Daily Briefing

Sport shorts: Spurs hope Harry Kane will return for final games and Barcelona call meeting with Eric Abidal

Ten things from the world of sport on Wednesday 5 February

1. Mourinho gives Kane update

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho hopes that star striker Harry Kane will return for the club’s final two Premier League matches of the season. 

Kane, 26, injured his hamstring on New Year’s Day against Southampton and following surgery there had been fears he could miss the rest of the campaign and England’s matches at Euro 2020. 

Spurs play Leicester City at home in their penultimate league game on 9 May - a match that could be crucial in the battle for the Champions League places. 

Spurs boss Mourinho said: “There is not a setback, nothing has happened, everything is OK and he’s having his treatment. 

“Maybe we need that match [against Leicester] for something - to be fourth, to be fifth, to be sixth. Maybe he can help us in this match, I hope.”

2. Spurs and Saints battle for fifth-round place

Tonight Tottenham take on Southampton in an FA Cup fourth-round replay in north London (7.45pm, live on BT Sport 1). The winners will play Norwich City at home in the last 16.

In the pick of last night’s other replays Liverpool’s youngsters beat Shrewsbury 1-0, Newcastle were 3-2 winners at Oxford and Derby beat Northampton 4-2. 

Derby forward Wayne Rooney will now face former club Manchester United in the last 16 of the cup.  

FA Cup fifth-round draw

Ties to be played week commencing 2 March

  • Sheffield Wednesday vs. Manchester City  
  • Reading vs. Sheffield United  
  • Chelsea vs. Liverpool  
  • West Bromwich Albion vs. Newcastle United  
  • Leicester City vs. Birmingham City  
  • Derby County vs. Manchester United  
  • Southampton or Tottenham Hotspur vs. Norwich City  
  • Portsmouth vs. Arsenal

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3. No one likes England and Scotland are niggly 

Scotland centre Sam Johnson has stoked the fires ahead of this weekend’s Six Nations match by saying “no one likes England”. 

He said: “You fully respect England because of how good they are, but I don’t think anyone likes them when you’re growing up. We have the greatest respect for England because they are so good, you almost hate them for it.” 

Meanwhile, England head coach Eddie Jones has warned his players that Scotland’s tactics will be to get in their faces and disrupt their rhythm. “They’re a niggly side,” said Jones. “Historically they’ve done that. That’s the way they stay in the game and they’re good at it.”

4. Watson out of Murrayfield clash

England have been dealt a blow for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash against Scotland after winger Anthony Watson was ruled out of the match at Murrayfield. 

Watson has a calf injury and England forwards coach Matt Proudfoot said: “We’ll give him the opportunity to get over it 100% before we give him the go. He won’t be available for the weekend.”

This weekend’s Six Nations fixtures
  • Saturday 8 February: Ireland vs. Wales (2.15pm GMT; ITV and S4C); Scotland vs. England (4.45pm GMT; BBC)  
  • Sunday 9 February: France vs. Italy (3pm GMT; BBC)

5. England lose first ODI since World Cup

England were thrashed by South Africa yesterday in their first one-day international (ODI) since winning the Cricket World Cup last summer. Captain Eoin Morgan admitted his boys were “way off the mark” as the home side strolled to a seven-wicket victory under the Cape Town floodlights.

England’s reality check: world champions are walloped by South Africa

Lionel Messi and Eric Abidal were formerly team-mates at Barcelona

David Ramos/Getty Images

6. Abidal called for meeting after Messi row

A storm has erupted at Spanish champions FC Barcelona with captain Lionel Messi hitting out at the club’s sporting director Eric Abidal. 

In a newspaper interview, Abidal criticised the club’s players for not working hard enough under former head coach Ernesto Valverde. Messi responded on social media saying Abidal should “give names”. 

Sky Sports reports that Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has called a meeting with Abidal to discuss the sporting director’s future at the club.

Camp Nou in crisis: Barcelona captain Messi hits back at Abidal

7. Coronavirus fears for major events

BBC Sport reports that officials from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are “seriously concerned” about the spread of coronavirus.

The death toll has risen to 493 while in China alone there are now more than 24,300 recorded cases.

Meanwhile, Formula 1 bosses are set to meet today to discuss the Chinese Grand Prix which is scheduled to take place in Shanghai on 19 April. 

Coronavirus impact on sport: ‘serious concerns’ for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

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8. NFL: Jags to play two games in London

Jacksonville Jaguars will become the first NFL franchise to play two regular-season games outside of the United States in one year.

The Jags have confirmed they will play back-to-back “home” matches at Wembley Stadium in the NFL London Games 2020. 

Opponents are yet to be confirmed, but NFL.com reports that the Jags will play two of the following teams: the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions or Miami Dolphins.

9. Farah out of London’s Big Half

British athletics star Mo Farah will not run in “The Big Half” race in London on 1 March because of a minor Achilles injury.

The 36-year-old, a four-time Olympic champion, said: “My priority is to be fit, healthy and competitive for the summer season. For that reason I have had to make the tough decision not to race this year. I definitely hope to be back again in 2021.”

10. Back pages: Liverpool kids win cup replay

“Teens tame the Shrews” is the headline in the Daily Express with the paper acclaiming Liverpool’s young guns for their 1-0 defeat of plucky minnows Shrewsbury Town in last night’s FA Cup fourth-round replay.

Liverpool’s reward for beating Shrewsbury is a fifth-round tie away against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. 

Today’s newspaper back pages

Liverpool teenagers tame the Shrews at Anfield

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