The Sport Matrix: Friday 13 February 2015


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Hodgson up front about Rooney role

Roy Hodgson sees Wayne Rooney’s position for England as a striker, despite his deployment in midfield for Manchester United. “He’s our top scorer in qualifiers,” the coach said. “He’s a few away from being England’s leading scorer, so I hope he will continue to score for us.” Hodgson also spoke of his interest in Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Danny Ings for next month’s matches with Lithuania and Italy.

Lambert: Villa job was my toughest

Paul Lambert has spoken of the difficulties he faced as Aston Villa manager, a role he departed on Wednesday. “My remit was to conduct a massive overhaul of the squad, lower the overall wage structure and achieve this while keeping the club in the League,” he said. “[Club owner Randy] Lerner warned me I was embarking on the toughest challenge of my working life and he was not wrong.”

England ready to take advantage

England women take on the US at Milton Keynes tonight seeking an improvement on their last outing, November’s Wembley defeat to Germany. Goalie Hope Solo is suspended for the visitors after a drink-driving incident and Jillian Ellis’ side lost 2-0 in France last week. England have Katie Chapman back after four year’s absence along with Casey Stoney and Anita Asante, but miss the newly retired Kelly Smith.

Young Celtic fan up for goal of the month

Young Celtic fan Jay Beatty has been nominated for the Scottish Professional Football League goal of the month award.

The 11-year-old, who has Down’s Syndrome, was a guest of Hamilton when they hosted Celtic in the Scottish Premiership on 17 January, and he netted a penalty on the New Douglas Park pitch during half-time.

That earned him a place on the SPFL’s online vote for the best goal scored in January.

Jay, who comes from Neil Lennon’s home town of Lurgan, shot to fame when Georgios Samaras picked him out of the crowd during Celtic’s title-winning lap of honour last season, after Lennon gifted him his winners’ medal.

More to come from Watson, says coach

England coach Stuart Lancaster believes there is more to come from Anthony Watson as he kept the wing in his side to face Italy. “[Some] aspects have been exceptional,” Lancaster said. “Yet we haven’t found a way of giving him ball in space, which is his main point of difference.”