Adam Peaty said a new relaxed mindset can serve him well after securing passage to this summer’s Paris Olympics by finishing first in his signature 100m breaststroke event on the first day of the British Championships in London.

The 29-year-old touched the wall in 57.94 seconds in the evening’s final – the fastest men’s 100m breaststroke time in the world this year and an improvement on the 59.10 seconds it took him to win bronze at February’s World Championships in Doha.

Peaty, who still holds the world record of 56.88 seconds in the event, is now set to defend his back-to-back Olympic titles after securing a nomination in the British championships, one year after pulling out of the 2023 event to begin what became an extended mental health-motivated hiatus from the sport.

Peaty said afterwards: “I’m not fully back, I’ve still got a second!

“It’s always going to be my mindset, but I’ve got a healthy approach to it. A few years ago, I’d have come out of there disappointed.

“I’ve learned to appreciate the moments of greatness for myself. For me, that was a great swim, executed well – but the most promising thing is that I’m finding peace in the water now, instead of anger and just fighting it, and trying to win like that.

“I’m finding a new version of myself which I’m really liking, and I think that’s a version that can do really well at the Olympics.”

The most direct way of securing a Paris 2024 nomination this week is to finish first in the open finals of each individual event, provided athletes clock in at or under a specific time set by the newly-rebranded Aquatics GB, though nominations are still subject to an official rubber-stamp by the British Olympic Association.

Peaty emerged from his afternoon heat with a time of 58.53, the only man of 64 entrants in the event’s heats to touch the wall in under a minute, marking another significant step on a comeback journey for the five-time Olympic medallist.

He was sidelined from the 2022 World Championships due to a foot injury and last year withdrew from the British Championships, making his competitive return in Doha.

James Wilby, who finished second to Peaty, missed the 59.45sec nomination time by an agonising 0.02 seconds but could still be one of a maximum 30 swimmers nominated by Aquatics GB following the championships’ conclusion on Sunday.

Scotland’s Keanna MacInnes, 22, punched her ticket after overtaking Laura Stephens in the women’s 200m butterfly, though Stephens – the reigning world champion in the event – also finished below the required nomination time to put herself in contention for Team GB.

Freya Colbert, 20, who claimed women’s 400m individual medley gold in Doha, finished ahead of training partner Abbie Wood in the women’s 200m freestyle to secure her nomination, while Wood’s time was also under the nomination standard.

This is the first year the British Championships combined events for both para and non-disabled athletes, and it was Poppy Maskill who emerged with the top, sub-nomination standard time in the multi-classification women’s para 200m freestyle where five athletes finished under the standard.

Bath-based Kieran Bird came close in the men’s 400m freestyle, finishing in 3:45.63 – a hair off the required 3:45.43 – but might have also done enough do impress the selectors.

Crystal Palace defender Daniel Munoz scored a stunning first international goal as Spain’s build-up to Euro 2024 began with a surprise 1-0 defeat by Colombia.

Right-back Munoz acrobatically converted Luis Diaz’s cross in the 61st minute to earn his side a morale-boosting result moving towards this summer’s Copa America in the United States.

Three-time European champions Spain enjoyed plenty of possession at the London Stadium but lacked a cutting edge as their eight-match winning run ended.

Former Real Madrid man James Rodriguez played an instrumental role in his country’s success, which stretched their unbeaten run to 20 games, after coming off the bench following a forgettable first half.

Spain will look to bounce back on Tuesday night when they host Brazil at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

The Spanish – unfamiliar in yellow shirts against a nation renowned for wearing them – opted to leave influential Manchester City midfielder Rodri on the bench for the evening, while Liverpool’s Diaz captained Colombia.

Luis de la Fuente’s side started in the ascendancy but without seriously threatening in a tight opening period of few chances.

Athletic Bilbao defender Daniel Vivian nodded narrowly over on his international debut following a fine cross from Alex Grimaldo, who earlier fired straight at opposition goalkeeper Camilo Vargas.

Colombia, backed by a sizeable support at the home of West Ham, were aggressively pressed by a team monopolising possession.

