The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 9 October 2012


FA clear Cole to reach 100th cap despite tweet

Roy Hodgson has decided that he will not punish Ashley Cole further for his Twitter attack on the Football Association and the player will be told that he is available for selection for Friday's World Cup qualifier against San Marino.

Hodgson is expected to confirm today, at the official opening of St George's Park, the FA's new football centre, that Cole, pictured, will be disciplined through the normal FA procedures – he was charged yesterday – but it will not affect his availability for England. Whether Cole plays on Friday is another matter, given that Hodgson may rest some of his big names against San Marino.

If Cole, 31, does pick up his 99th cap on Friday however, he is almost certain to reach his century in the next qualifier against Poland four days later – becoming only the sixth man in English football history to do so. MORE

Shelvey called up to England squad

The 20-year-old Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey was called up to the England squad for the first time yesterday. Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand was also brought in for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers after Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs pulled out with a thigh injury.

Kagawa urged to change direction

Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson's advice to him is to "face the goal or you won't be a threat". The Japanese player has so far scored twice for United in seven starts as he attempts to impose himself on the Premier League. MORE

Coyle on borrowed time at Bolton

Owen Coyle, the Bolton manager, remained on borrowed time last night, with his future at the Reebok now dependent on the club securing results from a difficult period of games just after the international break. They are currently 18th in the Championship. MORE

Balotelli eye op "hurt" Prandelli

The Italy coach, Cesare Prandelli, says he toyed with the idea of dropping Mario Balotelli from his squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers after being left "hurt" by the Manchester City striker's decision to have laser eye surgery in the last international break.

Red Bull: Grosjean is dangerous

Christian Horner, the Red Bull principal, has attacked the behaviour of Lotus driver Romain Grosjean after he ran into the back of his driver Mark Webber at the Japanese Grand Prix, labelling the 26-year-old Frenchman "dangerous". MORE

Welford Road snubbed for 2015

The shortlist of 17 stadiums for the 2015 Rugby World Cup was revealed yesterday, featuring only three traditional rugby venues. "We are disappointed," the Leicester Tigers chairman, Peter Tom, said after Welford Road was not chosen.

Harrison was once a hero of Price's

Ahead of their fight on Saturday, the British heavyweight champion David Price has revealed that he used to be one of opponent Audley Harrison's biggest fans. "Audley was a hero of mine when he came back with that [Olympic] gold medal." MORE

SA: Our players didn't provoke KP

South Africa's cricket authorities have reacted furiously to suggestions by David Collier, the ECB chief executive, that the text-message exchange which led to Kevin Pietersen's exclusion had been begun by their players to provoke him. MORE

Bolt to defend sprint titles in Rio

Usain Bolt says he will defend the sprint titles he won in London in the next Olympics in Rio in 2016. "Rio is about going and defending my titles," the Jamaican said. "I don't want to try any different events." MORE

James Lawton

What would we think if a child of our own pulled the kind of stunts authored by Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez? Wouldn't we say that something had gone wrong in their upbringing. MORE