Mediawatch is not sure which part of Glenn Hoddle’s co-commentary on ITV we ‘enjoyed’ the most on Wednesday evening.
Was it his praise of Chris Smalling for “really good defending” just as he gave the ball away?
Was it his acute observation after Adam Lallana’s shot had hit the post that “if that goes inside, that’s a goal”?
Was it his bewilderment that “Germany have almost played this like a friendly”?
All of the above and yet, and yet, the most fun was to be found in listening to Hoddle positively giddy with delight that England were playing his beloved 3-4-3 formation, utterly refusing to acknowledge that such a system has any flaws, even as England were losing 1-0 and struggling to create chances, while Germany’s diagonal balls threatened to expose the channel between wing-back and centre-half.
We particularly loved the timing of his utter confusion at anybody playing a 4-4-2 that leaves you exposed, just as…well, we will leave you to enjoy…
This is futbol. Hoddle doubts the entire playing philosophy right until Podolski smashes it in. pic.twitter.com/0WemMbO1qI
— RG⁶ (@registability) March 22, 2017
What a fine Mes
While we expect no better from Glenn Hoddle, we are disappointed in the usually sensible Lee Dixon, currently winning the very competitive race to be Dele Alli’s biggest fan.
“He’s playing in the first team long-term because he’s doing something right.
“The fact that he’s come into the Tottenham team and they’re building a team around him, his talent is unlimited. If he [Mesut Ozil] had half of what Dele Alli has got, that nasty streak, he would be ten times a better player than he is because he hasn’t got what Dele Alli has.”
And you know what Mesut Ozil has got that Dele Alli has not, Lee?
A La Liga winner’s medal, two FA Cup medals, one German Cup medal, one Spanish Cup medal and one actual World Cup winner’s medal, that’s what.
Presumably he would have ten times those medals if only he were as nasty as an Englishman who once finished second in League One.
Are my eyes deceiving me?
But never mind Glenn Hoddle and Lee Dixon, if we want BIG MATCH ANALYSIS, we turn to the Daily Mail and Martin Keown.
First question: Is it meant to be an analysis of a big match, or big analysis of a match? Or big analysis of a big match by a big numpty?
Anyway, whatever the answer, it is to Keown that we turn. For this…
‘WITH England playing three at the back and dressed in blue, this was like watching Chelsea but without Eden Hazard and Diego Costa!’
It was exactly like that. Except there were eight other Chelsea players missing. And they lost 1-0. As you were.
There is general positivity in the newspapers despite England’s defeat in Germany, with The Sun’s Neil Ashton writing of Kyle Walker that his ‘dreamy cushioned touch in the first half is the stuff this country has been crying out for’ and that the Tottenham full-back is ‘bossing this position on the right touchline, in complete control of it for club and country’.
Rating on the opposite page: 6/10.
Ashton also described Dele Alli as ‘pretty much the best England player on the pitch’.
Rating on the same page: 6/10.
Maybe, you know, talk to each other.
Friend or Defoe
If we squint we can just about see Harry Redknapp’s point in the Evening Standard as he argues that Jermain Defoe has matched Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s achievements this season, given the team he has scored 14 Premier League goals for.
But when Redknapp says that he ‘never had any doubt he would score goals in the Premier League’ and ‘I signed him so many times because he guarantees you goals’, you wonder about Harry’s memory, because in 2010/11, Defoe scored just four Premier League goals in 22 appearances for Tottenham.
Now who was the manager who dropped him to the bench because he was in such woeful form?
Here we go again…
Did you watch England on Wednesday night and think Dele Alli and Adam Lallana were our more impressive players? Mediawatch certainly did and so, it seems, did the newspapers.
But then here comes Harry with the obsession he shares with his son…
‘People often say Dele Alli and Ross Barkley can’t play together but if you can’t find a system to get those two in your team there’s something wrong.
‘It is not as if they are two little shrinking violets who only play when they have the ball.
‘They are strong, physical presences who can do everything – two complete, modern midfielders.
‘I like Adam Lallana but for me you have to get Barkley in the team…’
Anybody else feeling a sickening sense of deja f***ing vu?
More unpleasantness from Charlie Sale in his Sports Agenda column for the Daily Mail as he spots this tweet from Colin Murray…
Really looking forward to doing a proper indie set in a proper indie club tonight. Been ages. Going to need to nap first. ???? Details below ⬇️ https://t.co/sS56SeK7VI
— colin murray (@ColinMurray) March 18, 2017
and turns it into this…
‘BROADCASTER Colin Murray, who claimed to have resigned from talkSPORT after the News Corp takeover because of The Sun’s Hillsborough coverage, could be found last Saturday doing a gig as a guest DJ at the Shacklewell Arms in Dalston, London. How the mighty have fallen.’
Note the ‘claimed’.
What Sale does not mention: Murray still presents Fighting Talk on BBC5Live, writes a column for the Metro newspaper and fronts Eurosport’s snooker coverage.
Oh and he really likes DJ-ing.
It’s a sports ‘Agenda’ alright.
Arsene Wenger has a long-standing relationship with broadcasters beIN Sports, who interviewed him this week and then released the videos on their website. Many outlets transcribed the quotes, including the Daily Mirror, who published this at 2.42pm on Wednesday on their website:
‘Arsene Wenger has told his critics that football is not just about winning trophies.
‘Wenger angrily hit back with a staunch defence of his record after claiming he has helped build an “absolutely remarkable” club during his 20 year reign at Arsenal.
‘Gunners boss Wenger, 67, is set to stay for another two years at Arsenal despite not having won the title since 2004 and the pressure is mounting on the Frenchman.
‘But Wenger, in an interview with beIN Sports, also reminded people that Liverpool have never won the title in the Premier League era.
‘Wenger said: “For me Arsenal is the best club in the world and what we have built is absolutely remarkable, not only on the results front but on the values that this club, what we have built. Of course a football club is about winning, it’s as well about values.’
Spot the difference between that and the words on the back page of the Daily Mirror on Thursday morning:
‘ARSENE WENGER has told his critics that football is not just about winning trophies.
‘Wenger hit back with a staunch defence of his record – claiming he has helped build an “absolutely remarkable” club during his 20-year reign at Arsenal.
‘Gunners boss Wenger, 67, is set to stay for another two years at the Emirates despite not having won the title since 2004 and the pressure is mounting on the Frenchman.
He said: “For me Arsenal is the best club in the world. What we have built is absolutely remarkable, not only on the results front – but on the values that this club, what we have built. Of course a football club is about winning, it’s as well about values.”‘
And as if by magic…this is now an ‘EXCLUSIVE BY JOHN CROSS’.
Turn to page 66 and there are two more Arsene Wenger EXCLUSIVES BY JOHN CROSS. Wow. That Chief Football Writer sure does earn his corn (watching videos on the internet that absolutely nobody else can see).
Recommended reading of the day
Barney Ronay on Dele Alli and life after Wayne Rooney
Richard Jolly on a potential summer of striker moves
Peter Smith on Michael Beale swapping Liverpool U-23s for Brazil