LISTEN: Will Greenwood’s podcast – Henry Slade

On this week’s podcast episode, Will Greenwood and Rupert Cox catch up with England and Exeter Chiefs centre Henry Slade.

Our duo chat to 29-time capped England international about his life in lockdown and the coronavirus worries he has experienced during these strange times.

The 27-year-old also discusses playing professional rugby as a Type 1 diabetic, and also the conversations he has held with the Exeter Chiefs doctor in relation to Covid-19.

Slade also chats playing at inside-centre, outside-centre and at out-half, and which is his favourite position to date.

Greenwood and Slade also face off in a quiz, while the latter talks through his role in Jonny May’s try against Australia in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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Jadon Sancho ‘ready to play for Liverpool or Man Utd’ but Real Madrid warning revealed

Jadon Sancho is “ready to play” for the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United, according to former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Steffen Freund. Sancho is linked with a host of Europe’s top clubs after another fine season for Dortmund in the Bundesliga. His assist against Wolfsburg on Saturday made it 16 assists to go with his 14 goals this term.

Sancho is a top target for United heading into the next transfer window.

And Freund says statistics the winger has racked up prove he has what it takes for a big move.

“Jadon is ready to play for Liverpool or Man United, no question, because his stats are unbelievable,” Freund told talkSPORT.

“That shows that he can take the next step.

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“In the Borussia Dortmund side with [Erling] Haaland, [Julian] Brandt improving, with Emre Can signing, with changing to a back-three that suits Sancho.”

However, Freund reckons it would be wise for Sancho to play for Dortmund for another season.

The former Germany international believes there is no rush for Sancho to make the move to another top club yet.

Freund has warned the 20-year-old could turn out like Luka Jovic, who left Eintracht Frankfurt for Real Madrid last summer and has struggled for game time at the Bernabeu.

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“It would be good for him to play for Borussia Dortmund now and next year so that he will have more match time,” Freund added.

“He’s only 20, so why not play for Borussia Dortmund? We’re not talking about Freiburg or Paderborn, we’re talking about Borussia Dortmund, one of the top 20 clubs in Europe.

“Remember Jovic, who moved to Real Madrid from Eintracht Frankfurt, he’s not playing. If you have an offer from Real Madrid you think, ‘I have to go’.

“No, you don’t have to go because the salaries in the Bundesliga are on a good level, too, not as much as Real Madrid or the Premier League, though.

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“But you can earn good money and improve and not make too much of a big step at once.

“So for Jadon to move to Man United with that pressure, they are struggling to qualify for the Champions League, so maybe it’s better to stay another year in Dortmund.”

Sancho is yet to start for Dortmund since the break due to a calf injury.

But Jan Age Fjortoft expects him to start the top-of-the-table clash against Bayern Munich on Tuesday (5.30pm).

“They will play [Sancho], 100 per cent, he will be in there,” Fjortoft told ESPN FC.

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Arsenal to listen to transfer offers for three defenders but David Luiz not one of them

Mikel Arteta is willing to offload three defenders in the summer transfer window, with the Arsenal manager needing to raise funds if he is to make signings of his own.

The Spaniard’s budget is minimal with the club’s huge spend in recent summers, added to the lack of Champions League football and the coronavirus pandemic, having hit the north London outfit in the pocket.

And it appears it is in central defence where he will look to most significantly trim his squad, with that the area most bloated.

As it stands, Arsenal will have seven central defenders on their books at the start of next season, and likely even eight with Pablo Mari expected to sign permanently.

According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, speaking on the Ornstein and Chapman Podcast, Arsenal have picked out three players they are open to selling.

They could listen to offers for all of Rob Holding, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi.

Holding, 24, has only played for nine minutes in the league under Arteta as he continues to get back to his best from a long-term injury.

But the Bolton academy graduate could now be surplus to requirements, with minutes likely to be limited even if he does stay at the Emirates.

