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Cyclist creates festive reindeer on map app

Virtual reindeer created by cyclist using app

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Anthony Hoyte/Strava

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The reindeer’s outline is created by using an exercise and route sharing app

A cyclist has created a virtual reindeer on the streets of London after completing a 79-mile route, plotted out on an online map.

Anthony Hoyte, from Cheltenham, used the exercise and route-sharing app Strava to make the image.

In 2017 he cycled to create the outline of a snowman, and last year he made a picture of Father Christmas.

Mr Hoyte said: “I’ve made a rod for my own back in that it’s become a tradition.”

He added: “Everyone is saying, ‘what’s it going to be this year?’

“I just spend a lot of time looking at maps, and…. waiting for things to jump out at you.”

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Anthony Hoyte

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Anthony Hoyte cycled a 79-mile route to make the image

Mr Hoyte’s route started in Hammersmith in west London, and went north to Edgware before heading south again and east through Hampstead Heath and Wood Green.

Finally he returned south through Kilburn and Maida Vale before finishing along Euston Road in central London, completing the journey in nine hours.

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Donald Trump on UK election: ‘I can work with any prime minister’

Donald Trump

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US President Donald Trump has said he could “work with anybody” in No 10 – nine days ahead of a general election.

Speaking on a three-day visit to the UK, Mr Trump said he would “stay out of the election”, that he was a “fan of Brexit” and he thought PM Boris Johnson was “very capable”.

Mr Trump is in the UK for a Nato summit being held in Watford on Wednesday.

He will attend a reception hosted by the Queen later at Buckingham Palace later, where protests are expected.

Scotland Yard has said road closures will be in place in central London during the Nato summit.

President Trump is due to have separate talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

And he will attend a working lunch with representatives from Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria and the UK.

It is unclear whether there will be a one-on-one meeting between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Mr Trump.

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Lansdale said the Conservatives’ HQ wanted to avoid such a meeting “to avoid pictures that could be used by his (Boris Johnson’s) opponents” in the upcoming general election.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab – who will meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later – said arrangements for such bilateral meetings were “always quite fluid”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The role of this leaders’ summit – and we’re hosting it – is for the prime minister to bring all of our north American and European partners together and show, through Nato, we can be bigger than the sum of our parts.”

Mr Johnson and Mr Trump did speak on Saturday, when Mr Trump expressed his condolences after the London Bridge attack.

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US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania disembark from Air Force One at Stansted airport

In a recent radio interview, Mr Johnson warned the US president against getting involved in the general election on 12 December. He has previously been criticised for voicing his opinions of British political leaders.

Mr Trump later said he was “absolutely cognisant” of the importance of not interfering in other countries’ elections.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for Mr Trump to be treated with “with respect and politeness” during his visit.

Mr Corbyn has written to Mr Trump, demanding assurances that the NHS will be “off the table” in any post-Brexit US-UK trade talks. However, Mr Johnson said the claims were “nonsense” and the NHS would not be part of any such trade discussions.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has told the Sun newspaper that Mr Corbyn wants to “disband” Nato and accused the Labour leader of being “naive” to the risk of terrorism.

In response, a Labour spokesman said that Mr Corbyn “will do whatever is necessary and effective to keep the British people safe”.

Leaders including Mr Trump and Mr Corbyn will gather for a reception at Buckingham Palace later.

Protesters are expected to gather outside the palace ahead of the event on Tuesday evening.

The family of Harry Dunn – the teenage motorcyclist, whose death has led to a diplomatic row with the US – will be among those demonstrating, a family spokesman has said.

Mr Dunn died after a collision with a car driven by a US diplomat’s wife, who has since left the UK claiming diplomatic immunity.

Radd Seiger said Mr Dunn’s parents and friends will “make our feelings known” to Mr Trump.

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Coldplay prove they’re not fossils as they play Natural History Museum gig

Coldplay at the Natural History Museum

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Coldplay performed the one-off show for the charity ClimateEarth

Coldplay may have put their touring plans on hold, but a select group of fans were treated to a one-off show amid the fossils at London’s Natural History Museum on Monday.

It was a spectacular setting, with the museum’s great hall bathed in pastel lights as the band played beneath Hope, a giant 128-year-old skeleton of a blue whale.

“I said, when we launch our album can we play a gig near Wales, and look what happened,” joked Chris Martin, as he took to the stage.

“It’s so hard, as a British person, not to come up with Natural History Museum puns for the whole show,” he added. “But the last artist who tried that was Dodo and you know what happened to her.”

