19-02-2019 Bradford’s Lewis O’Brien: ‘I used Twitter critics as a drive to show who I am’

Loan from Huddersfield was greeted with some disdain but he has impressed with his dynamism – and his singingIt can be one of the most nerve-racking times of a young footballer’s career – the moment when he is asked to stand on a chair and sing to the whole senior squad. Lewis O’Brien, the 20-year-old Huddersfield midfielder who has been a smash hit on loan at Bradford this season, decided there was only one approach to take.“There’s no point being there and not going for it,” he says of his rendition of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, which so wowed his teammates that he has practically become the in-house entertainment. “I’ve probably sung about 30 times this season. Every time we’re down for a meal the lads start chanting, ‘Lewis, Lewis.’ I’ve got a few regulars I do, mainly Superstition, Valerie and Stand By Me. I wouldn’t even say I’m a good singer, I just put a lot of effort into it.” Continue reading...

19-02-2019 Mauricio Pochettino: Spurs can win 'every single game' in the Champions League – video

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes his side's league form since December shows they can beat "any team" in the Champions League, as Spurs prepare for the first leg of their last 16 clash with Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.Spurs ready for Champions League and Dortmund – then a much-needed break Continue reading...

19-02-2019 World sport: 10 photos we liked this week - 22-28 October

A selection of the most striking sports photographs from around the world this week.

19-02-2019 Chelsea fans don’t often have time to turn on a manager – this felt decisive | Jonathan Wilson

Maurizio Sarri is serving up predictable, sterile football and some choices are hard to fathom but Chelsea share the blame for this messChelsea fans don’t often turn on their manager. They don’t usually have time. But there, distinct in the cool February air, just six days before they play in a cup final, it was: “Fuck Sarriball! Fuck Sarriball! Fuck Sarriball!” Add in the booing at the final whistle and the chants for Callum Hudson-Odoi throughout the second half and it’s fair to say the Matthew Harding Stand has made its mind up about Maurizio Sarri.Fans are not always right, of course, as a notorious Old Trafford bedsheet of the late eighties makes clear, and boards must make their own decisions, but this nonetheless felt a decisive moment. Stamford Bridge turned on André Villas-Boas and it didn’t like Rafa Benítez from the start, but outright revolt against a manager is unusual. Continue reading...

19-02-2019 FA Cup quarter-final draw: Manchester sides kept apart

• Manchester City face Swansea, United go to Wolves• Millwall v Brighton and Watford v Crystal PalaceThe Manchester clubs were kept apart in the draw for the FA Cup quarter-finals, made shortly after United’s 2-0 defeat of Chelsea. Manchester City will make another trip to south Wales, this time to play Swansea, after beating Newport County in the fifth round. And United will travel to Wolves.Brighton face a daunting trip to Millwall while there is an all-Premier League tie at Vicarage Road where Watford will host Crystal Palace. Continue reading...

19-02-2019 Gordon Banks on ‘the greatest save ever made’ – video obituary

England's World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died at the age of 81. Banks played 73 times for England and was a key figure in Sir Alf Ramsey's legendary 1966 side. However it's Banks's twisting save from Brazilian superstar Pelé that he is often best remembered for, a save deemed 'one of the greatest feats of goalkeeping'Gordon Banks, World Cup winner with England in 1966, dies aged 81 Continue reading...

19-02-2019 Chelsea stick with Maurizio Sarri for now but manager on thin ice

• Sarri to take charge of game against Malmö on Thursday• Roman Abramovich will decide whether to sack ItalianMaurizio Sarri will take charge of Chelsea’s match at home against Malmö on Thursday and is set to continue as manager for the Carabao Cup final on Sunday but defeat by Manchester City at Wembley could lead to his dismissal.The 6-0 defeat at City this month and the FA Cup exit against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Monday have left Sarri clinging to his job after less than a season. Continue reading...

