A varied Mailbox has thoughts on transfer targets, youth development, the obsession over 3-5-2, some innovative Blackpool suggestions and why Real bought Kroos...
We can't help but agree with one mailboxer who tries to calm the crisis-mongers gathering around Southampton, while we have mails on Man United's squad...
Send mails to firstname.lastname@example.org - you know you want to...
Liam Miller, Surely
Any bets that ITV will replace Roy Keane with Darren Fletcher this summer?
Coping With The Heat Via Umbrella Hats
Mr Newsman asked the question tonight as to how England will cope with the heat in Brasil. The solution appears to be those umbrella hats that will supply ample shade to each player. Play it cute and they could even have them sponsored by Nike.
You can find them here.
The Ingredients For A Classic World Cup
World Cup fever is definitely getting into full effect...Thought I'd pitch in with the ingredients I have always considered important for a good World Cup. The more of the following, the better:
- Host has a good tournament. This goes a long way towards creating a seriously infectious atmosphere, and generally who doesn't want the hosts to have a good time? It was a real shame for South Africa to get eliminated in the group stage last time out. I would like to see Brazil go to at least the semi-finals, and I for one wont be complaining if they win it.
- Your team has a good tournament. Pretty self-explanatory. Your team does well = fun, lasting memories. This one is subjective as it is relative to your expectations.
- You like the champion. If the team you can't stand wins it all, it takes some shine off the tournament, if you like the champion, it will shine that little bit brighter in your memory.
- Surprise team - Bulgaria, Nigeria in '94, Croatia in '98, Senegal, Turkey, South Korea in '02...relative unknowns taking the world by storm? I love it.
- A good race for the Golden Boot. Note - the Golden Boot winner should score at least six goals. '98 had a good race - Suker, Vieri, Batistuta, Ronaldo. Ronaldo in '02 scoring a massive eight goals was incredible, I felt like I was living all the old tournaments of Fontaines and Mullers scoring goals by the boatload that I had only read about.
- Legacies being cemented. See Zidane in 1998, Ronaldo in 2002. I'm thinking of Messi this summer...
- Classic quarter-final games. 3-2 scorelines, red cards, penalty shootouts...often end in a likeable surprise team going out in a blaze of glory.
- Goals, lots of them, and lots of good ones.
- Lastly, and, I fear, most importantly, be a wide-eyed kid. Short of USA winning the tournament, I'm not sure any tournament will ever replace 1998 for me. 10 years old, no responsibilities, Bergkamp vs. Argentina, Marcelo Salas...sigh.
Anyone have any ingredients I missed?
Paul (I f*cking love the World Cup!), USA
Browsing around this lovely site and reading the frequent criticisms of Rooney, Welbeck, Cleverley, Jones, Milner, Young and others has just reminded me of Sturridge of a few years back.
Back when he was at Chelsea and not getting games, except out wide or for 30 seconds at the end of a game, he was getting lambasted for failing to deliver. When he went to Liverpool, I remember all the scousers getting irate that they'd wasted all this (now bargain) money on him, Chelsea fans crowing.
Fact was though, all it took was for Sturridge to get regular or frequent games in his ACTUAL position rather than be pushed out or shoehorned. Lo and behold, he became a good striker again, no longer snatching desperately at every opportunity to show his true value. Amazing. Rogers the genius, turning silk purses into silk purses.
This same applies to all those above. All of them have been forced to play in the wrong position for so long and yet they're pilloried for not being good enough there. Young is not nor ever should have been a left winger. Right maybe. Central better. Same for Milner, who was an exciting talent years ago when he left Leeds as an attacking midfielder. Cleverley is not a metronome, but when he is asked to sit deep and do that, and does it, he gets blamed for not creating enough and just passing the ball out wide. Funny, because a few years ago when playing further forwards he looked great. Rooney doesn't score enough goals from deep or wide apparently (still 1 in 2 though), and Welbz doesn't score enough either for a striker - who just like Sturridge before - doesn't get to ever play as a striker, except occasionally for England where he scored 8 in 22.
Yet people are shocked when it affects their confidence. Look at Jones. Poor lad is a quality centre back, but he's been covering other positions so much that his core game has suffered. To be top class in a position you need to be playing it day in and out, honing the skills.
Is it really rocket science? Play people in their natural positions, let them be good at what they're good at enough to get paid silly money.
