Odds for NASCAR race at Charlotte: Expert picks & favorites to win Wednesday’s Alsco Uniforms 500

The bad news when it comes to Vegas odds for Wednesday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway is its relatively short distance (312 miles, 208 laps) creates an unpredictability factor that makes picking a winner even more difficult than usual. Teams’ strategies will be much different than those used for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

The good news is this is the second NASCAR Cup Series night race at Charlotte in the span of four days. So we at least have a decent idea of which drivers might thrive in another race at NASCAR’s home track, and whose struggles might continue.

Brad Keselowski stole the victory in Sunday’s race after a late caution ruined what would have been an easy win for Chase Elliott. Which is part of the reason Elliott is at the top of the odds board for Wednesday night’s race.

Below are the Vegas odds to win Wednesday night’s NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte, plus our top three picks of drivers who could end up taking the checkered flag.

NASCAR race odds to win at Charlotte

Elliott led 38 laps in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, including what was supposed to the final one on Lap 400. But he pitted during a late-race caution and lost the lead (and the win). But that speed is why Elliott has joined Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. atop the odds board for Wednesday night’s race.

Courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook, below are the complete odds to win Wednesday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte.

Of the drivers in the field, Jimmie Johnson has the best career driver rating (108.9) at Charlotte, but he will start last because of his disqualification from the Coca-Cola 600 results. Johnson’s car failed post-race inspection with illegal rear alignment.

Below are the top 10 career driver ratings at Charlotte (not including Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600):

History says the first and second starting positions are the most proficient in the field, producing more winners (17 each) than any other starting position at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Which is good news for Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman, who will start first and second, respectively, on Wednesday night since the top 20 starters are an inversion of the top 20 finishers from Sunday’s race.

NASCAR at Charlotte expert picks

1. Alex Bowman

Bowman’s spot on the front row to start the race helps, as the driver who started second has won roughly 14 percent of all NASCAR Cup Series races at Charlotte. But this pick is more about the speed HMS cars have shown this year.

Elliott should have won Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, and Johnson finished second before failing post-race tech and being given last-place points. Only Kevin Harvick (328 laps) has led more than the 318 laps Bowman has led through seven races in 2020.

All Hendrick drivers will be threats to win Wednesday night’s race, even Johnson from the back of the field. But we’ll go with the one who already has a win on the season.

2. Martin Truex Jr.

Among active drivers, only Johnson and Kyle Busch have led more career laps at Charlotte than Truex’s 972. His 91.3 driver rating at the track is the third best behind Busch’s 107.4 and Hamlin’s 97.0 among drivers currently in the top 10 in points.

Two crashes in the first four races this season set Truex back in points, but last year’s Coca-Cola 600 winner proved with his pair of top-10 finishes last week at Darlington followed by a strong run in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 that his team still has the speed to win.

3. Erik Jones

Speaking of speed from Joe Gibbs Racing, Jones had a hot rod for parts of Sunday’s race. He will start Wednesday’s event on the outside of Row 5, the best starting position of the four JGR teams in the field, which is notable for a race that’s roughly half the distance of the Coca-Cola 600.

Jones is a relative long shot based on the odds for Wednesday night’s race, but he is every bit as capable as his powerhouse teammates of winning. While his driver rating at Charlotte (68.6) is not great, it comes from a small sample size. Wednesday night’s race will be Jones’ sixth at Charlotte in a Cup car.

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Fears for Evander Holyfield against Mike Tyson after training footage leaks

Boxing fans are fearful of Evander Holyfield’s chances of coming out of a fight against Mike Tyson unscathed after behind-the-scenes training footage showed him looking rather less slick than his latest comeback video made out.

Hot on the heels of old rival Tyson, the 57-year-old announced he was making his own comeback earlier this month and is eager to get back in the ring for a charity exhibition match – preferably against Iron Mike.

Holyfield looked in ridiculously good shape as he dropped a new training montage, doing dips with a heavy chain hanging around his neck and appearing lightning-quick on the pads.