Mateo Cassierra forced a save out of Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya following a well-worked free-kick routine but the South Americans were restricted to little as they largely sought opportunities to counter.

Colombia manager Nestor Lorenzo turned to James in search of a much-needed spark for the second period, while Spain keeper Raya was replaced by debutant Alex Remiro of Real Sociedad.

Lorenzo’s men improved significantly after the restart, albeit Vargas had to be alert to deny Gerard Moreno a 49th-minute opener.

Minutes after skying well over when well placed, ex-Everton player James played a key role in what proved to be the winner.

His fine pass released Diaz down the left and, after twisting and turning Vivian, the skipper delivered an inviting centre which bounced before Munoz, winning his 24th cap, dispatched the ball high into Remiro’s net with an eye-catching scissor kick.

The thumping finish sparked wild scenes of celebration among the healthy Colombian contingent in a crowd of more than 43,000.

Spain introduced striker Alvaro Morata as part of a triple change.

But they could not find a leveller as they slipped to a first defeat since a shock 2-0 European Championship qualifying loss to Scotland last March.

Former World Series champion Chase Utley has promised a “fantastic experience” when Major League Baseball returns to London this summer.

The 2024 MLB season officially gets under way on Wednesday with a two-game series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres in Seoul before the regular season begins on March 28.

This summer, on the weekend of June 8-9, the latest MLB London series will take place when the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies go head-to-head in England’s capital.

London Stadium will host two matches between the sides in what will be the third time the sport has been taken to Britain after previous series in 2019 and last year.

Utley, who helped Philadelphia claim 2008 World Series success, said: “You’ll have the Phillies and Mets, two fantastic teams, two rivals in the same division.

“They’ve been rivals for around like 70 years and you’ll see some of the best players in the world.

“You’ll see fireworks, activities on the field in between innings, live music, you’ll have American-standard baseball food, which consists of hotdogs, nachos and burgers!

“Overall, it’s just a fantastic experience.”

Utley was in Brent Cross last week at The 108, a state-of-the-art dedicated indoor baseball facility, and put England white-ball captain Jos Buttler through his paces before he learned some of the key principles of cricket.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jos Buttler (@josbuttler)


The sporting crossover occurred due to cricket heading across the pond this summer when the T20 World Cup is hosted in America and West Indies during the same time of the latest MLB London series.

Former second baseman Utley retired in 2018 and splits his time between the United States and his new London home as part of his ambassador role for MLB Europe.

The 45-year-old feels cricket is slowly starting to break through in the USA, adding: “It’s probably as much as baseball penetrates here in the UK, so a bit, yes.

“Here, obviously football, from what I’ve seen in a short amount of time, is the sport that for sure everyone watches and then cricket is second place to that.

“In America, you have American Football and then you have basketball or you have baseball that are kind of bounced back and forth.

“It’s exciting to see that cricket is going to the United States to play because I’ve seen some amateurs playing in the park. You’re starting to see it more and more over the last few years that I was there.”

The next goal for Utley is to actually watch a cricket match live after brushing up his knowledge with Buttler last Wednesday when the meaning of ‘Bazball’ alongside the difference between Test and white-ball cricket was discussed.

“I’ve watched a fair share but I still haven’t seen it in person,” Utley said.

“At some point I need to see it in person. I’ve watched it on TV and it took me a little while, but I imagine it’s the same for watching baseball.

“It takes you a while to understand the nuances, the terminology and actually what is going on in the moment, but once you can wrap your head around it and make some sense, it’s very entertaining.”

New York Mets will play Philadelphia Phillies in the MLB World Tour: London Series 2024 on June 8-9 at London Stadium. Tickets are on sale now at

Seven-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft feels it is time for the world to “move on” from London 2012 nostalgia and stage another Games worthy of the athletes.

The wheelchair racer won T34 100m and 200m gold in the capital, a Paralympics still widely viewed as the most successful in the history of the now nearly 64-year-old event.

Cockroft, also a 14-time world champion, is optimistic the Paris 2024 Paralympics have a chance of setting a new bar, overtaking a London Games that, without sacrificing any of their considerable significance, can now also be viewed from the perspective of stalled progress.

