Man United’s most overrated player? It’s Romelu Lukaku…

Date published: Thursday 5th October 2017 10:10

We are getting through this international break together. Read the latest wonderful mails and then mail us at theeditor@football365.com

 

Let’s just enjoy Kane…
Fairly certain F365’s point was that he is the best pure striker playing today. Messi and Ronaldo aren’t strikers last I checked. Just enjoy watching something special without denouncing it. You can do it if you try.
Jon, Spurs (it’s September pal, give it a chance, eh?)

 

…Have to take issue with Akshay (who given his staunch defence of Lukaku, I’m assuming is one of those long distance United fans who think the dude is the second coming and will lead United to worldwide domination whilst also achieving world peace).

Whilst I didn’t analyse Lukaku’s season that closely (because to be quite honest I didn’t care), I’d assume the main reason he trailed Lukaku by seven goals is because he had two prolonged spells out due to injury in the season and if the last two games were meaningless because Chelsea had won the title, doesn’t that type of spurious generalisation make Everton’s whole season meaningless and really negate Akshay’s argument? Then you tackle the season before and say we managed to finish third in a two-horse race, but we did that after Leicester had already won the title, by his own admission doesn’t that make that finish meaningless and that Kane’s goals were scored in the ‘meaningful’ part of the season? So not really sure what the point is there? You can’t have it both ways

Yep Euro 2016 was a nightmare for an England fan, his performances were rightly scrutinised. In his defence I’d say he was a young player coming of a disappointing end to the season, playing in his first major international tournament and it didn’t go to plan…it happens, I’m guessing he will come back stronger. By the way since the start of 2013, he didn’t have Alli playing with him, Akshay, in fact for some of the 2013-14 season he played in front of a midfield partnership of Mason and Bentaleb. Fair play you think Lukaku is unfairly lambasted, perhaps he is. If he’s doing the business for United, why cares? For what it’s worth I think Kane is better, his scoring record has proved that so far, will he win as any trophies as Lukau at United. I’d say probably not as at the moment we don’t have the clout to compete with United toe to toe on an even financial footing., that probably won’t change in the foreseeable future either.

I certainly don’t know any Spurs fan who thinks Kane is the next Messi or Ronaldo, we are just over the moon that we have one of the best strikers in the world at the present time, he’s also a Spurs fan and on the face of it seems to be genuinely as chuffed to be at Spurs as we are to have him. At the end of the day isn’t that what really matters?
Raj THFC North London

 

All the things that make Kane NOT great
Thanks to Akshay Oka’s beautifully logical and impartial analysis, and a little reading between the lines, I’m now nearly able to complete this list of reasons I’ve seen given as to why Harry Kane isn’t great.

Kane can’t be great because:

He doesn’t score enough goals
He doesn’t score any good goals
He doesn’t score against anyone good
He doesn’t score any good goals against anyone good
He doesn’t score against European sides
He doesn’t score against good European sides
He doesn’t score against Real Madrid or Barcelona or any other sides against whom he’s yet to play a competitive match
He scores too many goals in the same match
He scores too few goals in the same match
He only scores when his team’s dominating
He scores when his team’s not dominating, but doesn’t lift them enough that they can dominate the game
He scores too few goals when his team’s dominating
He scores too many goals when his team’s dominating
He scores too many goals in May when defenders might be thinking about the beach
He scores too few goals in August when defenders might be thinking about the beach
He gets service from players whose combined transfer fees were half an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, instead of from a whole Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
A squad bankrolled by an allegedly corrupt Thai billionaire won the league
A squad bankrolled by an allegedly corrupt Russian billionaire won the league
He won’t win the Golden Boot when he’s out for a couple of months of the season, injured
He got injured and was out for a couple of months (and see, he didn’t win the… errr… oh, sorry, nothing)
He didn’t head his own corners in for England
Daniel Levy’s still laughing at my club’s offer for him
He talks a bit funny
He’s happy with his life and doesn’t sit in his mother’s basement crying and wondering why his bile-encrusted keyboard doesn’t work as well as it used to
He’s not good enough in goal.

In fairness, they have a point with the last one. And I’ve probably missed a few. But in the meantime, us Spurs fans will put up with him, while keyboard warriors and journalists await the next transfer window to resume speculation as to how this frankly inept charlatan is off to join another, bigger club more deserving of his ordinariness.
Leon, London

 

Sanchez not overrated but he needs teammates
To answer a simple question “is Alexis Sanchez overrated”. Answer: No. However…

Alex Sanchez does suffer from the same issue as Wayne Rooney did for years at Utd and Gerrard did for Liverpool. He’s a winner, an absolute winner. He is also comfortably the best player on the team. When he sees his team mates not playing up to the standard he can he gets frustrated and does something… ANYTHING he can to affect the match. Goes searching for the ball in places he shouldn’t and then finds himself unable to actually do the job he’s supposed to do.

