Mails: England crying out for a Jack Wilshere…

Date published: Tuesday 5th September 2017 7:20

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Being positive about England
I find it so disappointing that the pundits, journos, websites and commenters seem to have the ability to only focus on any negativity from our result or performance. It never used to be like this, maybe football’s more tribal now where an Arsenal fan can’t say anything constructive about a Spurs player for example, maybe it’s Wembley and the new ‘experience’ fan rather than more regular match going fan, maybe it’s just too expensive now but I always used to chat with fans from all over the country at England matches, doesn’t seem as many now.

Slovakia are a decent side, I really liked watching their players without the ball, always moving into space to give their teammate a few options for a pass. I think technically our players are similar but seem to lack that movement off the ball. Once we got to grips with that we did pretty well and looked a real threat moving forwards.

Rashford did well and was unlucky with overplaying the ball but it was a great pass and finish from them, Walker did the right thing in my book as well, he had so much space to run into and I’m sure was expecting Rashford to play the ball into the acres of space he had in front of him. Maybe slightly risky but with the number of England players behind the ball it was a good attacking play, didn’t work of course but the intent seemed sound to me.

Dele Alli looks like he needs some more options ahead of him, we seem a little static when he gets the ball and their defenders knew they could crowd him out. He’s going to get so much stick from his own fans who just seem so intent on hanging him out to dry. Seems okay to swear constantly throughout a match though, but a hand gesture, dear god will someone think of the children.
Bertrand has done well, as has the whole defence including Hart, very little he could do with the goal and his positioning was good throughout.

All in all, it just seems like this side has become so risk averse, they are looking to not make mistakes rather than take a few risks and play to their strengths. I really can’t blame them when the slightest error is pounced upon and when I watch I genuinely feel sorry for anyone who isn’t perfect as the forensic assassinations will soon start. Could you really see the Italian or German press and pundits being this critical over their teams when things don’t go exactly to plan. They are disappointed of course but don’t immediately look for wholesale changes or scapegoats.

I love the England team, I love the match days and feel genuine pride when an unfancied player does well enough to earn a call-up, I don’t care their age or their club. I’ve never seen us win anything and I don’t really care, it’s about feeling some level of pride at what they are attempting to do, I just wish the negative noise that accompanies it all would just calm itself down a little and see it for what it is, nations best against each other where money and status should mean very little.

Rant over.
Steve THFC


Rinse and repeat
Something caught my eye about the England ratings that hasn’t been the case since the ubiquitous Glen Johnson ‘looked good going forward but’ copy and paste jobs of yesteryear.

It was this in Joe Hart’s review ‘If England are to win back a very doubtful public, they need to pick players in form and err on the side of youth’.

I can’t disagree on form but is it really that long ago (post World Cup 2010) that similar calls were being made to replace the old, failed guard of Green and James with the youthful promise of Hart himself?

It’s just rinse and repeat when it comes to England with the next generation just waiting their turn on the conveyor belt to be built up, fail, then knocked down and finally hear calls to replace them with the next bright young things.
Lindsay, Dublin


England have a complete lack of footballing intelligence
Watching England last night I could not believe what I was seeing from professional footballers, it was like watching playground football….

My particular grievence is at Kyle Walker and Jordan Henderson, both have no instinct of when to make forward runs, the amount of times we had a promising break and they charged forward with no thought and closed up space for the front four was shocking, no wonder we couldn’t make any chances…the amount of time a through ball to the wingers was on or the winger was taking on a fullback on to have the space they were moving into taken by these two morons.

Henderson should never captain England again, it makes him run around like a headless chicken, just getting in the way. Dier will get punished for being too slow in possession against better sides. We are crying out for a fit Jack Wilshere.

How Joe Hart is in goal for a Premier League team never England infuriates me, should have done better for the goal, and for several West Ham have conceded this season.

The whole team is too selfish no player wants to work together and just wants to be the hero, every promising break resulted in a shot when teammates were better positioned..

