Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton ‘out for months’

Burnley manager Sean Dyche revealed on Thursday that Tom Heaton is expected to be missing “for months”, after suffering a shoulder injury.

The 31-year-old – who has been capped by England three times – suffered the injury after landing awkwardly during the first half of his side’s victory over Crystal Palace at the weekend, and went under the knife on Wednesday.

After the 1-0 defeat of Palace Dyche had mentioned how he suspected Heaton would be missing for a lengthy period, and when asked whether this was the confirmed case at a press conference on Thursday, he said: “Yes, It won’t be weeks, it will be a longer period.”

Burnley face Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday at 3pm, as they look to continue their good start to the Premier League season, after securing seven points from the opening four matches.

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Bruce: “I left for the sake of the club.”

Photo credit: Mirror.co.uk

Former-Hull City manager Steve Bruce has claimed he left his position at the Tigers for the “sake of the club”, and proclaimed his delight at the “unwavering” support the fans have given him since he took up the difficult decision to resign.

Bruce will go down as one of the, if not the, most successful manager in Hull’s history, after he twice led them to the Premier League, including a Championship Play Off final victory over Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the summer.

The 55-year-old also led the Tigers to their first ever FA Cup final back in May 2014, but despite taking a two-goal lead their opponents on the day, Arsenal, fought back to eventually take a 3-2 victory in extra-time.

It has been reported that his decision to leave the club despite having just gotten them back into the Premier League was due to a ‘break-down in relations’ with the clubs vice-chairman Ehab Allam.

The latest statements from Bruce himself have come in an open letter he penned for the Hull Daily Mail.

“It was a decision I had to make for the sake of the club.

“The last 12 months have been very tough and it felt like the right step for the club to move forward in a different direction and with someone else in charge.

“It is rare for a manager to have the backing I’ve had from fans. It’s been unwavering. One of the abiding memories was the reaction of supporters the day we were relegated on the final day of the 2014-15 season.

“They applauded us off the pitch when you’d expect them to have been ripping the roof off.” He concluded.

Hull City stepped up their preparations for the upcoming Premier League campaign when they defeated local rivals Scunthorpe United 2-0 at Glanford Park on Saturday, with Shaun Maloney and Mo Diame the goal scorers.

Despite an impressive pre-season so far, the club are heavily backed to be in a relegation battle once the season begins. You can get the best football betting advice from football-bookmakers.com to help you decide who you will be making you bets for the season with.

Danny Welbeck suffers yet more injury heartache

Photo credit: @Arsenal on Twitter

Poor Danny Welbeck will once again disappear under the radar for a substantial amount of time, after the striker was ruled out for around nine months following a knee injury suffered during Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Arsenal today announced that tests following the injury showed “significant cartilage damage”, and the 25-year-old has now had surgery too.

However, the injury is not the same that the unlucky former-Manchester United star suffered earlier in the season, which saw him miss a total of seven months of this campaign.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger had admitted after Sunday’s game that he was “worried” by the injury, and his fears have become a reality sadly.

There had been calls for Welbeck to be chosen by Roy Hodgson for the 23-man England squad in France this summer, after he came back from his previous injury to score five times in the second half of the season.

Due to the length of his previous knee injury, many had forgotten just how lethal he can be, but he showed his worth to the Arsenal side as his goal saw his side on their way to a 2-1 defeat of eventual champions Leicester City back in February on his return.

The good news though, is that Welbeck seems to be in good spirits and confident that he can bounce back from this huge set as he posted this update to his 20,000 Twitter followers:

Arsenal’s Alex Oxelade-Chamberlain was also ruled out last week with a knee injury, and like Welbeck, will miss England’s Euro 2016 campaign.

All the best for your recovery Danny.

Robbie Hunter-Paul: “When it came to training, I’d train the house down.”