The ageing Sokratis is meanwhile out of contract in 2021 and is not likely to be handed an extension.

Signed for £18million in July 2018, Arsenal may have to settle for closer to a third of that to get him off the wage bill.

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Mustafi is the most valuable of the expendable trio, at still just 28 years old. He has improved under Arteta but like Sokratis sees his deal expire in a year’s time.

The German, who cost £35m four years ago, has admitted he is enjoying playing under the ex-Arsenal midfielder but he may fall by the wayside next season if Mari rejoins.

Mari and Luiz look likely to start off as Arteta’s first-choice centre-back partnership, with William Saliba and David Luiz the most likely duo to rotate.

But Ornstein added that the unpredictability of the post-COVID-19 transfer market means it is unsure whether or not Arsenal will be able to conduct the business they want to do.

The Gunners are highly likely to have to drop their valuations of some players with clubs across Europe set to be far more stringent with their money this summer.

But offloading Holding, Sokratis and Mustafi would shed over £200,000 a week off the £230m-a-year wage bill, which Arsenal are desperate to cut down on.

That would leave Luiz as the team’s most experienced centre-half, while 26-year-old Mari is likely to be brought in on a permanent basis to give Arteta a left-footed central defender.

The Spaniard has made just two appearances on loan from Flamengo so far but is the kind of composed ball-playing defender who is ideal for the manager.

In addition to the pair, who played together and kept clean sheets in both of Arsenal’s final two matches before the coronavirus-enforced break, Saliba will join up with the first-team squad at the end of the season.

Signed for £27million last summer, Saliba has spent the current campaign on loan at Saint-Etienne and despite being a teenager is expected to play a significant role next term.

The versatile Calum Chambers, who can also play at right-back or in defensive midfield, will then seemingly be a fourth-choice option. He could be out injured until the New Year.

It is not known what will happen with Konstantinos Mavropanos, currently on loan in the German second division with Nurnberg.

The Greek, 22, impressed in several outings for Nurnberg but has only featured seven times in the league – yet he could be given a chance to impress once he returns to Arsenal.

Arteta then has an abundance of promising young defenders such as Zech Medley, Daniel Ballard, Harry Clarke and Joseph Olowu who could make a permanent step-up to the senior squad in the coming years.

And as such it is clear to see why Arteta is willing to cut down on the numbers at centre-back.

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has Philippe Coutinho transfer back-ups if Barcelona bid fails

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has alternatives to Philippe Coutinho if he cannot sign the Barcelona playmaker. The Gunners have been linked with a swoop to bring the Brazilian back to the Premier League.

But CaughtOffside insist Arsenal could only sign Coutinho if the Barcelona No 10, currently on loan at Bayern Munich, if it was a temporary deal.

The north London outfit cannot afford the fee Barca would want for them to recruit his talents on a full-time basis.

The Catalan giants are said to be keen to recoup around £70million for the player they paid over £140m to sign from Liverpool in January 2018.

Barca are said to have offered Coutinho to several of Arsenal’s Premier League rivals including Chelsea and Tottenham.

And Arsenal’s only hope of landing the 27-year-old, who was one of the best players in the league for Liverpool, is if a loan deal where Barca pay a significant chunk of his wages can be agreed.

Coutinho earns around £250,000 a week from the La Liga heavyweights – which would make him Arsenal’s second-highest paid player.

The Gunners are known to want to cut down their wage budget, with a lack of Champions League football in recent seasons – added to the coronavirus pandemic – having hit their finances.

But CaughtOffside add that if Arsenal miss out on Coutinho, Arteta has back-up options for that area of the pitch.

The Spanish coach is reportedly aware he must identify a long-term replacement for Mesut Ozil, who will leave the Emirates at the end of his contract in 2021.

It is not mentioned who Arteta’s alternatives are although Arsenal have been strongly linked with £23million Feyenoord creator Orkun Kokcu and Gent’s Jonathan David, who would cost around £20m, among others.

