Eddie Howe keen to cast an eye over talented Newcastle United youngster Elliot Anderson

Eddie Howe keen to cast an eye over talented Newcastle United youngster Elliot Anderson
Newcastle United manager, Eddie Howe is to have a closer look at Newcastle United’s rising star Elliot Anderson this summer. (Reuters/File)
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Updated 03 June 2022

Eddie Howe keen to cast an eye over talented Newcastle United youngster Elliot Anderson

Eddie Howe keen to cast an eye over talented Newcastle United youngster Elliot Anderson
  • The 19-year-old helped Bristol Rovers to gain automatic promotion to League One during a loan spell last season
  • Howe had been critical of Newcastle loan manager Shola Ameobi’s decision to send Anderson to League Two for a loan spell

NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe is to have a closer look at Newcastle United’s rising star Elliot Anderson this summer.
The Magpies return to first-team training at the beginning of next month, looking to build on their 11th-placed Premier League finish from last season.
One player who did not play a part in that success but is looking for game time next season is Anderson. The young forward spent the second half of last season on loan to League Two Bristol Rovers — and his seven goals in 21 games helped to drive the Pirates from mid-table to automatic promotion to League One.
Howe has revealed he will consider the Geordie next month before deciding whether the 19-year-old will remain on Tyneside or be sent back out on loan, with a host of English Championship clubs eyeing the player, including Luton Town.
“We’ll certainly bring him back for pre-season and have a closer look at him, he’ll be involved in the pre-season games,” he said.
“We’ll make a decision then on whether or not he needs another loan or will stay with us.”
Howe had been critical of Newcastle loan manager Shola Ameobi’s decision to send Anderson to League Two for a loan spell, believing he should have been pitched to a club higher up the Football League pyramid. But he had to admit it had been a great experience for the lad.
Howe continued: “He was desperate to go and play and have that experience on loan. I’ve said many times, I didn’t necessarily want to pitch him to League Two, we felt he was better than that level but due to one reason or another, that’s the level he ended up at.
“He’s excelled. It’s very difficult as a young player to go out and really make a difference but he’s not just done that, he’s made an incredible difference to Bristol Rovers.
“It was a dramatic final day and full credit to Joey, his team and to Elliot. What an experience for him, one he’ll always remember I’m sure and something he’ll look back on fondly at the end of hopefully a very successful career.”
The head coach was asked about the prospect of meeting Newcastle’s bitter rivals Sunderland, who are now just one league below. The Magpies have not met their closest neighbors since the latter were relegated from the Premier League six years ago.
“That’s a difficult question,” he said. “I’d love to experience a derby at some point in the future. I’ve heard about the atmosphere of those games and I’d love to experience one. So, that’s what I’ll probably say.”


Newcastle keepers under the spotlight, as Eddie Howe looks to trim his squad

Newcastle keepers under the spotlight, as Eddie Howe looks to trim his squad
Updated 12 sec ago

Newcastle keepers under the spotlight, as Eddie Howe looks to trim his squad

Newcastle keepers under the spotlight, as Eddie Howe looks to trim his squad
  • Magpies’ boss delighted with competition for places that new signing has brought to St. James’ Park
  • The Magpies currently have four senior keepers on their books

