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JEFF POWELL: Gareth Southgate needs to whip England’s mutinous crew into line quickly

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jeff powell gareth southgate needs to whip englands mutinous crew into line quickly

In the vernacular of Covid-19, England returned a false positive with the result of their Belgian test.

Victory over the No 1 football country in the world disguised the virus eating away at our national team.

That the 2-1 defeat of Belgium followed a 3-0 stroll against Wales served to heighten a false sense of complacency, which barely had time to take hold before England returned to Wembley only to be beaten by an indifferent Denmark.

Harry Maguire let England down against Denmark and must be brought to book

Harry Maguire let England down against Denmark and must be brought to book

Harry Maguire let England down against Denmark and must be brought to book

A preceding goalless draw in Copenhagen and a scrappy 1-0 win in Iceland were conveniently forgotten.

As was the inconvenient truth that England were outclassed by Belgium and fortunate to win.

As for that virus, in this case diagnosed as indiscipline, a second spike came with Harry Maguire’s sending off which reduced Gareth Southgate’s team to ten men and was quickly followed by Denmark’s winning penalty. Never mind that this signalled England’s only defeat in a year. The rot is setting in this autumn, as this mish-mash of European competitions is getting more serious.

The lack of professionalism is as out of control as coronavirus in the northern powerhouse.

Two of England’s supposed next generation of stars were sent packing from Iceland after being caught smuggling a couple of local groupies into the team hotel.

Three more were slung out of the squad before the Wales game for going to a socially undistanced party.

So much for dedication to the game or obedience of the pandemic restrictions.

England were fortunate to beat Belgium and the victory had only papered over the cracks

England were fortunate to beat Belgium and the victory had only papered over the cracks

England were fortunate to beat Belgium and the victory had only papered over the cracks

They were young, stupid and should consider themselves lucky if and when they ever see the white of an England shirt again. But it is Maguire who stands exposed as the epitome of the problem.

The alcohol-fuelled altercation in which he became embroiled with police while holidaying on a Greek island went beyond the anti-social indiscretions of the kids.

So much for the captain of Manchester United and the supposed pillar of England’s defence who is expected to set an example.

Certainly, Maguire is entitled to a qualified presumption of innocence while he appeals against a hat-trick of convictions in Greece. But that does not necessarily extend to his being selected for his country, nor his club for that matter, until that final verdict is brought down.

Which is where Southgate, as well Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, went sadly wrong. They could simply have left Maguire out on the perfectly reasonable basis that his mind cannot be fully concentrated on the game while the wheels of justice turn even more slowly than he does on a football pitch.

Reece James was sent off after the whistle against Denmark - the indiscipline is worrying

Reece James was sent off after the whistle against Denmark - the indiscipline is worrying

Reece James was sent off after the whistle against Denmark – the indiscipline is worrying

Picking him sent the wrong message and how heavily his managers have been punished for their misplaced tolerance: Maguire sent off at Wembley; Manchester United 1, Tottenham 6.

The longer it goes the more Maguire is revealed as vulnerable to extreme pace on the turn. As is Virgil Van Dijk, by the way: Aston Villa 7, Liverpool 2.

The two most expensive defenders in the world, not just the Premier League, now look ludicrously over-priced, over-paid, over-rated.

Maguire most embarrassingly so. He was floundering around Wembley on Wednesday night like a ship without a rudder and the second yellow card must have come almost as a personal relief.

Jordan Pickford is not the successor to this country's lineage of great goalkeepers

Jordan Pickford is not the successor to this country's lineage of great goalkeepers

Jordan Pickford is not the successor to this country’s lineage of great goalkeepers

Which left his England boss struggling to deal yet again with the issue of discipline, or rather the lack of it, on and off the pitch.

In part this is of Southgate’s own making. It was his decision to trust Maguire’s version of events in Greece and carry on giving him the honour of playing for England. Over-heated Formula 1 racing cars don’t backfire so ear-shatteringly.

There has been a tendency to sympathise with Southgate, despite England’s continuing World Cup and Euro failures, and to shield him from criticism for the misbehaviour of too many of his players.

To some extent that is understandable. Our Waistcoat Man is courteous, thoughtful, patient, plausible, intelligent, pleasant, most likeable.

But when it comes to managing football teams, it is all too easy to be too nice.

Gareth Southgate can send the right message by being tough and whipping them into line

Gareth Southgate can send the right message by being tough and whipping them into line

Gareth Southgate can send the right message by being tough and whipping them into line

Southgate has young players with the potential to take England far. But only if it is clear to them that they will be brought to book if they let the side down..

Maguire has to go. So does Jordan Pickford if England are to find ever again a successor to this country’s lineage of great goalkeepers. And they are not alone.

