Sports stars to look out for in 2019

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - INTERNATIONAL SPORT - By Tony Matthews Sports com­ments By Tony Matthews

Every year, sev­eral up-and­com­ing teenagers burst onto the sport­ing scene, while many ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paign­ers also tend to pro­duce the goods when least ex­pected!

Some young­sters make an im­me­di­ate im­pact, oth­ers take time to es­tab­lish them­selves, while those who have been around for quite awhile, sud­denly burst back onto the scene and do some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary, against the odds.

And things will be ex­actly the same in 2019 when I feel the fol­low­ing will hit the head­lines at some time or an­other.

■ Two foot­ballers who’ve al­ready caught the eye are Dutch­man Fren­nie De Jong of Ajax (watched by Barcelona and Manch­ester City) and Har­vey Barnes, cur­rently on loan at West Bromwich Al­bion from Le­ices­ter. Oth­ers who should (or will) hit the head­lines in 2019 are Phil Fo­den (Manch­ester City), Mar­cus Rash­ford (from neigh­bours United), David Brooks (Bournemouth), Reiss Nel­son of Ar­se­nal (on loan at Hof­fen­heim in Ger­many right now) and the Chelsea quar­tet of Ruben Lof­tusCheek, An­dreas Chris­tensen, Jadon San­cho and Cal­lum Hu­dosn-Odoi. In the women’s game, two Manch­ester City Ladies, Ge­or­gia Stan­way and Nikita Par­ris, will be awe­some, like­wise Amer­i­can Mal­lory Pugh of Wash­ing­ton Spirit

■ On the cricket field, young­sters Ol­lie Pope of Sur­rey and Pat Brown of Worces­ter­shire were ex­cel­lent last sea­son. Bats­man Pope, who played in two Tests against In­dia, scored al­most 1,000 runs over­all for an av­er­age of 70, help­ing his county win the Cham­pi­onship. Spin­ner Brown starred at T20 level, tak­ing 31 wick­ets, in­clud­ing 4-31 on fi­nals day, when his county lifted the tro­phy. Also keep an eye on wick­et­keeper/bats­man Ben Foakes and all-rounder Sam Cur­ran, both of Sur­rey and Eng­land, Jofra Archer of Sus­sex and the Hamp­shire spin­ner Ma­son Crane, plus the run-ma­chine from In­dia, Vi­rat Kohli, and of course, Eng­land’s Joe Root and even Aus­tralia’s top woman So­phie Mo­lineux.

■ Ire­land’s Johnny Sex­ton, Joe Cokanasiga of Eng­land and Bath cen­tre Jonathan Joseph will, I feel, pro­duce the goods in Rugby Union, as will Welsh­man Dan Big­ger and fe­male star Han­nah Bot­ter­man of Sara­cens Ladies.

■ In the small hard ball game of golf, I’m hop­ing that Rory McIl­roy will re­gain his best form while Tommy Fleet­wood, 2018 Open cham­pion Francesco Moli­nari, Spain’s Jon Rahn and GB’s Danny Wil­lett will also star on the tour, as will the USA trio of Cameron Champ, Tony Finau and Xan­der Schauf­fele.

■ Lewis Hamil­ton, now 34, is al­ready ‘favourite’ to win the F1 driver’s cham­pi­onship for a sixth time and he can eas­ily do this. Other driv­ers hop­ing to suc­ceed on four wheels are Bri­tish rook­ies Lando Nor­ris (McLaren) and Ge­orge Rus­sell (Wil­liams), Spa­niard Car­los Sainz ju­nior and the re­turn­ing Robert Ku­bica from Poland.

■ I ex­pect Rus­sia’s Karen Khachanov, who trains here in Spain, the Bri­tish duo of Katie Swan and Jack Draper, Alexan­der Zverev and Do­minic Thiem and women stars An­gelique Ker­ber and Naomi Osaka all to tri­umph at some level on the ten­nis courts. Draper (17) is the youngest player in the pro­fes­sional game right now and is ranked 421 in the world.

■ Eng­land speed­ster Dina Asher-Smith will, for sure, set more sprint records on the ath­let­ics track, with gold com­ing her way in the World Cham­pi­onships for starters. Britain’s two hep­tath­letes, Kata­rina John­son-Thomp­son and cur­rent world ju­nior cham­pion Ni­amh Emer­son, can match Dina in terms of suc­cess. And also watch out for Syd­ney McLaugh­lin (400m hur­dles) and Noah Lyles (200m), and don’t for­get Mo Farah who will win a race (or two) some­where.

■ In other sports, I ex­pect An­thony Joshua and Josh King to throw a few dam­ag­ing punches in the box­ing ring… flat race jock­eys James Doyle, An­drea Atzeni, Sil­vestre De Sousa, Oisin Mur­phy, Jim Crow­ley and Franny Nor­ton, and four from over the sticks, Richard John­son, Harry Skel­ton, Sam Twis­ton-Davies and Brian Hughes, will ride their fair share of win­ners, while 10time cham­pion trainer Paul Nicholls will for sure send out more win­ning horses... swim­mer Freya An­der­son can splash her­self to glory in the 100m, 200m and 400m races… El­lie Downie can cer­tainly bounce to vic­tory in gym­nas­tics… Si­mon Yates, Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish will, I be­lieve, suc­cess­fully pedal their bikes to vic­tory in their re­spec­tive events… snooker ace Ron­nie O’Sul­li­van and darters Adrian Lewis and Michael Smith can add more prizes to their per­sonal col­lec­tions… while Harry Kane and his team will score enough goals to steer Eng­land to vic­tory in the Na­tions Cup and that Manch­ester City and Liver­pool can lift four tro­phies be­tween them? We’ll see.

Photo AFP

Dina Asher Smith

Pho­tos DPA

Fren­nie De Jong

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