Mediawatch: Rooney > Henry, Shearer, Messi

Date published: Friday 23rd October 2015 12:47

Wayne and Jamie, sitting in a tree
Mediawatch cannot fathom whether The Guardian’s Jamie Jackson knew the statistics he used to ‘form the bedrock for the case billing Rooney as a Premier League great’ were massively flawed and just thought ‘ah f*** it’ or whether he blindly blundered into using the numbers that would back up his fluff piece, gobbling up statistics like a greedy child with unlimited access to Cheestrings.

Presumably Jackson asked somebody with a calculator to tell him which footballers had scored the most Premier League goals by the age of 30. Bingo, Rooney came out top. Rejoice.

‘When he leads the side out the following day [after his birthday] against City at Old Trafford for the 170th Manchester derby Rooney’s count will stand at 187. That is 11 more goals than Alan Shearer’s 176 at the same age, 13 more than Thierry Henry’s 174 and 35 more than the 152 scored by Robbie Fowler, the fourth man on the goals-at-30 list.’

Couple of things:

* The Premier League began when Alan Shearer was 22 years old; he had already scored 23 top-flight goals before football officially began.

* Thierry Henry came to the Premier League at the age of 22; he had already scored 23 top-flight goals in the footballing backwaters of France and Italy.

So Wayne Rooney (‘the stats stack up to suggest he will leave an indelible mark on the Premier League’) has scored more Premier League goals than two players who played eight seasons in the competition before they were 30; Rooney is now in his 14th season.

Why not go further and say that Rooney is a greater goalscorer than Sergio Aguero? After all, that chump has scored only 84 PL goals? Loser.

Jackson is not finished there:

‘Shearer retired at 35. His career was blighted by serious injury, which made his achievements more admirable. Given Rooney’s desire to continue for the foreseeable future, his ability to operate in differing roles and his benign injury record, he should play until the same age as Shearer, at the very least.

‘That means the Liverpudlian should be able to surpass Shearer to set a new goal record.’

Wait a minute. Rooney is now 73 goals behind Shearer, which means he needs to start scoring goals at a rate of around 15 a season for the next five years to catch the Geordie. Rooney has reached that mark only twice in the last five seasons, with 2011/12’s 27 strikes very much the outlier on that graph. Even with his ‘desire to continue for the foreseeable future, his ability to operate in differing roles and his benign injury record’, he is presumably not immune to ageing. We suspect he will get worse rather than better.

Nonsense, says Jackson.

‘To become the all-time Premier League assist leader Rooney needs 73 more, to pass the 162 of another United stalwart, Ryan Giggs. Rooney’s 90 have come at around 7.5 a season – although there is still two thirds of the current term to play – a ratio that would allow him to pass Giggs if he were to play until 40 as the Welshman did.’

Four words: Not. A. F***ing. Chance.

Mediawatch really hopes Jackson gets the exclusive interview his shameless fluffing deserves.

If not, maybe next time he should point out that Rooney has scored 187 more goals than Lionel Messi in the Premier League.


Oh the National…
Oh my. Harry Redknapp (football’s white noise) has been telling the Evening Standard that Premier League clubs should stop giving jobs to foreigns. It’s almost like he lost the Tottenham job to a foreign. Frankly, we could just copy and paste the entire column and sit back with arms crossed, but we know you’re busy people, so we will bring you the highlights:

‘With all due respect, if you swapped an English lad at the bottom of the table with Manuel Pellegrini at City and gave him Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and David Silva, they aren’t going to finish halfway up the League.’

With all due respect, Harry, we suspect that City’s ambitions lie a little higher than ‘not finishing halfway up the league’.

‘Take the top four clubs. People talk about Chelsea maybe replacing Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger won’t go on too much longer at Arsenal, Pellegrini is always under pressure at City and Louis van Gaal says it will be his last job at Manchester United. It is almost impossible to see a British coach getting one of those jobs when they come up though.’

Has Harry heard of Ryan Giggs, the man introduced by Van Gaal recently as the “next manager of Manchester United”?

