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Why are we trying to shoehorn Vardy into that England side?
What is it with our obsession that the needs of an individual are put before the needs of the team?! Yes Jamie Vardy has had an excellent season, but as a centre-forward not a left winger. Yes playing a 4-4-2 diamond would suit HIM better, but does that suit the personal we have? How did it work out playing that formation against the worst Dutch team there has been in 30 years? Have we suddenly forgotten the performance against Germany which we won – playing 4-2-3-1, with Vardy coming on against a tiring defence and running riot? Surely this is how we should play in the Euros? Let’s not make the same mistakes as in the past – shoehorning Gerrard and Scholes on the left of midfield. Let’s play the players in the right positions, and if there is no space for them – leave them out! IS it that hard to work this out?
Craig ‘Cole’ Russell
A Welshman scared of Rashford writes…
Speaking as a Welshman, I sincerely hope Roy doesn’t pick Marcus Rashford in his England squad. Man United have long been talked about as being one of those clubs that in order to be successful, players have to have the right mentality and ability to deal with pressure. Rashford has looked at home from day one and has scored goals in high-pressure games against Arsenal, Man City and West Ham. His performance in the FA Cup final was more proof that he has no fear of the big stage.
He could conceivably have a similar impact to Michael Owen at World Cup 98 or Rooney at Euro 04 if he’s given a chance. Although England have plenty of good players to pick from and the likes of Vardy, Barkley and Sturridge coming off the bench are a concern, Rashford is the one I’d be most wary of.
England v Turkey conclusions
I know it was a friendly so I’m going to try not to draw too many conclusions. Just 11.
* Empty seats? Why did they hold it in a stadium/area renowned for strong club allegiances over country. Can’t help thinking the Midlands would have filled a stadium.
* Wilshere looked unfit and/or poor. And although Henderson played considerably less time, his match fitness and overall tenacity was an improvement for England. Regaining form is probably a lot easier after being three weeks out rather than eight months. For me Wilshere is a better footballer, but Henderson might be the better answer.
* With that in mind, Dier the assured, must surely, be guaranteed a starting berth. His composure and tactical nous hasn’t been seen in a three lions shirt for a while.
* Walker’s long balls lol.
* Vardy isn’t a winger. It made him look amateurish. He can’t start out there in the Euro, he offers next to nothing defense wise and doesn’t look comfortable when he has to initiate the football. But lo and behold he’s a bloody handful up front.
* Sterling is a peculiar beast, the confidence to beat a man. But not to play anything but a dull and usually crap pass.
* And although I’m not their biggest fan, Rooney and Lallana would probably be an improvement as part of the top four. With both better ability on the ball and more defensive nous.
* England actually played better in a 4-4-2. But like sparking a fire with two rocks, it’s only impressive if it works.
* Harry Kane on free-kicks and corners. Whuuurt?
* Turkey played well and probably deserved a draw. Although are defense isn’t brimming with quality it was nice to see some last-ditch blocks and the win.
The John Terry body on the line school of defending is all well and good, untill it isn’t. I fear we could get spanked by someone.
* That blonde fella with the iPad. Bloody handsome.
Just one conclusion
Doesn’t Harry Kane look tired.
I mean he was offside for his goal, he lumbered about the pitch resmebling Andy Carroll, and smashed his penalty against the post in the manner of someone who doesn’t want to run anymore.
And this experiment with him taking all the set pieces must stop. Immediately. There is no point to one of our best penalty box predators smashing things wide from 25+ yards. Literally none. We have Wilshere and Henderson for that.
Pierre in Bristol
What does Sterling offer?
I have to take issue with the general view of Raheem Sterling in the general media. Player ratings suggested ‘England’s quickest attacker and hence potentially most dangerous’ (Mr Vardy might have something to say about both of those statements…). Ian Wright used the word “positive” to describe his performance on numerous occasions, Lee Dixon tried not to laugh.
I’m not a huge fan of stats, they are largely used to make points that don’t affect results of football matches, but let’s make a (rather large) assumption that Sterling is given his chance and gets 90 mins in every game at the Euros. Have a think about these questions;
– How many goals do you expect Raheem Sterling to score at Euro 2016?
– How many assists would you expect Raheem Sterling to get at Euro 2016?