We will be out in the group stage in Russia. We have such talents in Kane, Alli and Rashford, we just need a more intelligent team to feed them and stop getting in their way.
Duncan Clowes


Why England have been tosh since 1998
It’s so simple why England have been tosh since 98…like SO simple…

1. Managers choose players based on their ability at their clubs rather than their ability and form and how well they fit together as a whole within a system. This is why your Rooneys and (August) Kanes would play at the expense of players more in form with enough ability to do the job well. This is also why Gerard, Lamps and Scholes were shoe-horned into a team for years rather than saving one or two of them on the bench for the quarter-finals of a major tournament when they would be fresh to take over from the other. The result? We were dross like forever.

2. In all positions, the quality technicians in the Premier League are all foreign. Take them out and just leave the English players and what do you have? A team without brains or invention or the ability to knit things together, open doors and be dynamic.



Nobody wants England’s best players
Just remembered an observation from a mailbox last week that one slightly-less-frequently-spammed observation on England is that the failure of their players to play abroad is an issue.

I had a very short journey down nostalgia avenue (just down round the corner from memory lane) and dragged out the England squad from Italia 90. England’s best showing in my lifetime. Sure we’re slightly post-Hoddle, but Waddle, Lineker, Gasgoine and Platt all played on the continent and there were several of the Rangers squad in the England team…

Just the one data-point, far from conclusive, but I wonder if we forget just how unwanted our current crop of players are by the top (top) teams in the other top (top) leagues…

On an unrelated matter: the World Cup ladder. I’ll be honest – I’d forgotten about Jordan Henderson. And he’s number 3.

The missus mentioned that she’d read a blog post or some such nonsense pointing out that this is the week to get your wife pregnant if you want the World Cup off for paternity leave. Obviously I didn’t need asking twice but I’m not yet confident I’ll spend the time watching football.


On Hoddle the ‘expert’…
After watching the England match last night, I felt compelled to write in regarding the so called expert co-commentator Glenn Hoddle! This is a man who has been around the game all his life and once managed his country and yet comes out with the most ridiculous drivel sometimes.

The one that sticks in my mind was his assessment of England’s first goal, in that he thought Rashford had messed up the corner-kick and fortunately Dier had got on the end of it! It was quite clear to anyone who regularly watches football, that it was a training ground set piece, something the two players confirmed in the post-match interview.

I seriously wonder how this man has managed to continue to earn money from the game after his playing days were over.
GT (he was a fine player though) MUFC


Klopp’s biggest weakness
As we come towards the international break (praise the lord) I’m hoping there isn’t too much mail and this will get through.

It strikes me that a lot of teams have managers who are adored by the majority of the fanbase. Nearly all of the Big Six (I take it the Wenger Out Brigade haven’t been placated by recent results?) have managers that the fanbase seem to defend passionately and often vociferously. You can throw in Bournemouth, Burnley, Newcastle, Huddersfield, Everton. That’s half the PL!
I would delve into the Championship but I fear it will betray my ignorance.

My question what is the biggest weakness/least favourite quality of the manager you adore.

I’ll start.

I find Klopp’s tactical rigidity vexing. We’ve been spoilt by having Benitez who was extremely tactically astute. Klopp seems to have a preferred system which he will crow-bar players into regardless of opposition or who is missing. Last season, when Mane was injured or in Africa the 4-3-3 was pointless when we had zero out-and-out wingers. But Adam Lallana, Origi, Sturridge or even Firmino have all done uninspiring jobs out wide. When we’ve played 4-4-2 Diamond it has always worked to good effect but Klopp seems reticent to go down that route. Further to this point about tactical rigidity, his subs are v. conservative. Always on 75 or so and usually like for like. Frustrating when we are struggling against a team parking the bus and have someone like Sturridge just waiting patiently.

