Mails: Remember Rooney in 2004, forget the rest…

Date published: Wednesday 23rd August 2017 7:03

Thank you. Now watch Liverpool and send your mails to


Always better to be the dumper, not the dumpee.
Tom (Long live the Roonaissance) Hansford, London


No great Rooney appreciation here…
Just remembering all those joyous moments of England football that Rooney brought us. Nope, I can’t think of any either.
Tom, Leicester fan in London


…Ever since I saw Wayne Rooney burst onto the scene as an incredibly talented, precocious teen with THAT goal against Arsenal, I knew – what a c#*t.
Jarred (No prizes for guessing – AFC)


Remember 2004
Plenty of stuff to say about Rooney, and I think we will reach saturation point over the next day or so. I just wanted to say that although he will be partly remembered for being totally useless in tournaments for England (2010 probably the nadir), he also produced the best tournament performance from an England player in the modern era. You do wonder what might have happened if he didn’t break that foot…
Kevin G


You can’t judge Rooney after 2010
I have accepted your invite via Twitter to drop a message of my view on Wayne Rooney. Here it goes:

Post Bayern Munich injury 2010 Rooney has struggled to maintain peak physical conditions and performances on a consistent basis. The general perception has been Rooney’s form has dipped in the last 1-2 seasons which simply isn’t true.

Sadly my levels of expectations had to adjust accordingly. Judging Rooney based on goals, assists output, technical skill etc. as I was pre-injury v Bayern became pointless, to the point that Wayne Rooney simply controlling a football was deemed a success in my eyes.

Despite the dip in form and many fustrations associated with Rooney’s performances there were still moments of magic only capable by the genius he was!

All the best at Everton from a Manchester Utd fan (apart from against us). How long the honeymoon period lasts at Goodison Park remains an intriguing question although it may be the platform best suited to him at this stage of his career.
Jawaad Fareed


United fans are rightly excited…
Rob Stewart, AFC, United are playing well and hence the fans are in a great mood and the experts are praising them. However nobody has been handing United the title (if you ignore the usual trolls).The rest of us are quietly positive about the start of the season and most of us (including the bookies) don’t even consider us the title favorite, despite the fast start. As many have pointed out, we have had a few false dawns in the past.

That being said, this time it seems more sustainable. We have a competent defense, a power-packed midfield that has pace, power and creativity, a striker with pace and power and both our wonderkids seems to have got over their second season blues, as a team we look lethal on the break as well as at set pieces (both were missing last season). Even our strength in depth is quite formidable and we have a world-class coach to make sure it all gels together.

So needless to say United fans are excited. Most of us expect a title challenge, however none of us are claiming that we have the title wrapped up, when it’s just been two games. Even our coach stated that we won three in a row last season and ended up sixth, so nothing is a given.
Jarron, (Everyone seems p***ed that United fans are happy), MUFC


Of Mesut and Men
The Ozil bashing is getting a bit tedious. I’m not a big fan of Arsenal with their powder puff players and self declared mental strength, but Ozil is without doubt one of their best players (behind only Sanchez, for me Jeff) and one of the most talented players the Premier League has seen. He’s an attacking midfielder, someone whose job is to create chances and he does that regularly, at a rate matched by very few other players. So why the hate every time Arsenal fail to win?

First of all he’s German, a World Cup Winner and he’s also played for Real Madrid. This puts him on a very high pedestal and we know how our pundits like knocking people off pedestals. Especially when they’re not English. Even more especially when they’re German. He also gets paid a lot of money by Arsenal. It’s jealousy basically.

Secondly, our pundits are, quite frankly, morons. We’ll always have the likes of Gerrard and Keane who for some reason see football through their own goggles of “well I could do it, so why can’t they?”. Which of course entirely ignores the fact that Ozil is a completely different player, playing for a completely different team. Then there’s the Keowns of this world, relics of a bygone age where footballers were all about “pashun” but these guys were also far more limited players than Ozil, again different types of player who had to approach the game in different ways (because they were donkeys basically). “Welbeck’s run good, Jeff. Ozil could learn a thing or two from im.” Forgetting of course that Welbeck plays football with all the grace of a baby giraffe.

I thought I’d check the stats from the Stoke game to see if Ozil was such a lazy bastard. True he made no tackles against Stoke but then neither did Granit Xhaka, who I assume wasn’t playing as far up the pitch (though Granit did manage three clearances). But Ramsey and Welbeck made more tackles (3 and 1) than Ozil so Ozil is clearly lazy.

Except Ozil was dispossessed once while the other three mentioned were dispossessed twice each. Ozil’s pass completion was over 92%. Ramsey (87%), Xhaka (85%) and Welbz (79%) may work harder to win the ball back than Ozil but it’s more likely that they’re the reason it needs to be won back in the first place (in defence of Welbz he only attempted 24 passes). Also Arsenal were only without the ball for about 20 minutes against Stoke (probably a lot less of that was in play). I hardly think Ozil’s lack of tackling contributed to Arsenal not scoring goals given their ridiculous possession. Maybe he was lazy going forward? Double the amount of key passes that Ramsey, Welbeck, Xhaka and Lacazette managed combined suggests not. In fact, Ozil has more key passes than Henrikh ‘four assists’ Mkhitaryan this season which suggests that his teammates are letting him down a bit.