Photo courtesy of: Examiner.co.uk

From the comforts of home in Tokoroa, New Zealand, where walking around the town barefoot was the norm, to the bright lights and fast moving pace of the City of Bradford in the North of England, where Robbie Hunter-Paul and his family were subject to a few gazes of disbelief as they walked around the city centre without wearing so much as sandals on their first day there.

It was safe to say Hunter-Paul had made a big change to his life, and at such a young age. But his move to Bradford Bulls would ignite the start of hugely successful career at the top of the Rugby League game in England, which spanned over the course of 17 years.

The 40-year-old was only 18 when the move to the Bulls came about, and to understand the cultural differences that was about to become a reality for him, he tuned in to Sky Movies to watch the Bradford based film Rita, Sue and Bob too.

“We were one of the first families in our neighbourhood to get Sky as we followed the Rugby League in Australia.

“I knew nothing about the culture in England, and I knew less about a city in the North of England called Bradford. Rita, Sue and Bob too is a British cult classic about a guy who sleeps with babysitters on a council estate in Bradford, and that was my introduction.

“You can imagine as an 18-year-old who was brought up as a mummy’s boy, that after watching that I had a firm grip on my mum’s skirt as I got off the plane when I arrived.”

The former Scrum-half believes British people are among the most tribal in the world, although he claims they don’t even realise to what effect. Hunter-Paul pinpoints his success as Captain of the Bulls at such a young age as being down to managing all of his teammates personalities, no matter where they had come from, no matter what ‘tribe’ they were a part of.

“Depending on what side of the street you grew up on in Britain, you will go ‘Nah I’m not speaking to that lot over there’. The melting pole which is a professional rugby team, you have so many different backgrounds and cultures.

“When it came to training, I’d train the house down. Very few people trained as hard as I did. Off the field I was very focussed, but when it came to being able to communicate on those different levels, I was able to do that. I was also wise enough and smart enough to know that 18 years of age, I didn’t know it all.”

1996 turned out to be a phenomenal year for the Kiwi, when he ended the season as the the Bulls top try scorer, before winning the man of the match award and the Lance Todd Trophy, after scoring three tries in the Challenge Cup final against St Helens.

“When I scored the first try I rolled over and there was a wall of 30,000 Bradford fans, it was just amazing. We were losing at this point so it got us back into the game and within 2 points. It was rock star moment.

“Do you know why rock stars do what they do? Put aside the money, it’s because it feeds that kind of adrenaline and endorphin release. It’s the strongest drug on the planet, and you can never replace that.”

Although throughout his career Hunter-Paul worked hard to never make costly mistakes, he’s reminded daily of one in a Grand Final between Leeds and Bradford where he fumbled the ball around the Bulls own 22 with only minutes to go, a mistake that eventually led to the Rhinos overturning the Bulls lead and winning the final.

“My father taught me one of the best lessons in life. He told me that if I made a mistake it’s not your fault, but if you make it again it damn well is. Because you should have learned from the first time you made that mistake.

“Did I always learn from the first mistakes? Hell no. Show me someone who didn’t. The people who are of the elite understand failure, they understand losing and making a mistake. Most of the time it’s the best lesson learnt. Did I let that mistake beat me up? No, I just had to move on.”

You don’t need to be a world class sportsperson to understand sibling rivalry. You fight, squabble and kiss and make up countless times before you grow up into men, and even then not a lot changes. Robbie played alongside his brother Henry at the Bulls, but they had to face up against each other as rivals too.

“He’s the best player I’ve ever played with or against. The way he was able to transcend his game to international level was exceptional. He’s a very driven man, and I picked up some of my skills from him.

“It was hard having to compete with someone growing up who was two years my senior, and two years physically more developed than I was, but playing with him every day developed me as a player.”

With his career in England blooming, a personal dream of the New Zealanders that stemmed back to being a six-year-old was about to become a reality in 1997, as he was set to represent his country for the first time. Not even his initial self questioning of his worth of wearing such a shirt would hamper one of the proudest days of his life.

