One Mailboxer believes that Tony Pulis managing Liverpool isn't as silly as you might think. Plus Bournemouth aren't that romantic and we're all guilty of ignoring Everton...
That's the view of Liverpool fans in the mailbox as the Reds continue to struggle without their talisman. Suarez isn't doing particularly well at Barca either, it should be said...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The First Take On England...
Bloody hell, that was complete dog s**t
Toby "CTFC" Hudson
...And Some More Detailed Conclusions
1. Without Gerrard on the pitch our passing and possession was dramatically improved. His retirement should have come before the world cup.
2. Wayne Rooney is a poor footballer. I know that this makes me in the minority opinion but I don't and haven't for about seven years seen what all the fuss is about? The way the "experts" (can that word be used to describe Ian Wright?) were talking in the studio he was the only possible captain for England, a game changer, someone that can change a game with one single moment of brilliance! Unfortunately that is not only just looking at the history of the player that is looking at the history of the player through rose tints. He is exactly the same as he always has been, unreliable.
3. Danny Welbeck was the wrong player to get shipped out of Utd. Whenever I have seen him play in either Red or White or he is always looking to make something happen, puts in more tackles than the majority of centre halves and his passing and vision are both better than Rooney. The only slight problem is his finishing and once he is stopped being played on the wing to accommodate other people that will probably improve as well.
4. Is that really the best defence we can put out? Cahill was well off the pace, he even managed to make Jones look good! I always wanted Baines to get a chance to prove himself but I think it is time to confirm that International is a bit too much for him. I hope one of the promising left backs gets fit and stays fit and is actually as good as was hyped or we are going to spend a long long time missing Ashley Cole.
5. Milner's squad utility is probably not a good enough reason to keep picking him, it's a shame as I love Jimmy and have always thought he was one of the more underrated players in the squads but that space could be much better used by other people now.
6. Delph looked good, probably amazed by playing with actual real life other footballers! ones that could pass and everything!
Jay (Aston Villa being in third isn't that good, we started the season in second!) AVFC
Why Is Hodgson Still In Charge?
I'm not trying to be overly negative after a solid performance from England but this was a question I heard posed on 5 Live not so long ago and it's one I don't really know the answer to. Like most people, I was fairly pleased with Roy's appointment ahead of 2012 and I've been equally happy with the changes he's brought about since. He's made some big decisions personnel wise - including moving the old guard on with little fuss - and even though we're not Borussia Dortmund quite yet, he has at least set us on a path away from a rigid four four fackin' two. It's not his fault the squad is a little underwhelming these days and the only real criticism I have for our showing in Brazil was his decision to leave out Ashley Cole. In short: I think Roy done pretty good.
That doesn't explain why he is still the England manager though. We've got two years until the next tournament and eight years before we have to win the World Cup (lol) and I wonder why the FA are so sure Roy Hodgson is the man to deliver. If you're in a relegation scrap and in need of a quick fix, you get on the phone to Big Sam or Tony Pulis, but you wouldn't dream of hiring them if you wanted to take your game to the next level. There's no shame in being a specialist manager and I'm not comparing either two Roy but the point is as soon as the ship is steadied, ideally you look for someone else to lead. I think England are as steady as we're going to get under Roy and I'm not sure how much more he can improve the next generation.
If I could have anyone in charge it would be Brendan Rodgers (easy choice given the current personnel and Liverpool's revival) but just because we have no chance of actually getting Brendan Rodgers doesn't mean we shouldn't be looking for someone a bit more progressive than Roy Hodgson. Nigel Adkins was doing a fine job at Southampton but I think you'd find it hard to argue Poccetino didn't take that team to another level (albeit far quicker than I would ever expect a manager to do with a national side). Martinez, Montella and Simeone are the kinds of young, progressive managers who could build on the platform Roy's helped create but just because we're obsessed with appointing an English manager (remind me why this matters again?), the FA seems incapable of looking past a steady pair of hands. I'm under no illusion these managers would want to work with England but surely the FA should be trying to identify suitably ambitious managers to spearhead their highly ambitious plan?
We've got a young squad full of team players (and Rooney) and no Golden Generation tag to weigh them down. Now is the time to get these guys buying in to new systems and new ideas. If the FA think Roy is really the man to do this then fine, I'll get my coat. But if we're only sticking with Roy because 'he's got us this far' then I suspect we're destined for mediocrity.
Rooney scored his 41st England goal tonight, he is now the England captain and will probably be in the role until he hangs up his international boots. But will anyone remember nights like this one? Nights where he unquestionably made the team worse by his presence? He added nothing and took so much - in particular from Sterling who once again showed flashes of what could happen if we just let the lad play in the position he was born to play in.
Will anyone remember? No - just look at how many goals he has scored! But wait. Go to Rooney's Wikipedia page and open up his international goal record. Aside from all the strikes against such footballing powerhouses as Kazakhstan, Andorra, Belarus and San Marino, he has scored five goals against what could be described as 'top' international sides of recent times. Two against Brazil, one against Argentina, one against the Netherlands and the goal against Uruguay in the summer. The latter is the only one scored in a competitive match.