‘Why shouldn’t Arsenal give Steve Bould a go? Or Tony Adams? Why shouldn’t John Terry be the next Chelsea manager whenever Mourinho goes? Okay, he has never managed but John knows the game inside out.’

Shall we start with the idea of Tony Adams – coincidentally Redknapp’s assistant manager at Portsmouth – as Arsenal boss? He relegated Wycombe Wanderers and won only 12 of 53 games as the Chairboys boss and picked up only ten points from a possible 48 with Pompey before being sacked, but why shouldn’t he be considered management material for a club who are a Champions League stalwart? BECAUSE IT’S MENTAL, THAT’S WHY.

As for Terry ‘knowing the game inside out’? We’re pretty sure Bryan Robson, Alan Shearer, Paul Merson, Paul Gascoigne, John Barnes and – well, Tony Adams – also ‘knew the game inside out’.

‘There are more and more foreign owners in the League who are too afraid to take a chance on an English manager. They want sexy foreign names. They love the mystique of it.’

We’re pretty sure the foreign Randy Lerner wishes he had chosen somebody whose name sounds sexier than ‘Tim Sherwood’.

‘British coaches are barely getting a look-in even lower down the League now. Eddie Howe had to bring Bournemouth up into the top flight. Alex Neil had to do the same at Norwich. Tony Pulis has done well but he would have never managed in the Premier League if he hadn’t got promoted with a club. That was his only way in.’

Of the Premier League’s bottom seven clubs, three (Swansea, Newcastle and Villa) are managed by men who have never been promoted into the top flight. Carry on…

‘One of the top clubs have to be brave and give a lad a chance otherwise it will never change.’

At this point, the Standard’s ghost writer should probably have interjected with the words ‘David’ and ‘Moyes’.


All around me are familiar faces
Mark Lawrenson on Tim Sherwood on the BBC: ‘I am hearing that defeat on Saturday might mean the end for him despite what he achieved at the club last season. It is a mad world we live in but it means neither manager can afford to lose on Saturday.’

What a crazy, crazy world in which failing to win any of eight consecutive Premier League games should leave your job in jeopardy. They’ll be getting a foreign in next.


Hedging his bets
* ‘I think United will just win the game, although a draw wouldn’t surprise me.’

* ‘I wouldn’t be shocked if this ended in a draw but I fancy Liverpool to get the win.’

* ‘I see Chelsea winning, although I’m not 100 percent sure.’

Conclusion: Paul Merson’s not really got the hang of predictions.


Boing boing
The fence-sitting Merson should take lessons from Mark Lawrenson, whose predictions so far this season put West Brom in sixth place in his virtual table.

‘We know what to expect from West Brom, though, because they will keep things very tight. Their form is steadily improving, which it was always going to,’ says Lawro this week.

Last week they beat Sunderland 1-0; before that they lost 3-2 to Everton and 2-0 to Crystal Palace. In Lawro’s eyes, that kind of improving form should put them three points ahead of Manchester United.


Smile, though your heart is breaking…
Extraordinary empathy from Steven Howard in The Sun: ‘YAYA TOURE is not happy. He may be rich and successful but he’s sick of football. The media both here and in the Ivory Coast have long been on his back and he never gets the credit he deserves.

‘He’s suffered for years, he says, and it’s disgusting. Poor old thing.

‘Last year he moaned because he did not get a birthday cake from Manchester City or they didn’t shake his hand and wish him many happy returns.

‘Something like that, anyway.’

Is the death of his brother encompassed in ‘something like that’?


Headline of the day straight from 1975
‘We ask girls to pronounce difficult footballer names and the results are very entertaining!’ – talkSPORT.


Clickbait headline of the day
‘Rogers appointed as Liverpool manager’ – get naughty.


Headline of the day
‘BOO MOON’ – The Sun.


Recommended reading of the day
Tim Stillman on Arsenal’s approach to big games.

Barney Ronay on that UEFA fine for Manchester City

Rich Jolly on Tim Sherwood’s last stand

Thanks to today’s Mediawatch spotters James Glavey and Thomas Croke. And sorry for the delay – there was a fire alarm.

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