Mediawatch: England’s obvious next move

Daniel Storey

Hyperbole of the day
‘It was at this moment that Traustason, a 23-year-old midfielder, who will join Rapid Vienna from Norrkoping after the tournament, played what may prove to be a pivotal moment in England’s football history. He scored’ – Martin Samuel, Daily Mail.

Now England’s likely route is Iceland, France and Spain, Germany or Italy, rather than Portugal, France and Spain, Germany or Italy. Truly historic.


Take off the blinkers, people
We all have a plan on the next England manager. For most of us, that plan includes muttering the words ‘Southgate’, ‘Neville’ and ‘Pardew’ over and over in repeated disbelief. Others are thinking outside the box, believing that the Football Association may be forced to go foreign once more, given the lack of palatable English candidates. It’s a fair point.

But one man isn’t just thinking outside the box, he’s busy burning that box before sending the ashes to all four corners of the globe. The Independent’s Mark Ogden laughs in the face of boxes. Boxes, schmoxes.

‘Why England should chase Jurgen Klinsmann to take over from Roy Hodgson,’ is the headline to Ogden’s piece, and that sound you can here is America saying “Huh?” in unison. Can you chase something that people are happy to hand over?

‘There would be a preference for an Englishman, but it would not be a necessity,’ Ogden states, perfectly reasonably. ‘Those parameters would instantly reduce the options available to the FA, but even if it looked beyond the shores of Great Britain towards Europe, who would spring out as an obvious choice?

‘Turn back to the Copa America, however, and perhaps the achievements of the USA in reaching the semi-finals, before losing to the team currently top of the FIFA world rankings, hints at Jurgen Klinsmann being the surprise name who would tick all of the FA’s boxes.’

Oh. Oh wow. Apropos of nothing, Ogden followed Klinsmann’s USA at the 2014 World Cup, filing seven pieces over the course of the tournament. A burgeoning bromance surely beckons.

‘Five years into his reign as head coach of the States, Klinsmann has only enhanced his reputation and that of the team he has now guided to the World Cup quarter-finals and the last four of the Copa America.’

Now Mediawatch isn’t an avid follower of the US national team, but we know enough to know that the last statement just isn’t true. Klinsmann didn’t guide USA to the World Cup quarter-finals. They were knocked out in the last-16.

Secondly, Klinsmann has been widely derided by the American public for a series of underwhelming results and performances, and his very odd public persona. Indeed, fans flew a ‘Fire Klinsmann’ banner over a friendly in March.

The FIFA rankings are not a perfect measure, but USA were ranked 29 when Klinsmann took over. They are now ranked 31. Ogden’s argument that ‘his time with the States has also elevated that nation as a respected force on the world stage’ is also highly optimistic.

‘Klinsmann answers each of the FA’s criteria for the role of England manager, but it appears that the blinkers are on and that the search may yet be restricted to within the confines of the Premier League,’ is Ogden’s final flourish. Yes, it’s definitely the FA that have the ‘blinkers on’ here.


Sticks with Stones: The long goodbye
‘John Stones is the missing piece in the England jigsaw; the one who can make this emerging new picture complete. Even if Stones does not do well then Roy Hodgson should stick with him for the Euros this summer. He has to be given his head; he has to be in the team’ – Jason Burt, Daily Telegraph, March 30.

‘Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy have to start while, in defence, John Stones has had his problems but I firmly believe England should persist with the best ball-playing centre-half they have’ – Jason Burt, picking his team to face Russia in the Daily Telegraph, June 6.

‘John Stones – A controversial choice ahead of Gary Cahill given his performances for Everton. But he is better on the ball, quicker and more suited’ – Jason Burt, picking his team to face Wales in the Daily Telegraph, June 14.

‘Gary Cahill – Roy Hodgson should stick with Cahill, providing his dead leg is OK. As stand-in captain he provoked alarm when we went down – and then off – with a hip problem, but recovered quickly’ – Jason Burt, picking his team to face Iceland in the Daily Telegraph, June 22.

Can we all take a moment to refle… Actually, fair play for sticking it out this long.


Deafening silence
Thursday’s papers have a problem: There was no England update on Wednesday. The players were given downtime and some played golf, Gary Neville went for a bike ride and Roy Hodgson popped to Paris. With England not playing until Monday, this was the chance for a day off.