His jokes may have prompted groans but, when it came to the songs, Martin was drowned out by the 1,000-strong audience singing along to hits like Sky Full Of Stars and Viva La Vida.

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A four-piece gospel choir embellished several of the songs

For the most part, though, the set concentrated on Coldplay’s latest record, Everyday Life – a playful and probing double album that cautiously ventures away from their lighters-out pop template.

They were joined on stage by Afrobeat scion Femi Kuti and his brass section for the limber and funky Arabesque, while Norah Shaqur added a beautiful Arabic verse to Church.

And some moments that fall flat on the new record – notably the anti-firearm anthem Guns – gained a little bite on the stage, with Martin spitting invectives at gun rights activists as he thrashed his acoustic guitar.

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Bassist Guy Berryman shone, providing surprisingly supple grooves on songs like Orphans and Arabesque

In some respects, Coldplay have always felt like a church worship band, with their earnest goofiness and hand-on-heart positivity. It’s an instinct they embraced on Monday night, handing out badges declaring “love”, while supporting musicians wore T-shirts emblazoned with the Bible verse “Do everything in love”.

They were even joined by a four-piece gospel choir, who embellished the harmonies (while politely declining to show up Martin’s vocals) on tracks like BrokEn and Cry Cry Cry.

Martin was so enraptured by their presence that he asked them to reprise the final chorus of Fix You a capella, “so we can hear what our band would sound like if we had really good singers”.

“Just imagine,” he added. “We’d be playing much bigger venues than this place.”

It was a knowing nod to the band’s more usual habitat, playing to tens of thousands of fans in open-air stadiums. It’s a mode of touring they have decided they can no longer pursue in good conscience – citing the environmental impact of taking a full-production rock concert on the road for 18 months or more.

“The hardest thing is the flying side of things,” Martin told the BBC last week. “But, for example, our dream is to have a show with no single-use plastic, to have it largely solar powered. We’ve done a lot of big tours at this point. How do we turn it around so it’s not so much taking as giving?”

In that respect, playing the Natural History Museum felt like a recalibration, with the band exploring whether their music could work in smaller venues, with a minimal production. Proceeds went to the non-profit organisation ClimateEarth (regrettably, though, the beer cups on the night were all single-use plastic).

Songs like Daddy and Sparks felt more intimate, while the big-tent anthems like Orphans lost none of their impact. And no-one missed the flashing wristbands or pyrotechnics of Coldplay’s bigger shows.

Well, no-one except the frontman.

“Normally we have some fireworks at this point,” he observed during Sky Full Of Stars. “But they said this building was too precious.”

After 23 years, Coldplay might be rock dinosaurs, but they’re not fossils yet.

See the set list below (Sky Full Of Stars was a last-minute addition to the encore, just before Guns).

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Rape-accused Joseph McCann ‘caught on CCTV at hotel’

Joseph McCann

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CCTV images allegedly showed Joseph McCann at the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford on 25 April

A man accused of rape was caught on camera at a hotel just before one of his alleged victims smashed him over the head and escaped, a court heard.

Joseph McCann went into the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford on 25 April, leaving two women in a car outside, the Old Bailey was told.

He was allegedly captured on CCTV entering the hotel wearing a tracksuit and a baseball cap.

Mr McCann, 34, from Harrow, denies 37 offences against 11 victims.

After going into the hotel, he held the front door open and glanced repeatedly outside while rapping on the window of the reception desk to speak to staff, the court was told.

He then told his alleged captives to get out of the car and smile as he put his arms around them.

Instead, one of them, a 25-year-old woman, grabbed a bottle of vodka and hit him over the head with it before running for help, jurors heard.

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Met Police

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Joseph McCann is accused of 37 offences against 11 alleged victims, including children

The trial continues.

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World Para-Athletics Championships: Vanessa Wallace wins shot put bronze for Britain

Vanessa Wallace won the European F34 shot put title in Berlin in 2018

Britain’s Vanessa Wallace has won her first World Championship medal with bronze in the F34 shot put in Dubai.

Wallace, 42, threw a personal best effort of 7.66m, with China’s Zou Lijuan winning gold with a championship record of 8.76m.

Wallace, who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, was fifth at the Rio 2016 Paralympics and 2018 European champion.

“I’m a little bit shocked. It’s been a long time coming but it feels so good. I’m really proud of myself,” she said.

