The talk of Sky Sports

Last Updated: 15/02/13 2:13pm

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For the best in up-to-the-minute sports analysis, look no further than skysports.com, your online home for expert opinion.

Whatever your sport, our team of pundits, columnists and bloggers are here every week to bring you the sharpest views and the shrewdest comments on the latest developments.

Some of the most respected names in the business, including Jamie Redknapp, Stuart Barnes, Stevo and Paul Merson deliver their views with their expert columns, while we also have blogs from the likes of David Lloyd and Jeff Stelling.

Here's a snapshot of what the experts have been saying over the last seven days...

"Cristiano Ronaldo played six seasons in English football from the age of 18 to 23. Gareth Bale is currently mid-way through his sixth season and made his first appearance at around the same age, so it is possible to follow their progression, though it must remembered that Ronaldo was playing for a Manchester United side that was playing for the title each season, while Bale has been playing for a Tottenham side that has not had the same aspirations - and was also played as a left-back in his early years! Ronaldo managed 18 goals in his sixth Premier League campaign, which saw Manchester United emerge as champions. Tottenham are unlikely to win the league, but Bale is on track to equal Ronaldo's goal haul, having scored 13 with 12 games still to go."
Martin Tyler takes a closer look at how Gareth Bale stacks up to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Taken from 'Bale v Ronaldo'

"The Lance Armstrong scandal in cycling should serve as a wake-up call for tennis, which needs to be seen to be doing everything it can to address the issue because there can be no room for complacency. Even if there isn't an existing problem, it's imperative that the outside world perceives that tennis is whiter than white. That means increasing the anti-doping budget, introducing more out-of-competition tests and reversing the trend by increasing the number of blood tests that are carried out. If you catch just one person trying to cheat the system by doing so, it has to be worth it."
Barry Cowan says he is heartened that Roger Federer has urged tennis to bring in blood passports.
Taken from 'Testing times'

"If his body holds up, Sterne has the talent and maturity to be a very big player over the coming years, as while four of his European wins have come in South Africa - two Joburg Opens, one Alfred Dunhill Championship and a South African Open - he can transmit his game anywhere. It was no surprise that the Pretoria-born player put in such a fantastic performance in Johannesburg as not only does he know the conditions, but he also played extremely well in the Dubai Desert Classic a couple of weeks back, where he finished second. I see no reason why he won't be a factor in the WGC-Accenture Matchplay next week and, hopefully, the Majors."
Joburg Open titlist Richard Sterne will enjoy much more success if he stays injury free, says Rob Lee.
Taken from 'Rich pickings'

"The good thing is that he's pretty rounded - Frampton can do pretty much anything, which is impressive. He was pushed back and that's not really his natural style, even though he showed he could do that against Raul Hirales Jr. Naturally, he likes to be an attacking fighter like we saw against Steve Molitor. Martinez was a very 'live' champion and Frampton coped with him well, taking whichever punches he had to take. He ticked a lot of boxes and the most pleasing one for me was temperament, which was spot on. Carl Frampton can take a punch but must pick his route to the top carefully."
Carl Frampton showed composure and a granite chin to stop Kiko Martinez, says Glenn McCrory.
Taken from 'Chin's in the armour'

"I've always found that the best coaches have an intelligence allowing them to paint a picture with words, helping the player strive to be the best that he can be. If you want a player to suffer some pain and make some sacrifices then it helps if the coach can provide a framework for him to get there. To be able to see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Let's face it, the physical punishment in training alone needs a strong character to cope with it. Pictures, words, sounds and images can be incredibly powerful to all of us, and every coach is trying to find the very best ones to help their players maximise their potential and then stay at the top for as long as possible.
Phil Clarke looks at which tools Super League coaches use to inspire their players to greater heights.
Taken from 'Words of wisdom'

"Giles Cross thrives on his trips to the seaside and he has been freshened up by a recent trip to the vast expanse of sand. Sky Bet have this horse at 15/2 for this race as he bids to win it for the second consecutive season. He beat subsequent National winner Neptune Collonges 12 months ago, but looked like he had gone wrong in the Welsh National last time out when he was pulled up. Thankfully that proved not to be the case and he has conditions in his favour as he bids for the repeat win. For an 11-year-old he isn't over raced and I quite like his chances here again."
Alex Hammond tips Giles Cross for the National Trial and continues her Cheltenham training.
Taken from 'Doing the hard yards'

"The big question is 'does Gavin Rees deserve the title shot?' and the answer is definitely 'yes'. He's had a long, long career, only one defeat in 39 fights and is a former world champion at the weight above. He has been a professional for over 14 years and has fought at the top level. You've got to give him a chance. He knows he's not favourite - and he'll admit that himself - but that won't trouble him. I think Rees has a great temperament, too. He strikes me as the kind of guy that doesn't let things get to him ant that's crucial when you're boxing abroad against a fancied opponent."
Jim Watt doesn't expect Gavin Rees to upset the odds against world champ Adrien Broner in Atlantic City.
Taken from 'Rees' long shot'

"Two years ago England went to Dublin looking for a Grand Slam and got a hammering. In the aftermath of the defeat the squad was highly criticised for the photographs of celebrations on a day when they had been hammered. The celebrations were more muted on Sunday even though England had won. Of course, no championship is in the bag but this side has a level headedness to it that the Martin Johnson side never possessed. Johnson's team had, like this fledgling crew, some brilliant moments but the awful ones were only a few minutes away."
Stuart Barnes says England have taken an important step towards 2015 after outwitting Ireland.
Taken from 'A team of substance'

"The battle at the bottom of the table is as finely balanced as the tussle at the top, but at this moment in time, it is impossible to say which teams will lose their Championship status at the end of the season as the relegation picture is changing week by week, match by match and minute by minute and I'm sure it will remain that way until the final seconds of the final games. Huddersfield and Wolves appear to be in free-fall, and Ipswich's revival under Mick McCarthy seems to have stalled, but Sheffield Wednesday have taken 21 points out of a possible 30 to leap out of the drop zone and the present bottom three - Peterborough, Bristol City and Barnsley - have recorded most of their nine wins in the last 10 matches"
Peter Beagrie says the fight against relegation is shaping up into a thriller.
Taken from 'Fight to the last'

"Peter Schmeichel, a guest on our coverage, told us that's Sir Alex to a tee on the big occasion - in fact, he said, the bigger the game, the better his mood. He's so relaxed and that transmits itself to the players. I think there is still an element of 'Master and apprentice' when it comes to analysing Ferguson and Mourinho as managers, even if Mourinho has got a good record against him. I just feel that Ferguson got most things right on Wednesday - including his attitude and approach - whereas Mourinho fell short in those areas. If that match was Mourinho's interview for the Manchester United job whenever it becomes vacant, I'm not sure he would have made the shortlist."
Jose Mourinho is not the man to take down, or take over at, Manchester United, says Jeff Stelling.
Taken from 'Move over, Mourinho'

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