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Tottenham defender on brutal training methods: ‘More experienced players probably couldn’t handle what we do’
3 Has he brought in new training methods?“He’s brought a few new things into the gym. One is basically a platform that you’re attached to with elastic cords and the quicker you run away from it, the quicker it pulls you back. So you’re working against your own force. I can work on accelerating, decelerating and changing direction – it’s helping my game.”No team has looked infallible this season. Do you think that gives Tottenham a good chance of breaking into the top four?“It’s difficult. It’s not like the Championship, but it’s not far off now because a lot of teams are beating a lot of teams. We just have to do the basics well, do what we’re doing in training and we’ll see where we are at the end of the season. Obviously everyone wants to play top-four football, but there are only four spaces and 20 teams.”Tottenham are away to Anderlecht in the Europa League on Thursday before playing Bournemouth on Sunday. How are the team managing Europe this season?“We’ve got used to it. It’s just normal now. We’re young, we’re fit, we have two days’ recovery and then we go again. I want to play as much football as possible and I’m sure the rest of the lads agree, so there’s no excuses. Okay, we might be a bit tired [on Sunday], and need to manage the game a bit differently, but our quality should still come through.”Is the mental tiredness more difficult to manage than the physical side?“Spot on. You travel, you train, you play, you travel back. It’s not your legs that are affected, it’s your mind, because you’re here, there and everywhere. But we are professionals and we have a job to do whether we’re tired or not. If you’re tired, then manage yourself differently. Make sure that when you get home from that Thursday night game, you get enough rest, eat well and prepare right for the game coming up.” Kyle Walker 3 3 This interview appears in the current edition of Sport magazine. Download the free iPad app here, and follow on twitter @sportmagukLast season was a frustrating one for Kyle Walker.The Tottenham and England full-back spent the best part of nine months out with a hip injury, unable to show the best of himself to new manager Mauricio Pochettino.Even when Walker did return, it was short-lived thanks to a foot injury that ruled him out from April until the end of the season. This lack of game time, coupled with Kieran Trippier’s arrival from Burnley over the summer, led to whispers that Walker’s stint at Tottenham could be nearing an end. But the 25-year-old put in the graft in pre-season, to prove he was ready to play an important role at White Hart Lane this campaign.On the day we meet, Walker is proving his worth off the pitch too. Wearing a Tottenham branded apron, he’s behind the counter of one of the concession stands at the stadium, serving up cheese pasties and hot dogs to a group of excited youngsters with the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation. The idea is to help prepare the unemployed young people with the foundation to do the job themselves because, as of last Saturday’s game against Liverpool, they now run the stand at every home game. While they pick up valuable skills, the club ensures all proceeds go directly back into the foundation.Once he’s finished serving – and posing for selfies – Walker takes off his pinny and tells us why Tottenham have all the ingredients to make this season a success.The club started the season with one defeat and three draws before winning a game. Was the manager happy with that, or concerned about the wait for a victory?“In-house, there were no worries. If we had beaten Manchester United [Tottenham lost at Old Trafford on the opening day] and lost three, then maybe it would be something to think about. Apart from the Stoke game, when we were 2-0 up at home and drew 2-2, our season so far has been relatively good. We’re a team that’s building for the future, but we can do big things this season as well.”Are you back to where you were before the injury in terms of form and fitness?“I probably feel the best I have in a good two years. It was one of those injuries no one could put their finger on. We tried every avenue before I went to surgery, but by then it looked like the only option. Touch wood, nothing has come back since. I can sneeze now without it being painful. Last season was stop-start for me, but I have a good pre-season behind me this time and I feel fresh and fit.”Some of Mauricio Pochettino’s former players have said how tough his training sessions are. Is that having an impact on Tottenham’s fitness levels?“I think the statistics show that: we outrun teams. And it’s better for us because we’re a young team. The more experienced players probably couldn’t handle what we do, so it’s lucky we haven’t got too many old heads [laughs]. He’s one of those managers whose door is always open. I know a lot of managers say that, but his really is. If you’ve got a problem in football, or even outside of it, you can always go and talk to him. Those man-management skills are vital for young players like we have. It’s critical to develop the squad, but we also need to develop as individuals.” There were a lot of departures from the club over the summer. Did you ever fear for your own place in the team?“You have to back yourself. Last season, when Ben Davies came in, me and Dan [Danny Rose] were wondering whether he’d play. In the end I’d say Danny was our standout player. Harry Kane got a lot of plaudits for the goals he scored, but Danny’s work ethic was second to none. I’ve tried to do the same as him this season. Kieran is a very good player, but you have to believe you’re better. I didn’t have the best season last year, so I had a lot to prove – not just to myself, but to the fans. And my dad, who’s my worst critic.”Your dad’s your harshest critic?“Yeah, he’ll tell me: you did well, but… you could do this or that better. It’s just what dads do, isn’t it? I think I’ll do it to my little boy. Not so much, maybe, but I will do it.”You spent the first couple of years at Tottenham out on loan at Sheffield United, QPR and Aston Villa. How did that period shape you as a player?“When you go out on loan as a youngster, at first you’re worrying about how the lads are going to take to you. But, once you get settled, in it’s a fantastic experience. QPR was probably what kick-started my career. They were winning every week and playing for Neil Warnock, who I’d played for at Sheffield United, gave me the confidence to just go out and play. But when Gerard Houllier wanted to take me to Villa, it was something I needed to do. I was in my comfort zone a bit in the Championship, so I wanted to see if I could take the next step. I did that, and got my England call-up a few months later. It’s vital to go out on loan and try to get that experience – not just on the field, but off it as well.”
