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Change the game, don’t hide the kids
On the whole I agree with his argument that we need to protect the youth players in football from the harsh realities of fame and fortune. And I do agree that child actors, especially those in the 90s and 00s do have a history with mental and drug issues. But I think its different now, or at least I hope it is. I think society as a whole has realised the impact of mental health, and the benefits of good mental health, and as our understanding of the brain has improved, so has our awareness on how to maintain its natural development that may otherwise be stunted/inhibited/prevented/ruined etc by being thrust into the starlight.
I think over the next 10 years or so we will see a massive improvement on the wellbeing of current child stars relatively compared to those that came before, simply because people understand how they need to be looked after, both in TV/movies and football. I think the other positive is that these kids are in industries that (now at least) have the resources and need the positive PR that shows they “care” (they don’t its purely monetary, but its better than nothing).
At the end Alex says that we need to protect the children from a cold and brutal industry. What has developed that cold brutality exactly? The constantly negative news stories? The invasions of privacy? The horrendous crowd-related abuse? The incessant racism? The corporate nature of the football world? We (generally) love seeing young players break through because they are fearless and new and exciting and conjure memories of those that have done the same in the past. That is not cold and brutal. The fans love seeing local, “homegrown” talent because they can relate to the kids playing for the teams they love who grew up on the streets they too used to play on. That is not cold and brutal. I challenge you to find a single fan in the entire world that doesn’t want “one of their own” to make it. And that leads me on to the corporate side – a board these days will love the ability to market a local kid made good. Yes it is purely marketing for more money, but isn’t it always.
The issue is how there is so much negativity in football these days because we (again, generally) have allowed it to fester and grow unabated. The solution is not to hide the kids, its to destroy the negative aspects of the industry that are causing them to lose faith in themselves. Stop clicking on stupid baity web pages and stories that invade theirs and countless others’ lives. Invest in actual education systems and proper punishments for those who abuse players.
Having said this, I think the main problem is exactly what we want – we want a youth player to make it, we want them to become the next Gerrard/Beckham/Lampard/Terry/Cole/Sheringham/Henry etc etc and that pressure is probably one of the main impacting factors. We need to understand that pressure doesn’t always help. It does for some minds, but can have an exponentially more negative effect on others.
We (for the third time, generally) are the problem. Not the kids. If they have the ability to play with the adults, why should our ignorance, idiocy and (news-related or otherwise) greed stop them?
I will repeat it again for those in the back – hiding the kids away will not stop the issues that are causing them harm.
…I found Alex’s article re young footballers asking why a 16 year old was asked to play senior football rather presumptuous. The thing is, different players develop at different ages and I’m sure, a club of the stature of Barcelona would have only given him the opportunity if they thought he was ready. Ansu joined the club in 2012 and Bareclona have been overseeing his training for 7 years now. They are also one of the, if not biggest, clubs in world football. Forgive me if I trust their judgement over a reporter whose only knowledge of the player is his age.
There are almost a dozen players who have won a Tennis grand slam before the age of 18, which includes some of the greatest tennis players ever including Hingis, Seles, Serena, Sherapova, Boris Becker and others. Pele wasn’t even 18 when he won his first world cup. Wilfred Benitez was boxing champion at 17. Barbara Jones was only 15 when she won an Olympic gold medal while Iwasaki won the gold for swimming at the age of 14.
Having scored 2 games from just 3 matches, clearly Ansu is thriving. That his playing time needs to be managed carefully is a given but his performances so far have shown that is is ready for the biggest stage. So let’s not dismiss his achievements by lazy sweeping statements which benefit no one.
Different writers have different opinions shocker
Found it very strange to see F365 publish an article entitled ‘children should not be playing men’s football’, and then in the VERY NEXT ARTICLE claim that 17 year old Mason Greenwood should have more first team chances. If you’re going to pick an editorial line, at least stick to it for 24 hours.
Harry in London
…As I click on F365 this morning the page downloads I chuckle to myself….
First 2 major pieces
F365 Says : Children should not be playing adult football
F365 Says : Give Greenwood more changes to back up the hype
Is that the 17 year old Greenwood you are talking about ?
