(The opposite of) What he said
There is nothing wrong with writers within the same media outlet having different opinions. It’s entirely natural, in fact. Yet Mediawatch could not help but laugh at the paragraphs in the following two articles on the Mirror Football website, placed a good two inches apart:
‘Read any newspaper, blog, tweet or Facebook post this morning and you may as well be flicking your way through one from two years ago. For Slovakia read Costa Rica. Had you not seen the game in Saint-Etienne last night then you may well now be thinking that the Three Lions had crashed out of the tournament in dismal style again, just as they did in the very same stadium 18 years previous.
‘Doom, gloom and disappointment plastered across every back page up and down the country. And it’s all one man’s fault – again. Roy Hodgson is once more in the cross hairs of anyone with a pen, keyboard or Twitter account today. But to peruse the column inches this morning it’s also easy to come to the conclusion that these carefully crafted hatchet jobs were sharpened long before last night’s final whistle. The truth is, as snappy as a ‘Hodgson’s gamble didn’t pay off’ intro undoubtedly is, it doesn’t really tell the whole story.’ – Ben Burrows.
‘Yet another painfully familiar story for England. It’s the one where the manager takes a gamble, it backfires and England end up having to take the harder road. And we all know where that tends to end up. Roy Hodgson’s decision to rest and rotate – changing six players including Wayne Rooney – meant England lost their momentum.
‘To fail to win this Group is an embarrassment and a damning indictment of England. They were so average, the expectations raised after beating Wales brought crashing back down to earth. And Hodgson must shoulder the blame because to rest so many players now looks a terrible mistake as his game of Russian roulette could end up costing him his job’ – John Cross.
‘Anyone with a pen, keyboard, Twitter account’ or chief football writer job, you mean?
A ‘carefully crafted hatchet job sharpened long before last night’s final whistle’; Mediawatch couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
Dividing the nation
‘A gauntlet well and truly picked up, run with and slapped back across the chops of every Slovak who stood in his way. Work-rate? Tick. Picking the right ball? Tick. Creative, probing balls when the opportunity arose? Tick. A first international goal would have been in there, too, had Jan Durica not bravely thrown himself in front of one piledriver. And a delightfully controlled-at-pace cross saw Dele Alli go as close as anyone to giving England a table-topping goal last night. All in all, while it was an evening of frustration for the Three Lions as a collective, for Henderson alone it was a pretty impressive 90 minutes’ work’ – The Sun.
‘Another selection headache for Hodgson. Played some superb defence-splitting passes, particularly for Vardy’s early chance. Also a major goal threat with two shots blocked’ – Daily Telegraph.
‘Got very tired at the end, but he did OK. Perhaps I wanted to see a bit more quality on the ball going forward from him, but he got extremely tired’ – Sky Sports.
‘Had a good spell in the middle of the first half but too many poor deliveries and simply not enough quality. Did not take his chance’ – BBC Sport.
Those are all descriptions of Jordan Henderson’s performance against Slovakia on Monday evening. Why can’t we all get along?
On the Garys
At first, Mediawatch thought that The Sun had picked a sh*tty day to publish Bryan Robson’s column on why ‘Jamie Vardy has Lineker’s instinct…that’s why he’s now No.1 striker’. Unfortunately, it includes plenty of references to Monday night’s game, so we can’t give Robson the benefit of any doubt. A game in which Vardy was a bit crap, you might remember.
Do you also remember that cross which hit Vardy’s knee and went over and wide in the first half? Well, so does Robson.
‘Just look at a re-run of that effort of his when he got his knee to the ball. His effort went over the bar, but anybody who suggests it was just a stab in the dark does not know what they are talking about,’ he begins.
‘Vardy MEANT it. In the millisecond he had to react to the cross he used the only part of his body he could to try to get his effort on target. You cannot teach that, no matter how many hours, days or years you spend on the training pitch.
‘What Vardy did in that moment was completely natural and reminded me so much of Lineker. He found so many ways to get that ball in the net. It did not matter how he did it, but he did it anyway. He got the job done and that is what Vardy does.
‘Someone like Vardy can strike any time and worries defenders to death from start to finish. Now Hodgson must stick with him. I know I would. Whoever England play in the knockout stages, he has to be Hodgson’s first choice. He has earned that right.’
