Mails: Pogba? I would rather have Kroos…

Date published: Monday 4th July 2016 9:41

Toni Kroos Paul Pogba

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Pogba? Give me Kroos instead please
At the risk of incurring the wrath of the mailbox, I just don’t see what the fuss over Paul Pogba is. He is obviously a good player, but I’m not sure he’s worth the constant media fawning over him. I definitely don’t think he is worthy of being one of, if not the most expensive footballers ever.

I just don’t think that it’s a great idea to be paying a world record fee for someone who, from what I’ve seen and read, blows hot and cold from week to week. In my opinion, paying that much money for Pogba is only going to end with him failing to live up to the inevitably high expectations. He might play well, he might even be one of the league’s better players, but I’m afraid that neither of those outcomes would be enough for the world’s most expensive footballer. Look at some of the criticism that has been levelled at Gareth Bale since he went to Real Madrid; he has been outstanding in a team full of superstars, yet still regularly gets stick for not being good enough.

I’m sure I will also draw more ire for the players who, if I was in control of United’s transfer business this summer, would be higher on my list: Toni Kroos, Andre Gomes or Blaise Matuidi – in that order. That’s not to say that a) any of them would actually join us, or b) that they are all better than Pogba. I just believe any of those trio, who would all probably cost less than Pogba (£55m quoted for both Kroos and Gomes, not too sure about Matuidi though), would offer better value for money and therefore a better return on the investment.

Moreover, I’m not convinced that you’d get Pogba to see out the full term of his contract, even if we did sign him and he was as brilliant as you’d expect for the fee; in all likelihood he’d be off to Real Madrid or Barca if he hadn’t won the Champions League at least once and been nominated for a Balon D’Or in his first three years. I’m happy for others to disagree and will listen with interest to anyone who can offer better insight, but that’s just my gut feeling.
Ted, Manchester
P.S. While they’re at it, please can someone explain how the really quite rubbish Gignac keeps getting the nod ahead of Martial? I’m not seeing the logic in that one at all!

 

Oh Iceland. But that was fun…
‎Ah that was an awful first half from Iceland. The defensive line was high. So close to the midfield so that any through ball down the middle was so difficult to defend against. Bizarre tactics by the Icelandic manager to keep a high defensive line that so much exposed their goalkeeper. France ruthlessly exploited the space afforded them by the system. And the goalkeeper didn’t help matters. He was indecisive when coming out to punch the high ball that resulted in Giroud’s second goal.

In terms of entertainment it’s among the best matches of this tournament. I absolutely enjoyed it from start to finish. There was plenty of attacking intent from both sides. This was attack against attack unlike the spectacle that Germany and Italy served on the weekend. France still were playing to score more goals after being four goals up after 45 minutes.

Massive credit has to go to Iceland for not giving up. They threw caution to the wind in the second half and attacked France. They were rewarded for their endeavors. Two goals scored from nothing. And if not for the ref could have scored a third.

In the end, the final scoreline was respectable and less humiliating than it was turning out to be at first. Iceland absolutely exposed France’s defensive frailty in the second half. Up until this stage, I believe France have enjoyed a favorable draw. Their opponents in the group stages hardly posed a threat. ‎The draw against Germany will really show us what this France team is all about.

The Iceland fans were absolutely fantastic. Never stopped supporting their team despite being battered. They still cheered them on. That’s beautiful. And for their manager. He’s a legend. And this group of players will be remembered and adored in Iceland for their achievements.
Smith (what does Martial have to do to get a game?)

 

Three Lions are led by donkeys
The phenomenal Welsh victory on Friday not only propelled them to the biggest football match in their history, it also effectively disposed of practically every sorry excuse for England’s shambolic exit. What we are left with is a team that look mentally brittle, scared rigid of failure and devoid of leadership.

When England went 2-1 down against Iceland, what we needed was a presence on the touchline to grab the England players by the collar and get them back in to it. What we saw was a nervous and despairing figure, who looked like he’d burnt the dinner. When we needed Admiral Nelson, we got Captain Birdseye.