Am I the only one who got a chuckle out of the article about how kids shouldn’t be in the adult game based on (16 year old) Ansu Fati being displayed right underneath an article with the headline, give (17 year old) Mason Greenwood more chances to back up the hype? I’m not booing f365 here either before anyone starts hounding me they are just showing the both sides of the argument in my opinion. Still a bit funny having them side by side all the same.
Aaron. CFC. Ireland.
Boring, boring United
First of all, congratulations to Mason Greenwood, his first competitive senior goal and hopefully the first of many. And (a condescending) well played to Astana who kept United at bay for 99% of the game.
What a crock of shit that was. That was like watching a pre-Southgate era England trying to break down Andorra. Only with lower quality forwards and a lack of a Beckham/Gerrard/Lampard to break the deadlock with a worldy/deflected free kick. Astana, played to their strengths and United’s weakness and packed the box. So United responded in the only way they know how and played seriously slow, laborious football, relying on mishit crosses from Rojo to supply Rashford, who wasn’t in any sort of mood to be accepting that sort of charity so hit the ball straight at the keeper EVERY TIME. Nemanja Matic, fresh from being linked with some top Italian clubs, was so pedestrian he looked like he’d actually been linked with some top Walking Football clubs. For some reason, Mason “The Best Finisher At The Club” Greenwood was playing out on the line with Dalot about 30 yards behind, with Chong sensibly keeping Rojo away from the action on the other side. Even when Ole addressed that issue Rojo still never got that far forward apart from a 30 yard shot that was “magnificently saved” just outside the post by the keeper (thank you Robbie Savage). And either Dalot needs to go to Specsavers or he needs to recalibrate his right foot because his crossing was woeful. United were so laborious that speedster Juan Mata and Jesse “No goals or assists outside December 2018” Lingard were brought on to stink the place out a bit more..I mean add some nous. Luckily Astana were so poor up front that even Phil Jones trying so hard to prove that he wasn’t Phil Jones that he did a Phil Jones and let their player have a one on one wasn’t enough for United to concede a goal. Maguire sleeps easy tonight.
The better news is that Tuanzebe and Gomes were decent, Romero didn’t throw the ball in his own net (it would be uncharacteristic to be fair) and Chong will probably never play that badly for United again.
In all seriousness United are a long way from competing for any trophies and I don’t think this collection of players will bridge that gap and the biggest problem is in midfield. Judging by Matic’s last two performances he ought to get himself a big money move to China in January and Fred is probably not going to make it at United even if he wasn’t terrible today. Pogba will probably also leave next season which leaves United with McTominay and the untried Garner at the base of their midfield, with a choice of Mata (old and slow), Lingard (ineffective) and Gomes (possibly exciting but tiny) behind the striker. Whatever way you cut it, if we want immediate results United need to spend 200m on the midfield alone.
I still just about favour evolution over revolution but it’s going to be extremely painful. And there’s going to be a lot of nights like tonight where it feels like United are actually holding the fans in utter contempt by being pisspoor*. I have the patience for it, but does Ed Woodward?
*I know they’re not really, that’s just how it feels
Grounds for dismissal
I’m nearly 37 years old, have a glass ankle and my football career peaked in the Nottingham University intramural league around 15 years ago. However, I still think I could have done a better job than Marcos Rojo did for United last night. I’m very much pro Ole but he should have subbed Rojo and sacked him on the spot the moment he attempted a rabona.
Peter Beswick, Manchester
Falling harder for CR7
Just watching the interview with Cristiano Ronaldo and glad that it confirmed what I’ve felt about him throughout his career. Namely – yes, he’s a bit of a poser and yes, he’s a bit arrogant. But he’s earned it, he’s worked his ass off to be the phenomenon that he is and has been consistently brilliant. Ludicrously so. F365s own ridiculous statistics pieces on him are evidence of this.
I feel privileged to have been lucky enough to have been born at a time where I got to watch him play, sometimes what seemed to be a different game.
Obviously, his career has coincided with that of another genius in Messi. And the little Argentine has always seemed to have more support or approval from the general football-watching fraternity and wider public. Maybe he came across as more humble and was part of the Barca darling team of Guardiola? I don’t know. But he always seemed to have a more favourable following than Ronaldo.
