BY the time you are reading this I will hopefully be in Bogota.
That’s the capital of Colombia, in case  you weren’t sure, the city where Bobby  Moore was accused of nicking a  bracelet, and where I’m supposed to  beware of drugs barons and of rampant  kidnappers.
Have a nice trip, John!
Actually I’m looking forward to this  region of South America because it’s  virgin territory for me, and I’m reliably  informed, contrary to public belief, that  it’s a beautiful country.
Why am I there ?
The World Under 20 Championships  start this week and my first assignments,  Mali v Korea Republic and Colombia v  France, kick things off on Saturday.  Makes a change from Bradford City v  Carlisle.
Down the years I’ve seen some  wonderful talent at this tournament,  which is probably my favourite after the  World Cup itself, because you have the  opportunity to see genuine stars of the  future before most people have heard of  them.
It was Lionel Messi in Holland eight  years ago, before that I had the privilege  of commentating on an Argentina side  that contained Fabricio Coloccini,  Angel Di Maria, Nicolas Burdisso and  Maxi Rodriguez that scored goals by the  bucket-load, and four years ago there  was Sergio Aguero who seems set to  become a £30m-plus Premier League  player, possibly before I’ve even touched  down on South American soil.
I’ve also seen Fabregas, Tevez, Torres  and  Dani Alves as precocious talents in  this tournament, and it’s fascinating to  see how they develop.
For once England are there too. We  don’t normally make the Finals of this  event, but in a 24-team tournament  we’ve been drawn in a group alongside  Argentina, Mexico and Korea DPR  (that’s North).
To be honest, I’ve barely heard of a  single player in the England squad, but  I’m not surprised.
The attitude of our big clubs has  always been that they want to keep an  eye on their kids, so rather than let them  loose on an England tour they prefer  them on the bench at home, or out on  loan at a lower division club.
I’ve never understood that. It’s a  wonderful opportunity for young men to  play the best of their age group from all  over the globe in another country,  another climate, and to wear the three  lions on their chest.
I’ll guarantee most of the other  countries will be sending their best talent  because they want to win it. Why can’t  we?

ONE of the best innings I ever saw was by  Australian batsman Adam Gilchrist.
He absolutely butchered the England attack in  Perth, and it wasn’t a bad attack either with Flintoff,  Harmison, Hoggard and Panesar.
He took the game away from England in about a  hour-and-a-half of carnage.
He was, of course, able to flay away after the  foundations had been laid by the likes of Justin  Langer, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Michael  Clarke and Michael Hussey.
Now it seems England may just have the best  wicket-keeper/batsman in the world in Matthew  Prior. His century against India at Lords on Sunday  was breathtaking, and followed up a pretty useful 70  in the first innings.
Gilchrist may for ever be regarded as the best we  have ever seen, but Prior has taken huge strides in  the five-day game and, with Australian cricket in the  doldrums, his rise in stock has coincided with  England’s challenge to become the best team in the  world.

WE all know about the  nudge-nudge  wink-wink syndrome  that accompanies   Rugby League’s  Carnegie Challenge  Cup draw.
Warm balls and all  that.
Whatever, the two  semi-finals that came  out of the hat  guaranteeing another  Yorkshire-Lancashire  final are  mouth-watering.
Castleford, who have  been working so hard  to guarantee their very  survival as a Super  League club, with their  ambitious plans for a  new stadium, will be  eager to squeeze past  Leeds in one half of the  draw, while any Wigan  v St Helens  confrontation is an  occasion not to be  missed.
Cup Final day in  rugby league is one of  the highlights of the  sporting calendar and  deserves far greater  national exposure than  it receives.
No matter which two  clubs grace this year’s  centrepiece of the  sport,  it will be an epic  to match all those that  have gone before it.