Spoiled boys with inflated egos are also an issue. Reece James ruined an impressive full England debut by joining Maguire in the Wembley red-card club of shame by ranting at the referee after the final whistle on Wednesday night. Presumably he could not take defeat.

Unless Southgate whips his mutinous crew quickly into line, he had better get used to that sinking feeling. Belgium, away, are up next.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Usyk vs Chisora: UK start time, date, TV channel, live stream, ring walk and undercard for heavyweight fight

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usyk vs chisora uk start time date tv channel live stream ring walk and undercard for heavyweight fight

OLEKSANDR USYK is stepping it up a gear as he takes on Dereck Chisora in his second heavyweight fight.

The Ukrainian knocked out Chazz Witherspoon in seven rounds on his debut after dominating the cruiserweight division.

Oleksandr Usyk and Dereck Chisora finally do battle on Saturday night

1

Oleksandr Usyk and Dereck Chisora finally do battle on Saturday night

But Chisora is set to be an altogether different proposition and comes into this one having forced David Price to throw in the towel after four rounds.

What time is Usyk vs Chisora?

  • Originally scheduled for May 23, this fight now takes place this Saturday, October 31 after being postponed due to coronavirus.
  • The event starts at 6pm UK time with the ring walk expected at around 10pm.
  • Wembley Arena is the venue for the huge bout.

What TV channel is Usyk vs Chisora on and can I live stream it?

Full undercard

  • Lee Selby v George Kambosos
  • Tommy McCarthy v Bilal Laggoune – for vacant EBU European Cruiser Title
  • Savannah Marshall v Hannah Rankin – for vacant WBO Middleweight Title
  • Amy Timlin v Carly Skelly – for vacant Commonwealth Super Bantamweight Title
  • David Allen v Christopher Lovejoy
  • Ukashir Farooq v Martin Tecyuapetla

More to follow

What they said

Dereck Chisora: “I will make sure that when Usyk gets out of that ring he knows he has been in a fight.

“He wants to claim he is at the top of the food chain, but if he wants to do that he needs to box a true heavyweight.

“It’s a fight – the guy is going to chuck the kitchen sink at me.

“The fight sells itself – he is a good fighter and is loved by the English fans. Even people who don’t like boxing love watching him and he’s fighting myself.

“There is nothing bad about this fight, there’s not hatred, it’s all about the love for the sport.”

Latest odds

Usyk to win 1/7

Draw 25/1

Chisora to win 9/2

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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Rhys Williams learned his trade at Kidderminster Harriers but stepped up to fill Fabinho’s boots

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rhys williams learned his trade at kidderminster harriers but stepped up to fill fabinhos boots

What a difference a week makes. In Amsterdam seven days ago, Jurgen Klopp stood with arm around Rhys Williams and smiled as he imparted some final wisdom.

Liverpool’s manager knew the size of the moment for a 19-year-old making his first steps at the highest level. Here was Williams, in one of the sport’s cathedrals, being given the responsibility to help his team protect a slender 1-0 lead through injury time.

‘I saw in his eyes he was pretty impressed by the occasion,’ Klopp reflected.

Rhys Williams came off the bench to replace Fabinho who came off due to an injury

Rhys Williams came off the bench to replace Fabinho who came off due to an injury

Rhys Williams came off the bench to replace Fabinho who came off due to an injury

Williams had every reason to be impressed. His first action after being introduced against Ajax was to win a towering header. They think an awful lot of Williams at Liverpool and the fact Klopp was prepared to put him into a pressure situation spoke volumes.

Here, though, the body language was different. Klopp could not have envisaged having to ask Williams to get stripped and ready for action so soon into Liverpool’s second Group D fixture against Midtyjlland but circumstances left him with no option.

There was Fabinho, the man who had been ushered into central defensive duty following the catastrophic injury to Virgil van Dijk, lying with his leg out stretched. He was wincing in the way players do when they have felt something tweak, tear or pop.

Fabinho - who is standing in for Virgil van Dijk - was taken off around the half-hour mark

Fabinho - who is standing in for Virgil van Dijk - was taken off around the half-hour mark

Fabinho – who is standing in for Virgil van Dijk – was taken off around the half-hour mark

Williams impressed during the game - catching the eye with an interception in the 57th minute

Williams impressed during the game - catching the eye with an interception in the 57th minute

Williams impressed during the game – catching the eye with an interception in the 57th minute

The severity of his hamstring damage will be determined on Wednesday after a scan.

So Klopp pointed to Williams and asked him to help Liverpool through a problematic assignment in the midst of what is now a defensive crisis.