However, behind-the-scenes clips of the promo show that many of the shots were set up, with Holyfield simply holding a loaded-up sled and then walking off without actually pushing it.

Holyfield also looked very slow in the unedited training footage, only putting together a few combos and appearing very laboured when doing so – though he still clearly has enormous power and his physique is remarkable for his age.

Fight fans had already mocked Holyfield for his first comeback video – which was reuploaded and seemingly sped up – and they have not been too kind about his latest effort.

‘He looks slow and stiff, especially compared to the recent clips of Tyson,’ wrote one boxing fan. ‘Holyfield is going to get worked over if they do fight.’

Behind-the-scenes clips from 0:28:


‘Holyfield’s always in shape but he’s too punch drunk to compete again. Bad idea,’ chimed in another fan, while someone else replied: ‘Mike is moving like he’s in his last 20’s. He’s going to beat Evander up!’

There was some thinly veiled praise of Holyfield, though, with one fan saying: ‘I agree this man has no business fighting Mike but can we at least appreciate that my guy is 57 years old training harder and looking better than most of the people watching this video.’

Holyfield’s video is in rather stark comparison to Tyson, who in a clip filmed on his mobile phone looked ferociously fast – and he was only messing around in a pair of jeans rather than training for real.

Tyson has opened the door to fighting Holyfield, telling TMZ: ‘Listen I don’t know if me and Evander are going to get in the ring but it would be awesome for charity.

‘Can you imagine me and him going in the ring together as arch enemies, doing it for the humanity of people, for people less fortunate than ourselves. What would that be like?

‘That’s something that’s never been done by any entertainer or any sports figure in the history of sports.’

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Pro14: League plans for 22 August return with games between teams from same nation

The Pro14 hopes to return to play on 22 August with a series of behind closed doors matches.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) confirmed plans for their provinces to play a series of inter-provincial fixtures at the Aviva Stadium.

The league’s resumption will see teams from the same nation play against each other before the season is concluded via semi-finals and a final.

It is hoped that the 2020-21 campaign can begin in October.

  • Pro14 agrees CVC investment deal
  • Sanzaar & Six Nations teams in talks to plan out global rugby union calendar

With all professional rugby in Europe suspended since March, IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said teams would need at least six weeks training before they are ready to play competitive matches.

It would therefore be expected that Pro14 clubs are back in some form of training by no later than 11 July.

The 2019-20 final, which was scheduled for 20 June has been cancelled, and currently no date has been revealed for a potential rescheduled final.

With the league encompassing teams from five nations, it cannot be assured that all clubs will be able to resume at the same time with countries releasing restrictions at different rates.

“At least if we have a target date set we can try and work towards it,” said Browne

“Otherwise we are just going to be chasing shadows.”

In a video meeting on Friday, Browne acknowledged that the IRFU’s ‘Return to Train and Play’ roadmap was dependent on government approval.

A return to rugby is listed under stage five as the Republic of Ireland’s own roadmap out of lockdown, which it is hoped will be reached on 10 August.

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Vieira hails Mikel Arteta for bringing the 'energy back' at Arsenal

‘It looks like they are playing for the club, and for the manager as well’: Patrick Vieira hails Mikel Arteta for bringing the ‘energy back’ at Arsenal following dismal start to the season

  • Patrick Vieira has been enthused by what he has seen from Mikel Arteta so far
  • Arteta took over in December following an awful start to the season for Arsenal
  • The Spanish manager has tasted defeat just twice in his 15 matches at the helm
  • Arsenal sat ninth in the Premier League before its suspension due to coronavirus 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Patrick Vieira has praised the impact of Mikel Arteta at Arsenal after steadying the ship during what has been a turbulent 2019-20 campaign.

Arteta replaced Unai Emery as permanent manager in December last year, with the club languishing down in 10th position following a horrid start to the Premier League season.

The Gunners have moved up just one place following his appointment, but under Arteta – they have lost just two of their 15 matches with the Spaniard in the hotseat.