“It was such an honour to lead the Haka against England, the other half of my life. That was a truly joyous day, and one of my proudest moments as a rugby player.

“I remember stood in front of my shirt whilst it was on the hook, and suddenly things go through your head like ‘am I even worthy of this jersey?’.

“Then the doggedness and drive that got your there in the first place comes out and says ‘snap out of it you pussy, pull this shirt off the hook and put it on.’ I was lucky to have a long stint as a New Zealand international, but you have to earn it.”

Although he came to England with little knowledge of the culture, he remains resided here, married to an English wife, with English children, and will be seen as legend that will forever have his story written in the Bradford Bulls history books. He may have moved to the country originally for his Rugby career, but he is quite happy to admit he stayed for the people – And thankfully he now has enough shoes to not worry about those looks of disbelief that shoe-less day it all begun.

Adam Johnson’s court hearing live

Photo courtesy of the BBC.

Today Adam Johnson appears at Bradford Crown Court for two child sex offences and Josh Halliday, a journalist who is in court, has been tweeting some pretty intriguing stuff from throughout the hearing.

Here they are, starting from the very first:

So he took advantage of the fact she was a big fan of his. Disgusting.

Black Cats sack Adam Johnson

28-year-old winger Adam Johnson has today been sacked by Sunderland AFC after the footballer pleaded guilty to one charge of grooming and one count of participating in sexual activity with a child under the age of 16 years.

The Black Cats had announced earlier in the day that Johnson would be unavailable for their Premier League match on Saturday with Manchester United.

There could still be parts of the story to unfold as the midfielder will face two further counts of sexual activity with a child on Friday – but this is something he currently denies.

Sunderland released a club statement 7:35pm which read as follows:

“In light of Adam Johnson’s guilty pleas, the club has today terminated his contract with immediate effect.

The club will make no further comment.”

The Sunderland born player has also had his boot sponsorship deal with Nike severed today too, as many of those who were closely linked to him look to distance themselves from association quickly.

“Adidas can confirm that it has terminated its contract with footballer Adam Johnson with immediate effect.

“This follows his guilty pleas entered earlier this week.” A statement read.

Johnson had enjoyed his final game in Sunderland’s red and white having been a major part of the club’s fight back from 2-0 down at Liverpool, as he scored direct from a free kick to make the scores 2-1 – before Jermaine Defoe equalised seven minutes later to finish the game at 2-2.

Let’s take a look at how Twitter reacted (Including an old one from another Adam Johnson from around the time the story first unfolded):

(The views in the tweets do not necessarily match mine. Just thought they were share worthy.)

Giants handed Grix blow

Super League side Huddersfield Giants have been dealt a blow after finding out that full-back Scott Grix will miss five months of the new season with a shoulder injury.

Paul Anderson, head coach of the Giants, announced the bad news today – whilst Grix was in fact one of three players to suffer an injury during Friday’s loss to St Helens.

The shoulder injury appears to be similar to one that resulted in a limited amount of appearances for the 31-year-old during the 2014 season, but Grix had been a prominent figure last year making 24 apps.

“Everything you can imagine that’s gone wrong with his shoulder has done.

“He has had previous history with surgery on that shoulder and it will be a longer rehabilitation programme. We’re looking at five months.” Anderson told the BBC.

As previously mentioned, there were two other injuries on the night and those were announced as club captain Danny Brough, who had to be substituted after sustaining a dead leg – and Eorl Crabtree, who may be missing for a few weeks with a groin injury.

“It’s the first time in my history I’ve seen Danny in genuine pain.

“He’s a tough human being and he hates rehab, so he’s giving them a tough time.” Anderson continued.

The Giants will be looking to bounce back from the loss on the opening day of the rugby season when they face Wigan Warriors on Friday at 8pm in the John Smith’s stadium.

Three days ago the club announced that they had taken ex-St Helens winger Jamie Foster on trial, but it has now been confirmed by Anderson that he is on course to start Friday’s televised tie with Wigan.

