Marcos Rojo set to return to Man United to help Champions League chase

Marcos Rojo set to return to Manchester United to help with Champions League chase at the end of the season with Estudiantes boss admitting he is ‘unlikely’ to see out loan move

  • Marcos Rojo joined his former club Estudiantes on loan at the end of January 
  • However, his second spell at the Argentinean club was hampered by injury 
  • Fit again, it is likely the player will stay in England, according to Estudiantes boss 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Marcos Rojo is unlikely to be given the chance to see out his dream loan move at Estudiantes, according to their manager.

Rojo had struggled for playing time at Manchester United this season, making just 10 appearances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side before being allowed to head back to Argentina on loan during the winter window. 

His return did not go as planned, with an ankle injury preventing him from making an impact on his return, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Estudiantes boss Leandro Desabato accepts it is unlikely Marcos Rojo will see out his loan 

With United now looking to call on as many stars as possible to give them the biggest squad for the restart of the Premier League season, it now looks a certainty that they will keep hold of Rojo to help them with squad rotation for the manic end to the season.

And Estudiantes boss Leandro Desabato accepts they will likely not see him return this season. 

‘We have to wait, but Rojo is likely to leave,’ he told FM Radio Late 93.1.

‘The loan is due, and if Manchester do not want to continue loaning, it’s understandable.’

While Rojo will be enlisted to help United secure Champions League football in the final few weeks of the season, it is still a possibility that he will be leaving come the end of the season.

Both Estudiantes and Boca Juniors have been linked with a permanent move for the centre back, with reports suggesting the Premier League side are willing to offload him for £12million.  

Rojo struggled for game time earlier this season, making just 10 appearances for United 

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Racing's Newcastle return a success but tragic death of horse mars day

Racing’s return at Newcastle a success as the cobwebs are blown away… but tragic death of December Second mars the day

  • The return of racing at Newcastle on Monday brought to an end a 76-day hiatus
  • Jockeys and trainers kept their distance whilst waiting in the parade ring 
  • Things were progressing smoothly but December Second had to be put down
  • Only two journalists were allowed on track in a new abnormal for the sport 

Never has a mundane mile handicap attracted so much attention or looked so good as the 1.00pm at Newcastle on Monday.

‘The wait is over,’ course commentator Darren Owen said as stalls opened for the Welcome Back To British Racing Handicap. 

It brought to an end a 76-day hiatus and the return of racing so keenly anticipated by armchair fans that even those who had piled on to heavily-backed 15-8 favourite Stone Mason could still probably maintain a smile as their fancy tamely faded into sixth.

The first race at Newcastle on Monday took place with the backdrop of empty grandstands

James Sullivan riding Zodiakos (R) won the Betway Welcome Back British Racing Handicap

Out front was Jimmy Sullivan-ridden 22-1 shot Zodiakos, who passed the post a neck in front of Roger Fell-trained stablemate Al Ozzdi.

Sullivan said: ‘Hopefully, that will have blown the cobwebs away.’ His words summed up the theme of the afternoon. A sport dusting itself down and getting going again, albeit in a way alien to what everyone is used to.

Largely, it went smoothly off the racecourse, with the exception of an IT issue on the checking-in process. No one failed a temperature test to enter the track.

But this is sport. There is no script as December Second proved when clipping the heels of a rival and coming down in the eighth race, bringing down Financial Conduct in the process. Both jockeys, PJ McDonald and Jim Crowley, were able to walk away, but missed subsequent rides.

Jockey Jim Crowley wore a mask on Monday, and missed a subsequent ride after falling

December Second was less fortunate, sustaining a spinal injury which meant he had to be put down. It was hardly what racing wanted when the eyes of the sporting world were on it.

In a statement, the BHA said: ‘We are all deeply saddened about the loss of December Second. No one will be more affected by this than the trainer Phil Kirby, the owners and the stable staff who provided the horse with first-class care throughout his life.

‘Equine welfare has been an important consideration in our planning to return — for example there have been limits placed on field sizes as part of the sport’s resumption of racing strategy.

‘On average a horse falls once in every 1,000 runners in Flat races. Statistics show that horses are more likely to suffer injury at home in a field than on a Flat racecourse and at the racecourse our horses have access to the best possible care. December Second was treated by vets within seconds of his fall.’ 