It’s partly his own fault, an inability to trust those around you in a team sport. But also partly because they are genuinely surrounded by below-standard players. Rooney giving his transfer request in was as a direct result of having John O’Shea and Cleverley supporting Michael Carrick in the centre of midfield. I always said Rooney at his prime is a star player but it takes 11 men to play football and he spent half his Utd career being three of them. Gerrard was the same with one of the best midfield screens I can think of in Alonso and Mascherano behind you, looking up front and seeing Fernando Torres at his best and having Albert Rieira and Dirk Kuyt “helping” you support him.

Imagine placing Sanchez in any functioning top team where he didn’t have to create and score all his own goals. Imagine him actually playing a role in a team rather than trying to be the team. “Fella, sit on the Right Wing Fwd position just off Lukaku/Kane/Lewandowski/AN.Other and let TopQualityLeftWinger do his job over there.”
Aston Taylor (CFC)

 

Man United’s most overrated player: Romelu Lukaku
I’ve been wanting to mail in on this subject for a week or two, but recent entries have now prompted me. Who is Manchester United’s most overrated player? I’m going to put my head above the parapet and say Lukaku.

Now firstly, let me be clear, I’m not saying he’s rubbish, he’s obviously a good player, but if Spurs would take it, I’d happily offer Lukaku plus £100m for Kane; I think there’s a gulf in class between them. If you’ve actually watched United this season, Lukaku has actually only played well in about 3 or 4 games (Champions League games stick out). In the others, he’s either been poor or pretty non-existent and then scored at the end; numbers are masking his overall performance. The Palace game would be a good case in point. Prior to his goal, he had two opportunities gifted to him; the first he put a simple finish wide and with the second he couldn’t play a really simple through ball to Rashford that would have put him in 1-on-1. Ultimately his job is to score goals, which he’s doing at the moment, and his movement is good which has helped others around him. He has obviously improved us a team through this. However, his first touch is very inconsistent, he loses physical duels with defenders far too often for a man of his size (and then goes to ground appealing for a free kick) and his finishing is a bit hit-and-miss. Someone compared him recently to van Nistelrooy, but I’d say he was closer to Andy Cole (Ruud was far more lethal in the box). A very good striker, and one that will score plenty of goals, but not up there with the very best in the world (Aguero, Lewandowski, Ronaldo, Kane et al).

As I’ve touched on him, a quick word on Kane. Does he remind anyone else of Lampard? Not in style, but in development. Lampard didn’t look special when he was young; he wasn’t particularly quick, big or a brilliant technician, but subtly also had almost no weaknesses. Through application, intelligence and hard work he just got better and better at every aspect of his game, season on season, until by the time he was in his mid-twenties he was one of the best in the world.
Lewis, Busby Way

 

And then there’s Defoe and Aguero
Thank you Jay, Streatham – thank you thank you thank you!

I had been saying to mates for ages about how Defoe was overrated, how his career goals were okay, but certainly not top drawer and not the sort of level England needed. Then he went to Sunderland, started scoring and I was mocked and derided as he pushed his way back into the international fold too. He is a decent striker, backup for a good team or solid option for a lower side but I couldn’t help shouting at the TV every time pundits would say “just give him one chance and he’ll put it in the back of the net” or “so deadly in front of goal” – NO!! He’s not!!

A similar version is Sergio Aguero who, while I love him as a beautiful footballer, man and taxi passenger, also misses his fair share of chances. Him missing a six-yard chance is not a ‘collector’s item’ and he doesn’t ‘usually gobble up chances like that’!

And breathe…
Bryn (run out of brackets…Belfast

 

Can’t blame Van Dijk for wanting out
If we were having a good season and on track to compete for Europe, I’d be really p***ed off at Van Dijk’s comments as a Saints fan. As we’re probably the most boring team in the league right now I don’t blame him and if we can get good money in January then let’s cash in because we need to invest in the squad.

We desperately need creativity and goals so let’s throw some money at Barkley (£10-15m?) and maybe try and get Sturridge as part of the Van Dijk deal as we all know he’s done at Liverpool and needs a fresh start.