– Does Raheem Sterling offer anything defensively?
– What other aspects of England’s game will Raheem Sterling add to?
For me the answers to all of these questions are rather damning. Sterling offers very little defensively. On attacking output, it’s widely accepted he cannot shoot or finish, and hence the probability of him getting goals is extremely slim (when did he last score?). His style of play, whilst some might describe as ‘swashbuckling’ and occasionally exciting to watch – who doesn’t love a quick winger running at a full-back – isn’t something likely to see him achieving assists (when was the last time he crossed for someone to score?). And finally he’s not particularly great with the ball and hence doesn’t really help with possession.
So he’s not going to score, unlikely to assist, doesn’t defend and doesn’t really keep the ball. The only real use I can see for him is stretching the game with a bit of pace but we’re not short on pace. I generally get over-excited when England youngsters come in but I really struggle to see any case for Sterling ahead of Barkley, Alli, Rooney or Lallana. I can’t quite believe I’m saying this but even Andros Townsend – I’d certainly back him to get more goals and assists than Sterling.
Dan Cunnington, Greenwich
All hail Captain Cahill
I would just like to point out that Gary Cahill is now three-for-three as England captain with wins over Estonia, Germany(!) and now Turkey. Gary Cahill remains the greatest England captain ever. Don’t argue with science.
England were very lucky
I do not want to sound over critical, but England were damn fortunate to beat those Turks. First goal was clearly offside. The linesman was probably too mesmerized by the intricate passes of Sterling and Alli to observe that Kane was offside. The second goal was a goalkick, but a corner was somehow given. The rest is history. Even the penalty that Kane missed wasn’t even a penalty. Vardy simply repeated his infamous party trick of ‘run into the box,tussle with defender,stick a leg in front of the defender,fall’. It did not fool the ref against West Ham, it did here.
Thats THREE decisions in England’s favour. The Turks were plain unlucky. Lets all hope that The Three Lions don’t run out of luck in France.
Benhur (This One’s For You), Israel
How can any Man United fan not want Jose?
With the news of Mourinho’s imminent arrival doing the rounds, it’s pretty weird to see so many United fans so against it. Lets face it, Van Gaal had his time and had his chance, he promised us a title in two years and now says our expectations are too high and we’re still in transition, what a load of bollocks! How can any united fan not be happy with this news? Are you really gonna trust LVG with another £100m? No? Didn’t think so
His one saving grace has been his willingness to promote youth players, something which I feel frankly we as United fans have blown a bit out of proportion this season. Now please don’t get me wrong, I love seeing the kids get a chance, it’s one United last shining lights currently, but I feel it’s been blown out of proportion only because of the sheer numbers that have been given a chance and had debuts in the past two seasons. It’s really amazing to see but it those numbers aren’t in the norm, even under Fergie. Fergie didn’t always play the kids, but when he saw potential and he felt the time was right they were given a chance something I think Mourinho will do too.
Now Mourinho’s record with giving youth a chance is pretty horrible but then again he has never managed a club where promoting youth players has been a requirement for the board to judge him on. Chelsea wanted titles whichever way Mourinho did it, Inter wanted titles the same, Madrid wanted to usurp Barcelona’s dominance and finally win ‘La Decima’, he didn’t win La Decima but his Madrid finished with a record 121 goals which from memory wasn’t really ‘boring’ football, and it hurts me to say but last season Chelsea were probably the best team to watch in the first half of the season.
The difference with United is we also want titles, but the way we get there is very important and if Mourinho really wants this job he will have to meet the board and our fans expectations in achieving success, which is a certain brand of attacking football, which I feel wouldn’t be too important if we’re winning and the most important would be giving our kids a chance. So I full-heartedly believe we are not selling our souls to the devil (please this isn’t a soapie) the Fergie days are done, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee and be happy we’re are about to sign a serial winner and the world’s best manager (Yeah I said it).
What are Man United letting themselves in for?
If you dance with the devil then don’t be surprised if you get burnt.
