His Name Is Rio...And He's Caused An Awful Fuss
The papers have got themselves terribly hot and bothered this morning over Rio Ferdinand's withdrawal from the England squad for matches against San Marino and Montenegro.
'SHAMBLES' screams the back page of The Sun, which also predictably claims England are in 'turmoil'. Incidentally, when is a trivial issue ever not 'turmoil' to The Sun?
In an article that doesn't know whether it's more shocked or angry, Shaun Custis writes: 'The Manchester United star's withdrawal immediately cast a dark shadow over England's World Cup qualifying campaign with the unthinkable prospect of not even making it to the 2014 tournament in Brazil.'
We'll stop you right there, Shaun. Ferdinand played a grand total of 178 minutes in England's qualifying campaign for Euro 2012, a qualifying campaign in which Fabio Capello's team didn't lose a match and conceded only five goals in eight games as they topped the group. England haven't relied on him for an awful long time now.
Custis continues, in handy bullet point form:
'* It emerged Hodgson spoke to Ferdinand at the weekend for the first time in 10 months, since he omitted him from Euro 2012.'
Does Ferdinand require special treatment? We imagine Hodgson hasn't spoken to Martin Kelly since the summer either and he was part of the squad in Poland and Ukraine. Not that anyone would remember.
'* Rio had no idea he had been recalled by England until he got a message from Gary Neville.'
Well, Neville is part of the coaching staff and knows Ferdinand better than anyone in the England set-up.
'* Rio still feels deeply wounded by the way he has been snubbed by England...'
Huh. That would seem to contrast with Ferdinand's own thoughts on the matter, which he was keen to express on Monday when his withdrawal was announced:
"It was important for me to be able to speak with Roy face to face and explain the situation, and one thing I made clear was that my passion and commitment to represent my country is as strong as ever. It is disappointing that I won't be able to play a part in the upcoming games but I told Roy that I want to continue to be available for England and I look forward to working with him in the future."
Still, it's no fun when people come to a cordial understanding.
While most of the papers undermine Roy Hodgson's handling of Ferdinand's call-up on Tuesday, Martin Samuel has taken an altogether different approach in The Daily Mail, questioning whether the Manchester United defender could and should have done more to inform the England manager of his training issues.
Samuel's argument hinges on Ferdinand attending a One Direction concert at the weekend, which raises more concerns over the state of his mental health than his body.
'It was not until Sunday night, in fact, that Ferdinand saw fit to inform Hodgson he would not, after all, be available for the matches against San Marino and Montenegro. His intricate, pre-planned programme would not allow it,' writes Samuel.
'One Direction concerts, apparently, are not as stringently monitored because Ferdinand found time to attend one of those at the weekend.
'Traipsing around behind the latest pop fad while the England manager remained in the dark about an impending crisis, Ferdinand seemed to epitomise the self-absorption of so many modern footballers - more Harry Styles than Nobby Stiles.'
Samuel may have a point that Ferdinand could have contacted Hodgson sooner, but we don't need two Jeff Powells at The Mail to tell us that football is going to hell in a handcart. Besides, given the way Nobby Stiles danced on the Wembley turf after England's 1966 World Cup victory, who's to say he isn't also a fan of One Direction?
And as for Samuel's views on Hodgson's reaction to Ferdinand's withdrawal - 'Any anger he may now be feeling, however, was hidden by a statement expressing his understanding of Ferdinand's predicament, his gratefulness at being told face to face and his hope that they would work together in the future' - could he not simply be telling the truth? Why must there always be something 'hidden'?
Sticking With Rio...
Mediawatch found this line from The Mirror's Martin Lipton particularly troubling as it tucked into its Raisin Wheats on Tuesday morning: '...Ferdinand's state of body was not considered worthy of investigation.'
In An Instant
Rio Ferdinand, speaking about the prospect of an England call-up in February: "I'd pack my bags and go straight there."
What he meant to say was that he'd pack his bags, remember his football training reasons, and then quietly unpack them again.
Writes Martin Samuel in The Mail on Rio's withdrawal: 'This is further evidence that Ferdinand is a high maintenance individual and, when the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, appears content simply to turn up and play without fuss or politics, that does not sit well.'
Remember folks, if you're ever unsure of how to act, ask yourself: "What would Messi do?"
Former Times writer Patrick Barclay is rather late to the 'Dream Football League' party, but nevertheless he arrived in style on Tuesday morning.
'Can only endorse judgment of @OliverKayTimes as one of the very best football correspondents. Broadsheet throwback, to be cherished' tweeted Barclay in defence of his ex-colleague.
'When a story goes wrong, the poor sod whose byline is on it should be the last to get the blame.'
'Goes wrong'? The problem is that this story was never right in the first place. And surely the journalist who was seduced by 'just enough plausibility' is exactly the person who should be blamed.
It's no wonder Swansea posted a profit of £14.6million for 2011/12.
A job advert posted by Swans performance analyst Scott Helmich on Twitter details two full-time 11-month unpaid internships that offer a 'fantastic opportunity' for a student or graduate. It's just a shame that 'fantastic opportunities' don't pay the bills.
Headline from the Daily Star: 'Mancini: We Were 'Gutless'.
Quotes from Roberto Mancini: None.
Quotes from a Manchester City 'club source': Plenty.
Worst Headlines Of The Day
'Zlat'll Do Nicely For Beckham' - The Sun stink the place out.
'Dynamic Duo Are Zo Good' - The Daily Star make a mess of Frank Lampard comparing Juan Mata and Eden Hazard to Gianfranco Zola.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A Taiwanese High Court has granted divorce to a 52-year-old woman after she claimed that her husband's five-centimetre penis was too small to satisfy her needs.
'The woman, a civil servant named Zhang, filed for a divorce because her 55-year-old husband didn't just have a small penis, but also impotent. The circumstances meant that the husband, who is also a civil servant surnamed Zhou, failed to "fulfil his responsibility as a husband".
'"His penis is so small, like a kid's, only 5cm long. We've never had sex in our entire marriage," said the woman.
'She added that her husband also failed to comply with their mutual agreement of having intercourse three times a week' - IB Times
Thanks to day's Mediawatch spotters...none of you. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at email@example.com, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.