Open that door
Roy Hodgson was asked about Marcus Rashford and gave the only answer he could possibly give: “I would neither rule him in or rule him out.” If he had ruled him out, he would have been vilified for ignoring an excellent young player. So he opted for platitudes. The result?
From The Sun: ‘MARCUS RASHFORD could get a sensational England call-up for Euro 2016.’
Well he could.
From the Daily Mirror: ‘ROY HODGSON last night opened the door on Marcus Rashford getting a Euro 2016 call-up.’
Or alternatively, he didn’t close said door; it’s ajar.
From the Daily Mail: ‘ROY HODGSON has opened the door for Manchester United wonderkid Marcus Rashford to sensationally gatecrash England’s Euro 2016 squad.’
See above. With an added ‘sensationally’.
From the Daily Express: ‘ROY HODGSON has opened the door to a sensational Euro 2016 call-up for Manchester United teenager Marcus Rashford.’
Was somebody copying?
From the Daily Star: ‘ROY HODGSON yesterday opened the door to a Euro 2016 call-up for teen sensation Marcus Rashford.’
We should also point out that Hodgson also said: “Most of all, I hope he is allowed to develop as an 18-year-old should and people don’t try to put him under enormous pressure.”
Mediawatch suspects that boat has sailed with the ‘wonderkid’ on board.
All f***ing nonsense
Fresh from his ridiculous attack on Wahbi Khazri, Martin Samuel is back in the Daily Mail with a Danny Drinkwater interview. He seems a nice enough bloke (Drinkwater, that is) but we couldn’t help but get riled at Samuel’s narrative of ‘egoless’ footballers who are a ‘team of workers’, summed up by this sentence:
‘There is not a player in Ranieri’s squad who has not had to graft to overcome professional adversity, or is without a point to prove.’
Really? Leicester’s season is a really bloody lovely story but they are not a team of hod carriers plucked from Wealdstone United.
Drinkwater himself was in the Manchester United academy from the age of nine; Kasper Schemichel is the son of one of football’s greatest-ever goalkeepers and started his career with Manchester City; Robert Huth joined Chelsea at the age of 17. The poor b***ards.
Then there’s Leonardo Ulloa, the poor put-upon striker who was bought for £8m and given a massive wage rise after one, hellish season in the Championship with Brighton.
Or signing of the season N’Golo Kante, who simply impressed in his native France before moving to Leicester to earn a much, much higher salary. What awful ‘professional adversity’ he suffered.
As for ‘egoless’, we will leave this here….
‘West Ham’s season keeps getting better and better and I think they are as fit, strong and athletic as any team in the league,’ writes Mark Lawrenson on his BBC Sport predictions.
As fit, strong and athletic as any team in the league…but predicted by Lawro to win just two of their last 15 Premier League matches; they are 18th in his predictions table.
Lawrenson of course predicts a 1-1 draw for West Ham this weekend at Everton. It’s one of four 1-1s he predicts this weekend.
1-1 draws predicted by Lawrenson this season: 74
1-1 draws in the Premier League this season: 25
Could it be Magic?
It’s Friday; it’s Paul Merson predictions day. Rejoice.
* On Watford v Leicester: ‘I thought Watford also played well in midweek at United and there is not a million miles between these two teams, believe me! It is weird, but one is very consistent and has been on a roll, and the other has been in and out really, but punched above their weight.
‘So fair play to both teams and I am going for 1-1…’
He’s right – ‘there is not a million miles between these two teams’, there’s 20 points. And the difference is apparently that one is much better than the other. Which, in the crazy world of Magic Merson, is ‘weird’.
* On Tottenham v Arsenal: ‘The way Arsenal are playing, I just cannot see them getting anything out of the game.’
The prediction? 1-1. Of course.
* On Everton v West Ham: ‘I do not think there are many harder games than this away from home and West Ham have just had to work very hard for the Tottenham result and they have a big game next weekend at Old Trafford, so I am going to go for a 2-1 Everton win.’
Pesky fact: Everton have won just one of their last seven Premier League games at Goodison Park.
Because I got high
‘How high in the Premier League can Manchester United finish?’ is the question asked by the Sky Sports website. What a lovely, SEO-tastic URL, by the way.
