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The Sport Matrix: Tuesday 3 December 2013

England dismiss Australia’s attempt to stir up trouble

The Australian media’s latest attempt to unsettle England’s bid to retain the Ashes has been rebuffed by the England and Wales Cricket Board as coach Graham Gooch called on Alastair Cook’s side to rise to the challenge in the second Test, which starts in Adelaide this week.

Stuart Broad, Kevin Pietersen and Jonnny Bairstow were pictured in Adelaide nightclub Zhivago in the early hours of Monday morning, and the local newspaper The Daily Telegraph claimed that their late-night outing  could lead to a reprimand from coach Andy Flower. However, an ECB spokeswoman has confirmed that England’s players had been given permission to go out.

“They are free to do as they please – they are grown men,” said the spokeswoman. “There has been no breach of team protocol.”

Gooch, England’s  batting coach, has admitted that totals of 136 and 179 in Brisbane were well below par and they must improve  to stand any chance of turning the series back in their favour.

“Everyone’s got to look at their game and how they can improve on their performance,” he said. MORE

Warnock’s shock link with Owls job

Neil Warnock, the former Sheffield United manager, is a surprise contender to replace Dave Jones at Sheffield Wednesday. Jones was sacked at the weekend with the club in the Championship’s bottom two. Any role for Warnock would only be on a short-term basis. MORE

AVB is ‘immature’, says Allardyce

The West Ham manager, Sam Allardyce, said that Tottenham counterpart Andre Villas-Boas showed “immaturity” in his criticism of the media at the weekend. Allardyce said:  “You’ve got to take it on the chin. He’s just showed a little bit of immaturity.” MORE

Hodgson: I tested Sturridge’s resolve

Roy Hodgson has admitted that he tested Daniel Sturridge’s  commitment to England by  playing him against Germany last month, even though the striker was not fully fit. The Liverpool player has since been ruled out of action for two months with an ankle injury. MORE

Varnish reveals post-Olympic pain

Jess Varnish has spoken of the pain she endured from a serious back injury which ruled her out for five months. Varnish, who was disqualified with Victoria Pendleton in the team sprint at last year’s Olympics, began training within two weeks of the closing ceremony. After suffering from backaches she was diagnosed as having a torn disc that was leaking fluids into the muscles. “I literally couldn’t do anything,” she said. “I can’t blame anyone else. It was me who wanted to go straight in after the Olympics because I felt I had so much to prove.” MORE

McDowell relishes role in EurAsia Cup

Graeme McDowell will help lead Team Europe’s challenge at next year’s inaugural EurAsia Cup. He said yesterday: “I am really looking forward to playing the EurAsia Cup. It’s a great  concept to bring Asia and  Europe together.” MORE

Phelan favourite to take over at Wigan

Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan is the early favourite to replace Owen Coyle at Wigan, after the Scot’s departure was confirmed yesterday. Coyle left by mutual agreement just six months after he was appointed. MORE

Touré proud to win top player award

The Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Touré has been named as the BBC African player of the year for the first time, seeing off competition from Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel. “I’m very proud, I’m very happy,” said Touré.

Wade injury huge blow for England

England’s Christian Wade has been ruled out for six months after damaging ligaments in his left foot. He will miss the Six Nations and is doubtful for the three-Test tour of New Zealand in June. MORE

Ian Herbert

The Glazers will not be swept out of Old Trafford now. Manchester United fans must put away their war with them. The evidence grows that United have moved to a position of expansion. MORE

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