Manager Mikel Arteta has been praised by Patrick Vieira for galvanising the Arsenal squad

Arsenal have looked far more resilient under Arteta and club legend Vieira believes the manager has galvanised the whole squad.

‘When you’re a Gunner, always a Gunner, so I’m watching them all the time, I watch their games,’ Vieira told former team-mate Ian Wright in an interview for Adidas.

‘What is really interesting with Arteta is that he brings the energy back and it looks like they are playing for the club, but for the manager as well, and I think that is really important.’

Former Arsenal skipper Vieira, who won three Premier League titles and as many FA Cups with the club, is currently manager of Ligue 1 outfit Nice.

The Arsenal legend believes that the players are playing for the club and manager again

The Frenchman was previously manager of MLS side New York City FC, and Vieira has admitted that he wants to match his ambitions that he had as a player and one day guide a side to Champions League glory.

‘I really don’t know what the future will be, but doing this job it was like being a player,’ Vieira added.

‘I wanted to play at a high level, I wanted to play for the national team, I wanted to go to the World Cup, I wanted to play with the best players and there is no doubt as a coach I have the same kind of ambition.

The Gunners endured a horrid start to the season under previous manager Unai Emery

‘I would want to manage a team that will have a chance to win the Champions League and play in Champions League competition.

‘But at the moment, honestly, right here at Nice I am in the perfect place, perfect place because I can fulfil my ambitions, the club is really ambitious and the club give me the tools to grow as a manager, but to be a part of a winning team and to play good competitions as well.

‘The team is growing up really fast, really quick and hopefully I can get my ambitions with OGC Nice.’

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Memo sent to teams for path to reopening facilities

A route to reopening team facilities has been laid out to all 32 NFL teams.

Commissioner Roger Goodell sent out a memo Wednesday laying out protocols on how facilities may reopen, which includes consent from state government officials, establishment of a club infection response team, social distancing and other measures, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported.

All club facilities have been closed since March 25 to further efforts of combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the NFL has outlined protocols and procedures on the path toward opening them back up.

"The protocols are intended to allow for a safe and phased reopening," Goodell wrote. "The first phase would involve a number of non-player personnel. … No players would be permitted in the facility except to continue a course of therapy and rehabilitation that was underway when facilities were initially closed.

"Clubs should take steps to have these protocols in place by Friday, May 15 in anticipation of being advised when club facilities will formally reopen."

Among the protocols are wearing a cloth face covering or medical-style mask, and daily screening of employees and visitors who must have their temperature taken and answer questions.

In addition, Goodell noted that the NFL is actively working with the NFL Players Association on the protocols that would enable player access and expected to have what that entails "fairly soon."

Also in the memo, Goodell discouraged public comments from club officials concerning hypotheticals in regard to the 2020 season.

"It is impossible to project what the next few months will bring," Goodell stated.

But there are now protocols and a path set forth for reopening.

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Whyte hits out at Joshua for 'fake excuses' over rematch

‘AJ was trying to use me’: Dillian Whyte hits out at Anthony Joshua for ‘fake excuses’ and ‘fooling the public’ as the Body Snatcher dismisses the prospect of a rematch with his long-term rival

  • Dillian Whyte has been calling for a rematch with Anthony Joshua for years
  • The Body Snatcher lost to AJ in their first fight in London in December 2015
  • But Whyte has now accused his long-term rival of stringing him along last year
  • Joshua will next fight Kubrat Pulev while Whyte will face Alexander Povetkin

Dillian Whyte believes rival Anthony Joshua has no intention of fighting him again and says he was ‘used’ by the world heavyweight champion last year. 

In 2019, Joshua lost on his American debut to Andy Ruiz Jr after originally being scheduled to fight Jarrell Miller – AJ won the December rematch against Ruiz in Saudi Arabia. 

But Whyte, who himself lost to Joshua in December 2015 having previously beaten him at amateur level, has revealed he thinks the prospect on the table of the two Brits colliding again last year was simply a publicity ploy by Joshua.

