Tag Archives: England

My England Squad

12 May

On the undercard for tomorrow’s season finale is the small matter of who is going to go to represent England at the 2012 European Championships, under Roy Hodgson‘s stewardship.

Roy Hodgson as a head coach of Fulham F.C. Рус...

Uncle Roy – Decision time.

As an England fan, as many of our readers here, I’m sure squad predictions are flying about everywhere. So going on the basis of a 22 man squad, here is the squad I would take:

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Scott Carson, Fraser Forster.

Defenders: Micah Richards, Kyle Walker, John Terry, Phil Jagielka, Joleon Lescott, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines.

Midfield: Aaron Lennon, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Scott Parker, Gareth Barry, Ashley Young, Adam Johnson

Forwards: Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Danny Welbeck, Peter Crouch.

Now, there probably isn’t too many surprise inclusions and exclusions in that list, yet there probably is enough flexibility to utilise both 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 systems.

The exclusion of Andy Carroll and Darren Bent is quite obvious. Carroll has been poor all season, and two decent games now shouldn’t merit a place in the squad. Unfortunately Darren Bent has been injured for the majority of this season, thus he shouldn’t be risked taking.

With regards to Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, club level inconsistency’s and genuine lack of playing time can’t warrant international inclusion, and in my opinion they are very much over-hyped, particularly the former. Nevertheless they will both probably be in contention for the next major tournament as the ‘new breed’ of English players shines through.

Theo Walcott is a tricky one – pace is always needed in big competitions, but again his performances this season have fluctuated. Although if any absences in attack or midfield up until the tournament initiation, he and James Milner would be the first to call, with the latter missing my squad narrowly due to better options ahead of him, despite his obvious versatility.

Grant Holt also misses out, despite scoring 16 goals this season. He has been a revelation but a lack of top flight experience and big-game play on a consistent basis may lead him to be overawed in Poland. I also left out Danny Sturridge as in my eyes, it was a pick 2 of 3 situation also regarding Defoe and Welbeck, and sided with the goal-scoring prowess and experience of the latter two.

Now looking at it, its extremely hard to speculate which squad should head out. On reviewing, the likes of Barry and Terry being in the squad makes me feel a bit sick knowing that I’ve slated them most of the year – yet I’d take them to the Euro’s. But then again, I’m not Roy Hodgson. I’m just some bloke who got Burnley winning the Champions League in Football Manager. Ahem.
Comments and predictions welcome.

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Years Too Late

19 Apr

The introduction of goal-line technology has been an extremely hot topic for the last few years. The numerous counts of incidents that queried whether the ball had actually crossed the white-line, or stayed out is increasing week on week, with the latest issue being at Wembley this previous weekend. Put it this way, England could have been World Cup Winners 2010, if it weren’t for that infamous moment in Bloemfontein. (Well, you get my point)

Martin Atkinson - Amidst it all

I feel for Spurs, I really do (despite what some readers feel about my opinion). They outplayed Chelsea for much of the 1st half, and went down to a wonder goal. The second goal was very much debatable to say the least. From this moment onwards, the contest was near enough over, despite Gareth Bale’s tap in.  Juan Mata’s follow-up to a goal line scramble was deemed to have crossed the line by referee Martin Atkinson, despite no signal from his assistant referee.

Now, from a personal viewpoint, I don’t particularly know what the assistant referee’s do. Quite frankly, they run up and down the touch-line, deciding whether players are offside or onside. And to be truthful, they don’t even get that right half the time. And with all the hustle and bustle of what’s going on inside the penalty box, they’re usually no assistance in deciding goal-line discrepancy.

But I have sympathy for referees and officials. There is a lot going on, and when the ball is in mid-air its difficult to judge in a split second whether it’s a goal or not. It’s all well and good for the ITV commentary team to run the rule over the situation – they have a TV monitor in front of them. So what are the solutions?

Some have mooted that on these decisions, the 4th official should report to the referee from a touch-line monitor to which a decision can be made. But that would make the game a lot clunkier, and less fluent.

In my opinion, the best option would be some form of alert device, which would signal a ‘bell’ into the referee’s earpiece if the ball is to have crossed the line. This would probably utilise some form of technology on the goal line and the ball itself. This way, the only way the referee can get it wrong is if he were deaf.

What I don’t want to see is a review of every debatable decision that happens in 90 minutes. I don’t want to see referee’s using TV replays to decide whether a booking was suffice for the last challenge, or whether the player was actually offside. Bar the obvious stop and start flaw that would preside with this mechanism, all kinds of pub talk and post-match debate will stop.

Football is a game of decisions, not just from the players and managers, but the referee’s as well. Take that away and our beautiful game just wouldn’t be the same.

Goal-line technology yes. Everything else no.

Comments welcome

Redknapp’s Ramblings

18 Apr

Here we go again. Harry’s under pressure, so he initiates talking about players that don’t belong to him. News? Not really, just ‘Arry up to his old tricks again.

Harry Redknapp - gloomy times.

Rolling back the clock to January time, Newcastle’s number 19 Demba Ba was basking in the glory of putting in goals with ease. His stock had risen like a star this season, with his name being linked to prestigious moves away due to his goal scoring exploits.

Enter Harry Redknapp. Good old Harry decided that it was in his best interest to stir up some trouble at a press conference. His comments in a nutshell, were that ‘Ba has a £7million release clause’. Till this day, that clause hasn’t been proven, nor refuted, but just goes to show the extent to which Redknapp will go to de-rail derail any promise shown from rival clubs. Yet the FA do nothing for this ‘tapping-up’, no surprise there, but we will come back to this later.

