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Woakes named PCA Men’s Player of the Year and Crawley collects Young Player of the Year award

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woakes named pca mens player of the year and crawley collects young player of the year award

It might no longer be reasonable to claim that Chris Woakes’ international performances go under the radar after the England all-rounder was named the Professional Cricketers’ Association Men’s Player of the Year.

So often overshadowed by the exploits of team-mates including his predecessor as winner, Ben Stokes, Woakes turned in several decisive displays with bat and ball during the Covid-hit English summer – including an unbeaten 84 in Manchester that helped seal a fine Test heist in the first match of the series against Pakistan and a three-wicket burst to turn a one-day international on its head on the same ground after Australia appeared to be cruising to victory.

Zak Crawley, whose 267 versus Pakistan was the highlight of a maiden home Test summer, was named as the PCA Young Player of the Year while leg-spinner Sarah Glenn took the women’s award following some dominant displays in the 5-0 Twenty20 drubbing of West Indies. 

Chris Woakes turned in decisive displays with bat and ball during Covid-hit English summer

Chris Woakes turned in decisive displays with bat and ball during Covid-hit English summer

Chris Woakes turned in decisive displays with bat and ball during Covid-hit English summer

The honour capped a week of celebration in the Woakes household that included the arrival of a second daughter Evie Louise on Thursday.

‘The fact that this award is chosen by your fellow professionals; the players you play with and against not just in the year but throughout your whole career, is really nice recognition,’ Woakes said.

‘So many great players have won this award but historically not many England players. It usually takes a summer like Ben had last year to get it as an England player. But with the schedule being not as intense for the county guys it gave us a little bit more of a chance.

Zak Crawley's 267 against Pakistan was the highlight of a maiden home Test summer

Zak Crawley's 267 against Pakistan was the highlight of a maiden home Test summer

Zak Crawley’s 267 against Pakistan was the highlight of a maiden home Test summer

‘At the start of the summer, I probably didn’t think I’d be involved too much with the Test stuff, to be honest. We had a large amount of fast bowlers to choose from and I probably thought I’d get a couple of games here and there maybe so to play five out of six on merit in was really pleasing.’

Of the innings that helped England to the victory that settled the Pakistan series 1-0, he added: ‘The only two things I’d change about that are that Jos (Buttler) would have been there with me to walk off the field and also it would have been a full house on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Other than that, it was pretty much perfect.’

‘The same with regards to a crowd in the ODI. It looked like Australia were cruising to a relatively easy victory at one point although we always believed the wicket was going to get a bit tricky at some point. We stuck in there and the six wickets me and Jofra (Archer) took in that game was brilliant to be a part of.’

The first NatWest Cricket Awards, a combination of the PCA Awards and NatWest OSCAs, honours both the community cricket club heroes and professional stars of the season in one event that will celebrate the game from the ground up in recognition of an extraordinary year for the sport. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson hails Mohamed Salah’s scoring record

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liverpool captain jordan henderson hails mohamed salahs scoring record

Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson has praised team-mate Mohamed Salah for his impressive goalscoring record and insists the Egyptian star has got even better.

The forward scored his 100th goal for the club in their 2-2 draw with Merseyside rivals Everton on October 17, reaching the landmark in 159 games.

Salah was prolific in his first season at Anfield following his £39million move from Roma in 2017, scoring a staggering 44 goals in 52 appearances.

Liverpool's Jordan Henderson praised team-mate Mohamed Salah for his goalscoring record

Liverpool's Jordan Henderson praised team-mate Mohamed Salah for his goalscoring record

Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson praised team-mate Mohamed Salah for his goalscoring record

Salah scored his 100th goal for the club in 159 games in the Merseyside derby on October 17

Salah scored his 100th goal for the club in 159 games in the Merseyside derby on October 17

Salah scored his 100th goal for the club in 159 games in the Merseyside derby on October 17

Following his latest achievement Henderson has hailed Salah, describing his goalscoring exploits as ‘computer-game stuff’. 

He wrote in the club’s official matchday programme for the Champions League clash against Midtjylland on Tuesday evening: ‘Mo’s numbers are jaw-dropping. He’s achieved his century in just 159 appearances – that is computer game stuff!

‘I shouldn’t be surprised, but it yet again underlines just how blessed we all are to be working with him, or be a supporter of this club at the time he is here with us.

‘Not for one minute do I think Mo is taken for granted; he 100 per cent isn’t by anyone associated with our club at least. But I do think the level of his achievement maybe deserves a little more recognition in the game.

‘It’s possible that the numbers he hit in his first season with us – 40-plus goals – means everything else since has been measured by an unfair and unrealistic yardstick.’

