The Page That Is In The End Game

Ross Barkley is the theme of the summer, and Scholes couldn't possibly know if Rooney's past his peak...

Last Updated: 06/06/14 at 12:40

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Rooney Rage
If you believed the papers on Friday, you'd think it was all-out war between Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes, with the following headlines exaggerating the striker's response to his former teammate's claim that he may be past his peak.

'ROONEY RAGE...England star raps Scholes for saying he faces the axe' - blasts the Daily Mail.

'SHUT IT, SCHOLES...Roo stunned by Paul jibes' - The Sun.


Rooney's comments were completely innocuous, of course, with the striker merely saying that he isn't interested in Scholes' opinion as he bids to impress Roy Hodgson ahead of England's opening game against Italy.

What intrigues Mediawatch, though, is Rooney's insistence that Scholes couldn't possibly know if he's past his best, because he didn't work with the striker when he returned to Manchester United as a coach in the last few weeks of the season.

"He's been a team-mate but he's been away from the first team for a long time," said Rooney. "I've seen a lot of people saying he's coached me and been around the team but he hasn't."

That's all well and good, but does Scholes really need to work with Rooney on the training ground to tell if he's still at the height of his powers? Or could he just be watching him play like the rest of us?

Schurrle, You Can't Be Serious?
Andre Schurrle continues to dazzle the Daily Mail with his superstar lifestyle, reportedly lamenting London property prices.

The Chelsea forward - who famously 'enjoyed a dinner date' with his girlfriend in May - is currently house-hunting in the capital, which has piqued the Mail's interest.

'Andre Schurrle slams London property market (despite earning millions at Chelsea),' stirs the MailOnline's headline with its intention to arouse resentment. What right does a millionaire have to complain about anything?

But you won't be surprised to learn that Schurrle doesn't have anything controversial - or even interesting - to say, despite the gossiping in the Mail's sports section.

"I am still looking for a suitable property," Schurrle told Bild. "In London, prices are constantly rising, but it really makes little sense to constantly pay the high rents."

Wow, he's really kicking off, isn't he? Does he know how much the rest of us have to live on? The selfish b*stard.

Nanna Martinez
Given the complete lack of controversy surrounding England's World Cup preparations, it wasn't a surprise to see the papers jump on Roy Hodgson for his fairly harmless reaction to Ross Barkley's performance against Ecuador.

The implication from the press pack in Miami was that Hodgson had hung the youngster out to dry, when in reality he was only preaching caution as journalists get carried away with Barkley's rise.

The Daily Mail continue the story on Friday, with Neil Ashton phoning Roberto Martinez to ask the Everton manager's thoughts on Barkley's display, which are a little different than the headline suggests.

'MY ROSS IS A GEM, ROY...Martinez responds to Hodgson criticism by hailing brilliant Barkley,' is the Mail's angle, which makes Martinez sound like he could be Barkley's grandmother.

'Barkley's decision-making has become a discussion point after Roy Hodgson's fumbled attempt to deflect some of the attention from the youngster,' writes Ashton, using that familiar hack's trick of discussing a 'discussion point' without acknowledging that he's the cause of said discussion point.

So, what was Martinez's big response to Hodgson? What did he say to warrant this story being dragged on for another day?

"We have to allow him room to develop and let's not put too much pressure on him.

"We just need to calm things down a bit and don't expect too much from him. I've seen what Roy had to say after the game, but I think he was just trying to protect him a little bit."

Ah, so he basically agrees with Hodgson's approach? So much for the England manager's fumbling.

'Why keep Barkley on the bench when he could be a star of the tournament?' asks Robbie Savage in the Daily Mirror of a player who has just one international start.

'Why worry that he might have a shocker, a four out of 10 performance, when there is as much chance that he will be a nine-out-of-10, a genuine game-changer?'

Hmmmm. Doesn't it also make sense to have a genuine game-changer on the bench for those occasions when the game, y'know, needs changing?

