England’s problem? They need more ‘fat, lazy, luxury players’…

Date published: Monday 9th October 2017 10:56

For Kane and country
Gareth Southgate said on Sunday night that Harry Kane’s “finishing quality is top, as good as anyone I have played with or worked with”.

He is rather good, after all.

But those quotes – coming, as they do, from Gareth Southgate – are a tad anodyne. How could they be made sexier? By looking through the record books and coming up with a list of strikers Southgate has “played with or worked with” of course. So magically, Southgate ‘rates Kane up there with the likes of Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen who starred during his 57-cap career’, according to The Sun. You might as well say Southgate rates Kane on a par with Joseph-Desire Job.

That’s still not good enough. So who has Southgate NOT worked with?

Reminder: Gareth Southgate said nothing of the bloody sort.


What about all these strikers?
Moving to the inside pages of The Sun, Neil Ashton does a classic Neil Ashton – taking a genuinely good point and extrapolating beyond reason, regardless of the actual facts.

So a comparison between England’s striking options in 1996 and 2017 is a valid point and initially makes sense…

‘At Euro 96, when Terry Venables had all his chips on Alan Shearer, there was still plenty of firepower in reserve.

‘Terry Sheringham, Les Ferdinand and Robbie Fowler were all named in the final 22-man squad.

Now that is quite some roll of honour; Ashton could leave it there and it is a point well(ish) made. But no, he is not finished…

‘Some big cheeses, including Ian Wright, Andy Cole and Chris Sutton, missed the final cut.’

So the three big cheeses who came so close but ‘missed the final cut’ in the summer of 1996 were…

Ian Wright: Had not been capped by England since October 1994.

Andy Cole: Had made one start for England – in December 1994; scored 11 league goals in 1995/96.

Chris Sutton: Was yet to collect his one England cap; scored zero league goals for Blackburn in 1995/96.

So, so close.


Stamp duty
Chris Waddle gives his ‘ULTIMATE ENGLAND VERDICT’ in the Daily Mail and he says England have been ‘heading in the wrong direction since Glenn Hoddle was sacked’. He also bemoans the fact that ‘there’s not a fat, lazy, luxury player in sight’, which must make the man he recommends for a call-up feel real special…

‘I mentioned Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle on BBC Radio 5 Live the other night. He’s our best long-range passer but we don’t pick him for off-the-field reasons…’

Woah there, Chris; we’re pretty sure Shelvey stamped on Dele Alli on the pitch.


Ghost train
The Sun’s
Mike McGrath does not think Aaron Cresswell will go to the World Cup because he ‘has competition from Rose, Bertrand, Gibbs and Baines’.

Leighton Baines was last included in an England squad in March 2015; you may as well say he faces competition from Ashley Cole.


Wrong Charlie
Sorry (not sorry) to stick with The Sun’s England coverage but Charlie Wyett writes that ‘the fact he (Southgate) started with a back three for the first time was a step in the right direction’.

Was it a step in the right direction when he started with back three for the first time in March too?


You’ve got the glove
This is what happens when you make a Yorkshireman the Chief Sports Writer of a national comic newspaper and send him to Lithuania to cover England. The poor bugger; imagine being forced to travel round the world watching elite sport…

That tweet speaks volumes about somebody’s character.


Tall tales
You will already have heard that Gordon Strachan’s excuse for Scotland’s latest abject failure on the football field is genetics; his players are just too wee. What can he do? They’re just too tiny.

“Genetically we are behind. In the last campaign we were the second smallest, apart from Spain. We had to pick a team to combat the height and strength at set-plays. Genetically we have to work at things, maybe we get big women and men together and see what we can do.”

Which, we think you will agree, is wonderful.

Mediawatch particularly loves the ‘apart from Spain’, as Spain really do not seem to be hampered by their lack of height. To recap: Being small is a problem even though you are taller than this other team who really do not find being small a problem.

It is true that Scotland has an average height across their male population of just 5’8″, but that’s not as small as the average height of, say, Brazil or Argentina. Or Portugal, which produced the reigning European champions.

The tallest people in Europe? The Norwegians (not qualified for the World Cup) and the people of the Netherlands (currently need a 7-0 win over Sweden to qualify for a play-off to qualify for the World Cup).

Why do we get the feeling that if Strachan were Dutch, he would be bemoaning the fact that his men are just too damned tall and maybe we need to get little women and men together to see what we can do…


News, but not as we know it…
It’s international weekend so ‘writers’ on football websites are driven to more and more desperate lengths to find a story.

The Sun website’s Beya Kabelu was presumably rather excited to find some quotes from Roberto Carlos, who ‘has heavily criticised Roy Hodgson’s managerial ability, claiming the former England boss “doesn’t know much about football.”‘.

With Hodgson now in charge of Crystal Palace, the views of possibly the greatest left-back of all time are definitely newsworthy.

‘Speaking to Planet Football, the Brazilian slammed his former manager: “Hodgson’s stay at Inter destroyed me. He played me in midfield and I had to consider that there was a chance that this would ruin my career in the national side.’

The slight problem? He was ‘speaking to Planet Football‘ (since subsumed by Sky Sports) in October 2001.

All of which makes the Daily Mirror claiming that ‘Claude Makelele’s agent reveals shady tricks he used to force through his move to Real Madrid’, just two years after it was actually revealed seem really quite reasonable.


Shameless counting

Those ‘six injured stars’ include Calum Chambers and Santi Cazorla.

More accurate headline: Mertesacker will replace Mustafi against Watford.


Recommended reading of the day
Nick Miller on Charlton Invicta.

Rob Hunt on Chile’s attempts to steal a 1990 World Cup place.

Adam Bate on England’s chronic lack of creativity.

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