Woman becomes sister’s surrogate after cancer diagnosis 

Randi Fishman was 28, newly married, and ready to start a family when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2011.

The crushing news was made all the more painful when her Maryland doctors said that, even if she overcame the disease, carrying children could be a risk that could cost Randi her life. 

She immediately got her eggs frozen, and along with husband Zach, then also 28, started the lengthy and expensive process to find a surrogate to carry their embryos fertilized by IVF.

But after their daughter Parker was born, their Wisconsin-based surrogate revealed she would not be able to carry any more, as she was older and had underlying conditions that could prove complicated.

That’s when Randi’s older sister Erin Silverman, who had recently had her second and final child, stepped in, offering to carry a sibling for Parker to save them another agonizing few years to complete their family.

Speaking to Daily Mail Online two-and-a-half months after little girl Austyn was born, Randi, now 34, said she is still in shock at her sister’s generosity, but 35-year-old Erin said she would do it all again. 

Erin Silverman, right, became a surrogate for Randi Fishman, left, and gave her a daughter, Austyn, center, on December 8, 2017

Erin Silverman, right, became a surrogate for Randi Fishman, left, and gave her a daughter, Austyn, center, on December 8, 2017

Erin Silverman, right, became a surrogate for Randi Fishman, left, and gave her a daughter, Austyn, center, on December 8, 2017

‘It was a long process, a long journey and I’m thankful for everything,’ said Erin, who at the time of Randi’s second diagnosis had only been married for six months and didn’t have kids.

‘I always told her that when I was done having kids, I would have a kid for her.’ 

Regardless, mother-of-two Randi remains stunned at how her life has turned around in six years.

She had no symptoms of any kind of illness when her gynecologist found a lump in her breast a year after she tied the knot with Zach. 

A few scans and a biopsy later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Tests also revealed she was a carrier of the BRCA1 gene, which dramatically increases the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers. Her father and younger sister Jamie also tested positive. 

‘I couldn’t believe it was happening to me,’ Randi told Daily Mail Online. ‘I never heard of someone that young having breast cancer.’

‘My family was beyond upset,’ she added. 

Two weeks after her diagnosis she underwent a double mastectomy. 

Three to four months later she opted to freeze 10 of her embryos out of fear that Tamoxifen, a chemotherapy drug, could cripple her ovaries. 

She was given the all-clear in late spring, and started embarking on pregnancy plans. 

At the time, Randi still thought she would be able to carry her own children. The purpose of the fertility treatment was two-fold: to test the embryo for BRCA1 to ensure she didn’t pass the gene down, and to maximize the chances of conceiving using IVF.

That changed in September 2012 when tests revealed the cancer had come back.  

Randi underwent a lumpectomy and received radiation treatments as a preventive measure, and has been in remission ever since.

Doctors warned pregnancy could trigger another relapse, since her progesterone and estrogen levels would elevate, and Randi’s cancer was made up of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive tumors.

Though a 2017 study has since shown that there is not an elevated risk, even in those with ER-positive tumors, there was little research to that effect at the time and Randi couldn’t risk it. 

‘They didn’t think [pregnancy] would be good for my body and my health,’ Randi said.

Erin, right,  became a surrogate after doctors advised Randi, left, to not have children

Erin, right,  became a surrogate after doctors advised Randi, left, to not have children

Erin, right,  became a surrogate after doctors advised Randi, left, to not have children

Randi' children, Austyn, second to left, and Parker, second to right, with Erin's children

Randi' children, Austyn, second to left, and Parker, second to right, with Erin's children

Randi’ children, Austyn, second to left, and Parker, second to right, with Erin’s children

Erin immediately offered to Randi’s children, but since she was just starting a family of her own the sisters decided to postpone their plan.  

Randi and Zach had been dreaming of starting a family for years, so they found a surrogate in Wisconsin who gave birth to their first daughter, Parker, in September 2014.

Besotted with their little girl, it wasn’t long before they started wishing for another child.  

‘I wanted to give [Parker] a sibling,’ Randi said. ‘Coming from a family of three, I knew that I wanted a bigger family.’ 

After Erin had her first daughter in April 2014 and her second daughter in October 2015, she was ready to carry Randi’s baby.

She waited until after her youngest daughter turned one years old to undergo the procedure.

Erin said the first embryo implantation attempt – a process in which a fertilized embryo is placed through the catheter and into the uterus for implantation – didn’t take in February 2017.

The second attempt in April 2017 was successful, but the pregnancy wasn’t an easy one.

Erin had an easy labor and delivery during her first two pregnancies, but during the surrogacy she suffered bleeding in her placenta at the beginning of the third trimester and developed high blood pressure during the last five weeks of her pregnancy which led to bedrest and an induced pregnancy three weeks early.

