Aaron Lennon: Everton winger not suffering long-standing mental health issue

Everton winger Aaron Lennon is not suffering from a long-standing mental health issue and is expected to make a full recovery in the short term, BBC Sport understands.

The 30-year-old was detained under the Mental Health Act by police over concerns for his welfare.

He was taken to hospital “for assessment” after police were called to Salford on Sunday.

It is understood his condition is a recent occurrence.

Lennon is now “receiving care and treatment for a stress-related illness”, his club has said.

The England international, who joined Everton from Tottenham in 2015, has not played for the first team since February.

Greater Manchester Police said: “Police were called at around 4.35pm to reports of a concern for the welfare of a man on Eccles Old Road.

“Officers attended and a 30-year-old man was detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act and was taken to hospital for assessment.”

News of Lennon’s admission has led to an outpouring of support on social media from those involved in the game, as well as fans of his current and former clubs.

Everton tweeted on Wednesday: “Thank you for all the kind messages for Aaron. We are supporting him through this and his family has appealed for privacy at this time.”

Lennon’s representative, Base Soccer Agency, tweeted: “Everyone at Base Soccer sends their support to @AaronLennon12 – get well soon and stay strong.”

Sport shows support for Lennon

Ex-Liverpool and Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore, who has been affected by depression: Thoughts and love with Aaron Lennon and his family right now. I know that place, and I know he’ll be fine with good support from us all.

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Frank Bruno, who has battled depression: Thoughts are with Aaron Lennon today, stay strong & as positive as possible, there is light at the end of tunnel. You will get through this boss.

Lennon’s former club Tottenham Hotspur: Get well soon @AaronLennon12, we’re all thinking of you.

The Professional Footballers’ Association: Get well soon Aaron, we are all thinking of you and here to offer our full support.

Former Queens Park Rangers and Burnley defender Clarke Carlisle, who played with Lennon at Leeds United: Love and blessings to my old teammate @AaronLennon12. Nail this now and there’s plenty more left in the tank my friend.

Ex-Manchester City and England midfielder Trevor Sinclair: Thoughts with Aaron Lennon right now.

Former Aston Villa forward Darren Byfield: Hope Aaron Lennon will be OK and gets the help he needs.

Former Watford and Sheffield United striker Danny Webber: Get well soon Aaron Lennon.

England cricketer Kate Cross, an ambassador for Opening Up Cricket which promotes mental wellbeing: Fingers crossed Aaron Lennon is OK. Another reminder that mental health affects us all. Be kind.

source: www.bbc.co.uk

Wimbledon 2017: Ilie Nastase will not be invited to Royal Box this year

Ilie Nastase will not be invited to the Royal Box at Wimbledon this summer, tournament organisers have said.

Romania’s Fed Cup captain, a former world number one, is currently under investigation over comments he made about Serena Williams’ unborn child.

Williams accused Nastase of racism after he was overheard asking if the child would be “chocolate with milk”.

He also insulted British player Johanna Konta and captain Anne Keothavong, and called a journalist “stupid”.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Wimbledon also announced record prize money of £31.6m for this year’s event, an increase of 12.5% on 2016.

The men’s and women’s singles champions will earn £2.2m each, with an increase to benefit players at each round of the draw. First-round singles losers will earn £35,000.

Overall prize money for the last year’s edition was £28.1m, with the singles champions earning £2m.

This year’s event gets under way on 3 July, the latest start since the 1895 edition, when play began on 8 July.

All England Club chairman Philip Brook confirmed 70-year-old Nastase, who reached the Wimbledon final in 1972 and 1976, would not be present.

“His actions were not very good and we condemn them. In terms of an invitation to the Royal Box, he is not going to receive an invitation this year,” Brook said.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has launched an investigation into remarks Nastase made during April’s Fed Cup match, when he also directed an angry outburst towards Konta that left the British number one in tears.

In an interview with the BBC later in April, the Romanian defended his remarks about world number one Williams.

“English people considered it was racist and everybody picked it up like that,” he said.

“The only person who can get upset maybe is Serena, but not you people in England. Why does everybody else get upset? I don’t understand. Whatever.”

source: www.bbc.co.uk

Man Utd: Jose Mourinho ‘does not know’ about Old Trafford job

Jose Mourinho says he does not know about becoming the next Manchester United manager, but is hoping to be back in football this summer.

