That's the question that kicks off an afternoon mailbox full of debate over Arsenal and the size of Patrick Vieira's head. Plus, thoughts on colouring and Chelsea strikers...
The mailbox is very much split between Arsenal fans saying 'f*** you, we got through' and the doom merchants. We also have a mails on Chamakh for Chelsea and...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
'England's Most Creative And Technically Adept Player'
I literally can't believe the criticism that Welbeck has been getting recently. Even his defenders have resorted to praising his workrate and saying that he "does a job." Have I been watching a completely different Danny Welbeck to everyone else?
The Welbeck I see is England's most creative and technically adept player. He plays quick one-twos in crowded areas, turns defenders, drifts between the lines, chips keepers, and pulls off clever flicks that other players wouldn't even think to try. The fact that he is also quick, physically imposing, and hardworking is just the cherry on top.
My mind boggles at the suggestion that Theo Walcott - the very picture of pacey mediocrity - should start ahead of him.
I think Welbeck has become the new Michael Carrick. A few years ago you could tell whether or not someone really understood football by their opinion of Carrick. Most fans seem to judge players on a combination of reputation and fantasy football points - during matches they're like schoolchildren reading Shakespeare and not understanding any of it.
So, a few of my teacher friends have taken today off.
Around lunchtime, one of them decided to post this video on a popular social networking site.
I have done very little work this afternoon.
Stu (So. Many. Backheels.), Chiswick
Praise FOr Jimmy Milner
I was surprised there weren't any harsh refutations to Nick Cooper's suggestion of sending young Hendo to the World Cup. Personally I filed it under "so crazy it might just work". As a Liverpool fan I know Henderson is and never will be more than above average but he certainly can do the bulldog (albeit a very cute bulldog) role when called upon.
Saying that, for a country that seems to produce very little other than big, fast, strong specimens we are seriously lacking a destroyer. Wilshire is too ill disciplined, Phil Jones is not Fernando Hierro while Lampard, Carrick and Gerrard lack the stamina and speed. However, I feel a better answer lies in James Milner. I, much like yourselves, remember Milner being pretty handy in the centre for Aston Villa. He's no quicker or slower than Hendo, definitely a better footballer, has shown to have defensive nous and if you have the stamina to run the line for 90 minutes you can definitely put in a shift harrying opposing no. 10s.
If Roy is willing to play Smalling at right back despite this not being his best position nor one he plays regularly at for his club team then why not play Milner as an orthodox centre midfielder?
Fred ('Arry would recognise me as a great manager if he knew me) Tickell
Rob, Bristol Gooner's mail regarding Gibbs' lack of ability with his right foot reminded me of something of that I have often brought up in conversations with my friends so I thought I'd get the thoughts of the mailbox.
A lot of right footed players have a decent-to-good left peg. There are many players, such as Cristiano Ronaldo for example, who although are primarily right footed, have a more than passable left foot and do not shy away from using it to good effect.
Left footed players, on the other hand, are almost always completely one footed. They use their right leg primarily for standing and the odd 'swinger' which will occasionally fly in but more often than not is woefully short of the quality shown on their strong foot. Even Lionel Messi, who many argue is the best player of all time, is extremely one-footed.
To expand on this a bit further, I've also noticed that a lot of left footed players seem to have an absolute hammer of shot and generally a lot of ability compared to right footers on their respective strong sides. Obviously, there are examples of solely right footed players or right footed players with magic in that right boot, but I think as a general rule my theory stands up.
So my question to the mailbox is: Why are right footed players more adaptable to using their weaker foot that left footers?
Paul, Gooner in Munich
So 'Arry suggests that over the period of the last 20 years the FA haven't always appointed the best man for the England job, Since 1993 England have had 7 managers all of which seemed logical appointments at the time. Let's take a step through time and look at them...
1994 - Terry Venables - Had managed Barcelona and with Spurs to a top 3 finish in 1990, on-going questions about his dealings meant he wasn't chosen in 1990 but as Graham Taylors tenure came to a shuddering halt Venebales was appointed on the grounds of his missing out to Taylor previously. He was also the media choice at the time.
