Kvitova talks of difficulties surrounding being a leading tennis player

The two-time Wimbledon Champion, Petra Kvitova, has admitted she sometimes wishes she could have lived life as a more “normal human being”.

This comes after she spoke of the “real life” negatives that come with being one of the best tennis players in the world.

“It’s tough to find friends, honest friends I mean. It’s tough to spend time with your family,” she admitted.

Despite the difficulties, the 30-year-old Czech claims she is still in love with the game, and remains motivated to continue winning accolades at the highest level in women’s tennis.

“If I don’t have the motivation to be great I will not play.

“I think we don’t really have a real life to be honest.

“Because we are still on the road, we are still practising, playing matches, eating, sleeping.

“I love the game itself so for me I can enjoy it, for sure, when I am on the court itself. I love matches. I don’t really like practice but that’s how it is.

“We have to deal with so many things, with our nerves, with the pressure, with the pressure from outside. To be a public person is not easy.”

A cash out from Coral option on Kvitova’s success at the next Grand Slam could be profitable, should she show any signs of losing her way during a match, and you want to take the money you are being offered.

Kvitova won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, but has since returned to the top of the game following a robbery in the Czech Republic in December 2016, which left her with a stab wound in her playing hand. 

Since returning to the sport five months later, Kvitova has gone on to win eight WTA titles.

 

Can Tiger Produce his magic again at Augusta?

Tiger Woods’ victory at the 2019 US Masters at Augusta is not only one of the best storylines golf has thrown up over the last couple of decades, it has been ranked by many sports writers as one of the leading sporting comebacks ever seen.

Woods sealed his 15th Major Championship in Georgia in 2019, 11 years after his last win in golf’s four big tournaments.

Over a career which has now spanned across four decades, Woods has often produced some of his best moments at Augusta. He blew the field away by 12 strokes there in 1997, and who can forget that spectacular chip shot when beating Chis DiMarco in a playoff in 2005.

Woods will now be looking to repeat what he did in 2002 by defending his crown in the Masters. No other champion has been able to follow up the year later since he achieved that feat. You have to go back to 1990 and Nick Faldo for the only other repeat winner of the last 50 years.

Augusta Can Often Find the Best Out of Woods

Although Woods has not shown anywhere near the form he produced last year in 2020 so far, the former world number one will be confident about his chances at Augusta.

Woods proved last year that the course suits his game very well. What was also so impressive about his win in 2019 was the way he closed it out on the back nine. He held his nerve very well on the Sunday which is a great sign for fans of the American.

With five Masters wins now, Woods is one shy of Jack Nicklaus’ record in the event. A victory would also see him two away from Nicklaus’ tally of 18 Major wins in his illustrious career.

Woods is 16/1 in the golf betting for the US Masters in 2020. Those odds suggest he is in with a great chance as he is ahead of Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose in the outright market for the tournament.

If the four-time Masters winner is able to win on the US PGA Tour before then, those odds will most likely shorten.

Thomas, Rahm and McIlroy All in Good Form

The top three players in the world golf rankings – Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy – are all at the top of their games at the moment. If they continue to remain in hot form, it could be one of the best Masters tournaments.

Thomas recently won the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational, his 13th success on the PGA Tour. A victory at Augusta would help him cement that spot at the top of the rankings.

McIlroy is also desperate to win his maiden Green Jacket. The US Masters is the only Major Championship the Northern Irishman has not won so far. He has performed well at Augusta though, which suggests it is likely to be only a matter of time before he completes the Career Grand Slam.

This year’s US Masters is set to begin on the 12th November in a later than normal tournament at Augusta National.

 

Borussia Dortmund set deadline for Sancho transfer to Man Utd

Bundesliga side have told Manchester United they have until August 10 to agree a deal for Jadon Sancho, or risk a no deal situation.

It is no secret that the highly-rated English youngster is at the very top of United’s transfer wish list this summer.

The German club have reportedly told the Red Devils they expect in excess of £100m to allow the 20-year-old to leave.

Currently, there is no agreement on the fee – and no idea whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side would have to pay in one lump sum, or in instalments.

Dortmund have put their foot down due to the 2020-21 season approaching fast, with a start date of September 18.

