The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 14 December 2011


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The Independent Online


United's Fletcher out indefinitely with illness

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher is set to miss the rest of this season at least, as he fights chronic bowel condition ulcerative colitis. A club statement yesterday disclosed the mystery illness which forced Fletcher to miss two months of last season. It said that the Scottish midfielder would take a break from football, and also that his desire to play "has probably compromised" his own fitness. The news comes days after Nemanja Vidic was ruled out for the season with a knee injury. United have only Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs to choose from in midfield, with Anderson and Tom Clelverley injured. Phil Jones may have to continue to play there. MORE

Jol: Rotation makes a contented squad

The Fulham manager, Martin Jol, has insisted the rotation of players is integral to keeping a happy squad. "In a good atmosphere, a good team, they push each other," he said. Bobby Zamora was controversially omitted from Saturday's defeat at Swansea. MORE

Redknapp not thinking of England

Tottenham's chairman, Daniel Levy, has insisted that manager Harry Redknapp is not considering the England vacancy that will arise next summer. "Harry has 18 months left on his contract," Levy said. "He's happy here and doesn't want to consider England." MORE

Fleetwood reach Cup third round

Fleetwood Town of the Conference National set up a home third-round FA Cup tie with Blackpool after winning 2-0 at League One Yeovil Town last night. Jamie McGuire and Jamie Vardy scored. Oldham will face Liverpool after beating Southend 1-0. MORE

All together now at Chelsea, says Mata

Andre Villas-Boas has created a "family" atmosphere at Chelsea, according to Juan Mata. "We are like a family," he said. "The manager wants everyone to feel involved, so they feel ready to perform to their best, and that is what we have now." MORE

Farrell could move in at No 10

Owen Farrell could move further into contention for a place in the England squad with a good display for Saracens against Ospreys on Friday. The son of interim England assistant coach Andy is a leading candidate to replace the newly retired Jonny Wilkinson. MORE

Vettel: Team should be proud

Sebastian Vettel believes his and his team's achievements last season will only be appreciated in future years. "It will take time to understand how special [2011] really was," the double world champion said. "We will look back and be proud." MORE

Meadows ready for final shot at glory

Jenny Meadows admits her Olympic swansong in the 800m next summer could be a massive high or huge low. "It could be the greatest thing to happen to me," the 30-year-old told i. "Or a massive personal failure played out on a national level." MORE

Froch worried about US judging

Carl Froch fears another judging controversy when he faces Andre Ward on Saturday, after Amir Khan's controversial points defeat in Washington DC. "It's always a concern," Froch said. "I'm fighting an American in America. He's the golden boy." MORE

Rule changes may mean more tries

The Rugby Football League has announced a series of rule changes for next season, reducing the number of permitted interchanges from 12 to 10, and allowing tries even if the scorer comes into contact with the corner flag. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Despite Manchester City's defeat on Monday, the plain truth is that they remain the best, most talented team in England. Roberto Mancini has reserves of exceptional strength in every outfield position to call upon. MORE