Asked if this summer could finally establish a new exemplar, Cockroft told the PA news agency: “I hope so. I’d love that. Even though I’m so proud that I got to compete at London 2012, and I get to sit there and say that I competed at the best Paralympic Games ever, it’s also kind of embarrassing saying that an event that happened 12 years ago was the best one of that event ever.

“From what I’ve seen, the support the athletes are getting, the support I got this year, is bigger than what I had going into London, so this year is really big.

“We’re seeing big brands get involved, ticket sales are going really well, I think Paris could be huge if they do it right, and so far they’re doing it pretty well.”

Last week, three-time British-Canadian Paralympic medallist Stef Reid took to social media to express her disappointment after seeing the Olympics promoted on a list of 2024’s big events to watch, while the Paralympics were not mentioned.

Though Reid’s concern stemmed from one particular article, the omission is by no means an isolated incident. At best, Cockroft observed, “people group them together and say them as one word, ‘OlympicsandParalympics’, or they just use Olympics and assume it covers it all.”

She added: “As Paralympians we’re so proud of the movement we’ve built, so it is frustrating when that gets forgotten about and when that doesn’t get highlighted. We’re at a point where so many Paralympic athletes are household names.

“People actually know who we are and what we do, and we need to celebrate that because we’re actually one of the only countries in the world that treat our disabled athletes that way, and it’s such a privileged place to be that we need to shout about it more and celebrate it more.”

‘Hurricane Hannah’ will defend her London 2012 T34 100m gold for a third time in Paris as well as the back-to-back 800m T34 medals she won in Rio and Tokyo.

In February, Cockroft set four new world records in three days, some of which she has even already since broken.

Gold in Paris will set Cockroft on the road to an as-yet elusive and coveted feat – holding world, European, Paralympic and Commonwealth titles at the same time.

The 31-year-old, who has swapped both coach and chair since Tokyo, is certainly showing no signs of stopping, but when the time does come hopes she, like London 2012 and perhaps Paris 2024, has set an example for what happens when disabled children are dared to dream.

She added: “I just want to open up opportunities for people. I was told people like me didn’t play sport.

“I hate that we’re in 2024 and I still meet kids that are being told they can’t do sport because they have a disability. Sport is for everyone.

“We need more people bending the rules and not telling people what they can’t do, but telling them what they can.”

:: Dreams is proud to be the Official Sleep Partner for Team GB, ParalympicsGB and Special Olympics GB.

Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal are prepared to dip into the transfer market in January if his squad remains as “exposed” as in recent weeks.

The Gunners have fared better than some of their Premier League rivals in terms of injuries but are without five players for Thursday’s London derby at home to West Ham.

Thomas Partey, Jurrien Timber, Fabio Vieira and Takehiro Tomiyasu are all still sidelined while Kai Havertz is banned having collected five yellow cards.

Arsenal invested over £200million on new recruits in the summer, including the £105million club-record signing of Declan Rice from the Hammers.

The England midfielder was joined at the Emirates Stadium by Havertz and Timber as Arsenal spent big having missed out on the title despite being top for 248 days last season.

With Arteta unsure of return dates for his injured quartet and the festive fixture schedule testing any squad in the division – the Spaniard confirmed Arsenal do have plans should they feel the need to act in January.

“At the moment, it is very difficult. We are really short,” he said.

“We have positions that we have been very exposed for the last six weeks and hopefully we are going to get players back. In what condition and when?

“That’s a question mark and as well because we have some long-term injuries still for certain players that give us a lot of versatility and that’s an issue.

“We have certain targets, ideas if things happen. As well, we don’t know how the squad is going to look in two weeks’ time and you have to be always prepared for that.

“But it is a very, very tricky market that shifts very quickly and it is quite unpredictable as well – and you have to be prepared. We will be prepared and we will try to make the right calls.

“If there is something that we can (do to) improve the squad and that needs appear, and we cannot fulfil it with players here, we are always going to be open to do that because we want to be stronger.”

