) drives to the basket around Arizona State’s Taeshon Cherry during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Ralph Freso, AP Grid View Related Ralph Freso, AP Ralph Freso, AP Afterwards, the Ute coach said he wasn’t given an explanation why Van Komen was called for a technical and added, “I didn’t give them a chance to.”So what did Krystkowiak see on the play?“I saw a 7-foot-4 guy dunk the ball and somebody’s underneath him and you’re allowed to hang on the rim,” he said. “It wasn’t the proper call to make at that time. I had no problem with the officiating. I like all those guys. But it was B.S. at the end, so I lost my fuse.”Krystkowiak went on to say his technical had nothing to do with the frustration of losing three straight road games by margins of 39, 16 and 19.“No, I have no frustration, it was a really bad call at a really bad time that was really uncalled for,” he said. “I love Matt Van Komen, the kid’s been working his butt off. I don’t think anybody knows what it’s like to be 7-4 when you’re 5-5 and to make that kind of assessment at that point of the game was out of line. I didn’t keep my cool, which is unfortunate but it happens.”Krystkowiak said it wasn’t the first time he’s been ejected from a game and counting his NBA coaching career, said it’s happened “four or five times.” Arizona State guard Remy Martin, right, drives to the basket while Utah’s Both Gach (11) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. The Utes were trailing 73-59 at the time when the 7-foot-4 Van Komen, who had just entered the game, got loose for a dunk and as he was coming down landed on an ASU player. Apparently he hung on the rim a little too long.When the technical was whistled, Krystkowiak burst out on the floor and was immediately T’ed up and when he didn’t stop his tirade, he was ejected from the game with a second technical. Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak is restrained by an assistant coach as he argues with an official after receiving two technical fouls being ejected during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Arizona State, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Utah forward Timmy Allen (1) talks with an official after being called for a foul during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona State, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Utah forward Timmy Allen (1) is fouled by Arizona State’s Kimani Lawrence, center, as he drives to the basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Utah forward Timmy Allen (1) is fouled by Arizona State’s Kimani Lawrence, center, as he drives to the basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak, center, talks with players Riley Battin (21), Michael Jantunen (20), Timmy Allen (1) and Alfonso Plummer (25) during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Arizona State, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Utah forward Riley Battin (21) drives to the basket around Arizona State’s Taeshon Cherry during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak is restrained by an assistant coach as he argues with an official after receiving two technical fouls being ejected during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Arizona State, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Utah center Branden Carlson (35) looks to dunk the ball over Arizona State’s Taeshon Cherry (35), Romello White (23) and Kimani Lawrence (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz.center_img Arizona State guard Remy Martin, right, drives to the basket while Utah’s Both Gach (11) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Ralph Freso, AP Utah forward Timmy Allen, right, has the ball knocked away by Arizona State’s Romello White, center, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Ralph Freso, AP Utah forward Timmy Allen, right, has the ball knocked away by Arizona State’s Romello White, center, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. The Utes had won four straight games against the Sun Devils here and held a 9-5 overall mark against ASU since joining the Pac-12 nine years ago. They were coming off a 93-77 loss in Tucson two nights earlier, while ASU was coming off a home loss to Colorado.It took the Sun Devils just five seconds to get on the scoreboard as Rob Edwards grabbed the opening tip and went in for a layup. However, unlike the two most recent games when the Utes fell behind by 20 points in the first half, they hung around and trailed just 29-23 at halftime. Krystkowiak said he was OK with that because his players were getting open shots, but just not making them, as they shot just 28.6 in the first half.Early in the second half, the Utes actually pulled within five at 41-36 on a drive by Alfonso Plummer, who had his most extended minutes (20) in over a month and finished with nine points. ASU pushed the lead to 16, only to see the Utes cut it to eight after back-to-back 3-pointers by Jaxon Brenchley and Riley Battin with 5:47 left, only to have the Sun Devils reel off eight straight of their own to put the game away.Edwards, who came in averaging 9.3 points a game, finished with a game-high 24 points, including 5 of 6 from 3-point range, while leading scorer Remy Martin added 20 points and six assists. Edwards’ last five points came on the technical fouls on Van Komen and Krystkowiak.The Utes were led by Timmy Allen, playing near his hometown of Mesa, who scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. However, for the fourth straight game, he struggled with his field-goal shooting, finishing with just 6 of 18 from the field. Mikael Jantunen, who was playing in front of his old high school coach, former Ute Hanno Mottola, was the only other Ute in double figures with 10 points. The Utes, now 10-7 overall and 1-4 in the Pac-12, will play at home for the first time since early in the month with a game against Washington Thursday night. Then on Saturday night, the Utes will play host to Washington State. UTE NOTES: The Sun Devils also were called for a couple of technical fouls as coach Bobby Hurley was called for one early in the second half and assistant Rashon Burno was given one later in the half . . . Kanye West’s “Sunday Service Collective” was held next door at Sun Devil Stadium, a 10-hour event described as “the first epic evangelical stadium event of the decade” . . . Besides Utah’s Jantunen, the Sun Devils also have a player from Finland, sophomore Elias Valtonen, and the two posed for pictures after the game with Mottola. Ralph Freso, AP Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak, center, talks with players Riley Battin (21), Michael Jantunen (20), Timmy Allen (1) and Alfonso Plummer (25) during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Arizona State, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona State forward Romello White (23) shoots over the defense of Utah’s Branden Carlson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Ralph Freso, AP Arizona State guard Remy Martin (1) drives to the basket while Utah’s Both Gach (11) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Utah center Branden Carlson (35) looks to dunk the ball over Arizona State’s Taeshon Cherry (35), Romello White (23) and Kimani Lawrence (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. 3 takeaways from the Utah Utes’ 83-64 loss at the Arizona State Sun Devils Ralph Freso, AP Arizona State guard Remy Martin (1) drives to the basket while Utah’s Both Gach (11) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Ralph Freso, AP Utah forward Timmy Allen (1) talks with an official after being called for a foul during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona State, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. Ralph Freso, AP Arizona State guard Remy Martin (1) collides with Utah’s Rylan Jones (15) as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. last_img read more

