Worried about Ray
Ray Wilkins is a great man. He is the kind of guy who believes Wayne Rooney will break Alan Shearer’s Premier League goals record. Or that Eric Dier is better than Paul Ince was. Or that Arsenal should sell Mesut Ozil and play Jack Wilshere instead. Or that Nathan Ake “will be distraught” to return to Chelsea.
He is also the kind of guy who speaks regularly to talkSPORT, to whom he offers his latest pearls. You see, Ray noted Frank Lampard’s retirement from playing on Thursday, and he has some views to air.
“I’d love to see Frank go into management,” he begins. “I’d love to see him given the opportunity. Obviously people have to take badges now to get involved in coaching, but I just think someone should take a chance with Frank now.”
Well, it would certainly be a risk. But Mediawatch agrees that Lampard should look to get “involved in coaching” some time soon, perhaps working for a club in the lower leagues, or even with a reserve side in the Premier League?
Ah, sorry Ray, you weren’t done. Please, continue.
“Put him back in the Premier League, and let’s see where Frank can go in the Premier League. A lot of people say you should do your apprenticeship down in the lower leagues and find out what management is all about, but not for me.
“Someone like Frank, that has worked with world-class players and played with world-class players for the last ten years, should be working with those type of players. He understands their mentality, he understands how to get the best out of them.”
Oh, you want Frank Lampard to go straight into management now? Actually, scratch that – straight into Premier League management now? Of course.
Lampard is 38, and only retired on Thursday. He is yet to complete his coaching qualifications. Which Premier League club would you recommend take such a ridiculous risk on a completely unproven quantity, Ray? And that is without even mentioning one key factor: Does Lampard have a say in this? Does he even want to become a manager, never mind this season?
Here is the man himself, discussing his future back in October:
“There was a period earlier in my career where I really fancied it, then I thought I don’t fancy the managerial thing. Now, I’m back onto it.
“The problem is I’ve got to get my badges and the hard thing for me is to have time to do it. As soon as I finish playing I’d like to take it up and maybe be a manager.”
As for his final line in that interview – “It’s hard though because I only want the Chelsea job” – that means only one thing: The Blues should get rid of Antonio Conte now and get Lampard in as manager.
“I think it would be wonderful if we could see Frank back in the Premier League. If not now, then perhaps next year,” added Wilkins. Oh, well that’s alright then. Lampard becoming a Premier League manager this season would be ridiculous; next season would be fine.
C-c-called a U-turn
Mediawatch can only hope that Paul Merson has an upcoming appointment with the dentist, for he must have said the following through teeth as gritted as the December roads.
“Hull have been playing well since the appointment of Marco Silva. They haven’t quite got all the results they wanted but they’ve been giving a decent account of themselves. The problem is the teams around them have been winning. Hull have had some difficult games but if they can get them out of the way, then there will be some winnable ones that follow.”
The Magic Man backs Hull to draw with Liverpool in his Sky Sports predictions for this weekend. A reminder, were it ever needed, that this was his view on Marco Silva less than a month ago.
We await Merson’s uncontainable and incoherent rage when Chelsea appoint Frank Lampard as manager before he finishes his coaching qualifications. Bloody foreign.
Leicester are slipping. The Premier League champions are 16th in the table, two points above the bottom three. They have not scored a league goal in 2017, never mind secured a win.
Martin Keown is worried for them in the Daily Mail. He writes:
‘There is too much life in the teams below Leicester for them not to be seriously concerned.
‘Crystal Palace and Swansea are emerging, Hull are improving and Sunderland carved out a good result against Tottenham. Leicester are living legends but they do not want to be remembered as the champions who were relegated. That is now a real possibility.’
An absolutely fair assessment. But Keown is not done.
‘In 1998, Arsenal won the double and two of our players were World Cup winners with France but no heads got bigger as a result.
‘What we are seeing at Leicester is an example of how everything can come crashing down if people change once they have had a taste of success.’
