The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 16 October 2012


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The Independent Online

Gerrard lauds "top player" Cole as pair reach 99th caps

Steven Gerrard last night praised the efforts of international colleague Ashley Cole as the pair prepare to win their 99th caps against Poland in tonight's World Cup qualifier.

The Liverpool midfielder returns from suspension in Warsaw tonight, while Cole, above, was rested for Friday's victory over San Marino. "He's a top player," Gerrard said of the Chelsea defender. "It's been an absolute pleasure to play with him over the years. He's been one of the best left-backs this country has ever produced."

On his own achievement, Gerrard insisted it would only be noteworthy should England win tonight. "[All my caps] have been significant," said the 32-year-old, who made his debut against Ukraine in May 2000. "Every time you put the shirt on it's a proud moment. To have 99 in the locker is a fantastic achievement." MORE

Ireland Keane for spark of inspiration

The Republic of Ireland travel to the Faroe Islands tonight hoping the return of Robbie Keane can inspire them to recover from last week's 6-1 home thrashing against Germany. Marc Wilson and Manchester United's Robbie Brady will also feature for Giovanni Trapattoni's side. MORE

Coleman: Bale's the best in Britain

The Wales manager, Chris Coleman, has insisted he would not swap Gareth Bale for any player in Britain. "Anyone can see when he's got the ball he's devastating," Coleman said ahead of tonight's trip to Croatia. "He's a show-stopper and people pay money to watch him." MORE

Liverpool opt to remain at Anfield

Liverpool will stay at Anfield and redevelop the site rather than relocate to a new stadium. A move to Stanley Park had been rumoured, but managing director Ian Ayre said: "Our preference was always to remain at Anfield. This is a major step forward." MORE

Swansea in profit after promotion

Swansea City yesterday posted profits of £14.6m following their first season back in the Premier League. Brendan Rodgers led the side to a commendable 11th place, before earning the club £5m in compensation when he moved to become Liverpool manager in the summer. MORE

Hazell alone in dock despite claims

Andy Hazell will be the sole player in the dock from Gloucester's meeting with Mont-de-Marsan last week. Hazell was dismissed for punching, but despite the visitors' claims of dirty deeds by the home team, there will be no further charges. MORE

UK director forced to defend funding

UK Athletics director Neil Black has insisted that the decision to retain Lottery funding for Yamile Aldama and Jo Pavey proves Paula's Radcliffe's omission was not an issue of age. "We can't discriminate on the basis of age," he said. MORE

Armstrong's UCI donation queried

New questions arose last night over Lance Armstrong and a payment made to the International Cycling Union in 2002. His $100,000 donation was accepted by the UCI, which denies the gift was connected to any cover-up of a failed drugs test.

Ferrari fail to rule out Vettel move

Ferrari yesterday hinted at their interest in signing two-time champion Sebastian Vettel. A possible complication could be the status of the constructor's current No 1 driver, Fernando Alonso, who is under contract until 2016. MORE

Hughes pulls off a Windsor Seven

Champion jockey-elect Richard Hughes capped his fine season by riding seven winners out of eight at Windsor yesterday– Frankie Dettori went through an Ascot card for his 1996 Magnificent Seven. MORE

Nick Bollettieri

Heather Watson came to my academy as a very young girl. If she maintains what she's doing, she's nowhere near where she's going to reach. One thing is for sure: this is not her highest ranking. MORE