Salah is still, at times, underrated with the game, with some former pros arguing that he is undervalued.

Henderson also insisted the Egyptian star has got better year on year since arriving in 2017

Henderson also insisted the Egyptian star has got better year on year since arriving in 2017

Henderson also insisted the Egyptian star has got better year on year since arriving in 2017

‘All of Liverpool’s front three could have made my team, but I’ve chosen Salah because I still don’t think he gets the credit he deserves,’ former defender Glen Johnson told The Mirror last season.

While former Reds defender Jamie Carragher said in February that Liverpool fans don’t appreciate him enough.

‘With Mo Salah – I think he is underappreciated,’ he told Sky Sports.

‘Salah is seen as world class outside, but with Liverpool fans I think he is a little bit underappreciated. Certainly going form what he did in his first season to now there is a slight dip.’

Henderson admitted that Salah, who became the fastest player in Liverpool history to reach half century of Premier League goals in 2019, has continually improved and has got better each year since his arrival three years ago.

‘As someone privileged to play alongside him, I can tell you I think he is so much better now than during that first season. I also think his contribution now is more important than in that first season. As amazing as he was, he has only got better and better,’ he added.

Mohamed Salah became the fastest player in Liverpool history to reach 50 top-flight goals

Mohamed Salah became the fastest player in Liverpool history to reach 50 top-flight goals

Mohamed Salah became the fastest player in Liverpool history to reach 50 top-flight goals 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Liverpool provide in-depth look at their new £50m Kirkby training base

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liverpool provide in depth look at their new 50m kirkby training base

Liverpool have released an in-depth look at their new £50m state-of-the-art Kirkby training base as Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League title winners get set to make the move from Melwood next month. 

The switch will see Liverpool depart their historic Melwood base, where the first-team have been based for 70 years, and move in where the current academy train. 

On Tuesday, Liverpool showed off the three full-size pitches that the first-team will train on, the goalkeeping and warm-up areas and the indoor sports hall in the brief look at the training hub.

Liverpool have given fans an in-depth look at their new £50m training base in Kirkby

Liverpool have given fans an in-depth look at their new £50m training base in Kirkby

Liverpool have given fans an in-depth look at their new £50m training base in Kirkby 

The club showed a glimpse of their new home - they hope to move into it in November

The club showed a glimpse of their new home - they hope to move into it in November

The club showed a glimpse of their new home – they hope to move into it in November

Jurgen Klopp's office at the new hub, with a balcony overlooking the outdoor pitches

Jurgen Klopp's office at the new hub, with a balcony overlooking the outdoor pitches

Jurgen Klopp’s office at the new hub, with a balcony overlooking the outdoor pitches

The 9,200sqm Training Centre also has two gyms, a swimming pool, hydrotherapy and sports rehabilitation facilities. 

Klopp’s office, meanwhile, will have a balcony that overlooks the training pitches allowing the Reds boss to keep an eye on the action whenever he wants.

Liverpool are gearing up for moving into their new home in November following delays to the construction due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Athletic reported earlier this week that Reds captain Jordan Henderson and fellow midfielder James Milner were involved in the design process of the complex. 

Liverpool first announced their plans to leave Melwood for Kirkby back in 2017

Liverpool first announced their plans to leave Melwood for Kirkby back in 2017

Liverpool first announced their plans to leave Melwood for Kirkby back in 2017 

A brief look at the nutritional facilities at Kirkby was in the clip posted by Liverpool on Tuesday

A brief look at the nutritional facilities at Kirkby was in the clip posted by Liverpool on Tuesday

A brief look at the nutritional facilities at Kirkby was in the clip posted by Liverpool on Tuesday

Liverpool were due to move training bases at end of last season but construction was delayed

Liverpool were due to move training bases at end of last season but construction was delayed

Liverpool were due to move training bases at end of last season but construction was delayed

Liverpool first announced their intention to move to Kirkby, where the academy are currently based, in 2017 with Klopp feeling constrained by the lack of space at Melwood.

‘I really love Melwood but football changes,’ Klopp said back in 2017, when news of the switch first emerged. ‘We cannot avoid this. We can’t stay like we always were and hope we can cope with the other clubs. 

‘Sometimes you have to set standards. It’s really good that our owners give us the opportunity to make this big step in the future. Twenty five years ago Melwood set the level. In those 25 years a lot of things happened. 

‘It’s fantastic but we have no space for anything. If we want to have one more office, we don’t know where to go. That’s the situation. Bringing the Academy and the first team together is one point but it’s also about improving a lot of things that we can’t improve here. It will only be good for the future of the club. I really believe that infrastructure keeps responsibility up.

