Mails: Where does this leave Gary Neville?

Date published: Thursday 31st March 2016 9:54

Keep your mails coming to And make them good.


Ze ladder
Erm ladder, cough cough, Phil Neville, cough cough. Quickly!

Guessing Sarah has to eat a bit of humble on Mr Vardy with this one (as do we all)
Rob, Guangzhou


Wow so I’ve just read the Famous Euro 2016 Ladder and I have to say I have never been happier! How could you argue with that?

That would 100% be the same 23 man squad I would be taking (barring injuries) so credit to Woy if he pulls this off. The starting XI is a whole different story and I expect Hodgson to bottle it with Wayne Rooney playing out wide in his favoured 433. To those annoyed with the potential Wilshere inclusion I can understand your frustrations about having a potentially unfit player in the squad but I believe that if he can somehow play the last few games of the season he should be starting for us at the Euros.

There’s a big difference between the Rooney conundrum and this. Wayne Rooney is not very good, fit or unfit. Jack Wilshere, on the other hand, is England’s best midfielder when fit and would walk into the team (over Henderson for me but I feel Woy will play him deepest over Dier). Imagine a 3 of Dier holding and Wilshere and Alli either side? Dreams

Also agree with taking 7 defenders (4 CB’s and 3 Fb’s) and would take Clyne as the Specialist RB with Rose and Shaw(If unfit then Bertrand) at LB, but we could potentially take 2 RBs and 1 LB with Clyne being able to cover the left like he has regularly done for Liverpool. Just a thought but not a big deal either way.

Quite disappointed with Ox’s development, would’ve been perfect for the squad as a RW and CM

Also the Germany game should be the blueprint for England. 433 to start and the a change to diamond whenever we are chasing the game with Vardy Kane up top.

My XI to start (Hodgson will crowbar Rooney in though) :

Hart; Clyne, Smalling, Cahill, Shaw; Alli, Dier, Wilshere; Sterling(Rooney), Kane, Welbeck

Apart from the obvious dilemmas with whos starting I feel like the 23 man squad is pretty easy to pick !
Guv (Roland Duchâtelet OUT) CAFC


Good luck Nev, but can you criticise anyone now?
Oh Gary finally gets relieved of his job at Valencia or was it on mutual consent? Is parting on mutual consent now the euphemism for ‘sacked for doing a shit job’?

So Gary Neville gets to return to the Sky Sports studio as pundit. Sure he’ll think twice now before having a dig at the likes of LVG or Rodgers. It seems easy making fancy formations and systems on the big TV in the Sky studio. Experiencing the game as a manager surely shows that ideas created on Ipad screens in the studio might not actually work on the field of play. No matter how good you can analyze a situation in the studio (or in the mailbox), it doesn’t make it easy to implement and get players to carry out this ideas.

‎Credit to the guy for going out and getting a bit of experience in actual managing plus it was also a foreign league with a different language and football culture to England. Unlike some ex-pros who think a certain Welsh man with zero experience in managing should get the top job at one of the most successful club in England only on the basis of knowing the ‘United way’.

Hope he’s gained enough experience to help him in the future if he ever decides to manage again. Valencia’s loss is surely Sky’s gain.
Smith ‎(International break over… We can all now get back to moaning about United’s shitty season)


Nev > Mourinho > Moyes > LVG
Gary Neville at Valencia: P:28 W:10 D:7 L:11
Mourinho at Chelsea : P:25 W:9 D:5 L:11
Moyes at United : P:51 W:27 D:9 L:15

Van Gaal over the last 28 games: P:28 W:11 D:8 L:9
October P:4 W:0 D:4 L:0 GF:1 GA:1
December P:6 W:0 D:2 L:4 GF:4 GA:9
March P:6 W:2 D:2 L:2 GF:4 GA:5

Incredible how he has still managed to con his way to keeping the job.
Moyes (Welcome to United, Jose) MUFC


The defence of Rooney we’ve all been waiting for
​The England squad / Rooney debate continues to amaze me. Such wonderful blindness and disdain. Yet those same people will remember Gerrard and Lampard fondly, despite them being core to our international failings for so long.