‘It was harder than I anticipated,’ Erin said. But she said she was happy she was abble to give her sister a happy and healthy daughter, named Austyn. 

Because she has the BRCA1 gene, Randi underwent a hysterectomy to remove her Fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix and ovaries as a preventive measure against ovarian cancer. 

Randi, left, has a three-year-old daughter, Parker, center, from a surrogate in Wisconsin. Pictured: Randi with her husband Zach, right, in September 2017

Randi, left, has a three-year-old daughter, Parker, center, from a surrogate in Wisconsin. Pictured: Randi with her husband Zach, right, in September 2017

Randi, left, has a three-year-old daughter, Parker, center, from a surrogate in Wisconsin. Pictured: Randi with her husband Zach, right, in September 2017

According to the National Cancer Institute, about 72 percent of women who inherit the BRCA1 mutation gene will develop cancer compared to 12 percent of women in the general population.

And about 44 percent of those who inherit the gene will develop the ovarian cancer compared to women without the mutation who only have a 1.3 percent risk of developing the disease. 

Randi, who has been in remission for six years, said she doesn’t plan on having anymore children.

‘We are done financially, mentally and emotionally,’ Randi said. 

But she insisted she is overjoyed, and breast cancer has changed her view on life.

She told Daily Mail Online it’s a ‘blessing to wake up every day.’

‘I can’t believe I have two daughters,’ she said. ‘I didn’t think that this was possible.’ 

E-cigarette users at risk of brain and heart damage

E-cigarette users are inhaling significant amounts of lead and other toxic metals linked to heart and brain damage with each puff on their devices, a new study warns.

The last several years have seen a surge in vaping – especially among teenagers and young adults – as health officials, doctors and even tobacco companies have touted it as a safer alternative to cigarette smoking.

But, many experts have cautioned that the health effects of vaping remain largely unknown. 

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found dangerous levels of toxins – including lead, chromium and arsenic – in e-cigarette vapor. 

E-cigarette vapor contains dangerous levels of metals from the devices' coils, a study found

E-cigarette vapor contains dangerous levels of metals from the devices’ coils, a study found

As e-cigarettes become more popular, research on their health effects is slowly emerging. 

Vaping is thought to be as much as 95 percent safer than cigarette smoking, but mounting evidence suggests that the devices could still pose serious risks. 

Most studies thus far have focused on the flavored ‘e-liquids’ that fuel the devices. Some of these have shown that certain flavors – particularly the sweet ones popular with teenagers – contain toxins that can damage white blood cells and raise cancer risks. 

Part of the purported safety advantage of e-cigarettes over combustible tobacco is that they use liquid vapor instead of smoke from burning plant, paper and chemical products. 

But their heating mechanisms – battery-powered atomizers, or heating coils – have been the subjects of little research. 

In the new study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, the researchers examined the health effects of the heating coils that power e-cigarettes. 

They tested the smokeless devices of 56 people who vaped daily. 

First, they tested the levels of 15 different metals in the e-liquid dispensers where the substance is contained on the device and in the tank where the liquid is filtered to be heated and vaporized. 

They also measured the amount of levels in the heated vapors produced by the e-cigarettes.  

WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT E-CIGARETTES

How they work:

E-cigarettes use a mixture of flavored liquids and nicotine to create a vapor. 

This vapor is then inhaled by the user similarly to how one would smoke a regular cigarette. 

Are these devices safe?

Since these devices don’t use traditional smoke, people are under the assumption that they are safe for you. 

But the liquid in the e-cigarettes can contain harmful toxins and carcinogens including anti-freeze. 

The nicotine in the e-cigarettes also had addictive components and can lead to other tobacco use. This can hinder brain development in teens. 

Also, the devices can overheat and explode if defective.

The Food and Drug Administration does not certify e-cigarettes as a product to get over smoking regular cigarettes.

The levels of metals in the dispensers – where the e-liquid is kept before it is heated – were nominal and of little concern. 

But once the liquid reached the tank where it was exposed to the heating coil, levels spiked significantly.   

But most worrisome were the types and quantities of metals found in the vapor that the e-cigarette-users were liberally puffing on every day. 

The vapor had high levels of lead, chromium, nickel and manganese.  

Nearly half of the e-cigarettes were producing vapor with lead concentrations over the maximums considered safe by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

‘These were median levels only,’ says senior study author Dr Ana María Rule. ‘The actual levels of these metals varied greatly from sample to sample, and often were much higher than safe limits.’ 

Inhaled lead attacks the brain, central nervous system kidney, liver and bones. 

It can stay dormant in teeth and bones, and be reactivated during pregnancy, seeping into the blood where it can reach and poison a developing fetus with the potential to cause significant brain damage. 

They also found high levels of arsenic – which can cause many illnesses, including cancer – in vapor from 10 of the e-cigarettes, though it is unclear how it found its way into the vapor. 