Taste hunter names Aurora’s top ethnic eats in new ‘Food Lovers’…

first_imgMaybe it was the sweet-potato-filled doughnuts at Paris Baguette that did it. Perhaps it was Zilla’s killer kim chee dumplings that provided the “a ha” moment, but early in her research for the “Food Lovers’ Guide to Denver & Boulder,” Ruth Tobias realized she was spending a lot of time tasting in Aurora.“I knew that many ethnic places existed in Aurora on an intellectual level, but once I started looking, Aurora became my mecca,” she said, while munching on naan and chutney recently at Jai Ho, one of her favorite Indian eateries in the city.Besides cornering the market on real Korean fare (such as sticky, savory sweet red bean mochi at Dah Won Rice Cake), she marveled at the city’s large number of African cafes dishing Somali, Ethiopian and Ghanian fare and enthused about the the shopping opportunities at H Mart, Arash International Market and Rancho Liborio. “It’s just amazing,” she said.Her freshly published volume from Globe Pequot Press is a culinary tourist’s dream that reveals everything from temples of good taste to breakfast bakeries, plus the best food trucks, food shops, farmers’ markets, artisan breweries and distilleries, and world-class dive bars. She tucks in information about food festivals and recipes from chefs. It was designed to spotlight the state’s hottest food locations — Denver and Boulder.She’s the first to admit that that becoming a Colorado food writer certainly wasn’t on her radar when she was growing up in Oklahoma.“I wasn’t a foodie but my parents took us to some of ethnic restaurants,” Tobias said. After college she worked for a few years as an editor in the book publishing business, “but I wanted to write my own stuff,” she said. Living in Boston in 2000 she began exploring her culinary obsessions.“I was 30 and I always wanted to be a food writer,” she said. Her break was finding a want ad as an assistant to a food writer which led her to edit the Boston Zagat Guide and contribute to the “Oxford Encyclopedia of Food & Drink in America.” A Colorado resident for four years, her day job is writing and editing for the the Boulder-based Sommelier Journal, but she started chronicling her culinary adventures at her engaging, smartly written dining blog. That’s how an editor at Globe Pequot Press found her and contacted her about writing the “Food Lovers’ Guide to Denver & Boulder.”The company has published numerous guides to various destinations including the classic “Food Lovers’ Guide to Colorado” penned by Eliza Cross Castaneda in 2002.For Tobias, the dream assignment came with certain challenges beyond finding adjectives to describe different tastes. The bistro, trattoria and burger joint research had to be crammed into just a few months. “I was eating at four or five places a day at one point — not a whole meal but at least a dish,” she said.“I just gave myself over to it and started eating. I was surprised I only gained five pounds.”And the more time she spent on field trips in the metro area, the more cool destinations she discovered. “The food scene in the Denver area is so dynamic. Restaurants are opening every week. I wanted the book to be comprehensive so I kept adding places. It’s the unexpected little food finds after a long day — that’s why you do it,” Tobias said.The bigger problem is that eateries she loved kept closing so she had to keep replacing them. Some places such as Tao Tao Noodle House and Korea House closed after the book was published.In the aftermath, Tobias has some advice for would-be foodies. If you’ve moved here from another urban area, shelve your snobbery and grab a martini.