Sancho has enjoyed a highly productive three years at Dortmund, following his £10m move from Manchester City in August 2017.

The move to Old Trafford would certainly go a long way to improving United’s current odds on the 888 sport Android app of winning the Premier League title at 8/1.

Last month, Dortmund beat United to the signature of promising 17-year-old English midfielder Jude Bellingham, who joined from Birmingham in a whopping deal thought to be worth over £30m.

The black and yellows also splashed the class earlier in the season, when they signed Erling Braut Haaland from Red Bull Salzburg – funnily enough, another player that had been on United’s wish-list.

 

Third Canelo-Golovkin showdown still a possibility

Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin have been two of the most dominant middleweight boxers of their generation over the last decade.

The two men have shared the ring twice in their careers in huge showdowns which did not disappoint. Although their last meeting was in September 2018, there is some hope that the two world champions will complete their trilogy in the near future.

Alvarez, who won the second clash between the two legends of the sport, has picked up world titles at two other weight divisions since then. He claimed the WBA super middleweight crown with victory over Rocky Fielding, while more recently, he stopped Sergey Kovalev for the WBO light heavyweight title.

The Mexican boxer has been linked with a fight with Billy Joe Saunders next. That contest would be for the WBO super middleweight title, which Saunders currently holds, and Alvarez’s WBA belt.

Canelo and Saunders have been tipped to meet in the ring for a number of years now. They both held world crowns in the middleweight division for a number of years. Despite many discussions between the two parties, a deal for the two men to meet has yet to be reached.

Saunders is a regular training partner of Tyson Fury. He is sure to be working with the WBC heavyweight champion ahead of his third fight with Deontay Wilder, where he is 2/7 in the latest boxing odds for that contest.

A clash with Canelo will be the biggest fight of Saunders’ career. If he were able to pull off an upset, it would rank on the same scale as Fury’s incredible success at a much higher weight division.

Golovkin still carries IBF middleweight title

If Alvarez is happy to drop back down to the middleweight division, the chances of a third showdown with Golovkin will increase significantly.

Golovkin became a world champion once again back in October when he defeated Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the IBF middleweight title. Triple G was given a unanimous decision from the judges after 12 touch rounds of that clash.

For Golovkin, a third fight with his rival would give him the opportunity for redemption. The first fight between the two men finished in a draw but many boxing pundits felt Golovkin had done enough to be given the decision.

The second showdown was also not without controversy either. Alvarez was handed the decision in another close fight. There was very little between the two men on the scorecards, with two judges scoring the contest 115-113 in favour of Canelo, while the third judge had it all square at 114-114.

Since that defeat, Golovkin has won both of his two bouts in the ring. He needed just four rounds to overcome Steve Rolls before his IBF title success last year.

GGG is 38 years old now so time is running out for him to avenge his defeat to Canelo. If a showdown later in 2020 can’t be scheduled, his last shot to defeat his foe may come in May 2021 and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if that was his last appearance in the ring.

Twiston-Davies’ Al Dancer has to shed pretender tag

Al Dancer failed to capitalise on his momentum in his first major test of the 2019/20 National Hunt season, finishing second in the Arkle Trial Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.

The French thoroughbred was the leading contender for the meet, but he failed to rise to the occasion albeit in difficult conditions on soft ground. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge placed behind 6/1 outsider Put The Kettle On, who claimed a solid victory by two-and-a-half-lengths.

Past Failures

A victory in the event may have propelled the six-year-old to be the favourite for the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham Festival in March. As it stands, Al Dancer is now backed in the horse racing odds in the ante-post for the Arkle Chase at odds of 16/1 to claim the crown. There are a slew of talented horses ready to compete for the title, including Fakir D’oudairies, Laurina and Samcro. The coming months will see respective owners and trainers move their charges into position for the honours, and even if the French thoroughbred does face off against elite competition he does have a top-quality performance in his locker albeit it has not come to fruition on the major stage yet.

Twiston-Davies’ charge rode a four-race winning streak into Cheltenham Festival last year. He produced a dominant run at Cheltenham in the Catesby Handicap Hurdle in December, beating out his nearest rival by 11 lengths. Al Dancer continued in that manner with another brilliant outing at Ascot two months prior to the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. He finished three-and-a-quarter lengths ahead of the field to establish himself as one of the top two contenders for the crown in the Festival’s opening race.

