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Summary

  1. Southgate can stake managerial claim - Rooney
  2. Tennis: Sharapova doping ban reduced to 15 months
  3. Keane replaces injured Johnson in England squad
  4. Sunderland's Kirchoff our for up to eight weeks
  5. Get Involved: Snobbery towards British managers? #bbcsportsday

Live Reporting

By Matthew Henry and Alan Jewell

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Sorry, sorry, sorry

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

Apologies but due to technical problems we haven't been able to bring you the England Q&A from St George's Park in Sportsday today.

Sharapova appeal reduction a 'stunning repudiation of ITF'

Tennis

Maria Sharapova's lawyer John Haggerty has had plenty to say after the Russian's two-year ban for taking meldonium was reduced to 15 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

The Russian will be able to return to the tennis court on 26 April, 2017.  

"Haggert said: "In sum, the Cas decision is a stunning repudiation of the ITF (International Tennis Federation) and it exposes the ITF decision for what it is: Pure fiction."

He added: "The really sad part about that here is Maria was forced to live with the ITF's bad judgment and faulty conclusions for many months. 

"The system is flawed when the rules require a 15-month suspension for an honest mistake."

'I feel very uncomfortable'

Tennis

Russell Fuller

BBC tennis correspondent on BBC Radio 5 live

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller has been speaking about the reduction of Maria Sharapova's two-year doping ban to 15 months.

Racquet manufacturer Head congratulated the five-time Grand Slam winner after the decision.

Maria Sharapova
Getty Images

It has opened a huge can of worms. I think it is the best possible result that she could have expected.

A couple of sponsors have rallied behind her. It is not surprising that Head have but the language will stick in many people's throats.

They have believed all along that meldonium is not performance enhancing and want a whole scale review of the anti-doping programme.

I feel very uncomfortable. It makes you feel the sport is rallying around its biggest names. There is money at play and they have taken a very extreme view and supported her unconditionally all along.

Walcott, Rose and Bertrand leave England training early

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

Chief football writer for The Times, Henry Winter reports from St George's Park.

Walcott, Rose and Bertrand leave #eng training session early, off to gym as part of their post-game recovery. Available for Saturday.

England train at St George's Park

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

England train
PA

More pics from England's open training session, including Michael Keane's first experience with the national team...

Michael Keane
AFP
Wayne Rooney
Reuters

Southgate takes England training

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

England training
Reuters

Here's Gareth Southgate, overseeing training as England manager as his side prepare for Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Malta at Wembley.

He seems fairly relaxed as he talks to Burnley defender Michael Keane (below), who was added to the squad earlier today...

Gareth Southgate
PA

Kent chairman considering position

Cricket

Canterbury
Rex Features

Kent chairman George Kennedy says he feels "completely let down" by the ECB and is considering his position over the club's failure to be promoted following Durham's relegation from Division One.

Relegated Hampshire were reinstated ahead of Division Two runners-up Kent after Durham were relegated due to financial issues.

"If you lose confidence in the people you are dealing with, it is quite difficult to continue," Kennedy said.

"I feel completely let down by the ECB and I will put forward Kent's case to see if anything can be done to reverse the situation or give us some comfort that we're not being singled out for all the wrong reasons."

Kennedy is due to meet Colin Graves, the chairman of the England & Wales Cricket Board, to discuss the matter.  

Read more here

Uncapped Jones is injury doubt for England

Rugby Union

Sam Jones
Getty Images

Sam Jones injured his ankle in training on Tuesday, putting his potential England debut next month in doubt.

The 24-year-old Wasps back row had hoped to replace the injured James Haskell in the Twickenham Tests but has returned to his club for assessment.

It was England's final session before Eddie Jones names his squad for games with South Africa, Fiji, Argentina and Australia in November and December.

Get involved - live England Facebook Q&A coming up

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

England training
BBC Sport

England have just begun an open training session at St George's Park and we'll be conducting a live Facebook Q&A with Radio 5 live's senior football reporter Ian Dennis and The Times' chief football writer Henry Winter shortly.

Send us your questions via #bbcsportsday.

Allardyce departure a shame - Rooney

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

Allardyce departure a shame - Rooney

We kept you up to date with Wayne Rooney's quotes earlier but, if you missed it, here's a video of the England captain's news conference. 

He's asked about Sam Allardyce, his position as captain and his thoughts on former England team-mate and now caretaker manager Gareth Southgate.

