Should Harry Kane be dropped by England and Tottenham? What is he worth now? Send mails to firstname.lastname@example.org
Is Harry Kane finished?
I said it before on this site and I’ll say it again (far more than I should probably). Pep saw something in Harry Kane that meant it was worth spending the money they had on Grealish instead. Now I thought Kane was pretty slow and cumbersome in the groups in the Euros and maybe deserved to be dropped, but I thought he’d come good when it mattered. Form is temporary, class is permanent and all that.
But what about when class isn’t permanent? Your instincts are still sharp, you still know the runs to make, you still know how to score when you get there – *but* your body will no longer let you do it.
Is that Kane now? The evidence suggests it might be. He was dreadful last night, a total passenger. He has been for Spurs all season. Has his body gone? Would you pay £150 million for this man? He’s bloody lucky to be keeping his place in both sides.
This is far more than a psychological aftereffect from not getting the City move. This is a man who, increasingly, just can’t do it. There is previous for this of course. He’s carried injuries we didn’t know about, that when he shook off, off to the Golden Boot he went.
Of course not getting the move matters. It matters a lot. As I’ve got older I need more motivation and spark to get going physically, especially in remotely competitive situations ( although I’ve got nearly 20 years on Kane ). But the same applies. When you’re young you can shake off *anything*. Injuries, disappointments, the lot. But it gets harder. And Kane needs that spark to get his body going.
Right now he’s not psychologically or physically in a space to play. Which means he’s getting game time on his name only. He deserved to be substituted, it should have been earlier. Slightly ironically, Jack was brought off too. But he was our best player, so that was just Gareth distrusting flair as usual.
Pep thought Harry Kane wasn’t worth £150 million pounds plus. He isn’t worth £50 million as it stands. He’s getting to the point he should be dropped by club and country. A lot of people thought Guardiola was making a big mistake at the time though.
Who thinks it now?
What about the Grealish hype?
At what point do people stop believing the outrageous hype and realise that Jack Grealish isn’t very good?
Last night was his 17th appearance for England and in that time he’s managed one goal (the fifth in a 5-0 thrashing against a knackered Andorra team) and two assists. Those are terrible numbers for an attacking player. Literally every other player who could be considered to be in competition with him for a place (Sterling, Foden, Rashford, Sancho, Lingard, Saka) all have better records. Three members of England’s first choice back four have better goals and assists records than Grealish.
I’ve raised this point on a number of occasions recently and all Grealish’s supporters seem to be able to counter with is that he wins a lot of free kicks. In this era, with all the talent Southgate has available in the attacking positions, that really shouldn’t be enough to merit a place in the team.
Peter Beswick, Manchester
On England and their fans
It wasn’t great last night, but I’m quite happy to give the manager who took us to a WC semi and Euro final a few free rides on the way to qualifying again. Same with Kane, he’s not been great (was much better against Villa btw) but had scored in his last 15 qualifiers, same with Sterling etc etc.
They deserve so much more faith from a fan base that classes itself as supporters, ridiculous entitlement from people probably sitting at home just itching for a mistake from any of them. Maybe it’s more the fans of the big prem clubs who demand everything all the time.
Steve (THFC and a match going England fan)
…England criticism is so predictable and boring. It’s the same stupid comments every time. How are people saying Kane shouldn’t be starting? He was literally the best player in the league last season and England’s top scorer during the Euros. He will also end up as England’s highest ever scorer and have a much better international career than golden boy Rooney. I’ve seen people demanding for ages that Southgate plays Grealish, Foden, Mount all together and I’ve never been convinced it would work. It’s not FIFA. The system England used in the summer was perfect and works to England’s strengths. I don’t understand why Southgate gets so much stick for doing such a good job. Why do moronic football fans want the England team and squad to be completely different every f**king game?
