Leicester defender Robert Huth is pleased to be reunited with new Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri – the man who gave him his Premier League debut in 2002 while the pair were at Chelsea. “I was only 17 at the time and he let me train with the first team from just before my 17th birthday.” said Huth, who scored the first of his side’s goals in Saturday’s pre-season win against Birmingham at St Andrew’s. “That was good first team experience at that young age and he gave me my debut. “He’s slightly different in that he likes to set up a little more defensively and start with a clean sheets. That’s something we’re keen to do – stay solid – and maybe score a few more goals. The way we finished last season was tremendous and we’ll try to keep it tight at the back and score a few more goals up front.”
Wayne Rooney was given a standing ovation as he returned to Goodison Park in an Everton shirt to play in Duncan Ferguson’s testimonial. The England captain made 77 appearances for Everton before joining Manchester United for £25m in 2004. In front of 34,718 fans, he came on for the last 15 minutes against Villarreal. “I didn’t know what to expect with the reception, but the fans were great,” Rooney said. “I really appreciated it. More importantly it was a big day for Duncan. I said to him before the game that it was the most nervous I had seen him.” The Spaniards won 2-1, ex-Blues striker Ferguson coming on in the 83rd minute. Rooney has frequently received a hostile reception from Everton fans when he has returned to Goodison Park with United.
South Sudan will compete at Rio 2016 after becoming the 206th member of the Olympic movement. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) unanimously approved the inclusion of the African republic, which became independent in 2011. IOC president Thomas Bach wished the country a “bright future” after its inclusion was ratified. “This will put your nation on the world map,” he said. “We will stand by your side.” A South Sudanese marathon runner, Guor Marial, did compete at London 2012 but under the Olympic flag as South Sudan was not yet an IOC member. South Sudan already has a men’s football team due to take part in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
Seattle Sounders striker Obafemi Martins has not ruled out a Nigeria return, but admitted he is focusing on his MLS club career. Martins was called up just once in the last three years, against Kenya, in a 2014 World Cup qualifier. Despite being his country’s most in-form striker last year, alongside Ikechukwu Uche, he was omitted from the Brazil 2014 squad. But Martins is not closing the door on the Super Eagles just yet. “Things have changed at home and if the new coach [Sunday Oliseh] said he wants me to play for Nigeria again, I’d jump at the chance,” Martins told BBC Sport. “The opportunity to represent a country of over 170 million people doesn’t come often and I will never turn it down. “But right now I’m just focusing on giving my best to Seattle Sounders and take it from there.” It was widely reported in the Nigerian media that Martins – who scored 18 goals in 39 internationals for Nigeria – had retired from international football after falling out with ex-coach Stephen Keshi.