“The cocktail scene here is one of the best,” she said, noting the roster of first-class mixologists at local restaurants and bars. “I’ve also not come across a city with as many dive bars that are so welcoming to everyone.”By all means, be inquisitive and always bravely walk into unknown strip mall dining spots. “It’s just one meal and it’s usually cheap,” she said. And while the sundae guk — blood sausage soup — at Seoul BBQ might not be your cup of tea, the scones at the English Teacup and the brats at Bender’s just might be. In fact, if you want to make it easy, Tobias recommends just eating your way up and down South Parker Road.While being an omnivore is a job requirement, there are still some dishes she hasn’t warmed up to. “I don’t like natto and I probably never will,” she said. Natto is a stringy, slimy Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans.But to her, the worst tastes are the mundane insults. “Really, the stuff I mind the most is the boring, came-from-a-factory food,” she said. “That’s a shame.”After finishing up a beetroot fritter and a glass of Indian shiraz wine, Tobias just had one question:“Have you been to El Chelate? It’s a Mexican/Salvadoran place down on Colfax. At the counter I swear they have the best banana bread I’ve ever tasted in my life. It’s amazing.”Fiery chicken larb salad topped with Thai chiles and long beans is a favorite at the Thai Street Food restaurant in Aurora. (Photo by Kim Long, American Forecaster)One food lover’s select Aurora destinations and dishesIn the freshly published “Food Lovers’ Guide to Denver & Boulder” (Globe Pequot Press), Ruth Tobias includes a substantial number of restaurants, bakeries and markets located in Aurora which, she writes “is particularly rich in holed-up gems of all ethnic bents.”Here are a few of Tobias’ Aurora favorites and menu finds from the book:• Chef Liu’s Authentic Chinese Cuisine, 562 S. Chambers Rd.; “fish fillet stir-fried in smoky ‘numbing chile oil’ … making you sneeze and giggle all at the same time”• China Jade, 12203 E. Iliff Ave.: “eggplant and pork in velvety garlic sauce”• Guadalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet, 11385 E. Colfax Ave.: “pork ribs in cactus sauce”• Hessini Roots International Cafe, 2044 Clinton St.: “egusi … ground melon seeds cooked with onions and habaneros in palm oil”• Jai Ho, 3055 S. Parker Rd.;  “intriguingly aromatic medhu vada”• Maandeeq Eat African Cafe, 1535 S. Havana St.: “huge platters of goat meat”• Seoul BBQ, 2080 S. Havana St.: “pan-fried kimchi”• Athenian Restaurant, 15350 E. Iliff Ave.: “The thick, cucumber-laced tzadziki alone is worth the price of admission”• Thai Street Food, 11650 Montview Blvd.: “Ironically eye-opening drunken noodles”• Thai Flavor, 1014 S. Peoria: “eggplant salad topped with slices of fried omelet”• Arash International Market, 2720 Parker Rd.: “a halal butcher counter”• Rancho Liborio, 10400 E. Colfax Ave.: “At the seafood counter, crawfish, baby octopus and green mussels sparkle”To read Ruth Tobias’ food blog, visit ruthtobias.com/denveaterlast_img read more

Lyrebirds are no pretenders

first_imgBy RUSSELL BENNETT   “OUR season will be defined over the next three weeks – we’ll either be in the…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Hodgson rattled as England optimism seeps away