Leyton Orient gained bragging rights in their London derby with near-neighbours Charlton thanks to a goal from Omar Beckles.

The central defender met a cross on 80 minutes from substitute Dan Agyei – who had only been the field for two minutes when he sent a ball into the box – to earn a 1-0 win.

Neither side had anything to show for their intense energy in the first half with a lack of true quality proving their shortcoming.

Orient keeper Sol Brynn kept his side on level terms before the break when he was at full-stretch to keep out efforts from Corey Blackett-Taylor and Chem Campbell, after Watford loan striker Shaq Forde had spurned a good opportunity in the third minute for the home side when he blazed over the bar following a Theo Archibald corner.

Orient improved after the interval and were rewarded with Beckles’ defining goal, although they were indebted to Brynn’s fine late save from Blackett-Taylor that protected their win.

The victory exacted revenge for the O’s defeat by the same scoreline in the opening match of the season at The Valley.

Tottenham manager Robert Vilahamn has pledged to maintain his attacking approach in the wake of consecutive heavy defeats in the Women’s Super League.

Vilahamn’s side were thrashed 7-0 by Manchester City and 4-0 by Manchester United and now face high-flying Arsenal in the north London derby, just three days after losing on penalties to the same opponents in the Continental Tyres League Cup.

Tottenham have failed to win any of their last 11 games against the Gunners, who are behind WSL leaders Chelsea on goal difference only after beating the Blues 4-1 last week.

“It’s always tricky when you want to be a team that dictates the game and want to show that we have the ball, when you play against one of the top teams in the world,” Vilahamn said ahead of a game which will be staged at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

“But when we come to our stadium we want to make sure we try to do it. I’m not going to go there and just try to have a low block and hope that we can counter-attack.

“The main thing is for me to show the fans who come that this team is all about playing the way we want to do it.”

Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall likened facing the same opposition in quick succession to a “longer half-time break where you can actually work on things on the training ground” and is focused on ending the year on a high.

“The next game is our most important game and that means 100 per cent of our preparation and focus goes into this game,” he said.

“We are really determined and motivated and trying to end this year on as high a level as possible and hopefully after that can go to a well-deserved Christmas break.”

Anthony Joshua retained his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles with a ninth-round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev in London on this day in 2020.

In the ring for the first time in 12 months after reclaiming his belts from Andy Ruiz Jr, rustiness was one of many potential problems for Joshua but he proved too strong for Pulev.

The Bulgarian showed admirable durability to get off the deck three times, but eventually slumped to defeat following a lethal left-right combination from Joshua, who improved to 24-1.

“I started this game in 2013, I have been chasing all the belts, I’ve been dealing with mandatories, so of course I want a challenge,” Joshua told the fans inside Wembley’s SSE Arena.

“For me I stuck to what I know best: boxing, looking at where I am going to put my shots and putting them together. When they are successful, they are successful, but like I said it is less talk, more action.”

Joshua’s uppercut did the most damage to Pulev and on more than one occasion made him topple like the blocks of the Jenga game he had spent much of his time playing at Matchroom’s bio-secure bubble at the Hilton Hotel in the build-up to the fight.

Pulev hit the deck twice in the third round and again in the ninth before Joshua landed the knockout punch with a slick combination.

It was Joshua’s 22nd knockout from 25 bouts, but there was also an added maturity to his display in London.

He could have gone for the kill and overcommitted in the middle rounds after an explosive third, but stayed patient and eventually his chance came with Pulev barely able to register a legitimate punch in the contest.

After the fight, all the chat was about the prospect of a ‘Battle of Britain’ against WBC title holder Tyson Fury as, not for the first or last time, both camps talked of their desire to make the fight happen, although no such bout has yet been staged.

Son Heung-min has brandished Tottenham’s five-match winless run as “unacceptable” but eased fears over his own fitness.

Spurs suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to West Ham on Thursday night despite taking the lead through Cristian Romero’s 11th-minute header in the London derby.

It was the fifth match in a row Ange Postecoglou’s team had taken the lead, but failed to hold on for victory, which has set an unwanted Premier League record.