However, he endured a terrible outing in the Novices’ Hurdle, crumbling down the stretch with Sam Twiston-Davies at the reins. The French thoroughbred placed in a disappointing 10th out of the 12 horses that finished the contest.

Undoubted Potential

After a seven-month absence, Al Dancer returned to the track for the Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham. He was the odds-on favourite in a field that included Getaway Trump, and he duly delivered on expectations with a strong outing. Twiston-Davies guided his charge out of early trouble after making a mistake at the third fence. The six-year-old gradually moved into position before he made his move to take the lead over the penultimate hurdle. Al Dancer charged through to claim the victory by four lengths to atone for his underwhelming performance at the Festival.

As a result of his strong run, he was favoured again for the Arkle Trial Novices’ Chase. It presented an opportunity for the French thoroughbred to put down a marker as one of the firm challenges for the main event in March. However, he struggled to impose himself in wet conditions and failed to make the significant jump to move alongside Put The Kettle On.

Al Dancer did close on the final fence, but his rival had enough to break away down the stretch to claim the win. It was a decent outing, but both Nigel Twiston-Davies and his son Sam will be hopeful that there is more to come from the grey gelding at Cheltenham in the near future to avoid him becoming a pretender on the major stage.

Five Reasons Why Neymar Should Commit his Long-Term Future to PSG

Neymar’s future was the subject of constant speculation over the summer, with the Brazilian linked to a move to both Real Madrid and a return to Barcelona.

Neither moves transpired, and Neymar will be at PSG until January at the very earliest.

Intriguingly, Neymar’s odds for a move back to Barcelona apparently shorten by the day, and with the Brazilian clearly far from happy at Parc Des Princes, it seems as though he will be going back from where he came.

His status as a £200m man, despite his lack of a World Cup winner’s medal, has obviously been a psychological burden for a man who knows that time is running out to address both his international and club-level shortcomings.

However, despite lacking the same chemistry with PSG that he enjoyed at Barcelona, there are several standout reasons as to why he should stay in the French capital.

  1. Title Future Safe at PSG

Firstly, and foremostly, PSG offers stability and a guaranteed place in the starting XI, and in becoming such an expensive asset, Neymar is very much a victim of his own success. There are precious few other clubs that could offer Neymar everything he wants, while also restructuring their wage bill just to accommodate him.

Other perennial winners, such as Juventus and Manchester City, have also been mooted as candidates. However, despite being a a popular choice in just about every match they play, those clubs’ respective leagues could well prove too physical for him. In any case, neither City nor Juventus have made an optimal start to their title defences, which should further deter him.

Then there is the possibility of Neymar’s only other realistic suitors going through transitional periods over the next few years – if they aren’t already. Real Madrid, for instance, are still recovering from a dreadful 2018/19 season, having failed spectacularly to build on 2017/18. In response, Real went ballistic in the transfer market, with Eden Hazard (at 100m euros) being the marquee signing of a very busy summer.

With so much new talent in the Real squad, Neymar would be a risking a place in the starting XI every week. In a sign that the ‘Galacticos’ are still gelling as a unit, PSG also thrashed them 3-0 on the opening matchday of the 2019/20 Champions League group stage, perhaps giving Neymar some first-hand food for thought.

  1. Champions League 19/20 Could be PSG’s Best Chance Yet

While already a Champions League winner with Barcelona, his aim is now to join an elite group of players that have won the prestigious trophy with two different clubs in different countries. PSG’s continued lack of a Champions League trophy this century is truly frustrating, given the sheer volume of investment.

A front three of Cavani, Mbappe and Neymar should be reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League every year at least, but with four English clubs locking out the semi-final spots in both European competitions last season, PSG fans are under no illusions. The heavy presence of Spanish clubs in the latter stages is also a major obstacle for PSG, even if they have – as already noted – humiliated a Spanish giant in this season’s edition.

If the Champions League is indeed all that Neymar is holding out for, there must surely be a way he can covertly reserve his energy in Ligue 1 games, which PSG should win consistently – even with a squad that is only operating at about 70-80% its full throttle.