Guy S (Praying for LvG)
Rooney: A Good Emile Heskey?
Wayne Rooney is not a centre forward, a goal getter. 2009/10 for United showed that he can do a job there if push comes to shove but undoubtedly his best years for United have been as part of a fluid forward line, with him mostly coming from a deeper left position where he can link the midfield and attack, providing brilliant assistance to his forward partners in crime and chipping in relatively handsomely with goals himself. Even last season when RVP banged the goals Rooney was clearly not firing on all cylinders but he still scored plenty and made plenty.
In nicest possible way Wayne Rooney is a good Emile Heskey. At his best he is a player that makes the team better, links the team up and allows other top players to shine. It is strange, the evolution of strikers in the last decade or so has been to become less like number 9 strikers and more rounded team players, Wayne Rooney seems to want to go the other way by forsaking his natural inclinations.
The rise of Rooney was as Michael Owen faded so he has never really be challenged for the centre forward spot, Daniel Sturridge is a natural in that position so Wayne needs to get back to doing what he does best, doing that he is still our best player.
Regarding Cesc, I'd take him in a second.
Last season Ramsey got injured because we overplayed him, and Özil had that period where he was rather average because he needed a break. Having Fabregas back would mean we had cover should either of them get injured, someone to rotate when they get exhausted or just out of form.
If nothing else, sign him and never play him, so long as we never have to see him in an United or (oh christ I'm feeling sick just thinking about it) in a Chelsea shirt.
Plus Wenger could play him as a False 9 and finally complete the evolution from having a world-class striker, to a top (top) striker, to having a decent striker, to finally having no striker at all.
Andy, (It's spelled ColOmbia not ColUmbia) AFC
Brede Of Heaven
Possibly a boring subject to most but... I'm surprised Fulham released Brede Hangeland, he could be the bargain free transfer for almost any club in the league.
If he stays injury-free, he's better than Lescott, Squillaci (I know he left last summer but still, it aids my point) Kolo Toure, Dawson at Spurs, or R. Ferdinand...any of you that wouldn't take that swap for Hangeland as back up for your club?
He's a very good defender when fit, I'd take him at Arsenal as back-up for Mertesacker and Wenger loves a defender on the cheap (Silvestre, Cygan, Squillaci, etc)
Strevs, Afc, Canada
Czech This Out
I live in the Czech Republic. I have a girlfriend who, although utterly wonderful (and knows I've sent this, with her blessing!), knows nothing about football, or footy speak. I asked her to text me, off the bat, why the Czech team sucks when ten years ago they had such a wonderful team... in the style of what she thought an 'expert' would say. Here, unadulterated, is her response. Compare this to ITV punditry, I honestly think it's better!
"You know, there is no easy answer for your question, David. Lots of factors, really. In 2004, we were on top because we had a top team. You know, Baros; that tall bald guy; Cech. We had a brilliant coach. But now... I think the team is too young and inexperienced, they are focusing too much on whatever, but they really should focus on other things like not letting the ball to their goal and putting it more to the other one."
Previous Mediawatches were then wheeled out to show her that no, I wasn't kidding, you could actually get paid for that.
She's now seriously reconsidering her career.
David (Zbrojovka finishing 9th?! What an odd season) Szmidt, Brno
People have been writing on about World Cup fever or the perceived lack of it.
I'm currently teaching English in South Korea to primary school aged kids and the excitement in Korea is a bit different.
A lot of my Korean friends (and students) think Korea will get to the quarters and semis!!! Korea only qualified on goals scored ahead of heavyweights Uzbekistan! I keep reminding them that they are in a group with Belgium, Russia, and Algeria. I'm pretty certain Russia and Belgium will go through. At school, as the actual 'English' English teacher; my students think Korea will go further than England!
I went to their last warm up game in Korea against Tunisia last week in Seoul. I'm glad I got a free ticket for that game and didn't have to pay £18! They were absolutely dismal, seemed clueless going forward, and had very few chances against Tunisia. Tunisia won 1-0. I watch K-League a lot and the Koreans don't have the quality to qualify ahead of Russia or Belgium. Nothing wrong with optimism, but this isn't 2002 where it was on their own patch and with favours from the officials.
