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AWB and TAA in the the same England team
The time of year has arrived where we all commence in picking our preferred England XIs, especially given Harry Kane’s seasonal untimely demise. As F365 pointed out, we are rather well-manned for the attacking positions and any manner of combination can be imagined when considering the availability and form of Rashford, Sterling, Sancho, Mount, Maddison, Alli, Abraham, Ox, Grealish, Ings, Kane if fit and Vardy if he hasn’t already booked his summer jollies. With that extensive list in mind, the selection process will certainly involve much deliberation and reflection, and then a few awkward phone calls for Gareth.
Defensively, we are less than blessed and seeing frailties such as Harry Maguire’s ponderous speed in turning and John Stones’ John Stonesyness do not instill a great deal of confidence. While Stones and the likes of Kyle Walker and Michael Keane have done little to strengthen their case for inclusion, one defender who has shown that he CAN defend extremely proficiently is Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Behind only Ricardo Pereira and Wilfred Ndidi in the ‘most tackles’ table, the only criticism of the young Londoner has pertained to his relatively poor attacking output.
However, having listed such a plethora of attacking assets, there is one notable absence who is arguably the most exciting England prospect since Rooney. Allowing Trent Alexander-Arnold the luxury of AWB-shaped protection at right centre-back would push him further up the pitch and surely maximise his attacking threat to the detriment of any opponent. Furthermore, opportunities can equally be afforded to Chilwell to raid forward at will on the left. Three centre-backs would also alleviate the screening responsibilities of Henderson, a player who possesses the intelligence, awareness and positioning to make him a secure fit for such a role regardless.
Trippier and Walker were fairly effective in playing this system at the World Cup, the former more so as England’s player of the tournament, and to upgrade them to the best current tackler and the player with the most assists would unquestionable enhance both the defensive solidarity and attacking potential. I would be interested in the readers’ thoughts on this idea as it seems almost as logical as leaving Jesse Lingard at home (preferably barricaded in) to me.
AC in Milan
Bournemouth and boredom
Fantastic article by Seb this morning. He’s absolutely nailed the feeling that my Bournemouth supporting family and friends and I have had for a while – that we’re mentally exhausted of a tremendous fight for scant reward season after season. (I know there’s huge financial reward for the players and the club, but I’m talking more in a sporting/spiritual sense).
For anyone interested and for fans of clubs of any other clubs that perpetually exist in the liminal no man’s land between lower mid-table and relegation battle, here are my list of symptoms of the condition from a fan’s perspective…
– The genuine hope that you’ll be involved in a game deemed exciting or significant enough to be featured in the extended highlights sections on Match of the Day and be spuriously analysed by those brutes. What an accolade!
– Desperation to have a player called up for international duty with a major country (preferably England so the press actually mention it). Yet…
– Be sure not to have anyone play quite well enough that they are a) bought by another team like Everton or b) get their head turned by the media, ultimately fail to secure a move then lose motivation and become useless (Ryan Fraser). Extra points if you can continue to feel this way whilst complaining that your players do not get the recognition they deserve.
– Feeling increasingly alienated from the players with whom you once felt an unbreakable bond thanks to heroic promotions and initial survival seasons, often as a result of seeing them hit a glass ceiling and/or continue to get roasted by the same mediocre striker every season (see our defence and Chris Wood) or pocketed by the same journeyman defender (see Callum Wilson and Craig Dawson).
– Develop and over-invest emotionally in false rivalry / hero and villain narratives including but not limited to specific pundits and journalists, certain referees, and opposition teams and managers.
– Vaguely hope you’ll challenge for Europe during your first good string of results in a season but always with the thought in the back of your mind that it would likely result in relegation due to an overstretched squad and personal financial disaster thanks to obligatory away trips to Azerbaijan, Macedonia, Cyprus etc.
– Pining for the days in the lower leagues where there was once mud, blood and stadiums not named after insurance companies.
That’s about all I have time to think of right now but hope the mailbox can chip in with few more. And for anyone who came this far without really giving a toss… that’s kinda the case in point.
