Mails: Should England ditch Raheem Sterling?

Date published: Wednesday 27th April 2016 10:08

Here you go. If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at


Joe Hart <3
Mo MCFC (Blue Moon)


Should Sterling go to Euro 2016?
There was a slow-motion replay of Raheem receiving the ball in the 92nd minute, who with any form of a good touch, would have been through on goal. The panic and sudden realisation of the size of the moment, was perfectly etched all over Sterling’s face. He didn’t want it. And for a long time he has looked like he doesn’t want it or is incapable of ‘it’. (see shooting, League Cup at Wembley)

I understand he is low on confidence, and recently back from injury, but its not just currently that…’sigh’ Jesus Navas, is keeping the £50 million pound man out the team.

Stupid haircuts aside, Sterling has regressed hugely, and as an England fan who enjoyed his Liverpool form last World Cup, I appreciate the potential he has.

What I’m trying to get at is, I don’t believe Sterling should be going to the Euros, and I know people will have him as a shoo-in, but does £50million guarantee you a place, even when you’re sh*t?Sean McKeown


Stop it with the ‘picking on form’ talk
I see that the good old ‘picking an England squad on form alone’ debate is back.

I’ll try this argument. The best players don’t always win the league. In fact some of them like Gerrard never do. Yet according to some he shouldn’t have been picked over Carrick, for example, because he finished higher. And that would have been stupid.

Hart is our best keeper but he won’t win this year. If Schmeichel was English and won the league should Hart (the better keeper and proven) be dropped?

No. No that kind of thinking is mental, isn’t it? So why does that thinking get credence when it comes to some players, even when they’re also proven and playing well?

Should Wilshere get picked automatically when fit? No, not unless he got some form and proved himself worth including because he’s no longer clearly better than the rest. However, if Sturridge gets fit, he should go because he’s England’s best striker.

My point is, you don’t just pick a team on form but where the players are at least as good AND on form. A bad or average player on good form is still not as good as a good player.

I’ll resist the temptation to mention the obvious player debated because, let’s be honest, opinions on him are not based on logic. And you already know my views.
Guy S (but blatantly he’s in the squad, and on merit)


Cresswell over Daniels (and everyone else)
I have to take exception to ToonBano and his basically misinformed comments about the quality of Aaron Cresswell. He seems to think that just because Cresswell plays for West Ham and in London that he gets praise and unwarranted attention. Well ToonBano you couldn’t be more wrong. Cresswell is an excellent left-back, and as someone who gets to watch him every week he is an absolute joy to watch. People seem to think West Ham fans spend their whole time wondering why Mark Noble hasn’t been capped by England but we all really wonder why Cresswell hasn’t been even given the slightest chance, when in Luke Shaw’s absence he is for me comfortably better than Gibbs and Rose (his form this season is down to Dier and his ability to drop into a three-man defence allowing the full-backs to effectively play as wingers, he still can’t defend.) and at least as good as Ryan Bertrand who I also rate highly.

Cresswell also doesn’t take penalties or free-kicks (some French bloke took them off him this season) so his goals and assists have come from open play, where he combines excellent attacking play and crossing with solid and intelligent defending. If Roy Hodgson bothered to even look at the so-called fashionable West Ham then he would see he has the best option for a left-back in his four-man defence if Shaw doesn’t return in time for the Euros. To also show he isn’t just getting praise from West Ham having a good season, he was a comfortable winner of our Player of the Year award last year in the utterly dreadful final Allardyce season, and probably would be in with a chance of winning again if it wasn’t for the freak of nature that is Dmitri Payet.

I don’t get to see Charlie Daniels play each week, and I know from seeing him on MOTD he can take a cracking penalty, but for me he isn’t in the same class as Cresswell.
Mike (Cresswell for England) WHUFC, Upminster


The stars were aligned for City…
When I saw the line-ups yesterday my first thought was, man the gods really want City to win this one. Both Kompany and Aguero, two players who always seem to be injured/unfit fit and firing, and Ronaldo who has missed one game the whole season out with Benzema clearly unfit. The slightly toothless display in attack and the lack of ambition to attack was almost surprising.

Now I am not saying City are out of the tie. not even close. But you do get the feeling they fluffed a golden opportunity to stamp their authority on the tie, giving a slight advantage to a much more experienced (Champions League wise) Madrid side. What do City fans think?
Apoorv (MUFC, New Delhi)


Taking Winty to task
It’s not often I disagree with two Sarah Winterburn articles in two days, but that’s what has happened after the articles regarding Dele Alli and Man City.

Firstly, the Dele Alli article – I just don’t really understand why it was written. It is titled ‘Why we should worry about Dele ‘devilment”, but we obviously shouldn’t worry about it. Very young and exceptionally talented footballer has a bit of a petulant streak. That’s what it boils down to. Is it ideal? No. Is it understandable? Yes. Should we worry about it? Well, we can’t affect it, and worrying about things you can’t affect only leads to mental breakdown.

