News F1

IndyCar drivers cheering Robert Wickens recovery

AP Updated: 12 February, 2019, 10:32 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

IndyCar drivers are watching Robert Wickens' determined recovery from a horrific crash last season and cheering him on in hopes he will be able to return to racing.

Wickens suffered a spinal cord injury in a crash last August at Pocono Raceway. He has been updating his recovery with videos on social media during his rehabilitation. Wickens has vowed to return to racing.

"I firmly believe he will do it," said James Hinchcliffe, Wickens' Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsport teammate and a fellow Canadian. "He's driven as all get-out. He's pushing himself harder than he probably should be. We are excited to see him back on the racetrack as soon as possible."

Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has a two-car driver lineup this season with Hinchcliffe and new driver Marcus Ericsson, though the team has made it clear a seat is available should Wickens return this season.

Wickens' car sailed into the fence at Pocono and he suffered a thoracic spinal fracture, spinal cord injury, neck fracture, tibia and fibula fractures to both legs, fractures in both hands, a fractured right forearm, a fractured elbow, four fractured ribs and a pulmonary contusion.

"There's a lot of unknowns but he's giving it his best shot and that's pretty inspiring," Dale Coyne Racing's Sebastien Bourdais said Monday at IndyCar media day.

Hinchcliffe survived a violent crash in 2015 when he was impaled by a piece of his car's suspension when his car broke apart in a practice session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He said that crash and Wickens' crash never made him second-guess his decision to race.

"We're wired differently. We're wired wrong. It never once made me pause and consider my own career," Hinchcliffe said.

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News Cricket

Star Aussie bowler to make comeback against Pakistan

Staff Writer Updated: 12 February, 2019, 3:27 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Star Aussie bowler is hopeful of making a return to international cricket for the for the ODI series against Pakistan in March. Mitchell Starc sustained the injury during the second Test against Sri Lanka was told to take couple of weeks rest to attain full fitness.

He will miss the upcoming T20 and ODI series against India.

"The UAE is around the 15th of March so if all goes to plan I should be pretty sweet to be available for that one," Starc told cricket.com.au. "Obviously the boys go to India, hopefully it's a good tour for them there. I don't think I'll be ready for any stage of that. So it's up to the rehab group and the selectors and see how the rest of this summer goes."

Australia will play two T20 internationals and five ODI matches against Men in Blue. The five-match ODI series against Pakistan will start from 22 March.

News Cricket

Yuvraj Singh loses his cool, comes up with a tweet

Staff Writer Updated: 12 February, 2019, 2:58 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

After Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh also took to Twitter to lambast those who attacked Amit Bhandari and even demanded justice for the former Indian cricketer.

The head of senior selection committee of Delhi was hit with hockey sticks and rods by unidentified men at the St Stephen’s Ground. He was assisting the trials of the U-23 team for the upcoming Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

“I’ve given my statement to the police. I’ve given them the reason of selection and the names (of attackers) as well,” said Amit Bhandari.

Virender Sehwag was furious with what happened with his former teammate.

“The attack on Delhi selector Amit Bhandari for not picking a player is a new low and I am hopeful that stringent action will be taken against the culprit and adequate measures will be taken to avoid such incidents.”

In response to Viru's tweet, Yuvraj wrote: “Absolutely agree with Viru! This kind of inhuman act can never be tolerated. Strict action needs be taken against all the culprits involved, wishing Amit Bhandari a speedy recovery.”

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News Cricket

Harbhajan names his Indian squad for World Cup, springs a couple of surprises

Staff Writer Updated: 12 February, 2019, 2:31 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Harbhajan Singh, who is quite active on social media these days, has named his Indian squad for the World Cup. Speaking for Sports Tak, the off-spinner, brought in Umesh Yadav while leaving Rishabh Pant out in favor of Dinesh Karthik. The left hand batsman was not part of the ODI series against Australia and New Zealand but was among runs in the three-match T20 series in New Zealand.