No, let’s throw out everything from the previous group, because you see them as tarred with the brush of failure. (One wonders how stars of yesteryear would fair now, in the media and amongst supposed fans.)
Let’s boil it all down to some facts. First off, strikers need chances, the job of the midfield. Rooney may have had a pretty bad first half of the season in terms of goals (thanks to a generally rubbish team performance), but since the turn of the year he had been sparkling. So much so that F365 temporarily shelved their narrative until people had forgotten. In spite of this and injury, he’s in the top 5 English strikers according to league goals, with Defoe and Deeney above him, neither likely to go (rightly). I’m big fans of Sturridge and Welbeck, but they have 3 and 4 fewer respectively.

Rooney is also the team captain, and has lead the team to a pretty strong set of results. You might say that it’s in spite of him, but that just shows some of that wilful blindness I spoke of, because he was actually putting in some very good performances.

As far as United, people have raved about Martial this season – apparently he’s shown just what we’ve missed from Rooney. It’s funny then that he’s scored the same and created one less. Ah, perceptions.

He may not be the high scorer people misguidedly thought he would be, but the king isn’t dead. He’s not even sick. Get over it.
Guy S (Rooney and Kane to lead the line, Deli and Barkley through the middle)


Hodgson is a Spurs fan
Didnt Danny Drinkwater look desperate for some sort of refreshment upon leaving the action on 85 minutes? 90 minutes running around Wembley Stadium must be fairly energy sapping on Vardy, likewise the 90 Kante put in in Paris.

How nice of Hodgers (For ’twas his name) to give Dier, Kane and Alli most of the evening off with squeaky bum time fixtures coming up this weekend.
Baz (who mentioned conspiracy?) Dublin


The fallacy of the ‘natural game’
As most Manchester United fans I hope David Moyes had never managed my club. And now I have another reason for it, an Everton under David Moyes right now would have greatly enhanced England’s chances at the Euros.

The only thing hampering Barkley and Stones progress is Roberto Martinez whereas players like Dier , Kane and Alli have benefited from the team mentality instilled by Pochettino, Martinez continues to favour individual moments of brilliance.

The job of the flair players in a Martinez team is to provide flair, after all you just have to outscore an opponent to win the match.

Stones is encouraged to play his “natural game” and play the ball out of defence. It really is about individuals rather than the team since Jagielka is quite content with hoofing it when need be.

And that is the biggest lie young players are told in the game, that they have a natural way of playing. Everyone wants to be the glory player and players do have qualities suited to different positions but they do not have a natural game.

A good coach would work on all of the great qualities Stones has to make him world class at those and work even more at developing the qualities he does not have.

Rio Ferdinand loved playing the ball out of defence, he even fancied himself as a striker but he did not always follow his natural game; you develop your instincts as a player, you are not born with them. A defender has a role in the team and that role comes before what you feel like doing. You do what is needed, not what comes naturally.

Ronaldo would have been an exceptional player under any circumstances but under Ferguson his natural game of running down blind alleys, falling over and trying a million tricks each game was stamped out to improve his skills and decision making. He is still a selfish player but he is definitely not a passenger in the team.

Ferguson made Ronaldo world class by knowing exactly what he needed and making him work for it. Wenger has not done the same withWalcott. Ronald went to the gym and became a monster, Walcott looks like he hasn’t aged a day.

We love our Gasgoines,Gerrards and Me Tessiers, players who can have a few drink before the game and turn up and win games based on moments of genius but the modern game, especially the international tournaments, require a team effort. You cannot afford to lose the ball often in search of moments of brilliance.

