Andre: Ok things are getting really interesting now. Lot of big names missing, still some serious ones in the mix, add to that the constant possibilities of a surprise or two… The women’s 400m looks like it’s going to be another good one. KC: I think this is one of the most wide open 400m female events at a major championships as I think the field lacks good quality. Andre: I knew you’d say that because your girl Francena McCorory did not make the U.S. 400m team. I think there is good quality here and we have seen in the heats that folks are coming into form, looking comfortable in qualifying and threatening to run much faster when it’s needed. KC: It is so unfortunate that the best female quarter-miler in the world will not be competing here as she can beat anyone in this line up by a half a second but the show has to go on. Imagine a line-up going into the Championships where only one lady has gone sub 50 seconds this season in Shaunae Miller and I will not be surprised if the winning time will be the slowest in history at these Championships. Andre: McCorory knew what the qualifying criteria was. She foolishly sacrificed a spot on the 400m team for a world lead and as an experienced athlete you would expect better. Anyway, let’s talk about the ladies who are actually competing. Allyson Felix has multiple sub 50 times to her credit and will definitely go there this week. KC: This is a great opportunity for Jamaica to make history here as we could see all four making it to the final where I think McPherson is our best medal hope and she is due for a very big performance. If she is not too far off the pace in the final, she could be in for a history-making performance. Andre: McPherson has had her issues this year, but she is doing better and looks like she will go fast here, same for Bianca Razor and we know that Christine Ohuruogu will be there when the roll is called. But yes, it’s a good chance for some Jamaican joy in this event, even if Felix and Miller are ahead of our girls. KC: I am not worried about Razor here as she has PR already in the first round, a similar situation like we saw in the men’s 400m. I expect though that it will be a duel for gold between Miller and Felix, as these two have the best 200 metres speed in the field and could use this to their advantage. Andre: Yes, I agree. I think there will be two races in one; the race for the gold between Miller and Felix and the race for the bronze between McPherson and Ohuruogu, who I find it hard to count out. Natasha Hastings looked unconvincing in the heats, but has decent quality and could also be a factor, along with youngster Shericka Jackson, who is ready to break out. KC: McPherson has been finishing third all season in majority of the Diamond League meets and must be hungry now for a better placing, but can she beat either, Miller or Felix? Yes, I think so and while Ohuruogu always saves her best for the big moments, this time she could be found wanting as I think her luck will run out. Williams-Mills is also in the same situation as time is catching up on them and both could find themselves out of the final this time around. Andre: I’m worried about Novlene Williams-Mills, she has some medical issues this year and it has affected her preparation. McPherson is ready to run fast, but her preparation has also been hampered this year. I’m banking on the young Bahamian to win, just over Felix, with McPherson going one better than last World Champs and taking the bronze. KC: The experience and class of Felix will prevail here and she will win her first major 400 metres title and make up for her narrow loss to Montsho in Daegu as this lineup is not frightening. Miller should do enough to hold on for second and Hasting, who normally goes out fast, could cause some problems here. She and McPherson could have a battle royal in the final 50 metres for the bronze medal.
CHELSEA (4-2-3-1)COURTOIS, IVANOVIC, ZOUMA, CAHILL, AZPILICUETA,FABREGAS, MATIC,PEDRO, WILLIAN, HAZARD, COSTAPALACE (4-1-3-2)MURRAY, ZAHA,SAKO, PUNCHEON, CABAYE, McARTHUR,SOURE, DELANEY, DANN, WARD,McCARTHYChelsea finally got their first win of the season, winning 3-2 at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, but the victory came at a cost with John Terry red-carded for the fifth time in his career.The three points takes the Blues to 10th in the Barclays Premier League and their four points is eight points fewer than at this stage last season and their lowest return after three games sine 2000 – when they went on to finish in sixth place.By contrast, south London rivals Crystal Palace are in fifth place after winning two of their first three – and five points more than they had after the first three a year ago. It is, indeed, the Eagles’ best start to a Premier League campaign since 1997.Palace are causing problems from dead-ball situations; since the arrival of Alan Pardew as manager Palace have scored 16 set-piece goals, more than any other Premier League side during that period.And the Eagles, who did not score a single own goal in the Premier League last season, have already scored two this campaign.Palace’s record at Stamford Bridge is poor. In six Premier League visits they have lost five, drawn one (in March 1995), scored just five goals and conceded 16.