Yet somehow I’ll never stop watching.
The only Bournemouth fan in New York
…Really interesting piece today on Eddie Howe and his current predicament at Bournemouth. Perception of what kind of coach/manager he is, and indeed of what British (and perhaps specifically English) managers are supposed to be is kind of fascinating. Every time a “big job” becomes available is a cue for Sam Allardyce or Alan Pardew to bemoan how they don’t get chances at the top, but I wonder if guys like them have created the exact problem they’re bemoaning.
Allardyce in particular actively cultivated a reputation as a fire fighter for teams at the wrong end of the league, specifically by introducing more defensive organisation and physical power. I’m not entirely sure what Pardew’s coaching style is beyond loving the smell of his own farts quite frankly, but the height of his ability appears to be getting West Ham to the cup final whilst believing Hayden Mullins to be of superior ability to Javier Mascherano, and almost accidentally getting Newcastle into Everton Cup contention when Graham Carr had his annus mirabilis. Ever since then he appears to provide a light touch and hoping the chaos averages out in the right direction.
I think they do infect people’s idea of what a British coach is, and by extension make anyone who doesn’t conform to that idea seem wildly exotic. Take Nigel Pearson. I had that exact image described in the article of the gruff PE teacher playing 4-4-facking-2 and getting it in the mixer. But to give him his due he seems to be an excellent analyst of the players available to him and can identify a system to get the best out of what he has. The 4-4-2 he had at Leicester, with the final puzzle pieces of Kante and Okazaki, won the league. Now he’s getting a song out of Deulofeu at Watford at the same time as reinforcing his defence by adjusting the midfield. It’s really smart stuff.
Sean Dyche is perhaps another who suffers a bit for perceptions. He has extremely limited resources at Burnley, so he necessarily has to make the team more structured and less dynamic. But and this is crucial, he still knows when he needs to open things up and attack. He brought in young Dwight McNeil to provide better width. He got Wood and Barnes to work better together and form an important partnership. When he really needs a result, he tends to get it. Contrast that with Neil Warnock’s Cardiff going out of last season with a whimper, refusing to go for broke even when it was clear they were fighting a losing battle, really shows the difference in attitude.
I think that the longer we go without Allardyce, Pardew or Mark Hughes in the Premier league, the more chance there is of a British manager getting a top 6 job (I’m not counting Brendan Rodgers so far, because he’s been instrumental in getting Leicester where they are, rather than being appointed into it). Seeing innovative, intelligent tacticians like Graham Potter and Chris Wilder work their magic will make the big clubs owners pay more attention. And similarly, lower down the table clubs might start looking at the movers and shakers in the Championship (Alex Neil anyone?).
Eddie Howe might have been one to mention in the same breath, but he may have arrived in the Premier League before his time. Unfortunately now he may well have to follow Bournemouth down a peg or two before we see his comeback.
Ole out, Poch in?
Having read Miguel Delaney’s convincing “Poch in” argument for the Independent, I was prompted to share my new thoughts on the managerial situation at my club. Delaney argues that Pochettino ‘fits’ the club, appealing to my inner child by referencing Fergie’s appointment, and says that if we don’t sack Ole and get Poch in now then we are missing a great opportunity. I felt when we appointed Ole that he might not be the man to get us over the finish line, but I thought he would get us close by rehabilitating the squad and bringing in the right players for whoever his successor would be. He is, currently, on par with my expectations, as he has cleared out some of the the deadwood and his signings have been decent. The opportunity to bring in Poch is one we will most likely miss, however, as Woodward is far too content with using Ole as a human shield so he and the Glazers can continue to steal from Utd whilst turning out mediocre results. Having read the reports that Pochettino is demanding that Woodward be kept away from the football side, it seems too good to be true if it happened. I do think Solskjaer should be moved upstairs into the DoF role, as he seems like a good fit(good transfers, “knows the club” for the PFMs, and genuinely wants us to succeed). However, given the incompetence of the club hierarchy, I don’t expect anything except more of the same mediocrity, as Ole wont be fully backed by the board.
