Wimbledon star hoping his lucky gemstones can conjure another FA Cup giant-killing against Millwall
Anthony Wordsworth is possible the most humble and quirky player left in the FA Cup
It is a competition the 30-year-old adores after being fortunate enough to watch Arsenal, the club he supports, defeat Chelsea 2-1 in the 2017 final at Wembley.
Last month, he happened to find himself staying in the same hotel as the Gunners. Arsenal had faced Blackpool in the FA Cup so Wordsworth hung around to catch a glimpse of the Premier League players he idolises. It worked, as he got a fist bump off Alex Iwobi.
'I'm a big Arsenal fan,' said Wordsworth, who takes three trains to get from his home in Hertfordshire to Wimbledon's training ground every day. 'I've been to a few FA Cup finals.
'I was at the one in 2017, sitting right by where Olivier Giroud crossed for Aaron Ramsey, then they came over and celebrated. It sounds silly but I got my hands on a few players in the celebration.'
Another quirk of Wordsworth's is that he carries 'lucky stones' with him wherever he goes.
He sometimes places them in the goalmouth to inspire Wimbledon to score — and stop the opponents from doing the same. His team-mates now call him 'John Stones' as a result.
Asked for the story behind them, Wordsworth said it started when his brother Steven died at the age of 40 after suffering a heart attack.
'I was going through a difficult time and one of my friends who was really into it told me: "Try going to a crystal healer, have a chat with her, see what it's like",' Wordsworth said.
Wordsworth's Wimbledon take on Millway in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday
Wordsworth was nicknamed John Stones for the lucky stones he keeps before games
'So I thought I would give it a go. Could be coincidence, could be a load of rubbish, but if I have got them on me, I just feel a lot better.
'If I start thinking about something, then I realise I've got the stones on me, I snap out of it straight away.
'If I saw somebody else do it a few years ago, I'd be the first one to hammer them. Now the boys are at me to get them out when they're cheering on horses: "Get your stones out!" I'm like, "That's not what they're for".
'I bring them out on the pitch before games and the lads have been putting them in the goalmouth, hoping they'll help us score more goals… obviously that hasn't been working.'
How do they work exactly? 'You charge them by the moon and the sun and bury them in soil,' he explained. 'It's a bit deep. You're all looking at me like I'm mental.'
Wordsworth wants to beat Millwall to test himself against Premier League opponents again.
'I'm not one of those who gets nervous,' he said. 'I remember being in the tunnel before West Ham thinking, 'We're going to win this'. I just felt up for it. We came out firing.'
Wimbledon believe that luck will be on their side against Millwall too, courtesy of Wordsworth's game of stones.
The Dons pulled off a shock 4-2 win over Premier League side West Ham in the previous round
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Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group
February 16, 2019
Sources: Daily Mail
is career at the Bernabeu despite the team struggling this season.</p><p>“I always thought about what would be better for me,” he said to Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, when asked about playing with Messi.</p><p> I always thought about what would be better for me</p><p>Vinicius, who has scored seven goals in 15 La Liga appearances in his debut season for Madrid, revealed he was first contacted by a club from Europe when he was 16 years old.</p><p>According to Vinicius it was the Catalan giants who first made contact, followed by Los Blancos.</p><p>“The first call I received from a European club was at sixteen, although my father said that the things the press said were a lie,” Vincius added.</p><p>“First Barca and then Madrid. There everything started very well; I visited them and they told me the projects.”</p><p>“All the young players who came here ended up playing: Marcelo at 18, [Marco] Asensio played. Everyone ended up playing,” Vinicius said.</p><p>“I chose the best one. I would not have worn the Barca shirt. I was not at the Masia [Barcelona's academy], only my parents.</p><p>“Barca wanted to pay more, but we did not choose how much they would pay, but for the project. Marcelo and Casemiro spoke with me and helped me to choose Madrid.</p><p>“My family and I, we all wanted to play in Madrid and live in Madrid. They are all for Madrid. My father is for Vinicius FC.”</p><p>Vinicius is currently recovering from an ankle injury he picked up against Ajax in the Champions League.</p><p>Madrid went on to lose the game 4-1 and were knocked out of the competition after losing 5-3 on aggregate.</p><p>After the humiliation Madrid wasted no time in sacking Santiago Solari and brought back former boss Zinedine Zidane.</p><p>However, Vinicius will have to wait before being able to impress the French maestro as he is not expected to return to action until the beginning of May.</p><p> See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, order back issues and use the historic Daily Express newspaper archive.</p>
