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Romero an adequate replacement for De Gea
Amid the rumours that David de Gea may at last move to Real Madrid this summer, I cannot understand all the conjecture about who Man United may sign to replace him.
They already have his replacement. Sergio Romero. I cannot recall him ever letting the side down, he does not moan about being the reserve keeper and, at 28, is heading into the peak of his career.
I’m amazed people don’t even mention him as De Gea’s successor.
Analysing the Henderson/Dier conundrum
Great article from Dave Tickner on the Hendo/Dier situation. There was just something missing… Only one whole line on passing when discussing our options for the ‘quarterback’ role?! Criminal. With Dier playing there, sure, we are defensively more sound, but only in a way that completely negates our formation.
Gary Medel worked for Chile because of his mobility and aggressiveness, both of which Dier lack. If he is there to cover Walker when Walker moves up and works with Trippier on the wing then who is in the middle trying to get on the ball?
Dier dropping into CB also allows the opponents attacking players to drop back further and man-mark the two attacking midfielders, it produces a gap between defence and attack, not a link.
A key part of sustaining pressure with this sort of formation is the ability to make runs through the middle and on the wing, not one or the other, Dier isn’t going to make that easy with a restricted passing range, nor does he play in a high tempo role at club level. Henderson has spent the last 3 years learning the exact role England need from a no.6. His passing has become fast and direct, his ability to cover and always be a passing option has improved tenfold and easily surpassed Dier in that area.
Henderson is criminally underrated, much like Dier can be sometimes. We all know who can be trusted to play Pirlo better though. Henderson opens up the game for everyone on the pitch, Dier can slow things down almost to a halt and we need someone who can hit Alli with a midfield splitting dagger and also switch it smoother than the U-Switch advert guy to hit a Danny Rose run down the left.
We need verve and tenacity not safety nets, Southgate didn’t pick Walker CB so that he could play it safe in midfield. Dier is perfect for a double pivot, Henderson is perfect for the quarterback role. Don’t shoehorn Dier into the unknown ‘cos defensive cover’, how will he effect the game from there that’s what I wanna know.
Jacob, LFC (well obviously I just wrote an effing essay on Jordan Henderson)
Liverpool players and… girlfriends
Getting ready to watch Suarez play against Salah gave me a feeling similar to when you’re out with your girlfriend and you see your ex. The weird emotions got me to thinking about the footballing love affairs I’ve had over the years and how they categorise with a dating equivalent. Here’s a short list wondering if anyone else thinks similarly to this or if I need to extend the next session with my therapist…
Torres – That girl you met as she’s just turning into an absolute stunner. It was utter bliss for a couple of years. Some rich mad Russian wanted her when you were a bit skint. Those last few weeks weren’t great, but it ended and you got over her quickly and oddly you always wished her well. That’s what you said anyway. I’m not sure you believed it. Whatever the case, things are OK these days. And the next relationship you started kept you pretty busy anyway…
Suarez – Bat. Sh!t. Crazy. She’s the girl you met in Amsterdam who was totally nuts. An amazing girlfriend though. Such a great laugh. But you know if she’d stayed with you, by her hand or some other accident, you’d absolutely be dead by now. You remember the time fondly, but part of you is really glad she’s moved on. You tried to defend some pretty rough stuff from her while you were together, not your best moments. You still can’t find your Motorhead T-shirt.
Alonso – The dependable girlfriend who met your parents straight away. She always made you happy you just didn’t always realise it. So much of what she did was unseen until it was gone. Then you cheated on her. She stayed with you, and she upped her game. Then she left you for someone better. Still sad. It wasn’t her fault. You deserved it. And you didn’t even date Gareth Barry.
Gerrard – The high school sweetheart who always stayed with you. Did she cheat on you with that rich Russian. Maybe. Who’s to say? But you stayed together and had an amazing journey. Could she have got more with someone else? Yep. Was it brilliant all the same? Yep. Would you have changed even the slightest thin… Oh. That. Yes. Let’s not talk about it. I still can’t talk about it.
Carragher – Solid. Dependable. Not the best looker. But utterly 100% with you all the way. Not much to say really. It was a functional love, but love nonetheless.
Fowler – The first one to take my heart. Halfway between Suarez and Gerrard. A high school sweetheart who went off the rails a bit… or on them. You thought you were going to conquer the world together and have a laugh doing it. Then dad said she had to go. The love always carried on though, for both of you. And then, one day, she sent you a message. Before you knew it you were back together again. Lovely.
Owen – In hindsight, a bit boring really. You were kinda unfussed when she left you. She never liked movies.
Liam – Adelaide
Saudi Arabia were really bad
Back in 2002, Saudi Arabia opened their World Cup campaign by losing to Germany 8-0. So it could have been worse. I think they just froze, and they most definitely weren’t helped by the tactics. Only one screening midfielder, and Abdullah Otayf got no help whatsoever, nor did Taisir Al-Jassim when he moved into the spot. One hesitates to slam a team for playing too open, but they played too open. Omar Hawsawi was a weak point in the back line, too. One positive: Salem Al-Dawari might do some damage dribbling against Egypt.
