Mails: The notion of the England captain is a myth

Date published: Thursday 5th October 2017 6:42

You’ll have lots of England reaction to send to tonight, so that’s good…


England have to play their own way
I have thought for many years that England would be far better off just playing their own game, instead of trying to imitate whatever tactical trend was fashionable. Over the past five years or so,

I have read many reports on how England should try and emulate the Spanish style of football and look to dominate games through possession – ‘look at what the Spanish do, that’s how we should play!’ they cry. How on earth do you expect whoever is in charge to attempt that, when we do not have the players to pull it off?

I agree that perhaps changing the youth system to bring through players down the line makes sense, but in the here and now? England should play their own style.

England would be far better off playing a similar style to a West Brom/Stoke under Pulis – or any team Allardyce managed – rather than trying to match Spain’s press and possession based football. Do that and maybe England will go deep into a tournament for the first time in a couple of decades.

It is a crying shame Allardyce left before leading us to a tournament, it would have been wonderful to see an Allardyce England line up against the Spanish or Germans.
Tim Harrington (QPR), London


The notion of England captain is a myth
So, another round of internationals and another round of boring media questions/tripe around who will be England Captain.

Who cares? It’s more boring than watching England play

Can we let the manager concentrate on picking the best (most in form) 11 to play/23 man squad and when the time dictates and pick the bloody captain out of that lot.

I’d rather Southgate get the team sorted first than picking the mythical English Lion/leader the press so desperately want
Simon (It’s an armband), Bristol


England need to believe in themselves
Couldn’t agree more with Steve Chicken’s article ‘Lads it’s England’. When International tournaments do come by, I usually find myself supporting England since I know most of their players and also due to the fact that I don’t see my country (Kenya) participating in any major International tournament any time soon.

What surprises me is that most of my pals even before the tournament starts tell me that England is shit and average and they aren’t going anywhere which has always proven true(except 1966 when I was nowhere near existence).

The 2018 World Cup is on its way and I am contemplating supporting England but my friends’ words still ring in my mind.

But wait, they might be wrong this time. I do hope they are.
Donaldo, Kenya


One thing that is true on Kane: He is two-footed
Sorry to keep going with the Harry Kane mails, but I think Josiah, Zambia, inadvertently nailed exactly why Kane is so good when he said ‘he is not the best both footed player in the league’. I disagree with this, I think he’s far and away the best both footed striker in the league.

Take his brace at Huddersfield as a case in point, first goal, ball played through into wide open spaces falling naturally on his right foot, through he goes, and dispatches it into the net with minimum fuss and total confidence. Then look at his second, turns players and then rifles a magnificent effort in with his left foot… How many people even noticed they were scored with different feet? How many other strikers, when presented with these two chances, would have tried to check back on to their stronger foot in at least one of these situations?

It’s hardly an isolated example either considering his ‘perfect hat-trick’ in the Champions League a few days earlier! You can keep your discussions on if he’s ‘world class’ or not, he plays for my team and he’s f’ing brilliant.


Enjoyed the theory in this morning’s mailbox that Harry Kane’s apparent ordinariness is what turns some people off him. There’s certainly some truth in that and I imagine that’s the sentiment F365 was getting at when you used to ponder whether he was actually real.

However, I want to take issue with a couple of points in that mail and one of the others about Harry, namely with the suggestion that he doesn’t really excel at any one skill.

First, Kane’s shooting is phenomenal. Perhaps his goals to shots ratio isn’t the best out there, but that’s partly because Pochettino seems to have encouraged his squad to have the odd speculative crack, whereas other managers may not. Kane’s accuracy, short backlift and tremendous power means he has one of the best shots in the game.

Another mail said he isn’t really the most two-footed player out there. The man’s just scored two “perfect” hat-tricks in a row, if you’re looking for evidence that he’s ambipedal (I looked it up, OK?). His left-footed goal against Huddersfield was a case in point, a wonderful, curling, powerful effort. The fact he can bang them in with either boot is one reason why defenders find it hard to mark him out of the game. Show him onto his “wrong” foot and he can still score.

I’d also argue that his hold-up play is among the best you’ll see from an out-and-out centre forward, especially given the lack of time on the ball afforded to strikers in the Premier League compared to other leagues.

In short, he might not give you the fireworks of some of the world’s greats, but he has few rivals in the global game in the specific skills that keep him scoring consistently.
Rob Davies, THFC


Kane reminds of Sheringham
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one nodding like a narcoleptic in a management meeting as I read Greaves’ assessment of Harry Kane. He does everything very well but nothing exceptionally, he’s not exceptionally quick, doesn’t have exceptional ball skills, isn’t physically exceptional (OK, enough) and doesn’t stand out in a game. What he does have is very good spacial awareness and an ability to finish.

It’s ironic that he’s at Spurs, as he reminds me of Teddy Sheringham, although I think Kane is a more natural finisher in a variety of scenarios. Sheringham had the knack of being in the right place at the right time, to ensure the finish was simple, he rarely scored thunderbastards because he didn’t have to. Kane can score from outside the box but is similar to Teddy, in that he is often in the right place and makes finishing look easy, hence no-one thinks he’s that special.

I wouldn’t be disappointed if United bought him.
Paul, Man Utd


Kane and Lampard hacked the system
About the Lampard Kane comparison. For me the only similarity is that they both seem to have hacked the system. Lamps was notoriously physically ungifted but intellectually quite sharp.