‘Can he play centre-back?’ – Liverpool fans react to Jurgen Klopp’s first signing
Jurgen Klopp has completed his first signing since taking over at Liverpool.The German oversaw a deal to bring in Serbian midfield sensation Marko Grujic on Wednesday, albeit with the 19-year-old returning to Red Star Belgrade on loan for the rest of the season.Liverpool fans will be hoping it is the first of many in Klopp’s regime considering the squad’s current injury crisis.In fact, many of the fans questioned why Grujic wasn’t introduced into the Reds first-team fold immediately given the number of players currently sidelined.Some of the best reactions to the signing can be found below: 1 [View the story “Liverpool fans question why new signing is allowed to leave on loan” on Storify]
Ronald Koeman happy to let Steven Caulker leave Southampton for Liverpool
Steven Caulker Southampton manager Ronald Koeman was happy to cut out-of-favour Steven Caulker’s loan short when Liverpool came calling.The 24-year-old centre-back moved to St Mary’s on loan from QPR over the summer, but only played eight matches in all competitions for the club.Caulker’s last appearance for Saints came in their 6-1 Capital One Cup quarter-final mauling last month against Liverpool – a club the defender has now joined until the end of the season.“We spoke about his situation yesterday evening,” Koeman said.“Steven came in in the summer before we signed Virgil van Dijk because we had long-term injuries and he was a back-up.“He didn’t play a lot and normally we have more defenders for that position. I am not to stop his opportunity to play for Liverpool.”Caulker’s departure is likely to have little effect on Southampton on Wednesday, when they look to get back to winning ways against Watford. 1
Transfer blow for Newcastle as Barcelona set to steal £11m summer target
Samuel Umtiti [left] in action for Lyon Barcelona are planning to hijack Newcastle’s pursuit of Lyon defender Samuel Umtiti, according to reports in Spain.talkSPORT told you on Tuesday that the Magpies had registered an interest in the 22-year-old, although no concrete offer has yet been made.Now, according to Sport, Barcelona are set to lure the player to the Nou Camp this summer with a bid of around £11m.Newcastle were prepared to offer a fee in the same region, but the player is understood to have his heart set on a move to the Spanish giants.A versatile defender, Umtiti has earned rave reviews for his displays for Lyon this season and is being considered by Didier Deschamps for a call-up to France’s Euro 2016 squad.Despite his tender age, Umtiti has made over 100 league appearances for Lyon and has also featured in seven Champions League games for the Ligue 1 side. 1
Watergate figure denounces direction of GOP
In “Broken Government,” Dean argues that the Republican party has hijacked the political process in all branches of government not just through secrecy but with appointments based “not on experience but how much money they can line the Republican coffers with.” Dean said Democrats have been complacent in that they’ve avoided “raising hell” – or at least criticizing Republicans on process issues – and it helped cost them the 2004 presidential election. He also argues that the only way to “repair” the country is to vote the current brand of Republicans out of office. “The current Republican philosophy is the government is the problem, not the solution – these people don’t want the government to run right,” he said. Few of the 2008 Republican contenders would offer any significant change from the Bush Administration, Dean said. He has been most critical of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who he calls more authoritarian than any candidate. What would the country look like after four years under a Giuliani administration? “It looks like Bush and Cheney on steroids,” he said. “We’d have four or five wars going, the draft would be back.” After two terms of the Bush administration, Dean said he often hears people wax nostalgic about the Nixon era. “I’m not a Watergate apologist by any means, but I’ve got to say Bush and Cheney make Nixon like like a piker on many issues,” said Dean. “Nobody died, nobody was tortured. We’re just playing in a wholly, wholly different league.” firstname.lastname@example.org (626) 578-6300, Ext 4494 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SOUTH PASADENA – Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama should expect a package soon from former Nixon White House counsel John Dean. The ex-Republican and author of several books condemning the “authoritarian” direction that his former political party has taken over the past 30 years said he’ll be mailing them each a copy of his latest polemic, “Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches.” Dean, in an interview Tuesday, said he is sending a copy to every Democrat presidential contender – and to each Democrat candidate for the House and Senate, as well. “I’m going to literally have people deliver them by hand,” he said, “They can’t say they didn’t know about those things down the road.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.The registered independent insists he’s not a Democrat Party booster. “I don’t hold water for any party. I’m just frightened by my own tribe,” he said. Dean, who admitted to a significant role in the Watergate cover-up before testifying for the prosecution and vacating the GOP, will appear at 7p.m. Friday at the South Pasadena Library, 1100 Oxley St., to discuss “Broken Government.” A question-and-answer period and book signing will follow. His 2004 work, “Worse than Watergate,” criticized what Dean called the unparalleled secrecy employed by the Bush White House.