19-02-2019 The Spin | Questions facing England in West Indies 100 days out from World Cup

A new-ball partner for Woakes, whether Wood has a role and back-up batting at the top of the order are among the issuesEngland play 11 one-day internationals and two warm-up internationals before the World Cup starts on 30 May, but this five-match series is the last before they must announce their 15-man squad. A 16th space would allow them to cover all bases, but 15 means a corner needs to be cut. They are likely to want two spare seam bowlers, especially as those players are most susceptible to injury, which means they will have to sacrifice either a second back-up batsman (Alex Hales will be the first) or a back-up spinner. Or they could cheat. That’s what they’ve done with the current squad, in which Joe Denly nominally fills both roles. Denly’s last ODI appearance was in 2009, and England need to find out whether he, with support from Joe Root, is a realistic option should Adil Rashid or Moeen Ali suffer an injury. The alternatives are not irresistible, though Liam Dawson – not in the squad for West Indies – would be a more reliable, like-for-like substitute. Continue reading...

19-02-2019 The breakdown will be a key to who gets into the fast lane at Cardiff | Nick Evans

England will miss Mako Vunipola on Saturday but they have enough ball-carriers to turn on the power against WalesIt is not uncommon to introduce themes every now and then – we often use them at Harlequins – and one we’ve used recently is called decapitation strike. It’s a military term and it’s all about targeting the key individuals of an organisation and taking advantage of the knock-on effect – watching everything else fall away if you can eliminate their leaders. It could well be a key theme for Wales to target England’s half-backs in a similar fashion on Saturday.Owen Farrell is so influential in terms of how he organises England’s attacking and territorial shape, and he and Ben Youngs would be the two Wales targets. That may look like the Wales scrum-half coming hard off the defensive line, making sure that Farrell has to pass early, negating the ability to bring Billy Vunipola and Manu Tuilagi into the game thus winning the gainline battle. If Wales make him play early then they can bring their defensive line up and shut down England’s options. Continue reading...

19-02-2019 Vision plus precision – a swaggering Paul Pogba slices through Chelsea | Amy Lawrence

The French maestro’s personality now seems so reassuring for United that previous suspicion of it looks madnessOn nights like this it makes no sense at all to think a manager would not search high and low for the key to Paul Pogba and then turn it to the fullest degree. The slow-burning intensity of this FA Cup tie was wrapped up in the chasing and harrying, the bundling challenges and hopeful pot-shots, until Pogba suddenly elevated himself, the game, and Manchester United’s vibrant Cup run.In a 14-minute spell at the end of the first half they carved out an unassailable lead thanks to the blend of vision, technical precision and physical force that is Pogba at his swaggering best. First, the cross: Ander Herrera set off on a sudden sprint up the right, anticipating that United might be about to unleash an invaluable weapon. Pogba with the ball at his feet on his current form always presents the possibility of a stirring touch. Continue reading...

19-02-2019 Liberia - where no-one dares to tackle President George Weah

What happens when a footballer becomes president? Players don't want to take him on.

19-02-2019 Wales’s 1969 wing wizard Maurice Richards: ‘I scored the tries but forwards won it’

The scourge of England in Cardiff 50 years ago looks back on a thrilling victory in which he ran in four tries and explains why he switched codes at the end of that yearThey used to say the wind blew hardest at Cardiff Arms Park when it was trying to catch Maurice Richards. It had no more success than the England team that arrived in the Welsh capital 50 years ago chasing a share of the Five Nations title but left resembling the rubble where the north stand had been. Richards ran in four tries in a thrilling 30-9 victory that afternoon, equalling a Wales record that still stands. Wales scooped the triple crown and the championship.That afternoon’s demolition of England was the start of a golden era for the men in red, but before the end of the year the 24-year-old Cardiff wing, a 1968 Lion who had still to reach his peak, had left Wales and his job at Port Talbot steelworks for rugby league, where he would become Salford’s record try scorer and appearance holder in a 14-year career. Continue reading...

19-02-2019 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ribs Alan Shearer about 1999 FA Cup final defeat

Manchester United's caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reminds Alan Shearer about the 1999 FA Cup final in which both men played, when the Red Devils beat Newcastle United 2-0.