‘Staying here for the next 25 years wouldn’t be good for the club. In this moment we have the idea and the opportunity to do something so we have to wait to see when we can say “yes, take the next step and start”.’ 

The finishing touches are being added to the state-of-the art facility in Kirkby, Merseyside

The finishing touches are being added to the state-of-the art facility in Kirkby, Merseyside

The finishing touches are being added to the state-of-the art facility in Kirkby, Merseyside

Work was delayed this year due to Covid-19 but the complex is nearly ready for Klopp's side

Work was delayed this year due to Covid-19 but the complex is nearly ready for Klopp's side

Work was delayed this year due to Covid-19 but the complex is nearly ready for Klopp’s side

Liverpool also announced on Tuesday that their new base will see an extension to the current sponsorship terms with AXA. 

‘The expansion of AXA’s partnership to include the naming rights of the club’s new Training Centre makes perfect sense,’ Liverpool FC’s chief executive officer Billy Hogan said.

‘We have already seen their emphasis on driving health, well-being, confidence and self-belief, and so deepening their relationship in the field of training makes this partnership a great fit.

‘We’re pleased to have AXA on board as we start this new chapter at the club and are proud to expand our relationship with a brand that shares our common values and aspirations both on and off the pitch.’ 

Liverpool boss Klopp has underlined his belief that the squad have outgrown Melwood

Liverpool boss Klopp has underlined his belief that the squad have outgrown Melwood

Liverpool boss Klopp has underlined his belief that the squad have outgrown Melwood

The Premier League champions will move into their new home from Melwood in November

The Premier League champions will move into their new home from Melwood in November

The Premier League champions will move into their new home from Melwood in November

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Inter Milan: Antonio Conte insists Romelu Lukaku still must improve

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inter milan antonio conte insists romelu lukaku still must improve

Antonio Conte has thrown down the gauntlet to the in-form Romelu Lukaku, insisting he needs even more from his star striker in order for him to one day be considered one of the greats.

Lukaku enjoyed a spectacular debut season during the last campaign after swapping Manchester United for Inter Milan, scoring 34 goals in all competitions to become the first Inter star to do so in a maiden season since Ronaldo in 1997-98.

Yet despite beginning the current campaign in sizzling form – Lukaku has six goals in seven games, leading his agent to label him the best striker on the planet right now – Conte is still in search of more from his No 9, as well as strike partner Lautaro Martinez.

Antonio Conte says Romelu Lukaku has improved but must still step up his game to be a great

Antonio Conte says Romelu Lukaku has improved but must still step up his game to be a great

Antonio Conte says Romelu Lukaku has improved but must still step up his game to be a great

‘They [Lukaku and Martinez] made huge improvements and they can become even more important for the team,’ Conte told reporters during his pre-Champions League press conference on Monday.

‘In order to compare them with other [great strikers] at European level, we need to win, it’s the only way to carve out an important place in Europe.’

Lukaku scored 34 in his debut season with Inter and already has six from seven this campaign

Lukaku scored 34 in his debut season with Inter and already has six from seven this campaign

Lukaku scored 34 in his debut season with Inter and already has six from seven this campaign

Conte’s rallying words for Lukaku stand in stark contrast to the Belgian’s agent, who has already declared his client as the best striker on the planet right now.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Federico Pastorello said: ‘Romelu is a modern player and a sensitive person. 

‘He needs love, when he feels everyone’s affection he really becomes the best the market can offer, even if Inter obviously do not intend to sell him. In terms of quality, attitude and mentality, he is currently the best striker in the world.’

Pastorello has also turned the knife when it comes to Lukaku’s former club United, implying the Belgian is much more appreciated in Italy. 

‘His transfer to Italy was the right decision and the best choice for him. Inter are a great family and the fans are completely crazy about him.’ he added.

Conte feels Lukaku and strike partner Lautaro Martinez (right) need to help the team win more

Conte feels Lukaku and strike partner Lautaro Martinez (right) need to help the team win more

Conte feels Lukaku and strike partner Lautaro Martinez (right) need to help the team win more

Martinez has three goals in six games so far this season, after scoring 21 in 49 in the last campaign, during which he was persistently chased by Barcelona until their finances were wrecked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Inter return to action this week when they face Ukrainan outfit Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

Shakhar enter the fixture as top of the group after pulling off a shock opening match victory over Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Inter meanwhile have just a point to their name after drawing 2-2 with Borussia Monchengladbach, courtesy of a Lukaku brace. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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