Kompany will be ready for Man City’s trip to Palace, says Guardiola

first_imgManchester City captain Vincent Kompany is expected to be available for Sunday’s Premier League trip to Crystal Palace after manager Pep Guardiola said the injury suffered by the defender against Newcastle United was only a minor knock.Kompany, who has suffered a series of injury setbacks over the last two years, was substituted after 10 minutes at St James’ Park before City went on to win 1-0 to extend their lead to 15 points at the top of league table.“Vincent is not as bad as we thought,” said Guardiola. “He will be ready for the next fixtures. We will know exactly tomorrow, but it is not a big issue.”Guardiola also added that Fabian Delph could be fit for Palace but defender John Stones, who is out of action with a hamstring injury, is not yet ready to play a full 90 minutes.“Fabian was not fit for Newcastle, but he is much better now. We will see. Fabian is a similar case to Vincent – he knows his body,” the manager said.“John Stones is also much better. I think he will be fit for the next game (Watford) which is huge news for us.”City have won a record 18 consecutive league games, with midfielder Kevin de Bruyne and winger Raheem Sterling attracting particular praise for their performances. However, Guardiola highlighted defender Nicolas Otamendi’s contributions as the key reason for their recent success.“Everybody has spoken about a lot of players like Raheem, Kevin, Sergio (Aguero), they deserve it, but if I can point some attention to a player who deserves the respect is Nico.“He has been amazing – he is one of the hugest competitors I have ever seen in my life. I cannot imagine the situation we are in at the moment in terms of the table without him. It would have been impossible.”last_img read more

Spain start Enrique reign with win in England

first_imgSpain began a new era under Luis Enrique in impressive fashion as they came from a goal down to outplay England in a 2-1 win in their Nations League opener at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.Eight weeks after their memorable World Cup run was ended by Croatia in the semi-finals, the optimism sweeping England looked justified as Marcus Rashford opened the scoring after 11 minutes.But Spain, featuring only five of the players that started their last-16 World Cup penalty shootout defeat by Russia, hit back before halftime through Saul Niguez and Rodrigo.The second half was overshadowed by a nasty-looking injury sustained by England left back Luke Shaw who needed lengthy treatment after a clash of heads.Spain threatened to stretch their lead as they dominated possession but England finished strongly with Rashford wasting a great chance to equalise when he fired straight at David de Gea and then having a goal by substitute Danny Welbeck disallowed deep into stoppage time.England’s defeat was their first in their last 25 competitive fixtures at Wembley.England and Spain will also face World Cup runners-up Croatia in League A Group 4 of the UEFA’s new tournament designed to add spice to the international calendar.last_img read more

Eureka Labs to soon offer Zika, Chikungunya testing

first_imgTesting for viruses such as Zika and Chikungunya, which is usually done abroad, is merely a fraction of the possible tests that Eureka Medical Laboratories Inc (EML) will soon be offering.Andrew Boyle, the Chief Executive Officer of the medical facility at East Street, Georgetown, met recently with the President of Co-Diagnostics Inc, Dwight Egan, to finalise the setting up of a viral laboratory as an expansion of EML’s services to the public. This is expected to be realised within the next few months.Co-Diagnostics Inc is a Utah corporation headquartered in Sandy, Utah, United States.  It is a molecular diagnostics company that develops, manufactures, and markets new, state-of-the-art diagnostics technology.Eureka Labs’ Deputy Quality Manager Dominique Russell, Human Resources Manager Ren Gonzales, CEO Andrew Boyle and Co-Diagnostics Inc’s Morrison, Dwight Egan and Seth Egan with the PCR kit is in the foregroundUsing the power of computers to create unique mathematical models instead of relying on costly laboratory infrastructure, the company has created a revolutionary new DNA-based testing platform, resulting in tests that are faster, much more affordable, and flexible. It is also simple to use, accurate, and adaptable to both high-volume and portable, low-cost analytical devices.To this end in recent weeks, Eureka Labs has collected samples for Zika testing for the initial testing using a method called PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction)  developed by Karry Mullis in the 80s, for which he garnered  the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.Asked about this initiative, Egan said his company was pleased to be partnering with EML to introduce this cutting-edge technology to the people of Guyana.“We plan to make available a large menu of tests over the coming year that will enable the citizens of Guyana to have the same high quality of molecular tests enjoyed in the most developed countries in the world.We are appreciative of the support we have received from the Eureka Lab, the Ministry of Health and other Government officials in introducing this needed technology to the people of this beautiful country,” the Co-Diagnostics Inc President stated.Meanwhile, the EML’s CEO expressed optimism at the prospects in the medical field that such capability would bring.“Today marks a significant day for Eureka; it’s not only so because of us now being blessed with the capacity to do innovative Zika and TB PCR testing, but because of what is in store for our futuristic diagnostic capabilities.What a way to commence the celebration of National Medical Laboratory Week 2017,” Boyle exclaimed.Through the aforementioned technology, laboratory test results can be made available more accurately and in unbelievably faster turnaround time. For instance, the machine being introduced can test 48 blood samples per hour for Zika.Also included are testing for Chikungunya, TB, various STIs, HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and many more. The   EML is the only International Standards Organisation (ISO) accredited medical laboratory in Guyana.last_img read more

