Mails: Benitez, Barkley, Butland & England

Date published: Sunday 15th November 2015 11:16

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Rafa for England
As I´ve tried to say before I am really hoping that Rafael Benitez gets chosen to be the next England manager.

I predicted he´d be chucked out of Madrid if they fail to win this title that Simeone said is set up for them.

Seems like he´s not getting out of Ronaldo what Jose managed to get. This type of manager would do well with england´s squad at a tounament, perhaps we could play above ourselves for once as Holland did in Brazil.

For the record I thought England were alright in Manaus, quite unlucky to get that venue after a long hard season.

On to Manchester United my boss is a fan and I said to him when Ferguson left  “get used to a manager every 3 years on average , like the rest of us.

Lastly, now Spain have gone back to wearing black socks they´ll win nothing for a generation again.
Peter (living in Spain. Big England fan).


England: Not that bad
The English medias reporting of the england football team really does kill me. A lot of these folk really have zero sporting intelligence. They’re the sort of men who would go into the first round against peak Tyson throwing windmills.

Well before last nights game we all knew the score. We’ve all watched the champions league, past tournaments. We know what we’re dealing with, Spain are a better football team than england. They will have more possession and will have about a 70% chance of beating us. With that in mind England’s job was to make that very difficult and try and threaten on the counter. I thought they did it splendidly. Before a wonder goal in the 72nd minute Spain had very little threat. England had looked at least as likely to score.

Within 2 hours of the final whistle I had read “england played like FA cup minnows”, “harsh lesson” and “where was ambition in Roy hodgsons game plan?”. Do these guys remember how Chelsea won the champions league against vastly superior opponents? The most skilful team don’t always win football matches chaps, the team with a plan often do. This turned into a 55/45 game, and Spain nicked it.

What’s more come the euros, in a tournament of 24 england will be the 5-6th best equipped team. Our job is to get to the quarters, maybe the semis if the draw works for us. If we meet Germany, Spain or France our job will be to hang on for dear life. If a once in a lifetime scissor kick from a right back beats us I’ll stand back and applaud. Our jobs not to go toe to toe with these guys, in some total football masterclass, it’s to defend solidly and break at pace. We did that well. With the added pace of the Ox or Walcott in place of Lallana we’d have done it even better.

I’ve got a feeling next summer could be fun. Not because we’re some swashbuckling wonder squad, but because we know our limitations, are defending well and will be playing in a tournament of 24 where there are frankly only 3 or 4 teams that are clearly superior to us.
Dan, Greenwich


Give Butland a chance
I always enjoy F365’s player ratings as the lack of an actual rating out of 10 gives them more credibility. However, I have to disagree with the assertion that if Joe Hart is fit, he should play regardless of the opposition.

Joe Hart has now played 56 times for England. We know exactly who he is, what he does and how well he does it. We know that he will perform and is solid and reliable. He’s a fantastic first-choice keeper to have, and England are very lucky in that respect. And I can see the logic behind saying that if he’s fit, we should play him.

But a friendly against Spain is exactly the kind of game we should be playing Jack Butland in.

When England arrived at the 2014 World Cup, our 3 keepers had 50 caps between them. 41 of those belonged to Joe Hart. Ben Foster, second choice, had 7 and Fraser Forster just 2, both as a sub if I remember correctly. Fast forward two years and we could go into our next international tournament with Butland and Heaton as back-up, who currently share an impressive total of two caps.

So if this continues and Joe Hart does his hamstring a couple of days before England’s first game, Jack Butland gets thrown in having only ever played two games before. That’s ridiculous.

I’m not advocating that Hodgson does what he’s done with Milner and embarks on a personal campaign to get Butland to 100 caps for the hell of it, or that Heaton should suddenly get a run in the team ‘just in case’, but Uncle Roy has nothing to lose by ensuring that his backup keeper has actually got some international experience. A game against a team as good as Spain would be the right kind of experience to give the young Jack an idea of the level he needs to be at if he wants to be an England player long-term.

