That’s just what happens when someone quite good has a team built around them for so long. Thoughts on comfort, Romeo, wages, Premier League international XIs, John Terry and punditry…
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Well Done Wayne
Regardless of my actually feelings towards Wayne Rooney, I’m very happy to offer my congratulations to him.
Very easy to be churlish on such occasions, but good luck to him.
Not Well Done Wayne
Proof, if anymore were needed, that Rooney simply hasn’t the pace to play as a #9 any longer. Either he plays as a #10 or he has to drop to the bench.
That said, the FA has to threaten Daniel Levy with grievous bodily harm if he doesn’t pay whatever it takes to complete the Berahino deal in January (and add another striker as well). In the meantime, Berahino has to shut up and get regular football. Kane is surely first choice #10, but Berahino has to be second choice.
Demanding A Recount
I found it particularly appropriate that Wayne Rooney scored his 50th and record breaking goal against Switzerland as it reminded me that his 7th goal was also scored against them at Euro 2004.
Why is that relevant? Because it was blatantly an own goal after coming back off the post and hitting the keeper on the back of the head before going in.
So yes churlish to say it isn’t a fine achievement but I’ve never understood how that one was credited to Rooney!
Lindsay Bell, Melbourne
Rooney’s Record: Just Pressure And Time
I’m sure there will be some Rooney bashing in the mailbox this morning even though he has achieved something quite impressive but my first thought was how sorry I feel for football.
As a 34 year old, Bobby Charlton has always been England’s top goalscorer in my lifetime and I’ve never known any different apart from when Lineker came really close. We all thought Michael Own would have achieved it before his broadcasting career took off so amazingly but my main feeling is that someone has taken the record without actually achieving anything of great honour.
Obviously Wayne would have wanted to break the record in a World Cup Final against Brazil with an overhead kick but 2 penalties against such shocking opponents (as with 90% of Wayne’s goal scoring opponents) makes me feel kinda sad. I bet even Wayne himself will have a little thought and a tinge of disappointment, probably on the toilet having a poo. What a rubbish way to break such a great record.
I think Red from The Shawshank Redemption described Andy Dufresne amazing escape over so many years as a case of “Pressure and time. That’s all it takes really, pressure, and time” and that’s what Rooney’s 50 goals feel like. My old football manager once told me at the age of 8, that if you stand up there long enough you’ll get a reward and it looks like Rooney has 50 of them.
Jimmy (I wonder what Bobby really thinks) Spain
Lie Back And Think Of England
Liverpool subsidised Joe Cole’s hefty wages when he was at Lille. Cole said he was happy to stay at Lille permanently, the manger said he wanted to keep him at Lille permanently but the chairman said they couldn’t afford it so back to Liverpool he went. As the money in English football gets more and more disconnected from the money in the game on the continent it’s going to be harder and harder to get players of any nationality to hop off the gravy train. Spanish Liverpool reserve Jose Enrique had this to say about a potential transfer earlier this month:
‘I had a very good option to return to Spain but it is complicated because the economy is very different from what exists here. The only teams that can deal with what is paid in England are Real Madrid and Barcelona, so I would love to stay here until my legs stop me.’
When the Spaniards don’t want to go back to Spain what hope is there to convince an English player to go there. As it stands about half of the young English players playing on the continent are there on loan from Chelsea (they have 5 English loanees in the Netherlands and Italy), English players getting foreign experience with subsidised wages from a rich English club might just be a trend to look out for over then next few years.
It’s About Comfort
Mike (I’m aware it’s not this simple) Lincoln raises a great point that I too have often wondered. If you’ll indulge me…
Firstly, the money. With Premier league TV money distributed fairly (well played) our mid and lower table prem clubs have got a comparative shedload of cash compared to their European counterparts (not to mention the trickle down…Ross McCormack and Andre Gray I’m looking at you…). Being not quite good enough for the very top teams in England has never been more attractive here…you can earn a fortune in your home country/region.
Which leads me to my next point – comfort. Twinned with the vast amounts of cash available to players at a young age here – there is no need to go out and prove yourself and take any risks when staying put in one’s country has never been so rewarding.
Thirdly, a stereotype so not applicable to all but I’ll go with it nonetheless…I don’t think footballers as a strata of society are particularly intelligent or independently minded here. Sure, we can name some (Lampard/Bamford/Carlisle off the top of my head as intelligent guys – Bale/Beckham/McManaman of recent years to go in their prime for more than a year…) but I feel the exceptions very much prove the rule. It is difficult to learn a new language and very much outside of one’s comfort zone – it takes intelligence and strength of character. The conformity seen in footballers these days too regarding hairstyles/tattoos/post-match mundanity further testifies to a sheep-like mentality – to follow fads and fashions and do what everyone else is doing.
