Tag Archives: Wayne Rooney

Quarter Final 4: Review

You may notice that the timing of this post hasn’t been consistent with the others, it’s a day late. That day was a day of mourning as England slumped out to a lively Italian team.

After spending an appropriate amount of time going through denial (‘there shouldn’t even be penalties anymore’), anger (‘give me Ashley Young’s address now!’), depression (reliving every penalty knockout of my life), and acceptance (watching the ’66 final) – I am ready to give my verdict on yet another (deserved) quarter final defeat. Let’s stick with the numbered list theme, say fourteen. Hey that’s just how many players we used…

1. Joe Hart – Had a good tournament in terms of not conceding many, but still isn’t as good as everyone raves. Has hardly been tested throughout the tournament and then floundered when he was. Nasri’s goal was weak, was saved by the linesman against Ukraine, and suffered the same old problem against Italy that has always made me think he’s part of the spillage people. Great to see his confidence going into the penalties though.

Verdict – England have no one better and he could/should keep this position for the next 15 years, just stop going on about his greatness until he actually shows some.

2. Ashley Cole – He is still the best left back in the world. Still quick, still overlapping, still always in the correct position – you can’t ask for more. He got his penalty on target so can have no complaints about that.

Verdict – If he stays fit could become a super-veteran in the Road to Rio. Deserves to get his 100 caps.

3. Joleon Lescott – Pretty solid all round. Excellent in the air and pretty reliable, even got a goal. Can get a bit carried away on the ball but generally keeps it in check.

Verdict – Nearly 30, he isn’t the long term solution to replacing Rio and Terry but should keep the position for a while longer.

I’m not saying anything

4. John Terry – Outstanding with consistency. Patriotic like a lion and firmer at the back than a So Solid Crew branded brick. Saved England against Ukraine, gives confidence to others around him, and made Balotelli question the meaning of life when he flew in front of his shot. If he could have only grabbed a goal from a corner in that game he could be the ultimate hero.

Verdict – Regardless of his impending court case, Terry should probably end his time with England now. Would be great to see him get involved in a coaching capacity though.

5. Glen Johnson – Seems to have divided opinions, by that I mean everyone hates him and I think he’s alright. Initially put down in public opinion by the fact he wasn’t the arrogant Kyle Walker or the man-baby Micah Richards, Glen has actually had a great tournament. Throughout the four games, he played stand-in sweeper for the other three numerous times and neutralised many threats this way. He tries risky passes and gives the ball away, but who didn’t against Italy.

Verdict – His chance to score against Italy was incredibly difficult and he isn’t a striker. A lot of shots didn’t happen because of Johnson, you don’t get that with Walker.

6. Ashley Young – Villain of the entire competition for me. Just how did he end up playing so badly in every game? Early on in the first game he put Milner through on goal then – nothing. He actually defended better than I thought he could but as for creating chances, he never looked like beating a man. I wasn’t enthralled by Young’s great start to his Man United career because I felt Rooney was the root of it. I stand by what I said then; Young will only play well if his link up is playing well.

Verdict – I don’t want him gone, but he needs to pull out his friendly form when it matters for England. Looked better when playing in the center.

7. Scott Parker – Parker did exactly what everyone expected. Ragdolled in front of the back four blocking shots, harrying opposition attackers, and looking increasingly lost the further past the halfway line he ran. He did it well for 75-80 minutes and then suddenly England never having the ball would really take its toll and he would run outta puff.

Verdict – It’s a shame his career took the path that it did. He could’ve been a regular for England but it’s time to call it quits now.

8. Steven Gerrard – ‘Captain Fantastic’ was just that for England’s group games. Deadly passing and crossing mixed with determined defending was a perfect example for his team. But all that energy took its toll on Gerrard and he found himself struggling against Italy. Unable to support in attacks and with legs cramping up, you would still have to tranquillize him before you could sub him off.

Verdict – England’s player of the tournament’s best performances have unfortunately come when his body could no longer keep up. Will be his last major competition but could bow out by getting England to Brazil.

Follow all his examples. Bar this.

9. James Milner – With Young being useless Milner showed his great love of symmetry. I’ve inquired why we play the Man City wideman to various fans and they all assure me it’s because he can defend as well. ‘as well’ as what? Running around like an inebriated bull can only do so much, and apparently that doesn’t include crossing or passing.

Verdict – Since when did England become so scared of their opponents that we only play one winger? Get him out and start attacking from the first minute not just when Walcott comes on.

10. Wayne Rooney – Oh Wazza… what happened? You didn’t play for five weeks because you were banned or you were in a coma? That new hair is doing you absolutely no favours when trying to head a ball that isn’t already on the goal line, and your feet could do with an implant of more toes so you could control the ball. Came in deep and passed well early on but that’s vanilla, especially when he pretty much lost the ball every time later on. Roy has even had to defend his fitness he played that poorly.

Verdict – The closest England has to a world class player he’ll be fine in the future and eager to prove himself on the big stage. We should never forget how he let us down with that red card all those months ago though.

