The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 18 February 2015


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Laird earns £1 from grandma  for FA Cup goal

Goal bonuses are not usually coveted by left-backs, but for Preston’s Scott Laird his incentive for finding the net comes from his grandmother,  Pat Smith.

Laird came close to becoming the League One club’s hero on Monday when he scored the opening goal against Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United in the FA Cup fifth round.

Despite eventually losing 3-1, Laird at least had his grandma’s generosity to cheer him up. “Every time we scored as kids, she used to give me and my brothers a pound,” said Laird.

“Even though I’m 26 now, I still carry that tradition on,” he added. “She was the first person I rang last night and I said, ‘I want that pound’.”

Clarke set to earn Europe captaincy

Darren Clarke is today expected to be named Europe’s Ryder Cup captain for the tournament at the Hazeltine National, Minnesota next year. A five-man committee, including 2014 captain Paul McGinley, meet at the European Tour headquarters at Wentworth to name the 2016 skipper.

Moeen: we must move on after loss

England are aiming to rediscover their self-esteem as they look to mount a challenge at the World Cup, with New Zealand next up on Friday. Moeen Ali said of their opening defeat to Australia: “We must look forward now, almost forget about this, analyse it, do what we need to do because it’s a long tournament, it’s not over after one game.”

Warburton set to leave Brentford

Brentford have confirmed that manager Mark Warburton will leave at the end of the season despite taking the Championship team to within touching distance of the Premier League. The club revealed in a statement yesterday that the split was down to “a difference of football philosophy”. Owner Matthew Benham wants a European management model of a head coach and sporting director.

May faces drop as Nowell impresses

England wing Jonny May may be dropped after a couple of poor displays, with coach Stuart Lancaster deciding to retain Jack Nowell in the training squad. He said: “Jack is an option for us: he has more power and pace now that the tendonitis in his knee has been sorted.”