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If Somerset get balance right they could claim thrilling County Championship | Vic Marks

More twists and turns expected in dramatic title race climax as Middlesex and Yorkshire play at Lord’s but both will be keeping up with events at TauntonA fascinating finale to the County Championship season awaits, which promises delicious twists and turns (especially at Taunton) as three sides pursue the championship pennant. Middlesex and Yorkshire meet at Lord’s, with the home side holding a nine-point advantage, while Somerset, a point behind Yorkshire, play Nottinghamshire in the knowledge that a victory just might be enough. Related: Jeetan Patel helps Warwickshire sink Surrey in Royal London Cup final Related: Eoin Morgan set to return as England’s one-day captain in India Continue reading...

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Wayne Rooney’s years at top take their toll on Manchester United captain | Daniel Taylor

He does not turn 31 till next month but Wayne Rooney made his Premier League debut at 16 and players who start out young often pay a priceThey changed the format of the press conferences at Manchester United some time ago. For the past 10 years or so, everything has been in front of the cameras and the managers, as such, always tend to put on their face for television, remember to mind their language and often disguise, or water down, what they really feel. It is a PR world more than ever before, but it used to be much better fun in the old days when Sir Alex Ferguson held separate briefings, the cameras turned off, where he could...

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Ronaldo at 40: Il Fenomeno’s legacy as greatest ever No9, despite dodgy knees | Rob Smyth

The Brazilian will be 40 on Sunday and while many remember his injury-blighted latter years, at his fearsome peak for PSV, Barcelona and Internazionale he was arguably the most dangerous striker the world has ever seenA footballer’s career does not end when he retires. The reputation of a player can change after the event because of anything from evolution to nostalgia. Some players have their achievements diminished by the next generation; others age beautifully. For the Brazilian Ronaldo, who turns 40 on Sunday, this is particularly acute. A number of forwards, from Thierry Henry to Lionel Messi, have achieved greatness – and in some cases surpassed him – by paying homage to his style of play; another has changed how...

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Colin Kaepernick’s critics are ignoring the target of his protest | Bryan Armen Graham

By discussing whether the quarterback’s national anthem protest is unpatriotic America is failing to confront police brutality, profiling and racial inequalityA few nights ago the University of Florida law professor Katheryn Russell‑Brown watched four commentators on ESPN debate Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the United States national anthem. For several minutes the men argued about whether the San Francisco 49ers quarterback was right in using the anthem to shed a light on racial inequities in their country. They spoke of soldiers away at war, veterans who died and the meaning of the US constitution. The debate raged until Russell-Brown finally realised the one thing they had not discussed were the issues about which Kaepernick is protesting. Related: Take heart,...

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Harry Kane and the benefits of occasionally standing still | Barney Ronay

Watching Spurs and Harry Kane against Monaco this week it was hard not to think about the chalk spot employed by Pep Guardiola for Raheem SterlingFootball managers often like to make an entrance, to impose their own eviscerating personality from the start. Brian Clough kicked things off at Leeds United by telling the players to throw their medals in the bin because they were cheats. Bill Norman, moustache-twirling managerial hard-man of the 1920s, announced himself to his Hartlepool squad by stripping naked and rolling around in the snow in front of them after sensing a reluctance to follow him outside on a bitterly cold day.More recently José Mourinho seems to have decided the best approach at Manchester United is to...

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