Dillian Whyte is unhappy with Anthony Joshua’s approach to the prospect of a rematch 

The Body Snatcher accused AJ of stringing him along about a potential fight last year 

‘Don’t do what Joshua did, saying I refused to fight when he already knew and had told everyone in December 2018 that he had arranged to fight Jarrell Miller June 1 at MSG in New York, before his fake negotiations with me,’ a frustrated Whyte told Sky Sports. 

‘I’ve spent more time haggling over the price of tires for one of my cars than they spent negotiating with me on the Wembley fight. A couple of texts and a five-minute meeting.

‘AJ was trying to use me, to make it look like he wanted the fight and that he wanted to fight in the UK. If he wanted to fight in Wembley, why didn’t he fight Miller there or Ruiz?’ 

Whyte, nicknamed the Body Snatcher, added that he has made enough effort in trying to force a rematch with Joshua, who knocked him out in the seventh round at the 02 Arena four-and-a-half years ago. 

The two Brits fought in December 2015 when both had unbeaten professional records

Whyte gave Joshua a scare but eventually succumbed in the seventh-round in London 

‘It’s just bull****. I’ve wanted to fight AJ again for years and they know that. He had an immediate rematch with Ruiz, but won’t give me a rematch. 

‘That’s why I want the WBC belt, so he can’t continue to avoid me and fool the public with fake excuses.’  

Joshua, the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion, is next set to fight mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, though the bout originally scheduled to take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next month has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Whyte, meanwhile, won on Joshua’s undercard in Saudi Arabia in December against Mariusz Wach and will fight Alexander Povetkin at the Manchester Arena on July 4.  

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Players testing waters for 2020 NBA Draft will make grim discovery: ‘That process doesn’t exist this year’

When the deadline for aspiring professional basketball players to file for early entry to the NBA Draft passed just before Sunday turned to Monday, it was known to contain the names of nearly 160 players who participated in NCAA basketball in the 2019-20 season.

A few of those are no-doubt/no-brainer lottery picks, such as Dayton’s Obi Toppin and Georgia’s Anthony Edwards. Some are unlikely to be chosen in prominent draft positions, such as Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley, but have determined they wish to begin their professional careers, regardless.

And some are seeking to experience the pre-draft process, to learn more about how NBA teams view them, perhaps to dazzle one or more teams with a surprisingly spectacular performance in a setting different than a college practice or game. In the vernacular, they are “testing the waters.”

All the pools are closed, though. There is no water. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there almost certainly will be no NBA Combine in 2020, no individual-team workouts for a player to experience the protocols and perhaps demonstrate to teams that there is more to his game than shown to date.

Why, then, are there so many players on that list?

One high-major coach who had a player enter said this: “He’s just putting his name in because it’s the cool thing to do.”

That appears to be the only logical explanation.

“We typically have a robust process for underclassmen, and I place a high value on it. But the wheels are not even turning,” one Western Conference executive told Sporting News. “That process doesn’t exist this year.

“We’re not going to be having workouts, as far as I can tell. I like bringing in the underclassmen to test, and it’s very valuable. We can’t even watch a workout of a kid on video, because that would put kids in gyms when they shouldn’t be there.”

Darius Days averaged 11.1 points in 23 minutes per game for LSU. Brendan Bailey averaged 7.1 points as a sophomore at Marquette. Dexter Dennis averaged 9.2 points in his second year at Wichita State. All filed for NBA early entry.

There are more accomplished players on the list, as well, including Sporting News Player of the Year Luka Garza of Iowa and wing Cory Kispert of Gonzaga.

Any of these players, if interested, had the opportunity to receive an evaluation from the NBA’s undergraduate advisory committee. It was not necessary to file for early entry to receive this draft grade, which comprises evaluation from all 30 teams and a five-person leadership committee. A player who asks for the advisory committee grade will be told whether he is a likely lottery pick, a late first-rounder, a second-rounder or expected to be undrafted.

“There are so many guys that applied for the advisory committee that I’ve never heard of,” the Western Conference executive said. “And I’m not even sure I’m ashamed to admit that.”

