The Sports Matrix: Friday 11 February 2011

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England stick to winning formula

Hendre Fourie comes on to the bench in an otherwise unchanged England for the Six Nations match against Italy tomorrow. Sergio Parisse keeps his place for Italy despite injury fears as coach Nick Mallet makes four changes to the side who lost to Ireland. MORE

England great Bailey passes away

Former England all-rounder Trevor Bailey died yesterday aged 87 following a fire at his home in Essex. Bailey played 61 Tests between 1949 and 1959, and was part of the team that won three consecutive Ashes series. He later had a career in the media. MORE

McIlroy leads after first day in Dubai

Rory McIlroy leads the Dubai Desert Classic after shooting 65 on the first day of the competition. World No 1 Lee Westwood is four shots off the pace while Tiger Woods is lying six shots behind McIlroy.

Agger calls Torres exit ‘unacceptable’

Daniel Agger has criticised Fernando Torres’s decision to leave Liverpool for Chelsea as “unacceptable”, as “it’s about a form of respect for the club”. He admitted, though, that Torres’s poor early season formwas simply because Liverpool had been “shit”. MORE

Kubica wished well by rival teams

Formula One teams displayed a “get well soon” message for Robert Kubica during testing in Jerez yesterday as the Renault driver was moved out of intensive care following last weekend’s rally crash in Italy. He will have further surgery today. MORE

West Brom yet to confirm Hughton

West Bromwich Albion have denied that any decision has been made over their vacant manager position despite bookmakers suspending betting on ChrisHughton succeeding Roberto di Matteo. Michael Appleton will be in charge for the game with West Ham. MORE

Pryce to sit out Wigan rematch

St Helens’ Leon Pryce has been ruled out of the opening day of the Super League season tomorrow with a groin problem. St Helens will meet Wigan, a repeat of last year’s final. Meanwhile, in demand Kyle Eastmond returns to the Saints line-up. MORE

Capello has more options in attack

While England do not have the range of strikers they possessed in the 1990s, after the 2-1 win in Denmark Fabio Capello has a few alternatives for the future. He is unlikely to drop Wayne Rooney, so attention shifts to his best strike partner. MORE

West Ham set to win stadium bid

West Ham United are set to be announced as preferred bidders for the Olympic Stadium this morning after they fulfilled more of the Olympic Park Legacy Company’s criteria than Tottenham did. Spurs may consider Judicial Review on the issue. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

A little perspective needs to be retained amid rumours of England dropping Wayne Rooney. To anyone who knows football, he is quite separate from any of his rivals for a starting place, despite his lousy World Cup. MORE

Kidd calm ahead of Ferguson reunion

Brian Kidd said that he was “relaxed” about returning to Old Trafford in the Manchester derby tomorrow, after the brutal treatment he received in Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography. Kidd (below) had been Ferguson’s assistant but was criticised in the United manager’s book, although he said he would grant Ferguson “the benefit of the doubt”. Kidd described criticisms of Roberto Mancini’s perceived negativity as “unfair”, saying Mancini “never prepared a team not to win and he’s never restricted any player. I hope this doesn’t sound like fingers down your throat, but he works so hard on the training pitch and I can see traits of Sir Alex because he’s not afraid, he’s passionate and he loves football.” Micah Richards trained fully yesterday but Nigel de Jong remains 50/50 for tomorrow’s game. MORE

Gyan reveals his World Cup pain

Asamoah Gyan admits to i that missing the penalty that cost his Ghana side a place in the semifinal of the World Cup affected the whole continent. “It was the saddest moment”, said the Sunderland man, “not for me alone but for the whole of Africa.” MORE

What Hammers plan to do next

West Ham’s plans will see them keep the athletics track, reduce capacity to 60,000, and host events such as Essex Twenty20 matches, even if they are relegated this year. They hope to move into the new stadium for the start of the 2014-15 football season. MORE