‘It’s important for the FDA, the e-cigarette companies and vapers themselves to know that these heating coils, as currently made, seem to be leaking toxic metals–which then get into the aerosols that vapers inhale,’ Dr Rule says.  

‘We’ve established with this study that there are exposures to these metals, which is the first step, but we need also to determine the actual health effects,’ she added. 

Philadelphia boy donates bone marrow to baby twin brothers

A brave four-year-old from Philadelphia will donate live-saving bone marrow to his twin baby brothers in two weeks.

Michael Pownall’s four-month-old twin brothers, Santino and Giovanni, have chronic granulomatous disease, which is diagnosed in one in 500,000 people every year.

The condition is an inherited primary immunodeficiency disease (PIDD) which increases the body’s susceptibility to infections caused by certain bacteria and fungi.

But on March 8, they will receive their big brother’s bone marrow – a transplant that is the only known cure for their disease.

Four-year-old Michael Pownall (center) will donate his bone marrow next month to his twin baby brothers, Santino and Giovanni, in order to cure their rare immune disease 

Four-year-old Michael Pownall (center) will donate his bone marrow next month to his twin baby brothers, Santino and Giovanni, in order to cure their rare immune disease 

Four-year-old Michael Pownall (center) will donate his bone marrow next month to his twin baby brothers, Santino and Giovanni, in order to cure their rare immune disease 

Due to their condition, even a mild infection curable with antibiotics in healthy people could kill Santino and Giovanni. 

They babies and their parents have been at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia since their birth in October, unable to leave for fear that the boys could be exposed to a pathogen outside the facility.

Their mother, Robin Pownwall, and her fiance have had to quit their jobs, and Robin spends most of her time at the hospital.

Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD) affects only about 20 children born in the US each year. 

These babies’ immune systems can fight of viral infections like the flu, but are nearly helpless against fungi and some bacteria. 

If a dangerous pathogen does find its way into either boy’s body, their weak immune cells rush to attack it. 

Santino and Giovanni were born in October. Both boys have chronic granulomatous disease

Santino and Giovanni were born in October. Both boys have chronic granulomatous disease

Santino and Giovanni were born in October. Both boys have chronic granulomatous disease

Michael's older brother, Dominick (right) also has the disease, which can cause lumps of wasted immune cells to build up in the body, and received a transplant from a donor

Michael's older brother, Dominick (right) also has the disease, which can cause lumps of wasted immune cells to build up in the body, and received a transplant from a donor

Michael’s older brother, Dominick (right) also has the disease, which can cause lumps of wasted immune cells to build up in the body, and received a transplant from a donor

Because the cells will not be able to eliminate the infection, they will simply gather at its site, forming a hard lump called a granuloma.  

If Santino or Giovanni gets a severe infection in their bones or skin, it could lead to dangerous abscesses in internal organs such as the lungs, liver and brain. 

The disease can be cured with a bone marrow transplant, but the process is complicated and it can be difficult to find a donor who is a perfect match.

Michael’s older brother Dominick also has CGD, but received a stem donation from an outside donor when he was an infant. 

The boys’ mother Robin Pownall said that even though she and her fiance knew that the twins were at risk for the disorder, they were shocked when the diagnosis came back.

Robin Pownwall (right) says her son Michael (left of center) is a 'hero' 

Robin Pownwall (right) says her son Michael (left of center) is a 'hero' 

Robin Pownwall (right) says her son Michael (left of center) is a ‘hero’ 

The family was thrilled to find out that Michael is a match for his little brothers 

The family was thrilled to find out that Michael is a match for his little brothers 

The family was thrilled to find out that Michael is a match for his little brothers 

They were relieved when tests revealed that Michael was a transplant match for both twins.  

Pownwall said the brave four-year-old is the family’s ‘superhero’. 

‘He could have said: “No mommy, I’m too scared and I don’t want to,” but he’s ready to go,’ she told Fox 11 News. 

‘When he gets the labs for the pre-testing, the nurses are amazed. They’re like: “I cannot believe how brave he is.” And he really is. It gives me chills,’ she told the station.

The surgery will take place at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on March 8. 

Two hours after Michael’s bone marrow is harvested, he will be able to watch doctors infuse it into his baby brothers. 