Why are you all so obsessed with form? It’s the stupidest thing ever. You can’t just start playing Ivan Toney instead of Kane off the basis of six games. What about the seven years of world class performances Kane has put in? I’ve seen people saying Greenwood needs to start ahead of Kane too… Based on what exactly? Why do you lot love tiny sample sizes to judge players. That England midfield 3 during the summer of Phillips-Rice-Mount was brilliant for me. They did exactly as instructed. They were pressing non stop and we’re extremely difficult to get through. Putting Grealish, Foden and a rake of other attackers into the team just makes England go backwards to the “Golden Generation”. Why do people still think that playing all your best players wins it for you? Southgate has taken England to a WC Semi Final and Euros Final. If you were told this in 2016, you’d have taken it for sure.
Who cares anymore?
There was a time where my admittedly armchair oriented) support of England was as Fervent as anyone’s. I remember Bryan Robson’s first minute goal against France in 82 with great fondness. Lineker’s late miss from a John Barnes cross against Argentina still haunts me now. David Platt’s volley against Belgium was a truly wonderful moment and Michael Owen’s solo goal against Argentina remains the singularly most intoxicating thing I have ever witnessed on a football pitch.
But now – I couldn’t give less fucks about the England team if I tried. I read the obviously heartfelt inquests on the draw last night, and I found myself wondering why anyone would care enough to write such a long missive.
Is it all disappointment over the years? A glorious failure is at least, still glorious, but the period from 2000-2016 and was so abject, so predictable, that I think something inside me died forever. Southgate has at least performed well, to my surprise, but the turgid nature of his oh so conservative football means that when Italy won the penalty shoot out, I couldn’t have cared less if I tried.
Is it just me?
Hazard return…WWF style
So Eden Hazard looks like he’s returning to Chelsea following a similar return of Ronaldo to United.
I do think the Premier League could learn a thing or two from the WWF (I’m old skool) about how to handle these returns.
Rather trumpeting such returns on Twitter ahead of a press conference to announce these signings, how about keeping it quiet until matchday, wait for the teams to take to the pitch, turn the lights down in the stadium and then out of the darkness you hear Jim Ross scream “Oh my, it’s Ronaldo! it’s Ronaldo!”.
Perhaps hand out one match contracts for certain returning players? – Lexi Sanchez at the Emirates would be fun.
No? Just me then?
Graham Simons, Gooner who knows what the Rock is cookin’, Norf London
Where will Newcastle go from here?
Reading the debate on whether Newcastle will sign Mbappe or Tarkowski, I think we’re guilty of misremembering what every one of these clubs has done in the past – i.e. neither. Of course Mbappe and Haaland won’t go to Newcastle (they’ll end up at Real Madrid and Bayern/City), but I’m sure there will be rumours – in the same way Chelsea were linked with Ronaldinho and Messi back in 2004-05. But they surely aren’t going to be content with middling Premier League players either. What Chelsea, Man City et al did was to buy a mix of up-and-coming star players at second rank clubs (e.g. Robben, Drogba), glamour signings who had waned a bit (e.g. Veron, Crespo), and, well, Glen Johnson. Without ECL to offer, if I were Newcastle I’d be focusing on South American players in China and Eastern Europe, star players in France but not at PSG, and pretty much every player that Barcelona want to offload. And I’d look for a journeyman manager with a large network of contacts across Europe – the Sven Goran Eriksson of today. So – how about Andre Villas Boas or Guus Hiddink as manager, with signings including Oscar, Coutinho, Dembele, James Rodriguez and Hulk?
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, Singapore
…Coutinho, Bale, Ramsay, Dembele, Jovic, just the ones that pop into my head.
All on big money, all stinking out the place, none wanted by the only three outfits with cash (PSG, City, Chelsea). Step forward newly minted Newcastle…an agent’s wet dream.
(Add in Navas…quality keeper but no room for him now at PSG. Story of his life.)
…I genuinely stopped taking Oliver Dziggel’s email seriously when he wrote that Crespo and Makelele were not top players at the time of their transfers to Chelsea. Crespo, one of the most expensive players in the world at the time, who had just scored 9 in 12 in the Champions League for Inter. He was one of the deadliest finishers and had a massive reputation. Meanwhile, Makelele was a starting central midfielder for both France and Real Madrid. He had just won the Champions League with Real Madrid and his move away was much derided by Zidane himself.
