Somebody mentions Paul Scholes and everybody writes in with those quotes from Zidane etc. Dull dull dull. We've ignored them. There's plenty more to enjoy here...
It does seem logical that the best thing to do with the best players is to play them from the start, when they have the most time to make an impact, rather than the last 15 minutes...
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Walcott + Townsend - Welbeck = Profit?
This Walcott vs Townsend rubbish is tiresome.
It should be Walcott + Townsend at the expense of Danny Welbeck, who is awful.
Where Welbeck Plays
For anyone still confused about Welbeck's position, he plays in the Dirk Kuyt role; a position that treads the line between useless and wonderful. Long may it continue.
Belgium: Not The Hipsters' Choice
I wanted to write in to correct the notion among some mailboxers that Belgium are a hipsterish team to enjoy. Come off it. Belgium are waaaay too mainstream. Joe Pleb who wears his Chelsea shirt to the gym could name you their entire starting eleven. More than half their squad can be watched on Match of the Day for crying out loud. Belgium are so mainstream that it will be cool to chortle as they get dismantled by Holland in the second round.
On the subject of football hipsters (I really do hate that term), I was thinking about positions that have become fashionable to appreciate. In the past five years, for instance, it has become much more popular amongst football folk to admire midfielders like Xavi and Pirlo. This has lead to expectations rising for players like Michael Carrick and Jack Wilshere to levels they simply cannot reach. More recently still the false 9 position has entered the public's consciousness, bringing with it a fawning over Cesc Fabregas' ability to play as a 'kind of striker but not really a striker'. This mailboxer boldly predicts that in the next few years it will become highly fashionable to have a forward whose sole job is to press high up the pitch and retain possession. It will be known as the 'Danny Welbeck' role.
Will, THFC, paid up member of the Danny Welbeck fan club, just don't ever want to see him at Spurs
Lesson To Gibbs: Use Your Right
As your latest World Cup Ladder rightly points out, Kieran Gibbs must feel a trifle hard done by at the moment. He's a high-class left-back who would probably be first choice in all but three or four international teams right now if he was anything other than English. Just happens that England have two world-class left-backs ahead of him currently.
Anyway, my point is this - not practising enough with his wrong foot as a kid is likely to cost Gibbs a place in our World Cup squad. Even just a little work on his right peg would surely have got him in the team ahead of our current options at right-back.
In fact, staying late after training a bit more would probably give him half a chance even now.
Kids for Christ's sake learn from his example. If you're good enough to turn pro, you're good enough to become two-footed
Rob, Bristol Gooner (He's still looking like our LB for years to come - the other two aren't getting any younger)
How Suarez Will Become More Hated...
Imagine the scene, England needing a win to go through to a World Cup semi...they face Uruguay, and a rampant Suarez.
In the 60th minute, Gerrard commits a lazy foul on Suarez, just on the edge of the box. The buck-toothed striker rolls and squirms on the floor. Our plucky Captain is red carded and sent off. The ref is conned into giving a penalty, which Suarez jumps up miraculously unhurt, and promptly chips Foster with an audacious back-heel from the spot.
In the 90th minute Suarez goes on a mazy Maradonna-esqe run, makes a mockery of Carrick, Terry, Ferdinand by utmegging them all and which culminates the best goal of the centaury.
I'd almost love to see this - just for the reaction from the Gooners and the United fans- who would simply implode with rage. They'd probably break the interweb.
Nathan, Auckland. LFC
England Band: Still Alive
Sorry to Paul Quinton and his hope that the England band have been banned. Unfortunately they were very much there on Tuesday, they were to my right. And they were still rubbish.
If you didn't hear them it must have been that the atmosphere was so good they were drowned out. This is something we should obviously aim for at every match.
Sally, EFC, London
How Long Is Bale Revelant?
How long do you think the British media will continue with making every single minute detail about Gareth Bale back-page news? I'm well aware that having a British (the same mainly London-based media that couldn't give a hoot about Wales normally) player being the world record signing is big news but it was a while ago now surely chaps?
Real Madrid are a huge team also granted but the 'will he/won't he play' rubbish every week is wearing slightly thin. I've just had to endure about five years of L.A. Galaxy results and reports and now it seems that the Premiership is becoming redundant also for the country's media, I might as well start reading Marca and be done with it.
Steve McBain, Singapore
Ten Best Players To Have Never Played At World Cup
In response to Alex (probably won't be in England's final 22 for the World Cup) Sheedy's question 'who are the 10 best players never to have played at a World Cup?', I couldn't resist compiling my personal list. I'm going to pretend to be interested in what fellow mailboxers think, but I spent the entireity of a quiet hour at work compiling this exhaustive volume, so my mind won't be for changing. Aaron Ramsey narrowly misses out, but a couple of his fellow Welshmen do make the grade...
10. Kakha Kaladze
A powerful Georgian defender, capable of playing at either centre-half or left-back, Kaladze shot to international recognition playing for Valery Lobanovsky's turn of the century Dynamo Kyiv side. A glamour move to AC Milan followed, where he won Serie A and Coppa Italia titles and two Champion's League winners medals (as well as being runner up in the 2005 final). Sadly for Kakha, as a member of the young Georgian national side World Cup qualification was never a likely goal. He does at least have the honour of being his country's third-most capped player.
