Liverpool’s Fabinho is world class, but so is Charlie Adam

Date published: Thursday 22nd August 2019 2:31

Charlie Adam Liverpool

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The summer when footballers priced themselves out of the market
This is the first summer when many high-profile players will not move because they simply are getting overpaid.  The world has not gone mad, we do not live in a communist society and footballers who are at the heart of a multibillion-dollar industry rightly get paid their fair share of revenues that they help generate.

However, certain people in football are still listening to old school views on wages and fees meaning players are getting increases when their stars are rising, losing form, fitness or simply become unfashionable based on changes to tactics and getting stuck on high contracts and unable to move.

The summer of 2019 will be the summer when potentially Neymar, James, Bale and Sanchez who at points have been in the top 5 in their position in the world were unable to move as they are simply paid too much and transferred for way above what the market values them at now.  I am sure I will get loads of abuse from people stating that all these players are rubbish and everyone knew they would flop which is of course not true. Neymar was constantly talked of as the 3rd best player in the world behind CR7 and Messi, James was world cup golden boot winner and the center of a decent Monaco team, Bale was initially a roaring success at Madrid and Sanchez was one of the Premier Leagues best players.  Obviously, the simple solution is for the players to drop their salaries and clubs to drop their valuations, but it shows how overpaid they are and overpriced they were that now the clubs or players cannot make the sacrifice required to move on.

Am I saying that we should feel sorry for these players or clubs? Of course not.  It’s more a cautionary tale for clubs to not believe the hype or bow down to fans to pay “whatever it takes” to get or keep the current “best” players.

Paul K, London


Fabinho is definitely world class, but so is Charlie Adam
Luckily the Webster dictionary and both have definitions of World-class already. They are “of the highest calibre” and “being amonst the best or foremost in the world”.

Now, the biggest stage in the world is either top flight football or the World Cup. Only the very best make it into top flight whereas you do get a few duffers at the World Cup due to the nature of the tournament. There are, roughly, 450 players in the Premier League at any one time. Same in the other main leagues (Germany, Italy, Spain)*. That’s, for easy maths, about 2000 players who are in the top-flight leagues. There’s supposedly 250million people who play football.

Anyone in a top-flight league is therefore in the top 0.0008% of footballers in the world. If that isn’t the “highest calibre” or “foremost in the world” then nothing is. Vis a vis, everyone in any top flight league is world class and thus ends the tediuous debate about who is and who isn’t.

Alex, (*French league is bollocks), Ayr


How many world class players are there?
Just reading Johnnywicky’s mail on their being five world class players for every position and it got me thinking: What does that actually mean?

So if every team played the same system, let’s say 442 and take that there is a traditional 10, number 9, number 6 and 8. Centre back is too hard to distinguish but you could say ball playing and pure defender are different so that makes 55 (5 for each position). But couldnt you argue then that there are so many more specialised positions that come into play? CDM is one that, in my opinion, only really exists in a three in midfield, the Makelele role if you will (except if you are the Kante brothers). Wing back is certainly different to full back (perfect example is Marcos Alonso. Thrived as a wing back under Conte but struggles as a left back. Not saying hes a world class player just that he struggles in certain positions), left side attacker in a 4231 is certainly different to left winger in a 433, There are different responsibilities etc.. I could go on (Libero and Trequartista, box to box, sweeper, overlapping centre back, false 9, 9.5, part of a two at the base of a 4231, left or right in a 3 in midfield) (would they be classed as the same thing?)). Also can you make the argument that a player can be world class in more than one position? Messi would be at the top of about 7 positions mentioned above so do you include him in every list and a player loses out?

The point I am making is that because of the wide variety of systems and roles. Also the fact that for certain roles there may literally be 5 players playing the role at a high level in world football so would they then be considered world class by default? I just don’t think there is any clear and obvious way to classify a player as being world class. I think you just know.
Oisin, Dublin (Btw Firmino isn’t world class. Just very very good. Mane, Salah, Fabinho, VVD, Allison, Robertson are. TAA has the potential to be. United fan)


I read the mail Six world class players at Liverpool from johnnyWicky, Toronto, Liverpool fan in the previous mailbox.

His definition of world class is the top 5 in each position. Let’s not over-complicate things. My definition is your top 11 – imagine they are representing the world against another planet, in an inter-planetary competition, you can only pick 11. You can dick around with formations if it makes you feel better.

