Heather Knight is setting her sights on a landmark summer of Ashes cricket, after joining fellow England captain Ben Stokes on a Tower Bridge projection.

Giant images of Knight and Stokes were beamed on to one of London’s best known sights on Wednesday as part of the countdown to the men’s and women’s series against Australia.

Stars of the Lionesses football team adorned famous locations including the Royal Opera House, the National Portrait Gallery and Battersea Power Station ahead of last year’s European Championship and Knight is hoping to echo their triumphant performance.

Tickets sales for the women’s series have already passed a combined 70,000 – doubling the overall attendance in 2019 and guaranteeing record attendances – and an England win over a formidable Australia side could go a long way to lifting the status of Knight’s side to new levels.

“I remember seeing the Lionesses on London landmarks ahead of the Euros last year and thinking that was very, very cool – so it’s really nice to be a part of it this summer. It’s not every day of the week that you see yourself projected on to Tower Bridge!” Knight told the PA news agency.

“When I made my England debut in India in 2010 it was in front of one man and his dog. I was a student and I literally had to tell my tutor I’d be gone for a month. It’s changed so much since then.

“The girls who are making their England debuts now are in a totally different world and this summer we’re looking at grounds like Edgbaston, The Kia Oval and Lord’s and some of them could be nearly full.

“Like Leah Williamson and her team last year, it would be nice to think that we’ve brought a few people into the game this summer.

“I’m really proud of how far cricket has come. We’ve got more distance to go but this is a huge year for women’s cricket and hopefully the scale of the Women’s Ashes will help inspire a few more girls to come and watch us.

“Like the Lionesses last summer, I think we have the chance to bring a lot of people with us.”

Adam Idah will head into Euro 2024 qualifier battle with Greece and Gibraltar grateful for both the help and competition provided by two strikers at opposite ends of their careers.

The 22-year-old Republic of Ireland frontman has spent much of the last four seasons fighting Teemu Pukki for a place in the Norwich starting line-up, and now faces a major challenge from Brighton’s teenage sensation Evan Ferguson on the international front.

However Idah, who made his Canaries debut as an 18-year-old and won his first senior cap for Ireland a little more than a year later, has not been daunted by either battle.

Asked about Pukki’s influence on his fledgling career as the 33-year-old Finland international prepares to leave Norwich this summer, he said: “Teemu was massive to me since I came in.

“When I first came to Norwich I wasn’t playing many games, and I was really frustrated, but he helped me through that.

“Looking back now, it was stupid of me to be frustrated as he was scoring all these goals, but even off the pitch he helped me, (showing me) what to do outside of football.

“On the pitch, he was fantastic. He’s a great player to look up to with all the goals he has scored in championships and the Premier League. He is a great professional.”

Pukki’s impending exit after scoring 88 goals in 210 appearances over his five years at Carrow Road presents Idah with an opportunity next season, with boss David Wagner needing to plug a sizeable gap, and it is one he is determined to take.

He said: “Every new season is a big opportunity for me. Obviously it was difficult – when he was at Norwich, he was the main man and next season is going to be a big one for me to try to get myself in the team.

“But I think me and the manager know it’s going to be a good opportunity for me to try to become the main striker at Norwich. I just have to be the best I can to get in.”

In the meantime, Idah’s task is to force his way into Stephen Kenny’s team for the trip to Athens on June 16 and Gibraltar’s visit to Dublin three days later, a process which has become more difficult as a result of Ferguson’s breakthrough season in the Premier League.

The 18-year-old made 19 league appearances and scored six goals as the Seagulls secured European football for the first time in the club’s history, and also opened his senior international account – something Idah is yet to do – in March’s 3-2 friendly win over Latvia.

Speaking from Ireland’s warm-weather training camp in Antalya, Turkey, Idah said: “He’s had an unbelievable season at Brighton. In every team, you need some friendly competition for all of us.

“There’s not just Evan, there’s five of us forwards all chasing for the same spot and I think we’re all doing everything in the right way. We help each other achieve in the right way to the best we can.

“Whoever starts in any game, I think we all support each other and try to do the best we can. That’s what so good about this team – there’s no ego in this team and we all try to help each other.”

John Ryan is eager to take on the overseas contenders in the King’s Stand Stakes with Manaccan – and hopes to have Frankie Dettori in the saddle at Royal Ascot.

The four-year-old ended last season in rude health, winning Listed races at Doncaster and Ascot, plus a Group Three at Dundalk.

He began this season conceding weight in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket under Dettori and having been drawn on the wrong side of a rain-softened track, ran admirably to be beaten just a length and a half by Vadream.

