The biggest story in football
‘SPECS APPEAL Under-fire Lukaku wears trendy glasses as Man Utd check into The Lowry’ – The Sun.
That is considered by The Sun to be the football story most worthy of going top of their website. Truly extraordinary, but not as extraordinary as this:
‘ROMELU LUKAKU is nicknamed “The Lawyer” by Belgium coach Thierry Henry, and he was looking pretty sophisticated as he checked into the Lowry today.’
Incidentally, Lukaku earned that nickname because he likes to discuss every aspect of his game and performances in detail. But we do like the idea that The Sun thinks it might be simply because he is a Speccy Four Eyes.
Grumpy old men
Did you watch England Under-17’s World Cup win over Spain and feel an innate sense of joy? Did you put your reservations about player development in the Premier League to one side and just enjoy a group of young people tasting sporting glory that they had worked their balls off to achieve?
Well then you are clearly not Danny Murphy. Murphy – former player and current BBC Sport pundit – watched those celebrations and saw “what is wrong with society”. Oh yes.
But what was the problem? Did Phil Foden sniff some glue while he was being presented with the trophy? Did Callum Hudson-Odoi happy slap a FIFA dignitary? Do we need to get more recent youth culture references? No, no, yes.
“There’s no England badge in the picture of them winning the World Cup – for me, that’s wrong,” Murphy said on TalkSPORT.
“They’ve all turned their shirts around because they want their names across their chests, so everybody across the world can see who they are.
“They’re all saying, ‘I’m a good young player coming through, look at me’, but that in itself is what is wrong with society. In effect, they’re thinking about fame as well as being a footballer and I think it creates a big debate here.
“But the England badge not being in that picture says a lot. The fact they want their names to be on the front of their shirts and think about getting their name out there so people know who they are – they are not wrong, but it’s what is wrong at the moment.”
Jesus H, way to suck the joy out of everything, Danny. Who wants happiness, eh?
Firstly, Murphy’s point on individualism is undermined by the fact that every player turned around their shirts, not just one or two. That hints at a message of “remember all of our names” rather than “look at me, I want to be famous”.
Also, Mediawatch would like to point out that if turning around our shirts becomes customary for England’s senior teams when they win major tournaments, we are prepared to suffer such an unpatriotic act every two years. Winning that tournament has done a great deal more for the fame of those players than failing to display the ‘Three Lions’ badge as the photos are taken.
Also, if Murphy’s point is that such wanton individualism and apparently fame-hungry behaviour is so damaging to the collective, there are few worse times to make that point than when the collective has just proven themselves as the best in the bloody world in a team sport.
The glorious irony of Murphy making wilfully controversial comments on a radio station that courts such controversy as one of the pillars of its existence by criticising people for trying to be noticed is not lost on Mediawatch. It hopes that it is also not lost on you.
Clearing things up
We have heard so much from Phil Neville about his thoughts on Ronald Koeman’s replacement that we never want Everton to sack a manager again, but one interesting line was that Neville himself said last week that he would be interested in taking over. On Tuesday, he (barely) cleared things up.
‘There was nothing in the suggestions that I was going for the Everton job,’ Neville wrote on Sky Sports.
‘Would I be interested? Yes. Did I apply? No.’
Mediawatch is not necessarily the best at offering career advice, but expecting one of the biggest football clubs in the country to come with cap in hand and ask someone who has no experience of first-team management to take the manager’s job is a tad optimistic.
We thought that the first piece of career advice for the likes of Neville was to consider dropping down the leagues to gain useful experience. It seems the first piece of career advice is that the best way to get a job is to actually apply.
Sticking with Neville, P., and on Sky Sports’ website our man previews Manchester United’s trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea this weekend.
‘I love the anticipation of seeing the teamsheet for a big United game. Tactically he’s phenomenal and always finds a way to get a result,’ Neville writes.
‘United have to win the game. I don’t think a draw is good enough but I think they are ready to win a game of this magnitude.
‘Chelsea have the players to hurt you with Eden Hazard coming back to form. Will Jose look to man-mark him with Ander Herrera? Tactically I think it will be another game where he comes up with a plan to win the game.’
Yes, Mourinho ‘always finds a way to get a result’.
If only there wasn’t a recent example of Mourinho’s United getting pumped in a big game. Like this exact fixture last season.
‘Worth a flutter? Odds for Cristiano Ronaldo’s kids to play for Manchester United and Real Madrid have been revealed’ – Mirror Football.
1. The kid is seven years old.
2. These odds haven’t been revealed, but set by a bookmaker looking to make profit.
3. In the Mirror Football’s story, they link to the homepage of bookmaker William Hill. Now Mediawatch is not saying that this is a sponsored story dressed up as news, but we are unable to actually find that particular market on William Hill’s website, and you’ll never guess which bookmaker has enjoyed an exclusive sponsorship agreement with the Daily Mirror.
A Stan Collymore column, condensed
On Michail Antonio’s last-minute decision-making:
‘Naive, inept, lazy, ill-disciplined, stupid, idiotic’
‘Rollickings, banter, embarrassment, memes’
‘Doesn’t care enough’
You get the point.
A Stan Collymore column, condensed even further
‘Never mind the league, Spurs – make Carabao Cup your number one priority… for the next two or three years.’
‘Jermain Defoe fears his England World Cup dreams are dying due to lack of Premier League game time’ – Daily Mirror.
Having scored one goal in six Premier League starts and playing in every league game for which he has been fit, we’re not sure it’s the minutes that are hurting Defoe’s chances as much as the form.
Ten thousand spoons
‘Burnley supporters are more interested in the points, and the fact they now have the same number as sixth-placed Liverpool. And that is quite ironic, given that Dyche is one of the names in the frame to replace the axed Ronald Koeman across Stanley Park at Goodison’ – Phil Thomas, The Sun.
Why didn’t Alanis Morissette sing about a manager having the same number of points as a club who are the rivals of a club to whom he is being linked?
Recommended reading of the day
Sid Lowe on Girona.
Jonathan Wilson with Ryan Babel.
Jonathan Liew on poppies.