Lionesses, Emma Raducanu and the Premier League: Who and what to look out for in 2023 | UK News
What chance the Lionesses dominating the sporting reviews this time next year, as they have been in the last week or so?
Transformational coach Sarina Wiegman has persuaded the FA to fly her Euros winners business class to the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand – and they have the ability, and crucially the mentality, to do the business again – even though the USA, above all, will strengthen the opposition.
Backheel goalscoring Euros heroine Alessia Russo could be part of another double – at club level. Both the men and women of Manchester United have that deliver-on-the-day quality that can win an FA Cup.
Forgive a boring notion, but Manchester City’s men and Chelsea’s women remain the likeliest league champions, despite strengthening challenges.
In the Scottish Premiership, Celtic’s nine-point league is too great for new Rangers coach Michael Beale to bridge.
And in Europe? Will goal machine Erling Haaland deliver a long-awaited first Champions League for Manchester City. With a problem or two dogging most of their strongest rivals, this is surely the time for boss Pep Guardiola.
In the year’s first big global event, Novak Djokovic is rightly hot favourite to win the Australian Open tennis and equal Rafael Nadal’s record 22 Grand Slam wins.
British fans have reason to hope Emma Raducanu starts a sharp climb from 80th in the world rankings, if she hits it off with new coach Sebastian Sachs and – importantly – fitness guru Jez Green.
The Six Nations kicks off the international rugby union year – France’s men and England’s women to win – but the autumn men’s World Cup will dominate.
New coaches for Wales and England add to the fascination, but if Ireland are ever going to win it, this is the year.
Also going for World Cup glory are England’s male and female cricketers in the 50-over and 20-over versions respectively. The men can retain the trophy they won dramatically in 2019; the women may find Australia too strong.
In this summer’s Ashes, will Australia provide a rude awakening for Ben Stokes’s new-look all-conquering swashbuckling England? Instinct says the Stokes bandwagon will roll on for a bit yet.
There are British world championship gold medals in prospect in athletics (Jake Wightman and Keely Hodgkinson on the up), gymnastics (likewise the Gadirova twins, Jessica and Jennifer) and swimming (Adam Peaty against the rest again, but can he still do it at 27? Maybe just.)
In F1, as ever, so much depends on the cars and the rules, but Mercedes British pair Lewis Hamilton and rising star George Russell may find World Champion Max Verstappen still too tough a nut to crack, though they should get closer than in 2022.
And two individuals to finish with – 6ft 9 Tyson Fury and 5ft 9 Rory McIlroy.
Ukrainian heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk will be a tougher test than anyone Fury boxed in 2022, but the “Gypsy King” hits as hard as he talks and should prevail again.
And back McIlroy finally to win his first major golf tournament since 2014, help Europe regain the Ryder Cup from the USA in Rome, and be a big part of sporting reviews this time next year.