As for Russia, football is easy when you convert all your chances. Golovin was fantastic, but looks like he’s got temperament problems. He did a lot of moaning to the ref, then incurred a completely needless yellow card. He might find himself missing a match down the line. Roman Zobnin looks useful in front of the back four, although his passing was iffy. Great to see Sergei Ignashevich still heading them away.
With goal difference probably all sewn up, Russia can play it cool against Egypt in the second match. A little pressing and a lot of counterattacking, as here, might do the job. Let’s hope Mo Salah’s ready to go!
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA (63 games left!)
The real quiz
Did anyone else notice that the camera in front of Putin as he was making his address made it look like he was wearing a woolly bra with long straight nipple tassels?
The British World Cup stadia
With people talking about UK 2030 (even though the FA have said no), what 12 stadiums do people think will be used? fifa seem to like 1 from each city to spread it out a bit unless it’s a national stadium (Parc Des Princes/Stade De France). Using the Brazil World Cup the as the model (Russia’s stadiums are smaller than normal), there are 7 stadiums 40-60k, 3 between 60-70k and 2 70k+. Keeping it mainland I came up with the following:
Wembley – Obviously – 90,000
any one of London stadium, Emirates or new WHL for secondary London stadium – 60-66,000
Etihad Stadium – More modern than OT and more in line with Fifa’s size guide – 61,000 (with north stand completed)
Anfield – It’s Anfield ….. next! – 54,000
Hampden Park – Get the Scots in – 52,000
Millenium Stadium – Get the Welsh in – 74,000
St James’ Park – Up north, good size – 52,500
Villa Park – Biggest and best stadium in the Midlands – 42,500
Elland Road – Covers Yorkshire, stadium could be improved, well known team – 38,000
Pride Park – Covers the gap between Yorkshire and Midlands- 33,500
King Power – more midlands – 32,500
St Mary’s – Similar to Leicester but would involve the south coast – 32,500
So with that there is 2 70k+, 2 60-70k and 8 that could be upgraded to be 40-60k range (Anfield could be added to the 60-70k range). This also spreads matches pretty evenly around mainland UK, Scotland and Wales could have the Semi matches. Derby is the only one I’m not sure on but I couldn’t think of another good stadium without rebuilding Hillsborough to get Sheffield in.
Obviously this whole thing hinges on nobody building a new stadium in the next 22 years ….
Dan, East Mids (I spent far longer on this than I should have)
On World Cup 2026 qualification
A few questions yesterday about the 2026 World Cup and who will qualify automatically. No FIFA decision has been made yet over whether some, none or all of the 2026 hosts will qualify automatically.
It’s an interesting question for FIFA as joint hosting is likely to be the norm with the expanded World Cup. It wouldn’t be a huge problem for them all to qualify. If 2 hosts can qualify for a 32 team world cup then surely 3 can qualify for a 48 team event. They could also all be top seeds as there will be 16 groups of 3, so you wouldn’t be taking spots from deserved top seeds.
For 2026, letting all the the hosts qualify automatically would seem to be sensible. There will then be 6 places available for the CONCAF group, making it almost impossible that USA and Mexico wouldn’t qualify anyway. Only Canada would be getting a place they wouldn’t normally get, and in a 48 team event that would seem to be fine.
The issue will be the precedent it sets. 2030 seems to a have a few possible hosts. Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay are one. With CONMEBOL also having 6 places you’d be fairly certain to have Argentina and Uruguay anyway. Only Paraguay would be taking a spot and they’d have a decent chance of qualifying anyway.
The biggest issue would be the proposed UK bid. Would Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all get places, along with England? UEFA will only have 16 places, so you’d be taking up a lot of them by giving them to teams that don’t usually qualify.
My guess is that FIFA will draw up some sort of regulations where you need to host a certain number of games to qualify automatically. Canada and Mexico will have 3 cities each host games, so they might get qualifying spots. Scotland would likely have two and Wales only one, so they would not.
With FIFA though, who knows, but it will be an interesting decision.
Mike, LFC, Dubai
Ya never had a cup o’beans man?
Half-time in the first game and I’ve heard Mark Clattenburg’s voice for the first time.
I can’t believe he sounds exactly like Michael from Alan Partridge.
Just thought I’d ruin everyone else’s viewing pleasure too.
I thank you
RE: ‘Putin on the Ritz’
No other headline will ever compare…..
Quality. Well done.
Stu (Looking forward to the new broom in Norf London) in France
I have followed Tickers’ writing for the past few years and it has always made me laugh and it is brilliant to see him on your website. He did the Ashes daily thing (when England lost 5-0 in Australia) which was one of the funniest thing going around besides England’s batting.
F365 F365 sign him up
Someone unsurprisingly staying anonymous