Secondly, Man City – I don’t really understand how anyone can be that critical of a team who have just held Real Madrid to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their first ever Champions’ League semi-final. ‘But Madrid were missing Ronaldo!’ Because they’re obviously a one-man team. A bunch of one-legged amateurs who hop around the pitch barely able to stay upright, waiting for the best player of all time to rescue them. Benzema? Rubbish. Bale? Useless. Modric, Kroos, Pepe, Ramos? Wastes of space. I won’t dispute that it’s more difficult to beat Real Madrid in the Bernabeu than it is in your home stadium but here’s the thing; Man City don’t need to beat Real Madrid in the Bernabeu. Any score draw will do. What difference would it make if Man City had won 1-0? It would mean a 0-0 draw in the Bernabeu would also be enough. That’s not a huge difference. So presumably your criticism is actually that they didn’t win 2-0? Bit harsh.
Jimbles, WFC


Beating Arsenal should never be enough
So Vincent from Hackney says: ‘If last summer you’d have offered me Spurs finishing second in the league and finishing above Arsenal I’d wouldn’t have just bitten your hand off, you’d be left akin to the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.’

Well it’s this attitude that’s had me hoping that Leicester – and not Spurs – win the title this year: it’s a shame because – for all intents and purposes – this Spurs side seem like a far nicer bunch of guys than the Foxes’ collection of toe-rags, but it’s Spurs’ fans and their never-ending obsession with beating Arsenal above anything else that makes my blood boil. Spurs’ fans should be gutted to come second to this Leicester side and Arsenal’s position should provide only the scantest consolation. I didn’t see Liverpool fans high-fiving one another for finishing higher than Man Utd when they narrowly came second in 2014 and I don’t expect Man Utd fans to be happy with finishing fifth/sixth this year so long as it’s ahead of Liverpool…but I guess these fans have loftier ambitions for their respective clubs?

And I’ll also never forget the time – on the day of a north London derby – that I saw a Spurs-supporting Evening Standard-seller say to a 6 YEAR OLD KID who was passing by in his THFC raincoat, “Let’s hope we beat the SCUM tonight, eh?” Pathetic.

I get that football is tribalistic and that most fans have a bête noir team whom they love to hate. I get that seeing your closest rivals lose can sweeten your own club’s victories or off-set their defeats (a little), but Spurs fans have taken this to a different level. You wonder if they’d accept coming 19th and getting relegated – so long as it was the Gooners in 20th?

So, as much as I’d like to see Kane, Dier and Alli excelling from an England perspective (and am more than happy to see someone other than the ‘usual suspects’ win the EPL), I’m also quite OK with Spurs winning sod-all for the umpteenth year in a row.

It’s time to set your sights a bit higher, Vincent and Co…
Bob Stokes (not an Arsenal fan by a long shot – in case you’re wondering)


Of course we can laugh at Spurs…
Well that was one sanctimonius mailbox. Why are Arsenal fans laughing at Spurs? Seriously? Some people just don’t get ‘being a fan’ do they?

Spurs are ahead of Arsenal in the league? So what? Does anybody think for a second that Man Utd (and Everton) fans weren’t laughing their tits off when Stevie G slipped? Oh but United weren’t even in that title race. So what? Hilarious. When Nayim lobbed Seaman in the last minute of the UEFA cup final in ’95 did Spurs fans a) break their holes laughing at the Arse’s last-minute loss – a loss made all the sweeter by the fact it was an ex-Spurs player that did the damage or b) shrug nonchalantly and say ‘Well, can’t really enjoy that, we weren’t even in the final’? If Facebook and Twitter were around in 1989 when Michael Thomas scored that goal the internet might very well have exploded from the outpouring of glee/bile from United fans.

Obviously the best feeling is when the team you support actually win something. The next best thing is seeing your rivals stumble and fall. The bigger a rival they are and the closer they get to a prize before failing the better the feeling is. If only there was a word to describe taking pleasure from other people’s misfortune. Maybe Mesut Ozil or Per Mertesacker might know one.
Conor (doing Schadenfraude since 1973) Malone, Donegal


Leicester have played like champions
This might be a few mailboxes late, however, I need to get it off my chest, so here goes: over the course of the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of talk here, especially from Arsenal and Man City supporters, and from the writers at F365, about why this season has been a massive missed opportunity for Arsenal and Man City, Wenger and Pellegrini, given they’ve allowed Leicester and Tottenham to jump ahead of them in a season where Man Utd and Chelsea have totally screwed up.

