What does Kai Havertz actually do? And how is Roberto Martinez still bossing Belgium?

Date published: Thursday 24th November 2022 9:14 - Ian Watson

Kai Havertz reacts in dismay during Germany's defeat to Japan.

One Mailboxer remains flummoxed over what Kai Havertz actually offers to Germany or Chelsea. Also: Martinez’s Belgium; failing boycotts; and Man Utd…

Keep your views coming to theeditor@football365.com


Havertz mystery
I really cannot understand Havertz. He is consistently picked by top managers but I’m confused as to what he offers on the pitch for Chelsea or Germany.

Genuinely, could someone in the mailbox explain to me why he is first choice for Chelsea and Germany because I feel like I’m losing my mind.
Will CFC.


Voice of reason
In end, I didn’t watch it.

I didn’t watch the opening match, that was an easy choice. I didn’t watch an England match at a world cup for the first time since 1982. In the end, that was an easy choice too.

When it came to it, I just didn’t want to enough.

I’ve read the mailbox with interest over the last few weeks, and it seems to me that there are 2 supportable positions here. “I’m not watching” and “I’m watching because it’s a World Cup”. Everything in the middle is an attempt to defend the indefensible – and fair play, some of those attempts have been excellent.

I think I’ve said this before on these pages, and I’ll probably say it again, everyone is a hypocrite. I am, you are, F365 are..none of us are perfect. But you can be a hypocrite and still be right. The cry of hypocrisy is the cry of the loser, the argument has already been won and I’m afraid it wasn’t you that emerged victorious. So I read those mails with interest (Side note: I assume Shz is new around here and missed the endless poppy discourse a few years back), but the thing is this World Cup is happening now, today and is being held in a place it shouldn’t be. No amount of other things that are also bad will change that.

So, here’s a proposal – please, go ahead – watch the World Cup. I offer you zero judgement on that choice. World Cups are brilliant, all of them to a greater or lesser extent, are brilliant. Go nuts, it’s great. Argentina losing is already hilarious, England are adorable and there’s still Brazil to come. Enjoy it. Just maybe don’t try and justify it with anything other than “it’s a World Cup, and World Cups are ****ing ace”.

I’ll not be watching, not really as a protest, I don’t know that enough people will do that to really make a dent, but just because it feels like the right thing to do. I promise I’ll update you if I crack and my own hypocrisy kicks in..England in the final might just do it.

In the meantime, we all love football here – let’s just make our own choices and be kind to those who made different ones.
Jeremy Aves


Boycotts don’t spark conversations
This is a genuine question. I may be Thicky McThick of the clan McThick, and I’ve followed the many mails on the subject in recent weeks closely, but I really don’t understand what boycotting/not watching the WC achieves? That is, I can’t see any tangible benefits, in terms of supporting LGBTQ+ rights.

The BBC and ITV don’t know you’re not watching. Five Live sport and Talk Sport equally, don’t know you’re not listening. Neither do the sponsors. As such, it has zero effect other than soothing individual consciences. Does it not? What glaringly obvious point am I missing where boycotting the WC highlights the HR abuses in Qatar?

Because, it seems to me, the flip side is this.

Women having rainbow hats confiscated? Splashed all over the press.

People being refused entry to stadia because they’re wearing rainbow t-shirts? Splashed all over the press.

FIFA armband fiasco? England taking the knee? German team covering their mouths as one? Ditto.

All these things generate world-wide publicity of the type that the Qatari government is desperate to avoid. And if there is anybody in the millions of people watching around the world that doesn’t know what rainbow colours signify or, more accurately, why the Qataris want them hidden, or why the German team covered their mouths, then a quick google search will soon tell them.

I totally ‘get’ why people are determined to take a moral stance on this and that’s fine. But I repeat that I don’t understand how that, in any way, furthers the LGBTQ+ cause in countries like Qatar.

Look at the response, on F365 alone, to Alex Scott’s wearing of the One Love armband. It initiated DISCUSSION which, in turn, puts LGBTQ+ issues/abuses firmly in the spotlight. And a global spotlight at that. Individuals not watching/listening, on the other hand, does not contribute to the debate, I would respectfully suggest.

Finally, I’m not entirely sure HOW you can boycott the WC when it’s reported, in detail, on pretty much every TV, radio and news channels, as well as all mainstream internet equivalents and major social media outlets. Genuinely, for those of you doing it, or trying to, please advise as to how you’re managing.

