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Rio the player-pundit reasons why United will win the title, former superstars just won't start at the bottom anymore and we solve a Roberto Martinez mystery...

Last Updated: 20/08/14 at 13:14

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Ri-Only Way Is Up
It may come with little surprise to learn that Rio Ferdinand is backing his former side Manchester United to win the title (as reported in the Daily Express), but Mediawatch did have to laugh at his glorious reasoning.

"Manchester United will win because they have a good manager," Ferdinand said. Because of course Manuel Pellegrini, Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers have proved themselves to be nothing more than charlatans.

Rio also has another reason for United success: "Wayne Rooney is a good choice as captain. This is his 10th year and he will be top scorer in the League this season." Ah yes, the old 'it's his 10-year anniversary so he will score more' argument. Nothing on the rest of the squad, though.

So, what of the title rivals?

"They [Arsenal] have bought well but I just don't know where all their players are going to fit. Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, when he is fit, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski." So, Arsenal are out for having too many good players.

"The biggest problem for Liverpool is that for many of their players, this is the first time they are playing in the Champions League." Indeed, just eight of Liverpool's ten outfield starters on Sunday have played in the competition before.

"I do not see Chelsea winning [the title]." Okay, well at least that's pithy.

And second favourites Manchester City? Nope, no mention at all.

We look forward to more of Rio's impartial thoughts on a TV near you soon.

This Doesn't Look Good, Parker
Strong stuff from former Manchester United defender Paul Parker in his column for the Eurosport-Yahoo website. Parker, presumably the perfect man to judge Manchester United's midfield signings having played as a right-back 18 years ago, gives his take on exactly who United should buy.

'As for who United should bring in,' Parker writes, 'a lot of people have suggested that Angel Di Maria could be the man. I disagree completely. He's totally one-footed - so much so that you always know he'll pause and switch feet when closing on goal - and for the £50 million or so being talked about he's simply far too inconsistent...Di Maria goes missing for several matches at a time.'

Criticising a player for inconsistency who contributed more assists than any other La Liga player last season is an interesting line of attack, but it is his pop at Di Maria's one-footed nature that is most intriguing. Plenty of players have succeeded while hugely favouring one foot.

Don't worry though, because Parker has the alternative to Di Maria.

'I'd suggest United went for a man with real presence in midfield - and I think Alex Song would be an excellent choice.'

One suspects that Parker hasn't seen too many of Song's performances for Barcelona of late.

Slipped Through The Net
In his Daily Mail column on Wednesday, Martin Samuel tackles what he considers to be a significant problem in the modern game, namely former players failing to become managers. Mediawatch rather thought that plenty of former players got jobs in the game, but we must be mistaken.

'Jamie Redknapp says he would like to be a coach one day,' Samuel begins. 'Jamie Carragher has not ruled it out either. Alan Shearer has occasionally talked wistfully about returning. Even Paul Scholes, who says he is not passionate about coaching, refuses to burn his bridges. 'In the next couple of years, who knows?' he says.

'It won't happen. Not for Scholes, not even, in all likelihood, for Redknapp, whose lineage suggests his spiritual home is on a touchline, shouting the odds. Why? They don't need it. No successful modern footballer does. Management is tough. Management is demanding, doubly so when starting at the bottom.

'That is management at the sharp end,' Samuel continues, 'and who would be tempted having earned £100,000 a week? Who would wish to be at Northampton Town instead of Nou Camp, Southend United rather than San Siro?

'Yet to have the best young minds in English football putting the game to rights over a bottle of Rioja is unfortunate for the development of the sport in this country. From Carragher to Stan Collymore, they should, and could, be the next generation of English coaches.'

Mediawatch is confused. Who exactly are we supposed to feel sorry for here? For Redknapp, Shearer and Collymore, who are paid handsomely for media gigs rather than managing? Or for the game itself, which is supposedly missing out on such managerial 'talent'? How can Samuel possibly know if any of those three would make good managers, just because he feels that they talk a good game? Samuel reasons that fellow Daily Mail columnist Redknapp would make a great manager because it is 'in his lineage', so we're looking forward to Darren Ferguson getting the Arsenal job after Arsene Wenger.

Whilst there is certainly an argument that the lure of the sofa may be a temptation, Samuel's supposition that former players are not prepared to drop to League Two to learn their wares is rather beside the point when Kevin Phillips (as an example) can start his coaching career "at the bottom" at Premier League Leicester City. Alan Shearer (Samuel's example, not ours) was given his first job in coaching at Premier League Newcastle United.

Mediawatch would agree that there is a coaching deficiency in this country, but 'former superstar players don't want to manage in League Two' surely comes pretty low down on the list. Since when did that ever happen anyway?

It's A Mystery
Everton manager Roberto Martinez on Ross Barkley's recovery from injury: "His knee has reacted really well to treatment. It's a medial ligament injury and we know that Ross, in terms of the power and the strength that he has in his body, he could easily react to treatment a lot better than other players."

"I don't know where the figure of five months [in the papers] came from but obviously the extent of the injury is a little unsure at the moment because we don't know how the next two weeks are going to develop."

Well, Bobby, we'll help you there, because we know exactly where the mysterious figure of 'five months' came from. Here's what you said on Saturday after the injury was sustained:

"We had a scan but it was difficult to determine the extent of the injury. We know there is a partial tear of the ligament and that could mean anything from seven weeks to four or five months, so we need to be cautious."

That'll do it.

How Rumours Work 'Exclusive', August 11: 'Chelsea have made a shock enquiry for Queens Park Rangers forward Loic Remy following Didier Drogba's injury, Goal understands.', August 20: 'Chelsea cool interest in QPR striker Remy.'

The Most Martin Samuel Quote Of The Day/Week/Year
'Any successful Premier League footballer who is not addicted to gambling, hippie crack or on his third marriage is set up for life.'


Worst Headline Of The Day
'Not Our Bes Night' - The Sun. They didn't even put 'Bes' in red to remind their readers that Arsenal were playing Besiktas. Slipping.

Worst Tagline Of The Ever
'Chew Shirty Rat - Luis In Liverpool Snub' - The Sun. We've all been sick.

Disturbing Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A Croatian nurse dubbed "The Penis Collector" by local media has been arrested for allegedly stealing male genitals from a hospital morgue.

'In Serbia reports a 52-year-old man was arrested in Slavonski Brod on suspicion of possessing human body organs.

'Police say they found jars of human penises soaking in formaldehyde in his apartment.

'Cops suspect the man stole the penises from bodies in the morgue of the hospital where he worked. Police said the suspect has no criminal record and described him as a "family man."

'He has been released from custody pending trial for disturbing the deceased. If convicted, he could face up to two years in jail' - Toronto Sun

Thanks go to Cameron Boyd. If you do spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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eanwhile, England's best U21 players playing with those most likely to be in the senior team from 2020 onwards might increase their chances in those tournaments to a point where they could actually be potential winners. Unlike 2016.

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m not a doctor, but the cause is likely to be crap dancing after scoring. My prognosis is we may need to take that leg off.

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or the time being we just have to focus on the players we do have, Rodgers said. We have to make the best of what is available. Jesus wept!

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