He included Vijay Shankar and Ravindra Jadeja in his team for the showpiece event. Bhajji, who was part of the World Cup winning team in 2011, has named Mohammed Shami in the squad after his impressive performance in Australia and New Zealand.

Harbhajan’s 15-man squad for the 2019 ICC World Cup: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Dinesh Karthik, Umesh Yadav and Vijay Shankar.

News Cricket

KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane to make ODI return?

Staff Writer Updated: 12 February, 2019, 2:07 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Ajinkya Rahane is the front-runner to stage another ODI comeback
  • Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal could be rested
  • Virat Kohli will lead India against the visitors

Keeping the hectic schedule in mind, the national selectors are expected to rest senior players like Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan from the upcoming ODI series against Australia. KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane are likely to be recalled.

Virat Kohli, who was rested from the last two ODIs and T20 internationals against New Zealand, will lead India against the visitors.

In Rohit's absence, Ajinkya Rahane is the front-runner to stage another ODI comeback, as per reports in The Hindu.

Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal could be rested considering their workload in international arena. Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested from the ODI series against Australia and the entire New Zealand tour, is expected to lead the attack in absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, the two pacers who could be rested.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni on the verge of breaking world record

Staff Writer Updated: 12 February, 2019, 1:46 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

MS Dhoni has hit the right notes in the ongoing year. From a dismissal performance in 2018 to three consecutive fifties in the ODI series against Australia, the former skipper has turned around his questionable form. Dhoni has accomplished a lot in his career and holds several record to his name.

He is on the verge of breaking Mark Boucher's world record of most international matches as wicket-keeper. The former South African stumper has got 596 caps to his name while MS Dhoni has represented India in 594 matches.

He needs just three more international matches to surpass Boucher.

They are followed by Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara with 499 while Adam Gilchrist comes fourth with 485.

India will take on Australia in the T20 and ODI series.

The two teams will play 2 T20Is and 5 ODIs, beginning February 24.

News Cricket

Harbhajan Singh names three players who must play in Australia ODIs

Staff Writer Updated: 12 February, 2019, 12:50 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • India will play home series against Australia
  • It will comprise of two T20Is and five ODIs
  • Bhajji feels the Men in Blue should rest some senior players and try out youngsters

Now, the Men in Blue have only seven games before the commencement of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. India will play home series against Australia, which will comprise of two T20Is and five ODIs. India will look to fine-tune their team ahead of the all-important ICC megaevent that takes place every four years. According to Indian off-spinner, Harbhajan Singh, India should rest some senior players and try out youngsters in the five-match ODI series against Australia.

In an interview with India Today, Harbhajan Singh said, "I don't think you need to put the best 11-13 players in play because they had a very long tour of Australia and New Zealand. If they are asked to play in India, it might be too much for their body and then there is IPL also. So it will be good if the senior players can be rested as much as possible.

"This can be taken a chance for players like Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Priyank Panchal and similarly you can see Siddarth Kaul and Mayank Markande, these young players can be given a chance and the pool should be expanded. If the pool is large, more and more players will come.

"Don't think only about the World Cup but there has to be cricket after that too and a look should be given to people who will play after that and those should be looked at. Some senior players should be rested and some young players should get the opportunity in India vs Australia series and it should be a mix-and-match," Harbhajan said.

News Cricket

Warne puts his weight behind Pandya and Rahul, terms the outrage on KWK saga "ridiculous"

Harshit Anand Updated: 12 February, 2019, 12:30 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Warne feels these days its all about being politically correct
  • KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya were called back from the tour of Australia
  • They made controversial remarks on Koffee With Karan

Australian cricket legend, Shane Warne has defended Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul’s comments on TV entertainment show ‘Koffee With Karan’ and termed the outrage in aftermath of the show as "ridiculous." Warne feels these days its all about being politically correct but people want to see the real side of the sportspersons than their over the top diplomatic behavior.

KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya were called back from the tour of Australia after their controversial comments on the TV talk show, which is hosted by famous Bollywood director, Karan Johar.

“Good lord. As I said, it’s all about political correctness these days. If a player steps out of line, everybody has an opinion and I thought that this particular thing was ridiculous. Just let them be,” said Warne to Times of India.

“We live in a world that’s increasingly becoming politically correct. And what we want to see from sportspersons is them being real. We want to see their emotions, see them playing with freedom, expressing themselves. We don’t want to see them conforming. For instance, most player interviews these days go like this: Question: Well, that was a fantastic result today. How do you feel? Answer: Well, it was a great team effort. Everybody played well and did their part. I’m just trying my best and happy to contribute to the team – That’s what everyone says. Guys have to get more real,” the legendary Aussie spinner added.

News Cricket

Nothing wrong with being gay: Joe Root tells Shannon Gabriel during verbal duel

Staff Writer Updated: 12 February, 2019, 12:20 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Joe Root scored a century as England manhandled a depleted West Indies attack to lead the dead rubber
  • Root was 111 not out, reaching his first half-century and century in eight innings
  • The English skipper was involved in a verbal duel with Windies pacer Shannon Gabriel

Joe Root scored a century as England manhandled a depleted West Indies attack to lead the dead rubber third test by 448 runs after three days on Monday.

England, 123 runs up on the first innings, cruised from 19 without loss at the start of the day to 325-4 at stumps.

Root was 111 not out, reaching his first half-century and century in eight innings, with the West Indies already having won the series 2-0.

Beside Root was Ben Stokes, on 29 not out.

The English skipper was involved in a verbal duel with Windies pacer Shannon Gabriel. He was heard saying “There is nothing wrong with being gay.”

Gabriel was warned about using abusive language by the on-field umpires following his verbal slugfest with Joe Root.

Root was clearly not happy and was seen answering back to Gabriel who may have said something not pleasing to him. The West Indies pacer was constantly targeting Root.

The stump microphone clearly picked Joe Root’s words but Gabriel comments were not heard. Root refused to elaborate on the issue after day’s play.

"Sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret, but they should stay on the field," said Root.

"It’s Test cricket and he's an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a Test match. He's a good guy who plays hard cricket and is proud to be in the position he is. The battle was a good contest, he's had a wonderful series and he should be proud," he added.

News Cricket

Shane Warne reveals what makes Virat Kohli so charming

Harshit Anand Updated: 12 February, 2019, 11:51 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Warne is a big fan of Indian skipper Virat Kohli
  • Kohli is the best batsman across formats at present
  • Shane Warne feels Virat's honesty and openness is refreshing to see

Indian cricket captain, Virat Kohli wears his heart on his sleeves. He doesn't shy away from expressing his feelings and emotions on the field of cricket. He is passionate to the core and that is a major way for him to bring the best out of himself. There is different level of intensity and fire in Virat, which arguably makes him the greatest batsman of the current generation.

In an interview with the Times of India, Australian legend, Shane Warne admitted that he loves watching Kohli bat and is a big fan of him.

Warne said, “He's fantastic. I love watching him bat and I love listening to him. I am a big fan. You know what he does? He stands up for what he believes in. He speaks how he feels and he's real. He's emotional, a bit too emotional sometimes on the field. But that's the part of the charm.”

He added, “I think world cricket loves him. Everyone loves Virat Kohli because it's refreshing to hearing him talk so honestly and openly. He loves confrontation. That's why he has those 100s in chases. How many, 23, 24? The next best is how much? I can't remember who's second. That's something inbuilt into you. That's not skill or talent. He's got a lot of that. That is just pure competitiveness and pure desire - to get the job done.”