As Roberto Martinez said in May (and Mediawatch thinks he knows Barkley a bit better than Savage): "We shouldn't expect Ross Barkley, at the age of 20, to go into a World Cup and be someone who has to win games single-handedly. That would be very wrong.

"Whatever they (the young players) bring to this World Cup is a bonus. We should be looking further ahead to see the results of these youngsters."

Build Them Up, Knock Them Down
If you hadn't guessed it already, Ross Barkley is going to be the running theme in the papers this summer, and you know how much The Sun's Steven Howard loves a running theme.

Under the headline 'DON'T PUT FEAR IN ROSS, ROY...You'll wreck our whizkid', Howard writes:

'Roy Hodgson is playing a very dangerous game with Ross Barkley.

'If he goes on picking holes in Barkley's performance - as he did after England's 2-2 draw with Ecuador on Wednesday - he could cause serious damage to the 20-year-old's confidence and development.

'Instead of Ross Barkley, we could end up with Dross Barkley.'

Yes, and Mediawatch can't at all envisage The Sun rebuking Barkley - and Hodgson for selecting him - if the youngster played and made a costly mistake in Brazil.

'Yes, Barkley is only 20. But he's a match-turner,' Howard continues.

'Michael Owen was just 18 when he was let loose at France 98. You wonder whether Hodgson would have the guts to do it.'

Well, he's put him in the f**king squad hasn't he, Steven? And played him for 84 minutes in the second of three warm-up matches. So it certainly looks like he 'has the guts'.

Mediawatch should also point out that Michael Owen played just 23 minutes of England's first two matches at France 98, before we eat our own heads at Howard's claim that Hodgson is 'putting off until tomorrow what he should be doing today'.

He Was On The Plane
'Missing out on a World Cup is the most devastating thing in football,' writes Andros Townsend in his World Cup column for The Sun.

'And it is good news that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should only sit out the opener against Italy. As there is nothing more painful in the game than getting sidelined for the world's biggest tournmament. I know this from my own bitter experience.

'When I injured my ankle - ruling me out of Brazil - I fwas gutted and down in the dumps. It took me a while to come to terms with it. So I can imagine how worried Alex must be now.'

We can all agree that it was a huge shame for Townsend to suffer his unfortunate injury, but he writes in The Sun as though he would have been guaranteed a place were it not for his ankle knack.

Considering he started only two Premier League matches following England's friendlies against Chile and Germany in mid-November, Mediawatch thinks that was very unlikely indeed.

Said David Moyes: "I got my real first taste of the Champions League this year and I thought I showed I can manage at that level."

Yes, David, but it would help if you could balance it with three other competitions.

Quote Of The Day
"My job is to score goals and listen, it doesn't matter if I score goals or if it's Longy [Shane Long] or Wes [Hoolahan] or whoever it is among the other strikers, the important thing is winning games and certainly if we can score more goals than the opposition, then we have a good chance" - there are no flies on Robbie Keane.

"He's decisive in his decision making" - Phil Neville on Ryan Giggs. Easy, this football lark.

'What Year Is It?' Story Of The Day
'The ladies behind the legends: Meet the squad of the top 23 WAGs who will be supporting their men at the World Cup' - the Daily Mail.

Childish Giggle Of The Day
'Murray not overawed by Nadal semi' - BBC.

Worst Headline Of The Day
'BARKLEY CARD' - the Daily Mirror, accompanied by a picture of Ross Barkley on a Barclaycard. We have no idea why.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A vain Malaysian man who ordered a penis enlarger online was stunned when the device was delivered - a magnifying glass!

'To add insult to injury the magnifying glass came with an instruction that would at least prevent the man from causing injury to himself. It read: Do Not Use in Sunlight.

'The victim of an elaborate scam, which cost him the equivalent of £100 for a £5 magnifyer has been named only as Ong, the chairman of Malaysia's customer complaints bureau, Mr Seri Michael Chong, told The Star newspaper.

'As you can imagine, he is feeling rather disgruntled,' said Mr Chong' - the Daily Mail.

Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Neil Cozens, Michael McElwee, Brian Burns and everyone who sent the BBC headline. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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