“You are winning five times in a row and then you lose that game like that, it is just unacceptable,” captain Son told SpursPlay.

“I am angry because it shouldn’t be happening. Five times in a row is just unacceptable and I think we are soft.

“This shouldn’t be happening and I love them as boys, I love working with the guys, but it shouldn’t be happening.

“In the Premier League 1-0 is never enough, 1-0 is never enough. The players should know and I should know as well.

“We had the chance to kill the game and we were just soft when we play the final third passes or even someone makes good runs and we don’t find it.

“We have to be ruthless and I also feel the responsibility. It was very sad that the fans were turning around and going home. They didn’t look very happy so a big, big sorry and yeah I take responsibility.

“Every single player; young player, experienced player, good player, superstar, you have to take responsibility and move on stronger.”

Son failed to finish the match with West Ham after he was substituted in the 88th minute.

Tottenham’s top goalscorer limped off after a blow to the back, but was hopeful of being fit for Sunday’s visit of top-four rivals Newcastle.

He added: “Yeah I hope so. I had a big kick on my back, in the bone so we’ll see. I didn’t have time to assess so we’ll see what happens.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Premier League (@premierleague)


“Look, we have to bounce back as strong as ever and it is another home game.

“I know it sounds crazy five games in a row. I hope it was a good lesson and look we have to take the loss and there is no time to regret what we done.

“There is no time to regret so we have to move on, put the chest out, take the responsibility and Sunday we have to make a big step forward.”

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has vowed to not stand still in his ambition to drive further positive change in the area of the club’s stadium.

An in-depth analysis of Spurs’ socio-economic impact from the 2021-22 season by law company EY has found the club now contribute around £900million of gross output to London’s economy, generating an additional £478m of Growth Value Added (GVA) in London.

A total of £296m of this GVA is for the borough of Haringey specifically, which is a vast increase on the £120m GVA per annum being generated in 2015 when the club called 36,284-seater White Hart Lane its home.

This study, which follows a benchmark report by Tottenham in 2015, also estimated the growth of the club’s socio-economic impact will reach £585m GVA by the 2026-27 season with around 4,300 jobs, in comparison to the 1,800 jobs it supported eight years ago.

EY’s report follows the news Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which hosts non-football events all-year round, has been selected as one of the venues for Euro 2028.

Spurs chairman Levy said: “Delivering tangible benefits to those living on our doorstep has always been a driving factor since we initially undertook the stadium development project – four years on from the stadium’s opening, this report clearly shows the difference it is making to people’s lives and the economic prosperity it is bringing to our community.

“We will not stand still – with plans for further Visitor Attractions, notably F1 DRIVE-London, new homes, a new creative quarter and a hotel in the years to come, this area that we are so passionate about will continue to benefit from the club’s investment and being home to one of the world’s greatest football clubs and stadia.

“Everyone involved should be extremely proud of the findings of our latest socio-economic impact report.”

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, added: “It’s fantastic to see the positive impact that the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has had in the local area – from job opportunities and skills learning to local small business investment.

“Football has the power to unite communities, and this report shows football clubs can play a major role in building a better and more prosperous London for everyone.”

Tottenham midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur has returned to full training but is still weeks away from being in contention to play first-team football.

Bentancur saw his fine 2022-23 campaign cut short in February when he suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage to his left knee during a 4-1 defeat to Leicester.

The ex-Juventus midfielder had been one of Spurs’ best performers, scoring six times in 26 appearances last season and after eight months out he is close to a return, but will not be in the squad for Monday’s visit of Fulham.

“No, he won’t be in the squad,” Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou confirmed.

“We’ll be careful with him. Now he’s sort of fully training, so that means he’s into the whole session. We’ve drip-fed him into training the last month and he’s coped pretty well with that.

“Now he’s into full training. We’ve got to be mindful that he’s missed a fair bit of football, but I think the more he trains with the first team over the next few weeks, we’ll sort of pick our moment.

“He’s looking good at training and it was great to have him for the last couple of weeks fully integrated with the guys who are here and we’re looking forward to having him back.”