The ‘conclusion’: ‘If they can deliver more big results against their closest rivals and get some of their injured first-teamers back into action, they’ll have a chance of climbing the table.’
How high can they finish? It turns out that they can finish quite high if they win some football games.
Thanks. For. That.
Sky Sports’ attempt to make us watch the MLS continues apace with a ‘Which MLS team should you support? Find your Premier League team’s equivalent’ ‘feature’.
There really is too much to detail here – we really do recommend you take a look – including the suggestion that Liverpool fans should support Toronto (not Steven Gerrard’s LA Galaxy, because of course Manchester United fans should choose them) because they are, like Liverpool ‘extremely popular in their city, and wear red’.
But this is the killer line we simply cannot stop reading, succinctly explaining why Watford fans should follow Orlando City:
‘Kaka is the club talisman for Orlando, just like Troy Deeney is for Watford.’
Sold. Where can they get the shirt?
Free speech (ish)
Wenger being asked if football is doing enough to educate players about not grooming underage girls. Fucking hell.
— arseblog (@arseblog) March 4, 2016
Mediawatch would like to echo that sentiment. But with asterisks. F***ing hell.
‘Come and ask some questions yourself if you don’t like others’ was the predictable reply from the increasingly tetchy John Cross of the Daily Mirror. The conversation did not end there…
@arseblog I wouldn't ask it. It wouldn't make Mirror. But I believe everyone is entitled to ask what they like.The broadcast presser is open
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) March 4, 2016
Which is nice. Crossy is all for free speech. You go to a press conference and you should absolutely be allowed to ask what you want…
Unbelievably disrespectful. When did it become acceptable for a journo to phrase questions like that…? https://t.co/5NQzpFega3
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) January 8, 2016
Oh. It turns out ‘everyone is entitled to ask what they like’ as long as they don’t question the veracity of transfer stories written by the friends of John Cross.
This is quite sweet from John Cross in the Daily Mirror:
‘Sadly for Arsenal fans, it must feel like Groundhog Day…the punters’ patience is wearing thin…the tide is turning even among his most loyal supporters…the problem for Wenger is that the mood has changed…Arsenal fans do not want to be told about winning back-to-back FA Cup triumphs and the possibility of a hat-trick in the competition in May…the Gunners’ arch-rivals Tottenham also look capable of winning the title. That would be a bitter pill to swallow for Arsenal fans…If suddenly they are overtaken, then many fans believe Wenger’s position is untenable…We seem to have been here so many times before, and yet this time it is different because expectations had been raised and often it’s the hope that kills you…It’s hard to imagine the fans putting up with it any longer…’
Just be brave and write in the first person, John.
‘NAILED – U.S. mogul confirms Sun story’ is the self-satisfied headline on the back page of the nation’s favourite newspaper.
‘THE Premier League’s “Big Five” DID discuss carving up the Champions League, according to the man who organised the secret talks,’ reads the opening line of the story.
‘We revealed how top brass from Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City met in London on Tuesday.
‘And last night Charlie Stilitano, business partner of Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and the man who set up the clandestine meeting, spilled the beans.’
Yes, you DID reveal that ‘top brass from Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City met in London on Tuesday’. But what you also claimed is that they ‘all met with American billionaire Stephen Ross at London’s Dorchester Hotel’.
In fact, Alan Nixon wrote on Wednesday that ‘Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins and brains behind the International Champions Cup, invited the big five to the lengthy and detailed talks at the hotel on Park Lane’.
Odd that Nixon never mentioned Charlie Stilitano, who is now ‘the man who organised the secret talks’, while Stephen Ross is no longer present at the meeting he organised.
The dictionary definition of ‘clandestine’: ‘
Does that sound like a meeting at a central London hotel less than a mile from Premier League headquarters after which all the key players left by the front entrance?
‘Stable door’ sentence of the day
‘ANDY CARROLL does not want to be remembered as a crock’ – The Sun.
Recommended reading of the day
Iain Macintosh on the loathsome nonsense from Charlie Stillitano
Miguel Delaney on Tottenham v Arsenal
Tim Stillman on Alexis Sanchez (we mostly like the headline)