‘World class one minute and a waiting game the next,’ begins an article from Neil Ashton for The Sun. ‘Suddenly the doubts have resurfaced in the England camp about Daniel Sturridge,’ Ashton writes.
‘He unsettled Roy Hodgson yesterday when he reported to the team hotel complaining of a calf injury.’
So Sturridge is injured? This is strange, considering Ashton himself wrote the following for an article on The Sun’s website, still visible from the homepage:
‘Sturridge is NOT injured, but Roy Hodgson oddly left him -and Gary Cahill – out of the session at Manchester City’s training ground.
‘It is claimed Sturridge, 26, is having treatment and will be available for selection against Australia on Friday.’
Perhaps Hodgson is unsettled because Sturridge reported to the team hotel with an injury, this despite ‘NOT’ carrying one?
Slight differences of opinion
Ashton is not the only one slightly confused about the status of England and Liverpool striker Sturridge. He really, really is not alone.
– ‘Daniel Sturridge is in serious danger of missing the European Championship…he is out of Friday’s friendly against Australia in Sunderland’ – John Cross, Daily Mirror.
– ‘Daniel Sturridge is in danger of missing Euro 2016…Liverpool striker Sturridge has complained of a calf injury, making him a doubt for Friday’s friendly against Australia at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland’ – Sami Mokbel and Matt Lawton, Daily Mail.
– ‘Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge was absent from training for England today – but is expected to be available for Friday’s friendly against Australia’ – Ian Doyle, Liverpool Echo.
– ‘Daniel Sturridge has given England an injury scare ahead of the European Championship after suffering a calf problem…It remains to be seen how serious Sturridge’s knock is, and the indications last night were his absence from training was more precautionary and he could yet feature himself on Friday’ – Chris Bascombe, Daily Telegraph.
– ‘Liverpool forward Sturridge has become a doubt for the fixture after missing training at Manchester City’s CFA Campus on Wednesday afternoon due to concerns over a calf injury’ – Mark Ogden, The Independent.
To conclude: Sturridge is ‘in serious danger’ of missing the Euros though injury, and will definitely miss Friday’s friendly against Australia.
Or he is only ‘in danger’ of missing the Euros, and is ‘a doubt’ for Friday’s fixture.
Or he is ‘expected to be available’ against Australia. Or his absence from training was ‘precautionary’ and ‘it remains to be seen’ how serious the injury is.
Or, according to Ashton above, he is ‘NOT injured’ at all.
Mediawatch is just glad we can all agree. That we can all agree we have no idea, anyway.
‘Jose Mourinho will pocket a staggering £5m bonus if he makes Manchester United kings of Europe again,’ reads an exclusive from Jeremy Cross of the Daily Star. Crikey. This sounds big.
‘Mourinho has agreed a deal worth £10m a season following talks with United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in London.
‘But Starsport understands his deal will also be heavily incentivised and include massive bonuses to reward success.’
Is that not the case with, y’know, pretty much every contract that elite clubs offer to players or managers?
In yet more staggering news, Mourinho sent a text yesterday. Or, if you are the Daily Star, he was ‘caught sending’ one. Thankfully, Jack Wilson explains a) what it said, and b) who he might have sent it to.
Wilson claims that Mourinho’s text read ‘Haha, great news!!!’ with three delightful exclamation marks included. Step forward if you believe the Portuguese sent it to any of: Louis van Gaal, Eva Carneiro, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Sir Alex Ferguson or Ed Woodward.
‘United are confident they will be able to announce the deal after concerns about his image rights were ironed out. They are still registered to Chelsea, who continue to sell mugs and other items on their website at a knockdown price’ – Mike Keegan, Daily Mail.
Poor Nemanja Matic.
Mesut and tie
Matt Hughes has some bad news for Arsenal fans in The Times. Well, some not-so-great news, anyway: Mesut Ozil has stalled on signing a new Arsenal deal again.
In an exclusive, Hughes adds that the German ‘is unwilling to discuss signing a new deal’ until after the European Championship this summer. Ozil, who has two years left on his contract at the Emirates Stadium, ‘is happy at Arsenal and not agitating for a move,’ the report claims.
Put that through the Metro‘s special transfer bullsh*t machine, and Arsenal are now ‘sweating’ over his future. Mark Brus adds that ‘it is thought that Ozil may be concerned about committing his future to a club that has failed to deliver major silverware since he joined’.
‘It is thought’ by whom? Not by the man whose exclusive you refer to in the story itself, that’s for certain.
Wednesday was a great day for Newcastle fans. A list of their last seven managers reads as follows: Steve McClaren, John Carver, Alan Pardew, Chris Hughton, Alan Shearer, Joe Kinnear, Kevin Keegan. Latest incumbent Rafael Benitez is a slight upgrade, to say the least.
Henry Winter of The Times was among the many impressed by the Championship club’s appointment of the Spaniard. He tweeted the following:
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) May 25, 2016
Which is weird, because in an article for the Daily Telegraph in late 2009, Winter dubbed Benitez a ‘self-absorbed Spaniard’, criticised his ‘his cold detachment from the players’, and stated that he ‘never accepts responsibility himself’.
That doesn’t sound like a ‘boost for the players and fans’, Henry.
Brian Reade is bordering on apoplectic in his column for the Daily Mirror. ‘We will be giving many fans stick this weekend when TV capture them gratuitously sobbing after play-off heartbreak,’ he writes.
‘But where was the criticism of Pep Guardiola crying after his final game at Bayern Munich last weekend when they won the German Cup’ asks Reade. ‘”It’s been an amazing three years at this club and I’ll miss the players so much,” he said, between tears which would have done a crocodile proud.’
Oh no, Guardiola even cries fraudulent tears now.
Reade, of course, is not done there: ‘If he truly loved the club and players, why, instead of shafting them halfway through the season by admitting he’d finally been worn down by a sheikh’s petro-dollars, didn’t he stay and have another three amazing years?’
A few things, Brian:
– Bayern Munich’s record in the 24 games since Guardiola ‘shafted’ them in agreeing to join Manchester City reads: 16 wins, six draws, two defeats. They exited the Champions League at the semi-final stage on away goals to Atletico Madrid. They beat Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal final to complete another Bundesliga and cup double.
– If we are claiming that Guardiola has ‘finally been worn down by a sheikh’s petro-dollars’, are we also claiming he has been earning a pittance in Germany?
– Why didn’t Guardiola stay at Bayern? Well, he managed Barcelona for five years. He has been at Bayern for three years. He has signed a three-year deal at City. There appears to be a pattern emerging in the years after he has left Spain. Perhaps that explains why he left? Or perhaps the following explanation from Guardiola himself, given in January – “Three years are enough. I am not comfortable with staying at one club for 30 years. I want new restaurants, a new city, a new challenge” – will suffice?
In a while, crocodile.
‘Arsenal plot £50m swoop for Juventus star’ – said ‘Juventus star’ being Alvaro Morata – Daily Express, March 2016.
‘Alvaro Morata to Arsenal via Real Madrid for £30m?’ – The Guardian, April 2016.
‘Alvaro Morata to cost £38m as Real Madrid willing to sell striker to Gunners’ – The Sun, 26 May, 2016.
‘Arsenal open Alvaro Morata bidding with £28m offer for the Juventus hitman’ – The Sun, 26 May, 2016.
Recommended reading of the day
Marcus Christenson on Granit Xhaka.
Matt Stanger on Riyad Mahrez and St Mirren.
Ryan Ferguson on Calciopoli.