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Andrew C writes: “I’m now absolutely convinced that Rooney’s got a clause in his contract stipulating he has to play when fit.”
It seems to be the clearest explanation given Rooney’s dreadful form. The stats don’t lie. His performances not only fall well below the standard of a United captain and Number 9, but to compound it he’s damaging the performances of those around him, slowing up counter attacks and losing possession at crucial moments. In short, he’s no Jamie Vardy.
With that in mind, perhaps a closer look at that infamous contract is merited. Rushed through under Moyes (yes, him again) Rooney’s weekly wage is reported to be circa £250,000 a week, not the £300,000 reported. However, he earns much more via merchandising. And it’s the fact United now control his merchandising that was unprecedented about his contract. This means Manchester United now have a financial imperative to keep him in the team. As Jason Burt illuminated: “the club gets a cut of the profits (of Rooney’s merchandising) and when it goes to talk to sponsors it can offer them not just their brand but their star player also.”
Is this the real problem then? That Rooney is actually too intertwined in United’s precarious business-model to be benched? And are we really awaiting a catastrophic drop in his commercial appeal before he can be banished to the bench?
It’s difficult to believe the lazy assumption of ‘LVG’s stubbornness’ is the sole explanation for Rooney’s continued presence when the Dutch Tulip has brought his influence to bare so effectively elsewhere (defence, midfield) and shown his ruthlessness previously (Rivaldo, Luca Toni) and at United (Van Persie, Di Maria). It seems out of character for him to make Rooney an exception. There has to be more to this than “LVG’s poor judgement” (seriously, he gets most things right).
If any whistle blowers within the club would like to step forth, the floor is yours.
Richard Kovitch, London.
…First things first; congratulations to Middlesbrough. Their game plan was absolutely spot on and, but for a reasonably dodgy offside call, they could have even done it without needing penalties.
We should have had a couple of penalties ourselves but, if we had been awarded (and actually managed to score) them, it would have merely glossed over the fact that we were simply not good enough going forward yet again. That said; I would love to hear the justification for Lee Mason not giving the handball in the Martial incident, particularly seeing as we conceded a very similar one in Europe last week.
Positives: Pereira and Lingard again put in very encouraging performances, and the defence looked pretty solid, the odd dodgy moment aside (Romero is basically the Argentinian Barthez). I thought Fellaini looked pretty decent for the most part as well. Martial again provided the only real goal threat, even from the wing. His direct running and fearlessness in possession are so refreshing. No doubt it won’t be long until those traits are coached out of him.
Negatives: Memphis was massively disappointing again, it seems like he is playing with either no confidence or complete discomfort with the role he’s being asked to fill. Wilson wasn’t given nearly enough time to do anything significant; withdrawing him for Rooney at half time was utterly pointless. The three penalty misses were pathetic. Carrick’s was inexcusable – how can a professional miss the target completely? Young’s and Rooney’s were just not nearly good enough for players who have both been regular penalty takers before.
Now, the big one – Rooney. He literally contributes nothing any more. We might as well have brought off Wilson without replacing him, for all that Rooney did. I am struggling to see any solid contribution that he makes to the team that couldn’t be provided by any other player. Martial simply has to be used for the next 6-8 games as the first choice central striker, because Rooney is clearly not going to be played into form.
If Rooney isn’t dropped in earnest (not “rested”) then it points to the fact that van Gaal’s supposedly giant balls have shrivelled to the size of peanuts. It’s either that or he genuinely can’t coach an attack. Either possibility is a massive worry because at this rate we’ll soon lose pace with the top four and find ourselves out of the Champions League before we know it.
I have a feeling I’ve written in about this before (probably about nine months or so ago), but in reaction to the agreed view of Pundits R Us on Tim Sherwood’s sacking, I’d like to point out that Aston Villa does not exist to further the career of Tim Sherwood, or those of the wider school of British/English managers. Yes, good players leaving makes his job harder, and having to get things right in a very short timeframe is difficult.
But this isn’t how it works, is it? The club isn’t letting our best players leave for a laugh. As for not signing amazing players, if Lerner wants to sell the club – which he OWNS, let’s not forget – then he’s within his rights not to flush £100m down the B6 toilet before he goes.
When we hire a manager, he’s got to deal with what he’s given – standard of players, money available, comings and going, etc.; it’s not up to the club to make his job like Football Manager with the cheats on. Yes, Tim Sherwood may not have caused all of the problems at Villa, but he sure as hell wasn’t solving any of them. So we need someone who can and pronto.
Once you take the view that there are people out there who can do a better job than the manager you’ve got, all of this ‘He Needs More Time!!!’ b*****ks melts away very quickly. If we got the chance to sign Jamie ‘English’ Vardy, I don’t think the Soccer Saturday mob would be banging on about how Jordan ‘foreign’ Ayew needs more time, for example.
As for offering the job to a – gulp – foreigner, well…we send all these Brits on coaching courses and then ignore them…obviously it’s Villa’s responsibility to bet the house on an untested manager when we’re bottom of the league. The fact that all but one of our managers since 1991 have been British/Irish, and – aside from Brian Little, Martin O’Neill, and bits of Big Ron and John Gregory – they’ve all been s*** obviously doesn’t count.
One other thing – ‘Britain’ doesn’t exist in football; why is hiring a French manager any different to hiring an Irish manager? Or a Scottish manager? Or an English manager?
Lay off Lamela
Going to have to take a considerable amount of umbrage with GM, Spurs’ overly negative mail about Lamela being this generation’s Ruel Fox. I could have held off until I saw the bizarre claim that even Xherdan Shaqiri was better, which couldn’t be left unquestioned.