Earlier this month, BBC Sport reported that United had held talks with representatives of the Portuguese.

Mourinho, 53, was sacked by Chelsea in December, seven months after winning the Premier League title.

Asked if he will replace Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford, Mourinho said: “That’s the one million dollar question.”

Speaking at a school in Singapore, he added: “Nobody knows and I am the first one not to know. I read so many different things.”

Mourinho has been linked with a return to Serie A side Inter Milan and Spanish giants Real Madrid.

But he said: “Starting next season with a new club and project is probably the best for me.”

The future of Dutchman Van Gaal, 64, has been an almost constant source of speculation in recent weeks.

His contract ends at the end of next season but the former Netherlands boss has been involved in a number of testy exchanges with reporters whenever his position is discussed.

United lie fifth in the Premier League, six points off fourth-placed Manchester City, and went out of the Champions League at the group stages.

They are through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and face Danish side FC Midtjylland in last 32 of the Europa League on Thursday, trailing 2-1 from the first leg.

source: www.bbc.co.uk

UFC 196: Conor McGregor to fight Nate Diaz after injured Rafael dos Anjos’ withdrawal

Following the news yesterday that Rafael Dos Anjos had withdrawn from his UFC 196 clash with Conor McGregor, the UFC wasted little time in naming Nate Diaz as a surprise replacement.

It was originally thought that the natural replacement for Dos Anjos would be Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone who, last weekend at UFC Fight Night 83, defeated Alex ‘Cowboy’ Olivera via an arm triangle choke in the first round.

The UFC however, went for fan favourite Diaz who has campaigned for a fight with McGregor since early last year.

A fight between the two was first mooted when Diaz was contacted by the UFC last July and asked to fight the Dubliner following Jose Aldo’s withdrawal from UFC 189. That time, however, the Stockton native was overlooked for Chad Mendes.

Diaz then ignited the talk of a showdown with McGregor last December when he went on a verbal tirade at the Irishman after beating Michael Johnson at UFC on Fox 17.

“If people want to see a real fight, they know who to call,” he said. “I’ll train hard and ninja his a** up. Ninja real s***, not no funny fake ‘let’s fight, but let’s be good friends, it’s a sport’ – f*** that, f*** the sport. This is fight s****. This is ninja s****. That’s what people want to see.”

Dos Anjos’s pull-out has presented Diaz with a fantastic opportunity to finally get the fight he has been craving and take on McGregor. The bout will now take place at UFC 196 on March 5th at welterweight (170lbs).

Mind you, Diaz will know that he wasn’t necessarily the UFC’s first choice to replace Dos Anjos. Speaking to Yahoo Sports yesterday, UFC president Dana White confirmed that bothFrankie Edgar and Jose Aldo had been offered the fight but had declined the opportunity – citing injuries and not being ‘in the right shape to fight’ respectively.

Among all the uncertainty and controversy, one thing has always been consistent and that is that McGregor was always showing on March 5th. Such is his confidence in his own ability, McGregor has always maintained the competition are all the same to him. 

While the competition may be the same, McGregor will be making an unprecedented jump in weight class from the UFC featherweight division (145lbs) to the UFC welterweight division (170lbs). Time will tell whether this new weight class will suit ‘The Notorious’. Even before the fight with Diaz had been made, it was rumoured that McGregor would go on to challenge Robbie Lawler at UFC 200 for the UFC welterweight belt. 

McGregor and Diaz will cross paths today at an open workout session in LA where they will meet members of the press for the first time since the bout’s announcement.

source: www.independent.co.uk

Posted in UFC

‘I don’t give a f*** for the physical condition,’ says Pep Guardiola after late collapse

Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola swore in his post-match media briefing after watching his side throw away a two-goal lead against Juventus in the Champions League.

The Bavarian giants stormed ahead through goals from Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben but appeared tired in the second half and allowed Paulo Dybala and substitute Stefano Sturaro to level the arrears in Turin.

Bayern still have an away-goal advantage ahead of the round-of-16 second-leg in Munich, but Guardiola was clearly frustrated despite staunchly defending his players during his post-match media commitments. 

