The Sports Matrix: Friday 4 February 2011

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The Independent Online

Suarez and Carroll hopeful for future

Liverpool unveiled their new buys yesterday. Luis Suarez, who scored on Wednesday, described it as a “dream debut”, and said his new club were “one of the European greats”. Andy Carroll said of the pressure on him: “I have to take it in my stride.” MORE

I stay focused, Hart insists

Joe Hart responded sharply to Fabio Capello’s criticisms of his concentration. “It is quite frustrating to hear,” he said. “I don’t know what else there is to think about when you are in goal, what else I could be considered to be concentrating on.” MORE

Hargreaves out of United squad again

Owen Hargreaves was not included in Manchester United’s squad for the Champions League knockout stages, leaving his future at the club in doubt. He has made just five appearances in the last two and a half seasons. MORE

Wenger ‘proud’ of ‘hunted’ Fabregas

Arsène Wenger agreed yesterday that Cesc Fabregas was victim of a “witch-hunt”, following recent criticism of his captain. But he said he was “fantastically proud of the person he has become”, and spoke of the unfair tackling to which he is subject. MORE

TV income under threat after ruling

The Premier League’s ability to earn money through broadcasting deals could be threatened by the European Court of Justice. Yesterday an adviser to the court said EU law could not prevent UK pubs showing English football via foreign broadcasters. MORE

Plunkett unruffled by long journey

Liam Plunkett hopes to feature in England’s seventh and last ODI against Australia after a 30-hour journey from the Caribbean. “Yes, it was a long journey,” said the Durham bowler, “but I didn’t think about that because it means playing for England.” MORE

Djokovic to use Queen’s to prepare

Novak Djokovic will practice for Wimbledon this year by playing at the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club. The Australian Open champion haswon 19 titles in his career, but none on grass. Djokovic lost the Queen’s final to Rafael Nadal in 2008. MORE

Cueto: England camp‘positive’

Mark Cueto speaks to i about how, aged 31, he feels as fit as ever with a big rugby year ahead, starting tonight with the Six Nations. “We just have to win every game, and treat it almost as a knockout,” he says. “The camp’s massively positive at the minute.” MORE

Romantic Packers ready for glory

The Green Bay Packers, who play in Sunday night’s Super Bowl, are one of the most successful sides in NFL history, but are based in the smallest city to host a major American team, and, uniquely for US sports, are owned entirely by the supporters. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Ben Youngs may just be the best thing to happen to English rugby since Jonny Wilkinson. He is different, though, from that quint essentially English rugby man, with a maverick streak, a creative impulse born of nerve. MORE

Tindall keen to silence Welsh fans

England’s new captain Mike Tindall is “relaxed” ahead of their Six Nations opener with Wales tonight, despite some of the most heated build-up in years. “If we perform, we’ll win, but we have to put a stop to Wales and the crowd before they get going. That means doing things absolutely right in the first 20 minutes,” he said. Wales will be looking to overhaul their recent bad run of form with a victory in the atmospheric Millennium Stadium. Talking about England’s last victory in Cardiff, Martin Johnson (above) ironically said “we won by 17 points, as I recall, but it was a moral victory for Wales”. In the wake of Wales’ criticism of England going into tonight’s game, Johnson will be aiming for a victory on every front. MORE

Williams sad at last Six Nations opener

Shane Williams said it will be difficult knowing tonight is his last Six Nations match against England. “Knowing this is my last Six Nations is hard to take,” said the man who will quit after the World Cup. “It has always been the tournament for me.” MORE

England must overcome hostility

England have lost important forwards to injury, so tonight against Wales they must not only win the physical contest but also show increased maturity at half-back. Ben Youngs and Toby Flood must therefore play with appropriate positivity. MORE

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