Out-of-contract wingers Willian and Ryan Fraser, of Chelsea and Bournemouth, are also both capable of playing in the No 10 role.

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American-born Canadian Davis has however made it clear where he sees his future, after having produced 23 goals and 10 assists in Belgium aged just 20 this term.

He told Sky Sports: “I never knew big clubs would be interested in me so early.

“It’s overwhelming, but I think I can make the next step.

“It’s time for me to move and go somewhere where I can keep developing and get to the potential that I have. The league that would suit me the most right now is the Bundesliga.

“It’s similar to the Belgian league in terms of the tempo and the physicality, but obviously the quality is higher in Germany and there is more competition.”

But former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam, who managed Kokcu at Feyenoord, thinks the 19-year-old has a bright future.

The Turkey under-21 international produced three goals and six assists this season before the Dutch league was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“He would need to adjust because the step to Arsenal and the Premier League is totally different when you compare it to Holland,” Stam told Goal.

“The pace of the game, the quality, the intensity is a lot higher.

“But he has the ability. He is a player who has the personality to want to improve, he always wants to do better.

“He’s never happy with himself, he’s disappointed if he doesn’t score, or his passes aren’t good enough.

“When I joined Feyenoord, he hadn’t played a lot because everyone said he was too young.

“I put him in the first team and let him play most of the games, I trusted him and saw a lot of ability in him.

“Now he’s proving himself in Holland and is one of the best midfield players in the country.

“He’s certainly got the ability to make that step to the Premier League.”

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Man Utd turn focus to Timo Werner and Moussa Dembele transfers amid Odion Ighalo exit

Manchester United are eyeing Timo Werner and Moussa Dembele with Odion Ighalo primed to return to China, reports say. The Nigeria international has impressed for the Red Devils since joining on loan in January, scoring four goals from eight games. But, with the player set to leave Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now eyeing replacements.

Manchester United were criticised by many within the footballing world following their decision to swoop for Ighalo in January.

However he’s proven to be a shrewd acquisition in the time since, with the Nigeria international scoring four goals from eight games.

Ighalo is, though, set to return to the Chinese Super League with Shanghai wanting him back in time for the new season.

And Goal claim United could now swoop for Werner and Dembele, with the pair under consideration behind the scenes at Old Trafford.

RB Leipzig have seen Werner scale new heights following the arrival of Julian Nagelsmann at the start of the season.

The Germany international has scored 24 Bundesliga goals this season, managing seven assists along the way.

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Werner was sublime at the weekend as Leipzig kept their hopes of winning the league title alive with a 5-0 win over Mainz, with the striker scoring a hat-trick.

And it’s claimed that United have him in their thoughts as Solskjaer hunts a replacement for Ighalo this summer.

Another player being considered is Lyon’s Dembele.

The France international was tipped to join United in the January transfer window, only for Ighalo to join instead.

Lyon may have to cut their best players loose this summer in order to raise funds following their failure to qualify for the Champions League.

They finished seventh in the Ligue 1 table following the French government’s decision to scrap the campaign as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

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And he’s been of interest to United for a number of years, with interest dating back to when Dembele played for Fulham.

Since leaving the Cottagers he’s impressed, becoming a key asset for Brendan Rodgers at Celtic prior to his return to France.

And he could be set for a sensational return to England should United decide to go after him at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Solskjaer recently opened up on what he wants from any new signing – and admitted he preferred players without egos.

“I’d rather have a hole in the squad than an a**hole,” Solskjaer told United We Stand.

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“Personality is so important. We’re a team in a team environment. You want players to have a bit of ego and edge but they have to be able to adapt.

“In March 2019, players were physically tired, mentally tired and we had injuries. The players started with negative thinking, whereas now it’s positive thinking.

“There were other things I didn’t like last year, some personal agendas which couldn’t be sorted out until the summer.

“There will always be players who want to play more in football, but if a team is to be successful then players have to be available at different times.

“I feel in this group we don’t have one bad apple.”