End result, we can have an exciting second half of the season to make up for the bloody awful start.
Tom Saints (In a strange small world, found out my flatmate’s best friend from school use to date Sturidge before ‘he made it’)

 

Shinji surely?
A top ten worst goals article without a single one from the greatest cr*p goal scorer ever? Shinji Okazaki deserves his own top ten worst goals list.

My favourite has to be his effort against Newcastle.

A blocked shot loops straight up in the air. Our hero, Shinji, positions himself underneath it and patiently waits the ball to drop. As it approaches, he leaps majestically into the air, the muscles in his neck tense, ready to strike. He misses it completely, the ball bounces up, hits him in the face and heads goalwards. Slowly. There’s not enough on it to beat the keeper so Shinji reacts first to pounce forward and stab the ball home from all of three inches.

Obviously, as it’s an Okazaki goal, it barely crosses the line (and certainly doesn’t ripple the net) and a defender gets a boot to it a second too late.

Legend.
Simon, PVFC and Shinji (I’m a glutton for punishment)

 

Portrait of an Iconic Body Part?
After reading Daniel Storey’s latest Portrait of an Iconic Team (and also because I’m procrastinating and don’t want to do any work) I started watching YouTube videos of Zvonimir Boban and that wonderful Croatia side. I absolutely adored that team and reading that piece brought back some great memories that I’ve attached to the 1998 world cup.

However, they are not the focus of this mailbox entry…As soon as I saw Davor Suker’s magnificent chin, that looked like it had been carved out of marble by Michelangelo himself, I knew that the next series Daniel should write needs to focus on the most iconic body parts in football.

My mind started whirring as I thought about who could be included and so many popped up. I immediately thought of Roberto Baggio whose nickname, The Divine Ponytail, specifically called out his greatest asset and from there the next name was obvious (to me anyway). His successor in Italian football in so many ways, Alessandro del Piero, also took on the hirsute mantle displaying spectacular sideburns that would have made less aesthetically gifted Italian men look ridiculous (see Matteo Darmian today).

The names and body parts kept on coming: Rudi Voller’s moustache; Ruud Gullit’s dreadlocks; Chris Waddle’s mullet; Carlos Valderamma’s blonde mophead; Fabrizio Ravenelli’s silver bonce; Bobby Charlton’s comb-over; Zinedine Zidane’s widow’s peak and so on.

I quickly realised that I was focusing too much on hair when there was so much potential elsewhere. As I re-doubled my efforts to introduce some variety, I found myself recalling men’s body parts with glee (something I thought I’d never do). With each one added to the list I became more and more convinced that this is the natural next step in the Icon series! I found myself fantasising about Roberto Carlos’ thighs; Xherdan Shaqiri’s monster calf muscles; Hulk’s junk in the trunk; Ronaldinho’s teeth; Dwight Yorke’s smile; Cristiano Ronaldo’s six pack; Peter Crouch’s stilt-like legs and go-go gadget arms; Mesut Ozil’s proptotic eyes; Garrincha’s knees; and Duncan Ferguson’s elbow.

Finally, this led me to those players that have played with “accessories” related to malfunctioning body parts. Who could deny Edgar Davids’ goggles are iconic? Or Peter Cech’s headgear? I also thought of Eric Cantona’s arm cast (and also his turned up collar but I started to stray too far away from the theme)! Could we include Paul Gascoigne’s boobs in this too?

Anyway, I feel like I’m now reaching for examples but I’m sure the mailbox will provide plenty more. I’d also like to give Storey permission to use this as inspiration for a new series to follow the excellent ‘Portrait of an Icon’ and the equally compelling ‘Portrait of an Iconic Team’. Thanks for the memories and you’re welcome!
Doc Joshi, MUFC (The fourth installment in the series should be Portrait of an Iconic Celebration – To kick you off… Temuri Ketsbaia kicking McDonald’s and Adidas advertising hoardings like a demented 12 year old – what did they ever do to you, Temuri?)

 

What Croatia’s success did for me…
Just got sent a link by my best mate regarding the iconic Croatian team of 1998 and it got me remembering how significant that tournament was for me personally.

At the risk of going through stereotypes, as a fairly well travelled man who takes a lot of interest in other people’s culture I feel like there a certain countries that have a “brand”. If you’re French, you’re sexy, if you’re Italian you’re perhaps even sexier, if you’re Japanese you’re super cool and minimalist, if you’re Jamaican you’re about good vibes and tunes… if you’re eastern European you’re poor and uneducated.