Atalanta 1-1 Dortmund (3-4agg): Super sub Schmelzer scores

Atalanta (3-5-2): Berisha; Toloi (Cornelius 88), Caldara, Masiello; Hateboer, Cristante, de Roon (Petagna 87), Freuler, Spinazzola; Ilicic, Gomez;

Subs not used: Palomino, Gosens, Castagne, Haas, Gollini

Goalscorers: Toloi (11)

Booked: Hateboer, Spinazzola

Borussia Dortmund (4-2-3-1): Burki; Piszczek, Papastathopoulos, Toprak, Toljan (Schmelzer 46); Dahoud (Isak 82), Sahin; Pulisic (Reus 59), Gotze, Schurrle; Batshuayi;

Subs not used: Weidenfeller, Zagadou, Beste, Castro

Goalscorers: Schmelzer (83)

Booked: Papastathopoulos, Piszczek, Buerki

Manchester United have made David de Ge the world’s best

‘He is an extraordinary goalkeeper, one of the best.’ Luis Muriel, the Sevilla striker, was still scratching his head in disbelief after David de Gea brilliantly kept out his point-blank header just before half-time in Wednesday’s Champions League stalemate between the two sides.

‘Maybe I should have tried to place it but I went for power as I thought power would beat him but…’ Muriel’s words trailed off as he struggled to describe the man that time and again has proved Manchester United‘s saviour.

In recognition, United will ensure De Gea stays at Old Trafford this summer as they safeguard the goalkeeper Jose Mourinho describes as the best in the world.

David de Gea was once more a pair of safe hands on Wednesday night for Manchester United

David de Gea was once more a pair of safe hands on Wednesday night for Manchester United

David de Gea was once more a pair of safe hands on Wednesday night for Manchester United

He was at his brilliant best as United fought out a 0-0 draw at Sevilla in the Champions League

He was at his brilliant best as United fought out a 0-0 draw at Sevilla in the Champions League

He was at his brilliant best as United fought out a 0-0 draw at Sevilla in the Champions League

De Gea did magnificently before half-time to stop an unmarked Luis Muriel from scoring

De Gea did magnificently before half-time to stop an unmarked Luis Muriel from scoring

De Gea did magnificently before half-time to stop an unmarked Luis Muriel from scoring

Muriel watches on as his  header arrowed towards De Gea - who was already reacting to it

Muriel watches on as his  header arrowed towards De Gea - who was already reacting to it

Muriel watches on as his header arrowed towards De Gea – who was already reacting to it

The 27-year-old managed to stop it with a strong right hand - much to the hosts' disbelief

The 27-year-old managed to stop it with a strong right hand - much to the hosts' disbelief

The 27-year-old managed to stop it with a strong right hand – much to the hosts’ disbelief

The Red Devils No 1 watches on as his save flies over the crossbar to Muriel's astonishment

The Red Devils No 1 watches on as his save flies over the crossbar to Muriel's astonishment

The Red Devils No 1 watches on as his save flies over the crossbar to Muriel’s astonishment

So long the object of Real Madrid’s affections, De Gea is content at United working with trusted coach Emiliano Alvarez and ready to commit for the longer term. Madrid want Spain’s No 1 but know such a pursuit is futile and will concentrate on Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois instead.

‘There’s no way the club will want to let him go,’ said former United captain and club ambassador Bryan Robson. 

‘I was in line with his save against Sevilla last night. The speed that he moved to keep out the header… wow. With most keepers that would have been in the net before they had even started thinking of moving. His reflexes are fantastic. He’s a giant among keepers now, I think he’s the best around.’

Describing De Gea as a ‘giant’ seems a huge step from the day Robson and Manchester United’s staff watched a tall but frail teenager being ushered through the club training ground doors in 2011, hailed as the successor to Edwin van der Sar.

De Gea was 11st 2lbs and Rio Ferdinand and Co feared the worst.

De Gea joined United in 2011 from Atletico Madrid but there were doubts over his durability

De Gea joined United in 2011 from Atletico Madrid but there were doubts over his durability

De Gea joined United in 2011 from Atletico Madrid but there were doubts over his durability

He arrived at the club at 11st 2lbs and was often targeted aerially by rival top-flight teams 

He arrived at the club at 11st 2lbs and was often targeted aerially by rival top-flight teams 

He arrived at the club at 11st 2lbs and was often targeted aerially by rival top-flight teams 

His off-field habits didn’t help. He didn’t train as well as coach Eric Steele wanted, he’d sleep up to three times a day, was considered ‘lazy’ in his approach to learning English, so crucial to communicating with his defence, ate the wrong foods – ‘too many tacos’ – and ate late at night.

CAREER TO DATE

2008-2009: Atletico Madrid B

2009-2011: Atletico Madrid

2011-present: Manchester United

2014-present: Spain national team 

Inevitably, his size made him a physical target for the opposition. He was considered weak, he wore contact lenses and when the mistakes came so did the criticism, eventually costing him his place to Anders Lindegaard. 

‘English football is different, especially for a goalkeeper,’ De Gea said at the time. ‘It’s more aggressive, more physical. It’s far, far harder. The ball is in the air more and you get pushed about. And the referees don’t blow [for] anything!’

‘The opposition targeted him,’ said Robson. ‘They stood on his toes, underneath the crossbar, put him under pressure and it wasn’t easy but he came through it and it’s been the making of him. I don’t think he’d be the keeper he is today if hadn’t come to England.’