To get to the point, we need a f***ing leader. Someone you’d run through a brick wall for, someone who can stand up when the going gets tough and drag self-doubting, headline-fearing twenty-somethings to victory. Roy seems like a lovely bloke, and I’m sure he’d be great to have a cup of tea with and a reminisce about rationing, but that doesn’t cut it!

When we have progressed in previous tournaments, we have had managers that have been able to bring out the best in players and who have had their full respect. Terry Venables was charismatic, knew who needed and arm around them and who needed a kick up the arse, and turned a blind eye to the odd dentist chair here and there, because he understood that it helped bring the team together. Bobby Robson, although not totally removed from Roy in his manner in later years, was a progressive coach who had the respect and fierce loyalty of his players throughout his time as manager. Contrast these men with the ranty and desperate Taylor, the frankly weird Hoddle, the emotionless Swede, the wally with a brolly and the disciplinarian Italian and you get to the bottom of our recent problems.

The England team is made up of some excellent players, who are coached by some of the best managers in the game and play in one of the strongest leagues in the world. However, unless you have a uniting force that can give them clear direction, confidence and a pat on the back when something doesn’t go to plan, like the majority of us, they will not achieve their best. Forget tacticians, titles and FA sweethearts, the next England manager needs to have a track record of getting the best out of his players, and he needs to have something that a lot of our recent managers seem to lack – a personality.
Matt Wells

 

Hoddle watch
We’re half an hour in and the game looks up for Iceland.

Glenn Hoddle has said the word England twice more than either Iceland or France so far.

Also huge kudos for ‘fatigueness’.
Stu AFC Wrexham

 

…Who did Iceland play in the last round again? I swear Glenn Hoddle mentioned it once or twice in the first half, but I didn’t catch it among all their interesting insights and appreciation of Iceland being in the quarter finals on their own merit.
Oli

 

Let’s lose extra-time
Is it just me or most matches that have gone to extra-time recently have ended in penalties?

The start of extra time means everybody, including the players, inevitably start thinking about penalties. What IS even the point of extra time then if it’s more of the same?

The golden goal rule meant every player and fan was on the edge, one mistake and it could all come tumbling down. Getting a golden goal to win a match is one of the pure joys of football.

It’s not fair but football is not meant to be. It is bloody exciting, better than all teams playing the second half of extra-time just waiting for penalties.
Shehzad Ghias

 

LOL at the Germans…
Congratulations to Ze Germans on yet another shoot-out victory. However, that shoot-out contained probably the worst set of misses I’ve ever seen. Truly comical!

On a related note, there were four England-based penalty-takers involved, and voila! All missed. Wondering what to make of that…
Rahber (Ronaldo’s Euros, this one) India

 

Quality v entertainment
Very poor quality but very entertaining… was the Germany v Italy peno shootout a microcosm of the tournament so far?

Either way I’m really enjoying it.
Simon P, Dublin

 

What did Keown think?
Did I actually hear Martin Keown say “you have to hit the target from there” during the penalty shoot-out last night? That’s why I pay my TV license – so I can get that amazing insight that I just wouldn’t get anywhere else.
Tom C

 

Wales? Their goals were scored by the English
I don’t mean to take anything away from Wales, but can I point out that all three of their goalscorers against Belgium were born in England.

Personally I think this emphasises Hodgson’s failings over the past six years. All three of these players at some point decided they wouldn’t be able to get into the England squad (correctly so, excepting the last four years of Ashley Williams), yet performed well enough in a system to defeat a top-four ranked country in a European Championship knockout. It also helps highlight Marc Wilmot’s failings, and I see him to be about as good as Hodgson.

So where from here? Does Coleman stick with Wales for a shot at the World Cup, or will he take a club job after proving he’s a capable of bigger successes than he had at Fulham?