Up until the unfortunate incident involving December Second, proceedings had gone well

Up until the incident in the mile and a half Betway Handicap, things had gone well. There was less patience shown to horses reluctant to enter the stalls, given only two handlers can now push a runner. Freedom Flyer was withdrawn at the start of race three and Northern Charm in race four.

Matched volumes of around £1million a race on betting exchange Betfair reflected the pent-up demand of punters even if it was generally a disappointing day for fancied horses.

But there were impressive wins for Tim Easterby-trained Art Power, who is Royal Ascot bound, and Frankly Darling, who could even be an Oaks contender.

Jockeys and trainers kept their distance in the parade ring at Newcastle Racecourse

This, however, was about more than results of races. This was the test of a system that has been worked on for two months on biosecurity measures. Around 300 people attended the meeting — not all on track at the same time.

The four female jockeys and 45 male jockeys were housed in a 350 square foot bar in the main grandstand that had been converted into a changing area.

Jockey Paul Mulrennan, who had six rides, said: ‘It’s all worked very well. There is lots of room and it has been well signposted. Weighing in and weighing out worked well. There is more hand sanitiser than Boots. I have never seen so much.’

Jockey Paul Mulrennan (R) was pleased with how things progressed as racing returned

For everyone this was a new experience, even for the media. Only two journalists were allowed on track, pooling their work to make it available to those off course. Coverage was different to anything I have experienced in over 30 years working on the Daily Mail’s racing desk, 11 as the sport’s correspondent.

The action was on the TV and interviews with jockeys or officials conducted on the phone or via video conference, when you were left praying that your WiFi connection was more reliable that most of the favourites lining up at Newcastle.

It’s the new abnormal.

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BHA confident of return to action in Britain despite French setback

‘We are making good progress as we prepare for June 1’: BHA confident of racing resumption in Britain despite French suffering shock setback

  • Fench racing in turmoil after the sport was suddenly halted in its key regions
  • The French government stopped any racing in Paris and the north on Tuesday
  • There will be no racing at least until the next review of the transition on June 2
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The BHA have said the fact French racing has been forced to close tracks in Paris and in the east of the country should have no ramifications for the resumption of racing in Britain.

Racing’s ruling body has steered clear of using overseas jurisdictions whose racing has either continued or resumed as evidence as to why British racing should return.

A spokesman for the BHA said: ‘Our proposal has always been that racing will be ready to return safely in Britain as soon as the UK Government permits the resumption of sporting events.

There will be no more racing at Longchamp, where the sport resumed in France on May 11

‘Our plans are being developed with officials from Public Health England and will be in line with UK government policy. We are making good progress as we prepare for a resumption on June 1.’

Final Government approval for the return of British racing has yet to be received.

Racing returned in France on May 11 at Longchamp but the French Government backtracked when announcing on Tuesday that no track inside Red Zones of high COVID-19 infections rates can now race.

Today’s scheduled meeting at Longchamp has been switched to Deauville on the Normandy coast.

French racing was thrown into chaos on Tuesday after being told to shut down its Paris tracks

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England players to return to training next week

England players will begin individual training next week in the first step to returning to action after the coronavirus shutdown.

Bowlers will have staggered sessions at various county grounds with a coach, physio and, where possible, a strength and conditioning coach in attendance.

Other players will return to practice two weeks later.

“These are very tentative steps to returning to play,” said England director of cricket Ashley Giles.

There will be no cricket in England or Wales until at least 1 July, a shutdown which has meant the postponement of the Test series against West Indies, which was scheduled for June.

  • West Indies players ‘very nervous’ about travelling to England
  • Some anxieties about return to action – Buttler

With the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in talks with Cricket West Indies (CWI) over the rescheduling of those three Tests, Giles said the return to training coincides with a seven-week build-up to what could be the start of the series on 8 July.

About 30 players – centrally contracted and from the county system – will be invited to train at 11 venues. The players and venues will be confirmed on Monday. The ECB will also use some county coaches and staff.

On Wednesday, the government issued guidelines on how elite athletes were able to return to training, with further guidance on greater contact between players and coaches due in the coming weeks.