“My coach told me to get [the others] a little bit worried early on. I did my best and it came through.

“The event has moved on so much since the last Worlds in 2017. It was an amazing competition.

“[The Tokyo Paralympics] can be my time, and it definitely will be. We’re doing really good.”

Elsewhere in Tuesday’s morning session in Dubai, Zak Skinner placed fifth in the T13 long jump.

The visually impaired 21-year-old, who won European silver last year, recorded a best jump of 6.86m.

Team-mate Ola Abidogun, a London 2012 Paralympic silver medallist earning his first British vest since 2014 at these championships, reached the T47 100m final, qualifying from the semi-finals with the fifth-quickest time, while defending champion Sophie Kamlish is into the T64 100m final with a season’s best time of 13.26 seconds.

In the T54 400m, Rich Chiassaro reached Tuesday night’s final after placing second in his semi-final, but Nathan Maguire could not follow, finishing seventh in the other semi.

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Cervical screening: DIY alternative to smear test ‘promising’

Clinician transferring cells from a scraper to a vial of preservative solution.

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Science Photo Library

A DIY home urine or swab test could potentially help more women discover whether they are at risk of cervical cancer, researchers say.

The new method could be used as an alternative to the smear test and would not require a visit to the doctor.

Scientists at Queen Mary University of London asked 600 women to provide self-collected samples for screening.

Although larger trials are needed, the work has been called “promising” and a potential “game-changer” by charities.

The findings, being presented at the NCRI cancer conference in Glasgow, suggest the method is feasible and popular.

However, larger trials may still be needed before the NHS could decide whether to offer it to patients, say experts.

Even then, it would only be one option for women – as the researchers believe smear tests would continue in their current form.

But the researchers say that in the future, some women could order the test kits online, use them at home and then send their sample by post to be analysed.

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Media captionChloe Delevingne had a smear test live on the Victoria Derbyshire programme

The 25% who do not attend

Screening aims to pick up early warning signs of cancer – known as pre-cancers – that can be treated to prevent the disease.

All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 in the UK are invited for NHS cervical screening, but the number of women attending cervical screening in the UK has been falling.

Around one in four UK women do not attend when invited, figures suggest.

Experts have put the low uptake rates down to embarrassment, a lack of awareness or just putting it off.

Dr Belinda Nedjai and colleagues have developed an alternative screening method that does not rely on smear tests.

The S5 test measures chemical changes that are detectable in urine or self-collected vaginal fluid samples to gauge a woman’s cancer risk.

A high score suggests there is an increased risk of a pre-cancer lesion being present.

In the study, the S5 test was good at distinguishing which women had pre-cancerous growths diagnosed following conventional screening.

‘Potential to revolutionise’

Dr Nedjai said the self-sampling was “pretty accurate”, but was not as quite as effective as the UK’s current smear testing programme.

“It will be soon. With improvement we’ll get there,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Dr Nedjaj said the S5 test needed to be tried on more than 10,000 women before it could be offered on the NHS.

She predicted the at-home tests could be available via the health service in five years.

Researchers say the test could also be used alongside conventional cervical screening to help improve detection and spare some women from unnecessary investigations.

The NHS is currently moving to primary human papillomavirus (HPV) screening of smears – testing for the presence of this virus in samples before looking for abnormal cell changes. Almost all cases of cervical cancer are linked to HPV.

Dr Manuel Rodriguez-Justo, from University College London, said: “This is exciting research that shows it’s possible to detect cervical pre-cancer that is at high risk of developing into invasive cancer in urine and vaginal samples collected by women in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.

“This has the potential to revolutionise the way a positive HPV test is followed up, as well as making it easier for women in countries with no cervical cancer screening programme to be tested.”

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Getty Images

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Researchers have developed a way to identify pre-cancer lesions by analysing urine and vaginal samples

Sophia Lowes, Cancer Research UK’s health information manager, said: “The results look promising for detecting women with advanced cell changes. But we need to know if this test picks up all changes and if it’s as successful when testing a wider group of people.”

Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said although more research was needed, DIY checks could be a “game-changer”.

“For women who find the current methods of cervical screening difficult, including those with a physical disability or who have experienced trauma, it could mean they can access screening in a far more acceptable and accessible way.”

“It could mean those requiring treatment are identified faster and reduce the number of women having to go for potentially unnecessary investigations at colposcopy.”