This time last year, he was on loan at Kidderminster Harriers and playing in games against Farsley Celtic and Darlington. He had been part of Liverpool’s FA Youth Cup winning team in 2019 but the club decided that his education would be best served by a spell playing man’s football.

The move was the idea of Academy Director Alex Ingelthopre and Julian Ward, Liverpool’s loan and pathways manager, after they had been approached by then Kidderminster manager John Pemberton. They wanted Williams to have a different football experience in his education.

Ward watched Williams regularly at Aggborough Stadium and he showed such an appetite to learn under Pemberton and his successor Russ Penn that the experiment was deemed a resounding success. Williams was rewarded with a new five-year deal at Anfield this summer.

Jurgen Klopp has turned to Williams, the 19-year-old, during their current injury crisis

Jurgen Klopp has turned to Williams, the 19-year-old, during their current injury crisis

Jurgen Klopp has turned to Williams, the 19-year-old, during their current injury crisis 

Klopp gave him his first senior action in a 7-2 Carabao Cup win at Lincoln last month. He was with the Under-23s last week, when he scored a towering header in a 3-1 win over Chelsea, but this weekend he is likely to be asked to shackle West Ham’s Michail Antonio.

‘He did really well and the only problem we have now is that there are four days to the West Ham game and there will be a story every day about him,’ said Klopp. ‘He has to prove he can deal with that as well. Everything was calm around him and we try to keep it that way.’

If his moment comes to it (Klopp is unsure when Joel Matip will be fit) Williams will not be flustered. He reads the game well – one interception in the 57th minute caught the eye – and makes sensible passes and he will also benefit from having the imperious goalkeeper Alisson Becker behind him.

Fate has put Williams in this position but his talent for this unexpected opportunity should not be doubted.

‘We have three very young central defenders but they are all alternatives,’ said Klopp. ‘At this moment, it looks like we have to choose one of them. I don’t know yet but to be really clear and positive, Rhys was not in one situation that was a problem. He played a really good game.’ 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Salary cap may dent new £40million deal for Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton

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salary cap may dent new 40million deal for mercedes lewis hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is suddenly facing a race against the clock to sign his proposed £40million-a-year deal with Mercedes after revolutionary plans to cap driver salaries were approved unanimously by the teams.

Sportsmail understands a proposal to limit the pay packets of the sport’s biggest stars to £22m — or $30m as the new regulation will be written — was even backed by Hamilton’s team principal Toto Wolff. The cost-saving measure will start in 2023.

Hamilton, 35, is out of contract at the end of this season and was expected to commit to three more years, from 2021 to 2023. 

Lewis Hamilton is facing a race against time to sign a new £40million deal with Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton is facing a race against time to sign a new £40million deal with Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton is facing a race against time to sign a new £40million deal with Mercedes

All of the registered teams agreed to limit the salary of F1's big stars to £22million from 2023

All of the registered teams agreed to limit the salary of F1's big stars to £22million from 2023

All of the registered teams agreed to limit the salary of F1’s big stars to £22million from 2023

But if the new rule is ratified before Hamilton signs, he cannot earn £40m beyond the next two years and his earnings would be markedly restricted.  

So the six-time world champion must act fast to ensure he continues to add as extravagantly as he wishes to his £250m fortune.

He currently earns £35m a year, about the same as fellow top-earner Sebastian Vettel.

If he signs terms prior to the rule being officially adopted, it is likely he would still be paid at the agreed level.

Hamilton (above) currently earns £35m a year, the joint-highest salary out of the F1 drivers

Hamilton (above) currently earns £35m a year, the joint-highest salary out of the F1 drivers

Hamilton (above) currently earns £35m a year, the joint-highest salary out of the F1 drivers

Although the exact details of the cap are yet to be finalised, a source has stated that employment law would likely obligate teams to continue to pay at the wage set before the rule’s introduction.

Hamilton may also consider whether to commit to Mercedes for a longer stretch than he originally intended, in order to ensure the highest possible grade of remuneration to the end of his career.

This move is an extension of the budget caps due to be imposed from 2022 on team spending — which is effectively car development — that were given fresh impetus by the coronavirus upheaval. 

Hamilton broke Michael Schumacher's record of 91 Formula One race wins over the weekend

Hamilton broke Michael Schumacher's record of 91 Formula One race wins over the weekend

Hamilton broke Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 Formula One race wins over the weekend

They are intended to address imbalances between the bigger and smaller teams.

The driver salary cap was the highlight of the F1 Commission video call on Monday at which a provisional calendar of 23 races was presented for next season. The championship will start in Australia with the penultimate race due to be held in Saudi Arabia.

Both the calendar and the driver salary cap await approval by the FIA.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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