As much as stability is important, I honestly think that Mr. Hodgson is passing up an important opportunity to give Butland some much-needed exposure to International football.
Alex (LOVE international week… but England don’t know how to break a team down… good thing I have Welsh blood in me), Leeds


Spurs: Not all that
I have never been published, don’t expect to be published. But I need to get things off my chest. Arsenal had the better chances against spurs in that game…and that in my opinion is what  counts. Arsenal had 9 to 10 players out for that game, including 3 of their first eleven. Arsenal best games this season has  been based on quick transitions from defence to attack(see man utd). Giroud doesn’t allow that(that’s why he is second choice). Spurs came dominated possession ..

Created almost nothing apart from thier goal and Toby’s header(Giroud had 3 of those)…and they are now equal to us? West ham did beat us at the Emirates. Getting a draw at the emirates against an arsenal side with 9 players out isn’t really that fantastic. Hopefully you guys don’t regret your lack of incision in a match that was yours to win come may. I  am sure I should be among the very few arsenal fans that would prefer spurs in the UCL rather than man utd or Chelsea, but then I live in Nigeria… Arsenal fans don’t hate Spurs here whr actually like them..and their white Jersey
Udoeka(from Nigeria)


More on Ross Barkley
Dear MC,

I don’t know how many times Mr Stead has watched Everton this season (I’ll bet I can guess!) but the general consensus amongst the fans is that (1) we’re playing more dynamic (yes, often counter-attacking) football than last season and (2) Ross Barkley’s form has improved. So I’m afraid that neither of his two main points ring true.

I’m not convinced that the stats he has produced support his argument either. Isn’t it likely that Barry and McCarthy pass backwards less often because they are positioned further back and therefore have more options available in front of them? Isn’t it also likely that Lukaku and Kone pass backwards less often because they will tend to be in a position to shoot, rather than pass? In any event, given that Mr Stead’s last hatchet job accused Barkley of being wasteful with his forward passing, is it fair to now bemoan the number of times he has played it safe?

Of course Ross Barkley will have good games and bad games, productive spells and lean stretches but the lad is 21 for goodness sake and missed the best part of a year through injury at a crucial time in his development. He is a little way from the finished article, for sure, so Roberto Martinez can rightly be accused of being hyperbolic but is it so wrong to provide the lad with some public support as he goes off on International duty? Let’s not forget it was Roy Hodgson’s public berating of Ross Barkley for losing the ball at a crucial time in an England game which resulted in Barkley’s last duff patch (who brings on a young attacking midfielder when trying to close out a match, by the way?).

F365 likes to position itself as being different from the mainstream media (and I love you for that) and their sensationalist “build ‘em up, knock ‘em down” schtick but the only way in which Matt Stead is currently doing that is by skipping the “build ‘em up” part. Can we not just enjoy a decent young English player generally being pretty decent and see what happens?



Raging at the media
I’m bored, sitting on a plane next to someone who has apparently just sh*t himself, so I’ll give this letter to the editor a go to keep my mind occupied.

Mr. May:

I, too have often wondered why the English football press is such a joke.  And I think I’ve got a novel idea for fixing your broken media system…now stay with me here.  Hit them where it hurts.  No, not THERE, Silly…stop buying their newspapers, stop visiting their web sites and turn the channel if one of them are spewing choad on tv.

It’s quite simple.  If they don’t make money, they either change or die. I can’t believe I’m the first one to think of this. And I’m probably not the first.  So that leaves only one conclusion to be drawn:  you lot actually like your media this way.  Has to be. Heck,  you even said that you read the papers at lunchtime.  Why?  Apparently to wind yourself up.

That is all, cheerio everyone!
Joeybagadoughnuts, Columbus, Ohio, Columbus Crew / Gunners  (USA media is actually worse. Slightly fewer lies but far less wit)

Poor Anthony
Well Anthony Kane, Milan don’t be flabbergasted. Someone else had the same thought as you. Do be saddened though, it was Ian Wright…
Barry }The Thunder from Downunder{ Marelli


Making us wait till 3.54pm on a Friday afternoon for our PFM fix? John Nicholson is such a tease.
Robert, London (3 appearances on the website in a week – I’m on a roll!)

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