RYAN Giggs has named the four Manchester United players who were immune from Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘hairdryer treatment’, describing the legendary Scottish coach as a “master of psychology”.Ferguson is widely revered as one of the greatest managers in the history of football, having guided United to 13 Premier League titles and two European Cups during his 26-year reign at the Theatre of Dreams.However, he didn’t always see eye to eye with his players, with reports of dressing room disputes with certain stars during and after matches a common occurrence.One such incident saw Ferguson admit to kicking a boot at David Beckham’s face, leaving the ex-England winger needing stitches – while off-field disagreements with Jaap Stam and Ruud van Nistelrooy ultimately led to both players leaving the club.Giggs says only a select few managed to escape Ferguson’s wrath, including five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and former club captain Roy Keane.“There were three or four players that he never had a go at,” United’s record appearance maker told beIN Sports.“Eric Cantona was one – Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and Cristiano Ronaldo. They were all in their own ways matchwinners.“They did the stuff on the pitch, so he never felt he had to.“Eric, there were some games where Eric didn’t do anything. He didn’t score, he wasn’t running around like a Carlos Tevez or a Wayne Rooney, he didn’t have any impact. But he knew sooner or later he would come good.“We would be sat in the dressing room thinking: ‘He’s got to have a go at him, he’s got to have a pop at him because he didn’t do anything today.’“But the next week he’d scored the winner or he would produce a moment of magic, so he handled the big names really well as long as they were doing it on the pitch, he handled them in a different way.“He was the master of psychology, he was a master at getting the best out of certain individuals like whether to put an arm around, or whether to give them a rocket at half-time or at the end of the game or leave them out knowing that the player would react in a positive way.”Giggs went on to admit that he found himself on the end of Ferguson’s temper on a number of occasions, and that he was hit with fines for failing to accept his manager’s criticism.“I fell out with him plenty of times,” the Welshman added. “I mean the amount of times I would say over my career, six or seven times where it was a couple of weeks wages I was fined for talking back, for having an argument.“At the time it’s not very nice, you’re in the dressing room, you’ve just got beat or you’ve had a bad performance. And I just couldn’t help myself to have a go back.“He actually, later in his career, he told me he liked that, it meant that you cared. He’d still fine you two weeks because he wanted to show that he was in charge but he actually quite liked it, as long as it didn’t cross the line of course.”(Goal.com)
It’s always difficult to predict first base fantasy breakouts heading into the season. Most teams seem to have settled situations at 1B, either with an established star or an obvious platoon situation. Either way, it’s tough to call any of those players “sleepers”. That’s once again the case in 2020, but it’s not going to stop us from digging a little deeper in the rankings and highlighting mid-tier/lower-tier players who could outproduce their average draft positions if they find their way into consistent playing time. Our list features a mix of prospects, bounce-back candidates, and undervalued veterans. There will plenty of prospects worth watching, too, as 1B is a prime position for cheap power from a rookie. You probably won’t need to draft any of the guys on this list, especially if your league doesn’t have a CI spot, but it never hurts to have bench depth/power at the UTIL position. It’s easy to think you’re set at 1B if you have an established veteran, but even if you’re “getting by” with that player, you could be missing out on someone better who’s having a breakout season. Explore every option, both during your draft and once the season starts. More 2020 Fantasy Baseball: Auction Values | Mock Draft SimulatorRyan O’Hearn, Royals. O’Hearn is another holdover on this list from last year, but his shine has dimmed quite a bit. Heading into last season, he was coming off a campaign that saw him club 12 HRs in just 44 games. This year, he’s coming off a season where he mustered just 14 dingers in 105 games, and he has more competition for playing time, especially if the Royals actually use Salvador Perez at 1B more some this season. At this point, O’Hearn might be nothing more than a platoon player against righthanded pitching, but he has the power to put up solid HR totals if he’s given the opportunity for regular at-bats. Other players eligible at 1B who we’ve listed as sleepers elsewhere: Dominic Smith, Mets (OF), Michael Chavis (2B), Yandy Diaz, Rays (3B) DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2020 Fantasy Baseball Cheat Sheet2020 Fantasy Baseball 1B SleepersPosition eligibility based on Yahoo default settings (10 games played or 5 games started)Luke Voit, Yankees. Voit was on everyone’s “breakout” list last year after hitting 15 HRs in just 47 games in 2018. Injuries slowed him a bit, but he still managed a respectable .264/.378/.464 line with 21 HRs in 118 games in ’19. Reportedly healthy heading into this season, Voit should be the Yankees’ primary 1B, and while New York has a lot of guys competing for at-bats at virtually every position, Voit’s ability to consistently get on base and hit both lefties and righties almost equally well gives him an advantage. New York should once again be among the league leaders in runs scored, and Voit will be right in the middle of it all as long as he’s on the field. If he plays regularly, he’ll put up big numbers and far outpace his average draft position. 