Harry Kane’s biggest crime is to score goals while simultaneously being a bit snide and boring. Do Liverpool fans hate him due to Mo Salah?
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That entry from James, Liverpool was odd, certainly in terms of timing. I understand that he doesn’t like Kane, I don’t really like Klopp, but I’m not a fool to ignore or somehow try and spin his achievements, he’s one of the best coaches in world football and every stat and look backs that up.
I find the dislike for Kane just odd, maybe it’s because the press hype? Even though largely he’s lived up to it, maybe it’s because he seems a bit dull, maybe it’s because he can be a bit snide, although that’s a definite part of Rooney’s game as well so it can’t be that, maybe it’s because he backed into a jumping player twice?. Liverpool fans seem to really dislike him and I wonder if it’s because he’s taken some of the shine away from Salah over the past few years? Salah is just as snide, dives just as much, feigns injury equally and is just as greedy. That’s not a criticism, it’s a shameful necessity of a modern player and both are excellent at it.
He’s not been great for us this season, he always has a slow start and I think he’s a player who needs to be at the absolute peak of fitness to be effective, not being ready was down to him and he should be criticised for that, no pre-season (his fault), using the media to get a move (his fault), not being right mentally (his fault). But there doesn’t appear to be any sulking or disruptive behaviour since. He’s just been in poor form for 8.5 matches (was good against Newcastle and ok vs Villa). It’s not as though the rest of the side have been playing well, all have been below par, he’s playing no worse than during his other August barren spells’.
I’m not sure who was the greatest England striker, but it’s pretty clear that Kane will be the highest scorer, it’s tough to compare their records against Charlton and Greaves and to some extent Lineker, but Rooneys goals weren’t all screamers against Brazil and Germany either, many were tap-ins against fodder. Personally Greaves and Lineker for me despite what the records say in a few years’ time, but all deserve the praise.
All in all, for me. Kane’s ok, he’s improving and has scored 7 in 16 games this season for us, plus the 14 England goals since the summer as well, just a shame that the 1 in 10 is the important one league wise. Maybe Kane will be a hindsight player we all love and eventually miss?
Steve (Cordon, Blunt, May)
That’s quite a shoeing Kane received for the temerity to equal Ian Wright’s record four-goal haul for England. Imagine if he hadn’t scored at all.
I will never understand the hate for Harry. He’s not to my knowledge a serial philanderer. He doesn’t routinely go on the piss. He’s not gambling his money up the wall and he doesn’t appear to engage in racist or sexist banter.
His crime appears to be longing for pastures new in the midst of the peak of his career.
I’m an Arsenal fan so I’m supposed to hate him but can’t really.
How about we all just cheer up and enjoy England’s most successful year since 1966?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Big city life
I’ve started taking my son to kids’ football in South London and the quality of football is crazy high. This is not that surprising when you consider the likes of Hudson-Odoi and Smith-Rowe grew up in the neighbouring streets and even Michail Antonio came through at the local non-league club. This got me thinking that all the local professional players are attackers.
To my surprise I then realised that nearly all the England internationals that play in attacking positions are from one of the 3 biggest cities in England and nearly all the defensive players are not from the 3 biggest cities.
It’s difficult to measure populations (please see populations365 for more details), however its widely agreed that in England there are only 3 metropolitan areas with a population of over 2.5million which are Greater London, Greater Manchester and Birmingham/West Midlands.
Incredibly Kane, Sterling, Foden, Saka, Smith Rowe, Abraham, Bellingham, Grealish, Rashford and Sancho are all from those 3 metropolitan areas.
Whereas Pickford, Ramsdale, Johnstone, Maguire, Chilwell, Coady, Mings, Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Henderson, Walker, Stones and White are not from one of those 3 biggest cities.
Coincidence? Seems unlikely. Is it that these mega cities are now the breeding ground for attacking players but the defensive players for some reason are not?
I’d love to know others thoughts.
And before everyone mentions, yes I know there are a couple of exceptions (Reece James and Rice are defensive players from London and Mount’s not from a big city although grew up in the Chelsea academy).
Paul K, London
P.S. I’ve just realised that Francis Jeffers is the same age as Zlatan Ibrahimovic which seems weird!
Who would want to manage Manchester United right now?
Everyone agrees OGS needs to go but who replaces him is the big question.
