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The Sport Matrix: Monday 18 November 2013

Hodgson backs Hart as Sturridge takes confidence

England manager Roy Hodgson has insisted that goalkeeper Joe Hart retains his full support as he prepares to hand the Manchester City player a first appearance in three weeks when  Germany visit Wembley tomorrow.

Hart has been displaced by Costel Pantilimon at club level following a poor display at Chelsea on 27 October and was left on the bench for Friday’s international defeat to Chile, with Celtic’s Fraser Forster handed a debut.

 “I am more than happy that Joe is ready,” Hodgson (above) said of the 26-year-old. “He will be anxious to show everyone that he is still a very good goalkeeper. In the training sessions he has been fine and he knows it’s his chance.”

Meanwhile, Daniel Sturridge believes consistent playing time at club level with Liverpool has inspired the best form of his career. “I have always been confident in my abilities, always expressed myself,” the forward said. “When you are young sometimes you get misunderstood. In the past I have not been given the opportunity to back up what I have said. I am now being given the opportunity. I am delighted that I have the belief of the manager.” MORE

‘More to come’ from Hurricane Fly

Willie Mullins insisted there is “more to come” from Hurricane Fly after his horse set a world record of 17 Grade One wins at Punchestown. “That’s one of his least impressive performances,” he said. “He’ll improve during the rest of the season. There is a lot of improvement in him.” MORE

Sochi test unit may lose accreditation

A Moscow drug-testing lab for next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi will lose its World Anti-Doping Agency accreditation unless it improves by 1 December. Wada heard that there are serious concerns about the reliability of testing results.

Super Stenson rips up record books

Henrik Stenson became the first man to win the Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup in the same year after a commanding win in the World Tour Championship. The Swede carded 64 to win by six shots in Dubai. MORE

Haye advised to retire after surgery

Former world heavyweight champion David Haye has been advised to retire after undergoing shoulder surgery last week. “It’s a crushing blow to me,” the Briton, who has cancelled February’s bout with Tyson Fury as a result, said. “I had big plans for next year.” MORE

Scotland shamed by Springboks

Scotland were humiliated at Murrayfield yesterday, South Africa producing a masterful display to win 28-0. Willem Alberts, Willie Le Roux and J P Pietersen went over for a 21-0 interval lead, before the visitors eased off after the break. MORE

Vettel makes it magnificent eight

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel extended his run of consecutive race victories to a record eight as he took the chequered flag at the US Grand Prix last night. The German finished ahead of Romain Grosjean and Mark Webber in the penultimate race of the campaign. MORE

McNamara wants improved showing

Steve McNamara has admitted his England side need to improve on their World Cup quarter-final performance when they face New Zealand. “We didn’t play with fear of the opposition,” he said. “No disrespect to France, but we are better when we do.”  MORE

Opinion: Sam Wallace

Spain’s decision to play in Equatorial Guinea, one of Africa’s worst offenders when it comes to human rights, is up there with some of the most wrong-headed decisions made by a sporting federation. MORE

Coleman prepared to agree Bale deal

Wales manager Chris Coleman may have to use Gareth Bale sparingly to appease Real Madrid. “There will be pressure from Madrid,” Coleman said. “It’s important we are not dogmatic about it. For the bigger picture it might be worth us saying: ‘Just miss this one’.” MORE

Tremlett backed to shine in Brisbane

England bowling coach David Saker has backed Chris Tremlett to make the most of any opportunity in this week’s first Ashes Test. “He’s right on it,” he said. “His training was excellent. He’s really confident. If he gets the nod, he’ll do a good job.” MORE

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