1996 - Glenn Hoddle - One of England's best midfielders and a legend in the game from his playing days. Whilst his time at Chelsea didn't produce high league positions, Chelsea's cup runs included an FA Cup final and semi-final and a Cup Winner Cup semi-final. Whilst the was a high level of numptiness away from the pitch he did end up with a win percentage of over 60% with England.
1999 - Kevin Keegan - Had led Newcastle to be one of the most exiting teams in the PL, one of the most popular choices ever for an England manager at the time of his appointment.
2001 - Sven-Goran Eriksson - Managed a several high profile clubs in Europe, initial scepticism of a foreign appointment never gave away even though his tenure was one of the best sustained periods of relative success for England. 'Arry was busy being sacked by West Ham at this point.
2006 - Steve McLaren - England assistant manager and did well with Middleborough in the UEFA Cup in 2006. His was a logical choice to bring continuity to a side that was one of the better teams in the world. 'Arry was busy relegating Southampton in 2005 so wasn't considered.
2008 - Fabio Capello - Had managed some of the biggest sides in the world and probably one of the best managers in the game at the time of his appointment. Whilst the media was speculative about another foreign appointment his CV commended respect. 'Arry had just won the FA Cup with Portsmouth.
2012 - Roy Hodgson - By 'Arrys own admittance the best man for the job.
So the only way his point makes sense is to look at how these managers ultimately performed. Whilst some managers may have done better I don't think the FA could have really done much more and I don't feel that for each appointment there was a far better candidate than the one chosen. Redknapp, somewhat surprisingly I think, is talking out of his wobbling derrière.
David - WAFC
I have to disagree somewhat with Steve McBain, Singapore who has had a moan about the British media exposure of Bale since his multimillion pound move to Spain, he also had a similar dig regarding Beckham and having to learn about LA Galaxy news and results. I think there are a lot of positives to British players moving abroad and I wish more would do it. I think exposure to new styles and 'philosophies' are important and they improve their technical game. Also as a person it encourages you to try new things, learn a new language and starting fresh in a new country can mature a person very quickly, which let's face it a few young English stars could have done with.
I think it improves the national team as people are coming into the squad with different ideas and styles which the others can learn from. I also think that the more time people spend with someone the more you either like them or can't stand them, with the England team playing together week in week out, either in the same team or against one another you end up with a bunch of people who are either best friends or worst enemies. Introduce a few neutrals who have been away in a different country for the season and it could improve the whole harmony of the group.
However the main disgruntlement was at the media attention, which I actually find quite interesting, ok so the whole 'will he play, won't he', 'is he out for the season' rubbish is tedious but it's nice to pick up the morning paper and read about another league and see different teams under the spotlight. It can get boring reading about the Premier League all the time and its quite interesting to hear what's going on in other leagues especially when British players are involved. I know that John Terry scored a wonder goal then got sent off for putting on a KKK outfit to celebrate because I saw it live then I watched it on MOTD then again on MOTD2 and read about it in the paper, but I didn't know what David was up to in LA, was he scoring and making the British proud? Is Bale scoring hat trick after hat trick in la liga showing that the premier league is far superior and Wales is back on the map in a big way?
So I encourage it and wish more would follow in their footsteps, go abroad and take the media attention with you make Britain proud by being awesome and show the world that British players can cut it in a different league, learn a new language and show us that you're not all thick and learning English alone was a too much to ask.
The more leagues us Brits are involved in and the more I hear about them the better, so please don't 'move on' it's much more interesting than stories from the same league over and over again.
Henry (why don't more players move abroad? It's all about the money!!)
Just writing in to object to all these uses of terms like 'Welbeck Role', 'Kuyt Role' etc. Brendan Rogers has repeatedly provided us with the correct vernacular for such supposedly new but in reality tiringly and boringly familiar positions on the football pitch:
'That sort of seven and two thirds position,' 'He's playing like a nine-and-a-half.'