The way that the media has been drip-fed Mourinho stories, ramping up the pressure on Van Gaal, makes me wander what Woodward’s expecting to happen next season after he’s given the fox the keys to the hen house
(Not overly keen on Van Gaal but dreading Mourinho’s Red army)
…With Klopp and Guardiola entering the PL it was nailed on that Jose would go to United. And the mailbox will show the fickleness of the United fans. Over the years the vitriol they have shown to Mourinho for his tactics, man management and his lack of youth development has showered down on your mail box. But all that is about to be put to one side as desperation for trophies will invoke temporary amnesia and pragmatism as they embrace the special one.
As his tenures have shown he drains every ounce from the club’s he has worked with and left them a costume of a club. As someone once said his three year status is
1. Build the bus
2. Park the bus
3. Throw everyone under the bus!
Good luck United fans, he will win you trophies, but he will do it using a scorched earth approach.
I’m done with Man United now
I’ve supported Manchester United since 1989. So that makes it 27 years. I’ve loved my club because I always felt we had principles about playing good football, raising youth and making stars and not buying them (Ronaldo, Beckham and recently Rashford), although of course Cantona, Ferdinand and other big signings help.
We all have short memories. Mourinho was a right F%^k the way he left Chelsea. He was at Chelsea. One of our biggest rivals. Why the hell would we ever want their ex- manager? His c*&k tactics of time-wasting and micro managing players to be dishonest, crap negative football will now come to United.
The way it was done. Sure, it was written in some contract that Mourinho’s coming could be announced right after United’s last competitive game probably in December. But was there any guessing that maybe Van Gaal would win the FA Cup? Maybe a clause to give the announcement at least three days after their last competitive game? No. No foresight and sh*t management.
After 27 years, I’m done. Getting a close rival like Mourinho is just like my missus shagging the tw*t next door. It feels dirty and not right. Unless by some miracle they do a U-turn and do not sign him. It is business first with United and not football. I always thought it was the other way around. Ferguson, if you hand a hand in this (like you did with Moyes), you have stuffed it again.
I’m going to completely follow my second team Carlisle. I feel like burning the baby shirt I bought for my son from the Man U shop now I’m so angry.
Goodbye Louis. Thanks for giving us a youth-orientated team that won the FA Cup. You are a good man even though your philosophy was quite strange.
Gary, Guangzhou, China
Bring it on
First Manchester derby of the season will be a quiet, unassuming affair then.
Van Gaal didn’t even trust his own players
I think above all else, for me the most damning thing about Van Gaal’s reign is that after spending £250m on 13 new players in two years, only three Van Gaal signings started the cup final.
There were more Fergie signings than Van Gaal signings that started. That’s ridiculous.
Ed’s FA Cup final conclusions
Because why else would you be reading the Mailbox on a Monday morning?
* Manchester United won because they scored more goals. That simple. For Crystal Palace, there is no shame at all in losing like that. Every single Crystal Palace player gave everything they had, the defeat cannot be blamed on a lack of effort. It’s worth pointing out that although Manchester United dominated possession, the Eagles actually had more shots on target.
Twice we’ve played Manchester United in the FA Cup Final and both times it’s been among the greatest Cup Finals ever.
Manchester United were a distant second in the vocal/visual support stakes though. Oh, and also in the ‘classy behaviour by the board’ category, too.
* The plan for Palace was clearly to defend deep, and they were very well organised – they held their positions well, restricting Manchester United to low-percentage chances, many of which were either blocked by defenders or wide of the target. In fact, Manchester United only hit the target with 12.5% of their attempts – 3 out of 24. Wayne Hennessy was only stretched once in the first half, and even then, it was a routine diving save.
* I don’t like to use Whoscored data to back up a point, but I will do so brazenly and shamelessly if it agrees with me. Away from the media gushing about Wayne Rooney, Whoscored suggested there were five players better than him on the field – top of the list was Wilf Zaha. Personally, I thought Palace’s best player was Joel Ward. He had a superb defensive game, and it was rotten luck that Juan Mata’s goal went in off him – not on Mata’s part, it was a well-taken shot, but that having got into such a good position, he couldn’t quite make clean enough contact with the ball.
Ward is an easily overlooked player, unless you’re Neil Ashton, and recently became the first Crystal Palace player to make 100 appearances in the Premier League. He’s unflashy, but hardworking, the way full-backs used to be. He had the unenviable task of marking Antony Martial yesterday, and stuck to his task very well. Martial is a fine player but he won’t look back at Saturday as one of his greatest performances, and this was largely down to the attention of Ward.