“I was delighted with him this morning and should all go well between now and then, the King’s Stand is where we are going and hopefully Frankie is going to ride him,” said Ryan.

“We were umming and ahhing over whether we should go to Newmarket or Haydock first time out and I wanted one run before the King’s Stand.

“We went for Newmarket, despite him having to carry a penalty, because Haydock’s Temple Stakes is usually run on soft ground but it wasn’t this year.

“Obviously, with the penalty, the way the ground went and being drawn on the wrong side, he ended up running a big race but crucially it also gave him more time to get over the run than Haydock would have done.”

The King’s Stand went the way of Australia last year with Nature Strip and this year his compatriot Coolangatta is towards the head of the betting, but Ryan is unperturbed.

“We’re in the situation where we’ve got a lot more in our favour than most,” he said.

“He’s already proved he likes Ascot having won there before, we know he wants fast ground and it’s looking like it should be that and while he might not have won at this level yet, he’s won a Listed and a Group Three as well as at the Shergar Cup and those races can be very competitive.

“He’s tough and he’s sharpened his teeth now, he’s certainly earned his place in the race. He’s tough and deserves to take them on.

“Whether the opposition comes from Australia or Kathmandu, it doesn’t bother me, he always gives his best and given some fortune with the draw, I’m sure he’ll run a good race.”

Rory McIlroy admitted he was “surprised” and had “mixed emotions” after learning of the shock declaration of peace in golf’s civil war.

McIlroy and Tiger Woods had established themselves as the biggest supporters of the PGA Tour in its battle with LIV Golf, but were both kept in the dark about the stunning deal announced on Tuesday.

Fellow players reacted with surprise and a sense of betrayal at the news that the PGA Tour and DP World Tour were merging their commercial operations with the golf-related businesses of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which bankrolls LIV.

“It was a surprise, I knew there had been discussions going on in the background but I didn’t expect it to happen as quickly as it did,” McIlroy said in a press conference ahead of the RBC Canadian Open.

The Northern Irishman added: “I gather the (PGA) Tour felt they were in a real position of strength coming off the DP World Tour winning their legal case in London; it weakened the other side’s position.

“I think ultimately, when I try to remove myself from the situation and try to look at the bigger picture and I look 10 years down the line, I think ultimately it’s going to be good for the game of professional golf.

“It unifies it and secures its financial future. There’s mixed emotions in there as well.

“I don’t understand all the intricacies of what’s going on. There is a lot of ambiguity, a lot to still be thrashed out but at least it means the litigation goes away, which has been a massive burden for everyone and we can start to work toward some kind of way of unifying the game at the elite level.”

Brad Lyons has signed a new two-year deal at Kilmarnock after helping the club escape relegation.

The Northern Ireland midfielder made 15 cinch Premiership appearances last season and scored in the decisive 3-1 win over Ross County on the final day, after coming into the team for the equally important 3-0 win at Dundee United days earlier.

The 26-year-old former Coleraine, Blackburn, St Mirren and Morecambe player told Killie’s website: “I love the club and community, so it was easy for me to re-sign.

“Towards the end of the season I think that I showed my true self, so I’m really glad the club offered me a new deal. The manager’s message to me is to try and be more consistent with playing levels.

“I’ve now shown what I’m worth, so that’s the level I need to hit every week.”

Iga Swiatek maintained her unbeaten record against Coco Gauff in their French Open rematch to move through to the semi-finals.

The pair had met in the final 12 months ago, with Gauff winning just four games, and the American had not won a set in their six previous clashes.

The statistic remains, although Gauff at least pushed the world number one in a 6-4 6-2 defeat, and will feel she might have done better.

The 19-year-old was unable to take the few chances she had to gain the ascendancy, particularly in the second set, and Swiatek made her pay.

The top seed has lost only 15 games in five matches, and she said: “I haven’t spent much time on court so I’m happy that today was a tighter match.”

Gauff came out with different tactics to last year’s final, testing Swiatek with high, slower balls to her backhand and trying not to allow the top seed to get into a rhythm.

It worked well to a point, with Gauff quickly retrieving an early break, but Swiatek stepped up her level to clinch the set with a brilliant returning game.

Gauff’s big opportunity came in the third game of the second set when she created three break points – the third after drilling a point-blank backhand at Swiatek at the net, sending the Pole tumbling to the clay as she tried to avoid it.

Gauff swiftly apologised, but it was Swiatek who had the last laugh as the American fired shots long on each of her opportunities.