The WC is on. And it’s in Qatar. It is, and no pun intended, going to play out to the end whether you like that or not.

I was very much against Qatar bribing their way to this bid (which country hasn’t?) but in retrospect, and so far, it seems to me that, from a ‘sports washing’ pov, they’ve achieved very little from an alleged outlay 0f £200 billion to host it.
Mark (Apologies to our global friends for the UK-centric channel names. Too many world-wide equivalents of which I am entirely ignorant. But you get the point.) MCFC


Protests and virtue signalling
Is it just me who gets disheartened anytime ‘virtue signalling’ shows up in the mailbox? As with similar terms like snowflakes, wokeism, and social justice warriors it’s a slur meant to attack a person’s character. Nashville Pete doesn’t know the people he rails against or understand their motivations but is eager to label them as sanctimonious and has no problem suggesting they’re morally inferior. What I don’t understand Pete is by calling these people out your claiming the moral high ground, your grandstanding, so by your own standards you are virtue signalling, is that not obvious?

How about instead of throwing slurs around you actually engage with the issues, are you in favour of LBGT discrimination, is state power more important than individual freedoms? Your thoughts on these issues would be infinitely more useful than standing on the side lines pointing fingers. Oh, and by the way, the fight for equality in this country has been waged for about a 1000 years. Tell me, was the peasants revolt in the 14th century just virtue signalling? What about the Lutherans in the 16th century, the Abolitionists in the 18th century, or the Suffragettes in the 20th? All just virtue signalling snowflakes right?
Dave, Manchester


FIFA’s next stop
Here’s an idea.

The World Cup seems to tour various continents – so how about the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) host the thing next time it’s Asia’s turn?

And FIFA should pump all the money earned from this current tournament into providing the infrastructure for the next time the World Cup lands in Asia.

A World Cup across the subcontinent would be brilliant for these countries, grow the game and it would be a World Cup like no other and would live long in the memory.

It’s not going to happen, but we can but dream.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Rishi Sunak’s barmy army
I enjoyed the letter from Mike yesterday about ‘Who it’s acceptable to support’.

He’s right about a great number of things, and I appreciate the enlightening information on some countries human rights practices.

That said, I find it a bit absurd that anyone would feel unable to support the likes of Jamaica or Saudi Arabia, on the basis that their governments behaviour isn’t in line with our expectations.

Do we think that kids in Sri Lanka, Vietnam or Namibia who happen to support England, are also totally on board with Rishi Sunak, Brexit or Liz Truss’ mini budget? Football teams and football players win their support from the way they play, and have nothing to do with the geopolitical issues their national governments represent.

This is quite different from the hosting of a tournament itself, which is more geopolitical in nature. Furthermore, it affects many more people. Cheering when Cameroon score a goal doesn’t hurt the LGBT community. Hosting a tournament in Cameroon would, either preventing fans from travelling there, or endangering them if they do

Loving the Japan victory last night.
Matt L (AVFC)


How times change
There’s a generation of Millennials emerging who think Germany are rubbish in international tournaments, and England are brilliant.

I find this strange and gratifying in equal measure.


Good games, good games
It feels kinda ironic that a world cup that has been kicked from pillar to post is actually serving up some absolutely titanic results. I know there are loads of reasons to detest this World Cup, but as an indicator of the increase in quality overall in World football, it is a pretty good litmus test.

I wasn’t surprised that USA, with 9 CL players and a nation obsessed with tactics and stats performed well.

I am surprised at the Argentina v Saudi result, but again, the increase in global standards surely helped.

A colleague who lives in Germany told me this German team wasn’t very good, and even with that insight, that Japan result will be replayed at home for years. I loved their coach saying ‘we are reaching the global standard’s because that is it. Nations are focusing on what makes good footballers and the intelligence behind that is more accessible globally.

For all the moralising and hand wringing, it is nice that at least the football continues to be surprising.
John Matrix AFC


Murphy’s law
Danny Murphy has surely set an increasingly low bar of punditry at a new nadir. His serious and quite impassioned plea that the referee should blow up with about 7 minutes of stoppage time to play really does beggar belief. So, Danny boy believes that the length of the game should be determined by the score of the match? (France were 4 – 1 up) How long would you play Danny if it was 2- 1 at the time, what about 3 – 1?
Also does our expert pundit have no regard for players chasing the Golden Boot, or if Australia scored and then qualified on goal difference- obviously irrelevant. That idiotic punditry of his almost rivals that of numerous pundits who declare that a player “was never going to miss that penalty”…AFTER he has scored!
Phil (Do I need to get a life?) Liasides
p.s. I am though pleased that stoppage time is at last being taken seriously – though ” a ball in play” clock is still the ultimate answer


World Cup XI
Following Dave’s plea for some more mailbox fun, here’s a classic: A World Cup XI.

