The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 4 May 2011

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The Independent Online

Pearce defends Wilshere U21pick

Stuart Pearce has included Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere in his 40-man squad for the European Under-21 Championship next month. His inclusion had been criticised given his senior caps but Pearce said it would be “silly” not to field his best players next month. MORE

Notts’ early form down to team spirit

Nottinghamshire’s director of cricket, Mick Newell, has attributed his side’s early place at the top of the First Division to the county’s team work and spirit. “We have not played fantastically well so far,” he conceded. “It shows the character in the team.” MORE

Flower ‘delighted’ at England deal

England team director Andy Flower has signed a new contract. He took over in January 2009. “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to build on the considerable progress we have made,” he said. MORE

City will demand £50m for Tevez

Manchester City are not willing to let Carlos Tevez leave for less than £50m this summer. The club believe the striker should now be in the same price range as Fernando Torres, who joined Chelsea for £50m in January. Italy is Tevez’s most likely destination. MORE

Armitage banned for rest of season

London Irish full-back Delon Armitage will miss the rest of the season after pleading guilty to punching during a Premiership match late last month. Yesterday, a disciplinary panel gave him a three-week ban for hitting Stephen Myler. MORE

Norwich: We’re going to stay up

Norwich chief executive David McNally said the club will not go down next year. “We’re going to stay in the Premier League. [The fans] are going to have to get used to Premier League grounds, we’ve got there now and we’re going to stay there.” MORE

Four Warrington players in Exiles

Warrington will dominate the Exiles team to play England next month. Most of the squad for the game at Headingley on 10 June was named yesterday, and featured four Warrington players: Brett Hodgson, Matt King, Louie Anderson and Joel Monaghan.

Ferguson wary of complacency

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has warned his players against sitting back during tonight’s visit of Schalke. “It’s easy to get complacent,” the Scot said. “Our work ethic will be very high in order for us to qualify [for the final].” MORE

Murray starts with doubles defeat

Andy Murray made his first appearance at the Madrid Masters yesterday. He played doubles with his brother Jamie but they lost 6-2, 6-2 to the Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez. Today he plays second-round singles against Gilles Simon. MORE

Opinon: James Lawton

Ossie Ardiles said before the game that Lionel Messi would one day be proclaimed the best footballer of all time. Last night he did much to augment his ever more vibrant mystique, running into space with routine genius. MORE

Pedro seals Barça’s place in the final

Barcelona are through to the Champions League final after drawing their second leg 1-1 with Real Madrid last night. Having won the first leg at the Bernabeu 2-0 last week, Barça were favourites to progress and they produced a controlled performance last night, taking them to the Wembley final on 28 May. There were no goals in the first half although Real Madrid started with more attacking intent than they showed in the first leg. The best chance fell to Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets, who could only head a good chance from a corner into the arms of Iker Casillas. The opening goal nearly belonged to Real: Gonzalo Higuain’s strike was disallowed after Javier Mascherano was tripped in the build-up. Minutes later, Barcelona were ahead when Pedro received a pass from Andres Iniesta and finished past Casillas. Real pulled one back 10 minutes later, as Marcelo scored from close range, but they never threatened to score the two more goals they needed. MORE

Fletcher ready to return for United

Darren Fletcher is keen to play some part in the remainder of Manchester United’s campaign after missing two months with a virus. “I want to give the manager another option,” he said. “And play some part in the Premier League or Champions League.” MORE

Ill Radcliffe forced to delay comeback

Paula Radcliffe has pulled out of her comeback race this month due to illness. She was due to run in the 10k Great Manchester Run on Sunday week but will not because of chest and throat infections. “I’m really disappointed to have to pull out,” she said. MORE

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