Of course it could just be that Arsenal lost to Stoke because Ozil didn’t run around like a headless chicken tackling players left right and centre. It’s more likely that Stoke set up to stifle Arsenal, nicked a goal, gave Arsenal the ball (hence the possession stats) and sat deep to defend it, getting a bit of luck and seeing some top keeping along the way. Arsenal, who struggle to break such teams down at the best of times, missed Sanchez, relied on a striker who’s new to the league and likes the space in behind which wasn’t there, as well as another striker who’s barely strung two decent performances together in his career whilst leaving pretty Giroud on the bench for too long. These problems belong to the manager, not Mesut Ozil who basically did his job.

The current crop of pundits on Sky and BT, save for a few exceptions, are bloody awful. Particularly Sky seem to be heading further downwards into the abyss of the jingoistic PFM style of punditry. This can be the only explanation for the likes of Merson and Alan Pardew (don’t even get me started) featuring on our screens so regularly. Until it stops and we get more of the Carraghers and Nevilles of this world (though they aren’t perfect) and certainly several ‘acjimbos’ (loved him wondering around Maidenhead’s pitch last week) then we’re going to have more punditry based on guts and passion than, you know, actual evidence.

As for Mesut Ozil – hopefully he’ll keep on doing what he’s doing and sign for United when his contracts out.
Ashley (hang the pundits, hang the pundits, hang the pundits) Metcalfe


Bizarrely cheering for Liverpool…
So, this ongoing saga with Coutinho and Liverpool has me feeling a bit dirty, mainly because I generally despise Liverpool and especially its fans. But, if you manage to fight off Barcelona, and publicly give Coutinho and Barca the finger, I will gain some grudging respect for you. In fact, I am cheering for you. It’s about time that those predatory clubs get someone to say no to them.

I think we’re experiencing a seismic shift in football at the moment. Coutinho may still end up at Barca, but it’s not the same anymore. With Messi there, any and every player would want to play for them, end of story. That’s because you know that he will inflate your stats, your earnings and publicity. You were guaranteed to be in top two, usually the first, in Spain, and at least a semi in the Champions League.

Messi is still around, but he’s got perhaps 3-4 years to go and now players have to think a little further down the road about their prospects. Barcelona will go back to being a huge club with lots of money, but no longer any guarantee of winning things. Real Madrid is going through that too, although winning the CL a few times in the past years has generally helped them, but what happens once Ronaldo is done? As much as I love those players, the sooner they’re gone the better for the game. It will even things out and hopefully make European football a bit more competitive by spreading out good players a bit more evenly.

So yes, Liverpool, give them the finger, tell Coutinho to play out his contract, and even those of us that hate you for all that you are (and there are tons of us) will suddenly start to give you some respect. You will make us feel just a bit more confident about keeping our own players for the long haul.

Btw, what’s all this talk of Chelsea firing Conte? Have they gone completely insane? I hope not.

I’m gutted that we lost to Chelsea the way we did, dominating the game in every single respect. But those things happen, goalie mistakes happen, unexpected perfect free kicks happen too. One thing that makes me optimistic despite the loss is that we made Chelsea play against us the way a Championship team plays against a PL side if they suddenly and against the run of play go ahead. Batten down the hatches and defend for their lives. If we are making Chelsea with all their billions take that style against us then we’re on the right trajectory, and more often than not we’ll beat them.
Patrick (THFC) come on Liverpool, keep giving them the finger…


Shouldn’t Barca want Mane?
Is Coutinho really the answer to Barcelona’s current problems ie. Replacing Neymar?

Surely Mané is the more obvious replacement given his speed and goal scoring record.

Coutinho is simply not that type of player.

Absolutely, he would be a great replacement for Iniesta next year and I would not begrudge him the move after the World Cup.

However, for £100m+, I fear moving now – and viewed as Neymar’s replacement – would be a disaster for the lad.

On recent evidence, Barca have still not adequately replaced Xavi – history is showing us just what a player the puppet master really was.
Brendy, Belfast


What do Saints do to their defenders?
Away from the midweek action I’ve been pondering, not sure why, Southampton’s defenders. Or ex-defenders to be more precise. In order of ineptitude, disappointment or being generally underwhelming I give you Lovren, Fonte, Shaw & Clyne. Nothing ground-breaking there I grant you but consider this. All these players have left Southampton for big money and never rediscovered their best form. Again, all known facts. Let’s move along.

With VVD looking like being the next one to move on for eye-watering sums are clubs shopping in the wrong place when it comes to Southampton? Do they have a spectacular defensive coach who can turn any adequate defender into a decent player or form a strong cohesive unit that is much greater than the sum of its parts. Perhaps Saints fans would care to answer – or perhaps they’d prefer to keep it under wraps!!
Banjo, Prague


Tunnel rage
From Rory Smith’s piece on Manchester City’s innovative (in football) ‘Tunnel Club’:

‘For prices starting at 299 pounds per game (about $385), and rising to £15,000 (about $19,240) per season for so-called premium access, fans can buy access to the area around the tunnel that leads from the Etihad Stadium’s dressing rooms to the pitch itself’.

£300 to look at players as they ignore you and stare blankly in the general direction of the pitch. And there was me thinking it was only footballers who had more money than sense. This entire concept irritates me more than Neymar’s transfer fee.


Random question
My 19-year-old son plays football at a fairly respectable level – nothing too grand, but he’s been in the county team and a couple of top division teams in the boys’ South Sussex league. He’s half decent, in other words, but no world beater. The other day we were discussing what would happen if his team played the 1986 World Cup-winning Argentina team as they are now. He reckoned his team would win because however crazily talented Maradona and his mates are, they’re basically all fat, old men now. But I think the Argies’ superior skill, experience and reading of the game would give them an easy victory.

What does anyone else think? I said it was random.
Matt Pitt

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