Seb, Berkeley, MUFC
…Akhil raised a valid point in terms of players I would also throw in Fred ,Mctominay and Brendon Williams besides that he has also deserves credit for the following
1 Improved Recruitment after 5 years of blunders to make three improvements to the squad in one window is massive.
2 Made the deadwood redundant
3 improved the style of play ,There is way more adventure than at any point
His two big faults have been have been as follows :
1. Having gotten the job full time the team have not yet attained the consistency of more settled teams
2 He is not a certain Argentine who photographs well at signing sessions.
It reminds me of the Gordon Ramsay meme, where each of his screw ups is treated like he’s a contestant on hell’s kitchen while Pochettinno get’s reactions like he is on Master-chef Junior.
There is literally a clamour to sack him after every loss ? Even by some miracle he wins a trophy people will still feel he should step down for a manager who reached one fa cup final or League cup in 5 years and once lost 5 1 to Newcastle.
Rashford and Ole
Everyone is convinced that Rashford is better and it’s all thanks to OGS.
What if it’s just because he’s a bit older and wiser? We always says that players hit their peak years around 25-28 and I think this is because more players break in around 21 then need a few years to get comfortable in the senior dressing room and playing weekly infront of thousands of fans. For players like Rooney and Rashford, their professional career started much earlier so it’s also likely their peaks arrive earlier.
It just seems to be a given that the Rashford improvement is entirely due to OGS but why haven’t we seen an equal improvement in any of the other attacking players at the club?
The F365 Show
In the absence of a comments section at the moment, can I just say that I will definitely be tuning into the F365 show. I’m sure my work won’t mind another drop in productivity, I don’t get that much done at the best of times, anyway. Looking forward to it.
…I just saw a still of what I’m assuming to be the set of the F365 show. How were you guys able to get inside to film at the Drunken Clam?
Ian, LFC Hartford, CT USA
…Football365 writers? With actual faces? On screen?
The mystery and intrigue has gone. Like when World Of Sport unveiled Kendo Nagasaki…..
…Firstly, I’m very, very excited about the news of F365TV!
Secondly, can someone explain how I can copy and paste a video into a Word document so that my boss thinks I’m reading really important business stuff?
Big D, Luxembourg
Postcard from Japan
The JFA’s preparations for the Tokyo Olympics are not going entirely to plan. After the 2018 World Cup they hired Hajime Moriyasu to be manager of the men’s senior and under-23 national teams with the idea that combining the roles would be the best route for the hosts to win gold at their home Olympics while the senior team worked towards World Cup qualification. However, recent results have given Moriyasu’s bosses cause for concern.
Last summer Japan were invited to participate in the Copa America, which Moriyasu treated as an opportunity to rest senior players who’d played in the World Cup and Asian Cup, and try out inexperienced and young players who might feature in his plans for the Olympics. Japan lost two and drew one, exiting at the group stage.
In December Moriyasu took a squad of mostly young J.Leaguers to the East Asian Championship, where they beat China (despite one player taking a flying kung-fu kick to the head) and Hong Kong (with a hat trick on debut from a J2 striker), then were outplayed in losing to South Korea and finished second.
The under-23s Asian Cup is currently taking place in Thailand, and although it’s a qualification event for the Olympics and as such Japan’s results don’t actually matter, they lost to Saudi Arabia and Syria which meant they were eliminated before the final group match (a draw with Qatar).
There seem to be a lot of calls for Moriyasu to be replaced before the Olympics, but personally I think that would be foolish. These three tournaments were played without any of the Europe-based players who have become integral parts of the senior team too: Takehiro Tomiyasu of Bologna, Takefusa Kubo of Mallorca, and Ritsu Doan of PSV, along with others. We also don’t know which overage players Moriyasu will go with, so we haven’t actually really seen what his Olympic squad or team would look like. In my opinion what the JFA really needs to do is not panic like they did before the World Cup when results in friendlies weren’t very good and throw away two years of preparatory work, but keep calm and trust that results in what are essentially meaningless friendlies are just that: meaningless.
James T, Ishikawa, Japan