From the back pages, July 18: Wayne will be my Special One

From the back pages
From the back pages

WAYNE ROONEY will be Jose Mourinho’s first-choice striker if the Special One can tempt him to Stamford Bridge. The unsettled England star, 27, would not play second fiddle to anyone at Chelsea — unlike at Old Trafford, where he has been usurped by Robin van Persie as the main man. (The Sun)

Manchester United are making a massive £60million bid for Gareth Bale. Premier League champions United want Tottenham star Bale to be the first major signing of new manager David Moyes’ reign. (The Mirror)

Obscured by the all-consuming Wayne Rooney circus, the question of Manchester United’s £26m bid for Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas remains hanging there on the warm Catalonian breeze. (The Independent)

ALASTAIR COOK does not want to see any of his team walk during the second Ashes Test which starts this morning at Lord’s – the home of the MCC’s ‘Spirit of Cricket’ ideal. (The Express)

Shane Warne, master spinner that he is, believes that Australia got more out of the first Test than England and that the force (“momentum” being the dreaded word) is with them. There is another way of looking at things, of course: in five days’ time, the Ashes as a contest could be done. (The Times)

England captain Alastair Cook has given Stuart Broad his unconditional support after conceding that the bowler’s behaviour during the first Test had made him a “hate figure” for Australians. (The Telegraph)

Rory McIlroy hit back at Sir Nick Faldo on Wednesday after the six-time major champion told the Northern Irishman to ‘concentrate on golf’. The 24-year-old detailed the 12-hour shifts he has been putting in to get ready for the start of the 142nd Open at Muirfield. (xxx)

Rain, and Spain. Those seem to be Chris Froome’s major worries in the next few days after Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodríguez and Alejandro Valverde all rode strongly in the tough hilly time trial here, and with thunderstorms forecast, the race leader seems increasingly concerned about the tricky descent from l’Alpe d’Huez off the Col de Sarenne on Thursday. He called for the organisers to cut the descent and the second climb of the Alpe if the weather does not co-operate. (The Guardian)