What’s Cristiano Ronaldo ever done at international level? Apart from all that…
Keep the faith
In his column in The Sun, Ian Wright is urging everyone to keep faith in Wayne Rooney. He knows he’ll come good for England eventually, because he remembers history.
‘In the run-up to Euro 96, a great debate was raging in English football,’ Wright begins. ‘It centred on whether Alan Shearer was really the man who should spearhead our hopes of ending 30 years of hurt.
‘Some felt that, with no goals in 12 England games – a run stretching 21 months – Shearer had no right to be leading the forward line. England boss Terry Venables, whose view was ultimately the only one that mattered, had no doubts. He stuck with Shearer and was rewarded with five goals, to make him the tournament’s leading scorer.
‘Now a similar argument is brewing over Wayne Rooney, as we start to look ahead to next summer’s finals in France. People have been questioning how he’s been playing – pointing to Arsenal running riot against Manchester United recently as an example – and whether he’s the same brilliant player of old.’
We’ll stop you there, Wrighty. In the season prior to Euro ‘96, Shearer had scored 31 league goals for Blackburn, rising to 65 if you include the previous season. Rooney has scored that number of goals since August 2011. It isn’t just the Arsenal game they’re ‘pointing’ at, it’s every sodding match.
Shearer also didn’t move around the pitch as if he had a sack of old potatoes tied around his middle. Have faith in Rooney if you like, but please don’t trot out a 20-year-old story that has only the merest sliver of relevance.
What’s he ever done?
‘People say Rooney’s not in the same league as someone like Cristiano Ronaldo. But, don’t forget, his old United team-mate has never really lit up the international stage, has he?’ – Ian Wright, The Sun.
‘People’ possibly say they’re not in the same league because Rooney hasn’t won the Ballon D’Or three times, Ian.
As for ‘never really lighting up the international stage’, Ronaldo is Portugal’s highest-ever international goalscorer and their highest ever in European Championships. He’s scored more international goals than Wayne Rooney and is the 28th highest international goalscorer of all time at the age of 30. But yeah, f**k him.
You really got them going
Don’t think that Sam Allardyce wasted his time away from football management. It wasn’t all sangria, sun, sand and sex in Spain. Oh no. He has an autobiography out.
‘Big Sam’ is being serialised in The Sun, and today’s offerings cover Allardyce’s feelings on Arsene Wenger.
‘I enjoyed beating Arsenal more than anyone when I was in charge at Bolton,’ ‘writes’ Allardyce. ‘We’d really got to them and Arsene Wenger hated us. It was a skill finding their weaknesses and how to exploit them. But when we succeeded the press were usually on about Arsenal having an off-day.’
It’s such a shame you lost your knack, Sam. Since the beginning of 2007, Allardyce’s teams (Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn and West Ham) have faced Wenger’s Arsenal on 15 occasions. Their record reads: Won 1, Drew 2, Lost 12.
What happened to that ‘skill’ of ‘finding their weaknesses and exploiting them’?
Don’t know much about biology
Said Glenn Hoddle during ITV’s coverage of Lithuania vs England: “That’s the beauty of Ross Barkley. He’s got two feet.”
Someone’s easily impressed. We’re just waiting for the Metro to headline it ‘Former England manager slams McCartney ex-wife (NOT Linda)’.
More Hoddle wisdom
– “Now it’s like a training ground exercise. The sort of exercise you have on a training ground” – Cheers Dictionary.com.
– “At least Kane hit the target there” – A line repeated even as the replay showed the ball hitting the post and rebounding off the goalkeeper.
– “If I was Roy (Hodgson) sitting on the bench, and I was a few years ago” – Something, something past lives.
– “Andros Townsend would have been the first name on the teamsheet” – Praise be that he’s not still in charge.
– “If someone had offered Hodgson 10 wins out of 10 he’d have settled for that” – You reckon?
– [Asked whether there’s more questions than answers after England game] “Of course. As a manager you always have that sometimes” – Mediawatch’s head hurts.