This is why for all of Gerrards excellent qualities as a player, he never reached the absolute pinacle because he was always bigger than the team he was a part of. A Ferguson or a Mourinho would have put him in his place. For all the amazing long range thunder bastards he scored, he missed a dozen more for each and lost the ball unnecessarily but that was his natural game so everyone was fine with it.

Pochettino has shown the value of the team over the player by transforming players like Lamela and Eriksen. Absolute top bracket quality players under any manager but supremely efficient for the team under Pochettino. They are not asked to play their natural game, instead they work for the team, they do things which do not come naturally to them and the entire team benefits. Also why Adebayor never could have worked under Pochettino.

Also why I think a Rooney less Manchester United would have done a lot better under Van Gaal, had Ferguson stayed one more year and sold him off.
– Shehzad Ghias, mufc, karachi


Henderson? Rooney? F*** off
I’m excited about the Euros.

I’m so excited to see an England team play in a tournament that’s based on excitement and chaotic youth and the unexpected second coming of hungry senior pros, with no millstone of years of media created fear around their necks, and with no ‘superstar’ awkwardly forced into the lineup at the expense of how the team play.

Just players who’ve been really good all season in their position asked to carry on doing the exact same thing for 6 more games.

If Roy genuinely does play any of Milner, Rooney, Henderson, Clyne or Wilshere in the starting 11 against Russia I will be as angry as anyone called Timothy with a hyphen in his surname is capable of being.

Here’s how I would line them up:

Barkley will primarily look to attack, Alli plays the Kanté box to box role, Drinkwater will primarily look to anchor.

I would be SO excited to see that team play. They really genuinely could beat anyone.

Please Roy.

Please be Fulham Hodgson not Liverpool Hodgson. Please.

Here’s the Starting 11 link if anyone else wants a go.

Fair warning: if you put Henderson or Rooney in I’ll f***ing find you.
Tim Sutton (I might even go to France for it)


The expected Nick Miller fan mail (Leave Leicester alone)
Another day, another F365 article bemoaning Jamie Vardys past.

In fact, Nick Miller sounds as if he’s just trying to find fault with Leicester to somehow portray that he’s above all the Leicester love-in. He’s a hipster you know.

Actually, psychologically, if you’re always looking for faults in other people, perhaps the fault lies within? Remember, this is the guy who has an issue with schadenfreude, which is essentially humour. He also has an issue with people being successful.

Nick Miller is a copy of an inmate I know at a local psychiatric hospital. Word from the wise fat b*stard, go see a psychiatrist before you write your next column, I’m concerned about your well-being.
Fat Man Scouse, EFC


Nick Miller, we get it, you’re a F****t fan, you are allowed your moments to sulk, but the article today was totally unnecessary. Your continual snide references in every article about Leicester and their ‘characters’ is unnecessary.

You have a point (and that point could be made about most sports teams), you’ve made it, now there is no need to reference it in every single article.

More England ladders, less whining, please.
Phil Bert (thanks for Wes Morgan) Fox


Nick Miller is rightly questioning the actions of some of Leicester’s players. But tainting the season? Just. Shut. Up.

As for representing the support/community, I doubt 100% of the home fans are entirely upstanding citizens, with clean criminal records, who have never, not once, uttered a racial term.

Look at JN’s recent article, on a site not far from here, on Joey Barton on TV for God’s sake. Should we all stop enjoying Messi-Neymar-Suarez due to Suarez’s past? Seriously, stop the Leicester bashing.

Watch Ranieri’s face twinkle in amazement that it is still ongoing.

I’m a miserable git at the best of times, but trying to find ways to not enjoy this Leicester season is really taking the piss. Besides, it’ll all be back to normal next year, and the likes of Nick will be wishing for the next Leicester to appear from nowhere. Thanks God international week is over.
Adam, LFC, Belfast.


Dirty ‘Arry
It’s only friendlies in Europe during this international break, but in Asia, we have the final 2 rounds of group games for the 2nd round of the world cup qualifiers.

