Mediawatch: Rashford, Rooney, Ronaldo, ridiculous

Date published: Monday 21st January 2019 11:47

Carroll singer
Now, Mediawatch is not saying that The Sun’s Mike McGrath is trying to engineer a move for Andy Carroll but…

‘RONALD KOEMAN wants Andy Carroll to make a £20million return to Merseyside in January. Everton’s under-fire boss has the West Ham striker top of his list to finally replace Romelu Lukaku’ – Mike McGrath exclusive, October 2017.

‘ANDY CARROLL is the shock name on Chelsea’s list of targets for January. Antonio Conte is looking for back-up to support Alvaro Morata and is considering the West Ham striker’ – Mike McGrath exclusive, January 2018.

‘ANDY CARROLL is a shock contender to solve the striker crisis at Tottenham’ – Mike McGrath exclusive, January 2019.

…actually no, we are saying exactly that.


Rash comparison
Marcus Rashford being mentioned in the same breath as Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford sent the tabloid reporters at Old Trafford on Saturday into paroxysms of joy. Thank you, Ole, thank you so very much.

In The Sun, Neil Custis gets a little giddy.

‘WHEN Cristiano Ronaldo left, so did much of the magic at Old Trafford. When Wayne Rooney reached his career tipping point, the goals were lost to Manchester United too.

‘Now the club could have both back – in the form of Marcus Rashford.

‘Over the top?’

God yes, Neil Custis.

‘Rashford celebrated his 150th United appearance with a wonder goal on Saturday – his 41st for United.

‘Now compare England ace Rashford at this stage of his career to Ronaldo after 150 club games.’

Must we? Ronaldo was very much a winger in the early days of his career. It’s not really a fair comparison. But don’t let that stop you…

‘Ronaldo had 25 goals, while Rooney at the same stage had just four more than Rashford with 45. Premier League legend Alan Shearer had 35.’

Premier League legend Alan Shearer was also playing for Southampton. And Southampton were very much a lower mid-table side.

A better comparison would surely be with a young player at an elite Premier League club. Let’s say Liverpool.

When you consider that Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen had scored 86 and 84 goals in their first 150 club appearances, Rashford’s 41 goals suddenly do not seem quite so impressive. Good, but by no means groundbreaking.

Still, he’s definitely exactly like Ronaldo and Rooney combined.

David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror is – as usual – a little more guarded, writing that Rashford ‘can achieve the same iconic status’ as the aforementioned pair. No doubt; after all, he is one of their own.

But he of course has to confuse things by citing entirely irrelevant statistics.

‘All three made their United debuts at 18, but Rashford has reached 150 appearances quicker than Rooney and Ronaldo, two of the biggest names in Old Trafford history.’

Yes and Rooney had already played 77 games for Everton while Ronaldo had played 33 games for Sporting Lisbon. It’s a tad ridiculous to suggest that Rashford is somehow further ahead of either player at the age of 21. Especially as Rooney was a month off his 19th birthday when he signed for United.

Which is perfectly illustrated by a Daily Mail graphic – under the headline of ‘Rashford on the trail of legends’ – which shows that Rashford is fully 20 goals behind Rooney at the exact same age.

Shall we leave the poor sod to just be Marcus Rashford? He’s quite good.


Small-time Crooks
It’s been a while since Mediawatch cast its twattish critical eye over Garth Crooks’ team of the week on the BBC website. We’re not bullies. But then we saw his choice of goalkeeper this week and we literally had no choice. And once you’re there, you’re there…

‘He didn’t have to do an awful lot against Huddersfield but keeping a clean sheet in the Premier League is a big deal – just ask Julian Speroni. The Crystal Palace keeper let the occasion get to him and it cost his team dearly. No such mistakes from Ederson.’

Well done Ederson, you made ‘no such mistakes’ with Huddersfield’s two shots on target, described thus by the Guardian’s minute-my-minute coverage of the game:

‘Bacuna’s long ball forward is cushioned nicely by Kachunga into the path of Kongolo, whose well-struck shot from 20 yards is comfortably saved by Ederson.’

‘Another good effort from Mounie, whose header from Pritchard’s right-wing cross is comfortably saved to his left by Ederson.’

It literally says ‘comfortably’ twice; but that’s enough for Mr Crooks. By the way, the correct answer is, of course, ‘Tom Heaton’.

Elsewhere, Crooks’ team features Davinson Sanchez. Yes, Davinson Sanchez.

‘It was like a heavyweight contest but with poor old Sanchez having to punch well above his weight. Meanwhile Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld left the field without a scratch. Both of them should give Sanchez half of their wages. Protection money!’

In the interests of thoroughness, Mediawatch has checked several reports/ratings pieces to investgate if literally anybody else in the world thought Sanchez was excellent. What we were found were a collection of journalists and fans rating him as 5/10.

‘He really struggled in the first half and was part of the reason Spurs brought so much pressure onto themselves,’ was one take. Another was ‘outmuscled and outpaced by Babel inside the first 15 minutes but was bailed out by Lloris. He struggled with Mitrovic and looked nervy at times’. Apart from that he was bloody brilliant.

But our favourite Garth sentence is this one:

‘What a transformation at Southampton, who look a very different football team from the one I saw under Mark Hughes, although I can’t put my finger on why.’

We think you’ve cracked the mystery, Mr Crooks.


Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole…
On Friday we documented Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail’s bizarre thoughts on Paul Pogba who, you will be shocked to learn, is not Lionel Messi. Samuel’s piece ended thus:

‘For if Pogba doesn’t do his shift then that attitude will spread and if Solskjaer isn’t prepared to tell him the truth about his role, then he’s not the man for the job.’

On Sunday – after a sixth successive Premier League win for Solskjaer, with Pogba once again on the scoresheet – Samuel appeared on Sunday Supplement saying:

“You have a guy who has not lost a game of football, wants to work, everyone loves him and everyone loves you all of a sudden for giving him the interim job. If that doesn’t appeal to him, he really must like pain! And I don’t think he does like pain. He couldn’t have done any better!”

But what if he still hasn’t told Paul Pogba that he is not Lionel Messi?


Hazard warning
You know who also isn’t Lionel Messi? Eden Hazard, that’s who.

Mediawatch was reminded of this piece from Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail – ‘Why Eden Hazard can’t lay a claim to the crown of genuine greats like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’ – when we read a piece in which he skewers Maurizio Sarri on Monday morning.

The gist of that piece from September is that Hazard sometimes simply does not ‘fancy’ it.

And yet here is Samuel in January 2019:

‘Eden Hazard is a Footballer of the Year, a Players’ Player of the Year, Silver Ball winner at the World Cup – and he is without mental aggression?’

Who would ever suggest such a thing?


Recommended reading of the day
Rory Smith on Aurelio De Laurentiis

Daniel Storey on Newcastle fans

Jonathan Wilson on the mess at Chelsea

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