Headlines for our times
‘Watford sign Andre Gray from Burnley for club record £18.5m after Sean Dyche banned his Little Mix singer girlfriend from sitting in directors’ box’ – MailOnline.
‘Sergio Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi dance to ‘Despacito’ as Manchester City’s Argentine duo party together to celebrate a friend’s birthday’ – MailOnline.
‘HOW KOP YOUNGSTERS ARE BUCKING THE TREND’ are the words emblazoned across the Daily Mirror’s piece about Trent Alexander-Arnold in which David Maddock trumpets Liverpool’s record with youngsters when compared to those terrible folk at Chelsea who chew up and spit out their kids.
His piece begins…
‘There was a sense of anger and bewilderment when Dominic Solanke chose to quit Chelsea for Liverpool this summer.
‘How could one of the most talented young forwards in the country – a striker whose goals took England Under-20s to World Cup glory in June – turn his back on a team that had just won the Premier League?
‘The answer lies in his team-mates.
‘Look at the club he has just left.
‘John Terry was the last Chelsea academy graduate to become a first-team fixture and the chances of even the current crop of brilliant Blues kids emulating him are non-existent, as their summer transfer business proves.
‘On Merseyside, it is a very different story.’
We shall stop you there and look at Liverpool’s current first-team squad with – presumably – the emphasis being on Academy graduates.
Oh, this is odd – only four of the 31 players listed here actually emerged from Liverpool’s Academy. Does anybody want to argue that any of Jon Flanagan, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Sheyi Ojo and Ben Woodburn are ‘first-team fixtures’?
Actually, Raheem Sterling is the only Academy graduate (and he was originally bought from QPR) who has become a ‘first-team fixture’ over the last ten years. Meanwhile, the aforementioned quartet of current first-teamers started a grand total of three Premier League games last season.
‘Jurgen Klopp has a managerial track record of giving young players a chance and he has backed that up this season by promoting four teenagers into his first-team squad.’
Thankfully, we have a handy table that shows us that ‘managerial track record of giving young players a chance’ in action last season…
— Blog of the Net (@BlogOfTheNet) June 26, 2017
Maybe when Maddock wrote ‘Merseyside’, he really should have written ‘Everton’.
‘One of those, Trent Alexander-Arnold, looks almost certain to start for the Reds when their Premier League season gets under way at Watford in Saturday’s lunchtime game.’
Indeed. Because Liverpool’s £16m right-back Nathaniel Clyne is injured.
Mediawatch’s cannot help wondering why – with this famed commitment to youngsters – Klopp has sold or released Jordon Ibe, Jerome Sinclair, Brad Smith. João Teixeira and Andre Wisdom in his time in charge of Liverpool. It does seem rather curious for a manager with such a commitment to youth.
It is at this point that Maddock presumably realises that there actually aren’t many/any homegrown Liverpool players established at Liverpool and so reaches for those who have left…
‘At Anfield, Raheem Sterling, Jordon Ibe and Jerome Sinclair took the same path as Solanke and were repaid with first-team chances and, ultimately, big-money transfers. Ovie Ejaria left Arsenal last season with the same intent.’
Yes, Ejaria will definitely be desperate to follow the path of Sinclair, who played 25 minutes in the Premier League for Liverpool and started one FA Cup game. He should instead aim to emulate Ibe, who started 20 Premier League games for Liverpool before being sold to Bournemouth, which is of course the dream when you join Liverpool.
Ejaria is well on his way after his five minutes of Premier League action last season. Those Kop youngsters really are bucking the trend.
The new Costa!
David Maddock is not the only person living in dreamland about Liverpool’s record of giving chances to young players with Jamie Redknapp telling Sky Sports:
‘The other one that has gone under the radar a little is Dominic Solanke, who’s going to be a good player for Liverpool. I suppose he was out of contract and there’s not a lot you can do – Chelsea wanted to keep him, but the boy wants to go and play first-team football. I think he might have been a ready-made replacement for Costa.’
Jamie Carragher may know a little more, saying in the very same article:
‘Up front, with Danny Ings coming back from injury and Dominic Solanke coming in, they have got four or five options and Klopp only plays with one striker.’
So he’s either a ‘ready-made replacement for Costa’ or just another striker unlikely to get a game. We’ll go with Carra…
However did they know?
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 10, 2017
Those famous ‘Sky sources’ took their time picking up a copy of The Sun.
What’s this? The Daily Express have their own ‘sources’…
‘Danny Rose to Man Utd: Danny Murphy has just revealed transfer deal is on cards’
Actual quotes from ‘insider’ Danny Murphy: “My understanding of the situation is – and I was actually at Spurs when he signed from Leeds – is that he wants to go up north. That suggests Man United or City is on the cards, although they’ve just signed Mendy.”
Question: When did ‘suggested’ become a synonym of ‘revealed’?
Quote of the day
“People speak about me and to me as if I had two left feet before Mauricio came to the club” – Left-back Danny Rose.
The Big Reveal
Headline on the Daily Mirror website, June 7: ‘Mamma Mia, managing in English and THAT darn cat – former Russia boss Leonid Slutsky is on his way….46-year-old whose playing career famously ended when he fell out of a tree rescuing a pet is poised to get the Hull job’
Headline on the Daily Mirror website, August 9: ‘Hull City boss Leonid Slutsky reveals the peculiar way his playing career was ended – and it involves a cat and a tree’
We will stop you there; we think we know this one.