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Grenfell Tower fire: ‘Systemic failures’ in fire brigade’s response

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Media captionThe second anniversary of the tragedy was marked last June

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has been condemned for “serious shortcomings” and systemic failures in its response to the Grenfell Tower fire, in a report into the 2017 blaze.

Fewer people would have died in the fire if the LFB had taken certain actions earlier, the report by inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said.

He also said some evidence given by the LFB at the inquiry was “insensitive”.

The BBC has seen sections of the report ahead of Wednesday’s publication.

The head of the Fire Brigades Union said the inquiry was “back to front” and the focus should be on why the building was dangerous in the first place.

Matt Wrack told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that decisions were made on the night “in the context of a building that [had] completely failed”.

Referring to the flammable cladding, he said: “People will be baffled [as to] why people haven’t already been prosecuted for doing that to a building, which led to the deaths of 72 people, and yet the actions of individual firefighters on the night of a fire are being subject to such scrutiny.”

The 1,000-page document follows the first phase of the inquiry, which looked at what happened on the night that 72 people died in the tower block fire on 14 June 2017.

The council, the tower’s tenant management organisation, the police and the fire service were all quizzed during the inquiry’s first phase.

The inquiry has criticised the Daily Telegraph, which first published leaked details of the report, and other media which followed suit. A spokeswoman said publication had deprived “those most affected by the fire – the bereaved, survivors and residents – of the opportunity to read the report at their own pace”.

Sir Martin’s report praised the courage of firefighters on the night.

But it found many “institutional” failures that meant the LFB’s planning and preparation for the incident was “gravely inadequate”.

For example, Sir Martin said control room staff who fielded 999 calls “undoubtedly saved lives” but “a close examination” of operations revealed “shortcomings in practice, policy and training”.

He said staff that night were in an “invidious” position when they were outnumbered by 999 calls.

“Supervisors were under the most enormous pressure, but the LFB had not provided its senior control room staff with appropriate training on how to manage a large-scale incident with a large number of FSG [Fire Survival Guidance] calls,” he said.

“Mistakes made in responding to the Lakanal House fire were repeated,” he added – referring to a fire in Camberwell, south London, in 2009, which killed three women and three children.


By Lucy Manning, special correspondent

This report could not be more critical of the London Fire Brigade.

The Grenfell families wanted this level of criticism, especially those whose relatives died when they were told for nearly two hours to stay put in the building as it was covered in flames.

But there is also some frustration that this first part of the inquiry wasn’t about those who made the cladding and oversaw the refurbishment of Grenfell.

That will only happen in the second phase of the inquiry next year and then they’ve got even longer to wait for the police investigation to finish.

So they are seeing some blame apportioned and they hope they will eventually see justice but the Grenfell survivors will always suffer the loss and grief and ask the question how did 72 people die in what was supposed to be the safety of their homes?

Sir Martin also criticised the LFB for following a “stay put” strategy, where firefighters and 999 operators told residents to stay in their flats for nearly two hours after the blaze broke out.

The strategy was rescinded at 02:47 BST, the report said. Sir Martin wrote: “That decision could and should have been made between 01:30 and 01:50 and would be likely to have resulted in fewer fatalities.”

Firefighters who attended the fire did not have training on how best to combat a cladding fire, the report added.

Four experienced members of the first crews to have fought the blaze had 52 years of combined experience. However, they had not received any training on the risks posed by exterior cladding or the techniques to be deployed in fighting fires involving cladding, the report found.

Sir Martin said the “principal” reason the fire spread so quickly “up, down and around the building was the presence of the aluminium composite material (ACM) rainscreen panels with polyethylene cores, which acted as a source of fuel”.

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Dany Cotton said she would not have changed anything about the way her brigade responded to the blaze

The report also said evidence given by the LFB’s commissioner, Dany Cotton, suggested lessons from the fire might be missed.

Sir Martin wrote: “Quite apart from its remarkable insensitivity to the families of the deceased and to those who escaped from their burning homes with their lives, the Commissioner’s evidence that she would not change anything about the response of the LFB on the night, even with the benefit of hindsight, only serves to demonstrate that the LFB is an institution at risk of not learning the lessons of the Grenfell Tower fire.”

A spokesperson for the LFB said it would be “inappropriate” to comment on the report’s findings before they were officially released on Wednesday.

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The families of the 72 victims contributed to the report

Speaking on Monday, Sir Martin said the report was long and detailed.

He stressed that readers of the report “should understand as clearly as possible the terrifying conditions faced by those who were in the building, at the time”.

