Mails: It doesn’t matter what ‘type of player’ you are

Daniel Storey

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You really can’t doubt Defoe
You know what? I’m going to come out and say it: Defoe should go to Russia.

Yes he will be almost 36.
Yes there are arguments for other players (and those distinctly younger)
Yes he may not be playing top flight football next season (along with a handful of others in your top 50)

But – has England had a more natural goalscorer in the last five years? Would he be scoring more at a better team than Sunderland? Probably. Would he make a difference as an impact sub when you’re inevitably chasing a 1-0 loss to Italy? Definitely. You could argue Harry Kane is just as good at finishing, but you need a backup for him. Vardy isn’t a great finisher, and unless Sturridge/Carroll/Welbeck (closest likely contenders) prove their fitness over the next 18 months, then Defoe should always be in consideration. I know it’s a cliché to say that ‘the young players could learn a lot from him’ but 33 goals from 73 games for Sunderland shows he still has it, and I have no doubt he could teach Rashford a thing or two and take his game to the next level. Hell, he might even teach Sterling how to finish!

Even as a Liverpool fan, I’d prefer to see Defoe on the plane instead of Sturridge – his legs can’t handle a game a week, let alone intense tournament football.
Lee (Good to see Phil Neville back where he belongs), LFC


Your favourite sensational comebacks
In the aftermath of international week, not everyone might have noticed the mighty comeback by my beloved Exeter City at the weekend – 3 goals down in the 88th minute – 3 all by the 92nd minute and pushing for the winner – truly amazing stuff. I cannot in all good conscience advise anyone to hunt down the match highlights and watch the goals – but if you can find the BBC Radio Devon commentary (which was how I experienced this joyous event) then you would really be in for a treat.

The Swiss media has picked up on this, with their headline “Exeter do it even quicker than Barcelona” (quite a nice touch considering we are both fan-owned, not that I suppose that was their angle) – so before the real football kicks off and we all get back to serious topics, what are some other mailboxes favourite comebacks of all time (expecting a deluge of Liverpool 2005, but how about some that might be less well known? I’m sure there are some belters out there!)
Terry Hall, Switzerland (sing a song for Stanno)


It can be Winks AND Davies
Jack (Can’t watch Winks play without getting reminded of Cleverly – Davies doesn’t do that to me) Manchester, I think part of the situation is due to the positions they play in.

As you have pointed out, Davies plays in a slightly different midfield role to Winks. Without wanting to compare players, Winks resembles a cross between Modric and Dembele (point this out now, I am not saying he is as good as either) as his passing range is fantastic both short and long range as is his ability to retain the ball and take on players. That last aspect seems to improve every game.

Now I will admit to being very biased. He is quickly growing into a fan favorite. But compare who Winks is vying against in the deeper midfield role (Dier, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Livermore, Milner, Drinkwater) against Davies (Dele, Lallana, Sterling, Barkley, Lingard, Townsend). I think Winks has more chance of getting into the squad as there are more players in the deeper role who can easily be replaced. Davies is fighting against Dele and Lallana who seem to be indispensable at the moment.

Of course, this could all be crap. It’s just my viewpoint and I don’t watch enough of Everton to form a good enough opinion of him.

Let’s just hope that those two players, along with the likes of Dele, Kane, Sterling and Keane, have enough about them so that when the inevitable backlash of the fans and media appear, they will still attempt to play with no fear.
Richard (Northern Spur) Preston


On the lovely Buffon
I think any discussion of superman should not go without this quote from him:

“Often there are fallacies when a journalist or a fan and sometimes even a coach who has never been a goalkeeper sees a cross in the six-yard box and says he should come out. You laugh because you understand how much bullshit is said.

“The first question I ask people is: do you know how big the six-yard box is for a keeper stood on his line? And no one knows … It’s 100m² – that’s the same as a two-room flat or a bar, a bit like where we are now [a vast conference room in a Turin hotel]. God only knows how many metres cubed it is. So you see how little understanding there is, and how little desire to get informed, and to take that into consideration. But that’s the way the world is.”

