Uruguayan Poyet said 11-cap Johnson must guide his side to Premier League safety to force his way back into the England reckoning. “I will help him and I will try to help him to put him there,” said Poyet. “And I will tell you why. If Johnno makes the World Cup we are in the Premier League for sure. “Normally when you reach 26 there are no more excuses. “You’re experienced enough, but you’re not old yet, so you still have the pace and the ability, so that’s when you have to be at your best. “You understand the game better, you have played against everybody everywhere so there is no pressure you can’t handle. “So I hope that his form now will give us a big opportunity to stay up.” Johnson left Manchester City in the summer of 2012 in a bid for regular first-team football. Hat-trick hero Adam Johnson has “no more excuses” not to reach his potential and drag Sunderland to Barclays Premier League safety, according to manager Gus Poyet. Press Association After a long fight for form, Poyet now believes the 26-year-old is hitting his peak again. “Johnno today, he would make the difference at any level,” said Poyet. “He’s been like that for the last few weeks. “I always believe there’s a responsibility on the player, he needs to take responsibility for playing well or badly. “But certain players need a team to perform one way or play one kind of football. “We were looking to get that style of play for him to take advantage and make the difference. “We’ve been getting close, but we couldn’t go on to the next level and today we clicked. “When someone stands up and performs like Johnno today, then you’ve got a great chance. “Johnno needs to play for a team that keeps the ball, gives him the ball at the right time, gives him the space to break. “It’s not like you go into any system and just play. “We were trying, it wasn’t easy at first, but in the last two or three weeks when we’ve been passing better and the team has been more solid, that’s given him the freedom to perform. “He’s got the quality to go and make a difference.” Sunderland took a 2-0 lead into half-time thanks to Johnson’s free-kick and a deflected finish from South Korean Ki Sung-yueng. Fulham responded through Steve Sidwell’s header, but Ki teed up Johnson’s second before the Sunderland-born winger converted a late penalty. Delighted Poyet said Johnson’s passionate celebration for his first goal indicates how driven his midfielder has become about sustaining top form. “He didn’t score in the cup, then we switched things round, so it’s character. I like it,” said Poyet. “You give him options, you try your best to put him in the right positions, but at the end of the day, it’s the player. “I think he’s a terrific lad, and you can only imagine how difficult it is when you change teams. “You come in for a reason from a top team and you want to make a difference, and for whatever reason it doesn’t work. “It’s easy to criticise and it’s natural, but for the person, the player, it’s sad. “So he was desperate to do something special, and what a day today.” Sunderland’s third win in six days carried them above Crystal Palace to 19th in the league standings. Poyet hopes that moral-boosting shift will allow him to attract a higher calibre of recruit in the January transfer window. “I’ve been watching the table every two minutes,” he said. “It’s not nice at the bottom, let me tell you. “It’s going to be tense, but at least we are coming from the bottom so we’re going the right way. “If you call me at any stage of my career and you are bottom badly, I would think twice, it’s natural. “But the club, the way we’ve been playing now, it gives a player an option to make a decision.” Head coach Rene Meulensteen admitted Fulham will not drag themselves out of their relegation fight if they keep leaking goals. Fulham have now conceded 46 goals in 21 league matches, more than any other side. “You just can’t make progress doing that, not at all,” he said. “We were quite in control early on and then we didn’t convert those chances, from (Dimitar) Berbatov and (Adel) Taarabt. “We gave ourselves a mountain to climb. “These are the games you need to win; simple. “Their third goal was the defining moment, and credit to them for that. “We’ve got to get conceding those goals out of our system.” Johnson’s first professional hat-trick lifted Sunderland off the foot of the league table as the Black Cats thumped Fulham 4-1 at Craven Cottage. Poyet admitted he will push Johnson’s England case as a potential World Cup replacement for injured Arsenal winger Theo Walcott.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes the FA has “punished the man not the incident” by giving striker Luis Suarez a 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic. Uruguay’s Suarez, 26, admitted a charge of violent conduct after the 2-2 draw at Anfield on Sunday.Rodgers told LFC TV: “The punishment is against the man, rather than the incident.“We have a punishment with no intention of helping [his] rehabilitation.”Liverpool have until 12:00 BST on Friday to appeal, but will be without Suarez until late September if the FA upholds its verdict.“We are shocked and bitterly disappointed,” said Rodgers. “It is the severity of the ban which has hurt most. That is something we are bitterly disappointed with. “I can only compare [it] with similar incidents we have had. We have had two incidents of this type of scenario, both in 2006.”Appearing to refer to the FA’s decision not to charge Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe for allegedly biting Javier Mascherano, then of West Ham, Rodgers said: “One player received no ban and continued to be chosen by the FA as part of the England squad.“The second player received a five-game ban. As you can imagine whenever Luis Suarez receives a 10-match ban it is very very difficult for us to understand and even more so for him.“If I had more players of a similar mentality we would be in a different position. He has not let me down one bit.“The standard set by the club – he fell way below that at the weekend. But it does not mean he should be thrown to the garbage, which is what has happened over the last couple of days.”
MASON CITY — Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has been in Iowa the last few days holding town hall meetings, including late Wednesday morning in Mason City.O’Rourke is calling for letting Americans refinance their student loans “at much lower rates.” “We have a 10 percent default rate. Let’s get that default rate down to zero by making sure that your payments are affordable,” O’Rourke says. “Something is better than nothing and right now we are getting nothing from far too many of those who took out those loans.”O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, supported President Obama’s “College Promise” proposal that would have made community college tuition free for students who kept their grades up and made steady progress toward completing their two-year degree. He supports erasing student loan debt for college graduates who work in certain occupations. “If you’re willing to work at the VA in one of those unfilled positions, let’s wipe clean in total the debt that you owe so that you can focus on taking care of those who stood up for us,” O’Rourke said. “If you’re willing to teach or become a public school educator in an underserved community, come back to your hometown, perhaps – a decision you could not afford if you had to pay back all those student loan debts, let’s wipe those debts clean.”He emphasized not only the importance of training beyond high school, but of universal preschool. “Starting that education not at four or five, but at three or four, we move the starting line back so everybody has an even chance at success in their lives,” O’Rourke says.O’Rourke stopped in Charles City on Tuesday where he was the guest of Iowa House Minority Leader Todd Prichard. He also made an appearance at Fat Hill Brewing Company this morning.
In addition to there being one referee and no seventh tackle restart rule, there is also no sin-bin ruling for punching unlike the NRL where 10 minutes on the sidelines are obligatory when the fists start to fly.Meninga made it clear when he named his Four Nations squad that players of good characters are a necessity.Andrew Fifita, Greg Bird and Semi Radradra were not considered due to off-field incidents this year.Although he fully expects his players not to take a backward step during their matches against Scotland, New Zealand and England, Meninga wants to win the Four Nations with a team that shows Australia in a positive light.”The player that plays for their country has to be worthy of wearing an Australia jersey,” Meninga told AAP.”You have to be an ambassador and a role model. It’s a privilege to wear the Australian jumper and shouldn’t be taken lightly.”You carry an expectation and responsibility with that, not only off-field but on-field as well.”I want my players to hold their heads high, love the game and have a fair bit of humility when they play. It’s something I think is really important.”Although 24-hour news cycles and social media now put high-profile sports stars under the microscope when they step out of line, Meninga said it shouldn’t be used as an excuse for poor behaviour.”That’s their normal life now, it’s something the modern generation of players have got used to,” he said.”They accept it, take it on the chin and keep doing the things they do well.”