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Feature F1

Hendrick sends statement with sweep to open Daytona

AP Updated: 12 February, 2019, 11:27 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • He moved personnel and split up seven-time NASCAR Cup champions Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus
  • Hendrick organization is using NASCAR's biggest stage to show how serious the boss is about rebounding from 2018
  • Hendrick still has his folksy Southern charm, still longs for those simpler days of racing

Rick Hendrick was telling the truth when he insisted this year was going to be much improved from last season, the worst in team history.

He moved personnel and split up seven-time NASCAR Cup champions Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus. He had a Navy SEAL deliver an inspirational speech to all of Hendrick Motorsports, met with all four of his teams and held luncheons and team-building events.

When he sent his teams to Daytona for the 36th time, he sent them to win.

Message delivered.

Hendrick horsepower routed the competition in qualifying for the Daytona 500 with a 1-2-3-4 sweep for Chevrolet. A few hours later, Johnson finally won a race after none last season.

Hendrick Motorsports is now 2-for-2 at Speedweeks with the front row for Sunday's season-opening Daytona 500 and Johnson's victory in the exhibition Clash. The proud Hendrick organization is using NASCAR's biggest stage to show how serious the boss is about rebounding from 2018, when Johnson was winless for the first time in his career, Alex Bowman and William Byron had forgettable first seasons, and Chase Elliott's three late victories were among the few bright spots.

"Last year sucked. I ain't gonna do that no more," Hendrick told The Associated Press just one week before his cars left North Carolina for Daytona.

If this was a sequel to "Days of Thunder," with Randy Quaid again playing a version of Hendrick, the car owner might guarantee a Daytona 500 victory. Hendrick, after all, is from a romantic time in NASCAR when a car salesman from Virginia could scrape together the money to enter the Daytona 500 and turn a fledgling little Chevrolet team into one of the most valuable properties in sports. He still believes that with hard work and the right people, a team can step back and admire a glistening race car, confident that girl is a winner.

Hendrick still has his folksy Southern charm, still longs for those simpler days of racing, still wants to arrive in Daytona knowing his cars are the very best in the field.

So consider Sunday the first day in a new era at Hendrick Motorsports, where William Byron and Alex Bowman gave NASCAR its youngest front row in Daytona 500 history by qualifying first and second. Byron recently turned 21 and begins his second season with Knaus, who split with Johnson after 17 years.

Knaus made a statement in 2002 when he and Johnson debuted at Daytona and won the pole in their first race together. He opened this chapter of his career the same way: winning the pole with Byron in their first race together at the Daytona 500.

It was the fifth consecutive year a Hendrick car has won the pole for the Daytona 500 and it was the 700th pole for Chevrolet, the only partner Hendrick has had in racing. As Hendrick last season worked through a massive personnel consolidation, Chevrolet struggled with its NASCAR introduction of the Camaro and won just four of 36 Cup races.

Rolling off the trucks as the four fastest cars for the Daytona 500 was an important message for the carmaker and its flagship team.

"Well, you know, Chevrolet has been awfully good to me," Hendrick said. "That was my first dealership. It's all I've ever raced. It's all my dad ever raced. That bowtie, we're bowtie-proud. What a great day for Chevrolet, our organization, and these drivers. I'm really proud."

And that was before Johnson bulldozed his way into victory lane.

Johnson is tired of losing and tired of social media trolls telling him he should retire. He also was under mounting pressure from his youngest daughter, who had prayed every night for Daddy to win again.

Johnson's opportunity came as a race-ending rainstorm descended on Daytona International Speedway. It was time to go, and his aggressive pass on Paul Menard triggered a 16-car wreck in a field of 20. It was what he had to do to win an exhibition race worth little more than a trophy, and he was unremorseful as he watched video replays that showed him causing the crash.

Johnson for a year has insisted he can still win a record eighth championship, and now he must do it with first-year Cup crew chief Kevin Meendering. Just as Knaus used qualifying to prove he's motivated in his new role, Johnson used the Clash to prove he's got a lot of fight left in him.

The best car rarely wins the Daytona 500. And the racing formula for the showcase race is unlike the remainder of the NASCAR schedule, in which a completely different rules package will be used to determine the champion.