In this uncommon circumstance, the advisory committee was about as far as it was necessary to take the process for those who are considered to be testing. However, many choose not to believe the assessments they receive.

“Some of these kids get that feedback and think it’s just rigged. It’s not. The NBA does a really thorough job of asking,” one Eastern Conference executive told SN. “They’re so diligent with getting the right amount of feedback. They’ve really standardized it over the past three years. They’re not leaving it to the device of individual teams.

“You have to put hard numbers on it now. And some kids get that feedback and say, ‘Nah, it’s not real.’”

The Eastern Conference executive told SN that he feels for those players who will be denied the opportunity to go through the NCAA Draft process. It’s not as rough as losing the opportunity to play in league championship tournaments or the NCAAs, but it’s one more blow in a rugged spring for college basketball players.

A year ago, power forward Reggie Perry of Mississippi State finished his freshman season with a flourish, helped the Bulldogs get into the NCAA Tournament and then filed for early entry. He had displayed enough potential to be invited to the NBA Combine.

“He interviewed well, played well, then decided to take his name out, played USA Basketball and was incredible at the U19 World Championship. So we have information on him,” the Eastern exec said. “Some of these guys are not going to have that same level of exposure.

“This more hurts these kids, and I don’t know if they’re getting the most responsible amount of feedback. They want to participate, and they’ve seen their peers involved, but there is no combine. Sorry. I feel badly for them.”

In a typical year, the opportunity to experience the draft process can be a positive even if the player expects to return for another year of NCAA basketball. It’s can be like a hybrid of a summer internship and a first attempt at taking the SAT.

As with an internship in journalism or accounting or business, the player gets to see what the professional world is like, meet some of the principals, perhaps make a strong impression with an interview or an obvious work ethic. As with that first lap through a standardized test, the athlete gets exposed to the procedures, to what is expected, to whatever little devices might promote success when it’s time to take the shot that will count.

“The feedback part is great, but this is just different,” the Eastern conference exec told SN. “They’ve seen all their peers do it, so they want to say, ‘Yeah, I declared for the draft.’ But you got no feedback.”

Entering the draft is not without risk for the athlete. A negative first impression can endure among the scouts and personnel executives who eventually will determine whether to employ him. But that’s a chance many athletes are delighted to take because they believe in their ability and want the opportunity to show it to the people who can help them to achieve their dreams.

Essentially none of this will happen this spring. A player may be able to get an online video interview with a team, but not a lot more. And those are likely to be limited to the players who have a serious chance to be selected.

“It’s not like teams will say, ‘Here’s the underclassman list, let’s start rolling through interviews A to Z,’” the Western exec told SN. “There’s only so many Zoom calls we can ask our staff to sit in on.”

Players can make agreements with agents while they’re on the early-entry list, so long as they’re NCAA-certified. According to the college coach, many top agents don’t bother with certification because they’re not interested in trying to talk marginal prospects out of school on the off-chance they might be chosen. There’s not much an agent can do for a player this year; possibly the prospect could be flown to a state where gyms are open to get some workouts in, but as of now teams would not be permitted to observe in any way.

One reason there are so many marginal prospects on the early-entry list is many college coaches have determined that the most prudent approach with players who express a desire is to tell them to go ahead.

“I tell them, ‘If you’re even thinking about it, put your name in,’” the high-major coach said. “If they don’t, they’re going to blame me.”

That puts NBA teams in the position of having to explain to aspiring pros that they are not ready to be chosen. If the college coach says it, that can create a divide with the player. If someone in the league says it, the college coach can’t be charged with just trying to keep a player in his program to win more games.

It almost seems as if players are filing for the draft so they can have the opportunity to make a Twitter announcement and then, upon their return to college basketball, issue another that proclaims how committed they are to winning for their program’s fans.

The truth: Villanova did a press release when forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl said he would not be filing for early entry. Kentucky did that, as well, for Keion Brooks. Robinson-Earl got 1,200 likes for a Twitter post that simply said, “Excited for next season! #NovaNation #UnfinishedBusiness”

This year, because of the pandemic, sending out the “coming back” tweet is about the same whether a player enters the draft or not.

