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Beckham 'absolutely no plans' to play in Australia

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Beckham 'absolutely no plans' to play in Australia

LONDON (AP) David Beckham's management company says the former England captain has no plans to play in Australia, disputing claims on Friday by the country's soccer federation that talks had started.

Football Federation Australia said it received an approach by an agent representing the 37-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder about having him play some matches with an A-League team this season.

Despite FFA claiming that talks were at a ``preliminary stage,'' Beckham's representatives denied it.

``There is always enormous interest from clubs across the world in signing David as a player,'' Beckham's management company said in a statement. ``There are absolutely no plans to play in Australia. David is completely focused on the MLS playoffs and winning another championship with the Galaxy.''

Beckham joined the Galaxy in 2007 after a career at Manchester United and Real Madrid turned him into one of football's biggest stars.

He signed a two-year deal with the Galaxy in January, but has yet to commit to playing next season in Major League Soccer. The current campaign ends in two weeks.

The denial from Beckham's representatives came after FFA chief executive David Gallop went public with details of the apparent direct talks to bring him to Australia on a short-term basis.

``I spoke to the player's agent today and said to him it would be fantastic,'' Gallop told Australian broadcaster Fox Sports. ``There would be some hoops to jump through. Clubs need to come forward and be the first point of contact.

``What we're thinking about is a guest stint. It would be fantastic but we're not getting ahead of ourselves at this point. The most I can say is we are talking about a 10-game guest stint and obviously that might whet his appetite to come back.''

The profile of Australia's league has been raised by the arrivals this year of former Juventus forward Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney FC) and former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey (Newcastle).

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AP Sports Writer Dennis Passa in Brisbane, Australia, contributed to this report.

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Capitals return home still short-handed, but with momentum after strong road trip.

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Capitals return home still short-handed, but with momentum after strong road trip.

The Capitals return home to play the Chicago Blackhawks (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington) after a successful road trip (3-1-0), but will still be without forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie (upper-body injuries), who remain day-to-day, according to coach Todd Reirden.   

Here are four things to watch:

Holtby’s back

After missing three games with an upper-body injury of his own, Caps goalie Braden Holtby was thrown into the fire down 4-2 at Montreal on Monday. But he played lights out and matched Habs goalie Carey Price save-for-save, finishing with 22 as Washington rallied for a 5-4 overtime win. Holtby now feels good enough as he will start against the Blackhawks tonight. In his past four appearances, Holtby has stopped 116 of 122 shots on goal.

New-look Blackhawks

Chicago’s slow start cost Joel Quenneville his job on Nov. 6. An NHL coach getting fired is rarely news. But when it’s a guy who’s been in his post for more than a decade and has won three Stanley Cups it is still jarring. The results are mixed since Jeremy Colliton took over. Chicago lost his first two games behind the bench, but is 2-0-2 in its past four games. That’s a small step in the right direction, but the Blackhawks are in sixth place in the Central Division.

Wilsonnnnn!!!!!

This was supposed to be the day Tom Wilson returned to the lineup after his 20-game suspension. An arbitrator cut that short last week so Wilson played on all four games of the road trip and had a goal and four assists. Not a bad start. Wednesday he gets his first home game of the year and what should be a raucous reception from the faithful at Capital One Arena. 

Old mates

On Monday, the crowd at Bell Centre booed former Canadien Lars Eller, who promptly took the puck up ice and scored the game-winning goal in overtime. It was a great moment for a player who felt Montreal gave up on him way too soon when trading him to the Capitals. Michal Kempny knows how he feels. 

Languishing on the bench for most of last season in Chicago as a healthy scratch – he played just 31 games - Kempny sees his old team for the first time since helping Washington win a Stanley Cup. Quenneville is gone, but the defenseman would love to show the rest of the organization trading him was a mistake. 

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5 things to know about new Wizards forward Okaro White

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5 things to know about new Wizards forward Okaro White

The Washington Wizards are set to add power forward, Okaro White to their NBA roster. Here are five things to know about the newest Wizards player.

1. White, 26, is a 6-foot-8, 205-pound power forward who played two seasons for the Miami Heat. In 41 total games, White averaged 2.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and shot 38.8 percent from the field. Though he never appeared in games with them, White also spent time with the Cavs, Hawks and Spurs. He also played Summer League for the Mavs and Grizzlies.

2. He has a decent outside shot for a big man. White has shot 35.6 percent from three in the NBA and made 37.5 percent from long range as a senior at Florida State. The fact he's an excellent free throw shooter is also a good sign. White made 79.9 percent from the line in college and has shot 86 percent in the G-League and 88 percent in the NBA.

3. White played with former Wizards first-round pick Chris Singleton in college. White was a freshman, while Singleton was a junior and the star of the team. White was also a starter on the 2011-12 team that won the Seminoles' first-ever ACC championship.

4. Though he's a bit undersized for a big man, White can block shots. He once had four in a game against the Nets on Jan. 25 of 2017 and three against the Sixers in March of that year. 

5. White's mom, Charmaine, was an Olympic athlete who represented Jamaica in track and field.

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