Some wonderful ‘online debate’ from the Daily Telegraph website with their gallery ranking the top 20 British players at the moment. Gareth Bale is No. 1. So far, so good but we also learn that…
- The two best current English players are Dele Alli and Harry Kane. Because the most important element of any joke is of course timing.
- Jonny Evans is better than any current English defender.
- Marcus Rashford is already a better player than Joe Hart, Jack Wilshere, Adam Lallana or Raheem Sterling.
- Steven Davis better than Chris Smalling.
- Matt Ritchie (‘not a token Scot’) is a better player than either Sterling or Lallana, both of whom should think themselves incredibly unlucky to start two England games at Euro 2016 despite not being among the best 20 players in Britain.
Adam Lallana ‘showed good creativity and linked well’, writes Martin Keown in the Daily Mail as he gives the Liverpool man 7.5 for his efforts. ‘Did unseen work in winning the ball back,’ continues Keown, who saw Lallana create that wonderful early chance for Raheem Sterling and then make three tackles.
His rating from John Cross in the Daily Mirror: ‘No end product. No goals in 25 caps is not good enough. 6.’
Oh and is John ‘he didn’t score’ Cross the only man who believes Chris Smalling ‘had a torrid first half in England’s defence’?
Know what I mean, Harry…
Alan Shearer has been unequivocal in his support for Harry Kane to start for England at Euro 2016, so he is understandably a little aggrieved that he has failed to make an impact at this tournament. And that’s a polite way of saying he is has been absolutely sh*t.
But Shearer still has an excuse in The Sun: ‘I do feel slightly sorry for him as he was up there on his own for both games, whereas when Daniel Sturridge came on he had Jamie Vardy with him. Then Marcus Rashford came on late on as well to give the Welsh defence even more to think about.’
Never mind that Harry Kane successfully plays as a lone striker for Tottenham; he has clearly been let down by the system.
So presumably Shearer suggested before the tournament that Kane should have a strike partner?
Here’s Shearer from June 10: ‘I would urge boss Roy Hodgson to play the same system that works so well for the pair at Tottenham. That means going with a 4-2-3-1 with Kane up front and Alli, Wayne Rooney and probably Adam Lallana behind him…and that will give Kane the best opportunity to take his prolific Premier League goalscoring form on to the stage of a major international tournament.’
Not quite on the same page
Martin Samuel, Daily Mail pull-out, page 2: ‘So good luck to him. Castigated for caution in the final 10 minutes against Russia on Saturday, this could not have been more different. Critics will say Hodgson had little option with his back to the wall and England staring at an early flight home, but that is not true.’
Matt Lawton, Daily Mail pull-out, page 3: ‘Let’s face it, it was the desperate act of a desperate man and the exact decision he should have reached five days earlier in Marseille.’
At what point should he have made that exact decision five days earlier, Matt? At half-time with England playing incredibly well? After the 73rd minute when England were 1-0 and looked really comfortable? At that point – with the game seemingly won – he should have brought on three strikers?
Never mind Jamie Vardy with his ‘cocktail of caffeine and nicotine’, what the hell is Matt Lawton on?
Looking down on creation…
‘There was probably remarkably little to learn from it going foward,’ wrote the Daily Mirror’s Chief Sports Writer Dave Kidd. But that of course did not stop the Daily Mirror…
Apparently the very first thing James Nursey learned is that Gareth Bale ‘is at the top of his game’. Yes, that’s the same Gareth Bale who recorded a 54.6% pass completion rate and did not create a single goalscoring chance for his teammates. Oh and was generally – aside from one free-kick that Joe Hart should have saved – pretty much anonymous.
Here’s what Nursey writes in full: ‘Fired up Bale talked the talk in the build up about Wales’ pride and passion and he backed it up with a fine display as he opened the scoring from a deadly free-kick.
‘The Welsh galactico, who turns 27 next month, then noticeably ran to the England end to celebrate wildly in front of the Three Lions fans after previously describing their neighbours as “the enemy”.’
And from this you ‘learned’ that Gareth Bale ‘is at the top of his game’? You should have listened to Dave Kidd. And we will literally never write those words again.
‘WAYNE ROONEY gave the ultimate captain’s performance – then claimed England’s entire starting XI could be comfortably replaced,’ writes Charlie Wyett in The Sun. It’s a bloody bold claim if it’s true, especially as England have brought only seven dedicated defenders.
So what did he say, Charlie?
“We know as a group of players there is not just a one-man team, we have 23 players in our squad who are all capable.”
Which is of course exactly the same thing.
The worst revelation ever
From the Metro: ‘Revealed: England more likely to leave European Union than win Euro 2016.’
Apparently this is ‘sobering news for England fans’, but presumably only four-year-old England fans who shouldn’t really be drinking anyway. Especially not on a school night.
Five more ridiculous headlines from far more successful websites
‘Robbie Savage was brilliantly goaded by World Cup winner after England beat Wales’ – Metro. It’s Matt Dawson. Yes, rugby’s Matt Dawson. #bantz
‘Revealed: The text messages Jose Mourinho has sent to every Manchester United star – Daily Express. Apparently he has ‘texted every senior United squad member to say ‘hello’, express how much he is looking forward to working with them and wish them luck if they are playing in the Euros’. Revealed.
‘John Terry dance video: Chelsea captain does hilarious dance while on £450,000 superyacht holiday with his wife and kids in the Balkans’ – The Sun. Hilarious.
‘Euro club chief rules out move for Liverpool striker’ – Daily Express. The ‘Liverpool striker’ is Mario Balotelli; the ‘Euro club’ is Besiktas.
‘Jamie Vardy cools off with his daughter ahead of England’s heated battle of Britain clash with Wales at Euro 2016’ – MailOnline. Yes, man goes in pool with his own child.
Called a U-turn
The Sun’s Neil Ashton has dedicated his column this week to Southampton. Some may say that is bizarre during a major tournament, but Ashton is a man who likes to write about Southampton.
‘Saints, who won seven of their last nine games, are an upwardly mobile outfit,’ he writes. ‘Everton? They are hanging on to history – still talking about the glory days of the mid-80s.’
So Southampton are ‘upwardly mobile’? What happened to the club ruined by the ‘dreamwrecker’, Neil?
Recommended reading of the day
Crispin Andrews on technology helping Germany get even better at penalties
Jonathan Wilson on Marc Wilmots turning wine into water
Rory Smith on the lack of top-class strikers at Euro 2016