9. Bruce Grobbelaar
If Bruce had of chosen cricket over football in his formative years, then he might have had a chance of playing in a World Cup. As a footballer though, the Zimbabwean was destined not to take to the biggest international stage. In a 13-year career at Anfield, Grobelaar raked up 440 league appearances between the sticks, winning six league titles, three FA Cups and a European Cup. His reputation might have been greater if it hadn't been for the post-Heysel exclusion of English teams from Europe, but was hugely tarnished by allegations of match-fixing towards the end of his Liverpool tenure.
8. Liam Brady
A skilful left midfielder, Dublin-born Brady is one of the few Irish players to have been a success outside the British Isles. He began his professional career at Arsenal (where he is now head of youth development), and would enjoy six years in Serie A, split between Juventus Sampdoria, and Inter. Suspension denied Brady his place at the Euro 88 finals, and his reversal of his decision to retire from international football was ignored by Ireland boss Jack Charlton, meaning that he never played at major finals for his country.
7. Dixie Dean
It's always difficult to compare players of different eras, and even more so when you stretch back to Dixie Dean's heyday in the pre-WWII era. Nonetheless, an incredible 349 goals in 399 Everton games beg the question of just what Dean - who scored 18 goals in 16 games for his country - might have achieved had the FA seen the shape of the future and entered the early World Cups.
6. Ian Rush
If one quality is more cherished than any other in a footballer, it's always being in the right place to score a goal. Ian Rush definitely had that quality. Scoring 239 goals for Liverpool, Rush was a winner of five league titles, three FA Cups and two European Cups. A respectable return of 28 goals in 73 caps for Wales reamains the national goalscoring record, but wasn't enough to fire them to a World Cup finals.
5. Duncan Edwards
Undoubtedly the most tragic entry on this list, Edwards was robbed of the chance to shine at the 1958 World Cup by the Munich Air Disaster. At the tender age of 21 he had already helped Manchester United to two league titles and the semi finals of the European Cup. A solid centre-half or a maurading forward, Edwards forever unfufilled potential was paid testament to by former England manager Terry Venables, who claimed that if it hadn't been for the terrible events of Munich, it would have been Edwards, rather than Bobby Moore, who lifted the Jules Rimet trophy aloft at Wembley in 1966.
4. Ryan Giggs
There's very little left to say about Ryan Giggs that hasn't already been said, for reasons both repetitive and legal. The Machester United stalwart is the most decorated player in British football history, his professionalism allowing him to enjoy a top level career of over two decades and counting. Wales fans might not write such gleaming reports of his professional dedication however. Giggs' dedication to his national side was often questioned, and he ended up making a relatively low 64 appearances before his international retirement in 2007, having never threatened to qualify for a World Cup finals.
3. Eric Cantona
The mercurial genius/dodgy actor is perhaps the most surprising entrant on this list, having earned 45 caps for France, scoring 20 goals in the process. However, he was involved in the doomed 1990 and 1994 World Cup Qualifying campaigns. Controversy and confusion reigned as Cantona fell out with the head honchos of French football, and he never played for Les Bleus after 1995. France enjoyed the best period of their footballing history in the immediate aftermath of 'Le Roi''s departure, being eliminated on penalties in Euro 96 before the twin successes of World Cup 98 and Euro 2000. A legend in the English game, it's been rumoured that Cantona's wounds are still so sore over his falling out with French football that he now supports the English national team.
2. George Weah
The 1995 World Footballer of the Year's achievements are all the more remarkable given he was born and raised in poverty-stricken Liberia. A trophy-laden club career with AS Monaco, PSG, AC Milan and Chelsea, and some truly spectacular goals would never be enough however to make up for his national team mate's shortcomings, and World Cup qualification was never likely. Since his retirement, Weah has famously put his time into his political ambitions and humanitarian projects.
1. George Best
There's a saying in Belfast - Maradona, good. Pele, better. George, Best. Every bit as well known for his off-th- field activities as his often breath-taking displays on it, 'The Fifth Beatle' brought football to the forefront of the British consciousness in a way that had never been seen before. Although ultimately a victim of his own lack of professionalism and drive, Best was the key player as Manchester United became the first English club to win the European Cup and was recognised as European Footballer of the Year in 1968. 37 caps and 9 goals for Northern Ireland are sadly indicative of a career that burnt out too much too soon, meaning he was finished by the time of Northern Ireland's finest hour at the 1982 World Cup in Spain.
Adam W, Belfast
Don't Underestimate The Kiwis
Sagar (God bless Americah!), Virginia via Mumbai, had a great mail but failed to mention that Mexico haven't actually qualified yet. While they are a classic component of World Cups, they still have a home and away play-off against New Zealand to qualify. If (albeit a hugely massive 'if') New Zealand can keep Mexico to 0-0 or even 1-0 at home, Wellington for the return leg can be a pretty daunting environment for travelling teams. Tickets to this play-off sold out months ago before the opponent was even decided and the weather here can be pretty horrendous (we had 140kmh winds earlier this week with rain to match) so will be tough for the travelling Mexicans.
Add to that the tough-as-guts defensive approach applied by the All Whites (no jokes, that's what they go by), and the fact plenty of the team play in Wellington week in, week out for their Club, we could have a clash on our hands. All being said, I'd of happily taken Panama as an opponent instead!
George (will likely be 4-0 after the first leg but a man can dream) AFC, Wellington, NZ
A World XI?
This might be a stupid idea, so I'll keep it brief..
With so many great players missing out in the World Cup, would anyone else like to see a wild card spot go to world XI made up of footballers from countries that failed to qualify?
I'd love to see players like Gareth Bale, Christian Eriksen, Neven Subotic and Peter Cech, among others, get a chance to play in Brazil.
Anyway, maybe it's past my bedtime..
Aaron Maguire, London