A PSG side reserving its best for the Champions League should have no trouble ploughing through the group stage at least. Having already scorched Real Madrid and avoided conceding an away goal to them, Club Brugge and Galatasaray should prove to be easily-negotiated obstacles – particularly at home.

Significantly, PSG are still unbeaten in Champions League group stage home games this decade, with December 2004 being the last time they suffered such an indignity. The last two seasons have also seen them win all group stage home games against the two lowest-seeded sides in the group, and while victories against such opponents seem insignificant, the foundation must always be there for a strong knockout run thereafter.

   3&4. World Cup Hopes & A Wholesome Legacy

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/121483302@N02/14721546182

While Ligue 1 is a far less competitive league than La Liga or the Premier League, winning trophies is a habit. So too is dealing with the pressure of playing in a tournament of superlative stature, at both club and international level.

Whether victory is forthcoming or not, experience counts for everything, and with Neymar now being a veteran of two World Cup campaigns, he knows that 2022 will be his time to combine the winning feeling with his now-vast experience of international football.

Given how it will disrupt the conventional European football schedule, Qatar 2022 will be a tough tournament for the usual favourites – assuming Brazil qualify in the first place as expected.

Even in winter, acclimatising to the desert climate will be difficult, and this is something that is open to exploitation from someone who knows how to win, and still has the legs to cash the goods the brain is demanding. Neymar, by 2022, will still be firmly in that category, but his ability to persist through all adversities can only be nurtured in this now-testing spell with PSG.

By that point, his vast experience and mental resilience – even if not tangibly rewarded – could still be put to good use at Parc Des Princes. With mass investment comes some fearsome youth talent, and despite having the ability to sulk like few others, Neymar’s natural competitive streak will provide a good example to emerging talents over the next few years.

  1. Warm Welcome Not Guaranteed at Nou Camp

Barcelona are his likeliest suitors, and while it is a move that makes a lot of sense, there is the potential for a myriad of problems. Naturally, from a playing perspective, he would be a welcome inclusion in a squad full of now-aging serial winners, but there is still the question of how he could reintegrate amongst the Blaugranes’ XI.

Lionel Messi has already spoken with dismay at Barcelona’s failed recapture of Neymar. Although Messi himself may well find himself joining the expected exodus to the MLS in the early 2020s, Neymar’s presence may be more resented than welcomed amongst those who value Messi as much as the club itself.

That would especially be the case if Neymar’s reacquaintance with the Blaugranes in any way hastened Messi’s departure, or forced others – like Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal – into seeing that as a signal to move on. Too many leavers at once will only disrupt Barcelona’s indomitable spirit, and that is not the legacy Neymar ultimately wants.

 

Williams has the chance to equal incredible record after reaching US Open final

Women’s tennis star Serena Williams has the chance to win a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, when she takes to the court in the US Open final on Saturday.

Williams reached the final with relative ease, after a 6-3 6-1 win over Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolin in the semi final.

The American – who already has six US Open titles to her name – faces 19-year-old Candian Bianca Andreescu, and is aiming to win her first Grand Slam since giving birth to her daughter in September 2017.

Serena’s opponent advanced to the final after defeating Swiss Belinda Bencic 7-6 (7-3) 7-5.

This year’s US Open is only Andreescu’s fourth Grand Slam appearance – and she was incredibly born nine months after Williams won her first title at Flushing Meadows in 1999.

The match can be streamed live on Amazon Prime video.

 

Can St Helens Bounce Back From Wembley Disappointment?

St Helens head coach Justin Holbrook has the job of lifting his players from the disappointment of losing to Warrington Wolves in the final of the 2019 Challenge Cup at Wembley as they bid to end the season on a high.

Saints went into the final as the heavy favourites. However, they were unable to transfer their high scoring form from the Super League into the showdown for the trophy, while Warrington raised their game to hold their rivals to just four points in a 18-4 scoreline success to make up for their own heartbreak 12 months earlier.

It had been 11 years since St Helens had reached a Challenge Cup final and the last chance for Holbrook to get his hands on that particular piece of silverware before he leaves the Merseyside club at the end of the year to take up the coaching job at Gold Coast Titans in the NFL.