In any case, Chelsea were able to lure these players because they played in the Champions League. If they lose that famous game to Liverpool, even if Roman Abramovich buys them, they still don’t get these types of players. That is why Newcastle will not be able to lure Mbappe or Neymar. Especially in England, where the top 4 is super competitive, and you have a few other teams below that have solid squads. England is probably the only country that have so many competitive teams battling out for the top 4. It will take time for Newcastle to get to the top, if they can get there. Chelsea, and to a lesser extent City were also able to because they had a young core of players who were good enough to play and get their teams get to the top. I’m not sure Newcastle have that.
On Bruce, Sol and more
There’s a couple of points from Tuesday morning’s superb mailbox that I wish to follow up on, namely that of Steve Bruce’s 1000th game and the conflicted views on the Newcastle takeover. First up I feel both Chris C (DC) & Derek (Dundalk) articulated their feelings extremely well, and given our similar experiences as Newcastle supporters (30ish, non-native fan lured in during the Keegan years) it’s unsurprising that I agreed with their views. I don’t really have much to add to their points other than to say that I’ve really enjoyed the mailbox response since the takeover was announced. Bar a few notable outliers most mails have been rather introspective, almost questioning what it means to be a fan and whether it’s possible to just turn feelings held for a decade off like a tap. It’s prompted some thoughtful discussion, valid criticism and nuanced takes which I’ve enjoyed reading.
Now for something I’m more comfortable discussing, Steve Bruce’s future. As you’ve covered elsewhere on the site there’s a strong desire amongst certain people in the media (especially Danny Murphy) for Steve Bruce to be kept on for at least one more game, with the idea being his 1000th game in management would be at St James’ Park in front of a buoyant crowd. Rather than go through the reasons for Newcastle to remove him (which surely everyone reading this are well aware of), instead I wish to discuss why he personally would want to stay.
Everyone at Newcastle, in the media and in the stands knows that he will be sacked soon. He’s referenced it, Amanda Staveley refused to give even the smallest vote of confidence when offered the chance and the players must be well aware he’s done for. The atmosphere on Sunday won’t be connected at all with his achievement. It’s more likely that when his name is read out that he’d receive a muted response, a slight ripple of applause if he’s lucky. So why would he want to be kept on as an act of pity and share his personal celebration with a fanbase that has long disliked him? Instead surely it’d be better for him personally if he were to be dismissed with his large payoff as soon as possible and save his landmark celebration for the first game at his next club.
For all the justified criticism he’s had at Newcastle Bruce has is still likely to be a desirable appointment for a great deal of Championship clubs and the reception he’d receive would be more fitting with the occasion. The current arguments for keeping him around feel embarrassing at best and patronising at worst.
Finally, in response to your recent article on Sol Campbell I think there’s several simple reasons for why he wasn’t given the same chances in management as his Golden Generation colleagues. For starters, Lampard and Gerrard moved straight into coaching (youth or first team) after retirement. Campbell meanwhile seemed to completely detach himself from the game for years post retirement, even trying to get into politics. This wouldn’t just leave him out of touch to prospective clubs but removed one of the benefits of appointing a superstar ex player, that being the relationships they’ve built across their careers and favourable treatment certain elite clubs would give you as a result. Also it’s not unfair to say Campbell had a reputation for being difficult, in contrast to Gerrard and Lampard who are almost universally respected by fans across the country as model professionals. Every time Campbell left a club it seemed to be with bad blood; every one of Spurs, Arsenal, Portsmouth, Notts County he departed under some form of controversy. Given that he’s sued one of the two clubs he’s actually managed and expressed approval for them ceasing to exist you can see why he isn’t given another chance.
The Premier League dating show
Have been trying to get my head around the Newcastle takeover and read the various opinion pieces and letters on same. For my part I think it is appalling, but also we are all compromised in some way as football fans and people in this world we live in and I would not for a second blame ordinary Newcastle fans for celebrating their new found wealth and good times to come. It is up to each individual to decide how much enjoyment they can derive from a situation like this and each must negotiate with their own conscience to see if they can truly be happy with owners such as these. For example my most principled friend who was a die hard Man City fan and Shaun Goater devotee immediately stopped following them on their takeover as for him it was now meaningless. Most football fans will not take this stance however nor should they be expected to in my opinion.