Pair sentenced to six years in prison for beating of black person

first_imgLANCASTER — Two reputed Latino gang members accused of attacking the first African-American person they saw after a relative was beaten by “black gangsters” were each sentenced Friday to six years in prison. Jose Herrera, 22, and Joshua Anderson, 21, both of Lancaster, were sentenced after each pled no contest to assault with a deadly weapon and a hate crime allegation. Their trial already had begun with testimony from several witnesses, including the victim. “The reason they pled I believe is that they saw the evidence sufficiently such that they realized they had no defense to the charges,” Deputy District Attorney John Evans said. The 16-year-old victim was walking with a friend near Antelope Valley High School when he was set upon by four assailants, one of them wielding a stick. “The stated motive to law enforcement was that somebody’s cousin had been jumped earlier that day or the day before by black gangsters. They were angry and decided to beat the first black person that they found,” Evans said before the start of testimony. “There was no other motivation but race.” Two boys, ages 13 and 16, have been charged in the case and were being handled in Juvenile Court. The victim, Desert Winds Continuation High School, was taken to a hospital where he was treated for wounds to his head and released, Evans said. Deputy Public Defender Gustavo Diaz, attorney for Anderson, declined to comment. Herrera’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment. The victim was attacked about 2 p.m. March 15 as he walked on a sidewalk next to the north parking lot of the campus, Evans said. The attackers yelled racial epithets at the victim, and Herrera is alleged to have used a “stick-type club” to beat the victim on his head, Evans said. Screaming witnesses drew school security and sheriff’s deputies working on campus to the fight within a minute where they found the bloodied victim, Evans said. One of the teenagers was caught at the scene and Herrera was apprehended while trying to run away, Evans said. Anderson and the other teen were found hiding in a closet at Herrera’s house three blocks away, Evans said. — Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744karen.maeshiro@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Do Liverpool already have the perfect Gerrard replacement? Kolo Toure thinks so…

first_img Liverpool midfielder Emre Can in the shadow of one of the many banners around Anfield paying tribute to Steven Gerrard 1 Liverpool defender Kolo Toure believes the club already have the perfect replacement for outgoing captain, and legend, Steven Gerrard – German youngster Emre Can.After coming through a difficult adaptation period following his £10million summer switch from Bayer Leverkusen, the 21-year-old is quickly becoming the go-to man for the Reds.Can, who has started every game since the Boxing Day win over Burnley, has shown his class at the back as well as midfield, with manager Brendan Rodgers throwing him in as a third centre-back at times.He has gained high praise from his boss, who believes the utility man can develop into a world class talent, while assistant manager Colin Pascoe told talkSPORT he has all the credentials to be a successful Liverpool skipper.And veteran defender Toure agrees, saying the German can become a “king” at Anfield.“He is a top player,” said the African Nations Cup winner. “He has been playing outstandingly at the back and in midfield he is a very strong player.“We like him here. He is from Germany and German players are good. They learn football and they are really intelligent, tactically outstanding and are really strong.“I am not surprised how he has been doing because he has been working hard at training and he is a top professional.“He is young but really good. He is a leader. When you are on the pitch you can see by the way he plays he is really confident and he talks on the pitch as well.“Right now Jordan Henderson is very good [as captain] but there is no doubt this boy is going to be a king here because he is a top player and can make a difference on games.“He can score goals, his work-rate is amazing and there is no better player.”Meanwhile, Toure also admitted discussions are still ongoing with Liverpool chiefs over an extension to his stay with the club.The centre-back – who turns 34 this month with his current deal expiring this summer – hopeful an offer will come, though admits he a tough choice to make over whether to stay with the Reds as a squad player or make the most of his remaining time in the game by looking for regular football elsewhere.“We are still talking to the club. We will see in a few days. The club have to think and I have to think,” he said.“It is a big decision and that is why I need to think very hard and take a decision and stick with it.“It is very important to know what you are facing. I need to do the right thing for me and my family.”last_img read more

