“Tottenham lost Bale, they are one of the top clubs in England but they lost him to one of the top clubs in the world – that happens.” Palace themselves are still embroiled in the Barclays Premier League relegation battle and welcome Southampton to Selhurst Park on Saturday with Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool still to visit south London. The Eagles also face a number of other sides in the survival battle as trips to Sunderland, Cardiff and Fulham loom on the horizon. “We know how tough this run is for us,” conceded Pulis. “We have got it as tough as anybody in the bottom 10 but we will get our heads down and work as hard as we can. “There are 10 or 11 teams still fighting for their lives and we are ahead of the game in a lot of respects because we are still in with a chance and nobody gave us that chance a short time ago. “It is very difficult to stop the players looking at things. You can get so confused and uptight and lose a lot of energy worrying about things you can’t affect.” Pulis could be without Marouane Chamakh after t he striker injured a hamstring in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Swansea. Kagisho Dikgacoi did not travel for international duty with South Africa but Pulis is hopeful he can play some part against Saints. Southampton manager Pochettino believes Shaw’s England debut has given Roy Hodgson a “very big problem” when it comes to selecting his World Cup squad. The highly-rated 18-year-old was handed his senior debut in Wednesday’s 1-0 friendly defeat of Denmark at Wembley, just 16 months on from making his Premier League bow. Shaw replaced boyhood idol Ashley Cole at half-time and slotted in seamlessly at left-back, providing Hodgson with a pleasant selection headache when it comes to choosing his squad for Brazil. Leighton Baines’ place is all but assured, so it looks to be a straight fight between Shaw and experienced Chelsea defender Cole for the other left-back berth. “I think Roy Hodgson has a very big problem on his hands,” Pochettino said of England’s selection dilemma. “I don’t know what is going through Roy’s mind at the moment regarding Luke Shaw but in light of the 45 minutes he played he showed he deserves to be in the team and has the quality to be in the team. “I thought it was an amazing moment for him, for Southampton Football Club in general and especially for all the managers and directors he’s had in the academy. “To see a child from 10 years old to making his international debut has to be a moment of great satisfaction and of great pride.” Shaw was one of 18 Southampton players on international duty this week – a proud moment for Pochettino only tempered by the negative impact it could have on Saturday’s trip to Palace. “I always enjoy watching my players when they play for their national sides,” he said. “It was really great to see Luke’s England debut, and Adam (Lallana) made a good contribution in the second half. “I was very pleased with their performances on Wednesday, but it’s always a difficult moment when you have a lot of players away. “Overall, when you include the Under-21s, Under-19s and Under-17s, we had 18 players out of the club so it’s good to have them back and to be able to welcome them into the squad. “All of the players that have been away on international duty might have a little bit of fatigue, especially those who have travelled long distances like Maya Yoshida and Victor Wanyama, who have just got back. “Of course there are some minor problems that we need to assess with certain players, especially those who have been away.” Press Association Tony Pulis believes Southampton have solved the puzzle of bringing through academy players – but warned that tempting offers from other clubs could still see that homegrown talent fly the nest. “They have done it consistently for a long time,” he said. “They haven’t just stumbled over it. They have the jigsaw sorted out and all the pieces are in the right place, we don’t do that a lot in this country. “I know a little about the club and there are people who have been there for years and years. They have a good scouting set-up and the people who work there, even before you become a professional, are very good lads. “They don’t worry about just the technical side of it, they look at attitude, commitment and responsibility. Most of the lads who have come out of that club are not only good players, they are good lads.” Other players to have come through the ranks at Southampton include talent such as Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Bale moved on to Tottenham before a massive-money move to Real Madrid, while England pair Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain are making their mark at Arsenal. Shaw has been constantly linked with a summer move to Chelsea or Manchester United and Pulis admits it is hard for Southampton to keep hold of all of their talent. “I think they accept that,” he said. Southampton have drawn the plaudits for their attractive football under Mauricio Pochettino and the backbone of the Argentinian’s side are products of Saints’ youth academy. Calum Chambers, James Ward-Prowse, Adam Lallana, Sam Gallagher and England’s latest cap Luke Shaw have all played some part for Southampton this season and Palace boss Pulis is not at all surprised.
