You know it’s a slow news day when… ‘Klopp oversees Liverpool training while his top stars are away on international duty ahead of trip to face Tottenham at Wembley’ – Mail Sport.
Man does his literal job.
‘Jamie Redknapp takes chilly dip in sea with dad Harry and sons Beau and Charles’ – Sun Football.
Honestly, a former footballer and current pundit going in the sea is not news.
Grumpy old men If Mediawatch said the phrase ‘words stitched onto players’ boots’ to you, what would your reaction be? Would you a) shrug, b) ask the phrase to be repeated because you’ve never even given it a second’s thought or c) get visibly angry? If your answer is c), go get a room with Stan Collymore.
‘For Harry Kane to have an inscription on his boots commemorating his achievement in winning the World Cup was fair enough,’ begins the Daily Mirror’s official moral arbiter. He’s an odd choice, granted.
‘But for Jordan Pickford to have ‘Get the rave on’ etched into his footwear, I would say tone it down and be ultra-professional, because you haven’t done enough yet.’
Is there anyone who actually cares what Pickford – or any other England player – has stitched into his boots? As long as it isn’t ‘Southgate’s a bad nonce’ then we’re not sure it’s a story. At all.
‘I have never understood the penchant for having children’s names, psalms or sayings on boots.
‘Pickford and others like him are just leaving themselves wide open to barbs the minute they make a mistake.’
Allow us to change that: Pickford and others like him are leaving themselves wide open to barbs from unreasonably opinionated columnists determined to link what they consider to be unacceptably modern affectations with on-pitch form the minute they make a mistake.
Actually getting angry enough about someone having the name of their kid on their boots to write a national newspaper column about it. F*cking hell.
Chief Grumpypants II returns It’s day two of Neil Ashton’s England grumpiness in The Sun. Yes yes, we reached the World Cup semi-final, but now we’re rubbish again you see.
‘THEY are in desperate need of some forward thinking,’ Ashton begins.
‘Gareth Southgate, struggling to name players with international pedigree in his England squad, needs goals against Switzerland.
‘Harry Kane is rested, exhausted after being flogged for club and country over the past three seasons.
‘Marcus Rashford, who scored against Spain on Saturday but has hardly featured for Manchester United this season and Danny Welbeck, with 21 minutes in an Arsenal shirt under Unai Emery, start in an experimental line-up.
‘This will not be remembered as a vintage period for England strikers.’
Well, apart from the striker who became only the second England player to win the World Cup Golden Boot? And who has scored 84 times in the last three Premier League seasons.
Not for the first time, Ashton harks on about England’s striker options in the 1990s as if it anyone thinks our strength in depth is better now. But here’s the thing, Neil: We won bugger all then too.
England play with one central striker. England have one of the best central strikers in the world. England just reached the World Cup semi-final with the current crop of strikers. It’s not all bad.
Shaw thing As well as being angry about names on boots, Stan Collymore is also annoyed that Luke Shaw could get a new contract at Manchester United before the end of the season. Let him explain:
‘Reports yesterday said that Luke Shaw was in line for a new deal at Manchester United but, frankly, that’s the last thing that should be on his mind right now.
Does signing a new contract really put a player off his football? Surely Shaw not having signed a new contract – thus increasing the uncertainty surrounding his future – would cause more distraction?
‘He should only be concerning himself with getting his head down and playing as much football as possible between now and the end of the season.’
‘He needs to play football now, and at the end of the season he’ll know if he’s at the right club and playing for the right manager.’
That’s lovely, but Shaw is out of contract at the end of the season. There’s no way Manchester United can just agree to park it until June 2019 without risk losing a £30m signing for nothing. So they will offer a new deal, and Shaw will have to consider it. We reckon he can manage that and playing football.
Just one thing ‘Paul Pogba’s Juventus return dependent on one thing as speculation continues over Manchester United star’s future,’ reads the rather wordy headline on Mirror Football on Tuesday morning.
Mediawatch was immediately able to think of three things, so we read on with some confusion:
‘Paul Pogba ‘s future remains a source of intense speculation with Juventus now reportedly set on bringing the French midfielder back to Turin.
‘Manchester United star’s relationship with Jose Mourinho appears to be frosty with the 25-year-old called on to replicate his form from the World Cup with France.
‘Tuttosport have spoken to high-profile agents for insight on how the Pogba saga will end, and now report there is just one obstacle to solve to ensure Pogba’s return: the financial package.’
Ah yes, that small hurdle of ‘the financial package’. So just Manchester United to agree to sell and name a price, Juventus to agree to – and be able to afford – that price and Juventus and Pogba to agree on wages and image rights. And that’s without mentioning Barcelona’s likely interest.
One of a kind Mediawatch entirely agrees with Ian Wright that we must not build up any player to be the ‘new Paul Gascoigne’ because of the unnecessary pressure it creates:
‘GARETH SOUTHGATE was spot on when he said England haven’t had a player to touch Gazza for 50 years.
‘What we mustn’t do is constantly build up our hopes that another will appear, because it ain’t happening. Not now, probably not ever.
‘That may come as a brutal shock to some but it’s a fact. You won’t get a player like Paul Gascoigne again because he was a one-off.
‘Just as George Best was. The same with Kenny Dalglish, Lionel Messi and the true greats. All absolute superstars but all totally unique talents.’
Still, this is the same Ian Wright who said before the 2014 World Cup:
“Who can do a Gazza? You have to look at Ross Barkley and Lallana. I’d say Lallana because of the way he has reacted to the pressure he has been under.
“He came into the squad as a creative player, having a great season for Southampton, and played the way people want you to play for England.
“Gazza didn’t play any kind of major football before that. Gazza didn’t care, he just played football.
“I get that same impression from Lallana. If there’s the opportunity to go past somebody, he’ll do it. If he gets an opportunity to score, he’ll finish well.”
At least he’s now learnt his lesson.
Ready, to rise again Mediawatch did enjoy the following headline on Mirror Football on Tuesday: ‘Harry Maguire’s incredible rise: From carrying kit in black bin bags to World Cup semi-final’.
He carried those bin bags to England training in August 2017. Pretty sure Maguire’s rise didn’t start there.
Exclusive of the day ‘Chelsea could lose Cesc Fabregas on free transfer with Serie A giants circling – EXCLUSIVE’ – Express Sport.
Express Sport appear to have found Jean-Marc Bosman’s Wikipedia page.
Worst intro of the day ‘Liverpool star Sadio Mane was shocked and saddened after one person died and two were critically injured in a stampede at a football stadium in Madagascar’ – David Maddock, Daily Mirror.
Not every story needs a Liverpool angle. Especially if you haven’t got any quotes from Mane.
Recommended reading of the day David Squires on the international break.
Donald McRae with Marvin Sordell.
Adam Bate on Tom Davies.
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