Fatal crash haunts student’s family

first_imgTEMPLE CITY – Angela Chung, a student on the dean’s list at Woodbury University, spent the last night of her life studying for finals. It was not an unusual way for the 19-year-old to spend a Saturday night, her family said. Most of her time was spent working to pay her way through college, they said, while volunteering with every charity she could find time for and working hard to achieve her dream of being a human resources manager for a major company. But, driving back from her boyfriend’s dormitory at UCLA in the early hours of Sunday morning, her car was struck just blocks from home by an alleged street-racer trying to evade authorities. Now, Angela Chung’s family and friends have set up a memorial on the northeast corner of the Las Tunas Drive and Rosemead Boulevard, where her car was struck. Flowers, candles and a teddy bear surround a framed picture of the young woman described by family members as “goal-driven” with a “bubbly” personality. “She was always laughing and had a big smile on her face,” Olivia Chung said Tuesday. Angela Chung also worked part time as a concierge at the Westfield Santa Anita mall and volunteered for the Red Cross, Tournament of Roses and the AIDS Walk among other activities, family members said. Angela’s oldest sister, Staci Chung, 28, was returning from her honeymoon in Europe when the incident occurred. While her flight from Paris was laid over in Chicago, Staci spoke with her family. “They told me to come straight home,” she said. “They said my grandpa was sick.” When she arrived, she saw her grandfather alive and well, but noticed a picture of Angela sitting on the kitchen table where several members of her extended family had gathered. Her aunt broke the news. “The last time I saw \ was the day after my wedding – she was one of my bridesmaid, and I thanked her for all of her hard work,” Staci said with tears welling in her eyes. “I told her `I’ll see you when I get back.”‘ As the family struggles to come to grips with the tragedy they hope the incident can serve as a warning to anyone thinking of street racing. “We want to tell all the young people not to do the street racing. It’s irresponsible and dangerous,” Michael Chung said. “Look what happened to us.” Olivia Chung added: “It’s unfortunate because this young girl was trying to do something for her own pride and ended up taking my sister’s life.” Though their daughter and sister is gone, the Chungs are surrounded by reminders of her. Inside their home sits a small shrine surrounded by flowers and candles. Co-worker and friend Julia Dominguez believes she can still feel Angela’s presence, and said she felt it the morning Angela died, when she herself was involved in a bad accident. Dominguez was involved in a freeway accident that caved in the roof of her car, yet walked away without a scratch, she said. “I was walking away from the accident when I got the call that (Angela) had died,” Dominguez said. “It was like she was my angel watching over me.” Family members said a viewing will be 5 to 8 p.m. Monday at Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary in Whittier; a funeral service will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the SkyRose Chapel. Family members ask that attendees donate to the Angela Chung Memorial Fund, which will go toward funeral expenses and a scholarship to be given at Woodbury University. robert.hong@sgvn.com (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4586 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsShe was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in critical condition and authorities were sent to the home where she lives with her parents. “The police came up to the door and our dogs didn’t bark,” said Angela’s father, Michael Chung. “I felt something was wrong.” Michael and his wife, Lynn, rushed to the hospital, where Angela died around 2:30 a.m. “It was just surreal,” said Angela’s 21-year-old sister, Olivia Chung, who lives in San Diego. The suspect in the incident, which also injured two others, is a 17-year-old girl from Rosemead who was allegedly racing another vehicle. She is being charged with four felony counts including vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and evading an officer causing death, officials from the District Attorney’s Office said. last_img

TRENTAGH’S FUN WEEKEND IN THE SUN – IN PICTURES!

first_imgThe community of Trentagh must have been praying hard to the Sun Gods at the weekend when they enjoyed glorious sunshine for their annual Fun Weekend.Large crowds up for the fun in the sun which included a car treasure hunt, clay pigeon shoot, digger competition, car-bot sale, horse-show throwing event and much, much more.Here are just some of the snapshots from what was a terrific event. Make sure you get there next year! TRENTAGH’S FUN WEEKEND IN THE SUN – IN PICTURES! was last modified: June 3rd, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Trentagh Fun Weekendlast_img read more