De Gea took plenty of blows in those days. Indeed, Steele invariably force-fed De Gea protein drinks to build him up. United put him on gym routines to improve his strength and he added five kilos of muscle.

Through various gym plans and protein shakes, De Gea eventually put on five kilos of muscle

Through various gym plans and protein shakes, De Gea eventually put on five kilos of muscle

Through various gym plans and protein shakes, De Gea eventually put on five kilos of muscle

They took away his home comforts and from the tough-love regime was born the man they see today. Understated, dedicated, confident and, above all, resilient.

‘A goalkeeper has to have a strong mentality,’ adds Robson. 

‘Physically games can be demanding for them especially when you are called upon a lot like on Wednesday but mentally you have to be switched on. It helps that David has Sergio Romero, who to be fair has been faultless when called upon, to keep his competitive edge sharp. 

‘Yet away from the pitch he is very calm and cool. He’s a polite guy and when you go along to commercial and charity events he has a great way with the supporters and anyone he meets. He’s a great ambassador for the club.’

There’s no doubt De Gea’s resolve to stay at United was tested during the days of Louis van Gaal when he struggled with the Dutchman’s approach and that of goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek. A move to Madrid was the length of a fax away but thankfully for United fans, it failed to go through.

To be without him now would be unthinkable.

De Gea's United career came close to ending during Louis van Gaal's (centre) reign as manager

De Gea's United career came close to ending during Louis van Gaal's (centre) reign as manager

De Gea’s United career came close to ending during Louis van Gaal’s (centre) reign as manager

Off the pitch, De Gea works a lot with Manchester United’s Foundation supporting charities and local schools, occasionally popping in to help out teenage pupils with the odd Spanish lesson.

PL SEASON STATS

Appearances: 27

Wins: 17, Losses: 5

Clean Sheets: 15 (best in league)

Saves: 87 (second in league)

He has a very close bond with his compatriots Ander Herrera and Juan Mata. They are often in cahoots together on away trips and eat together in the Carrington canteen along with Marcos Rojo and Romero.

Rumour has it the Spanish contingent have even been known to encourage their wives and girlfriends to get together while the boys use a ruse of meeting an agent in Manchester. However, instead they are known to covertly convene at one of their homes to take on each other and members of Manchester City’s squad at FIFA on their Playstations.

Today, De Gea’s own statistics would not look out of place in the realms of Playstation fantasy. In the Champions League this season, he has kept out 95.5 per cent of the shots he has faced, more than any other keeper in the competition. Wednesday’s clean sheet was his sixth in his last eight games in Europe.

It’s hard to believe that back in October, he didn’t even make FIFA’s voting list for the best goalkeeper of 2017. Certainly that myopic view is not one shared by those that matter.

‘It gives us confidence to know he’s behind us,’ said grateful team-mate Victor Lindelof. ‘He speaks a lot, pushes us and gives us a lot of calmness. We’re very happy to have him. I don’t know what more to say about him other than he’s fantastic.’

Juan Mata (front left) and Ander Herrera (middle left) are two of De Gea's closest United mates

Juan Mata (front left) and Ander Herrera (middle left) are two of De Gea's closest United mates

Juan Mata (front left) and Ander Herrera (middle left) are two of De Gea’s closest United mates

England to fast-track Ben Stokes for first ODI

Ben Stokes looks certain to resume his England career ahead of schedule in the first one-day international against New Zealand here on Sunday.

Stokes is set to play his first England match since the fracas in Bristol in September that has led to him facing a Crown Court trial on a charge of affray.

It was felt Stokes would not be able to play until the third match of this five-game series because his long lay-off would leave him prone to injury.

Ben Stokes looks certain to resume his England career against New Zealand on Sunday

Ben Stokes looks certain to resume his England career against New Zealand on Sunday

Ben Stokes looks certain to resume his England career against New Zealand on Sunday

But England’s medical staff have been impressed by his fitness — one management member said Stokes is in the best physical condition of his life — he seems sure to be rushed back.

Stokes has stepped up his preparations over the last three days in Auckland where the one-day players, who were given the disappointing Twenty20 tri-series off, reconvened. And as long as there are no mishaps, captain Eoin Morgan and coach Trevor Bayliss will give Stokes the go-ahead.

‘It’s great to have him back and we’ve had a few days training with him already,’ said Moeen Ali, one of those returning after the T20s.

‘I get on really well with him and I feel he helps my game a lot. Just having him in the changing room, his presence and the style he plays. A lot of people thrive off him because he never gives up.

It will be the all-rounder's first international match since the fracas outside a Bristol nightclub

It will be the all-rounder's first international match since the fracas outside a Bristol nightclub

It will be the all-rounder’s first international match since the fracas outside a Bristol nightclub

‘When we’ve got our best team out I feel we’re one of the best sides in the world and he’s a massive part of that. He can’t wait to get started and we can’t wait to have him back.’