first_imgBy Martyn HermanThe memory of the opening 45 minutes of England’s brief World Cup adventure in steamy Brazil when Roy Hodgson’s young cavaliers tore into Italy with joyful abandon now seems like a figment of the imagination.Despite that encounter in Manaus ending in a rather undeserved 2-1 defeat, the mood afterwards was upbeat with talk of new dawns and an England side packed with pace and movement that could only get better.A subsequent defeat by Uruguay and a stultifying 0-0 draw with Costa Rica meant England returned crestfallen, although they were spared the usual media backlash, probably because a thrilling tournament was providing other distractions.The long period of goodwill Hodgson has enjoyed hitherto in his reign appears to be running out, however.Wednesday’s 1-0 win at home to Norway in a dire friendly played out in a half-empty Wembley stadium was greeted with a chorus of disapproval and for the first time Hodgson is beginning to come under attack from media and fans alike.The clash with a limited Norway side was supposed to be a fresh start before a routine-looking Euro 2016 qualification campaign begins in Switzerland on Monday.Instead, it highlighted just how far England’s stock has fallen. Lacking creativity, self-belief and saddled with an archaic 4-4-2 system after halftime, Hodgson’s side looked exactly what they are – a mediocre international team.From the all out attack against Italy, Hodgson’s side were hesitant in possession and lacking rhythm while the manager himself appears to have gone on the defensive, both tactically and with his spiky demeanour.“Don’t hit me with statistics,” Hodgson barked at journalists who pointed out that England had managed only two shots on target – one of them Wayne Rooney’s successful penalty.EXCESS BAGGAGE“We can’t get rid of the baggage,” Hodgson added in British media on Friday. “We can’t change the fact that we’ve had a bad World Cup. We can’t play those games against Italy and Uruguay again but I think you have to give me the entitlement (the right to do the job) at least.”While the link-up play between Liverpool duo Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge offered some bright moments, Hodgson is hardly blessed with a raft of exciting talent – no so-called golden generation about to break through.The paucity of the depth of real international class in English football was evident in Hodgson’s assertion that “the fact of the matter is we haven’t got many more.”“There are four or five very good players who are not here because of injury,” he said.“Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw in defence, Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana in central midfield. There are people like Jon Flanagan at right-back. We have long-term injuries with Jay Rodriguez. They are youngsters.”True, but none of the names he reeled off are established internationals and have only a smattering of England caps between them and virtually no experience in the pinnacle of world club football, the Champions League.There was a weariness to some of Hodgson’s comments following the Norway match – an echo of some of his predecessors such as Graham Taylor, Sven Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello, all of whom came under attack from the media at various times during their spells in charge.His view of the game appeared at odds with that of most observers who feel England are regressing.“If we’d have played badly, if a lot of players had had really poor performances, if the quality of our passing and movement was nothing like I wanted to see, if our defending wasn’t as compact, aggressive or organised as it was for long periods, I’d be the first to say so,” Hodgson said.“But I’m not going to say it’s that just because we had a bad World Cup.”All is not lost for Hodgson but the warning signs are there after a meagre seven wins from their last 18 matches – a run that has seen them drop to 20th in the FIFA world rankings.Adopting the kind of siege mentality Hodgson appears to be slipping into usually alienates the trigger-happy media.Another poor performance against ninth-ranked Switzerland on Monday would give plenty more ammunition to the snipers and leave Hodgson facing his first real crisis since taking over from Capello shortly before the Euro 2012 finals.last_img read more

Angry fans turn on Man United after Europa League shock

first_imgManchester United fans turned on their own team after a Europa League defeat to Danish minnows Midtjylland, chanting obscenities that under-pressure manager Louis van Gaal admitted were justified.United’s travelling support sang their displeasure as the 2-1 loss on Thursday evening dented the team’s best hope of returning to the Champions League next season.Midtjylland were Danish champions last year but had won just one of their previous ten fixtures and not played a competitive match since December.Van Gaal, whose team trail fourth-placed Manchester City by six points in the Premier League, had played up United’s “positive” start to the year after they came through their first four games of 2016 undefeated.But United have now recorded just two wins in six since they beat Liverpool on Jan. 17, increasing the pressure on their manager once again.“The fans can criticise. They are disappointed, like we are,” the Dutchman said when told what supporters had been singing. “They can do because when you see the second half maybe they are right. We have to improve and then the fans shall support us again.”With keeper David de Gea injuring a knee during the warm-up to join a lengthy casualty list that includes captain Wayne Rooney, Van Gaal cited injuries as a factor in the defeat.“It is difficult to cope with such a list of injured players,” he said.That defence did not go down well at home.Columnists at the Manchester Evening News described the defeat as a “new low” and called for Van Gaal to be sacked, while many irate fans took to Twitter.“Please, please just sack Van Gaal he is the worst thing that has ever happened at United,” one user tweeted.“The level of @ManUtd’s uselessness is unmatched,” said another, while BBC Match of The Day presenter Gary Lineker tweeted: “It’s hard to comprehend how poor Manchester United are at present.”last_img read more