“Jamie will play. He’s saying the right things but obviously he’s been inactive for a while. There is always a risk with that but we have no choice at the moment.

“What you are going to see over the next couple of weeks is the future of the Giants. We’re not likely to get anybody back soon. The young fellas will be loving it because they’re going to get an opportunity to play at home, on Sky, against Wigan, and challenge themselves.”

Which Premier League team travels the most this season?

The Premier League is the most watched football league around the world. Watched across the globe by millions and loyal fans, it also is the highest paid league with footballers paid wages that we can only dream of.

The Premier League season 2015/2016 has been a turbulent one so far, with Leicester surprising us all. It has been great to see the underdog lead the pack, but could this be because they don’t travel far to matches on average? Compared to teams like Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United?

Harrison and Rowley have done the number crunching figures and bring to you an infographic showing how much each Premier League travels over the course of the 2015/2016 season and the results we found were surprising. Newcastle, Sunderland and Swansea lead the top 3 positions as the most travelling teams. As they are situated far in the North it is understandable that they have to travel more then central teams. The teams in the bottom 3 that travel the least are Aston Villa, Leicester and West Brom, the Midlands teams.

Could travelling less be the reason why Leicester City are top of the league? With Newcastle the most travelling team could this be the reason why they are at the bottom of the league? Well we shall let you decide for yourself, in the meantime how does you team rank? Let us know!

Premier_league_table

Dylan Hartley: “I’ve learnt my lesson.”

Newly appointed England captain Dylan Hartley has claimed he has “learned from his lessons” following his appointment ahead of the Six Nations tournament.

Hartley takes over from Chris Robshaw of the Harlequins with immediate effect. Robshaw had held the captaincy for four years.

The new England captain may be a controversial choice to some, having been caught up in high profile acts such as gouging, biting and striking – receiving bans totalling 54 weeks for his actions.

“My rap sheet is well documented and I will get reminded of it daily.” he told the press.

Although Hartley admits he always held faith that he would eventually be able to break back into the England squad, he admitted he was surprised to find out that he would not only do that, but captain his nation too.

“Yes I am surprised, but I will take it with two hands.

“I am confident in myself as a player at Test level. I have captained my club for six years and have learned a lot there.

“I sometimes get it wrong but it has gone well for me at Northampton too. You need to get yourself at a level to be competitive and confrontational. It has gone wrong in the past but it will stay there.”

Now the England camp have shown their faith in the 29-year-old, will he commit any silly offences once more?

“No, of course not. I have learned from my lessons and it is for me to live with. Now I have to lead by example and answer the critics. I am a motivated person.”

Hartley reacted on his personal Twitter account:

Hartley speaks with the BBC’s Dan Roan today:

 

Two Brits progress in Aus Open qualifiers

Dan Evans in action

Dan Evans and James Ward have both progressed to within two victories of making the draw for the Australian Open, having progressed in the first found of the qualifiers.

Evans’ win saw him lose serve just once during his match with Italy’s top seed Luca Vanni. He defeated Vanni 7-6 (7-5) 6-4, and will face Israeli Amir Weintraub in round two of three.

Evans, 25, was born in Birmingham and turned pro in 2005. The Englishman is currently ranked 185th in the world, and reached a career high of 123rd in February 2014.

Ward was also in impressive form as he unleashed 16 aces in 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 victory over Canada’s Peter Polanski.

Born in England’s capital city, London, Ward reached a career high of 89th in the world in July 2015, and currently sits 155th at 28 years of age.

The Australian Open starts on Monday and marks the start of a new season of Tennis.

There was a pre-tournament scare for Aussie Nick Kyrgios as he pulled out of the opening match at the Kooyong Classic. David Goffin was awarded victory as Kyrgios pulled out with a reported foot injury, but later let his fans on Twitter know that it was just precautionary: