Everton's Gueye hopes to benefit from complete pre-season

Midfielder Idrissa Gueye is looking forward to getting a first full pre-season at Everton under his belt and says the chance to recharge his batteries will help raise his endurance levels when the Premier League returns in August.

The Senegal international joined Everton from Aston Villa in August last year and soon established himself as a regular under manager Ronald Koeman, making 33 league appearances as Everton ended the season in seventh place.

Japan's Joseph makes eight changes for Ireland, Leitch back as captain

Japan coach Jamie Joseph has made eight changes to the starting 15 ahead of Saturday's second test against Ireland at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo.

Shota Horie and Fumiaki Tanaka were among the senior players dropped to the bench as the Brave Blossoms seek to restore some pride after a disappointing 50-22 loss in the first test.

Michael Leitch was named the captain of the side while Luke Thompson makes a comeback 18 months after announcing his retirement from international rugby.

Chalobah hopeful of cementing a place in Chelsea squad

Chelsea midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah is hoping to cement his place at Stamford Bridge after making a breakthrough for the Premier League champions under Antonio Conte last season.

The 22-year-old, who joined Chelsea's academy at the age of 10, was sent out on six loan spells before the Italian boss decided to keep him at the club at the start of last campaign.

"He (Conte) showed faith in me in pre-season and he liked the way I was working," Chalobah, who made nine of his 10 league appearances from the bench, told the Telegraph.

Nishikori retires injured at Halle as Wimbledon looms

HALLE, Germany World number nine Kei Nishikori's Wimbledon preparations suffered a setback on Thursday when he was forced to retire injured from his Halle Open round of 16 match against Russian Karen Khatchanov.

The third seed needed to take a medical time-out to treat a back injury before playing on for a few points and retiring with the score at 3-2 in the first set for the Russian.

Wimbledon, the only grand slam to be played on grass, starts on July 3.

Khachanov will now play the winner of the match between fellow Russians Mikhail Youzhny and Andrey Rublev.

Oscar handed eight-match ban for sparking CSL brawl

HONG KONG Former Chelsea midfielder Oscar was handed an eight-match ban by Chinese football authorities on Thursday for his role in a brawl that broke out during Shanghai SIPG's draw with Guangzhou R&F at the weekend.

The Brazilian, who moved to China for a record transfer fee in January, was also fined 40,000 yuan (4,622.12 pounds) by the Chinese Football Association in the latest move by the country's authorities to stamp out indiscipline.

Afghanistan and Ireland wait on vote to join test nations

Afghanistan and Ireland could join the ranks of full test-playing nations if they receive the backing of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) conference on Thursday.

The body is expected to vote on admitting the two nations into the elite group that is permitted to play in the traditional five-day test matches.

If approved, Ireland and Afghanistan would take the total of countries playing tests to 12.

Juventus set to sign striker Schick from Sampdoria

Striker Patrik Schick is undergoing medical tests at Juventus ahead of his move there from Sampdoria, the Serie A champions said on Thursday.

"A formal confirmation of the move is expected later in the afternoon," the club said in a statement.

The Czech Republic international, who scored 11 goals in 32 league appearances last season, is set to join Juventus for 30.5 million euros (26.88 million pounds), Italian Sky Sport reports.

Everton's Bolasie seeks benefits of injury layoff

Everton winger Yannick Bolasie expects to return from his serious knee injury a more cautious player, believing the approach will improve his composure on the ball and help him reach the next level.

The speedy Congolese wide man was recruited by manager Ronald Koeman last August and made 13 Premier League appearances before sustaining a season-ending injury in December. He was ruled out for a year and has since undergone two surgeries.

English FA ends sponsorship deals with betting companies

By Simon Evans

MANCHESTER, England The English Football Association has ended its sponsorship deals with betting company Ladbrokes and confirmed it was ceasing all commercial agreements with gambling firms.

The move comes after the FA was criticised for punishing players for betting violations while having deals in place with gambling companies.

IOC's Bach to meet President Trump at White House

BERLIN International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach will meet U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on Thursday, a source within the Olympic movement told Reuters, as Los Angeles bids against Paris to host the 2024 summer Games.

The source gave no further details about the meeting, which comes a day after Bach announced a new IOC sponsorship deal with chipmaker Intel Corp in New York that is set to run until 2024.

Trump has publicly backed the Los Angeles 2024 Games bid but has so far had no active involvement in the campaign.