NEWCASTLE: Head coach Eddie Howe has admitted he will have to trim his Newcastle United squad this month — and one of his goalkeepers looks to be most at risk.
The Magpies currently have four senior keepers on their books, with summer signing Nick Pope claiming the No. 1 slot from Martin Dubravka for the start of the Premier League season.
Beyond that, former No. 1 Karl Darlow and ex-Motherwell keeper Mark Gillespie are the other two senior players in that position who currently find themselves out of the first-team frame.
While Newcastle named four keepers in their 25-man Premier League squad at the start of last season — Dubravka, Darlow, Gillespie and recently departed Freddie Woodman — due to illness and injury, Howe accepts doing so this season seems an unlikely prospect, especially with the intent to still sign at least two more outfield players before the close of the transfer window on Sept. 1.
When asked whether one will leave, he said: “It’s too early to say. I don’t know. Certainly, I wouldn’t want anyone to leave, but I’m well aware four is a difficult number to carry.
“My wish would be to do that, but obviously I’ve got to think of the players as well. Hopefully we’ll make the right decision.”
While Pope left Burnley to play in the Premier League, no doubt with promises of first-team football ahead of the World Cup this winter, there was still a degree of surprise on Tyneside that fan favorite Dubravka did not retain his spot in Howe’s starting 11.
The head coach said it was no easy decision to pick who started the season between the sticks, with Howe keen to praise Newcastle’s weekend understudy.
“It was a very, very, very difficult decision,” said Howe.
“I’ve got three quality goalkeepers to pick from in Karl, Nick and Martin, who, last season, was excellent.
“Certainly, my decision to pick Nick wasn’t a reflection on him (Dubravka). It was more of a reflection on Nick and how good I think he is.
“I thought he was excellent (against Nottingham Forest on debut), his ability to come for crosses. He commanded his box very well and kicked well, so I was really pleased with him. He didn’t have a lot to do with his hands, which is a good sign.
“There’s competition for places in that position as well, and I think that strength will help us through the season.”
Another big call by Howe was to leave out the Magpies’ big summer signing Sven Botman.
The Netherlands youth international arrived at St. James’ Park this summer following a six-month chase for the player, and it had been widely expected that Botman would slot straight into the side alongside weekend goalscorer Fabian Schar.
But Howe instead opted to field January signing Dan Burn at center-back, rewarding his remarkable end-of-season form with the shirt.
Explaining the decision, Howe said: “They were excellent in the second half of last season, I have to say, together with Jamaal (Lascelles), who more than played his part.
“All three center-backs, for me, were excellent, but we needed more strength in depth, we couldn’t rely on just three this season. Federico Fernandez has had his injury problems, so we felt it was a position we needed to strengthen.
“Sven was a long-term target for us. We were delighted to sign him. But I think this period, however long it is before he gets his opportunity to start, will do him a world of good. He will get to know the league, the speed, and I’ve got no doubts about him as a player.
“He’ll be a top player for this football club, but there’s real competition for places. Dan, Fabian and Jamaal — they’re not going to give up their shirts easily. That’s a battle I love to see. Knowing I’ve got that quality certainly bodes well for the season.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle are set to be without midfielder Jonjo Shelvey for much of the first half of the season after he went under the knife to fix a hamstring problem.
Shelvey limped out of United’s 3-2 friendly loss to Benfica last month and at the weekend traveled to London for an operation to fix the issue.
Howe knows how much of a loss the experienced former Liverpool and England man will be — and it may even color his transfer strategy in the final weeks of the window.
Speaking about Shelvey’s absence following the Magpies’ 2-0 win over Forest at the weekend, Howe said: “We had to work without Jonjo because he’s injured. We work very hard on all principles of our play, so the midfield dynamic without Jonjo is very different.
“Jonjo is such a unique individual and player. He can pass the ball from anywhere on the pitch to almost create a goal in any position that he receives the ball.
“Bruno Guimaraes is very different but still equally effective. He was very good today. He had a difficult job because he had Jesse Lingard to contain, so it was an interesting battle and I thought Bruno did very well.”
Newcastle currently have Guimaraes, Sean Longstaff, Joelinton, Joe Willock and youngsters Elliot Anderson and Matty Longstaff to choose from in midfield but are understood to have asked Chelsea about the availability of Conor Gallagher in recent days.


Ajax star Tadic robbed at home in Amsterdam: reports

Ajax star Tadic robbed at home in Amsterdam: reports
Updated 10 August 2022

Ajax star Tadic robbed at home in Amsterdam: reports

Ajax star Tadic robbed at home in Amsterdam: reports
  • The apparently targeted attack on the star Serbian player in late July was the latest in a spate of robberies on Dutch celebrities
  • Two men wearing motorbike helmets accosted Tadic as he stepped out of his car outside his home

THE HAGUE: Top Ajax attacking midfielder Dusan Tadic was wounded when robbers ambushed him outside his Amsterdam home, Dutch news reports said on Wednesday.
The apparently targeted attack on the star Serbian player in late July was the latest in a spate of robberies on Dutch celebrities, national broadcaster NOS said.
Two men wearing motorbike helmets accosted Tadic as he stepped out of his car outside his home in the Dutch capital’s south two weeks ago, the daily tabloid De Telegraaf said.
“It seems they wanted to rob him of his valuable wrist-watch,” the paper said.
“After a short pursuit Tadic was involved in a scuffle in which he managed to open the visor of one of the helmets and hit the robber, the paper said.
Tadic then ran into a nearby cafe and called the police.
The robbers got away and no arrests have been made, the paper added.
A few days later the Ajax footballer was seen with plasters on his hand during a season opener against PSV, Amsterdam daily Het Parool reported.
The assault on Tadic is the latest in a spate of such attacks on celebrities and sports stars.
Last year former PSV attacker Eran Zahavi and his family were tied up and robbed of money and possessions.
Other targets included rappers Ali B and Lil Kleine as well as social media star Nikkie de Jager, who was tied up and beaten during a robbery at her home in Uden near Eindhoven two years ago.