And that would prove to be the last opening, with the two-time champion winning four games in a row to book her spot in the last four once again.

There Swiatek will face Beatriz Haddad Maia, who came from a set down to defeat Ons Jabeur and become the first Brazilian woman to reach the French Open semi-finals in the open era.

After battling for nearly four hours to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo in the fourth round, the 14th seed again found herself with work to do after losing the opening set to seventh seed Jabeur.

A very tight second went to a tie-break, which Haddad Maia took, and the Brazilian ran away with the decider to win 3-6 7-6 (5) 6-1.

Haddad Maia, 27, looked utterly stunned at the moment of victory, having never previously gone beyond the fourth round at a slam.

Her results away from the majors have been very impressive, though, and she will hope to follow in the footsteps of Brazilian grand slam champions Gustavo Kuerten and Maria Bueno.

Pam Sly will consider an ambitious tilt at the Falmouth Stakes with Astral Beau after her stable star went down fighting at Epsom last week.

The four-year-old was rated in the mid-70s at this stage of last season, but has taken her game to another level this term, putting together three excellent runs.

After blowing her rivals away when landing a heavy ground Doncaster Mile on her April reappearance, Astral Beau proved that performance was no fluke when third in the Group Two Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on Guineas weekend.

She encountered much quicker conditions in the Group Three Princess Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday, but again performed with great credit to finish third, beaten just three-quarters of a length by the Frankie Dettori-ridden Prosperous Voyage.

Sly has not yet made any firm plans, but raised a step up to Group One level in Newmarket’s Falmouth Stakes on July 14 as a possibility.

“For us, she’s a diamond,” said Sly.

“We were well pleased with the run because the ground was pretty quick for her and I couldn’t understand it when the handicapper dropped her 2lb on Tuesday.

“There’s nothing for her really this month, so we’ve either got a Listed race at Pontefract (Pipalong Stakes, July 11) or we could be absolutely extreme and go for the Falmouth. That would be extreme, but there might be hellish thunderstorms or something at that time of the year, so we’ll see.

“We’re very pleased with her, she’ll have a couple of weeks out in the paddock now and we’ve got one or two Group races between now and September we might be able to have a go at. If we can keep picking up a bit of black type, it will be good.”

Leeds have been charged with failing to control their crowd after a fan confronted Newcastle boss Eddie Howe at Elland Road during a recent Premier League game.

The fan was charged with assault by West Yorkshire Police and banned for life by Leeds after he entered the technical area to remonstrate with Howe during last month’s 2-2 draw.

The FA said on its spokesperson Twitter site: “Leeds United has been charged with misconduct in relation to crowd control that occurred during its Premier League game against Newcastle United FC on Saturday 13 May 2023.

“It’s alleged that the club failed to ensure its spectators and/or supporters – and anyone purporting to be its supporters or followers – conduct themselves in an orderly fashion and don’t use words or behave in an improper, offensive, violent, threatening, abusive or insulting or provocative way.

“Leeds United FC has until Wednesday 14 June 2023 to provide a response.”

Howe said after the game that his confrontation should act as a wake-up call for those responsible for the safety of players and staff.

“I actually can’t remember whether he pushed me or not, I’ve got no idea, it’s such a strange thing because you’re concentrating on the game and you don’t expect it to happen,” Howe said.

“He confronted me, said something that I can’t repeat and was then led away.

“I’m OK, moments like that do make you think about the safety of staff and players is paramount for me at any matches in the Premier League and Football League. We need to be mindful, security is so important.

“I don’t know if I had time to be fearful because it was over in a flash but it certainly makes you think ‘what if’ and I think it is moments like this that should make people look and analyse how we can improve safety for staff and players.”

West Yorkshire Police later confirmed that the man had been charged with assault and will appear before magistrates on July 21.

Tottenham's appointment of Ange Postecoglou is part of "a golden era" for Australian football, according to James Johnson.

Postecoglou was handed a four-year deal at Spurs on Tuesday, leaving Scottish champions Celtic after two successful years which culminated in a domestic treble.

Football Australia CEO Johnson believes Tottenham fans are wrong to hold concerns over Postecoglou – who has been hired to replace Antonio Conte – even if the 57-year-old was not one of the biggest names available.

Johnson feels Postecoglou's track record speaks for itself and is certain he will succeed in the Premier League in an era of rapid progress for figures connected with Australian football.

"Australian football is in a golden era right now," Johnson said to Stats Perform.

"It is a really extraordinary development and Australian football is very proud of Ange. 

