From the back pages, July 10:

From the back pagesFrom the back pages
From the back pages
England and Australia have backed their problem players to put their difficulties behind them and make an impact on the Ashes series which gets underway in front of a sell-out crowd at Trent Bridge. Alastair Cook, the England captain, believes that Kevin Pietersen will thrive on the extra scrutiny of a series against Australia and has found form at the right time after his knee injury. (The Times)

Joe Root has already been a central figure in the buildup to his first Ashes series and Australia’s captain, Michael Clarke, fired an unsubtle message to the young Yorkshireman on the eve of his first Test against Australia. Root’s selection to open the batting with Alastair Cook has been the major talking point of the past fortnight, especially after Nick Compton went public with his bitter disappointment at missing out. The 22-year-old had already irritated the Australians, or at least their aggressive opener David Warner, sufficiently to be the recipient of a physical attack in Birmingham’s Walkabout bar after England’s Champions Trophy victory at Edgbaston last month. (Guardian)

Mark Cavendish’s temper exploded again at the Tour de France as he grabbed a tape recorder from a journalist’s hands amid accusations that he recklessly caused the crash which sent a fellow sprinter crashing in a frantic run-in to the 10th stage here on the Britanny coast. (Telegraph)

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Gonzalo Higuain’s move to Arsenal has been thrown into doubt after Real Madrid president Florentino Perez claimed the Gunners were yet to make a bid for the striker. (The Independent)

MANCHESTER CITY forward Sergio Aguero has reportedly told friends he would like the chance to join Barcelona. (The Express)

Mark Schwarzer has signed a one-year deal at Chelsea after leaving Fulham over the summer when his contract expired. The 40-year-old keeper has played for Bradford City, Middlesbrough and most recently Fulham, spanning a period of 17 years. (Daily Mail)

Luis Suarez has re-stated his desire to leave Liverpool and encouraged them to grant his wish. Suarez, who is wanted by Arsenal and Chelsea, is not due back for pre-season training for another 11 days. (The Mirror)

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JOZY ALTIDORE tonight joined Sunderland on a four-year deal. The USA striker signed from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar for an undisclosed fee after largely flopping on loan to Hull City from Villareal in 2009-10. (The Sun)