nks Pogba should have simply said he's happy at Manchester United.</p><p>Pogba caused controversy on Wednesday as he spoke about a possible transfer to Madrid in a press conference.</p><p>Whilst out on French national team duty, he talked up the potential of a move to Los Blancos.</p><p>He insisted that it would be a dream to play for Real, and praised new manager and compatriot Zinedine Zidane.</p><p>The 26-year-old was linked with a move away from Old Trafford late last year while Jose Mourinho was in charge, but has shown massive signs of improvement since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over.</p><p>Speaking on ESPN FC, Nicol slammed Pogba for his comments, and likened the situation to if Harry Kane made similar comments.</p><p>“If Harry Kane did this we would be caning him,” he stated.</p><p>“It’s foolish. If any player thinks them turning around and saying ‘I love the club I’m at, and that’s where my future is’, if they think that’s going to change anything in the future, they’re fools.</p><p>“Regardless of what you say, if Real Madrid or Barcelona want you, they’ll find a way to do it.</p><p>“He’s obviously not the brightest if he’s coming out with that.</p><p>“It’s the simplest thing to turn around and say ‘I’m at the biggest club in the world right now, so why would I want to go anywhere else?’.</p><p>“It’s not as difficult as people are giving him credit for.”</p><p>Pogba has been involved in 20 goals in 27 Premier League games this season, more than last season’s total already.</p><p>The World Cup winner has recently been played in a more advanced role under Solskjaer, whereas he was utilised as more of a defensive-minded midfielder under Mourinho.</p><p> See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, order back issues and use the historic Daily Express newspaper archive.</p>
inner Frank Leboeuf after both stars recently flirted with summer transfers.</p><p>Griezmann and Pogba are currently in Moldova ahead of a Euro 2020 qualifying tie on Friday night, and have hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent days.</p><p>On Wednesday, Pogba gave a press conference in which he was asked about his future, and stated that it would be “a dream” to play for Real Madrid under Zinedine Zidane.</p><p>Those comments were not received well by United fans, some of whom demanded on social media that the club sell the 26-year-old in the summer.</p><p>Griezmann, on the other hand, has reportedly changed his mind from last year and decided he now wants to leave Atletico Madrid.</p><p>The forward, who scored four goals in seven games at last summer's World Cup, caused controversy when ahead of the tournament he released a one-hour documentary on his future, only to snub a move to Barcelona in favour of signing a new contract at the Wanda Metropolitano.</p><p>He had been widely expected to swap Atletico for Barcelona, with an £88million deal proposed. It was even speculated that at the time the documentary aired, Barca chiefs did not know what he was planning.</p><p>But after Atletico were defeated by Juventus in the Champions League earlier this month, he has apparently turned heel and decided he wants to leave in order to compete at a higher level.</p><p> you have to be a little bit more persistent if you want to win trophies.</p><p>And Lebouf suggested that both Pogba and Griezmann planned their moves together.</p><p>“That guy made a one hour show telling us nothing,” he said of La Decision.</p><p>“Then, he gets out of the Champions League and says he wants to leave.</p><p>“The chairman asked him to help get some new players, like Thomas Lemar, but now he wants to leave.</p><p>“You have a goal, you want to achieve something with Atletico Madrid, you have to be a little bit more persistent if you want to win trophies.</p><p>“Just a week after you get out of the Champions League you want to go to Barca?</p><p>“That’s how you show love and respect to your club?</p><p>“It’s the same with Paul [Pogba], they were in the same bedroom with the national team, and they decided to go and mess up with the media and their own clubs.”</p><p> See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, order back issues and use the historic Daily Express newspaper archive.</p>