Santa Clarita Calendar

first_imgSATURDAY AARP driver safety program, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market St., Newhall. Call (661) 259-9444. Backyardigans story time, 10 a.m. at Barnes & Noble, 23630 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call (661) 254-6604. Dedication event for “Our Lady of Lourdes Garden for the Catholic Faithful,” 11:30 a.m. at Eternal Valley Memorial Park, 23287 N. Sierra Highway, Newhall. Call (661) 259-0800. Novel Acts will present a scene from the book “Bang! A Love Story,” on DVD, noon-2 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 23630 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call (661) 254-6604. Local Authors Day will feature local authors sharing their works, noon-2 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 23630 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call (661) 254-6604. Santa Clarita Runners Club will meet for a morning run, 7 o’clock in the parking lot at Starbucks, 26415 Bouquet Canyon Road, Valencia. Call (661) 294-0821 or visit www.scrunners.org. Free wellness workshop will present research about stubborn weight, fatigue and hormone imbalance, 10-11:30 a.m. at the office of Dr. Larry Cart, 24868 Apple St., Suite 101, Newhall. Call (661) 284-6233. Saugus train station will be open, 1-4 p.m. at Heritage Junction in William S. Hart Park, 24151 Newhall Ave. Call (661) 254-1275. Karaoke night, 8 o’clock at VFW Post 6885, 16208 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country. Call (661) 252-6885. Special Olympics offers athletic training and competition for athletes with learning disabilities throughout the day at various locations in Santa Clarita. New athletes or volunteer coaches can call (661) 253-2121. SUNDAY Wild Sunday will explore the world of animals, 10-11 a.m. at Placerita Canyon Nature Center, 19152 Placerita Canyon Road, Newhall. Call (661) 259-7721. Junior Olympic Skills Competition in soccer and basketball for boys and girls ages 8-13, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Central Park, 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus. Call i9 Sports at (661) 294-9949. Pet Adoption event will offer cats and dogs available for adoption, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Petsmart, 24965 W. Pico Canyon Road, Stevenson Ranch. Call the Castaic Animal Shelter at (661) 257-3191. Fiction Light Book Group will discuss “The Good Grief” by Lolly Winston, 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 23630 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call (661) 254-6604. Santa Clarita Runners Club will meet for marathon training, 6:30 a.m. in the parking lot at Granary Square, 25930 McBean Parkway, Valencia. Call (661) 294-0821 or visit www.scrunners.org. Bingo will be played, 10:30 a.m. at Mint Canyon Moose Lodge, 18000 W. Sierra Highway, Canyon Country. Call (661) 252-7222. Saugus train station will be open, 1-4 p.m. at Heritage Junction in William S. Hart Park, 24151 Newhall Ave., Newhall. Call (661) 254-1275. Music jam session, 2 p.m. at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6885, 16208 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country. Local musicians welcome. Call (661) 252-6885. MONDAY Mystery Readers Book Club will discuss “The Sunday Philosophy Club” by Alexander McCall Smith, 6:30 p.m. at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library, 18601 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country. Call (661) 251-2720. Travel Book Club will meet, 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 23630 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call (661) 254-6604. Special Olympics offers golf lessons to athletes with learning disabilities, evenings at Vista Valencia Golf Course, 24700 W. Trevino Drive, Valencia. New athletes or volunteer coaches can call (661) 253-2121. TUESDAY Free health lecture on weight loss, 9 a.m. in the Community Room at Westfield Valencia Town Center mall, 24201 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call David Sell at (661) 253-8017. Theater workshop auditions for home-schooled children, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Canyon Theatre Guild, 24242 San Fernando Road, Newhall. Call (661) 799-2702. Nonaerobic workout in a heated pool for joint and muscle conditioning, 10:30 a.m. at the Santa Clarita Valley Family YMCA, 26147 McBean Parkway, Valencia. Call (661) 253-3593. Santa Clarita Runners Club will work out, 6:15 p.m. at the College of the Canyons track, 26455 N. Rockwell