These season-opening wins at Daytona are morale victories, nothing more. But it's exactly what Hendrick needed for his team to show it will be better this year.

News Tennis

No. 1 Osaka splits with coach 2 weeks after 2nd major title

AP Updated: 12 February, 2019, 11:17 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Naomi Osaka surprisingly split from coach Sascha Bajin
  • Osaka hired Bajin before the 2018 season
  • He previously worked with Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki

Naomi Osaka surprisingly split from coach Sascha Bajin, a little more than two weeks after she won the Australian Open for a second consecutive Grand Slam title and moved to No. 1 in the WTA rankings.

"Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha," Osaka posted on Twitter on Monday. "I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future."

Osaka's agent confirmed to The Associated Press that Osaka would no longer be working with Bajin, the 2018 WTA Coach of the Year, but said there would be no further comment.

Less than a half-hour after Osaka's tweet, Bajin responded to her on Twitter. He thanked her and wrote: "I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this."

Osaka hired Bajin before the 2018 season.

He previously worked with Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

Osaka withdrew from this week's Qatar Open, citing a back injury.

The 21-year-old beat Petra Kvitova in three sets in the Australian Open final on Jan. 26.

That added to her championship at the U.S. Open last September, when she defeated Serena Williams in straight sets.

Those back-to-back victories made Osaka the first woman to win two major championships in a row since Williams picked up four straight in 2014-15.

Osaka became the youngest woman to make her debut at No. 1 since Wozniacki at 20 in 2010 and the first tennis player from Asia to reach the top of the women's or men's tennis rankings.

She was born in Japan — her mother is Japanese, her father is Haitian — and moved to the United States when she was 3. She has dual citizenship and now is based in Florida.

News Football

Soccer player Sala died of head, torso injuries in crash

AP Updated: 12 February, 2019, 11:14 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Emiliano Sala died from injuries to his head and torso
  • The single-engine aircraft was flying from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff
  • Sala's body was recovered from the seabed wreckage last week

A post-mortem found Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala died from injuries to his head and torso when his plane crashed in the English Channel.

The evidence was heard at a coroner's hearing in the English city of Dorset on Monday, three weeks to the day since the crash.

The single-engine aircraft was flying from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff where Sala was due to start a new career playing for the Welsh capital's Premier League club.

Home Office pathologist Dr Basil Purdue has given the cause of Sala's death as "head and trunk injuries."

Sala's body was recovered from the seabed wreckage last week but pilot David Ibbotson is still missing.

Acting senior Dorset coroner Brendan Allen said during Monday's hearing the Air Accidents Investigation Branch investigation could take up to 12 months.

A pre-inquest review hearing was set for Nov. 6.

Feature Cricket

Indian cricket’s supreme artist turns 70

Partab Ramchand Updated: 12 February, 2019, 11:00 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Viswanath appeared on the scene when Indian cricket was in desperate need of someone like him
  • Viswanath’s place in the pantheon of the great Indian batting stars is secure and unchallenged
  • He was held in awe by his opponents and was worshipped like a demigod by his countless fans

Gundappa Ranganath Viswanath turns 70 on Tuesday and while it is an occasion to wish the supreme artist of Indian cricket a very happy birthday it will also be relevant to remember his immeasurable contribution to Indian cricket.

Viswanath appeared on the scene when Indian cricket was in desperate need of someone like him. The Indian batting order had little solidity, consisting of a couple of swashbucklers and a few aged artisans. What was needed was the presence of a true artist. The batting was becoming increasing plebeian with hardly any sparkle. And then came this pocket sized wonder from Mysore to brighten up the Indian cricket horizon. From then on, almost every day was like Diwali.