England Young Lions thrash Germany 8-1

Football

Rhian Brewster
Getty Images

English football has endured a turbulent week in which Sam Allardyce left as manager of the senior national side after 67 days - but it can at least celebrate thrashing an old rival.

Steve Cooper's under-17s squad cruised to an 8-1 victory over Germany in the Croatia Cup on Monday.

Liverpool's Rhian Brewster scored twice, while Angel Gomes, Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden, George McEachran, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Danny Loader all added to the scoreline.

Read more here.

Ryder Cup at Palmer's memorial

Golf

A public memorial for legendary American golfer Arnold Palmer is about to begin in his native Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

The seven-time major winner died on 25 September, aged 87.

Rickie Fowler, part of the victorious American Ryder Cup team, tweeted this picture earlier of the trophy on its way to Palmer's memorial... 

View more on twitter

Sunderland's Kirchoff out for six weeks

Football

Jan Kirchoff
Rex Features

More bad news for the Premier League's bottom club Sunderland. 

German midfielder Jan Kirchoff has been ruled out for a minimum of six weeks with a hamstring injury.

The 26-year-old was carried off on a stretcher during Saturday's draw with West Brom and a scan has revealed he will miss between six and eight weeks.

A hamstring injury had ruled Kirchoff out of the start of the Premier League season but he had started each of the club's last five games.

Rashford can become England regular - Rooney

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

Marcus Rashford Wayne Rooney
Rex Features

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has been recalled to the England senior squad by Gareth Southgate for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Wayne Rooney, Rashford’s captain for club and country, was asked during his news conference if the teenager can become an England regular.

“I hope so,” Rooney said.

“He is a fantastic player with a great attitude and has got all of the ability. I don’t see any reason why he can’t become a regular and I am sure if given chance in these next two games he will start to do it.”

Cathcart & Boyce out of NI qualifiers

World Cup qualifier, Northern Ireland v San Marino (Sat, 19:45 BST)

Craig Cathcart
Getty Images

Craig Cathcart has joined Liam Boyce in being ruled out of Northern Ireland's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Germany.

Striker Boyce's absence was expected after he sustained a knee injury in Ross County's defeat by St Johnstone.

Watford defender Cathcart has been forced out by a groin injury and that has led manager Michael O'Neill to call up 103-cap veteran Aaron Hughes, 36.

Northern Ireland are at home to San Marino on Saturday before Tuesday's game against Group C favourites Germany in Hanover.

Cathcart also missed Northern Ireland's opening qualifier last month when they earned a 0-0 draw in the Czech Republic.

Stones can be a 'huge player for England'

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

John Stones
Rex Features

Gary Cahill partnered John Stones at the heart of England's defence in their last game against Slovakia and the Chelsea defender was asked about his defensive counterpart during the news conference.

“John is very young and developing as a player. Everyone knows his ability and there is no reason he won’t go on to be a huge player for England," he said.

“We did well against Slovakia, kept clean sheet. We had the majority of the play and the ball so defensively there was not much to do.

“For him getting on the ball and going forward was very comfortable, it allowed him to be freed up and me to organise things from the back.”

Arter could miss Georgia qualifier

World Cup qualifier, Republic of Ireland v Georgia (Thurs, 19:45 BST)

Bournemouth's Harry Arter looks likely to join the Republic of Ireland's lengthy absentees list for Thursday's World Cup qualifier against Georgia.

Republic assistant boss Roy Keane said on Tuesday that Arter's groin injury could keep him out of the Georgia game and Sunday's qualifier in Moldova.

However, James McCarthy came through training unscathed on Tuesday.

Daryl Murphy, Stephen Quinn and keeper Keiren Westwood are among seven players already ruled out of the squad..

After their opening 2-2 draw in Serbia, the Republic face Georgia in Dublin before travelling to Moldova for Sunday's game.

Harry arter
Getty Images

Cahill would be 'very proud' to win 50th cap

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

Gary Cahill
PA

Gary Cahill could win his 50th England cap if he plays in the game against Malta at Wembley on Saturday and again on Tuesday when England travel to Slovenia. 

"It is something I was aware of," he said.

"Now players are coming in to the squad at 19 or 20 years of age, for me to come in at 25, it is great achievement because I have played regularly from then. It would be something I would be very proud of."

Cahill on Southgate and Holland

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

Steve Holland Gareth Southgate
Getty Images

Cahill was also asked about playing under Southgate and Chelsea assistant-first team coach Steve Holland who has joined the England backroom staff under their new manager.

"I have worked with Steve at Chelsea for many years and know him very well. I have no doubt him and Gareth are going to do a fantastic job.