Will anyone remember that he almost never delivers against the big teams on the big stage? Will anyone talk about his petulant sending off against Montenegro, banning him from the opening games of the European Championships? His second international red card. Only one other man has ever been sent off twice for England.
At Rooney's age he may well stutter over the line to become England's top goalscorer. It will undoubtedly be an impressive achievement. When he retires from international football after the 2018 World Cup, having once again failed to perform in a floundering team and still kept his place, he'll be hailed as an England legend. One of our greatest ever players, unappreciated in his time despite the prowess which led him to score 51 goals in 130 England appearances. He will become better and better the further away his England playing days get until there are calls for him to come out of international retirement. Forgotten will be the increasing number of passionless, guileless, ineffective performances as his career wore on. The negative effect it had on the team. The players that were played out of position to accommodate the England legend to-be.
By the way - the only other man to be sent off twice while playing for England? Beckham.
Captain? Who Cares?
I'm sorry, but why is being England Captain such a big deal? I don't get it. Other than getting to shake hands with referee & linesmen more than once, & getting to see the coin toss to pick which ends to play from up close, I don't see the significance.
No other country except England puts such a big emphasis on who the captain is. Germany just chose Schweinsteiger. Experienced player, decent guy. Hopefully good at winning coin tosses. That was probably why he was chosen. Makes sense. Yet no mention is made of him needing to be Captain Awesome on the field. Just go out, shake some hands, pose for photos. When the whistle blows, you're just a player again, trying to win the game with your team.
If anyone can explain to me why Rooney being made Captain will somehow affect his game or England's game positively, I would love to hear it. Really didn't help much against Norway tonight.
Nathan, (#JFT25) Cape Town
...Loathed as I am to be proved right, last night was a classic example as to why Rooney is not, and never will be, captain material. As mentioned in the scoreless ratings (something I appreciate more and more as I read almost arbitrary numbers being attached to players) being captain requires more than pointing, shouting and wearing an armband. Your captain steps up when the team is playing poorly, it's almost guaranteed that when England are poor Rooney is poor, but it is not a given that when Rooney is poor England are poor. Last night needed someone to step up and take the game by the scruff but barring Sterling nobody looked like they gave a jot, and that is where a captain earns his salt and vinegar in my books. Rooney was simply plain. Those of us not blinded by caps and goals against minnows see it clearly.
All things considered level Rooney starts, he has the capability of producing that bit of magic to score and potentially win the game, apparently, (I saw an old clip on a video tape so it must be true) but as I have said he is simply not leadership material. My Roy, and to an extent Van Haal, took the bold decision to make Rooney their captain. I wonder if they can show courage and be brave and strip him of that captaincy. It'll take balls, but it is the right thing to do for England. For Man U too, but that's none of my business.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
United's Hindsight Spending
I thought I would do my 'in hindsight' best squad for Man Utd based on the idea of this is how they should of spent their £150-£160 million over Summer when other teams managed to pick up some bargains. The wage bill might be a bit steep....
GK: De Gea / Valdes
RB: Rafael / Sagna
CB: Jones / Agger
CB: Lovren / Evans
LB: Moreno / A. Cole
MC: Kroos / Xabi Alonso
MC: Fabregas / Lampard
LW: Griezmann / Januzaj
RW: Sanchez / Valencia
AMC: Mata / Rooney
FW: Falcao / Van Persie
Is anyone else picking out their hindsight dream teams or signings they're gutted to of missed out on?
Use The Proper Name
It being the middle of an England game, I thought I would take the time to ask something of your readership and youse all as well on a subject that has resolutely and mercifully nothing whatsoever to do with the England senior men's team, or international football in general.
That is: why do newspapers and other media outlets call branded stadia, training grounds etc. by their 'new', sponsored names? Carrington, United's training ground, has suddenly become the AON Training Complex. Do they have to do this? Can't they just continue calling is Carrington and letting the club itself trumpet its own silly new name? They pay to plaster the name all over whatever it is - look at the pictures of Falcao outside Carrington. Isn't that enough? Let them call it Billy Big Bollocks and His Massive Tool-Shed if they like - I don't understand why everyone else has to do likewise.
We often hear that if you ignore someone or something then they will go away. Likewise, if you constantly listen or repeat something, it will spread. So unless compelled by some powerful force, I honestly don't understand what causes the media to stop calling it a spade the moment some executive send them an e-mail asking them to call it a Chevrolet Digging Expressionista, or a Cadbury's Super Trowel, or whatever it may be.
Lionel Blair, AFC
More Than A Phelan
Gratifying as Mike Phelan's continued interest in United's transfer dealings is, I do wonder how much credibility a man who bears significant responsibility for the departure of Pogba can have when pontificating about the under-use of talented youth players.