Kingdom targets Riyadh 2034 Asian Games for athletic performance

Kingdom targets Riyadh 2034 Asian Games for athletic performance
Updated 10 August 2022

Kingdom targets Riyadh 2034 Asian Games for athletic performance

Kingdom targets Riyadh 2034 Asian Games for athletic performance
  • New Saudi Olympic Training Center CEO Matt Favier reveals the plan at Islamic Solidarity Games in Turkey

The Kingdom will bid to ensure athletes are prepared for top performances at the Riyadh 2034 Asian Games, according to the newly appointed chief of the Saudi Olympic Training Center.

Matt Favier, CEO of the SOTC, was speaking at the ongoing Islamic Solidarity Games taking place in Turkey. He also praised the organizers of the Konya event.

Matt Favier, the newly appointed CEO at the Saudi Olympic Training Center (SOTC). 

Favier, an Australian high-performance sports specialist, is part of the Saudi Arabian delegation participating in the 5th Islamic Solidarity Games involving 54 countries, which launched officially on Tuesday and will run until Aug. 18.

“The impact of Konya 2022 is huge, and it is always a great opportunity to allow the elite athlete to participate in such mega championships as this one,” he said.

“We are not in a hurry, we have time, and we care about the quality of developments, and one of the best ways to help our athletes grow is through meeting and competing against international athletes from around the world.”

Regarding the training center’s role, Favier said: “We have around 200 elite athletes representing 17 sports, and we aim to provide a complete environment that helps the athlete focus on practicing sports and reaching their goals.”

According to Favier, the training center’s elite program is an example of the implementation of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. It shows the ambitions of the sports sector and the strong support received by athletes, clubs and federations from the Kingdom’s government and the Quality-of-Life Program, he added.

Favier is an administrator with over 25 years of experience across various sports. He recently acted as CEO of Hockey Australia, where he developed a national league.


Saudi athletes win silver in 100m and pole vault at Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi athletes win silver in 100m and pole vault at Islamic Solidarity Games
Updated 10 August 2022

Saudi athletes win silver in 100m and pole vault at Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi athletes win silver in 100m and pole vault at Islamic Solidarity Games
  • Abdullah Abkar and Hussain Al-Hizam were the Kingdom’s big winners on Tuesday

Saudi sprinter Abdullah Abkar on Tuesday won a silver medal in the 100 meters at the 5th Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya, Turkey.

Abkar finished second in the final with a time of 9.95 seconds, improving on his semifinal time of 9.96, which was the first time a Saudi had run a sub-10 second race at the Islamic Solidarity Games.

The podium finish is the fourth by a Saudi athlete in the men’s 100 meters in this competition, after Salem Al-Yami’s gold in 2005, and bronze for Jamal Al-Saffar and Fahad Al-Subaie in 2005 and 2013 respectively.

Hussain Al-Hizam claimed Saudi’s second medal of the day by grabbing silver in the pole vault competition with a height of 5.40 meters.

The mark is 15 centimeters below the height Al-Hizam managed when winning gold at the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.


Saudi delegation joins Turkey’s Erdogan to launch 5th Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi delegation joins Turkey’s Erdogan to launch 5th Islamic Solidarity Games
Updated 10 August 2022

Saudi delegation joins Turkey’s Erdogan to launch 5th Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi delegation joins Turkey’s Erdogan to launch 5th Islamic Solidarity Games
  • Official opening ceremony in Konya welcomes athletes from 54 countries

KONYA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday night officially opened the 2022 Islamic Solidarity Games in the presence of the President of the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal.

The fifth edition of games will take place in Konya, Turkey, until Aug. 18.

The ceremony at Konya Metropolitan Municipality Stadium welcomed athletes from 54 countries in the presence of several Olympic federation leaders, including the head of the Saudi delegation and Vice President of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee (SOPC) Prince Fahd bin Jalawi.

Prince Abdulaziz, also SOPC president, said in his opening statement: “We meet today on a new date under one banner, permanent brotherhood and a great goal, for there is nothing more beautiful than peace and higher than Islam — Islam which, since its inception encouraged swimming, archery and horse riding, preceding humanity in promoting sports.”

He expressed his delight at the launch of the fifth Islamic Solidarity Games, in which more than 4,000 male and female athletes will compete.

Prince Abdulaziz thanked Erdogan, the government and the people of Turkey for hosting the event, adding: “You have all been nothing but supportive.

“The federation grants the new edition a certificate of success from its first moments.”