World Cup fever is a bit different compared to England in previous WC years. No car flags on the Hyundai or Kia cars out here. A major milk brand has a few Korean players on the cartons. The local Korean fast food chain (Lotteria, worse than McDonalds) are giving away free scarves with each meal. You even get small discounts on the local beer which has KFA branding on the packaging.
Korea is very optimistic, yet deep down I know that they will be lucky to finish with one point.
Prove me wrong Taeguk Warriors!
Martin Brez, WWFC and England, South Korea.
I was going to write in with a snobby message re: Cheers, Jim (I know, not much constructive to offer) Essex, and his jibe about Lampard taking so many penalties.
So I did some googling, and it turns out Lampard took 57 pens over 13 years at Chelsea (4.4 per season fact fans), but I think the more interesting fact is how incredibly efficient he was.
Of 57 penalties, he scored 46. He has only missed the target once, against Pompey in the FA Cup Final.
One penalty off target. In 13 years.
Sod the 20 yards debate, has there ever been a better English penalty taker?
Also, he could do this.
Mark, CFC, London
...Frank Lampard was the runner up in 2005 for both the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d'Or. He lost both awards to Ronaldinho. His crimes seem to be playing for an unpopular club and never reproducing his form on the international stage. However it's worth remembering that no English player has been in the top three for the major award(s) since. That's got to count for something.
O Say Can You See...
Re PeterG, Pennsylavnia, USA:
I'm not sure who this guy is or what purpose he's fulfilling by misleading the wonderful readers and editors of F365, but I'm pretty positive that especially given how U-S-A U-S-A U-S-A my country is, he couldn't be any more off base.
For example, during the Olympics, I can't even begin to tell you the amount of joy we get from watching our athletes on top of a podium with our anthem playing in the background as they lift the flag. Sure it sounds corny, but it's so damn good! When Phelps was on his run, I cannot tell you how many "PLAY THAT F**KIN ANTHEM" type comments there were. Hell, we could win an Olympic staring competition and we would STILL love that sh*t.
Young Peter G, if you somehow see this, how misguided you are. It appears you've done your best to pander to the editor in the hopes of being published, even at the price of downing your own country?! Shame shame shame.
Do we eavesdrop on our citizens? Sure.
Do we eavesdrop on other countries? Sure.
Do we hate our National Anthem? Hell no.
Hell the Jimi Hendrix version of the National Anthem from Woodstock is probably one of most loved songs in our nation's history. The epicness of Hendrix combined with the national pride that comes from his guitar screaming our country's song.
And really? To say that no one understand what it means...ffs.
Honestly, what a ludicrous display. If needed I'd be more than happy to translate the effortless deep lyrics..
For what it's worth, Traitor Pete, the "rockets' red glare" and "bombs bursting in air" are fireworks. Maybe that'll help with some of those trickier stanzas.
///Moonwalks away from e-mail while Jimi Hendrix blares in the background
//Fireworks and a light show appear seemingly out of thin air
/Somersault backflips onto a Bald Eagle and flies far far away
Noah P (obnoxiously American as shit) Palm Beach, FL, U-S-A U-S-A U-S-A, MUFC
World Cup XIs
This "World Cup XI from different nations" is a nice game, but a bit too easy. Try this - World Cup XI from different nations AND different clubs. If nothing else it shows very clearly the extent to which a few rich clubs have a monopoly (or oligopoly I guess) on talent.
Sagna, Sergio Ramos, Thiago Silva, Lahm
De Rossi, Yaya Toure, Vidal
Messi, Van Persie, Suarez
...Thought I'd write in to point out the ridiculousness of putting in Zabaletta as the Argentinian player in the world cup XI. The same person also had Fernandinho as Brazil's only player.
Here's my XI and I think you'll see how it is objectively the best possible XI:
GK: Gigi Buffon - Italy
RB: Philipp Lahm - Germany
CB: Vincent Kompany - Belgium
CB: Thiago Silva - Brazil
LB: Leighton Baines - Liverpool
CM: Luka Modric - Croatia
CM: Yaya Toure - Ivory Coast
CM: Xavi -Spain
RW: Jonas Guttierez - Argentina (just kidding, you know who it is)
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal
S: Luis Suarez - Uruguay (painful to type)
Levi, New York
What's with all the Jims? Are they actually Jims? Or are they James'? I'm becoming confused.