Send your thoughts to email@example.com. Ta.
Luke Shaw is England’s best player
There’s been a few people coming out saying “Is Luke Shaw that good?”, “What has he proved?”, “He’s not fit enough to wipe sh*t off Ashley Cole’s boots” etc.
Utter tosh. Luke Shaw is England’s BEST player (yes, I said it). The boy has so much talent and match winning ability it’s ridonk, and he’s a bloody Left Back. He’s been unfortunate with injury but give him time to recover, he will prove me right. He’s already playing like the trooper he was pre-injury, after just a handful of games.
Problem is, I do like Danny Rose too. Shame he isn’t fit enough to wipe sh*t off Luke Shaw’s boots.
I’m halfway through my B Liicence in the football cultural backwater of Australia (insert one-liner here). I’m not the greatest coach, and will never buy a property in Marbella of the back of my football coaching prowess, but three days later after the event, I’m still gobsmacked by the words of Sam Allardyce.
How a national team manager has no role outlined for a player’s position is beyond me. Quite simply, it works like this:
A coach outlines his playing style and philosophy for the team. For example, our national team play possession based football looking to push back the opponent and create scoring opportunities through effective combination play in central areas and creating overloads on the wings.
From there, players are designated roles based on the main moments of football, namely in possession, out of possession and in the two moments of transition. Each position is given player roles and tasks. It’s no more than a job description. Here’s a link to an outline just sent to some local youth players about to tour Fiji.
Anyway, I’ve sent this just to highlight where smaller football nations like Australia are at. If a manager can’t outline his vision, philosophy, team tasks, player roles and responsibilities makes said manager totally unqualified for the role.
But this is the point. Allardyce knows all this but refuses to explicitly state it. Which means he is overawed by the role and the players he is being asked to train, and he’s let one/some of them have carte blanche. And as a teacher, I can tell you, if you can’t control the group, you are doomed to fail.
The bigger issue here is why does the England national team not have a prescribed philosophy and playing style? And if not, why aren’t questions being asked?
Because if small time coaches like me can see it, but others at the centre of a billion pound industry cannot or will not speak up, something is very rotten. To finish, just ask yourself, what is the England national team’s prescribed playing style? Coz down here we know exactly what we are doing. And for a football powerhouse (culturally, historically and economically) it’s just not good enough. Over to you mailboxers.
(1982 and still waiting)
Liverpool strength in depth
Following your recent article and the comments from Lucas about how much strength in depth Liverpool have I thought I’d rejig the line-ups a little bit. I don’t see why you left Sakho out completely, despite Klopp’s comments he would clearly still play him if he’s fit enough and other defenders are unavailable. I also think Moreno will return to the first XI at some point, there has to be some reason they didn’t buy a new left-back and he is pretty good going forward. So I came up with this –
Karius – Clyne Lovren Matip Moreno – Lallana Can Wijnaldum – Mane Firmino Coutinho
Mignolet – Milner Klavan Sakho Gomez – Henderson Lucas Grujic – Origi Sturridge Ings
Should someone from the first team be unavailable I don’t think I’d look at any of those reserves and worry about their quality, especially in attack. So I’d agree with Lucas that Liverpool do have strength in depth and disagree with you that they don’t “fare all that well”.
So there you go.
Jose Enrique is Ja Rule
Where in the world has Jose Enrique disappeared to? Liverpool released him at the end of last season-happily removing his wages from their books considering he spent more time posting on social media than playing football. I always assumed he was seeing out his contract knowing that he would never be able to get the approximately 80 000 a week elsewhere and would find himself a new club in the lower reaches of the Premier League or return to La Liga. But Jose has, as of yet, not resurfaced this season.
Let’s not forget that in the current climate the left back barrel isn’t exactly overflowing with decent options. Perhaps calling Enrique ‘decent’ is taking things a bit far but he impressed at Newcastle as a young, foreign import and was undoubtedly an improvement on Konchesky when he first arrived at Anfield. After 2 years off witnessing Moreno’s defensive brain-farts, perhaps Kopites look back at those early days of Enrique, in a shirt 2 times too small for him, chipping balls down the channel for Suarez to chase, with the merest hint of nostalgia.
Which naturally brings me onto Ja Rule. A young Jeffrey Atkins burst onto the New York rap scene in the late 90’s and had numerous top 20 hits, even gaining a Grammy nomination for “Always on Time” feat Aaliyah (the musical equivalent of getting the assist for Suarez’s absolute worldie vs Newcastle). Things went downhill for our Jeff after getting into beef with 50 Cent, Eminem, and their respective G-Unit and Shady Records crews. Eventually in 2010 he was sentenced to years behind bars for gun charges and now is a complete non-entity in the rap game.