“The result is what it is,” said Guardiola, who has agreed to replace Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City in the summer. “I know that in Italy you are about physical condition. I don’t give a f*** for the physical condition. It’s the mental question that I care about.

“I didn’t expect to come here and expect Juve not to shoot on target, or that we would play 90 fantastic minutes. They have players like [Mario] Mandzukic, [Paul] Pogba and [Leonardo] Bonucci, one of my all-time favourite players. And we showed character.”

The Spaniard, who still awaits his first European triumph with Bayern, also suggested he may one day manage in Italy if one of the country’s leading clubs show an interest.

“Will it be enough to go through? I don’t know. I would like to sit here after a win but the result is what it is. I am very happy with how I did. It is probably the evening that I am the most pleased as coach in my career. Maybe one day I will work in Italy. If they want me.”

source: www.independent.co.uk

Antonio Conte to Chelsea: Roman Abramovich closes in on Italy coach

Antonio Conte is closing in on becoming Jose Mourinho’s permanent successor at Chelsea, with the Italy coach confident that he has seen off rivals Diego Simeone and Massimiliano Allegri to take charge at Stamford Bridge.

Although reports in Italy on Monday which suggested that the 46-year-old had agreed a deal in principle to become Chelsea manager are understood to be premature, the former Juventus coach is now the favoured candidate in the eyes of owner Roman Abramovich.

The Independent revealed last December that Conte had become the leading candidate to replace Mourinho in the event of the Portuguese being sacked by the club as a result of this season’s disastrous first half of the campaign. And although Guus Hiddink returned to Stamford Bridge as interim manager in the wake of Mourinho’s dismissal two months ago, the Dutchman is not a contender to take the job permanently, despite his success in reviving the team’s fortunes since his appointment.

Conte’s success with Juventus, who he guided to three successive Serie A titles before becoming Italy coach following the 2014 World Cup, has convinced Abramovich that the Italian is capable of restoring Chelsea to the top four next season and overseeing a title challenge.

With his contract with Italy due to expire at the end of Euro 2016, Conte has made no secret of his desire to work in the Premier League and he has already started to learn English in order to enhance his prospects of achieving success in this country.

Abramovich had been prepared to mount a charm offensive to lure Pep Guardiola from Bayern Munich following Mourinho’s departure, but with the former Barcelona coach now committed to a three-year contract at Manchester City from this summer, the Russian has turned to Conte ahead of Simeone, Allegri and former Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli.

Atletico Madrid coach Simeone had been the long-term frontrunner, but the Argentine is likely to remain in Spain for another year at least, while Sampaoli’s lack of top-level experience in Europe has counted against his prospects.

And although Allegri has become a sought-after coach with him having extended the success started by Conte at Juventus, the Italian champions are confident that the former Milan coach will commit to a new deal  in Turin.

Giuseppe Marotta, the Juventus sporting director, said: “The conditions for Allegri’s contract renewal are all there. The cycle has just started with him and I believe we can continue with him. On top of that, finding a club better than Juventus isn’t easy. I think that he can still get great pleasure from this team, thus there is no Allegri problem.”

source: www.independent.co.uk

Michael O’Neill: NI manager set for new four-year contract

Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill has agreed terms for a lucrative new four-year contract after his side reached the Euro 2016 finals.

The Irish FA deal is said to be worth £500,000 a year, the Belfast Telegraphnewspaper reported on Tuesday.

That would make 46-year-old O’Neill the highest-paid manager in Northern Ireland’s history.

In June, Northern Ireland will play in the final stages of a major tournament for the first time since 1986.

Last October, O’Neill told BBC Sport his preference was for a four-year deal, rather than the IFA’s usual two-year policy.

A well-placed source told BBC Sport Northern Ireland that O’Neill’s contract extension is “now effectively a done deal”.

The contract extension, which will begin after Euro 2016, will include a release clause which would allow see the IFA being entitled to compensation if O’Neill was to be lured into club management.

source: www.bbc.co.uk

Steve Smith to become Australia Test captain at end of Ashes

Steve Smith will become Australia’s Test captain after the Ashes following Michael Clarke’s decision to retire at the end of the series. Smith, 26, already leads the one-day side and will also captain the Twenty20 team in the absence of the injured Aaron Finch. Fellow batsman David Warner, 28, has been named as Smith’s vice-captain. “At 26, Steve is a fine young man with extraordinary talent,” said national selector Rod Marsh.

