Bradford’s Lewis O’Brien: ‘I used Twitter critics as a drive to show who I am’

Loan from Huddersfield was greeted with some disdain but he has impressed with his dynamism – and his singingIt can be one of the most nerve-racking times of a young footballer’s career – the moment when he is asked to stand on a chair and sing to the whole senior squad. Lewis O’Brien, the 20-year-old Huddersfield midfielder who has been a smash hit on loan at Bradford this season, decided there was only one approach to take.“There’s no point being there and not going for it,” he says of his rendition of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, which so wowed his teammates that he has practically become the in-house entertainment. “I’ve probably sung about 30 times this season. Every time we’re down for a meal the lads start chanting, ‘Lewis, Lewis.’ I’ve got a few regulars I do, mainly Superstition, Valerie and Stand By Me. I wouldn’t even say I’m a good singer, I just put a lot of effort into it.” Continue reading...

19-02-2019

FA Cup: Daniel James gives Swansea lead against Brentford

Swansea City's Daniel James scores "a wonderful solo goal" to give them the lead against fellow Championship side Brentford in the FA Cup fifth round.

19-02-2019

The Fiver | Unfit to face inferior players who have hardly run a lap since Christmas

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!Buoyed, cheered and generally heartened by the sight of Tottenham Hotspur piling some Big Cup hurt on German league leaders Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night, Arsenal fans can look forward to some fun of their own when their team goes toe to toe with the works team of a tractor factory in Belarus tonight in Euro Vase. Bate Borisov are the opposition in the first knockout round and while most of their players are unknown outside their native country, there will at least be one recognisable face among the ranks. Continue reading...

19-02-2019

Refereeing of women’s football needs work. Here is the plan to tackle it | Suzanne Wrack

Full-time officials for Women’s Super League and a fast-track pathway for female referees are among the ideasConsider these three incidents: the Chelsea midfielder Drew Spence cynically scything down Arsenal’s Kim Little, breaking one of Little’s legs, but picking up only a yellow card; David McNamara’s rock, paper, scissors debacle; and Phil Neville questioning two penalty shouts and a disallowed goal against Australia.This season the standard of refereeing in the women’s game has been under the microscope. It always has been. Except now, with a fully professional top division and more televised coverage than ever, there are a lot more eyes peering through that microscope. Continue reading...

19-02-2019

Chelsea fans don’t often have time to turn on a manager – this felt decisive | Jonathan Wilson

Maurizio Sarri is serving up predictable, sterile football and some choices are hard to fathom but Chelsea share the blame for this messChelsea fans don’t often turn on their manager. They don’t usually have time. But there, distinct in the cool February air, just six days before they play in a cup final, it was: “Fuck Sarriball! Fuck Sarriball! Fuck Sarriball!” Add in the booing at the final whistle and the chants for Callum Hudson-Odoi throughout the second half and it’s fair to say the Matthew Harding Stand has made its mind up about Maurizio Sarri.Fans are not always right, of course, as a notorious Old Trafford bedsheet of the late eighties makes clear, and boards must make their own decisions, but this nonetheless felt a decisive moment. Stamford Bridge turned on André Villas-Boas and it didn’t like Rafa Benítez from the start, but outright revolt against a manager is unusual. Continue reading...

19-02-2019

Pep Guardiola: Newport were chanting 'Who are you?' It was nice – video

Pep Guardiola praised his Manchester City players, in particular Phil Foden, as they beat Newport County 4-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.Newport had beaten both Leicester City and Middlesbrough on their way to the fifth round of the tournament, and contained the Premier League leaders well for significant spells of the game.  Continue reading...

19-02-2019

Millie Bright misses out on SheBelieves Cup squad through injury

Chelsea defender Millie Bright is ruled out of Phil Neville's England squad for the SheBelieves Cup because of injury.

19-02-2019

The Spin | Questions facing England in West Indies 100 days out from World Cup

A new-ball partner for Woakes, whether Wood has a role and back-up batting at the top of the order are among the issuesEngland play 11 one-day internationals and two warm-up internationals before the World Cup starts on 30 May, but this five-match series is the last before they must announce their 15-man squad. A 16th space would allow them to cover all bases, but 15 means a corner needs to be cut. They are likely to want two spare seam bowlers, especially as those players are most susceptible to injury, which means they will have to sacrifice either a second back-up batsman (Alex Hales will be the first) or a back-up spinner. Or they could cheat. That’s what they’ve done with the current squad, in which Joe Denly nominally fills both roles. Denly’s last ODI appearance was in 2009, and England need to find out whether he, with support from Joe Root, is a realistic option should Adil Rashid or Moeen Ali suffer an injury. The alternatives are not irresistible, though Liam Dawson – not in the squad for West Indies – would be a more reliable, like-for-like substitute. Continue reading...

19-02-2019

The Fiver | This rag-tag collection of multi-millionaire footballers

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!Following a weekend of FA Cup ties that produced no upsets whatsoever, it is left to the plucky minnows of Chelsea to go all Mills & Boon on the fifth-round romance stakes by slaying Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. Two places and one point behind United in the English league pyramid, it has been left to this rag-tag collection of butchers, carpenters and postmen – or, at the very least, multi-millionaire footballers who may know their local butcher, carpenter or postman – to fly the flag for the little guy when United’s juggernaut rolls up with a place in the quarter-finals at stake. Continue reading...

19-02-2019

Liberia - where no-one dares to tackle President George Weah

What happens when a footballer becomes president? Players don't want to take him on.

19-02-2019

Alysa Liu's remarkable rise: is 13 too young to be an elite athlete?

The figure skater is barely into her teens and is already the US champion. But some believe the mental and physical strain of elite sport should waitAlysa Liu covered her face and cried as the results were announced at the US ladies figure skating championship in Detroit, Michigan, last month. Her coach, Laura Lipetsky who has worked with her since she was five, hugged her.Liu had just won the national title at the age of 13, making her the youngest athlete to have done so, and with two triple axles no less. The weeks since have been a media frenzy. She appeared on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and profiles on her meteoric rise have been published across the world. But for all the attention Liu has received, she won’t be able to compete in Worlds. She’s too young. A 1997 International Skating Union rule requires athletes to be at least 15 by 1 July preceding the season to participate in senior-level international events. Continue reading...

19-02-2019

Caster Semenya’s lawyers accuse the IAAF of underhand tactics

• Claim that naming witnesses broke confidentiality• Runner is challenging revised eligibility ruleCaster Semenya’s lawyers have accused the International Association of Athletics Federations of using underhand tactics to gain public support at the start of their contentious dispute at the court of arbitration for sport in Lausanne. Related: Court has Semenya’s career in its hands – and decision could affect all of sport | Sean Ingle Continue reading...

19-02-2019