* Alan Pardew’s dance. It annoyed me that he did it, it annoyed me it became a thing, because it took away from Jason Puncheon. A FA Cup Final goal won’t mean more to any player on that field, and yet, the significance was lost because of his manager dancing in a ridiculous fashion – if we’d held on to win he could have danced naked for three hours, and I wouldn’t have cared, but for those three seconds, he actually detracted from what could have become the best moment in the club’s history.
That said, Louis van Gaal did a brilliant impression of Sir Alex Ferguson’s awkward grandad dancing and running when his team scored.
* Returning to Pardew for a moment, there was the perfect proof that his “English managers have it tougher” line was total cobblers. No foreign manager would have the audacity, after that league run, to negotiate a new contract on the eve of such a big game, or if he did, he would be pilloried for being greedy and not caring about the club, the fans or the game. Then, even when a foreign manager won a trophy, he was sacked (because of relatively rotten league form) during the celebrations, with little outcry.
* Fellaini versus Jedinak was fun to watch, wasn’t it? Two tough, uncompromising players battling for the entire game.
* In a You Are the Ref feature in The Observer a couple of years ago, a question was posed about a player who commits a foul worthy of a yellow card, but while advantage is played he commits another, similar foul. He says if he’d realised he would get a yellow he wouldn’t have gone in so hard, but his opponents argue for his dismissal. Keith Hackett’s answer was that good communication was the key – a clear call of “advantage” would let everyone know the situation, and this should have been followed with a shout of “that’s a caution” to the offending player.
All three times Mark Clattenburg could have played advantage but didn’t, he showed a yellow card. It was as though he didn’t realise he could let play continue and then caution someone at the next stoppage, despite the fact that this is always hailed as good refereeing by the pundits. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on the first one, as Connor Wickham went down, so had no immediate advantage, but not the other two. Joel Ward was off to the races, and Pape Soare had played the ball to Yannick Bolasie. In both cases, a free kick on halfway near the touchline actually felt like the Eagles were punished every bit as much as Manchester United.
Also, if I were refereeing a Cup Final, I probably wouldn’t pose for a photograph before the game in which I was hugging the long-time manager of one team frequently accused of unduly influencing officials through his touchline demeanour. It just doesn’t seem like an incredibly professional thing to do – they were at work, after all.
Wayne Rooney should also have been sent off, another case of a player escaping a second yellow card for a foul that would have produced one for a player who hadn’t previously had his name taken. I think it was Puncheon’s reaction, sportingly accepting Rooney’s apology, that saved the midfield ace’s bacon; had Puncheon acted out of character and made a meal of it, he could have forced the referee into producing a red card. Funny old game eh Saint? Aye Jimmy.
* Rooney is a divisive player. Watching on TV I thought he had a decent game, despite most of the media – disappointingly, the less shouty end of the spectrum as well – saying he was the best player on the field. He benefitted from being alongside Michael Carrick, England’s master of patient midfield passing.
Rooney was also reminiscent of later-years Steven Gerrard. Both always look(ed) capable of winning matches single-handedly, but both are/were too fond of low-percentage shots from distance, or long diagonal passes, instead of a more measured, less highlight-friendly play.
* What next for Palace? They have a serious decision about whether or not their current manager is the right man for the job, and the squad needs a bit of an overhaul. Scott Dann is a good defender, but when the best option to replace him is Adrian Mariappa, it’s a problem. Likewise, there are three strikers in the squad who should probably be moved along. A long-term replacement for Mile Jedinak and Joe Ledley would also be helpful, as would an actual Premier League-calibre goalkeeper.
They are in a similar situation, but a bit higher up, as they were in the Championship. Their first XI, when firing on all cylinders, is capable of mixing it with anyone and gave the big boys a few bloody noses. However, the replacement players are nowhere near the same level, and this is where the team’s slump came in.
* Overall, I’m disappointed we lost, but not with how we lost. There was no injustice, and no lack of effort or desire. We were simply beaten by a better team.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven (it’s not a character, just a sequence of phonetic sounds that looks good on a t-shirt)