That makes life much easier, and people then can’t suggest every Tom, Dick, or Harry is world class because they’ve had a couple of decent games, as you’d have to remove someone in order to elevate somebody else to world class.

Also, there’s no other class mentioned in these conversations, so players jump from no class to world class typically. How about some intermediate classes?

It really winds me up.
Simon (Bruce is not the answer) S, Cheshire.


Just a very quick response to johnnyWicky, Toronto, Liverpool fan’s mail and his list of world class Liverpool players.

His criteria for qualifying as World class is that you are in the top 5 in the world in your position which is fine. Is there anyone out there that doesn’t believe Andy Robbo is in the top five (one) left backs in the world?

If so you are wrong.

Andrew (Glasgow) 


In response to my email about world class players outside of a system. People are giving too much time to define world class players, that was not my point. I mean excellent players or however you want to call them. There is no way to define what world class is. I really believe Salah and probably Mane would flop at Real Madrid. It has been a team with less system orientation and more focussed on having the best players playing excellent football. Mourinho was a great manager but his style was less tactics and not quite as rigid game plan for each player’s like Guardiola has for example. Some managers are based on motivation or playing fast tempo it aggressive football. There are many types of managers and players fit the moulds for different ones. We would have said Coutinho was “world class” a few years ago and suddenly he couldn’t get a game for Barca. It can’t be a coincidence how many players who seem to be one of the world best suddenly have such a fall from grace. It’s all about the system for 99% of players and some only thrive with certain tactics.
David (Firmino is one of world’s best for Liverpool but could see him being a dud elsewhere) Morris


I wish FIFA would get off their asses and fix the biggest issue in football instead of messing around with VAR

Obviously what I speak of is the definition of World Class.

JohnnyWicky defines it as a player who is in the Top 5 in the world in his position.

11 positions, 5 players per position = 55 World Class players, hmmm more than I imagined.

But Johnny wants more than 11 positions.

We have

Left Wingers, Right Wingers, Number 10’s, Number 9’s, False 9’s, Defensive Midfielders, Attacking Midfielders, Holding Midfielders, Box to Box Midfielders, Pivots, Enforcers, Full Backs, Wing Backs, Right sided Centre Backs, Left Sided Centre back, Ball Playing Centre Backs, “Have it” Centre Backs, Sweepers (do they still exist), Goalkeepers, Sweeper Keepers, Supersubs etc.

Basically hundreds of World Class players, in which case most of them aren’t world class.

I guess the point of this is Alisson (probably), Van Dijk (yes), Firmino (no), Mane (no), Salah (yes)


Every time there is a debate about what constitutes world class, a puppy dies.

Almost makes me pine for VAR emails…..No scratch that.
Ian Dorren, Essex Gooner


Read across?
No, Dave, Winchester Spurs. I’ll keep it short too. The last time I looked the English FA are part of the “international body” who contributed to, agreed to and implemented “a law” which was “applied” to “our game”.  The last time I looked, the UK are part of an “international body” who contributed to, agreed to and implemented “laws” which were applied to “our country”.

I’m not sure how much to “read across” there. I’m not even sure what that means. “Our game?” You need to check yourself.

Send my love to Winchester. Why Spurs? Pompey and the Saints are right down the street …
Steve (Old Symondian), Los Angeles


Ian Holloway
Dear Mailbox

If you could let Ian Holloway know that the International Football Assocation Board is made up of five members being the four British football associations (the FA, SFA, IFA and FAW) and FIFA (representing the rest of the world!) I’m sure he will reconsider his position on the new handball laws. That is, of course assuming he is content with such gross interference from foreigners.

Jack, Dalston (Rule Britannia)


First Champions League Final in Heaven? Liverpool v Fiorentina
I’m not usually one to write in but James, Kent’s email about playing for Fiorentina has struck a nerve. Never give up on your boyhood dream mate, you see i’m 38 and dream of playing for liverpool in the champions league final. The reason i have not given up on my dream is that I have a promise from the creator of all existence, that get into heaven and you will get whatever you want, whatever you can imagine and more. So if I get in, the first champions league final in heaven will be liverpool v fiorentina (with James in net for fiorentina) hope to see you there.


Not football, but…
…one more reason to love the F365 mailbox is the occasional odd weirdness. 2 completely unrelated mails happen to mention pasta just as I start to think about lunch. Now I’m properly hungry!
James, Switzerland


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