The cause of the fire was found by the report to be “an electrical fault in the large fridge freezer in the kitchen” in a fourth-floor flat.

“It occurred without any fault on the part of the tenant… and I am pleased to clear him of any blame, given that some people have unfairly accused him of having some responsibility for what happened,” Sir Martin said.

  • Additional reporting by Vinnie O’Dowd.

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Mesut Ozil: What’s happening with the midfielder at Arsenal?

Ozil has been in and out of the Arsenal matchday squad this season, starting just one league game

Where is Mesut Ozil?

It must be a question Arsenal boss Unai Emery is getting tired of answering. Or, sort of answering.

The German midfielder has made just one Premier League start for Arsenal this season and has now been left out of the Gunners’ last four matchday squads.

On Monday, his absence prompted more questions, with Arsenal badly lacking any creativity as they fruitlessly tried to break down a solid Sheffield United defence.

In the end, the Blades won 1-0 while Arsenal slumped to another defeat on the road.

Asked by BBC Sport if Ozil was available, Gunners boss Unai Emery simply replied with: “He can help us, yes.”

BBC Radio 5 Live summariser Chris Sutton, however, believes Emery should be more forthcoming.

“It would be nice if Unai Emery just came out and said and then we would know instead of us guessing,” he said.

“Is it a lack of commitment? We know he’s a quality player but do we think he’s lost his guile? His awareness? His touch?

Of course we don’t – so what’s the problem?

That, it seems, is the question on many people’s lips.

Why has he not played this season?

Since joining Arsenal six years ago, Ozil has missed 101 games for the Gunners but has only had one major injury in that time.

Most of his absences have been explained away by illness or minor niggles, while he missed Arsenal’s season opener against Newcastle along with team-mate Sead Kolasinac because of security concerns after they were involved in an attempted car-jacking.

Kolasinac, however, has long since returned to the squad but Ozil has appeared and then disappeared, sometimes because of fitness, sometimes because Emery has felt other players have been more deserving of a chance.

Mesut Ozil & Sead Kolasinac 100% mentally ready – Emery

Arsenal? Emery? Ozil? Who is to blame?

Former Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie believes this is a situation Arsenal could and should have handled better.

“It’s definitely mismanagement,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.

“This is the problem these days in football, these bumper contracts players are getting and when they’re not performing, it’s coming straight to the headlines of how much money he earns and what he does.

“Whether Mesut Ozil is going to turn a corner – and I don’t think he is – it just seems like there is a massive issue behind the scenes as to why he’s not playing.

“On his day he’s a world-class player but when you’re earning that type of money, then you are going to come under scrutiny for earning that money and not playing.

Sutton, however, believes only Ozil himself can truly resolve the issue.

He said: “I don’t care how much Mesut Ozil is paid, the main thing is how he’s is performing on the pitch in an Arsenal shirt – and he’s not.

“We aren’t party to how Arsenal train or what’s goes on but if Ozil was doing that well – and we know what a superb talent he is – Unai Emery would know what impact he would have on the team, so he would play him, because he wants to win games and improve.

“There must be something amiss and it looks Ozil will have to sort this situation out himself.

“Arsenal have either got to ship him out and just bite the bullet, or they’ve got to get him back playing in the side, but it’s been down to their own doing and I feel they’ve caused their own problems.”

Do Arsenal miss him?

The statistics would suggest so.

Since Ozil made his debut for the Gunners, no player has created more chances than him. In fact, no-one comes even close.

Premier League (since Ozil’s debut)
Player Chances created
Mesut Ozil 522
Aaron Ramsey 272
Santi Cazorla 190
Olivier Giroud 183
Granit Xhaka 121

He has also been the club’s top assist maker in three of their last six seasons, although admittedly did not feature in the top three of the list in the last campaign.

Premier League (since Ozil’s debut)
Season Player Assists
2013-14 Mesut Ozil 9
2014-15 Sanit Cazorla 11
2015-16 Mesut Ozil 19
2016-17 Alexis Sanchez 10
2017-18 Mesut Ozil 8
2018-19 Alexandre Lacazette 8

Against Sheffield United, the influence of the midfield five of Nicolas Pepe, Granit Xhaka, Joe Willock, Matteo Guendouzi and Bukayo Saka paled in comparison to the Blades.

They managed two key passes between them compared to five for the Sheffield United midfield.

What does Ozil say?

Ozil has been quiet on the matter for a long time, but recently provided some insight into the situation he finds himself in.

Speaking to The Athletic,