Mediawatch sees no difference between an Arsenal squad containing David Seaman, Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit and Dennis Bergkamp and a Leicester squad containing Wes Morgan, Andy King and Marcin Wasilewski. None at all.
Leicester’s title win was ridiculous and their current demise is stark, but they finished 14th and battled relegation the season before they won the Premier League; Arsenal finished third the season prior to winning the double. They are two very different cases.
‘What we are seeing at Leicester’ is a combination of two things: Regression to the mean, and no N’Golo Kante. Demarai Gray hasn’t suddenly got too big for his boots.
Neil Ashton is a man with ‘the inside track’; his byline in The Sun says as much. He has two barrels, and both have Arsenal’s name written on them.
‘Nice life, being an Arsenal player,’ he begins. ‘Finish training, head for Hampstead, settle down in a stylish coffee shop on the High Street around mid-afternoon.
‘Cappuccino culture is alive and well at Arsenal.’
No wonder Arsene Wenger admitted his players weren’t “mentally prepared” to face Watford; how can one possibly win a game of football if you have an occasional cup of coffee?
Mediawatch can only wonder why there is not an ‘EXCLUSIVE’ tag on this offering from Ashton. Here is the man with ‘the inside track on football’s big stories’, to give him his full title.
‘Antonio Conte is using Chelsea’s FA Cup run to put some of his young players in the shop window ahead of a busy summer.
‘The Blues’ Italian boss has a commitment to youth development.
‘But it seems he is not sure whether Nathaniel Chalobah, 22, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 21, and young Brazilian winger Kenedy, 20, who has just returned from a loan spell at Watford, are ready for the first team.’
…and now for the big reveal.
‘Chances are that one or two of the youngsters will be sent out on loan yet again next season as part of their development.’
BREAKING NEWS: CHELSEA COULD LOAN SOME PLAYERS OUT IN THE SUMMER.
Fabrice: Air freshener
It is perfectly understandable for the Daily Express to run quotes from Fabrice Muamba as a two-page ‘exclusive’ in Friday’s newspaper. But Mediawatch will not apologise for sniggering at putting an ‘exclusive’ tag under a headline of ‘Since Vieira Arsenal have gone soft in the centre’.
What’s the (decimal) point?
Have the Daily Telegraph rated Chelsea’s and Arsenal’s players out of ten in an attempt to deduce which club is better (because a current nine-point gap in the Premier League isn’t enough)?
Have the Daily Telegraph done so in gallery format, with each of the 24 pictures linking to a different URL to ensure maximum clickage?
The answer to both questions is, of course, yes. But that is not all; they have rated every player out of ten…to one decimal place. Astounding.
Cesar Azpilicueta is a 7.7, if you were wondering. And Francis Coquelin is obviously a 7.5.
To be Frank
Writes Andrew Dillon in The Sun:
‘Frank Lampard picked up one final honour on his retirement yesterday – being declared Chelsea’s greatest player of all time.’
Yes, Lampard will be scrambling to find space between his three Premier League winner’s medals, one Champions League winner’s medal and countless other team and individual awards to proudly display some kind words from his mate John Terry.
The Daily Mirror website offer us the headline of our times:
‘Football Manager reveal final 2016/17 Premier League table – and it’s bad news for Liverpool and Manchester United’
Manchester United and Liverpool fans are presumably distraught at this virtual setback.
— Goal UK (@GoalUK) February 2, 2017
And people say journalism has gone down the sh*tter.
Eye-opening headline of the day
‘I’LL KEEP BLOWING MY KLOPP’ – The Sun go blue.
Recommended reading of the day
David Hytner on Frank Lampard.
Michael Cox on Arsenal’s midfield issues.
Rory Smith on Arsenal, Arsene Wenger and analytics.
Thanks to Mark Jones. If you spot anything that you think belongs on this page then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and include ‘Mediawatch’ in the subject field.