The Trent Alexander-Arnold argument is on the backburner so James Maddison returns to the England circle. He just needs Newcastle to sign him.
And the reason is you
With the Trent Alexander-Arnold movement suspiciously quiet after Brighton created three goals down his side against Liverpool at the weekend, the national media seamlessly reignites the other laborious England World Cup argument because there must always be one.
To be fair, our Pirlo, Modric and Kimmich was bloody excellent for Leicester against Nottingham Forest on Monday night. The answer to England’s creative problems has still created fewer Premier League chances so far this season than Jack Harrison but it’s a case worth putting forward.
The only problem, as with the Alexander-Arnold discourse, is that those arguing in favour of a World Cup selection that probably won’t happen are willing to pretend there is no explanation whatsoever for James Maddison’s continued absence.
Enter Alex Richards of the Daily Mirror:
‘Alas, despite his deflected opener, sumptuous free kick and assist for Patson Daka’s fourth taking him to 27 direct goal involvements (17 goals, 10 assists) since the start of last season – second to only Harry Kane when it comes to English footballers in that time – it appears he won’t be heading to Qatar.
‘For whatever reason, he appears to simply not be trusted by Southgate.’
Perhaps the England manager has a memory that extends as far as three years ago, when Maddison pulled out of an England squad due to illness and was then pictured in a casino.
Maybe Southgate doesn’t see a natural role for No. 10 Maddison in a system that contains no such position.
It is possibly a simple case that England have a lot of very good attacking players and Maddison is not deemed to be an upgrade right now.
You can agree. You can disagree. But suggesting there is no justifiable rationale on Southgate’s part is disingenuous.
The same goes for Tom Collomosse of the Daily Mail:
‘Somehow, Gareth Southgate continues to ignore him, despite England’s problems of creativity.’
Somehow, you are too obtuse to see it is perfectly reasonable not to have recalled Maddison at this point.
‘Ten minutes before the break, Cheikhou Kouyate shoved Dewsbury-Hall over. Maddison did the rest, sending his free-kick over the wall and in off a post. Are you watching, Gareth?’
Probably. It is his job. He might even have made a note that Maddison is extremely good at set-pieces, perhaps the third-best in the current England reckoning behind James Ward-Prowse and Kieran Trippier. Which does not strengthen his case in the way you think it does.
INSULT to injury
As man of the match against Forest, Maddison was thrust in front of the Sky Sports cameras to be interviewed by Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.
That grilling produced this accidentally hilarious headline on the MailOnline:
”That’s almost questioning my personality and professionalism, which is quite INSULTING’: James Maddison hits back at claims he’s been overlooked by England because he wouldn’t be a ‘good traveller’… in awkward exchange with Gary Neville’
It’s the idea of him quite calmly saying the first bit before shouting INSULTING down the microphone at Neville. And that is why the Caps Lock should probably only be used in moderation.
On the vague subject of Leicester, this Daily Mirror website headline is complete and utter sh*thousery of the highest order, published before the victory over Nottingham Forest and thus at the height of manager unrest:
‘Last days of Brendan Rodgers as staff axed and formations mixed up before hospital dash’
Way to do a feature on his Liverpool sacking while making it sound either like Leicester have got rid or Rodgers himself has literally perished.
‘I don’t think Rangers will be emboldened or encouraged by Liverpool’s recent results, because they know Jurgen Klopp’s team are going to click in some game very soon and I think that’s going to be the start of them going on a run in Premier League as well’ – Graeme Souness, Daily Mail.
Yeah, really can’t wait for a team that beat someone 9-0 less than six weeks ago to ‘click’. Should be great.
Newcastle brown ail
Martin Samuel clearly has some sort of agenda against Newcastle players being picked by England. God help him if they do actually sign Maddison.
We know this because he scoffed at the insistence that Callum Wilson and Nick Pope should make the squad by bringing up how some Newcastle fans once wanted Jonjo Shelvey to be selected.
‘The last time England were heading to a World Cup there was a great clamour in the North East about a Newcastle player who had to be included. Gareth Southgate remained unmoved and, somehow, contrived to reach the semi-final with a team that did not include Jonjo Shelvey,’ he wrote on August 26.
‘Appreciation for Newcastle in Newcastle can get quite giddy at times,’ he added.
Well he is back with the following:
‘Callum Wilson scored on his return to fitness so it will not be long before he is again being advocated for a place in the England team.
‘This is not an exact equation but every good Englishman playing for Newcastle has his prowess and worth to the country inflated by roughly the power of three.
‘See also Jonjo Shelvey, Nick Pope.’
And Jamaal Lascelles, Sean Longstaff, Dan Burn, Matt Targett, Joe Willock, Jacob Murphy. And a whole load of English Newcastle players who have neither come close to international recognition, nor ever really been championed for it.
Never mind an inexact equation. It’s a shite one.
Samuel revisits another old point of contention in his Daily Mail column: the sacking of Scott Parker.
He lays into Bournemouth owner Maxim Demin for the ‘pious lecture on sustainability’ he gave when sacking the manager, because ‘now we know the club was merely being readied for sale and Demin didn’t want to spend any more money’.
‘He framed the manager as the villain, rather than tell the truth. Not only did he do Parker a grave disservice, he cost Bournemouth a good manager.’
Whatever your thoughts on the imminent Bournemouth takeover, it is patently bollocks to claim that Demin ‘cost Bournemouth a good manager’ when, in basic football terms, the decision has been a masterstroke.
The Cherries were 16th and had just been beaten 9-0 when Parker was sacked. They are currently 13th and unbeaten in four games under interim coach Gary O’Neil.
And none of those further absolute hammerings that Parker predicted would happen to his own team have come to pass. Perhaps things would have been different if Demin didn’t ‘cost Bournemouth a good manager’.
‘Now Raphael Varane had been off the pitch at that point, strangely going down injured when he blocked a shot on the edge of the area.
‘The limp got worse three minutes later when he failed to cut out De Bruyne’s superb curling cross from the right which Haaland met with an outstretched boot at the far post to score’ – Neil Custis, The Sun, October 3.
‘The club are waiting for news on Raphael Varane’s ankle injury which forced the defender off in the first half at the Etihad’ – Neil Custis and Richard Moriarty, The Sun, October 4.
Shocking revelation of the day
‘Cristiano Ronaldo is growing increasingly unhappy and desperate at Manchester United, a body language expert has surmised’ – Daily Mirror website.