In group B, before this final round of matches, Jordan sits 2 points behind Australia, having beaten Australia at home. Jordan has conceded only 2 goals in the 6 group games played. The final round of group match sees Jordan travelling away to Australia, with qualification to the next round hanging in the balance.

In the end they were defeated and conceded 5 goals. In doing so, they also lose out on qualifying through being on of the 4 best second-placed teams. Then I realised that Jordan’s new manager was one Harry Redknapp….
Sam S, LFC, Hong Kong


One thing we learned from the internationals
This is what I learnt from (English fans and press during) the international week.

1) If England wins a football match, it is an unreal reflection of their strength.

2) If England loses a football match, that is their station in life.

Can you guys stop over-analyzing games and actually support your team?
Franklin (Steve Howard must be related to Squidward Tentacles) CFC, Lagos


It would have crashed the internet
F365, you have let me down. Big Time.

An uncapped England XI?! Did you not see the potential for the biggest windup of the year by ignoring Mark Noble and Aaron Cresswell altogether?
Imagine the irate West Ham fans emailing in when they find out that Jordan Mutch or Tom Carroll were included but Noble wasn’t? Live entertainment right there.

Very disappointed.
Alex (Annoying football fans is a great pasttime), Leeds


The piece on uncapped England players featured a healthy dose of Crystal Palace players – healthy for Palace fans anyway, there is comfort in knowing our players aren’t quite good enough for the England team, even if we’re likely to have two players in the starting XI for Wales and one for Republic of Ireland.

It reminded me of when North American sports websites, as part of their NFL preseason coverage, used to put together an “all cut” roster – that is, an entire squad of free agents who weren’t able to secure a contract with any team. Basically it was a bit rubbish, full of hardworking players who lacked that extra bit of skill to make themselves stand out – a bit like the uncapped England XI.

Also, Mark Noble is destined to be England captain at Socceraid in a few years’ time. He just has something about him.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven


More Xavi love
And to further the Xavi love-in, there was one time when he controlled the ball that had me gasping and making noises like Graeme, EFC does.

It was a ball that was arriving from behind at about knee height, any normal player would’ve slowed down, turned, controlled and then passed it backwards. Xavi didn’t do that, he stuck his right leg out straight behind him and scooped it and kept running and somehow, brought the ball perfectly under control whilst accelerating away from the defender.

Majestic ball control that I’ve never seen anyone else do
Fat Man Scouse, EFC


Nice article on Xavi. One thing missing though. No Louis. More proof if any were needed of Daniel Storey being anti-Van Gaal. So this is a futile mail purely to redress the balance of the biased media.

He gave him his debut, and while maybe he often used him in the (as yet to be perfected by Pirlo) quarterback role which didn’t entirely suit him, he couldn’t use him further forward cos Yaya Toure, Busquets and Messi hadn’t been invented yet (*citation needed).

I’ll leave this one to Xavi

“Sometimes I have talked to Luis Enrique about things that Van Gaal said or did (when he was at Barcelona) that seemed outrageous for us when we were players but now, however, we see that he was right, that he was ahead of his time.”

To say that he was an influence on the player he became would be an understatement.
Eddie, ‘To Xav and Xav not’ MUFC


Some Xavi non-love
I might be going against the grain here but I’ve never been Xavi’s biggest fan. Let me start by saying Xavi was an exceptional passer. The pass master supreme. Comfortably the most reliable midfield passer I’ve ever seen. And the personification of the tiki-taka possession game.

But I would argue that tiki-taka though technically brilliant (and difficult) was a hugely inefficient way of playing. Against the toughest of defensive set ups, it would end up as just passing the ball around waiting for a mistake from the opposition and relied significantly on the dribbling and individual brilliance of Messi, Iniesta, Villa etc to break the deadlock. And when that didn’t work, they were quite happy to resort to the dark arts to get their way.