All I’m saying, Jose, is its a slippery slope you find yourself on.
Osric the Brave (Has anyone actually seen them in the same room together?), Cape Town
Glenn Whelan > Eoin
Glenn Whelan being a terrible player seems to be a well trodden route for simple football folk.
Can’t pass. Can’t tackle. Can’t do this. Can’t do that. There’s better out there than him. Blah Blah Blah Blah.
That would be Glenn Whelan, premier league footballer. Glenn Whelan 270 Premier league games. Glenn Whelan 73 caps for Ireland. Glenn Whelan, talismanic Stoke midfielder.
People seem to forget that Whelan is in the top 1% of all footballers in the world. An incomprehensible feat considering all the fly by night mercenaries who come and go on the shores of England.
Countless players have come in to replace Whelan over the last 10 years but none have bettered him. Much like walters, his drive and determination along with his ability have shown up 10-15 million pound signings regularly and consigned them to the bench.
Ireland are lucky to still have a decent player at a premier league level who is consistent, metronomic if you will. His experience is invaluable and the areas of the pitch he covers can be phenomenal. He’s not roy keane. He’s not Makelele, he never claimed to be. He is good and he is solid and he is in there to do the running around bit and the cover bit for Ireland as our 2 touches and launch the ball forward tactic plays out to an inevitable anti-climax. Ireland will be worse off when he announces his retirement and he won’t get an ounce of credit for his achievements. As an Irishman, I am disgusted at this. He shuns the Irish media and fans in general because they are a pricks like you who deride his efforts. Man of the match on so many occasions, singlehandedly had the beating of France in 2009, only for The Irish team to throw it away when he came off. A great servant to both club and country, when he drags us to the world cup in 2 years time and you again overlook everything he does for the team, I will happily watch as you bend over and shove your mail up your hoop.
Glenn is good.
Gaz (I suppose you think the sun shines out of Ciaran Clarks Arse too), Cork
The forgotten man
Remember Kim Kellstrum? I had totally forgotten he signed for Arsenal in 2014.
Maybe the most Arsenal signing ever. During his medical a back injury was discovered that would keep him out of action for a month of his 6 month loan deal and Arsenal signed him anyway. He played 3 times in 6 months.
Mark (He was super talented in fairness) Williamson
Best positional changes
Given all the Rooney chat about changing his position it got me thinking about all the players who have had significant positional changes throughout their career. I find it interesting as these players, often in their early 20s, must have been playing a certain position throughout their teenage years and development and were clearly good enough to make it to the top level but then it turns out they can do a completely different job a bit better.
Some of my favourite examples:
Gareth Bale – a left back to a mainly right-sided attacker. Crazy!
Andrea Pirlo – if I’m not mistaken Pirlo was a pretty good number 10 in his youth and then Ancelotti got hold of him and converted him into a regista, and it turns out he was pretty good.
Moussa Dembele – started as a striker and has been slowly but surely been getting deeper and deeper and better and better.
Eric Dier – early days but defence to midfield seems like a good idea by Poch.
Bastian Schweinsteiger – again I could be mistaken but I’m sure Bastian was an attacking midfielder with a bit of trickery in his youth, the German Joe Cole if you will. Like Pirlo he clearly had the intelligence to become a holding midfielder/deep lying playmaker.
Danny Rose – a left winger converted to a pretty decent left full back.
Alan Smith – maverick striker to holding midfielder…it didn’t work, sorry Fergie.
Chris Sutton and Dion Dublin – did I dream it or did these two play in defence later in their careers at Celtic? I know Dubes played defence a bit when he was younger.
Paul Warhurst – Ok, bit of a cheat one here as he played all over, but that period when he was banging them in for fun at Wednesday in 1993…glorious.
There must be loads of other betters ones that I’ve not thought of…
16 conclusions on Arsenal’s legends
Just so we can talk about something other than England, I thought I’d share some thoughts on the Arsenal game on Saturday.
In case you missed it, a team of Arsenal Legends (plus Justin Hoyte and Luis Boa Morte) took on Milan Glorie at The Emirates in order to raise money for the Arsenal Foundation. Here are some notes…
· Kanu (who still claims to be 40!) scored himself a hat trick after stating before the game that he was going to do exactly that. The crowd then chanted for Wenger to sign him up.
· Freddie Ljungberg set up Robert Pires to score, a moment which genuinely gave me goosebumps.
