16-02-2019 Reece Prescod tones down social life in quest for world championship gold

Sprinter has stopped going out at nights and replaced house music with reading to prepare for the worlds in SeptemberReece Prescod is as disarmingly honest as he is dizzingly fast. So when the 22-year-old is asked whether he ever feels a devil on his shoulder trying to distract him from becoming the world’s best sprinter, he smiles, says “Yeah, yeah, 100%” and then adds bluntly: “To me there is no point in going on a night out if you are going to be half-hearted. If I am going out, I go full sesh.”Full sesh, it turns out, is a few drinks at a meal, followed by a few more afterwards and staying out until the small hours – which is hardly ideal when one’s intention is to win Olympic 100m gold in Tokyo. But Prescod says in recent months he has changed; these days he is scanning the bigger picture, not chasing short-term pleasures. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Golden Goal: Steve McManaman for Liverpool v Celtic (1997)

The midfielder was the Merseyside club’s most consistent attacking threat for a decade and dazzled in GlasgowIf there is a phrase that sums up Steve McManaman’s time at Real Madrid, a four-year spell in which the Spanish club won La Liga and the Champions League twice apiece, it was perhaps the one delivered by an unlikely source. “El socio del todos” – “a partner to everyone on the pitch”– is how Johan Cruyff described the Merseyside-born Madridista, and he meant it neither sarcastically nor begrudgingly.Cruyff’s assessment was instead genuine and warm-hearted, underlining the understated yet important role the midfielder played in Madrid’s success at the start of the millennium, linking defence to Galácticos attack. This was the era of Raúl, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and the original Ronaldo, and McManaman’s role was to give them the ball as often as possible. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Football transfer rumours: Suso to Spurs or Arsenal? De Ligt to Man City?

Today’s fluff is warming up nicelyNow that Tottenham no longer plan to spend half of their cash on an executive cheese room at the new White Hart Lane, they can make more room in their budget for football stuff. That means they can buy some new training bibs, take muddy kits to the launderette after every game, make sure that everyone has shin pads, get enough half-time oranges for the whole team and give Son Heung-min a new contract worth a whopping £150,000 a week. Hooray! Let the good times roll! Related: Sergio Ramos facing Champions League ban for intentional booking at Ajax Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Ben Morgan’s late try gives Gloucester space to see off Exeter Chiefs

• Gloucester 24-17 Exeter• Bristol 22-29 WaspsGloucester beat the league leaders, Exeter, at Kingsholm thanks to a Ben Morgan try three minutes from time on Friday night.Jason Woodward and Willi Heinz scored Gloucester’s other tries while Billy Twelvetrees converted all three and kicked a penalty. Exeter’s tries came from Nic White and Tom O’Flaherty. Joe Simmonds kicked a penalty and conversion with Gareth Steenson also adding a conversion. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 'I'm always at risk' of being sacked by Chelsea, says Sarri after humiliation at Man City – video

Maurizio Sarri feels he is 'always at risk' of being sacked by Chelsea after watching them succumb to their heaviest defeat in almost 28 years.The pressure intensified on the Italian after Sergio Agüero's 11th Premier League hat-trick, Raheem Sterling's double and Ilkay Gundogan's goal wrapped up an incredible 6-0 win for Manchester City. Sarri made an encouraging start to his tenure. Chelsea were unbeaten after their first 12 top-flight matches under him but the Blues have faded out of title contention and face a battle to finish in the top four. Agüero hits hat-trick in Chelsea’s humiliation by Manchester City Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Emiliano Sala: Nantes players wear black shirts in tribute to teammate – video

Emiliano Sala was given an emotional tribute during Nantes' first home game since the footballer was confirmed to have died in a plane crash.The 28-year-old's former teammates wore black shirts with the name 'Sala' on the back and Nantes fans also held up the number 9 in memory of the Argentinian. Sala, who had spent four seasons at Nantes, was travelling to his new club Cardiff City with pilot David Ibbotson, when their plane went missing over the English channel on 21 January.Sala 'will leave an eternal memory' says emotional Nantes coach – video Continue reading...

16-02-2019 David Squires on … Chelsea's humiliation at Manchester City

Our resident cartoonist on Maurizio Sarri’s dismay, Mike Dean and a man trying to wear trousers as a jumperTake a look through David’s archive of cartoons Continue reading...

16-02-2019 The Fiver | Unfit to face inferior players who have hardly run a lap since Christmas

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!Buoyed, cheered and generally heartened by the sight of Tottenham Hotspur piling some Big Cup hurt on German league leaders Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night, Arsenal fans can look forward to some fun of their own when their team goes toe to toe with the works team of a tractor factory in Belarus tonight in Euro Vase. Bate Borisov are the opposition in the first knockout round and while most of their players are unknown outside their native country, there will at least be one recognisable face among the ranks. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Laura Muir has her sights on 1988 indoor mile record in Birmingham

• Kirsty Wade’s indoor mile Birtish record has stood for 31 years• Muir to defend her 1500m and 3,000m indoor titles next monthShortly after Laura Muir first broke into the British team in 2014 she received an unexpected request from the Welsh middle distance legend Kirsty Wade. “We think Laura has something special,” she wrote in a long email via her husband. “And we would love to see her name in front of mine in the rankings over the next few years.” Related: Laura Muir: ‘I don’t like taking anything. I don’t even drink coffee’ Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Declan Rice's switch shows why dual nationalities should be respected | Eni Aluko

Many people believe it is about picking a country and sticking with it but when your heritage is dual it is trickyIt was intriguing to see the mixed reaction to Declan Rice’s decision to commit his international future to England over the Republic of Ireland. I don’t think people fully appreciate how difficult it can be to have two nationalities in football and the kind of stigma that can come with it – especially for someone who is only 20. Rice broached the issue of respect for his dual heritage so eloquently and honestly in his public statement, which I am sure will bring him respect for his decision in return.There will be a lot of Irish fans who were disappointed and offended by his decision but for me it is not necessarily a question of choosing an allegiance. There is an either/or culture in football that is polarising. Many believe it is about picking a side and sticking with it but when your heritage is essentially both it is difficult. For example, I’m both British and Nigerian. In the same way as someone such as Adam Lallana has family roots in Spain. If you dig a little deeper there are so many English players with Welsh or Scottish heritage. We’re not just one-dimensional. Raheem Sterling is another example. He is proud of his Jamaican roots but plays for England and is proud of that too. Continue reading...