"I have trained with Steve and I am sure the players will enjoy the sessions this week. I am looking forward to working under a new manager. We are here for the same thing. Everyone wants to win these games after a tough week."

Leicester team-mate gave me tips - King

World Cup qualifier, Austria v Wales (Thurs, 19:45 BST)

Leicester midfielder Andy King has been using team-mate Christian Fuchs to get the lowdown on opponents Austria.

Fuchs has won 78 caps for Austria, who host Wales on Thursday in World Cup qualifying, but retired from the international scene after Euro 2016.

"I spoke to Christian Fuchs last week. He's told me they're a good team, but we're ready," King said.

"He's retired now, but he says it will be a tough game."

Andy King
Getty Images

Sharapova ban reduced to 15 months

Tennis

Maria Sharapova
AFP

A reminder that you can read our story on Maria Sharapova's doping ban being reduced to 15 months here.

The five-time Grand Slam winner, 29, was initially banned by the International Tennis Federation for two years after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

Russian Sharapova will be able to return to the tennis court on 26 April, 2017 but may have to rely on wildcards or go through qualifying to enter the French Open and Wimbledon.

Her ranking has dropped to 95 during the ban and will fall further.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport panel said it found Sharapova's case "was not about an athlete who cheated", but added she "bore significant fault for her violation".

It added that Sharapova was at fault for not giving her agent "adequate instructions" in checking Wada's prohibited list and "failing to supervise and control" of her agent.

The tribunal ruling said Sharapova tested positive for meldonium in an out-of-competition test on 2 February, as well as in the aftermath of her Australian Open quarter-final defeat by Serena Williams on 26 January.

It treated both results as a single anti-doping violation.

Cahill on Southgate

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

Gary Cahill
PA

England's Gary Cahill on new caretaker manager Gareth Southagte.

"He is experienced as a player and now working with the Under-21s. Him and Steve (Holland) know the set-up, know how England is run and are familiar with the whole situation.

"We will have new challenges, new ideas but I am looking forward to working under him and taking on his ideas and plans for taking us forward.

"He was top player. As a kid, I was at Aston Villa in the Under-13s when he was there. I watched him many times and am familiar with his career and especially his career with England, he was very patriotic. I am looking forward to working with him."

Gareth Southgate
Getty Images

Sponsor congratulates Sharapova

Tennis

Racquet manufacturer Head, who extended its contract with Maria Sharapova despite her positive test earlier this year, congratulated the Russian after the announcement that her doping ban was being reduced to 15 months.

Nike, which suspended its relationship with Sharapova in January, said it would "continue to partner" her based on the tribunal's findings.

Sharapova was Forbes' highest-paid female athlete for 11 consecutive years, until American tennis player Serena Williams moved above her this year.

The latest Forbes figures have Sharapova's winnings and endorsements at £17.1m compared with £22.6m for Williams.

View more on twitter

Anyone else feel that the #WeStoodWithMaria hashtag is a little on the self-congratulatory side?

Allardyce departure 'disappointing' - Cahill

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

Gary Cahill
Reuters

England centre back Gary Cahill when asked about Sam Allardyce’s departure as manager.

“Disappointing. I can only comment on my dealings with him. For me, the week I enjoyed it we got a good result and my personal dealings with him were fine.

"It is disappointing to lose a manager but now we have to move on and prepare for the games coming up in the best possible frame of mind.”

Austria game will be tough - Davies

World Cup qualifier, Austria v Wales (Thurs, 19:45 BST)

Tottenham defender Ben Davies says Austria away represents one of Wales' toughest challenges on the road to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"We've been focused on ourselves this week. Austria be a tough place to go but we're ready," Davies said.

The left back also expressed surprise at the sacking of Cardiff boss Paul Trollope, previously a coach with Wales and part of their Euro 2016 backroom staff.

"We thought he was top drawer with us, I am sure he will bounce back," he said.

Ben Davies
Getty Images

Sharapova ban reduced to 15 months

Tennis

Former British number one Anne Keothavong isn't sure what to make of the Maria Sharapova ban reduction, nor the reasons given in the Court of Arbitration for Sport's verdict... 

View more on twitter

Sharapova thrown ITF 'under the bus'

Tennis

Former US Open finalist and ESPN commentator Pam Shriver is not impressed by Maria Sharapova's statement after her doping ban was reduced to 15 months... 

View more on twitter

I'll play where the manager wants me to - Rooney

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

Wayne Rooney
PA

Asked whether he expects to start on Saturday against Malta, Rooney said: “I don’t know that is a question for Gareth.