That was the connotation I grew up with as my family left war-torn Yugoslavia to start life in England. I got to school and was lumped into this category. Confidence and identity issues rose galore (I think I even tried desperately to claim Irish/Scottish heritage on account of my mother’s red hair just to feel part of an identity that was more readily accepted than my own… allow me, I was 10 years old and petrified of virtually everything, especially my hostile inner-city London school).

SO when this tournament came along, it changed everything. Vs Argentina in the group stage it got us talked about, knocking Romania out got a few chins scratching, Vs Germany got a few cheers, vs France got us on the map, coming 3rd vs Holland unleashed a type of pride I hadn’t ever felt…. and it got me accepted in school. As an adult I couldn’t give less of a shit but as a kid, it meant the world to me that those red and white chequers had now become a “brand”. Suddenly I wasn’t the poor eastern European kid, I was from Croatia.

To some that team represented good technique and goals, to me it was the release of social anxiety. 1998 was a great year and it felt like we had won the tournament… damn you Thuram!
Van, London via Hrvatska

 

The greatest PFM drinks
Recently, we saw the demise of the PFM, when John Nicholson decided he’d had enough of it and didn’t put a ‘PFM rating’ section in his Love Letter to Ian Wright. However, as Tuesday’s Mediawatch highlighted, Peter Reid has a new book out. Reidy was once described in a piece John and Alan Tyers wrote ahead of the Manchester City v Stoke City FA Cup Final as coming up with ‘a great euphemism for getting monumentally and repeatedly bladdered – ‘I used to socialise with Bryan Robson and Kevin Moran’’.

With this in mind, maybe we can revive the PFM drinking one more time. As John’s unofficial archivist, between 19 March 2015 and 1.9.17, a total of 253 ingredients were combined in varying degrees by Reidy to make 95 different concoctions. Here’s a top ten, in no particular order:

* Reidy’s Big Zin – zinfandel, Tabasco, nitroglycerine and steel wool produced in California but taken for finishing and secondary fermentation to Reidy’s uncle’s allotment’s shed in Bootle.

Reidy’s Big Zin” sounds like a 1970s prog album, held up by Johnny for a photo on Facebook. This is perhaps the one that takes the most preparation.

* Iron-rich Bloody Mary made from actual blood from someone called Mary, with added diesel and Marmite.

Statistically speaking it is likely that at least one of the PFM gang would have a mother called Mary, meaning this drink would provide plenty of opportunities for ‘your mum’ jokes.

* Deep Heat, Benylin and yage.

A classic PFM practical joke is to add Deep Heat to a teammate’s underpants, so Reidy is bound to have a couple of tubes about his person at any given time.

* Carefully-honed “lady juice” blends of oven cleaner, hair dye and hallucinogenic toad, served in an oven glove.

The PFMs famously see women as an unwanted distraction from male banter, but Reidy keeps this one in the rolodex, because drinking a “women’s drink” is a surefire way of proving to the other PFMs that they are not gay.

* Nitroglycerine, polydimethylsiloxane and liquidised wet wipes.

Liquidised wet wipes are my favourite of all the ingredients. As a concept, not as anything else.

* Fermented bin juice, compost and radioactive waste lager.

‘Bin juice’ is both funny and evocatively disgusting. That’s not an easy mix of adjectives. Try them sometimes.

* Cochineal beetles, embalming fluid and hair pomade.

Cochineal beetles are native to South America. It isn’t clear whether they are embalmed before they are shipped, and Reidy has to go to Customs to explain it’s all for a bit of banter, here’s some season tickets, officer.

* Sodium pentathol, soda crystals and cream soda shandy

Years ago there was an anti-smoking campaign that put the word “light” on pictures of crocodiles and lions, to point out that calling something “light” doesn’t mean it won’t kill you. Similarly, one of Reidy’s shandies (of which there were ten varieties) is just as likely to empty your innards or blind you. Still, get this down you and then we’ll start the real drinking.

* Toilet Duck of Destruction loaded with industrial grade ferric chloride, nitric acid and vinegar.

Toilet Duck is one of two ingredients to appear five times.

* Pig’s blood, sump oil and nail polish lager.

The other to appear five times is nail polish, often used in cocktails but on two occasions used to enhance a lager. Well, ‘light beer’, to use the American term, is widely thought to be ideal for people who don’t like the taste of beer but enjoy peeing a lot. This was also the final entry in the series.

There are plenty more, and I’m sure everyone has a different favourite. What else are you going to read in the international break?
Ed Quoththeraven

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