I think the biggest obstacle United face in finding the replacement is not why would they want to manage Man Utd but why would they want to manage against Pep, Klopp, Tuchel and potentially Conte. The four mentioned are some of the best in the business and arguably the best ever in terms of impacting how football is now played. City, Pool and Chelsea have incredible squads while Spurs have Kane & Son who are exceptional talents but may not have the supporting cast.
In theory, it sounds like a challenge all managers would want to take on but the United job is different, the fanbase is different and the expectations between the fanbase and ownership are not aligned and is well documented. The squad is bloated with has-beens and is out of balance. It has superstars that were forced signings for marketing reasons rather than signed to better the team.
If you were Ten Haag or Zidane do you really want to take this on? Poch has previously taken this challenge on with a stronger Spurs side than current but he is currently with a team all but guaranteed to be Champions of France, competing for the Champions League and has some of the most exciting players in the world at his disposal. Brendan Rodgers is already competing and successfully so, he is the most likely to be willing to take the job.
The EPL is a hyper-competitive league, I’ve not mentioned Leicester, WHU and Arsenal who are having up-turns in performance and I expect Spurs to have a bounce now Conte is in and Kane has found his scoring touch for England at least.
The question for United fans is what are the expectations for the new manager? We all agree on City, Pool and Chelsea have better managers than Ole and probably better than who we replace Ole with and they have a better-balanced squad. So is 4th an acceptable achievement with a decent run in Champions League and a potential FA cup? Do we just want nice football to be played? or do United have to win the league?
I have no expectations of United winning leagues, when United dominated they really only ever had one or two teams challenging with them, now you have guaranteed three and in the EPL it is now exceptionally hard to win a league. What I would like is to be at least in the mix at the latter end of the season, win a cup now and again, and to play some high-energy attacking football. I know people will probably say BS but I try to be a realist, I love a good game of football and sadly we have not seen that from United in a long time.
Paul (MUFC) Dublin
To follow the emails from Tuesday morning, I can’t overstate how strong Scotland performance was, and the job that Steve Clarke is doing.
For a stadium that is widely panned for its setup and lack of atmosphere, Hampden has been an incredible place for these recent qualifiers and that’s testament to the progress made by Clarke and his squad.
Denmark were missing a few key players but Scotland left out (or couldn’t select) four or five regular starters. Following a poignant tribute to Walter Smith and Bertie Auld, Scotland produced the best 90 minutes that I can remember. It was confident and disciplined and the 2-0 scoreline was no more than deserved – but for an astonishing Schmeichel save and a last-ditch Kjaer block it would have been more. (As an aside, the Danish defence of Kjaer, Christensen, and Vestergaard was/is absolutely massive.)
The system Clarke has put in place seems to get the very best out of the squad available, enhancing its strengths and minimising its weaknesses. That means little though if the players aren’t up to it and, to a man, they were excellent.
John Souttar, having had three Achilles ruptures, came back in to open the scoring, secure a clean sheet, and get man of the match. Che Adams made an absolute nuisance of himself and held the ball up incredibly well against that huge defence before getting the excellent second goal. McGinn and Christie ran tirelessly. O’Donnell and Robertson shuttled between a 3421 and 352 with ease. And alongside a fantastic Callum McGregor, all 20 years and 5 foot 7 of Billy Gilmour dictated the tempo of yet another competitive international. If Dean Smith is looking for improvement and results with Norwich, handing Gilmour more game-time would be a good place to start. It’s worth mentioning as well that five of the starters were a booking away from suspension for the play-off, a show of intent from Clarke to get a result.
Well done all of them. Here’s to more excited noises from McCoist in March.
What a magnificent performance against the might of San Marino! We really made the World sit up and listen.
In all seriousness a couple of thoughts spring to mind in the aftermath now the wreckage (to the goalkeepers ego? to the net? to the goalscoring records smashed to pieces??) has settled.
The next England World Cup ladder is going to be a thing of beauty, such strength in depth! Aaron Wan-Bissaka as the new perma Number 50 perhaps???
But there is a difference to strength in depth and absolute strength. I would say that we can fill a squad with a wonderous mix of experience and youth and there will be some real shocks amongst those missing from the 23 come next November. Players who a decade ago would be a shoe-in to the team, let alone the squad.