Here’s the caveats. Only one player per country. And that player must be picked based on their performances in one particular World Cup year. I’ve based mine on World Cups that I properly remember. So I’m going France ’98 onwards. But feel free to go all the way back if you do your own team. Here’s my effort:

GK: Oliver Khan (2002)
Only 1 goal conceded up to the final and 3 in the entire tournament. Neuer a contender also but Khan was immense that tournament.

RB: Trippier (2018)
Thought I should get an English player in somewhere and he was a revelation that tournament.

CB: Ramos (2010)
Choosing Ramos meant I couldn’t go for Iniesta or Xavi. But my midfield is pretty good. And 4 clean sheets in the knockout stage is impressive.

CB: Fabio Cannavaro (2006)
Won the Ballon d’Or this year, the last defender to do so. This tournament is why.

LB: Daley Blind (2014)
A slight outlier but any of the other top left backs I wanted, I’d already earmarked their fellow countrymen for different positions. But he was highly rated by many pundits for his performances in a tight Dutch defence.

Javier Mascherano (2014)
Yes there are Argentinians with more flair, but I need some bite in central midfield. Always reliable and very good in this tournament.

Luka Modrić (2018)
A maestro on the ball and fully deserving of the Golden Ball. Couldn’t exclude him and being from a nation I hadn’t picked from certainly helped.

James Rodriguez (2014)
Might not make everyone’s team, but he was so good to watch in that World Cup. His goal against Uruguay is one of my favourite World Cup goals.

Zinedene Zidane (1998)
Could have picked 2006 as well. Either way, first name on the teamsheet.

Ronaldo (2002)
The original. 8 goals that year. No one has scored more in the last 12 World Cups.

Diego Forlan (2010)
5 goals and won the golden ball. Maybe there are other Uruguayans who were better, but none had such a standout tournament.

So there’s my effort. A lot of recency bias, but thats the nature of memory. Have a go yourself if you’re watching a 0-0 between Switzerland and Cameroon. If you’re feeling really brave, the ultimate challenge is only one player per World Cup (and per country).
Mike, LFC, London


Martinez Lynch-ed
Has anyone else noticed that Roberto Martinez has started to look like Mick Lynch?

Robert, Birmingham.


…I see Roberto Martinez is still stealing a living. How, just how is he allowed to take charge of any team let alone the world’s number 2 team (hmmm)? I just don’t get it. Stealing a bloody living I tell thee.
Luke (Oh Canada)


Thoughts on Man Utd
Thought you may be struggling for United mails…

1 – thoughts on Ronnie.
Awful interview, awful exit, awful watch… but can’t blame him. Lingard and Henderson lost a year of their careers because United are a sh*tshow happy to lose a fortune watching assets depreciate in the hope they might be worth a bit more after 2 league cup appearances. Mata and Jones probably fall into that too.
Clearly this should have happened as soon as we dropped into Europa & 37 he doesn’t have 6 months to waste. So fair f*cks for having the balls to take on a £5-10bn football club (see below) and win.

2 – Glazers
It’s happening and there is no good outcome. The value of the club attracts only investors looking for a profit (as in the ones we’re getting rid of or the mad f*cker at Chelsea) or tainted money (City, Newcastle, PSG or the last f*cker at Chelsea).
I’ve said before that I would burn my season ticket, I.e. delete from Apple wallet, if the latter ever happened and I fully expect Old Trafford to be the grandest sportswashing exercise on earth by next season.

3 – World Cup
I love Roy Keane and Joe Lycett

Simon (how much are sky/BT nowadays?) MUFC


Thwarted over ESL
With Liverpool’s FSG and now the Glazers opting to sell, it’s obvious that the long-term plan of these American owners hinged on the European Super League.

Since that plan has become untenable for English Clubs, they see no reason to keep their ownership.

Good riddance I say.
Tunji, Lagos.

Read more: Manchester United are rid of Cristiano Ronaldo; now the World Cup must follow

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