Keep your hands on Harry, Dele Alli…

Date published: Monday 27th June 2016 12:01

Ball of confusion
‘I find it incredible that England are likely to find themselves in the quarter-finals without Roy Hodgson knowing his best team, or his best formation,’ says Robbie Savage in the Daily Mirror.

Well Mediawatch finds it incredible that you are paid for this sh*t but we will read on.

‘Hodgson took five strikers with him, but still does not seem to know what his best combination is up front. And he is not yet settled on his best line-up, whether it’s 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 or a diamond.’

Now Savage is not the only singer of this particularly grating song but if Savage’s own newspaper is to be believed, England will play a 4-3-3 against Iceland on Monday night. They also played a 4-3-3 against Russia, Wales and Slovakia. It’s almost like Hodgson knows his best formation but it’s just not gone terribly well and occasionally he changes it during the match like any other manager in world football.

And for a man who does not know his best combination up front, he has been remarkably consistent. Again, assuming that England line up against Iceland with a front three of Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling, that will constitute one whole change from the sides that faced Russia and Slovakia. For a man portrayed as befuddled, he seems very certain about certain things. Like his line-up and his formation, for example.

Savage saves his biggest ire for Hodgson’s use of Dele Alli, saying: ‘To get the best out of Kane, how about playing Dele Alli in his BEST position, where he plays for Tottenham?

‘Coming into the Euros, much of the talk was of Kane and Alli enjoying an almost telepathic understanding and taking their Spurs partnership on to the international stage. But we have not seen the best of Alli because Hodgson has not played him in his most effective role in France.’

Thankfully, we know exactly what Savage would have done in Hodgson’s stead because we have his preferred starting XI here.

And yes, that’s Kane in a strike partnership with Jamie Vardy, Wayne Rooney at the tip of a diamond and Alli in a central midfield three with Eric Dier and James Milner. Yes, that James Milner. And no, that’s not what Savage is saying now. HOW DARE HE CHANGE HIS MIND ABOUT ANYTHING?


Move your body real close until we feel like we’re really making love
Jamie Redknapp is also banging the Dele Alli drum in his Daily Mail column.

‘I’d like to see Dele Alli playing a bit closer behind him (Harry Kane) from now on. Their understanding at Tottenham appears telepathic at times, but we haven’t really seen them replicate it at international level.

‘When Alli picks up the ball on the half-turn, Kane knows exactly where to run, but the way the midfielder is played in a deeper role for England means the gap between them is too big for this to work.’

Here is a graphic of the England players’ average positions against Wales. Kane is No. 9 and Alli is No. 20.

Of course, it can’t be that both have just been a little bit sh*t.


Sterling stuffed
The Daily Telegraph website
reacted to the widespread disgust about their Raheem Sterling wage-counter widget on Sunday night by removing said bullying of a 21-year-old young adult ahead of the biggest game of his England career.

But this was not the first time they have used this truly hilarious ‘joke’. Is there anything about this example from last July – still available on their website – that should have led to the japesters at the Telegraph to bin the idea?

Sterling Telegraph

Interestingly, that piece includes this quote from the Merseyside Police: “People who use the internet to target others and who commit criminal offences such as harassment or hate crime in doing so are not beyond the law and can expect to be brought to justice.”

Or they should at least learn not to sodding do it again.



Give the Pog a bone
‘Is Pogba the world’s most overrated player?’ asked Gary Lineker on Sunday night. Apparently he has ‘got attributes and likes a trick but doesn’t score many, doesn’t create much and not great defensively. Still young though’.

No player in Serie A created more goals last season than Paul Pogba and no player at Euro 2016 has won possession in the defensive third more times than Paul Pogba. But apart from that he’s basically sh*t.


Sixth sense
Andy Townsend on ITV during the France v ROI game: “When it’s this loud in the stadium what a lot of people at home don’t realise is you can’t hear each other shout. You almost have to have a sixth sense to know where your teammates are.”

Or possibly use one of your five existing senses. It’s known as sight.


Spelling it out
Let it not be said that the Nottingham Forest chairman and owner does not know what he is doing…


Football Whispers: An update

No they don’t; they really don’t. This really is sh*t. Enjoy the clicks.


Recommended reading of the day
Matthew Stanger talks to Gary Martin, an Englishman in Iceland
Michael Cox on how England can exploit Iceland weaknesses
Tim Vickery on that Lionel Messi retirement


Thanks to today’s Mediawatch spotter Matt Lowe. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting ‘Mediawatch’ in the subject field.

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