St Jago High School’s coach Glen Laing and his players are determined to emerge one of the top teams in this year’s schoolboy football competitions and so far they have done a very good job.The Spanish Town-based school finished as the best runner-up in their first-round Manning Cup group and qualified for both the lucrative FLOW Super Cup and Walker Cup competitions.But despite their good showing in the preliminary round, the second round is where Laing really wants them to make their mark and he believes he has the players, although he has one in particular that he looks to for goals.Shaqon Bryan netted the opening goal seven minutes into St Jago’s surprise 2-0 win over North Street-based Kingston College in the Walker Cup knockout quarter-finals last Friday at the Constant Spring Complex, taking his tally to nine for the season.Today, St Jago face the blue side of North Street, when they tackle St George’s College in the Walker Cup semi-final this afternoon at Constant Spring, and the speedy striker is aiming for more goals. He also knows there is no better way to announce their arrival to the big time than with a win over the mighty George’s.”The aim is always to win, and I always aim for more (goals),” Bryan told The Gleaner.”We are trying to put St Jago on the map and we are doing that … . The team has grown a lot, because at the start of the season, we didn’t have a few players, but we got them back and the team started working, and now all is well,” he added.The player and the team also have huge confidence in their coach, even though Bryan didn’t agree with his part-time substitution role in the first round, he wants to live up to the mantle the coach has handed him in their whole objective.”We are not finishing a lot of the chances we create, but we are getting there. It’s work in-progress. The coach has been telling me that I have the team on my back and that I should carry them forward. I hope to do that as best as possible,” he said.
PIVOTAL ROLE In all fairness, some unique and significant credit should be given for the pivotal role I played in the success story of Bolt. The mere fact that those stinging words resonated with him through the ebbs and flows of his now mega successful career suggests that those words helped to motivate, if not inspire, the now greatest sprinter of all time to the lofty heights he has attained. Criticism tends to spark the fire of excellence, and Bolt has risen above many challenges, including some moments worthy of criticism, to be now blazing a furnace of excellence. Even his exploits at last year’s World Championships in Beijing when the odds were stacked against him because of poor form and injuries, with the debate raging as to whether he would be able to overcome the challenge of a then marauding Gatlin, Bolt must have been well aware that in my capacity as his ‘main motivator’, I was early and emphatic in my prediction that he would lose to Gatlin in that 100-metre final. It is also reasonable to assume that Bolt, and the innate champion in him, must have drawn some motivation from that swirling sentiment, which helped him to put in that extra work needed to overcome the odds and prove the critics wrong in the emphatic way he did. During the last decade spanning the 2005 World Championships, through the thick and thin and ups and downs up to the 2015 Beijing World Championships, I genuinely believe that my motivational role in the building of Bolt the athlete and Bolt the brand has been immeasurable. In my retort to Bolt’s recent accusations, I suggested publicly that I was preparing an invoice to be delivered for my services. The big man subsequently responded on Twitter that he was looking forward to receiving that invoice. The tabulation continues, and the invoice will be delivered as I look forward to the day when l will be finally and adequately compensated. When Usain Bolt accused me of calling him a ‘sell-out’ who ‘sold out’ to Justin Gatlin in that infamous 200 metres final at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki I reacted with dismay, knowing that I had never, called, and would never call Bolt a sell-out. For the record, I want to here and now categorically deny calling Bolt a sell-out. Desperate attempts are still being made to find the relevant commentary aired on August 11, 2005, the day of that fateful race, to verify that what I did say was that Bolt’s decision to jog the last 70 or 80 metres of that race was an act of cowardice, and he should have stopped if he was injured instead of walking to the line. I maintain to this day that it was a reasonable criticism of Bolt’s performance on that particular occasion, an opinion that many Jamaicans somehow equate with writing off the then emerging sprinter. There is, however, a fundamental difference between writing off an athlete and being critical of a specific performance by that athlete. Absolutely no one is beyond criticism, which in and of itself when merited is not necessarily a bad thing. It is how the individual responds to criticism that determines the effect of that criticism. I remember being confronted personally by Bolt about the particular incident in question. I remember telling him that my critique of him was not meant to tear him down, but to make him a better and stronger athlete and that those harsh words seemed to have done him well.
