‘Spud-flogger’ Lineker urged not to ‘rub those balls’ as England coverage goes mental

Editor F365
Lineker Kane
Gary Lineker has responded to Harry Kane's response.

Over in Germany, the England press pack are losing their minds. Now they’re urging Gary Lineker to count his balls and pretending that Gareth Southgate would make ‘wholesale’ changes.


Balls to you, Gary Lineker
It’s really not often (ever) that the Daily Star leads the national discourse on anything at all, but my word are they flogging the crispy dead horse that is the Gary Lineker/Harry Kane spat that is not a spat at all.

It came about because Star journalist (he’s actually their Chief Crime Correspondent) Jerry Lawton asked if it was ‘helpful’ that Lineker described England’s performance as “sh*t” and ended his question to the England caption in very amusing fashion: “Do you think he should stick to flogging crisps?”

Kane answered really quite reasonably that those who had played for England (and incidentally won nothing) should know about the pressures of playing for England. Lineker has since called his response “fine”; story over, you might think.

Well of course not…

What a start. ‘SAINT Gary Lineker’ is excellent; why not just call him ‘woke’?

‘Crybaby’ is another brilliant word, because he really did seem very upset when he said this on his podcast:

“We’ve talked about this a few times about journalists not being brave enough to ask their own questions.

“It’s a guarantee that whoever that was would have been critical about it himself. I think they do it, A. to stir the pot and B. because they are too scared to ask questions from their own selves. So, I get it, it puts Harry on the spot, but I think he actually answered it fine.”

And that’s Lineker ‘blaming the world’s best newspaper’ though – and this seems important – he clearly had no clue who had asked the question.

On the Daily Star website, they reported the news in a manner that genuinely had Mediawatch up on its feet:

Crisp lover Gary Lineker has tried to pass the buck to Daily Star Sport over Harry Kane’s hard-hitting response to his scathing criticism.

Crisp lover? Amazing. Not ‘former England international’ or ‘BBC presenter’ but ‘crisp lover’. One of Britain’s most-loved and influential men reduced to the status of somebody who really likes slices of fried potato. Or at least likes the money they have earned him.

But hold your horses because this gets better:

The spud-flogger accused our reporter of “trying to stir the pot” and being “too scared to ask a question from their own selves” after England’s No.9 hit back at the former international.

The spud-flogger! All of the hats are off at this point. There are no more hats.

And the Star are clinging onto the idea that they are somehow at the centre of the news agenda, with Chief Sports Writer Jeremy Cross weighing in with his opinion after Kane’s response:

In other words, Gary, show us you’re England medals mate. Ooomph. Don’t rub those balls, count them instead. Kane’s message was clear.

Show us a better grasp of grammar, mate. But misquoting a Fred Trueman anecdote (“Don’t rub, lad. Count.”) is quite the self-own that you really have become entirely irrelevant.

Type ‘Lineker and ‘sh*t’ into Google, and one of the first things that comes up is when the ex-England striker had an unfortunate accident in his shorts on the pitch, while playing at the 1990 World Cup. Fast forward almost 25 years and Lineker might be sitting uncomfortably once again.

It’s nearly 35 years. We know this is the Star but this is English and Maths well short of Key Stage 2 level. And even an eight-year-old would not be so giddy about ‘rubbing balls’. And could at least count them…

👉 How did England go from ‘outstanding’ midfield three to Conor sodding Gallagher in 18 months?
👉 Conor Gallagher? England need a Busquets, not a Scotty Parker…
👉 Guardiola 6th), Howe 3rd): Ranking next England manager candidates on likelihood of appointment


Our expectations of the Star are pretty low but we expect better from the Telegraph. Perhaps we shouldn’t.

Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer double down as they take fresh swipe at Harry Kane

Did they? Genuinely, did they f***.

Here’s what Lineker said in the main:

“Could you imagine if we went on and said, ‘Well, actually, I thought they played really well’? We’d be lying, for a start. Because they didn’t play well. And Harry knows they didn’t play well.

“I understand where he says, ‘But they have responsibilities being ex-England players and they should know, they know what it’s like, it’s not like they’ve ever won anything’, or words to that effect.

“Fine. And he’s absolutely right.”

So Lineker said Kane was “absolutely right” while maintaining that England were indeed sh*t. And that’s a ‘fresh swipe at Harry Kane’? Behave.


How to make Conor Gallagher exciting…
We know by now that England will make one change for the clash against Slovenia, with Conor Gallagher coming in to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold. How did we get here?

It’s not exciting but it’s entirely predictable. Or – as the Mirror would have it – it’s a ‘controversial starting XI’ that’s been ‘leaked’.


Rip it up and start again…
‘Defiant Gareth Southgate refuses to rip up team with Phil Foden to start against Slovenia’ is the headline in the Telegraph.

Seriously, we have been pretty critical of England’s performances too, but expecting the England manager to ‘rip up’ a team that looks set to finish top of their Euro 2024 group is ludicrous.

Conor Gallagher is expected to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield but wholesale changes are unlikely for Tuesday’s Group C decider

No sh*t.


Trent out of shape
Initially, we were confused by anybody comparing Trent Alexander-Arnold to Kylian Mbappe because a) they play in entirely different positions and b) are entirely different players…

…and then we realised that Hamzah Khalique-Loonat really is not ready to let go of his idea – from The Times in November 2023 – that ‘Trent Alexander-Arnold is last piece of England’s midfield jigsaw’. Let it go, fella. Let it go. Doesn’t that feel good?