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World Cup not in Hughes’ thinking


first_img The 20-year-old goalkeeper started the season as the Potters’ third choice but with Asmir Begovic having broken a finger and Thomas Sorensen suffering an Achilles injury, he made his Barclays Premier League debut against Everton on New Year’s Day. He then played 90 minutes in the FA Cup third-round win over Leicester and is in contention to line up against Liverpool on Sunday. Stoke manager Mark Hughes insists he cannot allow Jack Butland’s World Cup ambitions to affect his team selection. Sorensen has returned to training and may be passed fit for the match, but Butland has done little to warrant being dropped. Whatever decision Hughes makes, though, he has no intention of allowing Butland’s international prospects to come into the equation. Joe Hart, Fraser Forster and John Ruddy are the current England keepers, but a run of games in the top flight could easily see Butland, who earned one cap in 2012, move into contention. “My intention is to make the right decisions for Stoke City – the World Cup doesn’t come into my thinking,” said Hughes. “Jack understands and accepts that – I’ll always do my best for Stoke first and foremost. “And so will Jack, although he has ambitions to go to the World Cup, he knows he has to establish himself at this level.” Despite Hughes’ words, he would have no qualms about pitching the former Birmingham stopper into action against a Liverpool side who have scored 44 goals in 20 matches this term. As well as his solitary England appearance against Italy, Butland also played for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics and Hughes is confident he is ready to compete at the highest level. Press Association “I have no worries about Jack – given how he acquitted himself when he came on at half-time for Thomas against Everton,” said Hughes. “He showed a lot of confidence and presence in the box, and against Leicester in the FA Cup what he had to do, he did really well. “Jack is more than capable even though this would be his first start against an attack like Liverpool’s. “With a player like Luis Suarez, you have to accept that, with the talent he has, he will have an opportunity at some point in the game to test the keeper. “That goes without saying. The team will create a chance for him, or he’ll create it out of nothing. “When that happens, then you need your keeper to earn his corn and make sure he doesn’t capitalise.” last_img read more


UW to take on MSU, PSU


first_imgThe No. 17 ranked University of Wisconsin Badger wrestling team will travel to Michigan State and Penn State this weekend in hopes of earning its first dual victory in Big Ten play this season.After a disappointing start of 0-2 against Iowa and Northwestern, the team has high expectations going into the duals this weekend, which marks the Badgers’ final road trip, as they host the concluding four duals at the UW Field House.Wisconsin travels to Michigan State on Friday night to take on the only unranked team in the Big Ten Conference. The Spartans have only one ranked wrestler in No. 6 Franklin Gomez at 133 pounds.“The expectation is to perform at a high level and force our will on our opponents,” head coach Barry Davis said. “If we do those things and have success at every weight class I think we can come away 2-0 this weekend. As a coach I’m trying to keep the guys focused on the task at hand.”The Badgers currently lead the all-time series against Michigan State at 24-16-1. The last meeting between the two teams resulted in a Wisconsin victory, 26-12.Wisconsin will travel to University Park, Pa., on Sunday to take on No. 16 Penn State. The Nittany Lions currently have five nationally-ranked wrestlers, including one returning All-American in No. 2 Bubba Jenkins at 149 pounds.Other ranked wrestlers for Penn State include No. 8 Dan Vallimont at 157, No. 11 Jake Strayer at 133, No. 16 Quentin Wright at 174 and No. 17 Brad Pataky at 125.“Penn State will be tougher, but I think if people wrestle as they have been as of late that we should be able to go in there and get the job done,” senior Zach Tanelli said.The Badgers currently have five ranked wrestlers, including No. 1 Zach Tanelli at 141 lbs, No. 3 Dallas Herbst at 197, No. 5 Kyle Ruschell at 149, No. 9 Kyle Massey at heavyweight and No. 10 Andrew Howe at 165.Davis is very happy with how his wrestlers have been performing recently and is setting the bar high.“Ruschell has made a good adjustment to his weight class at 149 as long as he remembers to wrestle seven hard minutes and let his skills take over,” Davis said. “Andrew Howe, being a true freshman, the poise that he has and the focus that he has is very impressive. You can’t count out Massey and Herbst either.”Tanelli said he is confident about the weekend and feels the team can come away with two dual victories.That confidence is matched by freshman Andrew Howe.“We’re going to win this weekend and get a national championship,” Howe said.Davis believes the team will do well this season because of the experience, knowledge and motivation the veteran wrestlers bring to the team.“We’ve got more of a veteran team this year and the leadership is good,” Davis said. “The two captains Ruschell and Herbst — with help from Tanelli and Massey — have been around a while and they know what they’re training for and the things they need to do in order to be prepared each week.”“It helps me a lot,” Howe said of the veteran presence. “They give me something to follow and model myself after during workouts as well as matches.”Even with such leadership and confidence in the locker room, Davis said there are still many things the team can improve upon.“There are some areas we need to continue to work on such as leg defense, some riding, and some turning on top,” Davis said. “If we can improve on those things we should be in great shape for this weekend and the rest of the season.”last_img read more