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We’re all doomed
Ted, Manchester, cheer up mate, your glass is looking a little empty there!
Whilst I don’t disagree with a lot of what Ted has said about the reigns of Moyes, Van Gaal and Mourinho, the psychological aspect of team sport has been missed entirely. There has never been a United team, even under Sir Alex, that was without flaws but that’s where Managers earn their money. If you look at the last 11 of Fergie’s last season, it’s not all that: De Gea, Valencia, Evans, Jones, Buttner, Anderson, Carrick, Cleverley, Kagawa, Van Persie, Hernandez.
Other than De Gea and Van Persie, possibly Carrick and with an honourable mention for Chicarito as I still think he was under-rated, there wasn’t a top class player amongst them. What Fergie did was to instil belief in them and play them in a system that worked. It’s also worth remembering that the team were used to winning games and that is the hardest part to bring back.
There are thousands of books written on team sport psychology and plenty has been said about the mentality of the United players, which I believe was severely damaged under Mourinho. He didn’t build players up, he knocked them down and Solskjaer has to re-build that, primarily by getting rid of players who don’t want to work and then winning some games, preferably a few in a row, to get some confidence back.
If I had my choice, Pogba and Lingard will leave in the summer, with the money spent on a first class, proven striker, a true left winger and a pacey centre-back to partner Maguire. We’re a few really good players from being top four, regularly, and I believe Solskjaer has a plan. It will take at least the summer to move forwards but we’ll get there.
Paul, Man Utd
Goalkeeping, over-promotion and expecting too much, too soon
On the subject of the England goalkeeping situation, such as it is, it’s worth thinking about the current incumbent and his predecessor before people rush to proclaim that Henderson must be starting for England in the Euros this summer.
Goalkeepers, as a rule of thumb, hit their peak at around 31-34 and are still usually better in the years after than in their 20s, for lots of reasons but mostly I would think because the position is more about reading the game and anticipation than it is simple agility.
With that in mind, it’s curious that we keep looking for the next keeper as soon as one makes a mistake, burning through them at a fairly alarming rate in the process.
Jordan Pickford, at 25, is already being written off as a result of mistakes he has made in the last two seasons in favour of 22 year old Dean Henderson. Indeed, we now have got all kinds coming out to pile on him like England record cap holder and Chelsea legend Chris Sutton, and Ian Wright who claimed that Pickford doesn’t listen to advice and asked ‘why didn’t he try and save it with his feet?’ ….Pickford said after the game that he tried to save the Benteke shot with his foot but his studs caught in the turf, so who is it who isn’t listening here?
The question that needs asking here is why didn’t we learn from the lesson of Joe Hart, who at 32 should be in his absolute prime and instead is bench warming and seems like a broken man instead of the player he was tipped to be when he became England’s number 1 at 23? F365 suggested that Pickford referring to Hart was him using ‘the worst possible example’ for his argument, but I think he’s hit the nail on the head when it comes to how we build players up and tear them down – he just missed out the bit where we over-promote them far too early and put stupid goals in place for them like my favourite 365 quote ‘Luke Shaw will be the England left back for the next 10 years’, and so on.
As an Everton fan, the last great keeper we had was Nigel Martyn – signed at 37 and a safe pair of hands for more than 2 seasons afterwards. Before than it was one of the greatest keepers of his era, Neville Southall. At 24 he’d just let in 5 at home to Liverpool and was loaned out to Port Vale to rebuild his confidence. At 27 he was the Football Writers’ Player of the Year.
But this is a different era, and in some ways it may actually be too late for Pickford. Over-promoted at 22 due to one good season the Prem and thrust into a major tournament where he was largely treated like a hero at 23; he now has every mistake examined thoroughly in public and as he is a young idiot he keeps throwing fuel on the fire by making daft statements to the media. However, as he hasn’t actually made any mistakes for England yet – despite what Lee Dixon’s text messages may say – he’s probably worth keeping in for at least the Euros on the grounds that Henderson doesn’t need to be introduced to this circus at 22 on the back of a one good season in the top flight….can we at least learn this lesson the second time around?
Let’s see if Pickford can recover his form, but let’s use that time to see if Henderson can keep improving, let’s see if 27 year old Nick Pope can keep improving away from the spotlight and who knows, maybe another keeper like Tom Heaton will emerge in his 30s as being a viable option in the future by improving his craft over his career and actually hitting his peak before being written off because he wasn’t expected to solve all of England’s problems at an age where most of us were acting like dickheads…
Respect? You’re having a laugh…
It’s been a while since I wrote in, (sorry I’ve just been busy), but an article today in the football media has my blood boiling. Bournemouth’s complaint to the PGMOL about Jonathon Moss’ alleged comments during the game against Sheff UTD. If you’ve not read it here’s the best snippets: … Cherries midfielder Dan Gosling says Moss showed “zero respect” and was a “disgrace” for making “sarky comments” about their league position. … “I thought it was very disrespectful what he was saying”. “It was just the little niggly ones and then the little sarky comments. … talking about the relegation zone and ‘you’re still in the relegation zone’, ‘you’re having one’, ‘your team’s having one’.