Joint-leaders Spurs will have vice-captain Cristian Romero and skipper Son Heung-min available for the London derby.

Romero suffered a whack to his ankle in Argentina’s 2-0 win over Peru earlier this week, while Son was visibly in discomfort during South Korea’s 6-0 victory against Vietnam, although did play the whole match and score in the friendly.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Son HeungMin(손흥민)?? (@hm_son7)

No issues have been reported since the duo returned to Hotspur Way this week.


Postecoglou added: “It has been a pretty positive international break. In terms of availability I’ll start with the internationals first and everybody is back.

“The medical reports seem good so no real issue around the guys from a fitness perspective.

“Playing on a Monday night helps and all the international players should be fine but Brennan (Johnson) we will need to see.”

Johnson has not played for Tottenham since the north London derby at Arsenal on September 24 after he sustained a minor hamstring strain.

The Wales international is training again and set to be in the squad against Fulham, but Spurs will be without Yves Bissouma after he was sent off for two bookable offences at Luton a fortnight ago.

Postecoglou also revealed Dejan Kulusevski is fine after speaking with the winger who was involved in Sweden’s Euro 2024 qualifier at Belgium on Monday, which was abandoned at half-time following confirmation that two Swedish supporters had been killed in a shooting three miles from the stadium in Brussels.

“No, he is fine. I had a chat with him,” Postecoglou explained.

“Like everyone else we shake our heads at these things where you go to a football game and these kind of things happen.

“It is sad and kind of confronting how close it comes to your own world, but Deki is fine. He trained yesterday with the team and is ready to go.”

Jessica Ennis-Hill announced her retirement from athletics on this day in 2016.

She had won Olympic gold in the heptathlon at London 2012 and silver at Rio 2016, and retired as a two-time world champion.

Ennis-Hill, then 30, released a statement on her Instagram account to announce her decision and admitted it was “one of the toughest decisions” she had ever had to make during her successful career.

The Sheffield-born heptathlete returned to competition after the birth of her son Reggie in July 2014 and went on to win the World Athletics Championships in Beijing in 2015 having already achieved the qualifying standard for Rio.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill (@jessicaennishill)


It was her second world heptathlon title after previously achieving the feat in Berlin in 2009 while claiming silver in 2011.

Ennis-Hill’s senior breakthrough came at her only Commonwealth Games in 2006 where she picked up bronze, finishing behind winner and team-mate Kelly Sotherton.

But she was destined for more greatness and won gold at the 2010 European Championships before claiming the World Indoor Pentathlon title in the same year.

The victories were part of her dominance of the sport between 2009 and 2012 ahead of her success at London 2012.

She won the 100 metres hurdles before coming sixth in the high jump and 10th in the shot put. A personal best of 22.83 seconds saw her finish second in the 200 metres and Ennis-Hill was also second in the long jump before she threw a personal best of 47.49 metres in the javelin to finish 10th and put her on the brink of glory.

She earned the Olympic crown with a season’s best of two minutes and eight seconds in the 800 metres to win the race.

Ennis-Hill then called time on her career following the 2016 Olympics after she narrowly failed to retain her Olympic heptathlon title-winning silver behind Belgian Nafissatou Thiam at Rio 2016.

She won the 800m – the final discipline of the competition – but it was not enough to overtake Thiam, who won by 35 points.

England forward Ollie Watkins is so averse to the public spotlight that he no longer goes shopping, but knows his profile is only going to get bigger.

The Aston Villa striker has earned a recall to the England squad for forthcoming games against Australia and Italy after his season burst into life with four goals in two games at the end of last month.

Watkins, who was not included in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the September games, does not feel comfortable walking around his local supermarket.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ollie Watkins (@olliewatkins)



But he also accepts that if he keeps banging in the goals for Villa and England, he is only going to get more attention.

“I go under the radar, maybe,” the 27-year-old admitted. “I’m not talked about enough profile-wise. But I know I have been producing on the pitch since Unai Emery came in. But I do go under the radar.

“I don’t know if it’s me being at Villa. You get some players that are just likeable and out there. I’m not really too fussed about that.