Everton risk missing out on French international this summer
1 Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda Everton are running the risk of losing out on goalkeeper Steve Mandanda to Monaco, according to reports in France.The Marseille captain is out of contract with the French club in the summer and has failed to negotiate a new deal at the Stade Velodrome following a disappointing campaign.Mandanda has reportedly been told that his place could be under threat if he decided to stay at Marseille next season and that has forced him to explore a move away.Everton, who are searching for a long-term replacement to MLS-bound Tim Howard, have been heavily linked with a swoop for the 31-year-old, but, according to France Football, Monaco have made contact with Mandanda about a switch.Mandanda is still understood to be keen on a move to the Premier League, where he is likely to earn more money, but Monaco believe the prospect of Champions League football next term could tempt him into staying in France.
Guus Hiddink pleased to see Eden Hazard reaping benefits of training programme
Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink was delighted to see Eden Hazard looking ‘fit and fresh’ in the 1-1 draw at Liverpool.The Belgian opened the scoring at Anfield with a fine solo goal – beating his opponents before finishing low into the far corner.It was just Hazard’s third Premier League goal this season and ninth for club and country in all competitions as he has looked a shadow of the 2015 PFA Player of the Year.Hiddink said of the 25-year-old: “Last year one of the best and this year falling into injury, coming back nearly and falling back into injury made him vulnerable physically and of course you get a bit frustrated.“The last few weeks or a bit longer he’s been working on a programme to get him fully fit and you can see what he’s able to do. He’s playing with courage and he is physically and mentally fit and fresh and it is a pleasure to see those players.”The point means the Blues can still finish seventh in the Premier League, providing results go their way on the final day of the season, and the Dutchman was pleased with the ‘intention’ and ‘ambition’ showed by his side.Hiddink added: “Defensively we were well organised.“Offensively we had the intention to score, which we did with a beautiful goal from Eden.“After that we had the intention to go for a second but we didn’t kill the game off in the second half. We had two or three chances, open chances, but generally I can be very satisfied with the performance of the team, although it was a nice present at the last minute.“We played with a lot of intention, a lot of ambition and that is how I like to see the team play.”
Chelsea eye SHOCK Christian Benteke move with Romelu Lukaku deal in doubt
Chelsea are reportedly weighing up a shock swoop for Liverpool’s Christian Benteke.Incoming Blues boss Antonio Conte has drawn up a list of transfer targets and a new striker is his priority.Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, who left the Blues two years ago in a £28m deal, is understood to be Conte’s top target.But Lukaku is also wanted by Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea are reluctant to meet the £65m price that has been put on the 23-year-old’s head.Conte is now looking at alternative targets and, according to The Times, is considering a move for Lukaku’s Belgium international teammate Benteke.The powerful hitman endured a hugely disappointing first season at Liverpool after arriving from Aston Villa in a £32.5million deal.Benteke only started 14 Premier League games for the Merseysiders and Jurgen Klopp could be ready to sanction his exit this summer.The 25-year-old is said to have lucrative offers on the table from Chinese Super League clubs but wants to stay in England – and Chelsea may now offer him an escape route from Anfield. Christian Benteke 1
Experts’ pitch to baseball: Come clean or keep quiet
Torrance Starbucks, customers robbed
The names of the three suspects were not immediately released.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champOfficers pursued the suspects at speeds ranging from 60 mph to more than 100 mph over the eastbound Artesia (91) Freeway, northbound San Gabriel River (605) Freeway, westbound Glenn Anderson (105) Freeway and onto the northbound Harbor (110) Freeway, he said. The chase ended when the white SUV spun out on the 4th Street offramp of the Harbor Freeway and crashed into a guardrail, he said. The trio bolted, fleeing westbound on foot, Petersen said, but within five minutes all three were in custody. “One of the suspects jumped off the Fourth Street bridge,” he said, adding that it was a roughly 15-foot drop and that the man may have suffered a broken ankle, he said. There were no injuries during the robbery or pursuit, Petersen said. Three men who robbed a score of Starbucks customers in Torrance led police on a 25-minute freeway pursuit, crashed into a guardrail on a downtown Los Angeles freeway offramp, tried to run away but were arrested, authorities said today. The robbery occurred around 10:10 p.m. Wednesday at a Starbucks near Crenshaw Boulevard and Sepulveda boulevards, Torrance, police Lt. David Petersen said. Three men entered the coffee shop — each armed with silver handguns — and robbed some 20 customers inside the shop, he said. How much was taken was not immediately reported. Witnesses told police the robbers fled in a white SUV, he said. A short time later a Torrance police unit spotted the suspect vehicle near Crenshaw and Artesia boulevards and a chase ensued, Petersen said.