The Sport Matrix: Friday 6 September 2013


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The Independent Online

Hodgson picks Lambert to lead England's attack

England manager Roy Hodgson has put his faith in Rickie Lambert by choosing the one-cap striker to lead the attack against Moldova in tonight's World Cup qualifier at Wembley.

Lambert's selection exposes the dearth of English sriking talent available to Hodgson, who is without injured pair Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney, while Jermain Defoe is available but not fully fit.

"It would be wrong if I didn't admit the loss of Rooney and Sturridge is a major blow," said Hodgson. "But this is an opportunity for the man who has been sitting back trying to take their place, a chance to get the shirt and shine."

Hodgson allowed the England players a visit from their wives, girlfriends and family, who were permitted to stay the night at England's pre-match base, the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire.

In stark contrast to his predecessor, Fabio Capello, who had a no-WAGs policy, Hodgson was comfortable with the arrangement. MORE

Murray crashes out to Wawrinka

The defending champion Andy Murray was knocked out in the quarter-finals last night, losing 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to the Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, the ninth seed. Murray said: "There were a fair few long points, but I didn't get into enough return games, which was disappointing." MORE

Southgate wins on U-21 manager debut

Gareth Southgate won his first game as England Under-21 manager last night – a 1-0 defeat of Moldova in a European Championship qualifier. Debutant Saido Berahino, who scored a hat-trick for West Bromwich last week, struck in the 14th minute. MORE

Strachan hopes for Scottish double

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan hopes to get the "ball rolling for a terrific weekend of sport" in Scotland with a win over Group A leaders Belgium in their World Cup qualifier tonight, before Scottish boxer Ricky Burns defends his WBO lightweight title. MORE

PFA head Taylor supports Dyke

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, has backed Football Association chairman Greg Dyke's call for urgent change to help the England team, and wants to see quotas of at least four "home-grown" players in clubs' starting XIs. MORE

Morgan leads England into ODI

England start the one-day series against Australia today at Headingley. Eoin Morgan will captain the hosts for the first time in an ODI in this country and, with many stars rested, fringe players will hope to seize their chance. MORE

O'Driscoll 'resents' Gatland over axe

Brian O'Driscoll says he resents Warren Gatland for the Lions coach's decision to drop him from the final Test in Australia. O'Driscoll said: "Yeah, there's resentment [towards Gatland], of course. Is he on the Christmas card list? Unlikely." MORE

Burns faces 'fight of his career'

Ricky Burns' promoter Eddie Hearn predicts his man will face "the toughest fight of his career" against Mexican Raymundo Beltran tomorrow. The pair meet at the SECC Arena in Glasgow to contest the WBO lightweight title.

Record-breaking 21 races on cards

Formula One is poised for a record-breaking 21-race season in 2014. A draft of the provisional calendar has been given to teams ahead of a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council set to be held in Dubrovnik this month. MORE

Wiggins excited to race Tour of Britain

Sir Bradley Wiggins will lead the Team Sky squad in the Tour of Britain which starts in Peebles near Edinburgh on Sunday 15 September. He said: "It's a race I'm fond of and it's nice to see it growing in stature." MORE

The big kick-off

Rugby Union Correspondent Chris Hewett assesses the Premiership sides before the new season and looks at the game's pressing issues – new scrum laws and the Heineken Cup's future. MORE