Mediawatch: Why take ‘the easy option’, Roy?

Date published: Wednesday 1st June 2016 12:11

Gambling problem
‘One of the boldest England squads named for a major tournament in recent memory’ – Sami Mokbel, Nick Harris and Chris Wheeler, Daily Mail.

‘No wonder assistant coach Gary Neville was telling members of the FA staff that Hodgson’s 23-man party is the boldest England squad he has been associated with’ – Matt Lawton, Daily Mail.

‘Hodgson is taking a massive gamble’ – Paul Brown, Daily Star.

‘Roy Hodgson yesterday opted to take a massive Euro 2016 gamble by picking three stars with fitness doubts’ – David Woods, Daily Star.

‘Hodgson is going for goals. It is a bold selection that means England potentially boast one of the most potent sides at the championship, with the inclusion of both Rashford and Sturridge adding to a dizzying array of attacking options’ – Paul Joyce, Daily Express.

‘ROY THE GAMBLER’ scream the back-page headline of the Daily Mirror. “It’s a bold young squad,” says Gary Lineker, who describes the decision to take Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge as “gambles”.

‘The England boss seems intent on killing off his reputation as a conservative manager’ – John Cross, Daily Mirror.

‘The England coach should be cut some slack for being adventurous after receiving criticism for conservatism’ – Daniel Taylor, The Guardian.

‘Hodgson has sacrificed stability for adventure’ – Paul Hayward, Daily Telegraph.

‘Hodgson opts for Rashford in bold squad’ – Matt Hughes, The Times.

‘Nobody can accuse Hodgson of being cautious any more’ – Henry Winter, The Times.

Mediawatch is sure glad we can all agree that Hodgson, a coach often regarded as defensive and risk-averse, has been bold and taken a gamble with the announcement of his 23-man England squad for the European Championship. Oh, hold on. What’s this?

“In my opinion, Roy Hodgson’s taking the easy option” – Chris Waddle, Daily Star.

For fu…


Sminky pinky Chris Waddle
Waddle is unhappy with Hodgson’s squad. He has even given an exclusive interview to the Daily Star airing his views.

“I just don’t get it. In my opinion, Roy Hodgson’s taking the easy option.”

Considering the England manager is taking three central defenders, one defensive midfielder, five strikers and an 18-year-old who made his competitive first-team debut in February, this squad really cannot be described as “the easy option”. Still, Waddle is not done.

“He’s stayed loyal with those players who did well for him in the qualifiers rather than going with the men in form. Both Townsend and Drinkwater had very strong cases.

“I saw a lot of Newcastle games last season and Townsend performed very well, scoring goals and playing with a lot of confidence – and there isn’t really another winger in the squad.”

Poor Raheem Sterling.

“It looks as if he is being punished for his club’s relegation. And Drinkwater played the entire season for Leicester and has better form and fitness than some of those who made the squad.”

Drinkwater has been in excellent form you say, Chris? Here is what the former England winger had to say to BBC Sport during England’s friendly win over Australia last Friday, of which Drinkwater played the full 90 minutes:

“You look at England over the two games and they just don’t seem to be a balanced side. It was all kick it long, no risk and they were too far apart in midfield. No-one took responsibility in midfield. That player in the centre of midfield has got to get on the ball but they ended up too spaced out.”

At the end of the game, Waddle admitted there were “question marks” over Drinkwater, adding that: “He’s started tonight but he’s not the Danny Drinkwater of Leicester City.”

Asked later which two players he expected to join Fabian Delph in being cut from the provisional 26-man squad, Waddle replied: “Ross Barkley and either Danny Drinkwater or Andros Townsend.”

Still, Hodgson is “taking the easy option”. One you said you would have taken just four days earlier.


England’s greatest

Mediawatch offers no apologies for clicking.

‘England’s James Milner is currently the fifth best player among Euro 2016 teams, says a Uefa rankings tool,’ reads the opening paragraph of the story on the BBC Sport website. ‘A Uefa rankings tool’ sounds like an apt description.

Congratulations to Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet – the only four players at this summer’s tournament better than Milner.


Revelation one
‘Starsport can reveal the well-being of the trio (Daniel Sturridge, Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson) was the reason Hodgson left it so late to confirm who will be on the plane to France on Monday’ – David Woods, Daily Star.

Thanks for clearing that one up, scoop.


Revelation two
According to Woods, Drinkwater and Townsend took their omissions well, with ‘sources insisting the pair took the setback with good grace, wishing Hodgson and the team well in France’.

Sources such as Drinkwater and Townsend themselves, perhaps?


‘Hodgson has shown loyalty to a group of players who won ten straight games in qualifying,’ writes Neil Ashton in The Sun. ‘San Marino, Estonia and Lithuania were tap-ins but the boss maintains they faced some tough fixtures.’

Probably because they did. Switzerland lost three games in Group E; England inflicted two of those upon them. Mere months after the Swiss were knocked out of the World Cup quarter-finals by eventual runners-up Argentina in extra-time, Hodgson led his England side to a 2-0 victory in Basel. Of the 24 teams headed to the European Championship this summer, Switzerland place eighth in the current FIFA rankings.


Incey wincey
Here is Paul Ince describing the incident which saw David Beckham sent off for kicking out at Diego Simeone in the round of 16 at the 1998 World Cup:

“The continental players are clever and he got done.”



Why mums go to Iceland
Writes the lovely and respectable Derek McGovern in the Daily Mirror: ‘With Euro 2016 just over a week away, punters will hope for clues from Iceland, like how in the hell did they qualify.’

By losing just two games in qualifying. By earning more points than 11 of the other qualifiers. By conceding just six goals in ten games. By qualifying from a group containing the third-placed side from the 2014 World Cup, the Netherlands. By being quite good and constantly patronised.


School’s out
Oh, the Daily Mirror. Someone had to bring us some lessons from Jose Mourinho’s first visit to Manchester United’s Carrington base. Richard Innes is the man to inform us of ‘7 things we learned from Jose Mourinho’s first day at Man United’.

Considering schools will break up for the summer holidays imminently, perhaps we can have a similarly brief respite from this bullsh*t?


In the absence of ‘Acewatch’, ‘Starwatch’ will have to suffice. It is an absolute doozy though. We promise.

‘Confirmed: Arsenal star to leave this summer after talks with Wenger,’ reads the headline on The Metro‘s website. Is it Mesut Ozil? Alexis Sanchez? Theo Walcott? Gunnersaurus?

The first paragraph from Sean Kearns reveals all (and makes little actual sense): ‘Dan Crowley will once leave Arsenal on loan this summer after being told by Arsene Wenger that he is not ‘physically ready’ to play in the Premier League.’

‘Arsenal youngsters to leave on loan’ is undoubtedly a less clicky headline.


Recommended reading of the day
The Guardian’s complete guide to Euro 2016.

Adrian Clarke on tactics in the 2015/16 Premier League.

Andrew Flint on the man who could change Russian football forever.

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