2020 Fantasy Baseball Rankings:Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever | Top 300Jesus Aguilar, Marlins. Aguilar has earned the dreaded “one-year wonder” label after he followed up his breakout 2018 with a complete dud of a ’19. Now in Miami, it’s easy to ignore him, but if he can even come close to regaining his ’18 form, he’ll offer tremendous value. He did strike out less and take more walks last year, so his decline really comes down to making softer contact and hitting more ground balls. If Aguilar continues to struggle, that would open the door for Garrett Cooper to get more at-bats (which might happen anyway thanks to the universal DH), and he’s another potential sleeper after hitting .281/.344/.446 with 15 HRs in just 107 games last season. 2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers:Catcher | Second | Third | Short | Outfielder | Starter | Each teamRowdy Tellez, Blue Jays. Tellez is part of a crowded Toronto 1B/OF/DH group that will be competing for at-bats, but the big lefty has tremendous power after hitting 21 HRs in just 111 games last year. Perhaps most interesting about Tellez is that he actually hit southpaws noticeably better last season (.270/.317/.513), so he doesn’t necessarily have to be platooned. Tellez will probably need a hot start (or an injury) to get everyday at-bats, but he has major upside if that happens. 2020 Fantasy Baseball Tiers, Draft Strategy:Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | RelieverJake Bauers, Indians (also eligible at OF). Bauers was a popular sleeper pick heading into last season, but he flamed out quickly and was forced to spend some time at Triple-A. He still wound up with 15 HRs and 11 SBs while maintaining his high BB-rate between the two levels, so the 24-year-old lefty remains an intriguing prospect heading into this season. He reportedly worked on his mechanics all offseason. If Bauers has truly made improvements and can hold on to an everyday role in Cleveland’s crowded lineup, he has breakout potential given that so few 1Bs provide any stolen bases. Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategies: Auction | Keeper/Dynasty | PointsNate Lowe, Rays. It’s tough to feel great about almost any Ray because of all the similarly skilled and versatile players Tampa has on its roster. Lowe will likely start the year as one of the odd men out, but the 6-4 lefty should make his presence felt at some point. Lowe held his own during his 50 games in the majors last year (.263/.325/.454), but his normally high BB-rate and manageable K-rate both went in the wrong directions. Lowe has little left to prove in the minors(.300/.400/.483), and even though it was a very small sample (28 PAs), it was nice to see him hit well against lefties in the majors (.292/.393/.625). If he starts getting regular at-bats, Lowe is a must-have in fantasy. Evan White, Mariners. White spent of all last season Double-A (.293/.350/.488 with 18 HRs in 92 games), so it’s tough to project immediate success in the majors, but the big righty comes in with an impressive pedigree. He should get a chance to start right away for the rebuilding Mariners, and if he does, he can certainly provide cheap power and some RBIs. Whether he provides much more than that remains to be seen, but he’s worth watching throughout the spring and early in the year. Jay Bruce, Phillies (OF). Bruce hits for power…and that’s about it — but as the expected primary DH for the Phillies, that could lead to worthwhile numbers for your fantasy team. Last season, he hit 26 HRs in just 98 games, and even though that came with a .216 average and .261 OBP, the HRs and RBIs still had value.
Jamaican winger Leon Bailey has signed a five-year deal with Bundesliga team Bayer Leverkusen just ahead of the European Winter transfer market deadline.Reports surfaced late yesterday out of Germany and Belgium, where the Jamaican had played for Genk, that the 19 year-old was secured by the German outfit in an £11.5-million (J$1.8-billion) deal – becoming the second most expensive player ever sold by Genk.A picture of Bailey posing with a Bayer Leverkusen jersey with the words ‘Bailey 2022’ in reference to the year his contract is scheduled to expire printed on the back alongside his adopted father and manager Craig Butler as well as club officials made the rounds on social media late yesterday ahead of Leverkusen’s expected confirmation.IMPRESSIVE PERFORMANCEBailey rose to prominence at Genk after impressive performances in the Belgian domestic competition as well as the UEFA Europa League. He scored 15 goals and provided 21 assists in his 77 league games for Genk, adding seven goals and three assists in 12 European fixtures.He is, however, yet to secure his first cap for the Jamaican senior football team.He becomes the latest noted player sold by Genk following the departure of now-established players such as Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke, Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) and Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli).Bayer Leverkusen, which finished third in last season’s Bundesliga have been one of the better performing teams in the competition in recent years and boast talents such as Javier Hernandez, Kevin Kampl, Karim Bellarabi as well as Hakan Calhanoglu.