And asked whether he would play in midfield or as a striker, he said: “It is getting tiring that question, I have answered it many times. 

"It is same answer, I will play where the manager wants me to play. I have never picked myself.”

I have to work hard to get into the starting 11 - Rooney

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

Wayne Rooney
PA

England and Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney on losing his starting place at Old Trafford: 

"As a football player you want to play. 

"It is my job, I love football and love being involved. 

"I am not starting at the moment at Manchester United but I have to work hard to get back in the starting 11 and when I get chances take them."

'I'm coming back soon and I can't wait'

Tennis

Maria Sharapova finished her statement with a message to her fans:

"I thank you so much for living and breathing so many of these tough months together. During this time, I have learned the true meaning of a fan and I am so fortunate to have had your support.

"I’m coming back soon and I can’t wait!"

'I hope no other tennis player goes through what I did'

Tennis

More from Maria Sharapova's statement after her doping ban was reduced to 15 months following her appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

"I have learned from this, and I hope the ITF has as well," the 29-year-old Russian says. 

"Cas concluded that “the panel has determined it does not agree with many of the conclusions of the [ITF] Tribunal…”

"I have taken responsibility from the very beginning for not knowing that the over-the-counter supplement I had been taking for the last 10 years was no longer allowed. But I also learned how much better other federations were at notifying their athletes of the rule change, especially in Eastern Europe where Mildronate [also known as meldonium] is commonly taken by millions of people.

"Now that this process is over, I hope the ITF and other relevant tennis anti-doping authorities will study what these other federations did, so that no other tennis player will have to go through what I went through."

The five-time Grand Slam winner, 29, was initially banned by the International Tennis Federation for two years after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

The Russian will be able to return to the tennis court on 26 April, 2017.

Maria Sharapova
Getty Images

England news conference - Rooney on Southgate

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

Wayne Rooney
PA

On England’s new caretaker manager Gareth Southgate.

Wayne Rooney said: “It is an opportunity to show what he can do at senior level. He has worked with a lot of the players at Under-21 level which will be good for them. 

"He will bring his own way of working so it will be good to see how that is in the next week.

“We have to buy into his ways and take his ideas on board and put them on the pitch.”

One of the happiest days of my career - Sharapova

Tennis

Maria Sharapova has just a posted a statement on Facebook reacting to the news that her doping ban has been reduced from two years to 15 months.

It's fair to say she's pleased:

"I’ve gone from one of the toughest days of my career last March when I learned about my suspension to now, one of my happiest days, as I found out I can return to tennis in April.

"In so many ways, I feel like something I love was taken away from me and it will feel really good to have it back. Tennis is my passion and I have missed it. I am counting the days until I can return to the court."

Maria Sharapova
Getty Images

'Big opportunity' for Southgate - Rooney

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

On whether it is important for him to be a leader in the dressing room.

England captain Wayne Rooney said: “Not just myself, as group of players we need to stick together and concentrate on football.

“For the FA it has been a tough couple of weeks but for players we have been with our clubs. We have to focus on the games and training and I know it is a big opportunity for the new manager but we have to work together and not get involved.”

England news conference

World Cup qualifier, England v Malta (Sat, 17:00 BST)

Asked if the England team have to start again under new caretaker manager Gareth Southgate Wayne Rooney said: “Of course we have to come here and be prepared to do the job. 

"I am not sure if it is starting again, we need to build on the three points in the last game.

“We have to concentrate on football. I am sure there will be no problem doing that and the other side is not our issue. It is not for us to be concerned about it we just have to play the game.”

Sharapova ban reduced to 15 months

Tennis

The ITF statement continued: "However, the CAS panel found that Ms Sharapova was at fault for (a) failing to give her agent adequate instructions as to how to carry out the important task of checking the Prohibited List, and (b) failing to supervise and control the actions of her agent in carrying out that task (specifically the lack of any procedure for reporting or follow-up verification to make sure that her agent had actually discharged his duty). The CAS panel also noted Ms Sharapova’s failure to disclose her use of meldonium on her doping control forms.

"Taking all of these circumstances into account, the CAS panel determined that, although Ms. Sharapova was at fault, her plea of no significant fault or negligence should be upheld, triggering a discretion to reduce the otherwise applicable two-year sanction by up to 50%. Based on its analysis of Ms Sharapova's degree of fault, the CAS panel decided that the sanction should be reduced in this case to 15 months."

Read our developing story here.

Maria Sharapova
Getty Images