"Ange has gone through every level of Australian football. He's played in the NSL. He's coached in the NSL with South Melbourne. 

"He's coached in the A-League with Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory. He's coached all our national teams from the youth national teams, all the way up to the Socceroos. 

"He's had success at Celtic and now to land a job in the biggest league in the world with one of the biggest clubs in the world is extraordinary for Ange and for Australian football.

"The Ange appointment is another example of the many great waves that Australian football is pushing out at the moment.

"We are seeing a lot of our Matildas [Australia women's national team players] who are playing at some of the biggest clubs in the world from Chelsea to Tottenham to Arsenal to Lyon to Manchester City.

"We are seeing players re-enter the Premier League again, like Harry Souttar did at Leicester. We are seeing many players who are transferring from the A-League into Europe.

"And we are seeing our Socceroos coming off the best performance at a World Cup that they have ever had. 

"Then we are hosting the biggest tournament in women's sports, the Women's World Cup, in only six weeks’ time, so it is a fantastic time for Australian football." 

Postecoglou will take charge of a Spurs team that struggled to eighth place in the Premier League and will not play in Europe next season, with star striker Harry Kane facing an uncertain future.

Conte was sacked in late March, with Cristian Stellini and then Ryan Mason taking temporary charge. Johnson is convinced there will now be a rapid improvement and an attacking style of play.

He added: "Ange is someone who understands football from top to bottom, he's coached that youth team level. So at Tottenham, he's going to have a great connection with the youth team. 

"He's competed at the European level. So he's going to understand what it's like to juggle players who were playing both domestically and European football which a club like Tottenham do. 

"He's going to understand the friction between national team football and club football. 

"Ange is a total package as a coach and Tottenham are very smart to hire him. 

"He plays very attacking football. He's one of these people that he won't have restrictions put on him, he'll go out and play his style against any opposition.

"I think that kind of positivity and energy is exactly what a club like Tottenham need at the moment when they probably haven't done as well, in the past 12 months, as people would have expected them to."

Johnson continued: "I think people particularly in Europe need to understand the Australian football is coming quickly. 

"Ange at the forefront of that movement and will be successful in the Premier League. I'm absolutely sure about that."

Spurs have friendlies against West Ham, Leicester City and Roma lined up in July.

Ross McCrorie is looking to build on a momentous week in his career by winning his first Scotland cap during this month’s Euro 2024 qualifiers.

The versatile defender was called up to the Scotland squad on Monday in place of Celtic right-back Anthony Ralston.

The 25-year-old then completed a move from Aberdeen to Bristol City on Tuesday before flying out to Spain to join his international colleagues for a training camp ahead of games against Norway and Georgia.

The uncapped former Rangers player said in a City video: “It’s an honour for me to get called up.

“Personally I feel I have been playing at a high level for the last couple of years and it’s great to get that recognition now and get in the Scotland squad and become an international.

“Hopefully I can get a couple of appearances.

“It’s good coming down to Bristol City as an international.”

McCrorie, who has signed a three-year contract with the Sky Bet Championship club, added: “It was just a new challenge for me.

“I have been up in Scotland for a while now, I felt as if I knew the league inside out and I needed something to take me out of my comfort zone.

“They set out their plans and showed me a lot of ambition for the club. You see with the facilities it has got everything at the club to progress to the Premier League.”

Sheikh Jassim has submitted an improved fifth and final bid for Manchester United – and wants an answer by Friday, the PA news agency understands.

The club announced in November that the board was exploring strategic alternatives to enhance the club’s growth, with a full sale one option being considered.

Current owners, the Glazer family, are said to value United at £6billion and the Raine Group was brought in to oversee the process.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim both publicly confirmed initial offers after the February 17 soft deadline for expressions of interest, then another by the second deadline of March 22.

That was eventually extended by a few days and Raine asked interested parties for their third and final bids on April 28.

Talk has increased over the subsequent 40 days that Ratcliffe and INEOS have emerged as favourites to take over at United, despite Sheikh Jassim placing a fourth bid last month.

Now the PA news agency understands the Qataris this week lodged a fifth and final bid, along with sending a warning that patience is wearing thin.

The fifth offer remains for 100 per cent of the club and Sheikh Jassim’s bid team have set Friday as a deadline to make headway in discussions.

While Sheikh Jassim’s offer is understood to remain after that point, the end of the week would mark the end of their ongoing engagement in the process.

This is a crunch period on and off the field for United, who won the Carabao Cup, finished third in the Premier League and lost Saturday’s FA Cup final in Erik ten Hag’s first season in charge.