I think anyone who has ever played in goal wants to pull their hair out whenever we are subjected to the opinions of outfielders and commentators about what a goalkeeper should be doing. It’s a lot like hearing someone who has never learned a musical instrument telling you playing the piano can’t be that hard. Anytime you want to see the Dunning-Krueger effect in action, just turn on the TV and listen to former outfielders discussing the goalkeeper’s performance. Gigi had the stones to call them out about that, as well as their intellectual laziness. Respect.
Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide


Harry Redknapp: Sometimes reasonable
Mark Meadowcroft made the point in a far more pleasant and sensible fashion than I would have, so I’ll just agree with him. But it reminded me of something that I read on this very subject, and more specifically the rare occasion when the opposite is said.

The incident in question is Ben Thatcher’s attempt to insert his arm into Pedro Mendes’ hypothalamus, smashing him into the hoardings and knocking him out.

If you’re a tiny wee thing with no idea of life was like before this utter mess, Ben Thatcher was quite the c**t. If he was playing now, he’d be the guy screaming ‘Worldstar!’ before every tackle. It is because of players like him that this maligned phrase exists. Anyway, the opposition manager was asked about the, I don’t know, ‘tackle’? His response?

“Off the field, you could not meet a nicer boy. Unfortunately, on the pitch he is capable of doing things like that.”

First bit may well be true, the second definitely is. Now I’ll grant you that this is the opposition manager, but his own club increased his suspension by six games. But this is all dalliance and nonsense. The point is this: those words came from Harry Redknapp. That, ladies and gentlemen, is Harry Redknapp being the voice of honest reason.

Repent, for we are in the end of days.


It doesn’t matter about which ‘type of player’ you are
If it’s not too late to add to the “that type of player” debate.

As has been pointed out by various contributors over the last few days, when somebody says “He’s not that type”, the obvious question is Well, then who is? Now, for all intents and purposes, the answer to this is No-one. No-one specifically wants to break someone’s leg in a tackle. Even Roy Keane didn’t want to break Alf Inge Haaland’s leg in 2001. He just wanted – to use the parlance of our times – to do him.

The other, similar defence of the tackler is “It wasn’t intended”. Again, we know this already. It’s obvious that neither Taylor nor Bale wanted to break their opponents’ legs the other night. Rather, a little weighing scales was tilting back and forth in their mind with “Do them” on one side and “Get the ball” on the other. I don’t know which side was higher at the time, or if they were both equal, but I do know both sides existed because if your only intention is to win the ball fairly, a studs-up jump-kick is one of the most unlikely possible ways of succeeding in that goal.

So ultimately, whether the player is “that type” or the player “intended” it doesn’t matter. He’s not and he didn’t. All that matters is the giant disregard for the safety of their opponent and how we punish the players who’ve committed the action – and, in my fantasy world, the managers who have encouraged it.
Stephen O’S MUFC


And why it’s rarely helpful to be that black and white
Seamus Coleman’s unfortunate injury reminded me a bit of when Paul Gascoigne broke his leg all those years ago. Watching the Ireland vs Wales match on the telly I saw the two men – both men, make no mistake – absolutely put 100% in to that challenge. Both went for the ball, neither cared if he took everything else with it.

In the split second before they collided, I could tell that it was potentially going to result in something ugly happening. All the ingredients were there, and 99% of the time either Coleman or Taylor would have smashed the ball in to the stands, whilst following through with an almighty thwack on the other player which would have resulted in a chuckle from the commentators, a cheer from the crowd, and with the victor of said challenge sportingly pulling the other to his feet, whilst possibly sharing a little giggle and a pat on the back.

“Ooooh”, the commentator would have chortled, “that was a proper British challenge there”.