“I just like playing football. Maybe a lot of people said to me I need to push my profile. But I am happy with what I am doing on the pitch and that’s all that matters to me.

“The bigger you are, the more you are in the spotlight. It’s not that I don’t want that, it is doing my job. If I am doing my job and playing well, my profile will raise naturally.

“I remember when I moved from Brentford to Villa, I used to just go and shop in Sainsbury’s normal at Brentford.

“I came to try to do it at Villa and I couldn’t. I came home and I was fuming and I said to my missus I am never going out again, you will have to do the shop.

“Since then I don’t do the shopping, I don’t get ‘bothered’ but a lot of people want photos.

“I had my earphones in and people were like – they take two looks – is that him? When I see that people have clocked me, normally I try to avoid (them). Not because I don’t want to interact with them…once one person asks for a photo then two or three do and it’s hard to do shopping.”

Watkins believes the arrival of Villa boss Emery last year was the catalyst for kick-starting his career.

“Definitely, under (Steven) Gerrard, I know he played me all the time – I’ve played under all managers – but I wasn’t really getting the best out of my game,” he said.

“That wasn’t down to him, I had just kind of fallen into a rut, but I feel like I have gone on a different path and really focused on being a striker.

“Before I was trying to do everything, trying to cross it and get on the end of my own cross and head it. Now I am just focused, being the main man.

“He put a lot of faith in me and gave me confidence to go out and perform, just focusing on scoring goals and helping the team.

“I definitely felt like, I came from Brentford, I scored a lot of goals and in my first year I did well and then I found I hit a little bit of a rut.

“It is hard. When you are in that rut, you don’t know where you are going to end up or what is going to happen.

“I didn’t see my career anywhere else but Villa but it was hard to try and get out of the rut when it wasn’t going great for me.”

Australia play England at Wembley on Friday night but former national team head coach Ange Postecoglou does not envisage football truly taking off in his home country like it dominates in his current residence.

Postecoglou has enjoyed an excellent start at Tottenham and they are joint-leaders of the Premier League after eight matches going into this month’s international break.

Optimism is rife at Spurs but their 58-year-old manager remains pessimistic about the state of football in Australia, despite his nation co-hosting a successful Women’s World Cup this summer where the Matildas finished fourth.

Postecoglou spent four years in charge of the Socceroos and – despite achieving plenty – he has given up hope of the sport cracking life Down Under with subtle digs aimed at governing body Football Australia ahead of Friday’s friendly clash in London.

Asked about his Asian Cup win on home soil in 2015, Postecoglou replied: “It didn’t make an impact back there and that was kind of my frustration.

“I don’t think that anything they can achieve… when you look at what the Matildas did at the World Cup, unbelievable but you still won’t see an influx of resources to the game. You won’t. I guarantee it.

“They’ll build stadiums and other codes will use them. I just don’t think the nation as a whole has that inside them to understand you can make an impact on the world of football but it requires a kind of nationalistic approach that I just don’t think Australians – at their core – are really interested in.

“There’s a couple of things. One of them is obviously the sporting landscape, where there’s some pretty strong codes there that have generationally dominated the landscape.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (@tottenhamhotspurstadium)


“There’s Aussie Rules, that’s the indigenous sport of Australia. It’s kind of unique to them and they take great pride in protecting as their code. The rugby codes dominate.

“It’s very hard for football to make an impact in that space and I guess then the flipside of that is just how global the sport of football is.

“If I can compare that to a country like Japan, who also have the tyranny of distance and baseball’s pretty strong, they plant a lot of resources into football and you can see that’s making an impact. I don’t see Australia down that road.”

Japan was Postecoglou’s next destination when he walked away from the Socceroos job after he helped his country qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

The ex-Yokohama boss had managed Australia at the 2014 edition, but his departure seven months out from the global showpiece was a surprise and at the time he described the job as “taking a toll” both personally and professionally.

Postecoglou has been involved in coaching since 1996 and while he has taken the Premier League by storm so far, he does not expect his time at Tottenham to change the landscape of football in Australia.