The return of Stokes, plus Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, looks to be bad news for Alex Hales.Bairstow will continue opening in 50-over cricket alongside Jason Roy, which means Hales, who this week announced he will follow Adil Rashid in playing only white-ball cricket, is set to be dropped.

The decision of two established England white-ball players to turn their backs on any chance of a Test comeback has caused much debate within cricket, but it’s a move that a three-format player like Moeen understands.

‘They feel it’s the right decision for them,’ said Moeen, whose damaged finger that restricted his bowling during the Ashes is healed. ‘I believe they have given themselves a chance to be specialists and that can only be good for us. There’ll be more people following them in the next year or so.’

The England medical staff ruled out any fitness concerns, saying he is in the best shape ever

The England medical staff ruled out any fitness concerns, saying he is in the best shape ever

The England medical staff ruled out any fitness concerns, saying he is in the best shape ever

Moeen accepts he might have to follow suit unless something gives in the international schedules.

‘It’s either that or the decision will be made for me!’ he said. ‘It does cross your mind because so much cricket is being played. I still love playing for England in all three formats, but maybe somewhere down the line I might have to look at it, just for the sake of my body.’

Moeen thinks it is Test cricket that will come under threat should more leading players turn their back on the red-ball game.

‘I feared for Test cricket during the Ashes actually,’ he added. ‘The crowds were quite disappointing.

‘We are lucky in England because we get full houses, but Australia really opened my eyes.’

Moeen Ali is pleased to see Stokes back and said his presence will give everyone a huge boost

Moeen Ali is pleased to see Stokes back and said his presence will give everyone a huge boost

Moeen Ali is pleased to see Stokes back and said his presence will give everyone a huge boost

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Sir Dave Brailsford closes down consultancy business

  • Move suggests Sir Dave Brailsford still retains full support of Team Sky bossess 
  • Up to this point Brailsford has been paid as consultant to parent company  
  • He closed down private consultancy business, signing declaration of solvency
  • Company accounts show a loan of more than £25,000 to leading cycling agent

Matt Lawton for the Daily Mail

Sir Dave Brailsford has closed down a private consultancy business boasting more than £5million in cash to become, Sportsmail understands, a permanent employee of Team Sky.

The move appears to suggest team principal Brailsford retains the full support of his bosses despite the uncertain future of the professional cycling team, not least with four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome facing a possible ban for a failed drugs test.

Until now Brailsford has essentially been paid as a consultant to Team Sky’s parent company, Tour Racing Limited.

Sir Dave Brailsford is set to become a full time employee of Team Sky rather than a consultant

Sir Dave Brailsford is set to become a full time employee of Team Sky rather than a consultant

Sir Dave Brailsford is set to become a full time employee of Team Sky rather than a consultant

Brailsford (right) still retains support despite a potential ban for cyclist Chris Froome

Brailsford (right) still retains support despite a potential ban for cyclist Chris Froome

Brailsford (right) still retains support despite a potential ban for cyclist Chris Froome

It is unclear whether the change has to do with the planned takeover of Sky by Disney. On Thursday a statement from Sky said: ‘We choose not to comment on the individual salary or contract arrangements of any member of the team.’

Brailsford signed a declaration of solvency with his partner, Lisa Buckle, at a law office in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on February 2, closing down a company with assets of more than £5.6m.

Sky still appear to owe him almost £100,000, although he is rumoured to be paid about £3m.

Brailsford’s company accounts show a loan of more than £25,000 to leading cycling agent Giuseppe Acquadro.

Brailsford closed down his consultancy company with assets of more than £5.6m

Brailsford closed down his consultancy company with assets of more than £5.6m

Brailsford closed down his consultancy company with assets of more than £5.6m

The Italian represents a number of riders who have been signed by Brailsford at Team Sky, including Michal Kwiatkowski and Mikel Landa.

And while there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing, and no explanation as yet from Sky as to why Brailsford Ltd appears to have lent the money, cycling’s world governing body has strict regulations about rider agents. 

In the UCI’s riders’ agent regulations it states that ‘the licensed RA is exclusively remunerated by his/her client and in no event by a third party’.

It should, however, be pointed out that Brailsford obviously knew the documents would be made public and it is a repayable loan rather than a payment.

Brentford’s Chris Mepham is a modern-day physical defender

  • Brentford’s Chris Mepham is a physical defender who is confident on the ball
  • The 20-year-old centre back is tall, an easy mover and assured in his delivery
  • He’s more confident on his right and the defender rarely plays a risky ball

The Secret Scout For The Daily Mail

Our scout is a top football expert who attends matches each week searching for the next star. He’ll bring you his verdict in Sportsmail.

