Get your Phil
There is something of a trend in Tuesday’s newspapers. From James Ducker’s exclusive in the Daily Telegraph to David Hytner’s piece of Guardian praise, Phil Foden is getting the full media treatment.
By which we mean that The Sun website has noticed there is some definite SEO stock in his name and have thus produced a Google-friendly article to siphon a few hits.
‘Foden became a dad at 18 with childhood girlfriend & bought a plush £2m home’
Okay. Well done him. Anything else?
‘Foden would even trek to Spain, where [he] once hooked a 130lb catfish.’
Mediawatch is willing to bet that no-one has ever ‘trekked’ from Stockport to Spain. Google Maps roughly estimates that journey to be about 320 hours long if you walk/ferry it. Would not recommend.
But back to those headline facts. Can a £2m home be anything other than ‘plush’?
Perhaps not. But it’s curious to note that someone buying a reported £2.5m mansion for their mother was a ‘footie idiot’ who was ‘flaunting his wealth’ not four years ago.
Just what is the difference between Foden and Raheem Sterling?
That Sun piece continues:
‘There was only one snag to him becoming a dad so young… Foden had to sacrifice his love of fishing, for now.
‘In January 2019, the birth of his first child changed Foden’s life.
‘He had already been dating Wag Rebecca, also 19, for some time but they kept their romance under wraps.’
Problem number one: if you insist on ‘Wags’ still being a thing (and you really f**king shouldn’t by now), then it makes no sense whatsoever to use it to refer to the singular. How had Foden possibly been dating ‘wife and girlfriend’ Rebecca?
And not to keep bringing this back to his teammate, but why was this your reaction to someone else becoming a father at the same age?
‘SOCCER wonderkid Raheem Sterling is the dad of a baby girl – conceived when he was 16.’
Two men. Both fathers as teenagers. One praised for ‘sacrificing’ their love of fishing. Another having it made weirdly public that he conceived his child at 16. It’s just strange.
Supply and demand
Even Stan Collymore has an opinion for Foden in the Daily Mirror. He is, after all, ‘the man who always speaks his mind’.
‘Phil Foden won Man of the Match in Manchester City’s latest League Cup triumph, but the worry for him is will Pep Guardiola keep picking him?’
Considering he has made more appearances this season than Joao Cancelo, Benjamin Mendy and John Stones, and two fewer than the player he is tipped to replace in David Silva: yes.
‘But if you are only going to get an opportunity every seven, eight or nine games then Foden, on the back of a really good performance on Sunday, has some thinking to do.’
He has played 25 of City’s 43 games this season. That’s an opportunity roughly every 1.72 games.
Of course he would prefer for more of those appearances to be starts but he is a teenager playing alongside and training with some of the best footballers in the world, while being managed by one of the greatest coaches ever. And he’s just been named man of the match at Wembley. He’s probably alright.
Except no; he’s going to ‘demand a sit-down with the manager and the coaching staff and say that unless he gets more opportunities to play he might take the Jadon Sancho route’. Because apparently he’s an idiot.
Any more tips, Stan?
‘If he’s not playing regularly by mid-August then if I were him I’d say I want to go out on loan.’
‘And not just for six months, but for 18 months or two years.’
‘He’s got to play. He can’t play one game in 10.’
It was ‘every seven, eight or nine games’ before. Now it’s ten. And yet it’s still actually 1.72.
‘He’s proved he deserves the opportunity now, so come on Pep, give him a chance.’
He just did. It went well. He’ll probably continue to do so at the current rate as it is quite clearly benefiting Foden, preventing burnout and helping him hone his skills away from the spotlight before he takes on a more prominent role next season.
He might bloody love fishing and 320-hour walks but he’s not even 20 yet. He’s won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and three League Cups, and has made 60 appearances for his boyhood club. He’s not ‘demanding’ anything of anyone any time soon.
Hopp and a skip
Elsewhere, Collymore is *checks notes*… praising the Bundesliga for their reaction to the situation at the weekend. Is that right?
As a reminder, Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich spent the final 15 minutes of their game passing the ball between each other in response to an offensive banner in the crowd aimed at Dietmar Hopp, the former’s president. It referred to Hopp as ‘Du Hurensohn’ – ‘You son of a wh*re’.
‘I loved how Bayern Munich and Hoffenheim players responded to the offensive banner unfurled by Bayern fans about Hoffenheim president Dietmar Hopp by passing the ball to each other for the remainder of the match.
‘So often when there are issues around racism, the game goes on and the club is just hit with a fine.
‘The fact the players stopped the game and went off and had a chat… God forbid a conversation between football people!’
‘I loved what the players did and that would be welcome, especially for me as a mixed-race Briton, if more did that in England when there are monkey chants and issues around racism.’
But this wasn’t an issue around racism. This was an issue around certain supporters protesting the non-traditional ownership of a controversial figure.
Considering Hertha Berlin defender Jordan Torunarigha was recently sent off in a DFB-Pokal game for reacting emotionally to reported monkey chants from the opposition fans, forgive Mediawatch for hoping England doesn’t follow Germany’s lead while trying to overcome its own problems.
The football media can agree on one thing from Arsenal’s FA Cup win over Portsmouth on Monday evening: the home fans did a chant.
But the unanimity ends there.
‘But Arsenal were not impressed with chants of “You’re going home in a Pompey ambulance” after Lucas Torreira had been reduced to a heap by a thunderous tackle from Ross McCrorie’ – Mark Irwin, The Sun.
‘As Torreira departed the pitch there was a chorus of “you’re going home in a Pompey ambulance” from the home fans’ – Jason Burt, Daily Telegraph.
Newspaper journalists vote: “a Pompey ambulance”.
‘You’re going home in a f****** ambulance’: Portsmouth fans aim vile chant at Lucas Torreira while he is carried off on a stretcher after strong challenge in FA Cup clash’ – MailOnline.
‘Portsmouth fans sing ‘You’re going home in a f*****g ambulance’ to Lucas Torreira as he’s stretchered off with ankle injury’ – Metro.
Website journalists vote: “a f******/f*****g ambulance”.
‘And a group of home fans could be heard chanting: “You’re going home in an ambulance” as he received treatment’ – Daily Mirror website.
Non-committal journalists vote: “an ambulance”.
Did they chant all three at different intervals?
All tattered and torn
‘Daniel Sturridge’s career has been left in tatters after the former England striker was banned until June’ – John Cross, Daily Mirror.
‘Sturridge’s career is now in tatters after Trabzonspor ripped up his three-year contract’ – Alex Harris, Daily Express.
He’s 30. It’s obviously a massive setback but he is a two-time Champions League winner who will get another club in the summer.
Claim of the day
‘Liverpool losing to Watford is the best thing that could happen to them’ – Stan Collymore, Daily Mirror.
‘No it isn’t’ – Mediawatch.
…and in second place
‘Aston Villa have slipped into the bottom three and my worry for my old club is goals…there aren’t enough goals collectively to put teams away’ – Stan Collymore, Daily Mirror.
If your worry for a side with the Premier League’s worst defensive record is scoring goals (they have more goals than eight clubs, including the two directly above and one beneath them, as well as Sheffield United and Burnley), then you’re a bit silly.