So, what do you do when there is no update from player or manager? Moan about the lack of update, that’s what.

‘Hodgson is not being quite so cooperative, no doubt riled by the criticism he has received after his gamble in Saint-Etienne backfired and left England in the same half of the tournament as Germany, Spain, Italy and France,’ write Matt Lawton and Sami Mokbel in the Daily Mail. ‘If England do win their game against Iceland in Nice on Monday, they will more than likely meet the hosts back in Paris.’

‘Asked if Hodgson would provide a response to the outcome of last night’s Group F games, the FA said he would give his verdict on the governing body’s in-house TV station this morning.

‘That was poor from Hodgson, because it is not just about feeding the ranks of reporters based near the England camp here in Chantilly but communicating with supporters following the national team.

‘A message last night would have amounted to a positive public relations exercise but the under pressure England manager clearly does not see it that way.’

Mediawatch can understand the annoyance at the lack of daily England soundbite on the journalists’ behalf, but do Lawton and Mokbel really think England fans are that bothered at having to wait until the next morning to hear Hodgson give some beige quotes about England’s preparation for Monday? Will they really consider it ‘poor’?

Hodgson’s interview will be available to watch on the FA’s Youtube channel, and presumably subsequently transcribed by media outlets. It’s hardly the East German Stasi.


Burt vs Deeney
Why can’t all transfer discussions take place live on social media, like the Daily Telegraph’s Jason Burt and Watford’s Troy Deeney on Wednesday evening? Deeney earns top marks for passive aggression, but Mediawatch can’t help feeling that Burt might well be proved right:

Deeney: “Funny how a couple of days ago I had left for 30 million and today I’m signing a new contract if you don’t know nothing keep quiet thanks. It’s just more made up stories, it just becomes funny when other people know more about my life than me.”

Burt: “I reckon you are signing a new deal Troy. Stories are not made up and neither were Leicester bids.”

Deeney: “Jason do you think I don’t know what’s happening with my life mate???”

Burt: “You know more than me but I reckon – and hope – you stay at Watford. There’s been a big offer. Best wishes.”

Deeney: “And to you mate you can always call me before putting anything up about me in future.”

Six minutes later:


Nailed it #1

“I have been told that Jamie wants to join us and it’s very good news for us. I think we can be complementary and that’s all I can say. He’s a fantastic player, so it’s good news for us” – Olivier Giroud.

Missing the target again. For shame.


Nailed it #2

‘Jamie Vardy has verbally agreed a three-year deal worth £120,000 a week [with Arsenal], with the option of a further 12 months’ – Daily Mail, June 6.

Unfortunately followed by a written disagreement.


Nailed it #3

‘VAR-DELAY – Jamie Vardy to Arsenal: Leicester striker to wait until AFTER Euro 2016 to decide future’ – The Sun, June 7.



Wind-up merchant
‘The Special One is ready to wind up bitter rival Arsene Wenger by targeting the £50million-rated Arsenal star’ – The Sun.

Because nothing would ‘wind up’ Wenger like receiving a ridiculously high offer that he can still refuse for a player who is happy at the club.

It’s definitely worth Manchester United bidding £50m – just for the banter.


Breaking news
What is the fourth biggest football story on Thursday morning, Mediawatch hears you not ask? Well you’ve got Ireland, Iceland, Portugal, presumably an update from the England camp, plus a couple of transfer rumour stories.

However, according to The Sun‘s website, the fourth biggest football story is that Argentinean player Nicolas Tagliafico has tackled his girlfriend on the beach while playing football.

For those assuming Tagliafico is famous enough in his own right to warrant the coverage, oh no. Now 23, he has 12 caps for Argentina’s U20 side, and plays for Independiente.

Still, his girlfriend is ‘stunning’, so it’s clearly a story of interest.

We are at least given the reaction of ‘internet users’. Thank f**k for that.


Find us an angle!
‘Ronaldo has already been destroyed by Hungary this year’ –

Yes, losing out in the ‘Legends World Cup’ public vote to Ferenc Puskas still causes Ronaldo sleepless nights now.


Recommended reading of the day
Ken Early on Ireland’s glory

Bobby Gardiner on the rise of detailed analytics

Sid Lowe on Croatia

Thanks go to Kush. If you spot something that belongs on this page, mail, with the subject line ‘Mediawatch’.