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Steve McClaren backs ‘top-class’ Jack Butland for England place

first_img Press Association Steve McClaren hailed England prospect Jack Butland after seeing the Stoke keeper deny Newcastle victory with a breathtaking performance. “He did it for us a few times at Derby last year – I remember very well – and he’s done it again for Stoke today. I have seen him in other games. “You need a top-class goalkeeper to get you points and Stoke have got one, and certainly England have.” Newcastle were repeatedly thwarted by Butland who, having needed the help of a post to keep out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s first-half header, produced four increasingly impressive saves after the break to repel two efforts from Moussa Sissoko and one each from Ayoze Perez and substitute Jamaal Lascelles. However, Stoke boss Mark Hughes, with tongue somewhat in cheek, played down his goalkeeper’s heroics. He said: “He made a couple of saves, but that’s what he’s paid to do. I didn’t think Newcastle were peppering his goal, to be perfectly honest . “But when we needed him in key moments in the game, that’s when your goalkeeper has got to come to the fore, and he certainly did that. “His best save was when Sissoko burst through – he spread himself really well – and then a couple of things he needed to do with a corner as well, which is pretty basic stuff for Jack and keepers of his quality. “Yes, he had to make an impact and he has been able to do that.” Newcastle have won just one of their 11 Barclays Premier League games to date this season and remain in the bottom three, but McClaren is nevertheless convinced they are on the right track. He said: “The key thing is, we look capable of winning games now. The first four, we didn’t create any chances; now we are. “We are playing good football, dominating opponents – the clean sheet was important – and in the cold light of day, anybody looking at that can see we are on the right lines.” The abrasive Mitrovic’s battle with Stoke central defenders Philipp Wollscheid and Ryan Shawcross threatened to get out of hand at times, but Hughes had no problem with the Serbia international’s contribution. He said: “I don’t mind that. It’s part of the game, it’s part of his make-up, it seems. I don’t know the lad myself, but I was probably guilty of a few of those antics myself. “I wouldn’t be too hard on him because it would be the kettle calling the pot black.” Meanwhile, McClaren is facing up to a goalkeeping crisis after Rob Elliot limped off the pitch at the final whistle with a recurrence of the thigh injury which sidelined him last season. With Tim Krul out for the rest of the campaign having undergone cruciate ligament surgery and Karl Darlow battling an ankle problem, 18-year-old Freddie Woodman is the club’s only fit keeper. McClaren said: “We are certainly looking at the situation and seeing what we can do because that’s three of our senior goalkeepers injured.” The 22-year-old produced four superb saves to ensure the Potters left St James’ Park with a point at the end of a tense 0-0 draw. McClaren, who handed Butland six loan appearances last season during his spell as Derby boss, said: “Goalkeepers are there to win you points and that’s what Jack Butland does. last_img read more

Tweet from Kobe Bryant highlight of Andre Ingram’s overnight stardom

first_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe Lakers missed the playoffs for a fifth straight season, but Ingram’s feel-good performance in his NBA debut breathed life into what otherwise were two meaningless games.Ingram came back to earth in his second game with the Lakers, shooting 2 for 9 in 33 minutes. After making four out of five 3-pointers in his debut, he was just 1 for 4 from deep against the Clippers, finishing with five points, six assists and three rebounds.That did not diminish, however, what occurred one night earlier.“It’s such a great story because people who play in this league know how hard it is and know what sacrifice and dedication it takes to make it here,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “People all around the NBA were watching and commenting on it and excited for him. And that’s a really cool thing.”Ingram said he was “advised to just cut the phone off.” But when he turned on his cell in the hours after his sizzling debut, Ingram saw hundreds of messages from friends, former teammates and coaches, and the students he’s tutored in math to supplement his $19,500 salary as a player with the South Bay Lakers. “I tried not to read them,” Ingram said, “because I’d end up responding. That’s just how it would be.”The question now for Ingram, who will return to Virginia with his wife and two daughters, is whether he has a future in the NBA.Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error – LOS ANGELES — It wasn’t the live hit with Charles Barkley and the rest of the Turner Sports’ “Inside the NBA” crew that was most surreal to Andre Ingram. Nor was it the fact that following his 19-point outburst Tuesday that his presence was requested across the street from Staples Center on set with ESPN’s late-night “SportsCenter”.It was when his brother told him about the tweet sent by Kobe Bryant. “LOVE IT” the Lakers legend tweeted, joining a chorus of NBA stars in voicing admiration for the 32-year-old following his NBA debut.“When he told me that, we both kind of went a little crazy,” Ingram said. “We are Kobe lovers. We just are, for some time now.”Ingram was, quite literally, an overnight sensation. Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs “I’m sure every team right now is talking about that,” Walton said. “What the answer is, I don’t know. … But when you can shoot the ball that well. … (In) the NBA you get superstars and you get specialists around those superstars. That’s kind of how you build out a really good team. He is a specialist at what he does.”Whether he plays in the NBA again or not, Ingram has achieved the kind of crossover fame many NBA players never do. He is scheduled to appear on “Good Morning America” on Thursday morning. The morning after his breakout performance, paparazzi were stationed outside Ingram’s hotel.“My wife and I, we look at each other every, I don’t know, 30 or so minutes and we say, ‘What is going on? What is happening here?’” Ingram said.What happened was that on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, a 32-year-old math tutor from Richmond, Va., got to live to his NBA dream.“It was pretty special,” Walton said. How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions last_img read more