he prepares to leave Liverpool at the end of the season.</p><p>The Spaniard, who moved to Anfield from Sevilla in 2014, is out of contract this summer and has accepted he has no future on Merseyside.</p><p>Alberto Moreno (centre) is close to agreeing a free transfer to Lazio at the end of the season</p><p>He has made five appearances this term, the first of which came against Chelsea in September</p><p>It is claimed that Roma had been keen on signing the 26-year-old on a free transfer, but the departure of sporting director Monchi has complicated the situation.</p><p>That has allowed Lazio to become front-runners ahead of Real Betis, who had shown an interest in bringing Moreno back to Spain.</p><p>The left back has only made five appearances for Jurgen Klopp's side this season, with the most recent coming in the FA Cup defeat by Wolves in January.</p><p>Moreno is behind both Andy Robertson and James Milner for Liverpool's left back position</p><p>Andy Robertson is Klopp's first-choice, with James Milner often being preferred ahead of Moreno when the Scotland star is unavailable. </p><p>Moreno has been considering his options since January and now appears close to putting pen to paper with Lazio. </p><p>His connections with Sevilla, who are the fierce rivals of Betis, meant that a return to La Liga with them was always unlikely.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
sion.</p><p>LOS ANGELES — Rondae Hollis-Jefferson went from not playing to game-winner in one of the biggest comebacks in NBA history.</p><p>“We went small and fast. Rondae at the five changed our dynamic. His speed and his ability to drive the ball — we were five-out the whole time — really changed the course of the game,” said coach Kenny Atkinson, who was desperate when he pulled Jarrett Allen for Hollis-Jefferson down 93-69 with 4:53 left in the third. “It was huge. … We ran that little pet play for him. He got downhill and made some unbelievable plays, and, of course, the finish at the end.”</p><p>Hollis-Jefferson played every second of a fourth quarter during which the Nets outscored the Kings 45-18 en route to a win. He had a dozen points on 5-of-5 shooting with three rebounds and two steals in that final period. He even forced Marvin Bagley III into a huge turnover with 5.9 seconds left and — after the Kings broke up a play initially called for D’Angelo Russell — hit an acrobatic drive for the last-second winner.</p><p>“Honestly, going into it I was like: The only thing we need to do is change our energy,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “We’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to turn the ball over, but the energy was low. I knew when I came in I had to impact the game with our energy.”</p><p>Hollis-Jefferson’s energy was impressive considering he had joined Jared Dudley’s group of non-rotation Nets in a 45-minute three-on-three game that morning. Veteran Jared Dudley had impressed upon Hollis-Jefferson the importance of staying ready.</p><p>“I told him,” Dudley said. “He started this year, [now] wasn’t playing games. You could either pout or you can work on your game, and when you get your opportunity show the coaches what they’re missing. In the summertime just keep working. That’s what this is about. </p><p>“The NBA can change. I was starting at times, DeMarre [Carroll] has been starting, [Treveon Graham], so this league can change. Rodions [Kurucs] was in the G-League, now Rodi’s a starter. No one’s going to feel sorry for you. You have to be ready when your time is called.”</p><p>Teams going into the fourth quarter down by 25 had won just three times in 3,028 games previously. There was a 99.99 percent chance the Nets would lose. </p><p>Shabazz Napier (illness) said he should be fit to face the Lakers. … Allen Crabbe had the court at Frederick K.C. Price III Christian Schools in L.A. named after him Wednesday.</p><p> News Corp. is a network of leading companies in the world of diversified media, news, and information services. </p>