Road, Valencia. Call (661) 294-0821 or visit www.scrunners.org. Sierra Hillbillies Square Dance Club will offer an intermediate class, 7-9 p.m. in Rooms A1 and 2 at the SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market St., Newhall. Call (661) 252-2210 or (661) 255-0463. Boating safety class, titled “Basic and Advanced Coastal Navigation,” 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, 23233 Lyons Ave., Newhall. Call (661) 268-0143. Barbershop Harmony Singers will rehearse, 7:30-9:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room at Valley Oaks Village Apartments, 24700 Valley St., Newhall. Call (661) 259-6109 for security-door information. WEDNESDAY Workshop for nonprofits, titled “Essential Tools for Executive Directors,” 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the SCV Resource Center located in the Activities Center, 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway, Canyon Country. Cost: $20. Call (661) 250-3720. Free health lecture will discuss advances in cardiology, 1-2 p.m. at the SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market St., Newhall. Call (661) 259-9444. Movie Day will feature “A Little Princess,” 3:30 p.m. at the Newhall Library, 22704 W. 9th St., Newhall. Call (661) 259-0750. Feng Shui workshop, 6:30 p.m. at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library, 18601 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country. Call (661) 251-2720. Santa Clarita Amateur Radio Club will meet, 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall, 23920 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Visit www.w6jw.org. Artists Helping Artists (Aha!) will meet to share their creative works, 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 23630 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call Trish Lester at (661) 254-1242. Santa Clarita Sunrise Rotary Club will meet, 7:10 a.m. at IHOP, 24737 W. Pico Canyon Road, Stevenson Ranch. Call (661) 250-1023. Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club will meet, 12:10 p.m. at Marie Callender’s, 27630 The Old Road, Valencia. Call (661) 259-7701. Santa Clarita Valley-Newhall Optimist Club will meet, 7 p.m. at La Rumba, 27600 Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus. Call (661) 252-7313. Valencia Toastmasters will meet, 7 p.m. Call Kim Dickens at (661) 259-8567 or visit www.valenciatoastmasters.org for location. Dual Diagnosis Group for those who are chemically dependent and affected by mental illness, 7:30-9:30 p.m. at St. Francis Counseling Center, 25050 Avenue Kearny, Suite 101, Valencia. Call (661) 294-2880. Special Olympics offers athletic training and competition for athletes with learning disabilities during the evenings at various locations in Santa Clarita. New athletes or volunteer coaches can call (661) 253-2121. THURSDAY Santa Clarita chapter of Embroiderers’ Guild of America will meet, 6:30 p.m. in Room 603 at Golden Valley High School, 27051 Robert C. Lee Parkway, Canyon Country. Call Pamela Willars at (661) 291-1528. Santa Clarita Corvette Club social meeting, 6:30 p.m. at Route 66 Classic Grill, 18730 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country. Call (661) 298-1494. Free parenting workshop, titled “What Happened to my Sweet Child: Understanding the Difficult Stage of Adolescence,” 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 23920 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call (661) 255-4965 to R.S.V.P. Nonaerobic workout in a heated pool for joint and muscle conditioning, 10:30 a.m. at the Santa Clarita Valley Family YMCA, 26147 McBean Parkway, Valencia. Call (661) 253-3593. Santa Clarita Noon Kiwanis Club will meet, noon-1:30 p.m. at El Torito, 27510 The Old Road, Valencia. Call Janie Choate at (661) 296-8260. Youth Chess Club will meet, 5:30-8 p.m. at 25864-G Tournament Road, Valencia. Call Jay Stallings at (661) 288-1705. Evening Kiwanis Club will meet, 6:15 p.m. at Mulligan’s, 25848 Tournament Road, Valencia. Call Amy Spencer at (661) 255-6714. Santa Clarita Runners Club will meet for tempo runs, 6:15 p.m. Call (661) 294-0821 or visit www.scrunners.org for location. FRIDAY Karaoke night, 6:30-9:30 at Vincenzo’s, 24504 1/2 Lyons Ave., Newhall. Call (661) 259-6733. To submit an event for the Daily News calendar, contact Sharon Cotal two weeks prior to the event at (661) 257-5256, fax her at (661) 257-5262, e-mail her at sharon.cotal@dailynews.com or write to her at 24800 Avenue Rockefeller, Valencia, CA 91355. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