C-C-Called a U-turn
“Every year they (Sunderland) seem to be in the same position. They’ve not recruited very well, they’ve not bought good players in. I saw them at Bournemouth the other day and they were an absolute disaster. Bournemouth wiped the floor with them. They were horrendous.
“They wait till the next manager comes in and bring some more c**p players in. It’s a good club but whoever takes it has got a tough job on his hands. They are poor at the back, the centre-halves are not good enough, they are short up front. They are short everywhere” – Harry Redknapp, October 6.
“When you look at their squad, they have players who have been in trouble before and got out of it. They have got Steven Fletcher, Fabio Borini and Jermain Defoe up front and that can make a big difference. The newly promoted teams do not have squads like that” – Harry Redknapp, October 13.
Amazing what happens when your mate takes over (after you told everyone he wouldn’t want it).
Feel the power
Mediawatch has developed an unhealthy fascination with Sky Sports’ power rankings, calculated to determine the most in-form players in the Premier League.
The headline news is that Alexis Sanchez is the league’s form player, with Sergio Aguero second, which seems perfectly logical. There are still a few head-scratchers, however:
– Kurt Zouma has played 90 minutes in the Premier League since September 19. Can he really be Chelsea’s most in-form player?
– Poor Hugo Lloris went from being the most in-form Premier League player to No. 45 in the space of one week, falling behind eight of his own team-mates in the process. Lloris lost Power Rankings points at a rate of one per second against Swansea.
– Jamie Vardy and Riyadh Mahrez have been the Premier League’s two best players this season.
– ’Newcastle’s Tim Krul received the worst Power Rankings score this week with -13,606, followed by Sunderland’s Costel Pantilimon (-7,998), Manchester City’s Willy Caballero (-6,384), Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel (-6,160) and Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet (-5,952).’ Who’d be a goalkeeper? Poor Caballero didn’t even play.
Shelve those thoughts
Shelvey: Patrolled defensive zone well but prone to look for Hollywood ball at times. 5.5 (England’s joint-lowest rating) – Daily Mail.
Shelvey: Still debatable as to whether he is England class. Don’t think he is. 5 – Daily Mirror
Shelvey: Was involved in some of England’s attacks. 5 – Independent.
Shelvey’s performance didn’t merit a single mention in Charlie Wyett’s match report in The Sun, which is odd because the paper made him their STAR MAN (a rating of 8/10) in their ‘Dream Team ratings compiled using Opta data’.
Just what are they doing with that data?
Looking on the bright side
‘When the final whistle went, it felt like a release from the drudgery of what, Switzerland apart, has been a tour of Europe’s low spots.’
The Daily Express’ Paul Joyce sure knows how to pour p*ss on a ‘perfect ten’ parade.
Disturbing image of the day
‘I’ve done Michael Jackson, my finest effort as I squeezed into some very tight black pants and did the Moonwalk. I’ve even dressed up as Cheryl Cole’ – Sam Allardyce – yes, that Sam Allardyce. Wow.
Interesting line of the day
‘The Times/News Syndication. A longer version of this article appeared in the The Times on October 12’ – The Sun.
That line comes below a piece by Matthew Syed from Monday’s The Times, reproduced in Tuesday’s Sun newspaper.
Sharing’s caring, apparently.
Laboured intro of the day
‘Roy Hodgson has one less dilemma to mull over while he tucks into his cereal this morning.
‘The England boss can now look forward to his petit-dejeuner in France next summer safe in the knowledge his Special K has finally turned into a much tastier Start.
‘Harry Kane was always likely to be on Hodgson’s menu for Euro 2016 – it was just a question of whether he would be a starter or not’ – Paul Jiggins, The Sun. Both a cereal and serial offender.
Recommended reading of the day
Tony Evans on Jurgen Klopp and the poisoned chalice.
Nick Ames on Albania’s Euro 2016 qualifying heroes.
Luis Miguel Echegaray on the slow death of high school soccer and why it could cost the USA.