“It depends on where you would like to be and what is realistic about how quickly you can improve. What we want to do is maximise the abilities that we have and the capabilities that we have. Are we going to become Spain in the next eight months? No we’re not”- Gareth Southgate there, dashing hopes that precisely nobody had.
It’s not becoming Spain that we’re worried about, Gareth. It’s becoming Scotland.
Nobody does it better
Ray Wilkins has been speaking about the difficulties of being England manager, and he believes that Southgate is the man for the job. So sure is Wilkins, he’s prepared to make ridiculous statements to back up his opinion:
“If Mourinho was England manager and Guardiola was his No. 2 they wouldn’t do a better job than Southgate.”
Mediawatch has read that quote three times, and we cannot shake our suspicion that Wilkins truly believes that no manager in the world could do a better job than Gareth ‘took Middlesbrough down and managed the Under-21s’ Southgate.
It’s an opinion.
Changed your tune
Writes Neil Ashton in The Sun on the subject of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain:
‘Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was dreadful, taking his club form into international football with another wretched performance. This, from a £35m footballer, was nothing short of woeful. He is a nice boy but a bang average footballer at best.’
We totally agree. Oxlade-Chamberlain was indeed dreadful at Wembley and looks nothing like a £35m footballer. His career has badly stalled, and the move to Liverpool hasn’t sparked a change yet.
Yet it is funny how opinions change very quickly to fit a narrative, isn’t it? Because it’s only five short weeks since Ashton was writing about just how damaging Oxlade-Chamberlain’s departure was for Arsenal, because he was so good:
‘THEY have been fleecing the fans for years. For £1,828 a pop — the most expensive season tickets in world football — Arsene Wenger promises to keep Arsenal’s best players. He has been found out this time, brutally exposed by the sale of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool. Wenger’s Emirates empire is crumbling.
‘Liverpool, with Champions League football assured, are cash rich and eager to do business. They seized upon the vulnerability at Arsenal after Sunday’s 4-0 tanking by taking one of their best young players.’
From ‘one of their best young players’ whose sale was evidence that ‘Wenger’s Emirates empire is crumbling’ to this in just five weeks? Sounds to us like Arsenal did quite well to get £35m for ‘a bang average footballer at best’.
Still, we’re not quite sure why we are even talking about Arsenal at all, given they are dead. Or ‘ARSENAL Football Club, Rest In Peace. Here at the Emirates, the heart finally stopped beating,’ as Ashton wrote in March. Hyperbole much?
Mediawatch did a double take when it read the headline on Martin Keown’s ‘big match analysis’ on the Daily Mail website: ‘Rashford can be our Ronaldo’.
Given that Ronaldo has scored 78 international goals for Portugal, led them to Euro 2016 success and has scored 23 international goals since the start of 2016, it’s a ballsy shout.
Of course, Keown wrote nothing of the sort:
‘I like the way Marcus Rashford runs at people and asks questions of defenders.
‘All the best players — Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi — started as wingers at some point and Rashford just needs to drift a bit more central and express himself more coming off the touchline.
‘I think he’ll be a top player, and they don’t stay fixed for too long out wide. Outside left should only be his starting position when it comes to the World Cup.’
Firstly, Rashford didn’t start out as a winger. He started out as a striker, and then got moved to a wide forward position. The comparison with Gareth Bale, who started as a left-back and moved to wide forward where he still plays, is a little odd.
More importantly, we’re not quite sure ‘he needs to drift a bit more central’ quite equates to ‘he can be our Ronaldo’. Sorry.
‘The whole evening was flat, a flat performance, the fans were flat, with the biggest cheers coming when paper planes were thrown from the stands’ – John Cross, Daily Mirror.
Along with some funky sentence structure, we can be sure that Wembley was a little… flat.
Thought that the biggest cheer might have been for Kane’s winner? Nuh uh.
‘Harry Kane spared England’s blushes with a 94th minute winner but the celebrations fell very flat.’
Slight difference of opinion #1
‘Jordan Henderson: More questions are being raised with every England game over Henderson’s role in the team’ – Matt Law, Daily Telegraph.
‘Jordan Henderson: Very poor game. Off the pace in midfield and passing let him down’ – John Cross, Daily Mirror.
‘Jordan Henderson: Will never win many man-of-the-match awards but there is a very necessary job to be done shielding the England defence and he does it as well as anyone’ – Mark Irwin, The Sun.
We’d be more inclined to get on board with Irwin’s assessment if Henderson’s job was actually to shield England’s defence.
Slight difference of opinion #2
‘Jesse Lingard – 7 – Impressive impact’ – Ben Pringle, Daily Express.
‘Jesse Lingard – 5 – Made little impact’ – Phil McNulty, BBC Sport.
It’s definitely one of the two…
Finger on the pulse
Jonjo Shelvey has broken his hand in training,’ writes David Coverdale in Friday’s The Sun.
‘Now the Newcastle midfielder faces having to wear a cast at Southampton on Sunday week.
‘Shelvey, 25, picked up the injury yesterday and was whisked to hospital for X-rays.
‘He was found to have fractured a finger and had a plaster cast put on last night.’
So he hasn’t broken his hand, then? Give it another three paragraphs and it’ll be a paper cut.
Sacked in the (non-specific) morning
You can rely on the Daily Express website to give you an inflammatory headline that bears little resemblance to the actual picture. Yes, on Brexit, British pride and foreigners, but on football too.
On Thursday, ESPN pundit and former Liverpool player Steve Nicol was asked for his thoughts on Jurgen Klopp, and issued a pretty measured response.
“No [he shouldn’t get sacked at the end of the season if Liverpool miss out on the top four],” Nicol said when pushed on the issue. “But I would suggest that the following season, if it’s the same thing again, then yes.”
So miss out on the top four this season and next season, and Klopp goes. That seems reasonable.
So how does the Express website sell those quotes? ‘Steve Nicol selects date when Jurgen Klopp will be SACKED.’
We like the idea that Nicol is like an ancient Maya prophet predicting doomsday.
‘Has Moore lost faith?’ asks Charlie Sale in his Sports Agenda column in the Daily Mail of Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore. Sadly, Sale didn’t see fit to treat his own question as rhetorical.
‘Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore gave the impression at the Nordoff Robbins football legends charity event that he has already given up on Jurgen Klopp’s team winning the Premier League this season — by entering the bidding to own the PL trophy for one day.’
What absolute rot.
Description of the day
“Great movement from Kane. Just half a touch, that’s all that’s needed. It’s a really good centre forward goal. I said he didn’t have his shooting boots on, well he had his little toe boot on” – Glenn Hoddle.
Someone register the patent.
Recommended reading of the day
Adam Hurrey on Gheorghe Hagi.
Peter Coates on Argentina.
Amy Lawrence on Arsenal.