That's the message from the afternoon mailbox after it was claimed that the Chelsea boss has transformed Cesc Fabregas into a complete player. Plus, more on Arsenal...
A cracking Mailbox, with thoughts on Chelsea, Willian, Jurgen Klopp, Brendan Rodgers and Aguero. Plus how Football365 saved one man from an unhappy relationship...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Not Rooney. Please.
Anyone but Rooney. Please God, not Rooney. He's past his best, is an ego maniac and in no ways shows any leadership qualities. Unless you class running around alot anywhere other than the position your ment to be playing in as a leadership quality.
This mornings idea of the ox as vice captain made sense, not so sure on Baines as captain tho. Gary Cahill would be my shout, barring injury he will play at Euro 2014 and we need somebody to take charge at the back. Hopefully the armband would give him that little push he needs to do so.
I know some people will give Gerrard the respect he deserves for his services to England but there is an awful lot of revisionism doing the rounds about his international career. Unlike Rooney, Gerrard has been one of England's most consistent performers (qualifying campaigns AND tournaments 2006, 2010, 2012) despite never being played in his best role when he was at the top of his game. He had his best years at Liverpool playing behind the striker with two other CM behind him yet he was never given the position for England.
Anyone who has watched Liverpool in the last decade could have told Hodgson Gerrard in a midfield "2" was never going to work. Anytime he was paired with only one other CM, Liverpool lacked control in the middle of the park and Gerrard struggled to impose himself. Unsurprisingly, Hodgson tried exactly the same when he failed at Liverpool.
Last year, his transition to a deeper midfield role was enabled by having two runners in front of him to cover for his decreasing mobility. It gave him the chance to pull the strings in midfield and concentrate on his role as a controller. It seems most in England actually don't have a f*cking clue about this and just blame the player(s) for it not working instead of analyzing the reasons why it didn't.
For this reason alone, this is the right time for him to retire. Hodgson showed he does not know how to set up the team properly to get the best out of him at this moment of his career either. If he did, he would have played him in a midfield three (1-2) with two of Henderson, Wilshere and Lallana in front of him. When you take this into account, Scholes early retirement makes so much sense. He was in a similar situation and he just didn't want to be label as under-performing for England.
Nick, LFC, Berlin
Baines As Captain? Really?
Leighton Baines as captain? Perhaps Chris, ITFC missed the World Cup - I'd think Baines will be lucky to be in the squad.
Given that the captain should at least be a reliable pick, I'd restrict the choice to one of Cahill or Hart (and Cahill's a stretch).
After the world cup, it's hard to say who else is even a certainty to be in the side (not that I'm suggesting they should all be sacked, but there are big question marks over every other player).
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, London
...I dont normally respond to others mails but after one line I feel compelled to respond to Chris ITFC proposal of Baines as Captain
Leighton Baines should not be anywhere near the England squad, I do not care how well he plays in the Premier League he has shown that against anyone of sufficient quality he does not possess the ability to defend or the serious pace required to cover his mistakes - he was by far and away one of our worst players at the world cup (thats a special achievement )and if people took the premier league blinkers off, he was poor in the previous qualifiers whereby his lack of positioning cost England more than once ....against Italy whereby he defended like a 6 year old against Candreva and secondly previously against Montenegro whereby he was so out of position had it been Gerrard or Rooney the nation would have burnt an effagy...
The second argument for Baines is his quality from set pieces....again at the world cup he maybe had one reasonable free kick and the corners were definitely not quality - whilst again he may have shown this in the premier league that is his level he is not internation class and certainly not england captain...
Thirdly - entering what seems like the 8th revolution of English football and Im only 24, there is a chance for Luke Shaw to make that position his own and Kieran Gibbs to begin to show his potential and challenge for the left back berth - gibbs have been solid in champions league games and Van Gaal and his mentalness can in only improve Shaw.....so please no Baines as squad player, let alone captain
The Ox As Vice? Really?
I'm an Arsenal fan so of course I'd love to see an Arsenal player play a prominent part in the England team, but is someone actually suggesting a 20-year old who isn't a starter for his club and is only just now learning to play in his role (which is different for England than it is in Wenger's plans) should be made vice-captain?
Andy, (Pretty sure Chris ITFC is one of the people that wanted Wilshere as captain a few years back) AFC
First it was Ronaldo vs Messi...
Then it was Ronaldo & Bale vs Messi & Neymar...
And now it's gonna be Ronaldo, Bale & Rodriguez vs Messi, Neymar & Suarez.
Ridiculous. It's pretty easy to forget that Atletico are league champions in Spain isn't it?!
A One Club XI
Usually a Friday mailbox thing, but hey, everyday is a Friday when there's no actual football on, right? A transfer blog poster called for an all-time one-club-man XI, so I thought I'd give it a go:
GK: Iker Casillas
RB: Gary Neville
CB: Franco Baresi
CB: Ledley King (c)
LB: Paolo Maldini
CM: Paul Scholes
CM: Andres Iniesta
CM: Ryan Giggs
FW: Matt Le Tissier
FW: Lionel Messi
FW: Francesco Totti
A little attack-heavy maybe, but that front three is class personified. Tony Adams can feel a bit hard done by to miss out, but I think Baresi just shades it for the vacant CB position next to Ledley.
Olly Cole, THFC
...Playing 4-4-2, we have:
GK: Lev Yashin - Dynamo Moscow
LB: Paolo Maldini - AC Milan
CB:Franco Baresi - AC Milan
CB: Carles Puyol - FC Barcelona
RB: Gary Neville - Manchester United
LM: Ryan Giggs - Manchester United
CM: Paul Scholes - Manchester United
CM: Matt Le Tissier - Southampton
RM: Tom Finney - Preston North End
ST: Antonio Di Natale - Udinese
ST: Nat Lofthouse - Bolton Wanderers
Honorable mentions: Sepp Maier, Tony Adams, Jack Charlton, Santiago Bernabau, Jurgen Klopp
Just wanted to say how moved I was by the letter from ER in this morning's mailbox. Take a bow young man. And may you thoroughly enjoy the season ahead.