On the face of it, sure, makes sense, however, just want to get everyone to step back and realise that even if Arsenal hadn’t done an Arsenal, and if City hadn’t been so inconsistent, it wouldn’t have guaranteed either of them the title, because, believe it or not, Leicester City have played like champions, and Tottenham have played like title contenders. Sure, if Arsenal and Man City hadn’t allowed them to get into the lead early on in the campaign, maybe their confidence levels wouldn’t have soared, and they wouldn’t be anywhere near this position, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. However, given where they are now, I believe, it would be a tough title race regardless of Arsenal’s and Man City’s form.

United would still have finished fifth.
fatmanwalking, Sydney, MUFC


The death of rotation
Now that the fairytale is (almost) complete, we can look back and start to seriously question some of the conventional wisdom about what is required to succeed in the Premier League.

Though Leicester’s success comes (literally) out of the blue, Chelsea’s and Leicester’s triumphs in the last two seasons have one thing in common – they were both achieved by a manager who knew their best team and stuck to it, in Ranieri’s case direct defying his ‘Tinkerman’ reputation.

We’ve become used to hearing pundits emphasise the importance of squad depth (time and time again), spouting the mantra that you need at least two good players competing for each position. That may still be relevant for teams aiming to win both domestically and continentally, but that goal has been a pie in the sky for English sides of late. Pep might hope to change that, but the reality is that squad depth is not what brings Premier League success these days.

The winning formula now seems to be focused on building a strong first eleven, playing them consistently so they know each other’s game inside out, making sure they stay fit, and keeping two or three decent options off the bench.

In Chelsea’s title-winning campaign last year there was very little rotation and the main subs were a still-learning Zouma, a very old Drogba and the often-maligned trio of Remy, Ramires and Mikel. Other teams surely had stronger options off the bench, but squad depth is an unnecessary luxury if your first eleven stay fit and in form. This is in contrast to Chelsea’s earlier Premier League titles that were very much built on squad depth and a wealth of riches.

Leicester have followed the same pattern this season. They have consistently relied on the same eleven players and only a few, quite ‘unglamorous’ replacements have ever been called upon – Ulloa, King, Schlupp and De Laet. The rest of the squad have barely played at all.

The same for Spurs – they stick to the same formula and occasionally call on a small number of replacement players (Chadli, Son, Mason, Carroll).

To put it into perspective, Leicester’s first eleven have played over 30,000 Premier League minutes between them. In other words, they have each played on average 30 full games out of 35 so far.

For Spurs, the equivalent figure is almost 29,000.

For Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City, it’s only around the 24,000 mark.

As Ranieri has shown us all, the time for tinkering is over!
James Bruschini (I think I’ve over-egged the point a bit…)


Love for Danny Simpson
Excellent article on the top 10 defenders
and its nice to see (as a Leicester fan who is on the verge of waking up from this crazy year) three out of the Foxes’ back four given notable mentions.

One notable omission has been the remarkable turnaround of Danny Simpson. a player that barely got a sniff under Nigel Pearson and started behind Ritchie De Laet at the start of this season.

Following the 5-2 defeat to Arsenal Fuchs came into the team at the same time as Danny Simpson in a 2-1 victory at Norwich and both have barely looked back since.

Simpson has shown the tactical knowledge and defensive know how to make sure the back four is tight, consistent and dynamic. His part is crucial in ensuring that opposition space down the flanks is limited and that space doesn’t open up between centre-back and right-back.

He’s also weighed in with crucial blocks, defensive headers and most crucially he has covered and allowed Riyad Mahrez the space and time to be the creative genius he has become. He’s not short of pace and recently he has started to venture forward more and it is only a matter of time before he hits the back of the net.

Simpsons work has been imperious and selfless and it is these types of players that are crucial to sustaining title challenges.

He is also the sort of intelligent defensive right-back that should at least be considered by Roy Hodgson. After all he is currently the only English defender (Morgan’s Jamaican Arry!!) at the top of the league.
Damon Carter – LCFC fan (can everyone please stop adding ‘The’ before mentioning Arsenal, it makes me want to vomit)


Some praise for F365
The Football365 article on the Sun and the Times *cough Rupert Murdoch cough* today is exactly what websites like Football365 are for. What a bunch of cu**s those newspapers look and quite rightly you’ve raised it and called them on it.

Personally I get rather frustrated at times with you guys, especially with the Vardy stuff but articles like your analytical annihilation of those two outlets and their motivations remind me why Football365 is the best football news website around. Brilliant, well done.
Rob (please don’t kill the Leicester joy anymore though), Guangzhou


Two things
Two things I wanted to mention. First of all, what did you think of Lloris’ hilarious delayed dive after the West Brom goal went in?

And secondly, did you see this amazing photo from the QPR – Reading game at the weekend?
Tom Watson

Great pic

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