Lesson from Neymar: Turn up (or go on a rollercoaster)…

Date published: Monday 13th November 2017 12:04

Ney bother
Remember when the Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel wrote that Eric Dier was the problem with modern football because he did not remember who won the World Cup in 2014. You should remember – it was only on Friday.

Well, he’s back on Monday. And he is not giving up…

‘In an age when international football appears to be losing its relevance, when England can field a captain who did not know who won the last World Cup, and an Englishman would have more chance of managing his country than an elite club in the Premier League, it is a thing of beauty, the feeling some of the best players in the world have for Brazil.’

The article appears under the headline: ‘What England can learn from £200m Neymar…Brazil’s mega-stars always turn up for duty’.

It begins:

‘Even as coach of Brazil, Tite is not without problems. The huge expectancy of a football-obsessed public, the distance between his country and the European bases many of his players call home. One issue that affects England manager Gareth Southgate, however, Tite would not recognise.

‘His players turn up. Wherever the game, however they may feel, Brazil’s international footballers show. Even their greatest, Neymar.’

So ‘wherever the game, however they may feel’. Remember those words. Samuel continues…

‘Those buying tickets for the visit of Brazil to Wembley on Tuesday had no idea of the England team Southgate would be able to field – and they sure as hell won’t have predicted the one that will probably walk out – but they could have staked the price of admission on Neymar’s presence.’

‘It may help that Brazil now travel the world like the Harlem Globetrotters and are as likely to be found in northern France as Rio de Janeiro.

‘Yet in the two years of friendly matches before the 2014 World Cup, Brazil visited countries such as Sweden, Switzerland and England twice, played in Hamburg, Washington, Dallas, New Jersey, Malmo, Buenos Aires, Wroclaw, London, Geneva, Santa Cruz, Basle, Boston, Seoul, Beijing, Miami, Toronto and Johannesburg – as well as numerous Brazilian locations -and there his name is on the team sheet time and again: Neymar, Neymar, Neymar.’

Superstar player Neymar did indeed play in every game for Brazil in the lead-up to the 2014 World Cup, which was of course due to be held in Brazil. And that scenario should absolutely definitely be compared with Danny Drinkwater (three England caps) declining a call-up – when recovering from injury – to sit on the bench for England.

But why talk about what Neymar did in 2013 when we can talk about what Neymar did in 2017, Martin?

So while his Brazilian teammates were in Melbourne facing Argentina and Australia this summer, where was Neymar, who turns up ‘wherever the game, however he may feel’?

Why, he was doing trick shots on US television and riding rollercoasters at Six Flags theme park.

Apparently, he ‘was excused from national duty after an arduous season at the Nou Camp’. Poor boy. He not only missed two international friendlies but the one-year anniversary of Brazil’s 2016 Copa America embarrassment; he missed that particular tournament after Barcelona stamped their feet and demanded their asset took a rest.

Wherever the game, however they may feel, you say?

But at least Neymar will remember who won the World Cup in 2014. Clue: It wasn’t Brazil.

 

Spoiler alert
Mediawatch does not want to ruin this for anybody tempted by this headline on the Daily Mirror website…

‘What Manchester United players have been up to during the international break’

…but the answer is that some of them trained and some of them went on holiday.

 

Shirt shop expects to sell shirts!
Even for The Sun Online’s Daniel Cutts (Twitter bio: Online Gubbins @TheSun), his latest Manchester United exclusive really is something sodding special.

And here it is:

‘MANCHESTER UNITED have stocked up on Zlatan Ibrahimovic replica shirts at their club shop in preparation for his imminent return.’

Yes, Daniel Cutts can ‘exclusively’ reveal that the Manchester United club shop are expecting to sell shirts bearing the name of one of Manchester United’s star players. How the hell does he get hold of this pure gold? Mediawatch would have presumed that a successful retail outlet would not be in the slightest bit prepared for the return of a player who was second only to Paul Pogba last year in terms of worldwide Premier League shirts sold.

But then Mediawatch does not have an ‘Old Trafford source’. Which is why we had absolutely no idea that United had resurfaced a private road into their training ground.

 

Glove times two
It’s the Monday of international week and we know it’s hard; we have spent the weekend trying to find something to write about too. But The Sun, with all of their resources and their contacts, should be able to come up with a back page that is better than one that ‘showcases’ some incredibly anodyne Gareth Southgate quotes (are there any other kind?). And more than that, showcases them in a really quite misleading way.

According to Neil Ashton, ‘England’s head coach has admitted for the first time (Joe) Hart is no longer guaranteed to be top pick in Russia’. Well, what he has actually said is that “we are all aware that there is really good competition for places in that area of the pitch”.

Pretty forgettable quotes unless you are desperate for a back page. And unless you have entirely forgotten what Southgate said in August when asked who was his No. 1:

“It is a good question, because we have real competition now. Joe is in place now – in that he was No1 in our last qualifying game. We have competition for places in every area of the pitch. What we have got in the goalkeeping area are players who really believe they could be the No 1 and so that is of course a challenge for Joe.”

That sure sounds like Gareth Southgate was saying that Joe Hart is not guaranteed to be top pick in Russia. In August.

 

Dear Stan…
Stan Collymore is a man very easily pleased. Or at least that’s what they used to say in Cannock Chase country park.

He watched England on Friday night and wrote in the Daily Mirror:

‘One of the biggest gripes we’ve had in recent years has been how players can look so good for their teams and so average, sometimes poor, with England.

‘Loftus-Cheek, Abraham, Pickford, Jake Livermore – they all replicated the form they have shown in the Premier League to earn their call-ups in the first place.

‘That’s all any England fan wants to see. If Livermore is a six or seven out of 10 for West Brom every week, then they expect him to be the same at international level.’

Mediawatch simply cannot find fault with that idea: Pick an average footballer so that when he plays average football your expectations have exactly been met.

Thanks Stan.

 

Advice of the day
From Jamie Redknapp of the Daily Mail to Ruben Loftus-Cheek:

‘But let me say this – he needs to do it more often. He can’t sit back and say, ‘That’s it, I’ve arrived’.’

Evidence that Ruben Loftus-Cheek is thinking anything of the sort: Absolutely none.

 

The Armstrong and Armstrong Show

 

Recommended reading of the day
Jon Cotterill on Brazilian manager Tite
Gabriele Marcotti on Italy and more
Nick Miller on Britishness in football


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