sion.</p><p>Tim Cluess wants to keep the focus on his own team as Iona prepares to take on top-seeded North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday, but the Gaels head coach understands there’s no way to avoid the obvious as they try to pull off the same feat UMBC did a year ago.</p><p>“We’ve kept the message more about us than what happened last year,’’ Cluess said Wednesday as the team headed to Westchester County Airport for their flight to Columbus, Ohio. “But you have to take a look at it. That’s why we’ll watch video of that game. Now we can say, ‘It can happen’ instead of saying ‘Maybe we can do it.’ ’’</p><p>And the Gaels have a connection to last year’s UMBC team. Junior guard E.J. Crawford played with the Retrievers’ Arkel Lamar at the AAU level and at prep school at St. Thomas More Academy. </p><p>It’s already been an interesting season for Iona. The Gaels are making their fourth consecutive appearance in the tournament, but took an unusual route this year.</p><p>Iona dropped nine of its first 11 games and hit another skid in the middle of the season when the Gaels lost four straight to leave it 7-15 overall and 5-6 in the conference.</p><p>Since then, though, they’ve won 10 straight — including three victories in the MAAC Tournament and the Gaels (17-15) haven’t lost since Feb. 8. North Carolina has lost just once since Feb. 16, a one-point defeat in the ACC Championship game to Zion Williamson and Duke.</p><p>“It’s definitely a different feeling going into this one,’’ said Crawford, who was part of the team that lost in the first round last year to second-seeded Duke, 89-67, in Pittsburgh. “No one thought we could come back from [the] 2-9 [start], but we only had two returning players and once everyone learned their roles, we were back to being Iona.’’</p><p>Cluess is hoping that early adversity helps on Friday.</p><p>“The odds have been against us all year,’’ Cluess said. “We did a great job coming back from that. Now, do we have to play the best game of our lives and hope they’re a little off their game to have a chance? Yes. But we know now that it’s possible.’’</p><p> News Corp. is a network of leading companies in the world of diversified media, news, and information services. </p>
sion.</p><p>The Islanders practiced Wednesday on Long Island without right-wing Jordan Eberle, labeled as “day-to-day” with an upper-body injury. He was set to travel with the club for Thursday night’s match against the Canadiens, but it was unknown if he was going to be available.</p><p>Taking his spot on that top line for Wednesday’s practice was Andrew Ladd, who has struggled to find his legs since returning in late-February from a three-month absence due to a lower-body injury.</p><p>Winger Cal Clutterbuck practiced in his regular spot next to Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas, though he had left Tuesday night’s game midway through the second period with what the team called an “upper-body injury.” Clutterbuck said he felt good after practice and was ready to go.</p><p>Tuesday wasn’t his best night on the ice. He had a puck bounce over his stick while trying to break out of his own zone (resulting in the Bruins’ second goal early in the second period) and later in he period he took a knee to the back during an awkward fall to the ice while on the power play.</p><p>“Not a big seven ‘D’ guy,” Trotz said. “I think it’s just hard for rhythm for guys, from that standpoint. I haven’t thought about that.”</p><p>If regular winger Tom Kuhnhackl plays some center, he has a good role model. His father, Erich Kuhnhackl, played the position and was named Germany’s “Ice Hockey Player of the 20th Century” after competing in the top league of their native country from 1968 through 1989 and representing West Germany in five Olympics.</p><p>“Not much changes,” Kuhnhackl said of the switch to center, “except maybe I have to work a little bit on my faceoffs.”</p><p> News Corp. is a network of leading companies in the world of diversified media, news, and information services. </p>
NCAA tournament on Selection Sunday.</p><p>They are the odds-on favourites to win The Big Dance come April 8.</p><p>A big part of their success will be down to how Zion Williamson does and judging from his performances in the ACC Championship, he is playing at the top of his game.</p><p>Duke will also be relying on 2019 NBA draftees RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones to name but a few.</p><p>But one key player who missed the ACC Championship win through injury and will be out of action for at least the first week of March Madness is Marques Bolden.</p><p>Duke's starting center is averaging 5.8 points and 4.7 rebounds but also helps space the floor for Mike Krzyzewski's side.</p><p>And Williams believes Duke may struggle in the latter stages of the tournament if Bolden is unable to recover fully from his injury.</p><p>“The biggest thing that concerns me about Duke is the fact they don’t have a guy named Marques Bolden,” Williams said.</p><p>“Now Bolden may come back in the second week of the tournament, but he’s a 6-foot-10 guy that’s very agile and can move his feet on the perimeter.</p><p>"Now what happens when, inevitably it happens in every tournament, a player gets in foul trouble?</p><p>"If Zion Williamson gets in foul trouble, how will Duke be able to handle the load of a type of guy like Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans?</p><p>"They have three or four guys that can pound you down low.</p><p>"You have a guy like Javin DeLaurier, who is the lone player that would need to be the lone presence inside for Duke.”</p><p> See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, order back issues and use the historic Daily Express newspaper archive.</p>