‘When Arsenal told me, I was a bit frustrated’ – Bellerin opens up on switch

first_img 2 “But soon I realised what their vision was for me, and how they saw me as a right-back. In the beginning, learning a new position is not easy. But I’m feeling comfortable now. I’m really happy with whoever’s idea that was, because maybe if I was still a winger I wouldn’t be where I am.”Was it Arsene Wenger who convinced you the move was a good idea?“At the beginning, Steve Bould was the key because I was playing for the under-18s and under-21s when I first came to Arsenal [the Arsenal assistant manager was then head coach of the club’s under-18s]. He told me: ‘Hector, you’re alright going forward, so I don’t want to touch anything there. But defensively you’ve got to work a lot.’ The stuff I learned in just one season with him was crazy. Once you have the basics in your head, you just have to put it into practice. Since then, every coach I’ve had has helped me to become a better player.”What was it that made you decide to leave Barcelona?“There were loads of things. I had been at Barcelona for a long time playing for the academy, and I wasn’t sure that they were valuing me in the way that I deserved. When Arsenal called me and I spoke to the boss, saw the training ground and how the club was, I just wanted to come here. There are so many people back in Spain who used to tell me: ‘You’re crazy. Why did you leave?’ And now they say they’re so happy that I did because you never know what would have happened if I had stayed there. Whatever it was, there was something telling me that the right thing to do was to come here, and I’m very happy that I did it.”What did you find hardest about adapting to the English game?“When I was at Barcelona, I had never stepped into a gym. When I came here, the first days of pre-season we were running and doing loads of gym stuff. At the beginning I was like: ‘I’m not sure this is gonna help me on the pitch.’ But then, when I played my first game, I was like: ‘Okay, I know why it happens now.’ When you play for Barcelona and you’re a kid, you have the ball all the time and you don’t have to run as much. It’s all so nice, you know? Then you come here and it’s real football. It was a challenge.”Shortly after making your competitive debut for Arsenal you went on loan to Watford, making only eight appearances before being recalled. How do you reflect on that experience? “There were two sides to it. When I came in, Gianfranco Zola was the coach. I remember signing on a Friday, and he told me: ‘Get your kit, because on Saturday you’re travelling.’ Being only 18, I was really happy that a coach like him had so much trust in me. I played every single game under him. Then, like sometimes happens in football, coaches come and go and [Beppe] Sannino came in. He wasn’t that keen on me playing, and I understand that. I was very young. But I learned a lot from that period about the two faces of the game – from having a coach who really likes you and is going to play you every game, to then everything changing and having to cope with that situation.”Was it a relief when you were recalled?“They knew I wasn’t getting the games I wanted. At the time, it wasn’t even about me coming back to the club and being in the first team. It was more about getting any games I could. My first game after coming back from Watford was playing in the UEFA Youth League – it was a whole contrast from playing in the Championship. But I felt, in two months, my game and the way I saw the game had changed so much that I was really happy I spent those two months at Watford.”Your first game for the senior side was in a Champions League group game away to Borussia Dortmund in 2014. Arsenal lost 2-0. Wenger has since described it as a “nightmare” for you…“I saw it a completely different way. I just thought: ‘Listen, this is Dortmund away. I don’t think it can get much bigger than this in the Champions League, so I’ve got the hardest game that I can play out of the way. Now, whatever comes, it’s going to be easier for me.’ That was how I was looking at it. Since then, there haven’t been many games that have had all that pressure – you know, for an 18-year-old kid to play in that stadium is hard. But it was the right moment for me because I don’t think I was as ready as I should have been at that point. It made me realise how much I still had to work and improve.”And two years later you are being labelled as one of the best right-backs in the league.“I’m very happy that people are seeing the work I’m doing is paying off. I don’t feel like the young kid any more. For a while, I was just that young right-back playing for Arsenal. Now people know the way I play. There’s a lot to improve still, though. But playing with such good players and the way we play makes everyone look good, I think.” This article appeared in talkSPORT’s sister print publication, Sport magazine. It’s weekly, it’s free and it’s brilliant. More details here: sport-magazine.co.uk.Hector Bellerin has lived here for only five years, but England has already left an unmistakable mark on the Spaniard. It is most noticeable when he talks, in an accent that is approximately 70 per cent north London.The twang is only part of Bellerin’s immersion in his local culture. On the pitch, the Arsenal right-back, who has been ruled out of the Gunners’ remaining November fixtures with an ankle injury, has adapted so well to the English game that Rio Ferdinand recently acclaimed him as “probably the best right-back in the Premier League right now”.“I heard that, yeah,” says Bellerin, with a giggle. “It’s really nice to hear it from someone who has played the game and understands it. Sometimes people say stuff and you can either believe it or not. But when it comes from a player who understands, I think that’s something you have to appreciate a lot.”Sport meets the 21-year-old at the launch of something that excites him almost as much as Ferdinand’s praise – the launch of the new Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare game. But before Bellerin heads into space for an evening of virtual warfare, he tells us about his day job and a career that is being built on the finest of foundations.As a kid who grew up in Barcelona, was football always the dream for you?“To be fair, I never thought about anything else. I was that little kid always kicking a football about. I actually had a bit of trouble at the end of my school years when my teachers asked: ‘What do you want to be when you’re older?’ I said: ‘I want to be a footballer.’ They were like: ‘You have to be realistic!’ I never knew anything better for me. I’m happy I’m able to live the dream that’s always been in my head.”What’s your earliest memory of playing football?“We used to have a football pitch next to my house. It was shut at weekends, so my dad used to help me jump the fence when I was only five or six years old. I look back now and it’s like: ‘I don’t think that was too safe!’ But I had a lot of fun with him. He used to teach me: ‘You need to kick it with the laces. You need to use your left foot.’ And I was like: ‘No, Dad! I know how to do it!’”You spent eight years playing in Barcelona’s youth teams. How important was that experience in making you the player you are now?“When you’re young, it’s important to have the right kind of coaching. I don’t think there would have been a better place for me to get my foundation from. Everyone knows that Barcelona is a team that likes to have the ball. All my technique, all my tactical movement – I think all of that comes from Barcelona. I’m really happy I could spend eight years of my career with them and get all the basics, all the foundations as a player that I did.“But I think the way I’m built and the ideas in my head mean it suits me more to be in the Premier League. The mix I have from both sides with what I’ve learned at Arsenal in these past five years, especially becoming a defender and learning to play the Arsenal way – I think that’s what makes me who I am today.”So you became a defender only once you got here?“It’s true, when I was at Barcelona I played as a winger. It was only in my last one or two years there that I played a few games at right-back – not more than five. But at one of them there was an Arsenal scout and they said: ‘Okay, this guy has to be a right-back.’ When Arsenal told me at the beginning, I was a bit frustrated – you know, thinking I like to be an attacker. 2 The Spaniard in action for the Gunners this season last_img read more

