Manchester United’s Rashford, Martial have no ‘divine right’ to start – Solskjaer

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial they will have to continue improving to keep their places at Old Trafford.

Rashford and Martial have both scored 19 times this season — the best individual tallies of their careers — but Solskjaer insists their form will not stop United, linked with summer moves for Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish, scouring the world for the best forwards.

“You need competition for places at Man United,” Solskjaer told a news conference via Zoom on Monday. “If you think you’ve got a divine right to be playing every game and are doing so well that we’re not going to look for players to replace you, you’re in the wrong place.

“I’ve been here myself for so many years as a striker and Teddy Sheringham comes in, Dwight Yorke comes in, Ruud van Nistelrooy comes in, Wayne Rooney comes nike jerseys cheap china

“We’ve always got to look at improving, and if they don’t improve, we might have to look somewhere else to get better because we have to be better. We’re too far away from where we need to be and want to be.”4

Solskjaer’s decision to sell Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan last summer and put his faith in Rashford and Martial was questioned by some supporters, but the pair have repaid the Norwegian and should ensure two forwards pass 20 goals in all competitions in the same season for the first time since Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez achieved the feat in 2010-11.

“Romelu is a very good goalscorer, he’ll score goals in any team that he plays in,” said Solskjaer. “It was time now for him to move on and pursue other nike nfl jerseys from china

“For us as a group it was time to allow our forwards to feel that confidence and feel that demand of playing and being demanded to play every game, two, three, four games, five, six, seven games on the bounce and perform.”

Rashford and Martial are set to return to the starting XI for the trip to Brighton on Tuesday after they were named on the bench for the FA Cup quarterfinal victory over Norwich on Saturday.

The game at the Amex Stadium marks the start of what should be a kind run-in for United with five of their seven remaining games against teams in the bottom eight, but Solskjaer has warned his team against complacency with a place in the top four up for grabs.

“We have loads of games against teams who have lots to play for which is of course not an easy run-in,” said the United boss.

“Complacency, that kicks you somewhere you don’t want to get kicked in football, and any game is a difficult one and we’re playing against teams…Brighton, we’ve lost the last two when we’ve gone down there.

“We’ve got Bournemouth, who we’ve lost to. We’ve got Aston Villa, who we drew with at home. We’ve got Palace, who we lost to at home. We’ve got West Ham that we’ve lost to. We’ve got Leicester, which is a very good team. Every game is one we have a point to prove in.”

N’Golo Kante back in Chelsea training despite coronavirus concerns

Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has made a return to full contact training on Tuesday ahead of the Premier League restart next week.

Kante had been training individually at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground after he expressed concerns over his safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and was initially granted compassionate leave to miss the squad’s return to training.

However, the 29-year-old was reintegrated with Frank Lampard’s first-team squad, and the World Cup winner will be expected to play a pivotal role in the closing stages of the nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Kante joined in as the team indulged in a series of different skill activities using various props,” Chelsea said in a statement.4

“The midfielder looked sharp as he took part in a series of rondos before finding the net with a smartly placed shot in the practice game.”cheap nfl nike jersey

The 29-year-old has regularly attended the club’s Cobham training base but only to follow an individual programme rather than joining in group sessions, despite the Premier League voting to return to contact training last month after agreeing a detailed protocol with medical advisors and the government.

Kante lost a brother to a heart attack shortly before the 2018 World Cup and suffered a health scare of his own two years ago when collapsing during training.

He is concerned about the risk of infection to other family members. Chelsea remain wholly supportive of Kante’s stance and did not put him under any pressure whatsoever to return to group training.

Chelsea will restart their Premier League campaign against Aston Villa on June 21.

With nine games remaining, Lampard’s side sit fourth in the standings, three points clear of Manchester United, as they chase Champions League qualification.