This week the Secret Scout checks in on Brentford’s young centre back Chris Mepham.

Read his report below… 

Brentford centre back Chris Mepham is a physical defender who's confident on the ball

Brentford centre back Chris Mepham is a physical defender who's confident on the ball

Brentford centre back Chris Mepham is a physical defender who’s confident on the ball

SCOUTING NOTES 

AGE: 20

CLUB: Brentford

POSITION: Centre back

VALUE: £2.5m

2017-18 APPS: 14 

GOALS: 0

WHAT HAS HE GOT?

Already an Under 21 international for Wales, Mepham is gaining experience now in the Championship. 

He has all the necessary physical characteristics. He is tall and an easy mover and assured in his delivery. He passes the ball and is confident. 

For example, after passing back to his goalkeeper he immediately ran wide of the 18-yard box to make an angle to receive again. 

He likes to play the swift instep pass to the right side to his furthermost forward coming towards the ball to accept. 

More confident on his right, he rarely plays a risky ball. He keeps everything easy with his left-sided centre back. 

Mepham (right) has all the necessary physical characteristics and experience in Championship

Mepham (right) has all the necessary physical characteristics and experience in Championship

Mepham (right) has all the necessary physical characteristics and experience in Championship

Between them they were rarely challenged when in possession. During the game I saw Mepham had to make few tackles but when he did he did so fairly and did not go to ground unnecessarily. 

What impressed me was his determination to recover when, after going up for a corner, the ball was cleared downfield. He raced back with a strong sprint and was quickly in position at the near post to intercept a low cross. 

I saw nothing to doubt his promise. Calm in possession and always looking to pass rather than kick long, he looks as though he can only improve with more first-team experience.

The 20-year-old  is tall, an easy mover and assured in his delivery when playing the ball

The 20-year-old  is tall, an easy mover and assured in his delivery when playing the ball

The 20-year-old is tall, an easy mover and assured in his delivery when playing the ball

WHAT DOES HE NEED? 

Mepham coped well in the air against an experienced striker but when he did get beaten for a high ball it was because he got too tight. 

The next time, too anxious to win the header, he failed. Also, towards the end of the game he misplaced a couple of passes which suggested to me that he was tiring. 

I need to see him tested more, either by a small, quick striker or a forward with physical presence. 

But his manager Dean Smith was a sound lower-league centre half and he will not only coach Mepham well but will know exactly when to feed him in and out of the team. 

Shaun Edwards believes he is as good as any coach on earth

  • Shaun Edwards was asked to comment on impact of Andy Farrell on Ireland 
  • He praised Farrell but argued his own coaching record is up there with best        
  • Wales assistant said he would listen to head coach offers from league or union 

Will Kelleher For The Daily Mail

Shaun Edwards launched a passionate defence of his coaching record on Thursday, saying he is still the master as he prepares to take on his apprentice. 

Ahead of Wales’s NatWest 6 Nations match against Ireland on Saturday it was suggested to defence coach Edwards that his opposite number Andy Farrell had transformed the Irish side.

‘Andy Farrell was an outstanding player,’ said 51-year-old Edwards, ‘and he has turned himself into an outstanding coach.

Wales assistant Shaun Edwards believes he is among the best coaches in world rugby

Wales assistant Shaun Edwards believes he is among the best coaches in world rugby

Wales assistant Shaun Edwards believes he is among the best coaches in world rugby

‘But I stick my record up against anybody in world rugby. 

‘The only person who has won more trophies than me is (former All Blacks coach) Wayne Smith, and he is an absolute legend of coaching. 

‘I’ve won 13 major trophies — 10 as an assistant coach and three as a head coach.’

Andy Farrell has become an outstanding defence coach and Edwards commended him

Andy Farrell has become an outstanding defence coach and Edwards commended him

Andy Farrell has become an outstanding defence coach and Edwards commended him

The Wales coach has been instrumental in helping implement a strong defence

The Wales coach has been instrumental in helping implement a strong defence

The Wales coach has been instrumental in helping implement a strong defence

He added: ‘If I get an offer as a head coach in rugby league or union, I will listen to it.’

For Ireland, rookie tighthead Andrew Porter is set for a baptism of fire. The 22-year-old Leinster prop has been handed his first Six Nations start in place of hamstrung Tadhg Furlong. 

Injured Lions Robbie Henshaw and Iain Henderson will be replaced by Chris Farrell and James Ryan respectively.

Why Eddie Jones is the perfect fit for England

Eddie Jones will go back to where it all began on Saturday, inspired by looking at footage which showed him just how far England have come during his two-year reign.

The Australian’s first game as head coach was the Calcutta Cup encounter with Scotland at Murrayfield in 2016, which his team won to propel them on their way to a first Grand Slam for 13 years.