I’m not 12 years old, so I’ve never felt the need to definitively plant my flag in one camp or the other, like I had to at school for Oasis or Blur. (Blur, by the way). But I’ve always thought that Ronaldo was unfairly represented compared to Messi, but for me – Clive – I’ve always preferred to watch him play and rooted for him to keep doing well. I think it’s because he’s clearly worked so hard, on an almost psychopathic level of focus and determination to be the best and keep being the best. He’s done some frankly ridiculous sh*t, every year, for nearly 2 decades.
And it was nice to see a bit of the person behind it all in the interview. I’m sure there was an army of PR and legal people behind the cameras, but he came across as a nice chap who’s worked hard to become a legend and is now enjoying the benefits.
The real shame of it all was the fact the interview was conducted by the uncooked-doughnut-squeezed-into-a-crap-suit that is Piers Morgan, who was clearly desperate to be “mates”, tried to force a bit of emotional backstory magic (a la X Factor) with a video of Ronaldo’s dad and frequently interrupted answers to try and force media-friendly narrative into the equation. Seriously, the man’s a fucking bellend.
I guess my point is, Cristiano Ronaldo has already cemented his place in football legend, and knowing a bit more about him only makes me like him more.
Chris (giving him an Arsenal shirt was just cringeworthy) Tanner
Chuffed for CHO
Finally after what feels like the longest wait for a contract announcement, it is official, Callum Hudson-Odoi agrees a new deal, there was many a reason Bayern wanted him and pursued him all of 2019, such huge potential and you never know what he could achieve at Chelsea.
I think it is safe to say that this is clearly part of the effect having Lampard as manager has done, we can’t say for certain but if Sarri was still in charge I highly doubt he would have signed that new deal.
Mikey, CFC (I’m so bloody chuffed)
City’s true test
With Stones and Laporte both injured, and Otamendi the only senior CB available its going to be interesting to see how City and Pep respond to this crisis. Obviously they cannot risk Otamendi going off injured and will have to monitor his playing time so as to not overload him. That leaves fernandinho who can fill in as a stopgap. Does Pep now blood some youngsters? Man CIty do actually have some highly rated young CBs but since this is City there has been no hype/excitement around them like Tuanzebe or Tomori.
Does Pep stick to his original tactics that helped him steam roll his way to back to back PL titles? or do you tweak your tactics to provide additional cover to the weakened defense? How do the attacking players respond to these changes? Its going to be a make or break couple of months for Citeh.
Regarding Simon Stafford-Bloor’s point about VAR in the Champions League Winners & Losers column, I have no issue with the high bar applied to overturning a referees’ decision using VAR (although obviously, it just adds another subjective element to the already subjective rules – how clear and obvious just is clear and obvious?), this is in the spirit of why VAR was introduced. Seeing a goal like Gareth Bale’s chalked out against PSG is exactly what VAR is there for and gives me hope that the process (which I have been massively skeptical of) may work out.
However one point I haven’t really seen raised is that the clear and high bar approach doesn’t align with referee in-game incentives. Given that football is a free-flowing game (not like cricket for example where a decision is made after the end of each ball while there’s a break in play), with VAR in place a referee is encouraged not to make a decision. If a referee gives a penalty that gets reversed for instance, he is potentially killing the chance for the attacking team. If he doesn’t give a pen and VAR determines it is, the right outcome is reached. This non-action preference is fine for something like offside, where the law is black and white, but when combined with the “clear and obvious” overturn criterion, creates a situation whereby in greyer areas of the game the decision making system biases toward non-action, so less penalties, red cards etc get given than they should. An example of this was the penalty Liverpool should’ve got against Newcastle on Saturday – definitely a penalty, but referee let VAR figure it out and as it wasn’t a “clear and obvious error” it didn’t get overturned. Therefore, in order to make the high bar work, referees need to be instructed to referee as if VAR does not exist – which goes against the psychological predilection of referees.
Alex (because it’s way less fun to just make the laws more objective), NZ