Kyrie Irving finds new name and new family on North Dakota reservation

The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation stretches across the central Dakotas, a harsh and largely desolate landscape along a wide section of the Missouri River. It is not an easy place to live and not an easy place to get to.

But it is a sacred place for the Sioux, they’ve defended it for hundreds of years. It is the land of Sitting Bull. They defend it to this day, the most recent opponent being intruding and, the Sioux fervently believe, dangerous oil pipelines. And they defend their way of life, their Lakota traditions and language. This is not a place for empty gestures or for public-relations stunts. It is authentic as it gets, in charming and foreboding nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Kyrie Irving came to Standing Rock this week for the first time. He did not come for charity — he gave the tribe $100,000 a year ago — and he did not come for photo ops. The main event was sternly off limits to video or photography. He came to honor his mother and he came to understand his heritage.2

Irving didn’t know his mother, Elizabeth, well. His parents separated when he was very young and she moved across the country before she passed away when Irving was just 4 years old.

He has both mourned her and been inspired by her for much of his life. As he grew, sometimes he had to fill out paperwork that asked for her information. He’d get emotional sometimes having to leave it blank. When he got his signature shoe from Nike, the first model he wore had his mom’s name and the date 9-9-96, the day she died, stitched into them.

For the past few years, Irving has been searching for himself a little. It’s shown in some of his actions and some of his words. One of the most material ways was reaching and connecting to the Standing Rock Sioux, the tribe his mother was born into before she was adopted.

It reached a new depth when he was honored with a naming ceremony this week, a watershed moment in any Lakota’s life. He was given the name Little Mountain — “Hela” in the Lakota language — as part of his family tradition; his roots are from the White Mountain family of the South Dakota region of the nike jerseys cheap china

“There was a certain point in my life where I had come almost at a crossroads with my dad, my sister, my friends, my grandparents, and I had no idea kind of what direction to go into because I had lost the sense of a foundation,” Irving said. “Knowing my mom passed and left me such a powerful, empowering family such as Standing Rock … to be a part of it now, this is family for life.”

Irving completely embraced the experience, dressing in traditional clothing and taking part in a more than five-hour ceremony that included numerous speeches, drumming, chanting, praying and dancing.

Vikings O-line coach, ex-Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano dies

Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano has died unexpectedly at the age of 56, the team announced Sunday afternoon.

“I am at a loss for words with Tony’s sudden passing. Tony loved the game of football and his players. More importantly, he was a strong man of faith who treasured his family. My heart is with the Sparanos today. As an organization we will support them in whatever ways we can,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said in a statement.

Sparano had complained about chest pains and went to the hospital Thursday, a source told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Sparano underwent tests and was released Friday. The source said Sparano’s wife found him unconscious Sunday morning as they prepared to leave for church but could not revive nfl jerseys china nike

Sparano served as an assistant with Minnesota for the past two seasons. He worked for nine NFL teams over 19 seasons, with head-coaching stints in Miami (2008-11) and on an interim basis with Oakland (2014). He held positions with Cleveland, Washington, Jacksonville, Dallas, San Francisco and the New York Jets.1

Sparano was 32-41 as a head coach. In 2008, his first season at the helm in Miami, he took the Dolphins to his only playoff appearance. The Dolphins won the AFC East with an 11-5 record that season, the only time in the past 15 seasons that the division wasn’t won by the New England Patriots. Sparano became the first coach in NFL history to take a team to the playoffs the year after a one-win season.

“Tony made an indelible impact on our team’s history and his toughness, grit and leadership were evident to everyone who had the chance to coach with or play for him. On behalf of the entire Dolphins organization, we extend our most heartfelt condolences to his wife Jeanette and the entire Sparano family,” Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said in a statement.

Sparano’s no-nonsense, gruff exterior was synonymous with the signature sunglasses he wore at all times. He wore the sunglasses, even in low lighting, because of a hot oil accident he sustained while working at a fast food restaurant at age 17 in his native nike jerseys cheap china

“You can see there’s still a scar on my face,” Sparano told the Star Tribune in 2016. “I had a patch over my left eye for 22 days, a patch over my right eye for 14. The left eye never did get right. The cornea is burnt and sun-sensitive, light-sensitive.