11. Danny Welbeck – Was yet to convince me going into the game, as he often leaves an ant sized footprint on a game before Carroll takes his place. But he played well against Italy, winning balls, linking play, and even defending admirably. Still reminds me of Darren Bent in terms of goals though; he can run fast but needs you to put it on a plate before he’ll score.

Verdict – Great to know that England have players like this that can only get better. Will be interesting how his career and partnership with Rooney develops over the next two years.

12. 13. 14. Andy Carroll, Theo Walcott, Jordan Henderson – All had good tournaments. Perhaps the Liverpool pair were lucky to play considering their season (although Henderson had a good season) but they looked comfortable at this level for youngsters. Walcott unintentionally has made himself England’s impact sub forever and if he wants it to change he needs to improve his stamina. Carroll has something that no defence can deal with, he just needs a good supply line, and Henderson could end up being the next Scott Parker…

Verdict – All promising, especially if their club form improves. Maybe at the next tournament we’ll pass them the ball!

In terms of the game, England were second best. If I had to give reasons I would utter two words that make teams the world over shudder in fear – Andrea Pirlo.

I understand Roo, he’s only seven years older than you

On the face of it he represented England’s problem on the night. His seemingly simple movement found him always between the lines where he could produce incredibly dangerous plays with ease. The ultimate enemy of the 4-4-2, his deep lying position put him in a gap that England couldn’t cover.

It would drag Gerrard and Parker too far out, and the forwards too far back. For me it should have been Rooney’s job, you could even hear Neville shouting at Rooney to keep an eye on him but in the end he was given far too much influence. His Czechoslovakian penalty in the shootout embodied his experience, composure, and ludicrous stamina.

Pirlo represents England’s problem on a much bigger level too – they have no one like him. Some teams have one, some have benches full, we have none. And until we do, we are destined to always play the ‘bad football’, always be the underdog, and always go out on penalties.

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3 Ways Clubs Could Handle the Re-Recession

It’s all about ‘dem dolla’ in the leagues (and world) right now. Sir Alex wants more money from television sales, Liverpool want more money from making their own television sales, the government want more money from the F.A, and the F.A want more money in the league. Meanwhile all the Football League clubs that make up the £600 million losses just wish they didn’t owe so much money.

With the collective club debt sitting at a mammoth £3.5 BILLION what is a chairman or manager to do? Here’s some ideas…

Make and Sell Some Art

Art = Cash, it’s as simple as that. In the Premier League we have some of the most creative thinking minds tactically and physically. I’m not saying if you took the ball away from the Britannia Stadium it would look like choreographed dance, but who wouldn’t want to know the inner workings of Tony Pulis?

Despite Blackburn’s new chicken-rearing backers, gaffer Steve Kean thought to put it upon his own artistic talents to add to the transfer kitty with a drawing of a squirrel.

£53 isn't bad for a Ronaldo caricature

But why stop there? Who wouldn’t want to see the personal reflections of the dancers in the great showpiece that is football? As hard as it is to get complex minds such as Titus Bramble and Alex to open up, a few players have delved into the renaissance art form of self-portraiture. From the Puzzled David James…

…to the pac-man headed Wayne Rooney…

That chunk out of his head does explain his red card somewhat

Masterpieces, I’m sure you’ll agree. Though it does have to be noted that all of these pieces were done with charity in mind; an honorable reason to whip out the sharpie. Despite similar claims from the next on the list, I think someone’s just looking to make a quick buck…

Sell Bits of Your Club

The problem with crafting a master piece if you’re a chairman is that you have no talents at all, just deceptively shallow pockets. But why go through all the emotional pain of creating art when you’re surrounded by it at the club?

Mike Ashley has to be the king of cheap ways to make money, and when a disgruntled toon fan told him he was ‘selling the club’s name’ a lightbulb flickered to life…

It reads like a very expensive and very predictable game of countdown

Ashley decided he’d flog the Magpie’s club sign from the East Stand. Think how many times clubs have sold turf and kits, and after a hundred years or so most people know which ground they’re at anyway! Ashley even demonstrated excellent time management by using the ‘N’ and ‘E’ photos twice, talk about natural business acumen.

For all the Newcastle faithful out there, you have until Sunday. May I suggest the second ‘N’ too, seeing as it’s £2290 cheaper than the first (what are Geordies like aye?).

Sell Your Personal Belongings

Now obviously the players’ belongings are always being sold; boots, caps, mangled Ferraris etc. But how often do we get a piece of managerial clobber to paw over? As usual, the clear thinking Germans were on to this idea with ‘cucumber-cool’, Joachim Low recently selling his iconic blue jumper for €1 million.

Meh, it was a present from Mrs.Low anyway...

The lucky jumper was worn during the 4 goal hidings of Australia, England and Argentina. Just think how many tens of pennies the F.A could get for McClaren’s umbrella and coat? Especially considering Guy Fawkes night is approaching…

With the way things are going financially, don’t be surprised to see a few Grant Holt oil paintings, Maynor Figueroa origami scuptures and Roy Hodgson dancing shoes crop up to pay for transfers this winter.