“To me, don’t be silly. Don’t try to reach for something that isn’t there yet,” the Western Conference executive told SN. “We don’t have time to be the people who do the ass-kicking this year.”

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UK government members call for scrutiny of Newcastle's Saudi takeover

UK government members call for scrutiny of Newcastle’s Saudi takeover, with BeIn Sports and Amnesty International raising vital piracy and human rights concerns

  • A Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United looks set to transform the club 
  • However, serious concerns have been raised over their fitness to run the club
  • The Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ test stand in their way 
  • BeIn Sports and Amnesty International have called for scrutiny and raised issues
  • The chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Football has done the same

The UK government have been urged by its own members to take an active role in scrutinising the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United following calls for the deal to be blocked.

The consortium of Saudi’s Public Investment Fund, Amanda Staveley and the Reuben Brothers have had a £300m bid for Newcastle accepted, with only the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ test standing in the way of the acquisition.

BeIN Sports has raised the issue of Premier League rights worth hundreds of millions of pounds being allegedly pirated by state-backed broadcasters in Saudi Arabia for the past three years.

Newcastle are set for a monumental transformation under their new Saudi ownership 

Questions have been raised over the new ownership, with saying the sale should be blocked

The consortium involving Amanda Staveley are aiming for the Champions League

The Qatar-based media group’s CEO Yousef Al-Obaidly wrote to league chief executive Richard Masters, as well as the chairmen of all 20 top-flight clubs, in a bid to raise awareness of the issue.

The letter states that the prospective new owners have ‘caused huge damage’ to clubs and the league’s commercial revenue, while also stating that the ‘future economic model of football is at stake.’

And for the first time, government voices have raised concerns over the impending deal, with the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Football Clive Betts calling the issue a ‘priority’.

Fans will be delighted to see the back of Mike Ashley, but there are new concerns 

BeIn sports have called for scrutiny amid their own battle over piracy of their broadcasts

‘The beoutQ piracy issue should be an immediate priority for regulatory scrutiny surrounding the Newcastle United takeover,’ Betts said in a statement on Friday.

‘While the Premier League needs to seriously look at any potential conflict between the ownership of a football club and the alleged 3 year theft of UK media rights by the future owner, the government should take a role, not sit on the bench.’

BeIN Sports are not the only body to raise concerns about the imminent change of owners at St James’ Park.

Amnesty International have also written to the Premier League to raise awareness of the kingdom’s human rights record, while the wife of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi has also criticised the proposed takeover.

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Harry Maguire thanked for supplying essential food packages to elderly

Harry Maguire thanked for ‘very kind gesture’ after supplying essential food packages to elderly as Manchester United star continues to give back during coronavirus crisis

  • Harry Maguire was thanked after supplying essential food packages to elderly
  • Maguire has set up the scheme to help people in his hometown of Mosborough
  • The Manchester United captain responded by saying ‘My pleasure #StaySafe’
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has been thanked for setting up a scheme to deliver groceries to the elderly in his hometown of Mosborough.

Maguire offered to supply food packages of everyday essentials in Mosborough, which is south-east of Sheffield. 

Jackie Claydon tweeted Maguire saying: ‘Thank you so much for your very kind gesture to the older generation of Mosborough. My mum was very appreciative.’ 

Harry Maguire has been thanked for supplying essential food packages to the elderly

The tweet included an image of the package provided by Maguire, which included vegetables and milk in addition to a signed card. 

Maguire responded by tweeting: ‘My pleasure #StaySafe’.

Manchester United captain Maguire ensured that the goods were delivered in Mosborough

The defender is determined to help elderly residents in the area during lockdown.

Maguire grew up is Mosborough, which is in Sheffield. He started his career at Sheffield United before having spells with Hull City and Leicester.    

The 27-year-old also revealed that he is in weekly discussions with Manchester United about the possibility of players taking wage cuts during the coronavirus crisis. 

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