Co-owner Avram Glazer was at Wembley for Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City and ignored questions about the takeover as he left through the interview area.

Asked about the potential takeover and summer improvements, United boss Ten Hag said: “I think in this moment I don’t want to discuss that.

“It’s about finalising the season. We have to be quiet, analyse the season, go into the depth, then set the right conclusions and then take action. It’s about that.

“Of course, during the season you continually make your considerations and already some actions are into process.

“But, yeah, now the season is finished and the conclusion all over is we played a brilliant season.”

London Irish have filed for administration following their suspension from all club competitions.

The Rugby Football Union on Tuesday confirmed that neither Irish’s owner Mick Crossan nor the American consortium planning to buy the club were able to prove they had the finances to compete in the Gallagher Premiership for the 2023-24 campaign.

And Crossan has revealed that entering administration was the only choice left after the suspension ended any chance of the prospective takeover going through.

Crossan said: “This decision has ultimately ended any hope of an acquisition of the club and has regrettably forced us to file for administration this morning (Wednesday).

“Administration has always been the last resort and something we hoped we could avoid. And we bitterly regret the difficulties it will present to each and every one of you.

“My focus is now on working with the appointed administrator and I hope that the club will come out of administration as quickly as possible.

“As a lifelong fan of London Irish, the club’s suspension is bitterly disappointing and I understand the sadness felt by the thousands of our loyal supporters and the frustrations of our incredible coaches, medical staff, back-office team, and players.”

Beatriz Haddad Maia came from a set down to defeat Ons Jabeur and become the first Brazilian woman to reach the French Open semi-finals in the open era.

After battling for nearly four hours to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo in the fourth round, the 14th seed again found herself with work to do after losing the opening set to seventh seed Jabeur.

A very tight second went to a tie-break, which Haddad Maia took, and the Brazilian ran away with the decider to win 3-6 7-6 (5) 6-1.

Haddad Maia, 27, looked utterly stunned at the moment of victory, having never previously gone beyond the fourth round at a slam.

Her results away from the majors have been very impressive, though, and she will hope to follow in the footsteps of Brazilian grand slam champions Gustavo Kuerten and Maria Bueno.

Disappointing Derby favourite Arrest could bid for redemption in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh next month.

With his partner Frankie Dettori having claimed the Oaks aboard stablemate Soul Sister the previous afternoon, John and Thady Gosden’s colt was the 4-1 market leader to provide the popular Italian with a dream victory in his final ride in the premier Classic.

But pre-race fears regarding the quickening ground and the idiosyncratic nature of the Epsom track proved well founded as after racing keenly on the front end, the Juddmonte-owned Arrest weakened out of contention and passed the post 10th of the 14 runners.

Connections of the impressive Chester Vase winner are keen to let the dust settle before committing to future plans, but Juddmonte’s racing manager Barry Mahon has confirmed another bid for Classic glory on July 2 is a possibility.

“I met John and Thady in France on Sunday and they said he was fine and I was talking to them last night and they said he came out of it in good shape,” he said.

“We’ll see how he does in the next couple of weeks and give the Curragh some consideration. I think the track would suit him, as I think John said pre-Epsom, that the Curragh would suit him better being a more conventional track.

“We saw early on the other day he had a leg going in every direction and he was very unbalanced, so on a track like that he probably wants a bit of ease in the ground.

“I think on a more conventional track he’ll be fine on faster ground, but we won’t make any plans until we see how he is.”

The Ralph Beckett-trained Bluestocking looked an obvious Oaks candidate for Juddmonte after winning on her Salisbury debut and being narrowly beaten on her reappearance in Listed company at Newbury.

But the team ultimately decided against a trip to Epsom and she will now either head for Royal Ascot or across the Channel for the French Oaks.

Mahon added: “She worked well on Tuesday morning and has the option of the Ribblesdale and she also has the option of the Prix de Diane as well.

“She’s a filly who probably won’t want rattling fast ground, so that will probably sway us as to where we end up going. If the forecast was mostly dry and Ascot was looking very quick, then we could consider going to France as I know there is rain forecast for there early next week.”

On the decision to sidestep Epsom, Mahon added: “It was purely down to a lack of experience. You need a bit of experience to handle a track like that.

“It would have been her third run and if you’re very street-wise and it’s your third run it’s fine, but we saw at Newbury she was quite green and looked inexperienced and cold.

“To be green on a conventional track like that I think didn’t bode well for Epsom, so we all felt we’d give her a bit more time and run her on a more conventional track.”

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