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Capello’s Regressive Team Taught a Lesson in Passion

I ‘got my English on’ for what should’ve been a qualify inducing win; a microwave curry, German beer, even a hoody and tracksuit bottoms – all the things England is built on. But before I could purchase a horribly inbred Bulldog and complete the package, I noticed England’s lineup and my heart sank.

Montenegro are defiantly a team to treat with respect. Just Mirko Vucinic commands respect, let alone the away win against Bulgaria and the draw at Wembley. I think England gave too much respect with their starting eleven though, and that’s not the only thing that disappointed me about the team sheet.

I haven’t enjoyed England’s qualifiers thus far. Even when we’ve won comfortably it feels more like the caliber of the opponents controlling the scoreline, rather than our ability. The naive hope of an enjoyable game rose in me before this tie however, perhaps because it was to be the final step to qualification, perhaps because I knew there would be goals. This hope was given a open-handed slap by the lineup straight away.

I felt like a beachball at Merseyside. (deflated)

It was the two men in the middle that saddened me initially. Look Capello, I know two holding midfield players are in vogue right now, and have been for a few years, but they aren’t for us – they are for teams who are capable of passing the ball, or endlessly attacking with it. The World Cup in South Africa demonstrated the value of the central two: Busquets and Alonso for Spain, van Bommel and de Jong for Holland, Arevalo Rios and Perez (or Gargano) for Uruguay – the list goes on in terms of international success, but not for us.

I don’t rate Barry very highly. He showed me all he’d ever need to when Germany beat England 4-1; Barry sticking perfectly to the 30 yards Oezil was in at all times without ever getting near him was impressive. I understand the need for a defensive midfielder with someone who supports the attack a la Gerrard or Lampard, but with neither of them starting tonight he is a bit meaningless, as is Parker. Surely Lampard, after a fantastic game for Chelsea against Bolton, deserved a game? Failing that, Milner (who actually has a future) would have been great to see.

Even though selection risks should have been kept at a relative minimum for such an important game, they were far too conservative. There was barely any sight of England’s future in the starting eleven. Joe Hart isn’t giving a chance to a youngster – he’s the only good English keeper! Walcott is there because Aaron Lennon forgot how to play. Yes, Young is moving into England’s eleven nicely but as opposed to who? In fact, I was desperately disappointed not to see Adam Johnson not used at all.

England Soulessly took a two goal lead in the first 35 minutes, Walcott and Young looking both like a promising partnership and individually impressing. This could be because they were the only attacking players; Rooney playing deep, and Bent pushing the line both disappearing into ball retention.

Has it come to this?

Phil Jones made his international debut which was a progressive move. Without being too cynical, I’d rather he didn’t though. In the end he played well, but there were some hairy penalty moments. I know United fans enjoy his marauding runs up field, but it’s something I would look to cut out of his game. That could be bitterness due to him being caught drastically out of position for Montenegro’s first goal.

Not that it mattered as Terry and Cahill decided it was acceptable to let the hero from Sofia, Zverotic, chest the ball down, let it bounce, then take a pop. After the game J.T said Capello blamed the goal on the first half being too easy for England. Well if it was so easy maybe the Three Lions should have scored a few more to pass the time.

Montenegro played well, never letting their head’s drop and playing good, probing football around England’s box, constantly testing the defense. With a man down (I’ll get there) the goal was coming, a combination of skill and drive forcing it in the net.

After a delightfully skillful turn by playmaker Simon Vukcevic, Cole decided the promising Man City youngster Stefan Savic didn’t need marking and left him to put in a cross. He didn’t let Ca$hley down, a looping backpost cross that left Hart looking incompetent, was headed in by a determined Delibasic.

I wasn’t remotely upset by the equaliser for several reasons. Firstly England were still going to qualify top so it didn’t affect that, and secondly because England didn’t deserve the win, and I wanted Capello and co to know that. But more importantly, I didn’t mind the goal because I was delighted for the Montenegrins.

As the players bundled into the crowd I saw genuine passion overtake sense. England celebrated like they expected it, Montenegro celebrated like they’d earned it.

Scoring for your country or completing a tax return form?

The ex-Yugoslavs didn’t just trump England’s passion out of play though – just look at the way Delibasic wants to get on the ball more than Cahill for the equaliser. He knows to head the ball in he is going to hit the post at full speed, but was anyone else going to win that ball? Definitely not. Perhaps Paul Ince wasn’t far off the mark after all.

Eclipsing all these points in the headlines will be Wayne Rooney, whos old self resurfaced to ‘do’ a Beckham 1998. I cannot emphasise enough how big a fool he is. For me, he is one of the current greats along with Messi, Xavi and co. But to remain in their league he’s got to cut this petulance out.

I don’t mind his natural aggression and the odd yellow but he needs to handle his frustrations. I’ve seen Messi in Argentinian colours pounding the floor when decisions go against him, I’ve seen him express displeasure to team mates after failed passes, but I’ve never seen him jeopardise his team’s chances like Rooney has (2005 doesn’t count at all).

Despite Capello trying to stop me enjoying the game (switching to a defensive 4-5-1 after an hour? Are you fucking kidding me?), I did enjoy it and I hope that team do well in the Finals. Montenegro that is.

Oh, I went there

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