Hall of Fame won’t honor Terrell Owens individually at ceremonies

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will not acknowledge Terrell Owens individually during enshrinement weekend in Canton, Ohio, next month, the Hall’s executive director says.

“The focus is on the guys who are here,” Hall of Fame executive director Joe Horrigan told the Talk of Fame Sports Network on Thursday. “There’s no reason to bring him up as an individual. He’s not here.”cheap nfl jerseys china

Owens announced last month that he would not attend the ceremonies, scheduled for Aug. 3-4, and would instead give a speech at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Owens will deliver his acceptance speech on campus Aug. 4.1

Owens’ name will be included when the whole class is announced, Horrigan said, and his photograph will appear in materials about the Hall of Fame weekend.

Owens’ gold jacket, traditionally presented in an elaborate ceremony on Friday night, will be mailed to him first thing Saturday morning, Horrigan said.

A finalist for the past three years, Owens had been critical of the board of selectors after he was not chosen in 2016 or 2017, his first two years of eligibility.customized nfl jerseys cheap

He was voted into the Hall in February, along with Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss and Brian Urlacher.

Midseason awards, bad All-Star positions and MLB’s next big thing

The first half of the season has gone as expected and has been completely surprising. It’s been thrilling, and it’s been staid. It’s been heartening and disappointing. It’s been just another season — unlike any before it, but somehow very much familiar.

It feels like there has been more chatter than usual about the state of baseball, with attendance down and debates over tweaks to the game popping up almost daily. The drop in attendance is real, though the theories about it are not. The fact is, we don’t know why attendance is down. We suspect the likely factors — the weather, the stratification of the leagues, the lack of action generated from balls in play — but we don’t really know what is behind the slowly clicking turnstiles. We also don’t know if it’s a trend or a nfl jerseys china

It’s always good to take these wide-lens surveys of the game, whether you’re a writer, a fan or the commissioner. We should always be open to discussion about baseball’s place in the culture and its bid for your disposable dollars. Baseball has always been subject to evolutionary forces, is evolving right now as these words sink into your left cerebral hemisphere, and will evolve in the future even after we’ve all tapped into the universal subconscious. You can’t stop it.

While we’ve been preoccupied with the possible directions of this evolution, it feels like a couple of key parts have been overlooked.14

One: The game is still really fun and compelling. Sure, you run into contests where the strikeouts and pitching changes seem interminable. There are a few markets where there are currently too many low-stakes games, an unfortunate by-product of too many teams rebuilding at the same time. But in a few years, those same teams will be all-in trying to win.

And two: There are legions of people all over the world who still totally dig it.official nfl jerseys cheap

With that lullaby out of the way, let’s run through some first-half awards. All of them are made up. There will be no ceremony and no cash prizes. Recognition is its own reward.

Olney: My new MLB rule — four pitchers per nine innings, max

Over the past 18 months, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has been all but begging major league players for ideas and input on ways to make the product better. He seems ready to discuss even radical ideas, whether it’s some restrictions on defensive shifts, a pitch clock or maybe — eventually — an electronic strike zone.

Here’s a fundamental change that would improve the game on many levels: Limit managers to the use of four pitchers per nine innings, with exceptions built in for injuries and nfl jerseys from china

Major league baseball desperately needs to get off the growing front-office addiction to relief pitchers, which is helping to destroy important components of the game.

Among those: the essential pre-eminence of starting pitchers, who need to be marquee-worthy not only for the teams and their marketing departments but also for the players’ union; the scoring of runs by means other than a home run; and batters making contact and putting the ball in play.20

None of this is meant to challenge the analytical wisdom behind the parade of relievers overrunning the sport. It’s been demonstrated beyond any doubt that there are statistical advantages in the growing number of reliever/batter matchups and in the strategy of yanking the starting pitcher before he’s exposed to the opposing lineup a third time. Smart people are making smart decisions to create effective seven- and eight-man bullpens.

