Anorak

Anorak | Justin’s Time

Justin’s Time

by | 19th, July 2002

‘GOOD old Leeds. Not words you often hear in sporting circles beyond the bounds of Elland Road, but if it weren’t for the Yorkshire club, this summer’s post-World Cup sports pages would have been as empty as David Seaman’s hands.

Tim celebrates a new arrival to the hall of glorious British sporting failures

Every tabloid begins its sporting round-up with a story that, in truth, has not yet happened. Rio Ferdinand has not yet moved to Manchester United, and that means the papers are still full of speculation.

But the Sun at least has the word from the pony’s mouth, offering an exclusive interview with the want-away star. In ‘Rio: Why I asked for a transfer’, the current Leeds United captain says: ‘I did it for the good of my career.’ Rio goes on to say how he craves Champions League football, something he might have experienced at Leeds in the season to come had he scored a few more goals and stopped a few more going against his side.

Which is a similar argument to that put forward last season by Arsenal’s man of letters Peter Hill Wood when Patrick Vieira was bemoaning his lack of club medals. Then as now Manchester United were chief predators, and that makes Arsenal’s manager well qualified to offer an opinion on Rio’s move.

Speaking to the Mirror, Arsene Wenger draws parallels between the Vieira and Ferdinand situations, and says that Leeds made a mistake when they hesitated in showing desire to keep their star man, ‘and once you show hesitation it means you lose the player’.

And so the situation goes on, until readers are four or five pages into the body of the paper. But one event does detract attention from Rio, and the Telegraph chooses to lead with the 131st Open at Muirfield. What is of less surprise than the exclusion of Rio Ferdinand is that the paper’s lead picture shows not just Tiger Woods but Justin Rose, England’s great young hope, too.

The duo, who played the opening round together, are both in the running, Woods on one under par and Rose on a healthy three under. After a summer of British sporting disappointments, the papers are clearly hoping that the 21-year-old golfer provides some success. And in the Mirror ‘Tiger’s tipping Justin to snatch Open glory’.

‘A great talent,’ says Tiger of Rose. ‘If he continues to execute the kind of shots he did today then he’ll be fine.’ So, if he keeps playing well, he’ll do well? ‘Don’t bet against him,’ continues Tiger. ‘Justin certainly has the talent to win the tournament this year.’ And having walloped a huge load of expectation of the Englishman’s shoulders, Tiger looks an even stronger favourite than ever.

Rose might be earning his stripes, but Tiger’s still the number one. ‘



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