Hodgson will surely now enter footballing semi-retirement in China/UAE/USA, and England can take the choice of appointing a manager capable of getting them to a semi-final (clearly capable), or trying to find their own Coleman by appointing a relative unknown.
KC (I’d roll the dice on AVB)

 

Wales v England = Leicester v Arsenal
On Valentine’s Day, Arsenal came from behind to beat Leicester with a euphoria-provoking injury-time winner, from a maligned, injury-stricken forward. The ambitious pretenders had been put back in their box. After that, the ‘big team’ collapsed mentally whilst the ‘small team’ were galvanised and went all the way to the title.

On 16th June, England came from behind to beat Wales with a euphoria-provoking last-minute winner, from a maligned, injury-stricken forward. The ambitious pretenders had been put back in their box. After that, the ‘big team’ collapsed mentally whilst the small team….Wales can do this!
Matthew, Belfast

 

Don’t panic…this was sent on Saturday
I just can’t stop watching it. Bloody hell.
Jon, Welsh and hungover

 

Spare us the ‘loyal servant’ bullcr*p
So Ryan Giggs is moving on to pastures new, and my own private Mediawatch is already throwing up in my own figurative mouth. What is this ‘loyal servant’ emetic?

Mr. Giggs, unless I’m sadly mistaken, was employed by Manchester United from an early age. He made pretty good money, won a sackload of trophies and retired as a player to work as an assistant coach. He didn’t do all this for free, he didn’t do it out of the kindness of his heart, he wasn’t press-ganged into servitude by Sir Alex Ferguson. He, for the most part, signed his own contract and contract renewals, plied his trade, cashed his paychecks and had a great career.

He was ‘one-club’ – yes, because Manchester United were one of the most successful clubs in the world when he was playing for them. Why would he look anywhere else? He wasn’t faced with the Stevie Me dilemma of moving somewhere outside his ‘comfort zone’ (an English-speaking club in England, preferably Liverpool, thanks, la).

Stop the ‘loyal servant’ bollocks, please. He wasn’t in indentured servitude. Thank you.

Oh, and ESPN, please take Ian Darke off the air. I can’t wait for NBC to return in August. Even Fox Sports is better than listening to his drivel, and I never thought I’d say that about a Rupert Murdoch property, ever. Please lock him up in a straitjacket, pin his eyes and ears open a la “Clockwork Orange” and make him watch Arlo White and Graeme Le Saux/Lee Dixon on NBC. Then maybe he’ll realize he’ll never compete with professionalism on that level, and go gently into that good night.
Steve (Dylan Thomas makes it into the mailbox?) Los Angeles

 

Insight on Arsenal’s new Japanese boy
So Arsenal have confirmed the signing of 21-year-old (not 18) Takuma Asano from Sanfrecce Hiroshima. I looked at some of the comments on a couple of articles about this and saw the general response was cynicism and dismissiveness. Not sure if that’s a symptom of being an Arsenal supporter or a sad indictment of the perception that large clubs sign Asian players to sell shirts in those countries. It’s hard to argue that there have been players in the past who’ve been signed by large clubs but then never given a chance, which just adds to the impression that they’re there to sell merchandise and little more. I hope Asano is actually given the opportunity to show what he can do. He’s still young, but he’s played a few games for the senior national team and has been impressive, particularly in the loss to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

He also played well and scored for the Under 23s last week in a 4-1 win over South Africa. Japan went 1-0 down but then scored four goals in 11 minutes. Asano’s was the fourth, and it was well-taken: he gained possession after hassling a defender into a mistake, took the ball to the edge of the area and slotted over two defenders and the goalie, who had already slid in to try and block a shot.

Japan’s attack looked threatening throughout the game, although South Africa’s defence was poor. This result will restore some confidence to Japan after a disappointing Toulon Tournament, which followed a strong performance at the Asian Championships. Japan’s Olympic group also contains Nigeria, Colombia and Sweden. Asano is likely to lead the attack, so Arsenal supporters will get a chance to see what sort of player they’ve signed.
James T, Kanazawa, Japan

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