Much more hilarious but equally pointless.
The problem stems from the online, 24-hour, big-brother football coverage, whereby so many people are desperately writing and reading so much guff about football that we pretend boring stuff is actually new, as opposed to just being a re-hash of something that existed pre-internet.
e.g. Total Football is now Tiki Taka. Inside forward is now 'Seven and three quarters' (said with a furrowed brow).
I am sure there have always been 'false nine's' (like Cruyff at Ajax, Bergkamp, Totti, even some Austrian chap in 1934 according to some sources) and players who did a job for the team rather than being spectacular individuals as well (millions of them, no point listing). We don't need to re-name them, or pretend they are new, heretofore unseen signs of a negative / cowardly / exciting trend in football. Just necessary parts of the game.
The question is not 'Do we need a Welbeck' but 'Who is better than Welbeck at doing his essential job?' The answer to that is nobody, certainly not Walcott and definitely not our Jimmy Milner.
In response to Aaron Maguire's email on the World XI, don't worry it's not as stupid as John Delaney's 33rd team idea from 2010!!!!
Mark (Still embarrassed by that one), Cork, Ireland
George, AFC, nailed it when he said the Kiwis have a 'tough-as-guts' defence. This is what one of the centre halves does for fun.
Alex, (why pick Subotic for a World XI when you can have Nastasic, Vidic or Ivanovic - shameless hipster) LFC
A Team Who Won't Be In Brazil
I'm sure you'll get loads of these but its wasted 20 minutes...
I've picked this on the basis of players definitely not at the World Cup, so no Uruguay or Sweden players as they're not out yet. It pained me to not have Zlatan leading the line.
Also not including anyone who qualifies for a qualified nation but doesn't necessarily play.
Due to a paucity of defensive options (teamed with an unwillingness to put Christopher Samba or Johnny Evans in any World XI), I've gone for the unfashionable (rubbish) 3-4-3 formation:
GK Handanovic (Slovenia)
DF Ivanovic (Serbia)
DF Subotic (Serbia)
DF Alaba (Austria)
MD Ramsay (Wales)
MD Turan (Turkey)
MD Hamsik (Slovakia)
MD Mkhitaryan (Armenia)
ST Bale (Wales)
ST Lewandowski (Poland)
ST Aubameyang (Gabon)
Sure someone who watches more Copa Libertadores can do better...
MN, NUFC, happy for FIFA to rig the playoffs to get C Ron and Ribery there...who wants to watch Greece!?
...World XI: I've excluded nations who still have playoffs to negotiate, and only taken players from eliminated teams.
GK: Petr Cech (guess)
RB: Lukasz Piszczek (Poland)
CB: Christopher Samba (Congo)
CB: Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia)
LB: John Arne Riise (Norway)
CM: Nuri Sahin (Turkey)
CM: Marek Hamsik (Slovakia)
RW: Arda Turan (Turkey)
SS: Stevan Jovetic (Montenegro)
LW: Gareth Bale (Wales)
ST: Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
Subs: Handanovic (Slovenia), Skrtel (Slovakia), Ecuele Manga (Gabon), Evans (Northern Ireland), Mkhitaryan (Armenia), Blaszczykowski (Poland), Ramsey (Wales), Rosicky (Czech Republic), Sessegnon (Benin), Pandev (Macedonia), Aubameyang (Gabon).
A fair few Borussia Dortmund players in this lot (6 by my reckoning). The ultimate hipster team then.
We Got A Few Of These
I'll have to keep this short because after reading Adam W's email about Ten Best Players To Have Never Played At World Cup my hands are too sore to type from all the applause. Excellently researched, excellently written and one of the best pieces I've read on here in ages. Sign him up Winty.
Best Not To Play At The World Cup
Adam W's list was pretty comprehensive but although I never saw Alfredo di Stefano play, I'm pretty sure he was better than Kakha Kaladze.
Imagine being Real Madrid's greatest ever player and playing less at the World Cup Finals than Stewart Downing has.