In line with government advice, the ECB will implement the following protocols:

  • Each individual will observe strict social-distancing
  • Players and support staff will arrive in training kit ready to practise
  • Players and support staff will have their temperatures taken before they are allowed to take part
  • Medical staff will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to treat injuries. The PPE will be sourced and funded by the ECB
  • Dressing rooms and other venue facilities will be closed

England’s women will return to training in late June, while the ECB is expecting to provide an update on when the 18 first-class counties can return to training by the end of May.

“This first phase should be a safer environment than going about daily life,” said Giles.

“I’m not making light of this, but there are risks every time you go outside the house. We need to mitigate as many of the risks around the spreading of this virus as we possibly can.”

It is likely that any international cricket that is played this summer – England are also due to host Pakistan, Australia and Ireland – will be played behind closed doors, perhaps in a ‘bio-secure’ environment.

Previous discussions have involved the prospect of players remaining within the team environment for the duration of the summer in order to minimise the risk of infection.

However, Giles said this is not “realistic” given the various home circumstances of the players. For example, the wife of Test captain Joe Root is expecting their second child.

“We are going to have to find ways where we can get players out of their environment,” said Giles.

“Our players will do anything they can to get this going, but it isn’t realistic to expect them to be in a bubble for 10 weeks.”

On Wednesday, CWI chief executive Johnny Grave said some West Indies players would be “very nervous” about travelling to England.

“We are all nervous, aren’t we?” Giles said. “I went shopping last week and it’s a really weird feeling when you go out. You are almost threatened by anyone who comes near you. That will change over time.

“It can be quite scary but we are doing everything we possibly can to answer all of the West Indies’ questions.”

  • Play crowd noise at games behind closed doors – Archer

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Jack Wilshere set to return for West Ham when season resumes

Jack is back! West Ham star Wilshere will be fit to return for David Moyes when the season gets back underway after recovering from a pelvic injury that has kept him out since October

  • Jack Wilshere has recovered from an issue that has kept him out since October
  • The pelvic injury took longer to heal than expected for the injury-prone star
  • It is a huge boost to David Moyes with the Hammers battling relegation
  • The Ex-Arsenal star will be ready to train when football returns from suspension

Jack Wilshere has fully recovered from his troublesome pelvic injury and will be fit to return for West Ham once the season recommences.

The midfielder has not played since October due to the problem that has taken longer than expected to heal.

But the former Arsenal star has now fully recovered and will be ready to recommence first-team training when clubs are permitted back.

Jack Wilshere will finally be available for West Ham once the season returns from suspension

The ex-Arsenal star has suffered an injury-hit career but will soon be back in team training

The news comes as a huge boost to manager David Moyes and Wilshere, who has cut a frustrated figure during his spell at West Ham due to injuries. 

But the 28-year-old has used the coronavirus delay to work on his recovery and strength and is ready to play a role in West Ham’s fight against relegation.

His return to fitness comes at a timely point in Wilshere’s career. He enters the final year of his £100,000-per-week contract next season with his future unclear.

A successful run in the team could yet see the Hammers try to renegotiate an extension with the former England international or, alternatively, some impressive performance could attract suitors into taking advantage of his contractual situation.

West Ham, given the prospect of losing Wilshere for nothing in 2021, are likely to listen to offers for midfielder in the next window if they do not extend his deal.

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McGuire backs AFL return to traditional suburban grounds

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has backed a growing push for AFL matches to return to Melbourne's suburban grounds when the competition shutdown is over.

Fixtures are likely to be played behind closed doors, at least initially, if and when the AFL is given the green light to resume the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

St Kilda’s base at Moorabbin could be an option for AFL games if the 2020 season resumes and pushes into the traditional cricket season.Credit:Getty Images

The Western Bulldogs this week flagged the possibility of hosting premiership season fixtures at Whitten Oval for the first time in more than two decades.

St Kilda's Moorabbin base, now known as RSEA Park, and Carlton's Ikon Park would also be obvious candidates to host matches.

The three venues all hosted AFLW matches this year and their surfaces and facilities are up to the standard required for AFL fixtures.

Historic former AFL venues such as Victoria Park and Windy Hill could also be in the mix.

"There's a real opportunity to do that and that could be something that comes up again with the dramas that have been going on about whether Marvel Stadium would be available because of cricket," McGuire said on Triple M on Tuesday.

"But there's plenty of opportunity [with that].

"I think that these venues are going to play a far bigger role with the women's football and whatever the second-tier VFL competition looks like eventually once we get things going."


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