“I don’t. I don’t know and maybe that’s just me, not being cynical, but I gave up that fight,” he explained.

“It’s a much easier space for me to live in because I was so frustrated for so long. It was my biggest frustration. One of my major drivers for doing what I did was to do that – to change football in Australia and that’s the reason I left.

“I felt I hadn’t made an impact at all. That’s easier for me to deal with than to think maybe I still can now with what I’m doing. I just think I’d be disappointed, so I’d prefer to think it’s not going to happen.

“I walked away from a World Cup. We qualified and I walked away. The reason I walked away was I just didn’t enjoy what I was doing.

“It’s not just doing the job and winning games of football, it’s got to be a higher purpose. My higher purpose in Australia was to change the game. I just don’t think that will happen.

“It was the right decision for me (to leave), it was the right decision for where I saw the next stage of my career and if I didn’t make that decision at that time, if I had waited until after the World Cup, I’ve got no doubt I wouldn’t be sitting here now.”

Postecoglou replied no when asked if he would manage Australia again and laughed off talk of replacing England chief Gareth Southgate.

He added: “England? Oh, come on mate. They’ve got a fantastic manager and I’m eight games into a Tottenham career. That’s how I think.”

The St. Louis Cardinals gave up four runs in the first inning but rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs, 7-5, on Sunday to split the teams’ two-game series at London Stadium.

Former Cubs catcher Willson Contreras went 4 for 4 and scored two runs for St. Louis, while Paul Goldschmidt delivered the go-ahead RBI single that chased NL ERA leader Marcus Stroman in the fourth.

The Cubs later said that Stroman exited early due to a blister on his throwing hand. He was charged with six runs - three earned - on eight hits. 

St. Louis committed two errors in the first inning before recording an out, saddling starter Matthew Liberatore with four unearned runs, but five Cardinals relievers held the Chicago lineup in check the rest of the way.

The Cubs fell to 37-39 and missed a chance to get back to .500, while the Cardinals have won five of seven following a six-game losing streak.


Yankees rally to take series from AL West-leading Rangers

Harrison Bader delivered a go-ahead two-run double during an eighth-inning rally that lifted the New York Yankees to a 5-3 victory over the American League West-leading Texas Rangers.

The Yankees trailed 3-2 before scoring three times in the eighth to win the rubber match of the three-game series. DJ LeMahieu had a two-run double earlier for New York, which went 4-2 on its week-long homestand after returning to the Bronx on a season high-tying four-game losing streak.

New York also overcame ace Gerrit Cole's shortest outing of the season, a 4 2/3-inning stint in which he was tagged for three runs and nine hits.

Jonah Heim had a solo home run off Cole and finished 2 for 4. Leody Tavares also collected two hits and an RBI for Texas, which stranded 10 runners compared to just three for the Yankees. 

Rangers starter Nathan Eovaldi was in line for his 10th win of the season after yielding two runs and four hits over 5 2/3 innings and exiting with a one-run lead. 


Braves hang on to take two of three from Reds

Matt Olson hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning and the Atlanta Braves staved off a comeback attempt from the Cincinnati Reds for a second straight day to hold on for a 7-6 win.

Olson's 25th homer of the season, which snapped a 3-3 tie and matched him with Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani for the major league lead, helped Atlanta win the three-game series between National League division leaders and two of its hottest teams. The Braves have now won 17 of 20 and snapped Cincinnati's 12-game winning streak with a 7-6 victory on Saturday.

The Braves tacked on a needed insurance run in the top of the eighth to go up 7-4, but the Reds rallied and pulled within one on Matt McClain's two-run double with two out in the bottom of the inning.

McClain was left stranded, however, and Raisel Iglesias later got Kevin Newman to ground into a game-ending double play with two on in the ninth to record his 12th save.

McClain finished 4 for 5 with a home run, three doubles and five RBIs to become only the second Reds rookie since 1901 with four extra-base hits in a game, joining Chris Sabo in 1988.

Marcell Ozuna knocked in a pair of runs for Atlanta, while Charlie Morton earned the win after striking out seven while allowing three runs in five innings. 



Page 1 of 2
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.