‘Getting the job done’ is certainly an interesting take on Vardy putting an effort wide, subsequently missing England’s best chance and struggling to impact upon play.
The ballsiest line of the lot
‘I see a player who could become England’s new Gary Lineker,’ is Bryan Robson’s final hot take in that bizarre Sun column.
Lineker scored the last of his 48 international goals at the age of 31. Vardy is 29. He better hurry the f**k up.
Way to capture the mood
“We are into the next round and nobody will want to play us. I haven’t had anything to do in the whole tournament to be honest” – Joe Hart.
We must have imagined that Gareth Bale free-kick. 2-0, was it?
Who is pumped about watching Northern Ireland against Germany later? Good, us too. Presumably Martin Samuel is also pumped, but a little nervous too. He gets to watch his beautiful boy, you see. Maybe.
You may remember that, back in November, Samuel used his Daily Mail column to write a scathing attack on Premier League clubs for signing foreign players over those from the lower leagues. His example was Conor McLaughlin of Fleetwood Town.
‘He’s quick and intelligent, a tidy passer, delivers a mean cross on the overlap and holds his own as first choice for Northern Ireland,’ Samuel began. ‘So he must have something, as Northern Ireland won European Championship qualifying group F, ahead of Greece and Romania.’
‘It is as if Fleetwood Town are unworthy, as if it is beneath the new masters of recruitment to consider a player who does not come with an exotic back story… The opportunities are there, for Romanian players in English football — yet Northern Ireland won their group, and the likes of McLaughlin cannot get a sniff.’
‘A scout might have driven to Fleetwood, his interest piqued by a third-tier player holding down a place in a team who qualified for the European Championship as group winners… A recruitment guru works at another level. It took Tottenham an age to commit to Dele Alli at Milton Keynes Dons; but would they have needed as much convincing if he had been the brightest prospect at an academy in Bucharest, with an aggrandising DVD and a name-dropping agent talking up the interest from the rest of the continent’s elite?’
So, how stupid do those Premier League clubs look now, with McLaughlin impressing on the international stag… ah.
McLaughlin started Northern Ireland’s first game, before being dropped for the second match, that they won. He was probably dropped at least partly he has the lowest pass completion (25%) of any player in the entire tournament.
Still, those bloody Premier League clubs and their reverse xenophobia.
‘Romelu Lukaku: Arsenal hold talks with Everton over striker,’ reads the headline on the Daily Star website. Rhys Turrell has got himself a scoop.
‘Starsport exclusively revealed in April that Lukaku’s former club Chelsea have the big Belgian on their shopping list this summer,’ the piece begins. ‘Incoming boss Antonio Conte is getting ready for his debut campaign at Stamford Bridge. He likes the look of Lukaku, but the Italian could now face a battle to land the player from London rivals Arsenal.’
What the Star have actually done is used a report from ‘TuttoMercatoWeb‘. So let’s go to that report.
Firstly, the link actually goes to ‘transfermarketweb.com’, which is not the same as TuttoMercatoWeb. Their (small) article claims that Arsenal ‘are in deep talks with Toffees’ over a move. Sounds legit.
Secondly, the Star fail to include the last paragraph of that transfermarketweb article, where it says that ‘Lukaku will probably leave on an about £31m offer’.
Good luck with that.
Top work all round
Congratulations to MailOnline for using the following tagline for the England match report on Tuesday morning:
‘WAGs turn up to watch England take on Slovakia at Euro 2016…but watch uninspiring draw in Group B finale. England’s players were backed by their partners.’
Yes, that’s the match report.
Says Paul Merson on the subject of Cristiano Ronaldo:
“Maradona is a hundred times better. Ronaldo looks great when he’s playing for Real Madrid battering other teams 9-0 every week but when you ask him to carry a team on his shoulders, he can’t do it.”
Of course, Merse. For the record, Real Madrid haven’t won a league game by nine goals since 1959/60.
Still, he’s 100 times worse. And that’s just maths.
Ask a simple question
‘Who will England play in last 16?’ – Skysports.com.
We don’t know yet. Nobody does.
Recommended reading of the day
Alan Smith on Aaron Hughes
Nick Ames on Poland
Nicholas Kituno on Tomas Rosicky