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F1 Cribs: Lando Norris reveals what’s in his home and garden

Formula 1’s drivers usually spend nine months of the year crisscrossing the globe and effectively living out of a suitcase, but recent months have seen them far more time at home than is normally the case.

So what is an F1 driver’s ‘Crib’ actually like?

McLaren’s Lando Norris gave Sky F1’s Natalie Pinkham an exclusive and entertaining video tour around his home and garden while in lockdown, in the first of a new series.

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Lee Westwood, Marc Leishman, Thomas Bjorn guests on The Golf Show

Lee Westwood, Thomas Bjorn and Marc Leishman are among the guests in another busy episode of The Golf Show, live on Sky Sports.

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The trio are among the guests in a busy hour from 2pm, bringing you the latest news from the golfing world as we edge closer to the PGA Tour re-starting next month.

Westwood gives his reaction to professional golf resuming in the USA and whether his outlook has changed now the American government has relaxed restrictions on athletes travelling, while Leishman shares his concerns about tournaments returning to the schedule.

Wayne “Radar” Riley reveals how he has been keeping busy during the sporting shutdown and gives his verdict on how golf will look in the months ahead, with Golf Channel’s Damon Hack providing the view from the USA and giving his reaction to Sunday’s charity match involving Tiger Woods.

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Tampa Bay Rays welcome more than a dozen players, manager to first workout at home field

As Major League Baseball begins its most crucial week yet in hopes of salvaging a 2020 season, a quiet but not insignificant gathering took place in Florida.

Some 14 Tampa Bay Rays entered Tropicana Field in pairs, stayed away from the batting cage and weight room, but nonetheless got in a workout Monday afternoon under the watchful eye of their manager — perhaps the most formal gathering of big leaguers in their home ballpark since the COVID-19 pandemic cast the season in doubt.

The group included All-Star outfielder Austin Meadows, shortstop Willy Adames and new outfielder Manuel Margot, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The players had their temperatures checked upon entry and wore masks into the stadium, but could remove them during their workout. The team improvised a number of free weights and plyometric stations for the players, who are among a group that remained in the Tampa area after their spring training site in Port Charlotte, Florida was closed more than two months ago.

It’s good to be back. pic.twitter.com/7jx0HTN8na

“It felt good, but it was still odd,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said on a Zoom call with Tampa media, per The Athletic. “I didn’t go up and handshake anybody or give anybody a hug. When you haven’t seen someone in that long, you’re probably doing that, so that was odd.

"But we certainly respect the situation and what’s at stake. We’re going to do what we’re asked. It was a step in the right direction and it was good to see smiling faces.”

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Tuesday, MLB is expected to extend an economic proposal to players in hopes of beginning the season in early July. The sides have already reviewed a 67-page document regarding health protocols, with players expected to respond to that soon.

With a second spring training expected to commence by mid-June, some teams have opened spring facilities and home ballparks, subject to social-distancing guidelines in their areas. While an agreement on player pay and health may not be hammered out immediately, players and teams must ramp up in earnest with the anticipation that they’ll need to be ready soon.

“If those dates are actuality,” Cash told reporters, “e probably need to get going a little bit and starting some more aggressive type of routine. I think this was a really good start for a first day and a first week."

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Liverpool legend chooses between captain Jordan Henderson and Reds hero Xabi Alonso

Liverpool legend Steve Nicol holds Jordan Henderson in a higher regard than former Reds midfielder Xabi Alonso. Liverpool skipper Henderson has been instrumental in his side’s charge to 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League table. The 29-year-old is also one of the favourites to win the PFA Player of the Year award.

Former Spain World Cup-winner Alonso won three major honours during his five-year spell at Liverpool, including the 2005 Champions League.

However, Henderson also helped Liverpool lift the same trophy last season, which puts him ahead of Alonso in the eyes of Nicol.

Though Nicol admits as stand-alone players, Alonso was better than Henderson.

