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Ahead Of The Curve
'It is a learning curve for me and is something which is certainly different and something I am enjoying." In his new column for the Express & Star, Kevin Phillips discusses being given his first role on the coaching ladder.

"I'm having to start at the bottom and work my way up," Phillips claims.

There are 24 levels in the English football pyramid. Phillips' first coaching job is with Premier League side Leicester City. The mind boggles.


Bale Out
'SUPERBALE!' screams out the headline in the Daily Mail, above a glowing tribute to Real Madrid's Welshman ahead of the Super Cup in Cardiff on Tuesday evening. It's a piece that could best be described as an 'Ode to Gareth'.

'The veins in Gareth Bale's legs jumped out when he walked on to the pitch at the Cardiff City Stadium and the muscles in his biceps rippled when he caught a stray ball from the boot of Toni Kroos,' Ashton begins. Someone's impressed/aroused.

'He is ripped, down to just six per cent body fat after spending the summer working on a conditioning programme that has produced some spectacular results.Bale's position in this team feels secure, with 22 goals in his debut season justifying the decision to spend a world-record £85million to sign him from Tottenham. On Tuesday night, when he runs out in front of 20,000 supporters, he will be King of Cardiff.' The current Lord Mayor isn't going to be too happy.

'One day, Bale could rule the world. On Tuesday evening they will come to salute one of their own, bulging muscles and all.' Mediawatch is fanning itself down.

Bale's rise to prominence at Real, culminating with his Champions League final goal, perhaps shows the danger in writing off players before they have had time to settle at a club. As Ashton knows only too well.

'Bale's career at the Bernabeu makes grim reading so far,' Ashton wrote in October. 'There is concern over Bale's ability to adapt... Little wonder, then, that stories about Manchester United making a move to bring the forward back to English football have already resurfaced.' Bale had been in Spain for just eight weeks and seen only 181 minutes of La Liga action.

Keep going on about those muscles, Neil. He might yet forgive you.


A Hole In Every Goal
'EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea make Remy enquiry following Drogba injury' read the tweet from Goal.com late on Monday evening.

It made Mediawatch raise its eyebrows, partly because Jose Mourinho is already struggling to reduce the number of foreign players within his squad, and partly because signing a new striker would be a bold move given that Drogba may well be fit for Chelsea's first match of the season against Burnley on Monday.

However, Mediawatch is aware that it should know better before being surprised. Here are a sample of some other 'Goal EXCLUSIVE' transfer stories this summer.

'EXCLUSIVE: Hull City agree deal for Arsenal defender Jenkinson' - July 28.

'EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal open talks over Schneiderlin move' - July 18.

'EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea have stepped up their pursuit of £60m-rated Juve midfielder Paul Pogba' - June 28.

'EXCLUSIVE: Arsene Wenger to hold Mario Balotelli talks ahead of £25m Arsenal move' - June 18.

'EXCLUSIVE: Louis van Gaal wants Patrice Evra to stay at Manchester United' - May 20.

Not sure QPR fans should be losing sleep just yet.


No Sanchez, Click Party
Mediawatch isn't stupid (don't). We know that Adrian Durham leaving Alexis Sanchez out of his five best signings of the summer is a deliberate ploy, because the Daily Mail website can sell the piece on that nugget and then garner all the clicks they like. And they have done exactly that.

Instead, Durham has chosen the likes of Enner Valencia and Calum Chambers over the Chilean, with the words of Valencia particularly fascinating.

'Some might look at this signing and think it's a knee-jerk reaction to a player having a good World Cup with Ecuador, but Valencia's ability was talked about widely before the tournament got underway.'

Fair play. Mediawatch didn't have Durham down as a fan of the Ecuadorean Serie A or Copa Libertadores last-16.

Bojan Krkic is No. 1 on Durham's list, described as hoping to become 'the new Crouchy rather than the new Messi'. Hmmm.

'Bojan is 23 this month - he's still young. If he can recapture the form he was showing at the Nou Camp as a teenager, then it could be brilliant for all at the Britannia Stadium,' Durham concludes.

Bojan is indeed 23 this month, but he's also 24, having been born in August 1990.


Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes
Today is also the day for Adrian Durham's Premier League predictions on the Daily Mail website.

The headline news is that Manchester City will win nothing this season, with Durham never afraid to stick the boot in on Manuel Pellegrini.

'With the squad they had, and the changes at other clubs, City should have won the title by 10-12 points last season, but in the end only clinched it because Chelsea dropped points late in the campaign against Villa, Palace, Norwich and Sunderland, while Liverpool lost to Chelsea and slipped up at Crystal Palace,' Durham begins.

You're right of course, Adrian. Because City clearly didn't have to deal with 'changes' of their own last season, given that they had a new manager (coaching in England for the first time) and five new players in the first-team squad. Presumably that doesn't count.

'Manuel Pellegrini gets his sides playing decent football, but that can only take you so far. On Sunday he changed nothing when Arsenal were outplaying the champions from the first minute,' he continues. So City's performance in the Community Shield means they will end the season empty-handed.

'The unhappiness of Yaya Toure this summer has smacked of everything that was wrong with the latter part of the Roberto Mancini era at the Etihad,' Durham concludes. 'And his handling of the goalkeeper situation is nothing short of bizarre.'

Yes indeed. Refusing to give in to player power and thus keeping hold of his best performer, forcing him into a public pledge of loyalty, and providing increased competition for his goalkeeper. Both are hallmarks of poor management alright. Someone prepare the P45.


Headline Of The Day

'Klopp Idols' - Maybe that Daily Mirror's headline is just one of our guilty pleasures.


Understatement Of The Day

"I saw [Nelson Mandela] in the tunnel but never got the chance to meet him, which is a regret I suppose ... We met Shakira, which is not quite the same" - Howard Webb.


Non-Football Story Of The Day

'A yob who tormented young women on a night out by repeatedly brandishing his "extremely realistic" penis key ring has been sentenced - without the need for an embarrassing identity parade.

'Witnesses to Dean Middlemiss' drunken antics - leading to his arrest by PC Geoff Bone in Berwick-upon-Tweed on November 30 last year - thought it was the 26-year-old's real genitalia on show, leading to a charge of exposure which the defendant denied.

'Prosecutors at Newcastle Crown Court instead accepted an admission to outraging public decency, reports the Newcastle Chronicle .

'Prosecutor Rod Hunt said: "The defendant's movements with the penis were so realistic that we were at a loss on whether it was his penis or an artificial one.

'"As a possible trial drew near we decided to accept an additional charge of outraging public decency, and this has avoided a potential identity parade. Nobody wanted that"' - Daily Mirror

Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotter Ed. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at theeditor@football365.com, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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