MILAN (AP):On his 300th Serie A match as coach, Massimiliano Allegri appeared to throw caution to the wind as Juventus fielded an all-out attacking line-up against Lazio yesterday.But it paid off as Juventus bounced back from last weekend’s defeat at Fiorentina to beat Lazio 2-0, with goals from Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain inside 16 minutes.”I woke up on Wednesday morning and I decided to change things,” Allegri said. “I decided so because we were coming off not so good a match in Florence and today (yesterday) was the right match for that sort of experiment.”We won’t always play like this, but the response the team gave me was positive: we played well, with quality and sacrifice. And despite the attacking imbalance, we still did well in defence, not risking anything. But we have to maintain this tempo, irrespective of the formation.”There have been question marks this season over who works best with Higuain and Allegri found a novel solution, by utilising all his main attackers in a new 4-2-3-1 formation.NEW-LOOK JUVENTUSMiralem Pjanic partnered Sami Khedira in midfield, with Juan Cuadrado, Dybala and Mario Mandzukic just behind Higuain.It took just five minutes for the new-look Juventus to take the lead, with Mandzukic knocking down a long ball for Dybala’s half-volley into the bottom left corner from just outside the area.Juve doubled their lead in the 16th when Cuadrado crossed from the right and Higuain tapped it into the bottom right corner from six yards for his seventh goal in the past five league matches.Inter recorded an eighth successive win in all competitions but only after struggling to break down relegation-threatened Palermo.Substitute Joao Mario scored the only goal of the game in the 65th when he was left unmarked to volley in Antonio Candreva’s cross.Both teams were reduced to 10 men late on, with Inter defender Cristian Ansaldi sent off in the 80th for a second yellow card. Inter protested and coach Stefano Pioli was also dismissed.Palermo midfielder Alessandro Gazzi was also shown a second yellow and sent off in stoppage time.Inter leapfrogged AC Milan into fifth, a point behind Lazio, although the Rossoneri have a game in hand.
Shane Hudson, Jamaica’s sole para-athlete to the 2017 World Para Athletics Grand Prix – also known as the Laterias CAIXA Athletics Open Championships, mined gold yesterday in the 400 metres T47, with a season’s best of 49.73.Watson will now turn his attention to competing in the 200m event today and the Super Challenge Race tomorrow, which will see the top eight competitors by times, from all the rated classes, competing for overall honours.This is the first time that a Jamaican para-athlete is competing in a Grand Prix meet staged by the International Paralympic Committee.Shane is using the meet to assess his preparation for the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships set for London, England in July.
It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Nadal’s drought without so much as one appearance in a major semifinal had stretched to about 2½ years.By the end of the Australian Open, though, they were squaring off to decide the title.It was the pair’s ninth Grand Slam final against each other — it’s happened at least twice at each major except the U.S. Open, where they have never met — but first since the 2011 French Open.At the time, Nadal said Sunday, “I was surprised.”But he wasn’t taken aback by what he and Federer were able to do later in the year. It was clear — to Nadal, to everyone — that they were once again capable of being the dominant figures in their sport.“To come back and win all four Grand Slams was quite an achievement, regardless of how good they are. There is a lot of very tough competition,” said Kevin Anderson, the first-time major finalist who failed to put up too much of a fight in a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 loss to the No. 1-ranked Nadal.“When they’re healthy, I think they have so many skills they can rely on. In addition to that is just the amount of experience they have had,” Anderson said. “Playing at this level, I think they feel very comfortable, and obviously they might get nervous, but just like anything, the more you do it, the more used to it you get.”It didn’t hurt that the three men who are next in the pecking order all had down years and injury issues: Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka. All missed the U.S. Open. All could return to contention for big prizes next year.Add in that trio’s major totals (Djokovic has 12, Murray and Wawrinka three apiece), and since the start of the 2005 French Open, the top five men have won 49 of the past 51 Grand Slam championships.Still, after all this time, there are still two who stand alone at the top: Rafa and Roger. Learning about the ‘Ring of Fire’ View comments “There is just two things that probably we share — that is passion for what we are doing, passion for tennis , passion for the competition,” Nadal said, “and the spirit of improvement all the time.”The question was put to him Sunday night: How important is it for you to catch Federer in the race for most Grand Slam titles?“I really never thought much about that. I just do my way. He does his way,” Nadal responded. “Let’s see when we finish, no?”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend Break new ground As of Monday, they are ranked 1-2 .Federer began this season at No. 16, having missed the last half while letting his back and left knee heal.Nadal was No. 9, having pulled out after the second round of the French Open and skipped Wimbledon entirely because of an injured left wrist.