The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 30 May 2012


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The Independent Online

Hodgson tells squad: 'Enjoy what you worked for'

As he held his first full get-together with his full squad, the England coach, Roy Hodgson, yesterday called on his players to enjoy the upcoming European Championships, which they "worked b****y hard" to reach.

The arrival at training of Wayne Rooney and of Chelsea players, given extra time after their Champions League exertions, gave Hodgson his full complement of outfield players for the first time, with Birmingham City goalkeeper Jack Butland replacing the injured John Ruddy today. Midfielder Ashley Young, who scored the opening goal under Hodgson in last Saturday's 1-0 victory in Norway, was the only outfield player absent from training at London Colney. Danny Welbeck and Glen Johnson returned from minor concerns.

The players were yesterday assigned their numbers for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine, giving potential hints about Hodgson's preferred starting line-up. The Liverpool forward Andy Carroll was handed the No 9 shirt, while Frank Lampard was given No 8, ahead of Tottenham Hotspur's Scott Parker, who will sport No 17. MORE

Serena stunned by rampant Razzano

The former champion Serena Williams last night became the biggest casualty of the tournament thus far, the fifth seed falling at the first hurdle to the world No 111, Virginie Razzano. The loss was the American's first first-round defeat at a Grand Slam event. MORE

Watson and Murray ease into round two

Heather Watson reached the second round at Roland Garros for the second year in succesion, the Briton beating Russia's Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-4. Andy Murray also breezed through his first match, beating Tatsuma Ito of Japan 6-1, 7-5, 6-0 in 95 minutes. MORE

United close in on Kagawa signing

Manchester United are closing in on the signing of Borussia Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa as they try to rebuild for next season. A move for the 23-year-old stalled when United had a £14m bid rejected, but Dortmund officials are resigned to his departure. MORE

Spain's marathon men chase history

An exhausted and weakened Spanish squad approach the European Championship beset by problems, but the incentive of becoming the first nation to win three consecutive tournaments could spur them on. Pete Jenson examines their chances. MORE

Meyer confident of beating England

The South Africa coach, Heyneke Meyer, has outlined his plans to beat England in next month's Test series. "I intend to play to South Africa's strengths," he said. "Which is great big forwards and skilful backs. My job will be creating the [right] environment." MORE

England bowlers likened to legends

England's bowling coach, David Saker, has likened James Anderson and Graeme Swann to Australia's Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne. "I have seen spells from Jimmy and Swanny that have been just as good or better," Saker said. MORE

Rodgers favourite for Liverpool job

Swansea City's manager, Brendan Rodgers, has emerged as the new favourite for the vacancy at Liverpool. Wigan Athletic's Roberto Martinez had been in pole position, but Rodgers is intrigued by the possibility of managing one of football's biggest names. MORE

Italian PM calls for ban on football

Italy's premier, Mario Monti, has called for football in the country to be suspended after the latest corruption scandals. "Football should be stopped for two to three years," he said. "I am asking as someone who was passionate when football was still football." MORE

London Eye: Bolt still on track

Usain Bolt has laughed off suggestions his poor showing in Ostrava last week will affect his performance in London. "I never stress over things like this," he said. "I've gone through so much. I know that I have one focus." MORE