· Arsenal started the game with 12 on the pitch, before Kanu realised that he was meant to start on the bench. Referee Howard Webb missed that one.
· Pascal Cygan (drafted in at late notice with Giles Grimandi to replace Henry and Bergkamp) had a cracking game. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.
· Despite the lack of Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira and Adams, there were still plenty of decent former Gunners on show. Overmars, Petit, Seaman, Winterburn, Gilberto, Limpar and Keown to name a few all played.
· Milan also had plenty of former stars of their own on show. Dida, Costacurta, Desailly, Boban and Vieri all played. Unfortunately, Maldini stayed benched for the whole game so we didn’t get to see him which was a shame.
· There was a moment of comedy gold when Winterburn slid into Paolo Di Canio and the two players squared up to each other causing Winterburn to stumble back and fall over, a la Paul Allock in 1998. Winterburn said after the game that they’d arranged to do it, and it got a great reaction from the crowd.
· Speaking of the crowd, the announcer claimed it was a sell out but there were still plenty of empty seats, which is a shame as those who didn’t turn up missed a cracking game.
· After scoring twice, there was no doubt who was going to take the penalty which was given after Pires was brought down in the box. Kanu’s stop-start run up had me worried but he waited for Dida to move before cooly slotting the ball home.
· Kanu, who found himself in the box defending tackled a Milan player and went on a mazy run all the way up the pitch before the move broke down, which was a pity as it would have been a cracking solo goal. He did this right after I observed to my mate that he (Kanu) was still a lazy bastard.
· Mrs N, being taken to her first game at The Emirates, asked my why we were booing Kanu whenever he did something. Bless her.
· David Seaman made a couple of decent saves in the first half, while Jens Lehman saved a penalty at the death. Unfortunately he couldn’t save the rebound, but it was great seeing the mad bastard back in goal for Arsenal.
· Watching Marc Overmars charge up and down the wing was a sight to behold. Unfortunately his hamstring went in the second half after he chased a through ball, so off he limped. Plus ca change.
· Arguably the biggest cheer of the day (aside from the one for the hat trick goal) was reserved for Martin Keown, who came on in the second half. Lee Dixon (who was injured so he didn’t play but he did do interviews) said at half time that Keown had been pestering Wenger all game to let him on the pitch, so Wenger subbed him on, presumably to get some peace and quiet.
· The crowd were fanstastic. Cheers for both sets of players, some pantomime booing for Di Canio and all for a good cause.
· Manu Petit still has beautiful hair.
Nik, Kent Gooner.
Some time ago, someone asked what the buzzwords would be for the season. I invented/stole some. You asked for mails…you didn’t say they had to be good…
Arsaturnine Browsing – Morbid fascination with the pain and misery of Arsenal fans, satisfied by skimming internet articles to go straight to the comments section filled with desperate and despairing Arsenal fans.
Costarific – The joyous celebration of one of your players not getting sent off when they should’ve been, and helping you win the game. “How was Fellaini today?” “Costarific! Elbowed 3 players in the face, and scored the winner off his knee”.
Wengermite – An Arsenal fan who believes that having built a solid base, Arsenal are slowly rising again.
Wengertite – An Arsenal fan who believes that Arsenal have been on a slow decent for the last decade which will continue as long as Wenger is in charge.
Garth Crooksing the s**t out of (credit: The comments section..I think Steve Hyde) – “How’s your motor Dave?” “Wicked mate, I’ve Garth Crooksed the s**t out of it – sold the engine and bought 4 alloys.” “Nice. Is…is that 4 separate spoilers on the back?”
Allardycian period – The time in your life, where free of an authoritarian influence or any responsibilities, you are free to roam and do whatever the hell you like.
Gotze’s Countenance – The unfortunate reality of being disliked, simply for owning a very slappable face. See, also: Ozil, Mesut. Spencer, Phil.
Frizzyescape – The avoidance of red and yellow cards for acts of violence simply by owning hilarious hair. See, Campo, Ivan. Fellaini, Marouane.
Feel free to make up some of your own at home! Or, just stick forks in your leg. Whatever.
Rare Mediawatch love
Just read that article in the mail about Wings
My favourite bit is the picture of Mike Keegan outside, you can see in his eyes he knows he’s reached the pinnacle of sports journalism. It’s all downhill from him.
The staff at San Carlo must be raging.
James F, BCFC KRO.
The Wings piece in the mail was something else.
Can only presume the reclusive Wing paid for it!
Highlights include the fireman mate, somehow knowing Pogba went there as a youth team player and the picture of Wing, Claire Balding and Van Persie.
Keep informing us of the good and bad F365!