ers have struggled with has been overhyped.</p><p>While it was an initially slow start to the campaign for the Lakers, they quickly built up steam and rocketed up the Western Conference standings in December.</p><p>Following their Christmas Day win over the Golden State Warriors, they were fourth in the West.</p><p>But a groin injury to James quickly halted Luke Walton's side and the cracks soon began to open.</p><p>The Lakers were at times stripped to the bare bones with Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo also missing large chunks of the year.</p><p>James, Ball and Ingram only started a total of 21 games together this season due to injuries.</p><p>But Lowe doesn't agree with the suggestion that injuries are solely the reason for the Lakers issues this year.</p><p>"It's just LeBron, really we're talking about LeBron," Lowe said on The Jump.</p><p>"It's like when Chris Paul got hurt, well they still have James Harden.</p><p>"If your star player is there, you will survive a 20-game stretch where Lonzo and others are injured. It's just LeBron's injury.</p><p>"We talk about injuries like, 'oh too bad, they had injuries'.</p><p>"That's not an anomaly, you should expect in every season that a key player is going to get injured for your team.</p><p>"That's life. Why do the Lakers get to whine about this like it doesn't happen to any other team?</p><p>"He didn't miss 40 games. He didn't miss 50 games, he missed like 15 and now they've shut him down."</p><p> See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, order back issues and use the historic Daily Express newspaper archive.</p>
st career ATP Tour title in the Californian desert.</p><p>After losing the first set 6-3, Thiem won the second set 6-3 and the third 7-5 for his first ever tournament success at Masters 1000 level.</p><p>The Austrian had only ever won one hard-court event before Indian Wells and he has previously been labelled a clay-court specialist, having won in Argentina and Lyon on clay last year, as well as reaching the finals of the Madrid Open and the French Open.</p><p>But Thiem earned a statement win over Federer to rise to a career-high ranking of world No 4 for the first time since November 2017.</p><p>And he revealed that not once during his week in Indian Wells did he expect to win the tournament.</p><p>When asked the question by ATP World Tour at the Miami Open, he said: “Never in the whole week [did I think I would win]. I was in the final but there was a Roger waiting who was in great form I think. </p><p>“We all know how good he can play. I went in the final without no expectations. </p><p>“I just wanted to play a very good match, play like I did the matches before. </p><p>“It ended up being a great match. I was so lucky that I came up as the winner.”</p><p>The 25-year-old has now beaten Federer on three surfaces and Amazon Prime commentator Catherine Whitaker is impressed by Thiem’s feat.</p><p>“Dominic Thiem has now beaten Roger Federer on a hard court, on a clay court and on a grass court,” she said on The Tennis Podcast.</p><p>“That’s quite something isn’t it.</p><p>“He leads the head to head 3-2 and has beaten him on hard and grass. I find that amazing.”</p><p>Whitaker added on Thiem’s win: “We were watching both of their warm-up shots but I was paying particular attention to Dominic Thiem. Then we saw them get on the buggy and go to court.</p><p>"All I could think was just how tense and nervous Thiem looked. And so it proved, in those first three games it looked like, ‘Oh goodness me, he’s just crumbling.’</p><p>"You could see that his arm weighed twice as much as it usually does and he his movement wasn’t as nimble as usual.</p><p>“It looked like it could have been a disastrous day for Dominic Thiem. For me that makes it all the more incredible that he pulled it back and he didn’t panic.”</p><p> See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, order back issues and use the historic Daily Express newspaper archive.</p>