I can completely imagine a narrative building of ‘look at the squad depth! It’s so deep!!! We cannot lose the damn thing!!!!’ and there is definitely going to be a need for decent replacements come the meaty end of the tournament. However, do we actually possess the ‘world class’ (said for want of a better term) players needed to go and win the whole thing? The key will, as always, be our midfield. Which two/three in the centre will stand up and be counted? And will they, by this time next year, be so damn good that they will be the envy of the world? That is what we need to go that next step and beat the biggest of big boys in yer semis and yer finals should we get there. I would hope that this would be a midfield trio of Rice, Bellingham and Foden but just wonder if that orgasmic midfield will not peak until the following Euros and World Cup.
Secondly, it is clear we will go with a 3-4-3 and I am fine with that. It got us to a final and we have the players to make it work. Another way to look at it, especially against lesser teams, is we only have 3 defenders on the pitch as opposed to the usual 4. It allows us to press forward with 7 players (inc the wing backs) whilst retaining a solid wall at the back for those inevitable brainfart moments.
What I think will be the key is the personnel in the wingback roles which will dictate how we play and that was evidenced in the last two matches. Play James/Trippier and Shaw along with Rice and Philips in the middle and we are playing a top, top team and need to shore things up a bit. Play Trent and Chilwell then we are clearly looking to be a bit more expansive and attack the opposition.
I think it is a great sign of different options for different scenarios whilst keeping the overall shape the same which something the players will, by now, be used to on the international scene.
It’s exciting stuff, tempered by the asterisk of Qatar itself looming large in the foreground. So maybe we can just take the next edition of the Nations League as something tangible to achieve instead.
Rob (just waiting for my San Marinese citizenship to come through, I fancy me chances), Leicester
First up – the argument about goals against minnows being used by Kane to pad out his stats – as if other players didn’t get their record like this.
Bobby Charlton scored hat tricks against the USA in an 8-1 win, Luxembourg (9-0 win) , Mexico (8-0) and Switzerland (8-1) – 22 of his goals came in friendlies. Lineker got 4 against Malaysia and 6 against Turkey in an aggregate 13-0 win. 11 of Rooney’s total came against the combined might of San Marino, Lichtenstein, Andorra and Kazakhstan
Secondly – don’t worry about Kane, he’s just warming up nicely for a hat trick at the weekend against Leeds.
Steve, Leeds since 1970
Complaining is fun
So every international break we are subjected to England “fans” whining about how Southgate hasn’t picked their favourite player and we aren’t attacking enough, and now that England has scored 15 goals in 2 games, starting Foden in both and Smith Rowe getting a goal on his first start, they’re grumpily sitting there with their arms crossed saying “this changes nothing”.
Yes, I understand it’s just San Marino, but come on, if you can’t just sit back and enjoy a 10 (TEN) goal win why are you even watching football in the first place!?
Harry, cheerful England fan (admittedly more pessimistic THFC fan)
Weird football merch
Lee, luscious of locks brought up the topic of random football merchandise. Well I remember one Christmas a relative who I did not know decided to purchase me a Manchester United bathroom set one year. I think they just simply saw a football club item, knew I loved the sport and put two and two together. Thankfully I have Manchester United friends so it was not wasted and they were grateful of the set.
Now moving on to weird gifts I have seen out and about, I think the Norwich City Delia Smith Oven Mitts are certainly up there. Hull City used to sell a Garden Gnome dressed in a suit, but for me the most random and easily the best piece of modern merchandise I have seen on sale has to be the ‘Whey Aye Man’ outfit sold by Newcastle United for £49.99. You may wonder what on earth it looks like, well hopefully the Editor has included this link to the article on just the item.
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod
Lee’s letter about random football memorabilia got me thinking about the Mercantile Credit Football League Centenary pocket fact file that arrived unsolicted through my letterbox in 1987. It had a couple of sheets of card that you pulled through some slots to view interesting facts, such as how Wigan was the only club never to have been relegated (having only entered the league nine years previously).
I’ve still got it somewhere in the loft, so thinking I was quids in I had a quick look on eBay to see just how much cash I was about to be rolling in. Surely being able to reel off facts such as how many corners there were during a December 1931 goalless draw between Newcastle and Portsmouth is worth a high price.
Two poxy quid, that’s what they sell for. (The answer is zero, you can have that one for free.)