I remember an interview where he went through his realisation that he had to work on first time shots. His strength was timing his runs, but he couldn’t then dribble through, burst past or overpower players. He realised first time finishes caught defenders/goalkeepers off guard and then he worked on that until his first time finishes were hard and low into the bottom corner.

I remember United/Arsenal-supporting friends calling him fat Frank and discounting his goal record because ‘they’re all deflections’/’they’re just 2 yard tap-ins’. It was like they perceived Lampard to be doing a job any layman could, just being there and tapping it in (sound similar to Josiah’s email on Kane and Muller?)

So through intelligent self-awareness of his limitations and his strengths he turned an average physical specimen into the highest goal-scoring midfielder in the prem. Kane strikes me as a similarly self-aware, smart footballer who just loves scoring goals. Players like Lukaku and Aguero have natural gifts that allows them to cheat – they don’t need to be as cerebral – but that is not to say that either are not clever players. Kane should not be competing with the likes of them for the golden boot but somehow the everyday layman is.

N.B – I am not calling anyone lazy or stupid. If Lampard/Kane had those natural gifts they’d be stupid not to use them too
Saaj (did I just write a love-in about a Sp*rs player?) CFC


Fair play to Gerard Pique
While I won’t claim to know the ins and outs of the desire for independence in Catalonia, I just wanted to say that I think the conduct of Pique has been exemplary.

Despite consistent abuse over his perceived desire for independence (although I think I’m right in saying he has never openly supported independence, but has instead supported the right for a vote on independence?), he has generally come across as mature and thoughtful, and is using his position of power in a positive way. I’m happy for people to point to examples of when he has acted in a less than satisfactory manner, but it seems to me that has not been the case.

The contrast to the England team during Brexit is certainly stark, and I think touches on another issue we see in sport (not exclusive to football) – the demand for players to show personality and wider interests, but then slating them for doing so.
Jack, Manchester


Hurray for non-league day
This may have already got a mention and I missed amongst the ‘my striker is better than yours’ mails over the last couple of days but I wanted to encourage your lovely readers to support their local non-league side on Saturday.

I won’t pretend to know a great deal about non-league football having only having watched Woking FC regularly for two and a half seasons but the national league is a mix of part time and full time clubs with a massive range on available budgets. In short, a good gate receipt on a match day can really help some of these clubs out.

As for Woking; there was talk of new investment in May which, as of yet, hasn’t happened and there is currently no shirt sponsor. However, the club did a great deal offering season tickets for £99 (£20 for children and students) which has seen the attendance increase. On the pitch new manager, Anthony Limbrick, has the team playing some nice confident football with the players working really hard for each other to secure results and get points on the board. It’s fair to say it’s a mile away from last season where the objective was to avoid relegation!

So, get down and support your local non-league team this Saturday. Have a drink in the clubhouse, a burger from the van and a good shout on the terrace. The clubs will really appreciate your support.
Steve (come on you cards!) K


Have some Mailbox etiquette
I want to address a few comments that have come out in a couple of recent mailboxes that really annoy me, and frankly make me enjoy reading the mailbox less and less. The two main ones are the term ‘keyboard warrior’ and the reply to any criticism, constructive or not, with ‘why don’t you focus on your team, we’re fine with ours and don’t need your comments’.

Both of these things are not just reductive and childish, but patently hypocritical and rubbish. Denigrating someone who is writing in as a ‘keyboard warrior’ and making wider comments about the standard of the person and their loyalty to their football team because you don’t agree with their opinion is to me a far bigger indicator of insecurity than someone claiming Harry Kane is not ‘world-class’.

Yeah, I get it, we’re all really bored of the discussion but only because it keeps going on, not because everyone knew the answer all along. It is something that can be debated, and it is not objective that everyone thinks HK is WC™. There is a debate to have, where can you go for that? Football365’s mailbox. A webpage for people to write in with their keyboards and express an opinion. Just because someone says HK IWC™ (the I here is isn’t) doesn’t mean there is something wrong with them as a person.

That’s the real danger of PFM culture, it’s not just their general intelligence and obnoxiousness, it’s the ridiculous claims whereby if you don’t agree there is something different and worse about you. Don’t like 2 footed challenges, must be foreign and soft. Don’t think HK is world class, must be some sad loner shouting at the internet. It shows a preference to isolate people rather than understand them.

The next one is equally as bad. ‘Got a problem with my team?! Well they’re mine so why don’t you shut up and only talk about your own team.’ That would be so boring! All I can do is watch 90 minutes of City most weeks, and then I can’t talk or watch other teams, or make an opinion on them, because if I do it’s some weird ‘obsession’ with someone else’s team?

All teams are as bad as each other but from the mailbox it seems the comments are usually between Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea, though City and UTD do it all the time. I guess as they’re so close there is an element of telling your neighbour to stop looking over your fence, but come on. Why on earth would I only want to hear about a team from their own fans?

And frankly the worst is someone reacting to a mailbox by ranting about how the writer isn’t a real fan and will switch to supporting another any second. Get over yourself. Everyone supports football differently, and no one thinks the same about everything.

There are frequent comments about how Football365 is better than the normal media, and attracts a more reasoned type of fan. Let’s prove it and ditch the sniping.

It’s international break so we’ll need to dig deep to have something to read, let’s not dissuade people by taking shots at them personally.

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