But this trend is affecting the game in ways that will never attract the young fans baseball wants and could also alienate longtime nfl jerseys for cheap

Few starting pitchers concern themselves with getting through five or six innings these days. Rather, they’re increasingly trained to throw as hard as they can, and when their work is finished, they’re followed by relay teams of relievers who also throw really, really hard. The number of pitches of 96-plus mph has more than tripled in a span of just four years, and quite frankly, a lot of hitters — especially older hitters — are getting crushed.

Cousins connection: Vikings building chemistry with new QB

Quarterback Kirk Cousins’ relationship with his Minnesota Vikings playmakers and how quickly they get on the same page while learning a new offense is being looked at under a microscope this offseason. Three months from the start of the 2018 season, people want to know how up to speed Cousins is with the talent around him and vice versa. Maybe someday he, too, will trust a teammate enough for a Minneapolis Miracle-type moment — much like the trust former quarterback Case Keenum spoke about having with Stefon nfl jerseys from china

We often hear stories about QBs buying dinner and gifts for the offensive linemen who keep them protected and upright in games. The relationships between a quarterback and those he’ll be throwing to or handing the ball off to is equally important.

These connections don’t just happen. It takes months — sometimes even longer — for both sides to get to a level where things feel seamless.2

Cousins took it upon himself to jump-start that process in early April. He invited Diggs and Adam Thielen down to Atlanta for an informal throwing session before he was able to work with them in an official capacity. It was a chance for the Vikings’ top wideouts to learn what Cousins likes to do on the field, how he wants certain routes run and, most important, who their quarterback is underneath the helmet.

“He’s definitely a blessing to be around as far as the energy that he brings,” Diggs said. “As far as being our general and the guy that’s going to lead us, I put 100 percent faith in him and I trust him.”

Cousins didn’t wait long to break out the energy. He was fist-pumping and yelling during organized team activities as things started to click with his receivers.

“The big thing for him is when you emphasize something and you finally get it done and you finally get on the same page with the quarterback-receiver, it’s kind of exciting,” Thielen jerseys cheap china

But even with OTAs wrapping up and mandatory minicamp next week, it’s difficult to quantify those connections.

“It’s hard to figure that out if it’s paying off or not,” Thielen said. “I know that it doesn’t hurt. I think something like that is just a jump-start to a long journey of getting on the same page. I think people underestimate how much time, how much effort and how much repetition it takes to get on the same page with a quarterback.”

Sergio Ramos is Real Madrid’s ultimate big-game player in Europe

I’m not being cheeky or doubting you, but you do know Sergio Ramos’ red-card record, don’t you? The infamous story about Real Madrid’s captain and how many times he gets sent off, yes?

No. Wait! Not the one about how another expulsion would land him squarely on a quarter-century of orderings-off for Los Blancos. That’s an entirely different side to Madrid’s belligerent captain. I mean, instead, the one where this combative, all-or-nothing, hell-for-leather centre-half/hero/hooligan has actually scored twice as many goals in European club semifinals and finals as he has seen red cards in his entire UEFA career?cheap nfl authentic jerseys

That’s right. This bull of a man, who some people probably believe has a hyphenated surname (Sergio Ramos-SentOff) has only been red-carded three times in over 120 UEFA matches for Sevilla and Real Madrid. It’s almost angelic and sits in truly stark comparison to his all-time record for Los Blancos, which shows that nobody in the history of top-level Spanish club football has been sent off more often.