Oh cry me a river Danny boy, did the ref give you back a little bit of ‘bantz’? Did he hurt your feeling by point out how sh*te you and your team are? Boo-ho. Given the years of abuse referees have taken up and down the country at all levels of the game, the brass balls on show here from professional players who blatantly and repeatedly verbally abuse referees week-in week-out is mind-boggling. Moss might be a bit of a prat (I don’t know, never met the guy), but of all the things you could public criticize a referee for, ‘showing a lack of respect to players’ is laughable. I fully expect Jonathon Moss will receive some kind of punishment on the back of some a social media trial where the usual keyboard warriors will enact their ‘let’s ruin someone’s reputation because we’re bored’ case for the prosecution. Small time stuff Bournemouth FC, petty small time stuff, and frankly you shuold have bigger things to worry about. I’m embarrassed for you.
So, considering the amount of swearing, insults and accusation the refs get regularly by players on all sides regularly, I find Dan Gosling’s complaint about the ref comment amusing, especially the fairly mild examples he gave.
Unprofessional? Probably, but if you get thrown abuse on a regular basis especially in regards to your “performance” then throwing a snarky line back about said player’s performance is fair. I’m not insinuating that Gosling threw insults to the ref to deserve that, but we all know the state of players attitude towards refs these days that I don’t fault them for throwing back snarky comments at them. The ref will have to do A LOT to get to the same disrespectful level of players.
Of course two wrongs don’t make a right, but if the FA aren’t gonna protect the refs, then maybe let the ref throw some back at the players once in awhile.
I say this at least once a day
Once every single day I cannot fathom how Ancelotti was available and we kept Solskjaer and let Ancelotti join Everton.
Nothing about Solsjkaer makes you think he deserves more time. Put all sentimentality and past mistakes aside, do you see Solsjkaer winning the Premier League as the Manchester United manager in the next decade even? No then it’s time to cut your losses.
Otherwise we will be feeling the same when Pochettino turns up at Man City after Guardiola joins Juventus in the summer.
The honeymoon is over. Thanks Ole but it’s time to move on.
Shehzad Ghias, mufc, Karachi (I’d rather see Benitez brought back and installed as manager than Ole.)
Clearly I don’t read the Sun for obvious reasons but do have the undoubted pleasure of reading some of their more insightful pieces via Mediawatch.
This morning focuses on UTD signing both Maddison and Grealish which is daft enough in itself but the point that took my eye was the (financed by the 150m for Pogba)
Now I’m not sure if I have missed something but…
UTD signed Pogba for approx 90m
He will turn 27 in one months time
His contract runs out in Jun 2021.
I think it would be fair to say that he hasn’t exactly enhanced his value over the last couple of years which would be the normal metric for his increased valuation.
Transfer price inflation is still around but seems to have leveled off slightly so how is Pogba worth approx 70 pct more than his purchase price ?
I wonder now if Woodward’s problems are about to increase basis not who he has failed to sign but the implications of not selling players at their perceived / book valuation .
DL , LFC ( Winter break is great but roll on Saturday) Geneva
Can I reiterate the link in Mediawatch to Miguel Delaney about broken football, please read and see where potentially a sport that we love is heading and comment on whether you believe this is good or bad.
It is certainly something to get you teeth into compared to who Man Utd should spend their next 200 million on.
Gary in Germany
FA Cup tickets
Anyone else loving the irony of Liverpool moaning that they’ve had their ticket allocation for the Chelsea FA Cup game reduced?
If your own manager doesn’t think the competition is important and your own fans have justified his behaviour, you don’t really have a leg to stand on.
Adam (kept the tickets prices the same too), Midlands.
Luke’s right about the FIFA video game and it’s only going to become more and more of a problem down the years. The main thing about a large proportion of the people that play FIFA is that they don’t actually like, follow or watch football and the players in the game are nothing more than characters. EA make billions from FIFA so the media see a huge market that they can monetise and they target them with opinions flavoured by the video game and not the actual game. We know that ex-pros haven’t had an original thought in their entire lives so the opinions that are parroted in the actual game are the opinions created from the video game.
FIFA has a thing that the players call the meta game and it changes depending on the year or even the month. So last year you could score more easily from headers so Ronaldo was the best player, this year they made it harder to score headers but easier for agile players so Messi is the best player. Eric Dier and Moussa Sissoko are a similar rating but Sissoko’s meta and Dier isn’t so almost every Premier League team had Sissoko and none had Dier. So if you ask FIFA players who’s the best in real life they’ll say Sissoko is a beast and even better than some of the all time greats like Vieira (who’s also in the game as what they call an Icon). It’s so bad that some of the greatest players to ever play are considered to be rubbish because they’re not meta. Marco Van Basten in the game is a little slow so he’s written off because there are cheaper, current players like Ben Yedder who are more meta.
Like I said though, a large proportion of the people who play the video game do not follow the sport. The worry is that the next generation of football fans won’t be interested in actual football at all.
Luke 32, simple solution mate just don’t talk to these weapons and change where you get your info from mate.
Loads of decent podcasts and media out there if you have a bit of a look bud.
For the record the only problems I have with FIFA is that it’s blatant gambling for kids with those heinous FUT cards.
And that it’s sh*t as f**k.
Martin “SWOS king” Ansell
Allardyce is no Lt. Winters
In response to Calum, Scotland:
I really liked your BoB analogy but you’ve missed a key point: Easy Company only became as good as they were because they replaced the hugely unpopular Lt. Sobel with the hugely popular Lt. Winters.
Winters was a man who engendered loyalty in his men and every single member of Easy Company would have followed him into the gates of Hell (from the mouth of a veteran). They loved him, he loved them. He was also an inspirational leader and master tactician.
Allardyce is not a Lt. Winters type. For your analogy to work, Biesla would have to replaced by someone like Klopp or Pochettino.
And then jump into Europe to free it from tyranny (FIFA). Or something.