Anyway enough of the preamble. Seeing as how we have no control over who takes over our clubs, no protection from the governing bodies from all forms of nefarious regimes and governments, and are a captive audience of billions addicted to watching what ultimately amounts to a few men kicking a ball around a park, maybe its time to just accept the inevitable.
And so it’s time for a good old fashioned Cilla Black (look it up millennials) Saturday night , Premier League dating show, woooohooooo.
Who do we have with us tonight Cilla?
First up it’s…
Liverpool. Liverpool have been seeing an American consortium of late but despite unprecedented success and being a role model club many of its fans are still unhappy, FSG out, ok well you will have your wish. We are paring you with…China, yes pool fans everywhere yet ready to connect with your supposed socialist roots and your love of a powerful father figure and sacrifice those unneeded freedoms for the mighty reds are only getting redder, get in line reds fans and show them your allegiance no matter what, you and China are a match made in heaven, red or dead, red or dead they cry on the kop as Haaland earns enough money to cure Aids in an African country and scores another belter, get in!!!
And who else is on the stool and batting their eyelids towards the legion of doom, looks like our friends from up the road, Manchester United. Well you red devils, you weren’t going to be left out were you, we hated our owners long before those scousers you say. Well fret not. What better corporate partner for you and your legions of Asian fans that Huaweii. Yes this tasty mobile phone provider, data collection company and surveillance wing of the Chinese government will love you and your majority of Asian fans long time. Long on to follow your beloved red devils from anywhere in the world and share your joy, personal information and political allegiances with your future lord and masters. The more you scroll, the more you share with big brother the closer that new midfielder and elusive Europa league is.
And how about poor unloved Arsenal, awwwwh. They have been unlucky in owner love for sometime now and need a prince charming to come and take them away from the pain and misery and top four trophy hunt they have been engaged in now for far too long, sob sob. Well don’t worry gooners, you’re not goners anymore more. Who’s that batting his eyelids (and only remaining hair on his body at you) its Jeff Bezos and owner of Amazon. For the insignificant price of changing your name to Amazon Jeff will open his war chest for you, don’t be left behind Amazon fans, click and connect today.
Norf London isn’t happy, what about spursy who hitches her skirt up an extra couple of inches and scans the room but doesn’t recognise anyone. But from the shadows why look its google, they’ve been watching you all this time spurs fans and you didn’t even know it! They know all about you, even the kinky stuff and know how to press your buttons. You seductively drop to your knees and crawl to your new master 50 shades style and disappear into a dark room back stage where you will never been seen again, no flowers for you Spurs fans, but they you never wanted that anyway did you?
Oh look there’s what looks like data from star trek and he wants some likes, and billions of dollars in case he ever dies, it’s Mark Zuckerberg. He likes to take something innocent and corrupt it beyond recognition, friendship, family, human connection and frailty, there’s nothing this bad boy won’t exploit for a good time and a profit. He scans the premier league for his latest project and suddenly the Leicester Likes are born. Watch share like and swipe your lives away Leicester fans as you slowly slip into a state of self doubt, hatred and isolation, hurrah.
Little Everton won’t be left on the shelf either, twitter need a mouthpiece and who better than the little bird of the premier league Everton. Log on and vent your frustrations and annoyance at your neighbours Everton fans, share the hate, your twitters new pet.
Well I think thats all we have time for this evening and what a bust night we had. We watch the happy couple depart but bring you some sad news, awwwwwh.
Two of our previous couples have broken up!
Chelsea who looked a match made in heaven from our first series have gotten the old heave-ho and were last seen twerking outside an M & S store somewhere in London, while poor Man City having been left in the lurch but their petrochemical lovers have rebounded with the Jacobs cream cracker empire and are scouring the championship for journeymen Irish strikers who can put in a good shift for them next season.
The Premier League dating game is a fickle beast at times, but thats why we can stop watching, greatest league in the world ™
Join us next week to see if Crystal Palace can secure the blood diamond operator they’ve been lusting, West Ham are looking to get hammered by Pornhub and Villa are after the greatest Villain of them all, Satan himself now that’s ambition.