And that’s kind of the issue I have with the side-taking and blame-assigning going on here. No one’s thinking of the wider context. Next week, when the Premier League gets underway again, you’ll again see two players launch themselves in to a 50/50 for a rolling ball. Next January, when the FA Cup third round is drawn and the Pickled Pig AFC is playing Man City down on the Broadchurch Marshes, “Kerrazee Kevin McSpaggart” (name invented) is going to jump two-footed at Jesus Navas and he might hit him, he might miss him, but unless Navas ends up with a broken leg then, heh heh, “that was a welcome to the lower divisions on Navas right there”.

Make no mistake, the challenge from Taylor was awful, and if The FA decide to punish him further then you’ll find no arguments from me. My point is, bigger picture, we’re still going to want to see these kind of challenges every week, so long as they don’t result in a broken leg.
Dale May, Swindon Wengerite


It’s a phrase that allows things to be brushed under the carpet
As an Ireland fan, it really is horrible to see the horrendous injury Seamus Coleman suffered on Friday night. Fingers crossed that he comes back better then ever, he genuinely gives off the vibe of a lad that genuinely loves what he does for Ireland/Everton and he will be sorely missed while hes gone.

I also have to feel sympathy for Taylor, it was a poorly timed reckless tackle that had tragic consequences that he will regret immensely. But as a pro he should know when 2 players are running at pace to meet a ball the tackle has to be spot on.

All he can do is take responsibility, move on and learn from it. The whole ” not that type of player” defence that people around him are throwing about isn’t helping anybody. Yes it was an accident, but when an accident occurs you are supposed to look for solutions not excuses. If an accident occurs in any other line of work,any decent safety reps main aim is to ensure it doesn’t happen again. So this situation should be no different, we have seen plenty of these tackles over the years, from Eduardo, to Ramsey to ironically Taylor himself. But guess what was said after those incidents??

Instead of brushing these tackles under the carpet by saying “he’s not that type of player”, why don’t we try and find a solution to minimise the chances of this happening again? If a greater emphasis is placed on the education of proper tackling technique in future at club level, at least we could see something good come out of this sorry episode.
Steve, Ireland


Defending the Hoddler
Terry “Not That One?” Hall is doing Hoddle a disservice. The question actually was whether Southgate should continue with the formation as was in order to bed in a system that was likely to be used in the tournament should England qualify or, given the relative weakness and lack of attacking intent of the opposition change to something less viable in the long run for the sake of expediency. Hoddle then correctly answered that winning the current game was of overwhelming importance.

It hardly needed explaining that a perennial problem of football is that short term goals have to be met in order for any sort of long term future to exist for a manager and that player and team development is always going to take second place to results but even if Terry would have needed that explaining it’s hardly a subject that fits easily into the co-commentators allotted time, it’s not Test Match Special on a rainy day at the Oval.
Doctor TooMuchTooYoung, England


A reminder that wrestling is for children
I read this site on a daily basis, multiple times a day. Living in Sydney, having grown up in the UK, means I struggle to get my football fix without a ridiculous impact on sleeping habits, so this is my place to sit, read, nod or shake my head accordingly.

What really frustrates me on my multiple visits is when a Mailbox contributor uses WWE as a reference. Seriously the WWE?! Don’t get me wrong, I recognise that they are finely tuned athletic machines (Gatorade Sucks!!) and they are entertainers if that sort of thing floats your boat. BUT there is zero comparison, none, zip, zilch, nada.

It’s an over-used and incredibly tired analogy that never sits right with me. The other day the Beeb ran an article with your mate and mine, Garth Crooks, talking about WWE again. Can’t image GC sitting down watching RAW in his Austin 3:16 t-shirt waiting to open a can of whoop ass on his team of the week article, so why make the reference?

The longer this email goes on, the longer I realise it is a pointless rant but it is International Week and if I can’t moan now, when can I? Anyone else bothered by this sort of thing?
Barry Marelli