Sport

HOT OR NOT: Michael Owen’s rebirth as soccer’s firestarter and Romelu Lukaku’s bravery

HOT OR NOT: Michael Owen’s rebirth as football’s firestarter and Romelu Lukaku’s bravery in standing up to racist abuse in Serie A

  • Michael Owen’s autobiography has revealed a nasty streak he’s kept well hidden
  • Romelu Lukaku should be applauded for speaking out about racism in Serie A
  • WADA’s odd rule has seen Christian Coleman avoid sanctions for missing tests 

It’s Hot or Not time again as Sportsmail’s Riath Al-Samarrai reveals what’s been making him feel warm and what’s been leaving him cold this week. 

HOT 

MICHAEL OWEN 

Who knew that wrapped in a vanilla cloak all these years was such a gloriously twisted firestarter? Shearer, Beckham, Newcastle, Capello — he burnt them all after two decades of saying precious little of interest beyond that time he tweeted his devastation at running over a rabbit. The book makes you wonder if that truly was an accident.

Michael Owen's new book has revealed a nasty streak he has previously kept well hidden

Michael Owen’s new book has revealed a nasty streak he has previously kept well hidden

US OPEN TENNIS

How nice that the semi-finals featured only Rafael Nadal of the game’s behemoths. Doubtless it is harder to draw viewers without Federer and Djokovic, but it is no bad thing to get an occasional glimpse of what tennis might look like if they ever do get pensioned off.

Rafael Nadal is the only one of tennis's 'big three' to reach the US Open semi-finals this week

Rafael Nadal is the only one of tennis’s ‘big three’ to reach the US Open semi-finals this week

ROMELU LUKAKU 

Credit, firstly, for speaking out about the moronic and racist fans at Cagliari. And credit also for providing the catalyst for Inter’s ultras to make a shambolic defence of their racism. Maybe with the confession of what we already knew, Serie A’s rulers will grow a backbone and issue a ban. Maybe.

NOT 

SIR ALASTAIR COOK

A likeable man with a sterling career that he has now logged in a book, released this week. It is perhaps unfortunate, though, that his typically considered musings and recollections on everything from farming to cricket via Kevin Pietersen have been drowned out by the publicity given to one written by Owen.

Alastair Cook's fine autobiography has been drowned out by publicity surrounding Owen's

Alastair Cook’s fine autobiography has been drowned out by publicity surrounding Owen’s 

WADA

For reasons few of us can figure out, the World Anti-Doping Agency has a rule that allows a certain type of ‘whereabouts’ failure to be backdated to the start of each quarter rather than date of the breach. Presumably the only person who sees any kind of sense in that weird regulation is Christian Coleman.

US sprinter Christian Coleman has escaped a doping ban thanks to a bizarre WADA rule

US sprinter Christian Coleman has escaped a doping ban thanks to a bizarre WADA rule

T20 BLAST

You have to wonder about the logic that saw Lancashire play a quarter-final with Essex at Chester-le-Street. The Ashes at Old Trafford made the problem, but the sight of one man and three dogs watching Essex win suggests the final answer on an alternative venue was not the best one.

Lancashire's T20 Blast quarter-final with Essex was played at Chester-le-Street in Durham

Lancashire’s T20 Blast quarter-final with Essex was played at Chester-le-Street in Durham 


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