Twenty-four dismissals (and counting) is his slightly embarrassing “landmark.” But the massive disparity between Ramos the “restrained European” and Ramos “Spain is my fiefdom and I’ll act exactly as I wish” is still greater once you examine more closely.277

Of his three Champions League red cards, one was simply for following Jose Mourinho’s streetwise instructions. Ramos and Xabi Alonso deliberately got themselves sent off for time-wasting second bookings in the final moments of a win against Ajax in 2010, so that they’d have a lesser chance of suspension in the knockout rounds. Subtract that ordering off, which admittedly caused one heck of a row at the time, and Ramos actually has three times more goals in UEFA semis and finals than he has European red cards.

These are remarkable stats in so many ways. The most obvious, of course, is that Saturday’s Champions League final will be Ramos’ fourth and he has yet to taste defeat. Yet it presents Real Madrid’s captain with not just a test of football, but the ultimate test of judgement and restraint.

Let’s not beat about the bush here: The prospect of Marcelo suddenly deciding to prioritise defending or positional discipline is as likely as Cristiano Ronaldo voting for Lionel Messi in the Ballon d’Or. And while Liverpool’s strengths do not begin and end with Mohamed Salah — the Egyptian is far from the only the principal Red menace — he plays down their right. Right where Marcelo should be, but won’ nfl jerseys from china

Now, it’s a nuance missed by many that although Ramos is firmly right-footed (he won Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 at right back) he prefers to play left-sided centre-back for Madrid. This puts him right in the danger zone that will be clearly marked on the Kiev pitch with the words, “Oh bloody hell, where’s Marcelo? Wait… here comes Salah at a hundred miles per hour!”

Even at 32 years old, this athlete from Andalusia, may well be able to match the brilliant Egyptian partly because Ramos is a terrific footballer, partly via his encyclopedia of experience and partly because Madrid’s captain is notably streetwise. However the last thing he wants to see is Salah with the ball at his feet, careering towards him at pace. Because this is the split-second moment when a defender has to commit. The position in which Ramos will undoubtedly find himself, whether to “jockey” the player and try to herd him into a space where he doesn’t want to go, or lunge into a tackle and risk yellow or red — this is the nightmare scenario for most defenders.

Capela, Rockets defense proving to be a mainstay during the postseason

Clint Capela provided the exclamation point to the Houston Rockets’ 100-87 win over the Utah Jazz, swatting Joe Ingles’ layup attempt just before the final buzzer of Sunday’s Game 4, the big man’s career-high-tying sixth blocked shot of the night.

Rockets superstar James Harden immediately rushed toward him, close enough for the probable MVP’s famed whiskers to brush Capela’s face. Harden grabbed Capela and hollered a congratulatory message,cheap nfl authentic jerseys using a little language you wouldn’t want the national-television microphones to pick up.

“I can’t exactly tell you what I said to him,” Harden said with a smile. “He’s put himself in this position to go out there and play at a high level and do the things that we ask him to do every single night. I mean, he has our back, and it feels good to have somebody have our back like he does. He doesn’t get a lot of credit for it.”

Harden and Chris Paul are Houston’s headliners, but the Rockets knew all along that they needed the 23-year-old Capela to emerge as a legitimate third star to have a legitimate chance to challenge the defending champion Warriors. That happened during the regular season, when Capela averaged 13.9 points and 10.8 rebounds while leading the league in field goal percentage (.652) as the Rockets rolled the NBA’s best record.87

The springy center from Switzerland has taken another big leap during the playoffs. Capela is averaging 15.4 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game, and those numbers tell only part of the tale.

For instance, Paul attributes much of his midrange assassination of the Jazz to Capela’s presence. Gobert knows if he strays too far from Capela, Paul will feed him for a dunk, keeping the NBA’s premier rim protector close to the basket. Paul gladly takes those midrange looks — “layups for me” — and knocked down 11 of 17 jumpers inside the 3-point line while scoring a game-high 27 points Sunday.

“It’s so many things that happen throughout the game that don’t show up on the stat sheet,” Paul said of jerseys cheap china “It shows how selfless he is.”