Ahead of the latest mission to Edinburgh, Jones recalled the first training session he took, which left him wondering about the scale of the assignment he had accepted.

Eddie Jones is going back to where his England reign began against Scotland at Murrayfield

Eddie Jones is going back to where his England reign began against Scotland at Murrayfield

Eddie Jones is going back to where his England reign began against Scotland at Murrayfield

Jones led Jack Nowell and the England team to the Calcutta Cup in his first game in charge

Jones led Jack Nowell and the England team to the Calcutta Cup in his first game in charge

Jones led Jack Nowell and the England team to the Calcutta Cup in his first game in charge

After recalling Nathan Hughes in an otherwise unchanged side for tomorrow’s NatWest 6 Nations clash, Jones said: ‘I remember the first game. We were only together for two weeks so we only had four training runs. 

‘I remember after the first training run — I just had a look at it on video the other day — and I was thinking, “What have I got myself into here?”

‘They weren’t fit. They wanted to play a system of attack, a system of defence and I thought, “This is going to be hard work”.

‘I was massively surprised how quickly they changed. It is hard for good players to change and it is a great credit to the players that they have been able to accept they needed to change and they have done that.

‘Now we are moving in the right direction, how quickly I don’t know, but we are moving in the right direction. And we are looking forward to this challenge.’

Asked to explain in detail exactly what he saw when he reviewed that first session in 2016, Jones added: ‘After 20 minutes, they were just shot. They couldn’t run any more. 

‘Not fit enough. The basics of Test rugby is physical condition. You’ve got to be fit enough to play.

‘When you win games in the last 20 minutes, as we have consistently, part of it is fitness and part of it is tactical nous.

England have become a much fitter team under Jones's strict regime 

England have become a much fitter team under Jones's strict regime 

England have become a much fitter team under Jones’s strict regime 

‘How many games have you seen the All Blacks win in the last 20 minutes? Plenty. And that’s because they practise it. We practise it now, too. We’ve got the base now to be able to do that and we’re anticipating a tough old game. 

‘It’s probably going to come down to the last 20 minutes — which team can hold their nerve, which team can execute under pressure, who’s got the stronger leadership group.’

Jones admitted that he looked back at the start of his tenure because there was a ‘nice symmetry’ about preparing for the fixture which marked his debut.

Since then, the national team have won back-to-back Six Nations titles, that historic Slam and claimed a series whitewash in Australia. 

It is a spell of success only broken by defeat in Dublin last March. The platform for that glorious purple patch, according to the architect of it all, has been the vast strides made in the players’ physical conditioning.

Owen Farrell will start in the centre at Murrayfield, with Jones sure there are no fitness issues

Owen Farrell will start in the centre at Murrayfield, with Jones sure there are no fitness issues

Owen Farrell will start in the centre at Murrayfield, with Jones sure there are no fitness issues

Nathan Hughes will start at No 8 for England when they take on Scotland in the Calcutta Cup

Nathan Hughes will start at No 8 for England when they take on Scotland in the Calcutta Cup

Nathan Hughes will start at No 8 for England when they take on Scotland in the Calcutta Cup

‘We’ve been looking at a bit of data and, conservatively, we’ve improved by 40 per cent,’ he said. ‘Conservatively. And we’ve still got another 20 per cent to go.’

Jones also insisted England are prepared to win ugly against Scotland’s ‘darlings’ tomorrow.

At the start of the tournament, Jones praised Scotland’s ‘side-to-side’ style but last night he claimed stylish rugby would get him sacked.

‘Test match rugby is about winning, it’s not about entertainment,’ said Jones. ‘It’s about winning and we’ve found a way to win. Test match coaching is not as brutal as football, but if you want to just entertain people, you generally find you are not in the job too long. 

‘That’s the reality. Style is irrelevant. Style is Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Mont Blanc, or whatever brand you want it to be.

ENGLAND XV TO FACE SCOTLAND

ENGLAND XV: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Danny Care (Harlequins), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)

REPLACEMENTS: Jamie George (Saracens), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), George Kruis (Saracens), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) 

‘It’s a massive game, the Calcutta Cup. Regardless of whether the pitch is narrow, the pitch is wide, the fans are vocal, the fans are quiet, you get on and play.

‘We’re developing a team that is robust, mentally tough. You don’t hear Man City talk about playing away from home.’

Dylan Hartley will lead England out for his 92nd Test appearance — putting him second on his country’s all-time list behind only the legendary Jason Leonard.

The skipper was reluctant to be drawn on what it means to him, so it was left to the boss. ‘He is not driven by personal milestones or fame,’ said Jones. ‘Dylan has given the team leadership. He has accepted and understood the responsibility. It is a 24-hour job.

‘You have to look at the players’ behaviour because ultimately it is his team. When they run out at Murrayfield, he is the only one who controls that team.’