Spain only started to play tiki-taka from 2009 onwards, the 2008 Euro champs were a more balanced less possession obsessed team. During the World Cups games, I distinctly remember Spain struggling to break down teams with endless passing and only when the more direct subs were introduced did they start to create real chances. If you were being generous, you could argue that Spain were happy to tire out opposition with their passing until they were ready to go for it with more risky direct play. But in my opinion it showed the limitations of tiki-taka, which was then at the height of its criticism for being boring. And I’d agree.

Both Barca and Spain had pretty much given up on most types of direct play and specifically on counter attacking, preferring always to build attacks with possession. It did make them predictable and it was only the fact that they had the most talent anyway that they got away with it.

For his ridiculous consistency and defining a style he deserves his greatness. But I don’t think he was ever the best player in the world. Between 2008 – 2012, every team would stand a better chance of winning a football match with Messi in the team instead of Xavi. Yes, including Spain – Messi playing behind the striker backed up by Alonso and Busquets would have been more effective (I would say the same for Iniesta too). Xavi’s game very much depended on linking other players. And he happened to be linking some of the most incredible players. When he was tasked to link disinterested players as in Rijkaard’s final season, Xavi was just as ineffective as everyone else and could not elevate them to a higher level. As Xavi says “individually, I’m nothing. I play with the best and that makes me a better player. I depend on my teammates.”

Barcelona’s continued success since Xavi left and since they’ve moved away from tiki-taka to a more versatile tactical set up shows as great as Xavi was, he wasn’t the totally dominating presence your article makes out. In terms of success that it, he definitely was in terms of style. Actually, I would say Barca are a stronger team by not playing tiki-taka and I’m not convinced reintroducing prime Xavi back into this Barca team would make them better. They can now counter attack better than anyone and even whip crosses into the box fairly regularly! Rakitic can certainly be upgraded but I think current Pogba or Gundogan would elevate this Barca team more than Xavi. And that’s largely because Barca simply don’t need such a great passer when they already have Busquets and Iniesta. A high technical dynamic 3rd midfielder would be better than high technical passing 3rd midfielder. This mail is probably more anti tiki-taka than Xavi but tiki-taka couldn’t have happened without Xavi
Shaz, N19


North Korea already did it
To each and every one suggesting that Rooney goes to Euro 2016 as a ‘goalkeeper’, and is promptly unleashed as a one-man last-resort wrecking crew from the bench…

North Korea tried that stunt. Six years ago.
Paul (I had money on them winning the World Cup), Singapore


Does anyone else get flash backs from the Brazilian World Cup of ITV’s ‘Brazil’ song starring Oscar, Willian and David Luiz?
Jamie, Reading (It’s been stuck in my head since 2014!)


F*** the new site (about seven months later)
So, I go away for a few months, and the F365 site looks like it got vomited on by a Smurf. No, a village of Smurfs.

I had to back away from my screen to view some of the images, they’re HUGE.

The comments section is now tied to Facebook, which is just awesome, since I don’t have Facebook.

Good to see the mailbox is still there, still my favourite feature (hence this email). John Nicholson is still around, which at least makes me feel somewhat better about it. Cos if he handle this change, I can handle this change. Is the great Storey teller still with us? Still working through his list of football books.

Anyways, time to see if i still like this site.
Nathan, (La la la la la, sing a happy song…) Cape Town.


Some Friday morning thoughts
Can’t let the who played at left back and centre back discussion go without mentioning Maldini…

Also, for playing centre backs where I damn well like, stuff the “traditional structures of the Man”, see one Pulis, Tony.

If this whole football leaks this is doing anything of major societal value, it’s proving that all those bafflingly emotional and tedious debates about net transfer spend are pointless because none of us understand the realities of the finances.
Billy, CFC


One minute later
It’s Thursday isn’t it. Damn the bank holidays, international football, and clocks moving forward messing up time for everyone.
Billy, CFC

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