Lastly, speaking on a broader societal level, as fantastically lucky as we are to be able to travel the world as English speakers and communicate with pretty much everyone, I certainly think we are victims of the cultural hegemony of the English language. Tied in with the above points, we are notoriously poor for conversing in second languages and having the Anglosphere’s shops/products etc follow us around the world…perhaps alongside being an island nation and the rest of the world’s keenness to speak English this makes for a lack of hunger to strike out and plough more difficult (but perhaps more rewarding) paths…
Anyway, huge generalisations not applicable to all but my penny’s worth.
It’s About Money
I have no evidence or back up for this theory whatsoever but I would guess the reason most English / British players don’t move abroad these days is due to the higher wages on offer in England.
I would not be at all surprised if most of the championship and possibly some of the biggest teams in League One pay wages higher or at least comparable to the top leagues in other countries.
While typing this I did a quick google search to invalidate my opening sentence and the average wage in the Championship is GBP 9.3k per week.
In Europe, the top divisions pay (as a sample) Danish – just under 3k p/w, Austrian 3.4k p/w, Belgian 3.9k p.w, Holland 4.4k p/w, Portugal 4.9k p/w. These are all the top divisions. Once you get to France (18k p/w, Germany, Italy and Spain they do pay more as you’d expect but overall the second division in England is comparable in wages to most European countries top division.
Scott (wish I’d practised a bit more when I was a kid) AFC
Premier League International XIs
As it’s still the international break, I thought this would be topical
I decided to make up an XI for a select number of nations, based only on players from the Premier League. Below are my selections:
Belgium: Courtois, Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen, Pocognoli, Dembele, Fellaini, De Bruyne, Hazard, Lukaku, Benteke (either 4-3-3 with Dembele anchor, Fellaini and De Bruyne ahead of him and Lukaku shunted out wide, or a 4-4-2 with a diamond with Hazard at the top of it and Benteke and Lukaku a conventional front two.)
Spain: De Gea, Bellerin, Muniesa, Monreal, Azpilicueta, Cazorla, Fabregas, Silva, Mata, Pedro, Costa (again could be some kind of diamond midfield as all the midfielders operate best centrally, if not then Pedro and Mata flank Costa)
France: Lloris, Sagna, Zouma, Koscielny, Clichy, Schneiderlin, Cabaye, Nasri, Payet, Martial, Gomis (4-2-3-1)
Holland: Krul, Janmaat, van Dijk, Blind, Pieters, Wijnaldum, Clasie, Lens, Afellay, Memphis, De Jong (4-2-3-1)
Argentina: Romero, Zabaleta, Coloccini, Otamendi, Rojo, Yacob, Zuculini, Lamela, Zarate, Lanzini, Aguero (4-2-3-1)
Gomis got the nod ahead of Giroud after some of the French fans booed the latter yesterday. The number of top Belgian players in England meant their XI shouldn’t be a million miles from above. Spain have an extremely inexperienced (at international level) back 5, but teams would struggle to get the ball off the guys in front I’d imagine.
France just look strong, with a bit of a question mark over the 3 behind the striker though. Holland are a bit meh (representative of their current malaise?), while Aguero sticks out like a sore thumb in that Argentine midfield/attack, although the defence looks good.
Now, where would the England team rank in amongst that. I would probably rank them in the following order. 1) France 2) Belgium 3) Spain 4) England 5) Argentina 6) Holland
Anyway, it was quite fun to make, and if anyone has any comments/alternative XIs/nations, it would be nice to see.
Louie (Pavitar), Hornchurch
Disgusted By Romeo Beckham
So, David Beckham called his ‘contacts’ at the FA and got little Romeo the plum role of chief mascot leading the England team out, for his birthday. How lovely.
Except, I’m pretty sure there will be a long list of other young kids who will have now been shunted down the list they had probably been on for months if not longer. All so a multi millionaire can have his son walk out with the team. And then go and sit with his dad in the ‘we have way more money than you, but still our tickets were free’ section of the ground.
It all just reeks of privilege and the FA bending over and taking it royally for Beckham.
Pundit Annoyance, Pt. 427
I don’t know if my favourite part of that game was Glenn Hoddle saying that Sterling was “entitled to ensure there was contact and go down because he had beaten his man” or Glenn Hoddle saying the Swiss keeper got nowhere near Rooney’s penalty while watching the third replay of the keeper clearly getting a hand to it.
God, give me strength, or failing that give me Danny Baker.
John Terry: “I’d chuck myself under a bus for him.”
Please Jose, make it happen.
Tom (anti-racist Chelsea fan), Dublin
I watched all of 7 minutes of the England vs Switzerland game.
I only watched that much because I was reminded why I’ve lost interest in England. It isn’t the way they play or who plays and scores or doesn’t score, it is because of the dreadful England band.
Please for the love of a higher deity would someone ban them from entering stadia where England play. Please.