Coutinho’s Barca debut assessed – Suarez leaps to defence of ex-Liverpool man

first_imgHowever, those moments of magic came from the left flank at Anfield and at times on Sunday night, it was evident he was trying too hard.On one occasion, he failed to control a ball on his chest and suffered a nasty fall on the side of the pitch.Keen to make a more positive impression, Coutinho lined up one of his trademark long distance shots on the half hour only to see his effort deflected for a corner.On 65 minutes, the 25-year-old was withdrawn in place of Paco Alcacer having failed to make a single key pass and the game turned on its head soon after.Just six minutes later, Suarez equalised for the home side when he latched onto Andres Iniesta’s cross from the left hand side.And the comeback was complete when the sensational Lionel Messi curled in a sumptuous free kick to secure the 2-1 win.Suarez leapt to the defence of the new boy after the game, saying: “It’s difficult to debut in the Camp Nou in the league.“He did very well trying to drive in the game and the team are happy with his contribution.”Many expected the ageing Iniesta would be gradually replaced by the £142m man, in a move which would see Coutinho operate in a deeper midfield role.It remains to be seen if Ernesto Valverde continues to operate with him on the right-hand side of a front three, especially when Dembele makes his return from a hamstring injury.The LaLiga leaders are 11 points clear at the top and face city rivals Espanyol next Sunday away from home. Coutinho in action for Barcelona 2 2 Philippe Coutinho made his first start for Barcelona on Sunday night in a 2-1 win over Alaves in the Camp Nou.In his first LaLiga appearance since his £142million move from Liverpool earlier this month, the Brazilian was deployed on the right-hand side of the attack.Alongside Lionel Messi and former Reds teammate Luis Suarez, Coutinho would have hoped for an easy ride against the side sitting 17th in the league.However, the Catalan club made a slow start to the game and went behind against the run of play to a goal courtesy of former Manchester City man John Guidetti.Coutinho was clearly trying to get used to his new teammates and playing in a relatively new position, although the resolute defensive display from Alaves made it much harder to acclimatise.The Brazilian offers something almost entirely different to fellow new signing Ousmane Dembele; something his new teammates will certainly have to get accustomed to.Where the direct Dembele hugs the touchline and looks to beat his man, Coutinho regularly switched positions at the top of the pitch and likes to cut inside.last_img read more