Will be interested to hear from fellow mailboxers

(I agree Sterling would have got a significantly tougher time from the press than Rooney did.)
Oli, Brighton


If you look up Irony in the dictionary does it now just show an image of Spanish newspaper and Barcelona mouthpiece ‘Sport’ describing Liverpool as arrogant?
Rob H, Leicester


Why revel in Barcelona’s demise?
William, Leicester’s mail about Barca got me thinking he says most people will laugh at their inevitable decline.

At least laughing at United when they stumbled had a point because we all know United fans we could rib or whatever but how many Barca fans live in our part of the world…who are they laughing at??

I don’t support a particular team because coming from Dublin I wasn’t attached by proximity to any major team and I found the bickering between all the United and Liverpool and Leeds fans in my class in school tiresome so I just watched football for the spectacle and to see great teams play great football. Over the years I’ve enjoyed Liverpool in the 70’s and 80’s, Clough’s Forest, the great Dutch-infused Milan team, Madrid’s galacticos, Fergie’s United and both Cruyff’s and Pep’s Barca team to name just a few.

I have become attached to some of those teams and perhaps more so to individual players over the years, but the desire to see them succeed was never to boost my own ego it was just a joy to see anything done at its best, not just football either Federer, Woods, Warne even that great athlete Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor… I’ve cheered them all on because I always felt that’s what you watch sport for…to see it played to its best, I mean obviously you cheer for your own team or individual but once they are not involved why would you not want the best to succeed for the pure joy of watching them again.

What is it that makes so many people want to see the best get their crown knocked off? Is it just pure bitterness and jealousy? I don’t really want to accuse anyone of that but all that people ever say to me in the Barca case is that they bully teams but I’ve always felt that’s more a modern football food chain thing…Barca bigger than Liverpool who are bigger than Southampton etc etc than them being the only ones that do it.

I dunno. Sorry for boring everyone these are just thoughts that go through my head. it does me good to get them out there from time to time.
Robbie (still upset about Marco Van Basten’s injury shortened career) Dublin


…There do not seem to be many Barcelona fans in England, so I am always tempted to write in defending them when someone like William writes in criticizing Barcelona. Barcelona did not try to bully Liverpool they offered ridiculously high amounts for Coutinho. Liverpool simply wanted more. Any player Barcelona bought after selling Neymar was going to come in at a premium, I think most Barcelona fans are really excited at the prospect of seeing Dembele play. Will be better than Asensio. You saw it first here ;-). I will be the first to write in if my assertion proves wrong.

The prospect of the decline of Messi does keep us fans worried but that goes for every club’s best player. Messi has increasingly played deeper of the last seasons so he runs less. He still contributes a high number of assists, so maybe we can still enjoy him longer than William anticipates. We just bought one of world footballs brightest talents at 90 million and were looking to buy Coutinho at over 100 million, so maybe money is not an issue but rather the amounts clubs will look to get for players, again this will affect almost every club. The thing that bewilders most Barca fans is the Messi and Guardiola hate. Personally I do not get it, on the player and manager D*** Scale, Messi and Pep probably rank really low but rank pretty high on the talent scale so should be enjoyed by most people.

Maybe this decline will be good for the club. I wrote in a few weeks ago about how the club should look at making the most of La Masia, contrary to perception, there is a lot of talent there but the kids keep leaving to get more first team opportunities. So maybe this decline will be good for the club in the long term.

Regards and may the odds forever be in your team’s favour.
Josiah, Zambia


Dear Aravind…
It’s hilarious that you seem to think professional players are selected primarily by their physical attributes. Matic is not considered a defensive player because he’s tall and big and yes he’s a very good ‘vertical passer’, but like M Carric,k his ability to read the game to be in the right position allows him to consistently rank highly in both interceptions and tackles made, two categories which are pretty handy in measuring a player’s effectiveness defensively.

I don’t know what my point is I’m just annoyed, the other day one of the forever yapping Liverpool legends(all due respect) said the Ox can’t play wingback ‘because he is the wrong shape’ , WTF??
Cortez (Something funny and interesting) MUFC, Botswana

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