Who’s the boss?
Sam Allardyce, August 30: “Should we say attacking midfield player or should we say striker? Wayne’s position’s changed at Manchester United and that’s the sort of position I’d be looking to play him.”
Sam Allardyce: September 4: “It’s not for me to say where he’s going to play. He can play wherever he wants to be, because he was brilliant. I can’t stop Wayne if he thinks that’s the right place to be. We aren’t going to make a big deal about it are we?”
Yes, Sam. Yes we are.
Astute you were…
‘Big Sam watch: He’s no Mike Bassett, Allardyce was astute, flexible and most importantly, lucky.’
And in what way was he ‘astute’, dear Mail?
‘The ‘Mike Bassett, England Manager’ allusion was always unfair on Allardyce and simplistic. And he distanced himself further from his supposed alter ego by springing a surprise 4-3-3 with Wayne Rooney in midfield. Bassett, of course, was a ‘four-four f****** two’ man to the core and Allardyce has always been more flexible than that. Not that Rooney’s deployment was a huge success but it was an indication that there will be tactical variation when necessary.’
So he was ‘astute’ because he did not play a formation – beloved of a fictional character – that nobody ever expected him to play, and instead he picked a 4-3-3 (or did he? After all, it’s not for him to say where he should play) that absolutely did not work? It’s a bloody low bar but he’s hurdled it with aplomb.
The Mail did not stop there, with Matt Lawton writing: ‘Hodgson did not put much faith in John Stones but the ambition Allardyce showed in selecting him for a World Cup qualifier of such huge importance was handsome rewarded.’
Yes, such ‘ambition’ to pick a £47.5m defender over a 34-year-old and a man who has played two minutes of Premier League football this season. And people think he is a pragmatic manager. Fools.
Big Sam, big performance
The Mail were not the only ones trying to talk up Allardyce’s ‘performance’. Here’s Peter Taylor on Sky Sports, giving Allardyce 8/10: ‘I think he picked a positive team and I don’t think he could have done more on the strength that they looked good defensively.’
A ‘positive team’? With Wayne Rooney in deep midfield alongside Jordan Henderson (described as ‘the holding midfield player’ by Taylor) and Eric Dier? And we think he could have possibly done more on the strength that they did not manage a shot on target until the 65th minute. We’re a bit picky like that.
Suits you, Sir
According to The Sun, ‘SAM ALLARDYCE certainly looked the part as the new man in charge of England. He opted for the official, smart Three Lions suit over a tracksuit.’
Yes. Well done for ‘opting’ for the suit that you were given by the FA, Sam. You really are an excellent manager.
Attack, attack, attack
The battle to find ways to laud Allardyce leads Neil Ashton of The Sun to this sentence: ‘At least there was a sense of adventure as he sent on the subs during a series of attacking changes during the second half.’
They were drawing 0-0 against ten men; even Sam Allardyce would have struggled to justify sending on Phil Jagielka.
Stat’s all, folks
Sorry (not sorry) for labouring the point but The Sun have even done a comparison of statistics from Roy Hodgson’s 56 matches against a range of opposition in friendlies, qualifiers and finals with Allardyce’s one game. Their conclusion? ‘SAM’S BOSSING IT…’
Mediawatch is particularly impressed that Allardyce is ‘averaging’ fewer substitutions. Well done, Sam. Astute.
According to The Sun: ‘He admitted he was nervous before the match and arrived late for the anthems. He hardly belted out God Save the Queen…’
According to The Daily Mirror: ‘A suited Sam Allardyce appeared for the anthems and he belted it out.’
Whoever wrote this bilge in The Sun neglected to include their byline:
‘ENGLAND left it scarily late to get their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a flier in Slovakia. Adam Lallana proved to be the phantom menace, ghosting in to plunder the winner after 94min 39sec, the latest England goal in the last ten years. And the Liverpool midfielder celebrated by looking like a right red devil.’
One word: Horrific.
Big Sam, small maths
“We hit the post, we had 20 attempts at goal, they had seven” – Sam Allardyce.
No Sam, they had one shot. Which was blocked. But well done on needing 95 minutes to beat a side with no ambition, yeah.
Some guys have all the luck
Headline on a column from John Cross in the Daily Mirror: ‘England get some good fortune at last – but they’ve earned it after years of heartbreak.’
Oh, is that how it works? Somebody in San Marino needs to buy a lottery ticket.
Liverpool transfer news, Liverpool transfer news, Liverpool transfer news
The SEO dream is to get the words ‘Liverpool’ and ‘transfer’ and ‘news’ into a URL. The Daily Star website have hit the jackpot with their Lucas Digne story.
‘LUCAS DIGNE was the subject of a transfer bid from an English club this summer, Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez has claimed,’ begins the story.
And what makes this ‘Liverpool transfer news’?
‘Fernandez does not name the club involved but The Daily Mirror say the Kop were extremely interested.’
Skirting over the fact that ‘the Kop’ is a stand and not a nickname, when exactly did the Daily Mirror say ‘the Kop’ were interested?
On July 13, that’s when.
Liverpool. Transfer. News.
Confirmation of the day
Headline on the Manchester Evening News website: ‘Fonte confirms Manchester United offer.’
Opening line on the Manchester Evening News website: ‘Southampton defender Jose Fonte has confirmed he was the subject of a bid from Manchester United this summer.’
Quote from Jose Fonte on the Manchester Evening News website: “Was I disappointed the Man United move didn’t happen? Let’s leave that for another time. Now I’m focused on Southampton.”
It confirms one thing: They’ll do anything for clicks.
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) September 5, 2016
That will be the Zlatan Ibrahimovic who Jose Mourinho has said will “be here, no doubts for the next two years”.
Winter is coming!
Check out the faces of Jason Burt (Daily Telegraph) and Mark Ogden (The Independent) in the background. Jealous, much?
— Lukáš Vráblik (@LukasVrablik) September 5, 2016
Recommended reading of the day
Scott Sumner on Wales beating the system
Michael Cox on Adam Lallana deserving freedom more than Wayne Rooney
Nick Miller on England being exactly as we would expect