When Theo Fages crossed the line in the second half for Saints, they looked set to begin a comeback against Wolves. Yet, Lachlan Coote’s missed conversion soon ended any hope of the favourites getting back into the contest.

Holbrook will be desperate his players recover quickly and change their focus on the Super League, where they have the chance to still finish 2019 on a high and prove they have been the best team in the country this year.

St Helens are 16 points clear at the top of the Super League table after what has been a superb campaign for them in the regular season so far. Their latest success came against Castleford Tigers where they won 4-0 in a low scoring game at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

There are two rounds of fixtures left in the season before the play-offs. Saints have to face Huddersfield Giants at home, while they then travel to the KCOM Stadium to take on Hull FC in the final game of the regular season.

The league leaders have rugby league odds of 8/11 to come out on top at Old Trafford in Manchester in October. Given they now have first place secured and the League Leaders’ Shield in the bag, they will head straight into the semi-final where they will face one of the quarter-final winners.

Holbrook’s men will get a second chance to qualify for the Grand Final if they lose their opening semi-final tie as they will take on the winners of the second semi-final at home. If he reaches the championship-deciding game, it will be the Australian’s first experience of the match at Old Trafford as he has yet to guide his side there in his three-year stint at St Helens.

The last time Saints were in the Grand Final was in 2014 when they beat Wigan 14-6. The five-time winners have just Leeds ahead of them in the standings on who has won the trophy the most since the Super League was launched in 1998.

The pain of the defeat to Warrington is likely to be hurting the camp but they can soon get over that disappointment with Grand Final success on October 12.

Aussie star man Smith ruled out of Ashes third test

England were handed a boost ahead of their third Ashes test at Headingley on Thursday after the announcement that Steve Smith would be missing for Australia.

Smith misses out after suffering concussion during the first innings of the second test at Lords, when the 30-year-old was hit in the neck by a 92mph bouncer from Jofra Archer.

Despite the blow to the neck, Smith was allowed to conclude his first innings after passing a concussion test.

Australia coach Justine Langer confirmed the influential player would be absent during the third test after sitting out training on Tuesday.

Smith has scored 142, 144 and 92 in the three innings he has faced so far in the series.

Questions have arisen as to how Smith was allowed to return to the crease after the blow to his neck, with Brain injury charity Headway saying it was “incredibly dangerous” for Smith to resume his innings.

“You need to take an ‘if in doubt’ approach,” said Headway deputy chief executive Luke Griggs.

“With concussion, the vision can be blurred and the brain can be slow at processing information. That leads to delayed reaction times and is just incredibly dangerous.”

What will Frank Lampard the Manager Bring to Chelsea?

A couple of months ago, Frank Lampard was labelled hot favourite to be named next Chelsea manager as soon as the rumours about Maurizio Sarri’s possible exit after just one year at Stamford Bridge started to surface.

The bookies confidence in Lampard being installed as the new man at the helm was justified, with Lampard taking the reins at Stamford Bridge ahead of the 2019/20 season.

There will be some who feel his appointment as Chelsea manager came just a little too soon and that it wouldn’t have been a bad idea for both club and player to have waited at least one more season before taking what would still have been, a pretty big gamble.

This is after all a club legend, Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer no less, returning to the club as manager under huge pressure to deliver almost straight away.

But maybe one season of management is enough after all. Yes, they were different times but back in 1993 Glenn Hoddle joined Chelsea as player-manager having had just one year of management experience at Swindon. When Hoddle left to become England manager in 1996, Ruud Gullit took over in the same player-manager capacity despite having no experience of being a manager at all. Both were relatively successful.

Lampard will have learnt a lot from his season at Derby. The routine of training sessions, press conferences, travelling, match day preparations and the games themselves over a nine-month cycle.

The highs and lows, the systems that work and the ones that don’t, the sort of players he wants on board and those he doesn’t, the type of opposition teams he finds hard to beat… and those he finds easier.

He will also have learnt plenty about all the pressure and fatigue that comes with the job.

The Championship is a good league in terms of cutting your teeth as a manager but Lampard may just find that Premier League management, where he has more technically gifted players to work with, suits him even better.