“When you get (an) injury,” Nadal said, “then (it) seems like the season is a disaster.”Federer began 2017 having gone 4½ years without a Grand Slam title.ADVERTISEMENT Winning start Rafael Nadal, of Spain, reacts after beating Kevin Anderson, of South Africa, to win the men’s singles final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)NEW YORK — Who would have guessed at the start of 2017 that Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer would divvy up the year’s four Grand Slam titles?And who could possibly pretend to know what 2018 will bring for them?ADVERTISEMENT End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend Mayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’ By the time Nadal was biting the handle of the U.S. Open trophy on Sunday night , his usual way of celebrating a tournament victory, he had raised his career Grand Slam championship count to 16: three at Flushing Meadows, an unprecedented 10 at the French Open (including this June, shortly after turning 31), two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open.That moved him back within three of Federer, whose 19 is the record among men: an unprecedented eight at the All England Club (including in July, shortly before turning 36), five at the U.S. Open, four at the Australian Open (including in January) and one at Roland Garros.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smog“Of course, (it’s) something difficult to imagine, eight months ago or nine months ago, that we will be winning two Grand Slams each,” Nadal said. “But here we are.”Indeed, in January, it sure appeared that the two greats of the game had left their best days behind. OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson LA loves the Olympics, even though they’re 11 years away A costly, catty dispute finally settled MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award
Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene In ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ Comedy and Drama Collide Joshua Umandal unleashed 23 points for the Tigers, who sent the Eagles to their first loss of the conference.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ Halep secures top ranking with China Open semifinal win It was a double victory for FEU after its men’s team also emerged victorious from a five-setter.The Tamaraws overcame the National University Bulldogs, 25-14, 16-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-12, to punch the first finals ticket.Ateneo, on the other hand, failed to sweep its semis duel against University of Santo Tomas, which took advantage of the absence of Blue Ealges’ top guns Marck Espejo and Karl Baysa.The Growling Tigers won, 25-22, 25-23, 22-25, 25-21, to pave way for a rubber match on Monday.Espejo and Baysa skipped the PVL to suit up for Ateneo in the UAAP Season 80 beach volleyball tournament.ADVERTISEMENT Mos Burger to open in Manila; teases with a pop-up Far Eastern University recovered just in time to beat Adamson, 21-25, 27-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-11, and extend their semifinals series to a deciding Game 3 Saturday in the Premier Volleyball League at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.The Lady Tamaraws blew a 2-1 set lead and a 21-19 edge in the fourth set before leaning on Toni Rose Basas to put the Lady Falcons away in the fifth set.ADVERTISEMENT It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson SEA Games 2019: PH’s Ian Bautista boxing bantamweight semi final (HIGHLIGHTS) PLAY LIST 03:11SEA Games 2019: PH’s Ian Bautista boxing bantamweight semi final (HIGHLIGHTS)03:00SEA Games 2019: PH’s Aira Villegas boxing bantamweight semi final (HIGHLIGHTS)03:27SEA Games 2019: PH’s Eumir Marcial boxing middleweight semi final (HIGHLIGHTS)02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award DAY6 is for everybody How to help the Taal evacuees OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson MOST READ LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Nueva Ecija warehouse making fake cigarettes raided, 29 Chinese workers nabbed Basas scored on two straight drop balls to seal FEU’s thrilling win.The Lady Tams bounced back from a fifth-set loss in Game 1 and look to complete their comeback on Monday in Game 3 for a trip to the finals.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smogAdamson scored six unanswered points to force the fifth set.But the Lady Falcons, who are already playing minus star hitter Jema Galanza due to an injury, were dealt with another blow after their libero Jellie Tempiatura tweaked her ankle early in the final set. View comments
UE sacks Derrick Pumaren Going back to 16 seeds in 2019 would, in theory anyway, make early upsets more likely. That’s because if all of the highest-ranked players enter the field, whoever is No. 1 could wind up facing whoever is No. 17 in the opening round.With 32 seeds, none was forced to play someone ranked higher than No. 33 before the third round.The changes with regard to first-round withdrawals, retirements and lack of full effort appear to be in response to what happened at Wimbledon this year. Novak Djokovic’s first-round match at Centre Court lasted all of 40 minutes, and Roger Federer’s went 43, before their opponents stopped playing because of pre-existing injuries. Two other men also stopped mid-match that day, bringing the first-round retirement total to seven and sparking discussion about whether spectators were being shortchanged.The rule changes issued Tuesday, and taking effect next year, let players collect half of the first-round prize money at a Grand Slam tournament if they are “unfit to play” and withdraw onsite after noon on Thursday but before the main draw begins. The person replacing them in the field — a “lucky loser” who failed to advance out of the qualifying rounds — will get the other half of that money, plus whatever they might accumulate by winning matches.The reasoning: Injured or ill players won’t start a match simply to collect their prize money before quitting.ADVERTISEMENT Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson The 25-second serve clock gives players 5 more seconds than ATP rules currently allow on the men’s tour.But Grand Slam Board Director Bill Babcock said the clock will be used at the 2018 Australian Open on a trial basis the way it was at the U.S. Open, which tested it only for events such as qualifying and junior matches.