“We place on record our gratitude for his efforts and hold nothing but good wishes for his future endeavours. This was a decision taken with regret but sadly driven by necessity.” It means the Baggies are now looking for their fourth manager in little more than 12 months. Irvine left his role on the Everton staff to take over from Pepe Mel at The Hawthorns, the Spaniard himself having only joined the club in January last year as successor to Steve Clarke. He admitted in the wake of the defeat to the Potters he did not have control over whether he kept his job after just four league wins in 19 games. Former Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood, who was heavily linked with the Albion job when it was available in the summer, and former Stoke and Palace manager Tony Pulis are among the favourites to succeed Irvine. Meanwhile, the Baggies are not in advanced talks with Liverpool over the sale of striker Berahino. Reports claimed Liverpool were closing in on a £23.5million move for the England Under-21 international, but it is understood they are wide of the mark. The club said in an official statement that Irvine had been placed on garden leave and a ssistant head coach Rob Kelly, with Keith Downing, would take charge of the team for the New Year’s Day game at West Ham. Albion said they expected to be able to name Irvine’s successor by the weekend. Albion technical director Terry Burton said Irvine’s dismissal was “a decision taken with regret but sadly driven by necessity”. He said on the club’s official website: “We appointed Alan in the summer convinced that we had taken on one of the foremost coaches in the UK and nothing that has happened since then has altered our view. “The individual progress of our players such as Craig Dawson and Saido Berahino are testament to that. “But sadly that simply has not translated into results and they remain the ultimate currency of Alan’s position. “Securing a sixth season in the Premier League is the over-riding target and sometimes unpleasant decisions have to be taken to serve that imperative. “Alan has impressed everyone with his manner, dedication and diligence but he knows that results have simply not been good enough. The Baggies boss has paid the price for a run of seven defeats in nine Barclays Premier League games which has left the team in 16th place, a point above the bottom three. The last straw was Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Stoke, a third defeat in a row. Press Association West Brom have sacked head coach Alan Irvine after just half a season in charge.
On March 14, USC announced that the Shinnyo-en Buddhist order donated $6.6 million to further the study of Japan and its culture at the university.The Japanese Religions and Culture Center on campus will now be renamed the Shinso Ito Center. The name is meant to honor Her Holiness Shinso Ito, who is the current leader of the Shinnyo-en Buddhist order.Duncan Williams, chair of the School of Religion at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and co-director of the Shinso Ito Center, elaborated on the generous gift.“The donation will be used primarily as an endowment that will allow the Center to support its programs in perpetuity,” Williams said. “The center is the host of a variety of research projects that range from the study of pre-modern Japanese religion to contemporary immigration policies in Japan, from the connection between Japanese religions and science to the history of Japanese America.”Based in Japan, the Shinnyo-en Buddhist order is an organization with nearly one million members worldwide. They have been involved in philanthropic efforts at American universities to help support Buddhist and Japanese studies.Shinnyo-en has also made gifts to Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. Williams previously served as the director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies before coming to USC in 2011.“Shinnyo-en deeply appreciates the commitment of the USC Center for Japanese Religions and Culture for its deep and sensitive explorations of many aspects of Japanese culture through the study of international relations, society, the arts, media and religion,” said Rev. Minoru Shitara, director of the Shinnyo-en International Affairs Department. “Shinnyo-en views this support of the center as an expression of our common purpose with USC to educate people from diverse backgrounds to become effective agents for understanding, peace and harmony in the world.”The Buddhist term shinnyo “denotes both Buddhahood (spiritual awakening) and the nature of reality; en refers to a boundless garden or open space,” according to the Shinnyo-en website.The donation elicited a congratulatory statement from Caroline Kennedy, the current U.S. Ambassador to Japan.“Today’s historic gift of $6.6 million from the Shinnyo-en organization to the University of Southern California represents an important moment in the relationship between the United States and Japan. Promoting cross-cultural ties and mutual understanding between the U.S. and Japan is more important now than ever before,” Kennedy said in a statement.The Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture currently has a wide array of initiatives that focus on promoting the study of Japan both on and off campus.“Beyond research projects and the associated conferences and workshops, the center hosts nearly one event a week dealing with some aspect or another of Japanese studies,” Williams said. “Further, the center supports faculty and student research on Japan, whether it be to travel to Japan or present research at national and international conferences.”The donation advances USC’s $6 billion fundraising initiative, of which more than $3 billion has been raised so far.