Viswanath’s place in the pantheon of the great Indian batting stars is secure and unchallenged. Time has no doubt lengthened the list of great Indian batsmen but the stature of GRV remains undiminished. His gifts were varied and prodigious. He had marvelous eyesight and remarkably quick reflexes and this enabled him to play the ball that much early. He was held in awe by his opponents and was worshipped like a demigod by his countless fans. He had the prettiest of strokes. The bat in his hands was a wand through which he wove a magic spell that left bowlers and fieldsmen bewitched, bewildered and breathless. Power was not the essence of his batting, but timing was. He was always a great favourite with the crowd, who cheered him loud and long every time he came to the wicket, for they knew that while he was at the crease, they would witness batting in its highest art form. He was always watched with more than just keen interest. Even a defensive stroke - normally a dull thud of bat against ball – was a thing of beauty and grace when he played it. Seeing him execute some of his shots, which were the epitome of elegance, one was reminded of the work of sculptors, which is the work of perfection. While the square drive and the square cut were predominant in his repertoire, he was also a daring hooker and had the most attractive leg glance one could hope to see.

Viswanath appeared on the first class scene about the same time as Sunil Gavaskar. He made his Test debut a season before Gavaskar. Viswanath was just a few months older and the careers ran parallel. Throughout the seventies and till the early eighties, the two were the batting kingpins. It was Indian cricket’s good fortune that for a full dozen years the artisan and the artist were both around for it was a combination that spelt disaster for the best bowlers all around the world.

At the time he played his last Test in 1983, Viswanath’s run tally (6080) was next only to Gavaskar’s. His 14 hundreds too were second only to Gavaskar. As is well known, when Viswanath got a hundred, India never lost a match. It helped in a victory four times and on ten occasions, his ton helped India to draw the match. Perhaps no other single statistic can adequately convey his value to the side during his long career. Of course his sportsmanship spirit is legendary and he was one of the very few gentleman cricketers. Along with his ethereal batting this was his legacy to Indian cricket.

News Cricket

Refusal to play Pakistan in World Championship could cost India ICC World Cup 2021 spot: Report

Staff Writer Updated: 12 February, 2019, 10:54 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The bilateral cricketing ties between India and Pakistan have come to a halt for some time now. Due to the political tensions between the South Asian neighbors, the cricket teams from India and Pakistan have stopped taking on each other except for the ICC megaevents like World Cup, T20 World Cup, and Champions Trophy.

In the ongoing ICC Women's World Championship, India's refusal to play arch-rivals Pakistan might well cost them a direct qualification spot in the 2021 ICC World Cup.

As per the tournament's format, eight teams will participate in the event. The hosts (New Zealand) and top four teams will earn direct qualification into the 2021 ICC World Cup.

Pakistan are ranked fourth while the Indian team is occupying the no.3 spot in the ongoing ICC Women's World Championship. Both have 12 points each but the Women in Blue have a better net run-rate. If the Indian side decides against playing against Pakistan, they will lose six points, and the same number of points will be added to Pakistan's tally.

News Football

Dortmund captain Marco Reus out of trip to Tottenham

AP Updated: 12 February, 2019, 10:46 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • Marco Reus will miss the side's Champions League round-of-16, first-leg tie at Tottenham
  • Reus has been Dortmund's best player this season, scoring 13 goals
  • He missed the side's 3-3 draw with Hoffenheim

Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus will miss the side's Champions League round-of-16, first-leg tie at Tottenham on Wednesday due to a thigh injury.

Club official Sebastian Kehl, who liaises with the players, says, "We would of course have liked to have him in London, alone because his presence is a bit intimidating for the opponent. But we'll compensate for his absence."

Reus has been Dortmund's best player this season, scoring 13 goals and setting up nine more in 19 Bundesliga games, but he injured a thigh muscle last Tuesday in a German Cup loss.

He missed the side's 3-3 draw with Hoffenheim on Saturday and it's unclear if he will return in time for the next league game at Nuremberg in a week.

The 18-year-old Jadon Sancho, who starred in Reus' absence against Hoffenheim, will be expected to fill in again on his return to London.