“He is highly regarded by the selectors and we congratulate him on being appointed to the role on an ongoing basis. He should be incredibly proud.” Clarke, 34, confirmed his decision to retire after his side surrendered the Ashes with a heavy defeat by England at Trent Bridge, which gave the hosts a 3-1 lead. Smith had already captained the side in three Tests against India last summer, when Clarke was recovering from hamstring surgery and back issues.

The New South Welshman has played in 32 Tests for his country, scoring 2,952 runs at an average of 54.66. “When Michael made his decision to retire last week it was a very straightforward decision for us to nominate Steve as his successor,” added Marsh. “He has big shoes to fill but everything about him suggests he is the right man for the job.” Warner has earned the vice-captain’s role despite a history ofdisciplinary problems, and Marsh said of the opener: “David has matured and developed into an important senior figure in the Australian team. He has come a long way.

“We believe that he will respond well to the added responsibility of leadership.”

Smith and Warner will lead Australia in the limited-overs matches that follow the final Ashes Test at the Oval, which starts on 20 August.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Scottish bid to host 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles

Last year’s Ryder Cup venue Gleneagles could host the 2019 Solheim Cup after a bid was submitted to bring the tournament back to Scotland. The biennial women’s match play event between Europe and United States was last held in Scotland in 2000. “We would be truly honoured to welcome the Solheim Cup to Gleneagles,” said Gleneagles managing director Bernard Murphy. This year’s tournament takes place from 18-20 September in Germany. Europe are the current holders, claiming their fifth win to United States’ eight in Colorado in 2013.

American Juli Inkster and Swede Carin Koch are this year’s Solheim Cup team captains. Scotland’s top female golfer Catriona Matthew has played in seven Solheim Cups and described the tournament as “a special event, which is growing in profile and stature with each passing staging”. “I have no doubt that a Solheim Cup in 2019 at Gleneagles would be the biggest and best yet and further help to enhance the stature of the event and women’s golf as a whole,” she added.

“Golf in Scotland is a national past-time and the Scottish crowds would come out to support The Solheim Cup in droves. Equally, both players and media love coming to golf events in Scotland. “It is the Home of Golf and there is always that something extra every time you tee it up in a competition here.”
The bid is being led by VisitScotland in conjunction with the Scottish government. “Last year Scotland showed what it can do on the world-stage when it not only held, but significantly enhanced, some of the biggest events in the world of sport,” said Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

“The 2014 Ryder Cup was a magnificent spectacle and will be remembered for many years to come, while the XX Commonwealth Games was another huge success story for our country. We want to do the same thing with The Solheim Cup in 2019. “Scotland is now renowned as a world-class tourism and events destination. “Not only would hosting the Solheim Cup in Scotland, the Home of Golf, provide a huge boost to the profile of this fantastic event, it would continue to promote equality across the game and show that golf in Scotland, where it began, is a sport for all after the successful hosting of the Ryder Cup.”

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Formula 1: Ferrari rumours are disturbing – Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas says speculation about a move to Ferrari is “disturbing” as he looks to focus on winning his first grand prix with Williams. The 25-year-old has been linked with replacing Kimi Raikkonen at the Italian team from 2016 onwards.

However, Bottas – in his third season at Williams – says he is thinking only about helping his current team challenge for victories. “Once you’re in the car you don’t think about any speculation,” he said.

Jump media playerMedia player helpOut of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue. Flying start from Williams to overtake Mercedes “There is nothing in your mind other than driving, but out of the car of course it is disturbing when there are some rumours.” Mercedes have been in dominant form through the first half of 2015. Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has won five of the 10 races so far, with his team-mate Nico Rosberg winning three.

However, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel picked up his second win of the year in Hungary last time out, giving Bottas the belief that Mercedes can be toppled. “Mercedes are really strong at the moment but Ferrari showed in Budapest that it is possible to beat them,” he said. “Never say never, we are still aiming to win races. They have a really quick car but anything can happen in motorsport.

“We need to believe in it and take every opportunity – it could be there this season.”

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Posted in F1