Mediawatch: Wilshere’s photo doesn’t talk, weirdly

Daniel Storey

Exclusive (in this country)
The future of former England captain Wayne Rooney understandably dominates the back pages of the papers on Wednesday, but it was the Daily Mail who raised the most eyebrows. They claim an ‘exclusive’ on the claim that Rooney could join DC United in MLS.

Mediawatch would be a lot more inclined to believe that claim of an exclusive if we hadn’t read the Washington Post’s identical story two hours before the Mail published their piece online. Or indeed before anyone else in the UK.

Number of credits for the Washington Post by English newspapers: None.

Suddenly the unwritten rules have gone out of the window when they aren’t in your gang?


Make your mind up
On the inside back page of the Daily Mail, Martin Keown offers his own thoughts on Rooney’s future. It’s fair to say that Keown can’t quite make up his mind.

‘I understand why Wayne Rooney would find a move to the United States attractive – but he is still good enough for the Premier League,’ Keown begins. This sounds categorical.

‘It never sits well with me when a player makes this kind of move when they have more to give. We saw it with David Beckham and Thierry Henry.

‘Some argue that Rooney has too many miles on the clock. When he left Manchester United last year, the doubters said he was finished. He proved those people wrong with a strong start to the season. His goal from inside his own half against West Ham showed he is still capable of producing magic moments.

‘He remains Everton’s top scorer with 10. Take away his goals and assists and Everton would be eight points worse off. Without Rooney’s contribution they would have been looking over their shoulders for a lot longer.’

Fair enough. Mediawatch would make the point that Beckham and Henry had very different body types to Rooney, and repeat its line from yesterday about the flaws in the ‘take off his goals and assists’ argument. We would also say that it isn’t as simple as ‘stay here, Wayne’. He has to find a club that are prepared to give him both massive wages and significant match time.

Still, Keown has his point; he thinks Rooney must stay in the Premier League. Except that by the sixth paragraph, Keown himself has lost faith:

‘The goals have dried up under Sam Allardyce and maybe he no longer feels he has that hunger in his belly.

‘Rooney has achieved everything he possibly could in the English game. He is the record goalscorer for both Manchester United and England. There is nothing left for him to prove.’

And by paragraph 10, Keown is talking up the move to MLS:

‘This has not been an easy homecoming at Everton. It has been a season of struggle with three different managers and the fans have been booing their team.

‘The club may want one of their biggest earners off the wage bill and maybe Rooney feels moving to America is the easier road to take.

‘It would allow him to step out of the English spotlight and give his family more privacy.’

So Rooney should stay in the Premier League because this season has gone well, but it has been ‘a season of struggle’ and moving to America would help him? To the Chinese Super League it is.


Spotted dick
Mediawatch has a fascination with the Mirror Football’s tactic of producing ‘5 things we spotted’ features based on a number of images taken from a subscription image bank. The fascination is that anyone would actually read them and that Mirror Football stick with them even when it undersells the access they get thanks to actual journalists.

Even by the usual standards, Wednesday’s ‘5 things we spotted as Arsenal train ahead of Arsene Wenger’s penultimate game in charge of the Gunners’ – again based on five Getty photos – is a cracker.

The list in full:
1) Santi Cazorla was there.
2) Konstantinos Mavropanos was there.
3) Mesut Ozil was not there.
4) Jack Wilshere was there.
5) Per Mertesacker was there.

Actually, that’s not entirely fair. Because Mirror Football clearly have superhuman powers of deduction. From an image of Wilshere stood with a ball in one hand (see above), they have concluded: ‘Jack Wilshere’s long-term future at Arsenal is still undecided.’

Well yes, it’s a photo. It doesn’t talk.


Today’s crowbarred Sun feature: Raheem Sterling’s clothes
Featuring such cringeworthy lines as:

‘A MIX of bold ideas and flair might be a good way to describe Manchester City’s football under Pep Guardiola this season. But you could apply the same description to Raheem Sterling’s fashion choices.’

‘When Sterling isn’t earning PFA Young Player of the Year nominations, he’s mixing up designer threads with high street choices that fill his Instagram page.’

‘And the flying winger is so interested in fashion he even dresses his one-year-old son Thiago in tiny outfits by designers labels like Moschino.’

‘Sterling is known for his speedy skills on the pitch, but sometimes he enjoys a casual kick around with his pals.’

‘What we love about Sterling is his down to earth dressing – the footballer likes to mix the high and the low.’

Certainly not the way he buys houses for his mother, eh guys? We’re just surprised that anyone would want to base their fashion choices on a ‘footie idiot’.


Mark Hughes: Never stop being Mark Hughes
It may interest you to know that Mark Hughes did not shake the hand of Swansea City manager Carlos Carvalhal at full-time at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday evening. His post-match celebrations were so wild that it must have slipped his mind.

So guess which current Premier League manager said this about then-Watford manager Walter Mazzarri, who had failed to shake his hand after a match:

“I think he just forgot for a brief moment what we do over here, win, lose or draw. It is something maybe the foreign managers don’t always do and they need reminding it is something we do over here. Mind you, British managers are in a minority these days so maybe we shouldn’t expect it.”

There’s so many bloody foreigners coming over here that even the natives are forgetting how to behave.


Charlie Sale is a bad, bad grass
‘Sky Sports La Liga host David Garrido brazenly used social media during his presenting shift of the clasico in Barcelona on Sunday to promote his new personal Spanish football podcast, La Liga Lowdown.

‘Sky, who have lost Spanish league TV rights from next season, are sure to take a dim view of one of their staff advertising his own business during office hours without permission.

‘As will La Liga, if Garrido, who is also a Sky Sports News host, hasn’t checked over their registered brand name restrictions. A Sky Sports spokesman said: “We will be reminding David of his responsibilities.”‘

Studio host sends tweet from personal account while not live on air. Send him to the gallows.


Someone get Trip Advisor on the phone
‘It was not the best way to create positive first impressions of Morocco’s World Cup bid when the albeit charming organisers – at their own expense – flew a UK media party into Casablanca when the tour was kicking off in Marrakesh – two-and-a-half hours away by car – which has frequent flights from London’ – Charlie Sale, Daily Mail.

Somehow, Mediawatch doesn’t think that a group of journalists on a free jaunt having to be driven in a car is going to be what swings the hosting decision.


Click on our content
‘Premier League 2017/18 table: Super computer predicts end of season final standings,’ reads the headline on It was actually published on Tuesday afternoon and has Southampton to be relegated, which isn’t a strong start to their 20-page gallery, each with a unique URL.

But it’s the fifth paragraph of the piece that Mediawatch enjoyed most:

‘The table should obviously be taken with a pinch of salt.’

Which begs the question of just how super that computer is, and why on earth you published it.


Zing of the day

You have to say that’s magnificent.


Weirdest headline phrasing of the day
‘City keeper Ederson shows dedication to gods by getting entire leg tattooed’ – The Sun.

Breaking: Ederson signs long-term contract with Christianity.


Recommended reading of the day
Daniel Taylor on the Chelsea racism scandal.

Adam Bate on Harry Kane.

Steve Madeley on West Brom.