Lamela is in his second proper season of PL football. He is 23 years old. He is very slightly built, which naturally doesn’t help in a physical league. He has looked like a newborn foal for most of last season (no point even mentioning the nine appearances he made in his first season), but I could give numerous examples of players who have taken a full season to properly adapt (some longer).
The boy is still young and learning, has a fantastic attitude and is clearly improving week by week. More importantly, he is contributing with goals and assists on a fairly regular basis, even when not playing particularly well. To write him off after one whole season of PL football as “a mediocre squad player” (played most games this season, and we’re doing ok) is ridiculous short-termism. The equivalent of groans after fifteen minutes of not scoring against a bottom-half team at WHL.
Get some patience and perspective, man. For all of our sakes.
Alex G, THFC
…GM, lets get the facts out the way first…
We overpaid for Lamela
He will probably never be worth £30m
Im guessing you are a proper football man and don’t like this silly foreigner with a stupid haircut, tattoos and coloured boots keeping a “good” honest English pro like Andros out the team.
If one was to take your description of his average game cycle as gospel you might be inclined to wonder why his stats are so good (in comparison to the rest of the squad) Its almost as if you are talking out your arse.
who was our leading assister last season can’t seem to remember…
I do understand though, for proper football men like yourself, a winger needs to be quick and get the ball in the facking box as quickly and as often as possible. The fact that there is a difference between a wing forward and a winger is just hipster nonsense to you.
Its actually hilarious that you appear to be holding his rabona goal ( a rare and special goal) against him, more fancy dan foreign nonsense i suspect
So in conclusion, Lamela isnt a world beater, but he isn’t sh*t either
Can someone let Tim Sutton know that Schweinsteiger did not play last night?
The result, a worse performance against a worse team.
Some nerve of steel
Interesting to see the way Boro fans are being feted in the media this morning for their show of solidarity with British steel workers. This time last year they were at Anfield in the league cup serenading us with ‘sign on, and you’ll never get a job.’
Will this newfound commitment to international brotherhood and workers’ rights be extended to the Evertonians in the next round or is social dislocation and urban decay fair game as long as it’s not on your own doorstep?
Save the schadenfreude for Rooney missing a penalty.
Mike Pearson, Upper Centenary.
Don’t sweat the small stuff with FIFA
Just a quick note regarding the criticism of FIFA this morning from Leon.
While there are many problems embedded in the organisation, I don’t think having a rough idea of where they want the next World Cups to be is one of them. It has always been the practice to try move the World Cup around so every continent has its chance to host the tournament. Other bidding nations are also surely aware of this and know exactly what they’re up against before entering the process.
Since 2002, it has gone Asia, Europe, Africa, South America. Therefore it would not be unreasonable for the next two to go to Europe (Russia) and North America (USA). This obviously doesn’t account for Qatar winning the bid, but that is a completely separate and far worse corruption issue than what is being presented by Leon.
I find it difficult to see a world governing body for football ever functioning in an effective and transparent manner. The best option is to focus on ridding the organisation of more serious issues like bribery and collusion rather than feeling aggrieved that FIFA wishes to host the World Cup in a certain part of the world prior to a vote.
Klopp novelty wearing off?
I’m a big fan of Klopp, he seems crazy and entertaining but with a C.V. that can back up these shenanigans. However, he may be starting to annoy me already. Whilst watching the Liverpool Bournemouth game with my 70 year old Dad last night he chirped up saying, well this bloke’s turning into one of my most hated managers already (In case you’re wondering Pardew is his most hated). I immediately defended Klopp saying how much I liked him and how he was a good addition to the league. His riposte was that he was going absolutely crazy after Liverpool had scored a 1st half goal against Bournemouth in the 4th round of the Coca Cola Cup (Dad also likes to stay a couple of sponsors behind on the league cup). This got me to thinking, what if Sherwood or most hated Pardew jumped around like this in a similar situation? F365 would rip into them without hesitation. I know you seem to be in love with Klopp but keep it balanced. Is he going to do this after every goal? That’s going to get real old real fast.
Rich (inspired by Al) Williams, Dorset
Santa Klaus said he would eat humble pie if Depay turned out to be a quarter (not a fourth, who says a fourth?) of what Ronaldo was and that he is the new Nani.
Nani played 230 games scoring 40 goals and assisted 49 times(in the league), winning 4 league titles, a league cup and a champions league title.
Ronaldo played 292 scoring 118 goals, assisting 46 times (again – just league) while winning 3 league titles, an FA cup, 2 league cups and a Champions league win.
From the stats I would say that Nani was more than a quarter of what Ronaldo was and if he turns out to be ‘just’ the new Nani then that wont be such a disaster.
Ronan (maybe give him a full season before writing him off eh?), LFC, Galway
Tears for Sir Bobby
Can I first start by saying thanks for making me cry at work you bunch of d**ks!
Secondly, Bobby Robson is held in such high esteem in Newcastle, that we still sing about wandering in his wonderland to this day. I remember Bobby’s last appearance at the club when he came out at half time. My memory is probably not correct, but I feel like no one left for a half time pint or pee. We all waited for him to be wheeled out in his wheelchair, a small frail figure. Then we started singing his name. At the point if he had commanded us to war, we would have followed (he is more likely to command us to have cuppa and chat).
If you ever visit us in the Newcastle, go and see the garden and statue….built for a man who won nothing with us but gave us glory and dignity!
Paul (bloody dust in this office is my eye again), Newcastle
Excellent piece on Motty
Hands up who searched ‘Miss Longbenton 1991’?
Alex Stokoe, Newcastle upon Tyne