Will Lampard Strengthen Legendary Status with Successful Spell as Manager?

Lampard will have nothing if not good will on his side, at least to start with. Not only was he a huge part of the most successful era in Chelsea’s history but he was also always an extremely popular player with managers, other players, the fans and the Chelsea hierarchy during his playing days at Stamford Bridge.

Contrast that with Maurizo Sarri last year, for example. How suspicious everyone was of the chain-smoking Italian who had won absolutely nothing after a relatively long career, had a Plan A but no Plan B and seemed obsessed with asking midfielder Jorginho to run the show, whether that brought success or lack of it.

Lampard knows the ground, the training facilities, the fans, the Board members and to use that tired cliche, the tea ladies. Familiarity can go a long way in football and that’s without even mentioning the players.

Of those who were at the club in his last season at Chelsea back in 2013-14, only Willian and Cesar Azpilicueta are left but as senior figures in the dressing room, that could be an important link between his days as a player and his time as Chelsea boss.

You may have noticed the absence of David Luiz from that list of two. That’s because Lampard decided that the quirky Brazilian was becoming a disruptive influence in the Chelsea dressing room and was someone he didn’t want around. Apparently, Luiz was quite vocal in his support of Sarri, the job the Italian did and his conquering of the Europa League; unsurprisingly, that didn’t sit well with Lampard. Which is why, he sold him to Arsenal for a reported £8m deal.

As it happens, it seems the former PSG defender was keen on the move anyway but what it does also show is Lampard’s ruthless side. He’s not there to treat old team-mates differently or provide jobs for the boys and is confident enough in his management style and personality to do things his way, even if that means upsetting some people along the way. But what is his management style?

What’s Lampard’s Style?

Last year in the ‘regular season’, Derby scored just 69 goals, less than anyone else in the Top Six and a full 24 goals less than champions Norwich City. However, at the other end of the pitch, they conceded just 54 goals, which was less than three of the five sides who finished above Derby, including Norwich.

It suggests Lampard favours a balanced approach. No Gung-ho all-out attack style that you may have expected from a former attacking midfielder but on the on other hand, you’re unlikely to see performances that resemble some of those under Jose Mourinho at his worst: teams set up to play for 0-0 from the off and animated celebrations when the game actually ended up goalless.

The former England midfielder tended to prefer playing a 4-4-2 system and liked to use a blend of youth and experience. Proof of that is that 36-year old Ashley Cole came in to do a job in their promotion push and that at the other end of the age spectrum was Mason Mount. Still a teenager at the start of the season, the Chelsea-owned player featured 35 times in the league. It would be no surprise if Mount ends up getting some game time under Lampard again, this time at Chelsea.

Similarly, his top scorer in the league, Harry Wilson, was just 22 while two of his more trusted midfielders in Tom Huddlestone and Bradley Johnson, were both 32.

So as we said already, he enjoys having a good mix of young and older players.

The Plan for Chelsea

It will be interesting to see if Lampard sticks with his favoured 4-4-2. On the one hand, no-one really seems to use that formation in the Premier League anymore and he could be criticised early on for using a somewhat out-dated system. On the other hand, he has players suited to playing it. A front two made up of two from Olivier Giroud, Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi would provide power, aerial presence and goals and it might just be the one that he starts the season with.

The more likely scenario however would be playing just one of those as a target man, supported by a trio of attack-minded players in support: new man Christian Pulisic and two from Willian, Pedro and Ross Barkley. He’ll have a lot more options once Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek return from injuries.

That three would then play in front of the brilliant N’Golo Kante with either the prolific passer that is Jorginho alongside him, or the more mobile Mateo Kovacic.

The four-man defence pretty much picks itself now that Luiz has left and Antonio Rudiger is injured. Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen will be looking to impress and make sure that they stay in the XI once the German international returns.

Finally, and no sniggering at the back, Lampard is famed for his absurdly high IQ. Football management is of course rarely about deciding which two shapes from a selection of six are the same (but have just been rotated), or other such exercises typical of an IQ test.

But alongside his outstanding playing career, decent start to his life as a manager at Derby and calm, likeable demeanour…that analytical mind and ability to work things out quickly may just be the missing part in the jigsaw on his way to being a top manager.