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award MOST READ LATEST STORIES OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Spain’s Rafael Nadal poses with his winning trophy after defeating South Africa’s Kevin Anderson during their 2017 US Open Men’s Singles final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 10, 2017.Rafael Nadal raced to a third US Open title and 16th Grand Slam crown on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 rout of South African giant Kevin Anderson. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADGrand Slam tournaments are planning to return to seeding only 16 players, instead of 32, as of 2019, and now will give a player who is a late withdrawal because of an injury 50 percent of the first-round prize money.Also among the announcements by the Grand Slam Board on Tuesday after two days of meetings in London last week:ADVERTISEMENT Coco’s house rules on ‘Probinsyano’ set Kiss-and-tell matinee idol’s conquests: True stories or tall tales? Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours View comments — A player who retires from a first-round match or “performs below professional standards” could face a fine as high as the entire prize money due a loser in that round.— A 25-second serve clock will be tried out at the Australian Open in January, but like at this year’s U.S. Open, not during main-draw matches.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSBack on the throne— Players could be fined up to $20,000 for violating “strictly enforced” prematch timing, which will give them one minute to meet at the net after walking on the court, five minutes for warming up, followed by one minute to be ready for play to begin.The four Grand Slam tournaments — the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open — doubled the number of seeded players to 32 in June 2001. That decision was made partly in response to complaints from clay-court specialists that they wanted more draw protection at Wimbledon, the only major tournament played on grass. Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ Jo Koy: My brain always wants to think funny Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene
Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Jo Koy: My brain always wants to think funny Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award MOST READ Coco’s house rules on ‘Probinsyano’ set Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene LATEST STORIES Kiss-and-tell matinee idol’s conquests: True stories or tall tales? “While I’m playing under Jose (Mourinho) and he’s happy and I’m playing regularly, then I’m happy with that.”Smalling is confident of forcing his way into Southgate’s plans for the World Cup in Russia.“While I’m playing regularly here and part of a very successful team I think that should show come the summer,” Smalling said. “I don’t really feel like I need to prove anything to Gareth.“Like I said, I play for one of the most successful managers in Jose and he’s only going to pick the best players. While I’m playing regularly and he’s happy I think, if my season carries on like this and we have a successful season and our team continues to concede very few goals, then I think it gives him maybe no choice in the summer but to pick me.”ADVERTISEMENT OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson “Was I surprised? Yes, I was,” Smalling said on Tuesday of his omission, speaking at United’s news conference ahead of its Champions League game against Basel.“But you don’t play for one of the biggest clubs in the world for as long as I have and probably won the most trophies bar the Champions League without being able to do everything a top defender needs to do, be it playing or defending.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSBack on the throneSmalling, who has played 31 games for England, started the season behind Phil Jones and Eric Bailly, and has played more in the Premier League only in recent weeks because of injuries.“This year, as a team, we’ve got one of the best defensive records,” Smalling said, “and we have done for the last few years and I’m very proud to be part of that. Manchester United’s Chris Smalling speaks during a press conference the day before the Champions League Group A soccer match between Switzerland’s FC Basel 1893 and England’s Manchester United FC at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. (Georgios Kefalas/Keystone via AP)BASEL, Switzerland — Manchester United defender Chris Smalling says he has nothing to prove to England manager Gareth Southgate after being dropped by the national team and having his ability publicly questioned.Smalling was overlooked for England’s recent friendly games against Germany and Brazil, with Southgate picking younger players and saying he wanted his team to move toward a style of “using the ball from the back and building up in a certain way.”ADVERTISEMENT Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours FIFA bans 3 soccer officials for life for taking bribes View comments