“Well you have to say that Henderson’s been more effective because Liverpool have won the Champions League and he’s pushed them, he’s one of the main reasons why they’re going to win the Premier League,” Nicol told ESPN FC.

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“As great a footballer as Alonso was, I think the influence that Henderson has had on this team has been bigger than Alonso had.

“Listen, as football players, Alonso’s a better technician than Jordan Henderson. I don’t think that’s in question.

“So it becomes the biggest impact and I think no doubt Henderson’s made a bigger impact in this Liverpool side than Alonso did for the team he played for.”

Today marks 15 years since Alonso helped Liverpool come back from three goals down to beat AC Milan in Istanbul, with the Spaniard scoring the equaliser.

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But Jamie Carragher, who played the entire match at centre-back, insists he did not believe Liverpool could come back from 3-0 down at half time.

Carragher told Sport Bible: “Probably the whole world is laughing at you at half-time or almost saying, ‘Well that’s what Liverpool are really…’ It’s almost like you’re stunned. Stunned into silence.

“So I was just thinking I didn’t want it to be 5-0 or 6-0. If the game had’ve finished 3-0 it’s not the end of the world.

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“But I can’t say there was any belief there that we’d go on and win the game or get back into the game.

“It was more trying to save face more than anything.”

“3-1 gives you hopes, 3-2 gives you belief. But that just sparked something with the support, with the players on the pitch.

“It was inevitable that something was going to happen to make it 3-3, I just felt that.”

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Kamaru Usman speaks out on Conor McGregor fight after manager offers Notorious bout

Kamaru Usman has spoken out on a potential match-up with Conor McGregor, questioning why fans are eager to see him put a beating on the UFC’s poster boy. Last weekend, the Nigerian Nightmare’s manager – Ali Abdelaziz – publicly offered McGregor a crack at the welterweight crown – which he hopes to claim to become the UFC’s first three-weight world champion.

The offer to McGregor came on the back of Jorge Masvidal, who was expected to lock horns with Usman later this year, surprisingly turning his attention to a rematch with Nate Diaz.

“It looks like #1 contender wants to fight Nate Diaz now,” Abdelaziz tweeted. “Good for him.

“Conor McGregor, hey you want a title shot ? Come to daddy.

“Kamaru Usman will give you one and he promise first 2 rounds without takedowns only slaps.”

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I’d s**g him in there if I wanted and he’d “DO NOTHIN” FOH

Kamaru Usman on a potential fight with Conor McGregor

Abdelaziz’s offer to McGregor came on the back of Jorge Masvidal, who was expected to face Usman later this year, turning his attention to a rematch with Nate Diaz.

Abdelaziz’s tweet prompted a swathe of calls for the UFC to put McGregor against promotion’s first African-born champion.

Usman would happily take a mega-money fight with McGregor but can’t understand why so many people are eager for him to hand ‘The Notorious’ his third defeat inside the Octagon.

On Monday afternoon, he tweeted: “I really don’t understand why you all want this man DEAD!!! 

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“I’d s**g him in there if I wanted and he’d “DO NOTHIN” FOH.”

Usman’s latest comments on a potential showdown with McGregor echo those he made ahead of the Irishman’s comeback fight in January.

“Much respect to Conor for what he’s done for this sport and transcended it,” Usman told TMZ. “[But] nah, this is not what you want.

“Just sit down little man, sit down. Learn to walk before you can run because I would hurt that guy.”

Prior to that, Usman said: “Humans love the path of least resistance.  Fair play to him, I’d say. Fair play to Conor. 

“But this jock sniffer will humble him even worse than Khabib [Nurmagomedov] has humbled him.”

McGregor, 31, last fought in January in the main event of UFC 246 in Las Vegas, where he decimated Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds to claim his first victory in over three years.

Usman, meanwhile, was last in action in December in the main event of UFC 245, where he recorded a fifth-round TKO victory over Colby Covington to retain his welterweight crown.

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