The second case of Redknapp talking about other players was just last week. But this time, it’s not Demba Ba in form. Its Stephane Sessegnon of Sunderland and Hatem Ben Arfa, our fleet-footed winger. Redknapp claimed that ‘he could have signed them before they went elsewhere’ are only going to unsettle the players. And comparing them to his very own squad publicly? Well, that just goes to show the professionalism of Mr. Redknapp.

What old dogface seems to have forgotten after all the court proceedings is there was a similar incident regarding Luka Modric in the summer; except the tables were turned. Modric was linked heavily with moves away – predominantly Chelsea. But Redknapp’s overrated ‘play-maker’ was forced to stay after Chelsea were accused of ‘tapping-up’, with even the FA and footballing bodies pouncing to get involved. But when the coins flipped and it is Redknapp doing the talking, well we can all turn a blind to eye to it, can’t we? After all, its ‘Arry of course.

I wonder if the same happens with Bale this summer. Mind you, England probably beckons for Harry. And as for Spurs? Well, years of financial instability await, particularly if the club fail to get Champions League. And the best part of it all? Newcastle are level on points with Spurs this season.

Have some of that Harry.

Comments welcome.

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The African Cup of Nations

13 Apr

Although the competition occurred nearly 3 months ago, it has had a significant bearing on the outcome of teams in England’s top division. Taking my club for example, Newcastle had to do without the likes of Cheik Tiote, Demba Ba, and Papiss Cisse to for a period of games. Three of our most valuable assets taken away for the best part of a month, despite a hectic domestic campaign where games were coming thick and fast, could have been extremely detrimental to our season, albeit our form didn’t suffer too much.

As much as I respect a competition to decide the top dog on the continent, much like as we have the European Championships. I do however have an issue, as I’m sure many fans with their club-hats on would do.

African Cup of Nations

Firstly, the competition is scheduled in the winter of European clubs. This causes havoc for the domestic calendar, with many top players missing important league and cup games. I’m not sure what the reasoning behind the timing of such an event, but why can they not just push the tournament into the summer like the rest of the world. Little do the organisers care that the ACoN has a large bearing on the outcome of many clubs season, simply due to the timing of the competition. For example, our top scorer Demba Ba has looked a shadow of the player pre-tournament, albeit playing in a more reserved position.

Secondly, the frequency of the tournament is extremely frustrating. It apparently is scheduled to occur every other year. This is twice the frequency of every other continental competition such as the European Championships, Copa America etc. And now the news is that the ACoN will occur next year too. Reasoning? To not clash in the same year as the Euro’s so it will not be occurring in ‘odd years’. One would think that the winter and summer time don’t usually clash in terms of a footballing calendar, especially when the players involved aren’t involved in both tournaments.

Demba Ba - Form dipped since ACoN

I can’t think of many justifications for the scheduling of the competition, with the only factors I can think of is the financial implications and the weather. There may be a possibility that the tournament would receive less coverage, and thus less finance from television and a worldwide audience had it clashed with other major tournaments. With regards to the weather, I’m no geographer but one could only imagine that the soaring heat in the African summers would potentially be dangerous to the players’ welfare – fair enough. But surely a continent of such magnitude would have a variation in the temperatures. A little research into the average climate of Gabon (co-host of ACoN 2012), is that it is statically warmer in the winter than the summer.

Don’t get me wrong, the African Cup of Nations is a continental tournament withholding the same prestige and honours as the European Championships, showcasing some of the world’s best players – it is a spectacle for all. I avidly keep check of matches in the competition, paying particular attention to the games my boys are involved in.

As much as I can understand a nation’s pride in being the best in the continent – it can wait until the summer surely?

Comments welcome.

Euro 2012 : Hope And Despair?

23 Mar

So, to kick my first real post off, I’d like to talk about England’s Euro 2012 chances. First of all, I’m an avid Englishman as much as the next guy. That is, I get as excited in the pre-tournament buildup slogging down wagers for us to be relatively successful, but as soon as the first cockup occurs, I rain down on my side with a barrage of insults about how they’re overpaid granny-sleeping, adulterous racist maggots.

The truth is, I want England to do well. I want them to win, I expect them to do well. But I know they won’t. Which leads me to think – why is it such an English supporters trademark to be known as some of the best fans in the world, but at the same time gun them down at every oppurtunity?

The red-tops will shoot down the national side despite win, draw or loss, but is it us fans that have too much of an expectation? We all fully admit that we’re not blessed with the squads of Spain and Germany etc, but we still expect us to rank an achievement on par with them? Hell, we haven’t won a damn trophy since 1966, and bar the odd flirt with glory in the 90′s – nothing has come of fruition. Are we expecting too much?

Euro 2012

Whoever takes over (most likely old dog-face), they would need to invigorate a side that possesses the odd class player, and a team full of what I call ‘grafters’. The usual patter of getting Lamps and Gerrard to play together will come up, as with the defensive frailties. But probably most importantly, have we the goals to do well? Rooney idiotically has got himself ruled out for a few games – leaving the nations hopes to firmly rest upon Welbeck, Sturridge, Defoe and Bent. (Cue Heskey chants). And in all honesty, if Greece can win the damn thing, then so can we!

But in truth, on paper we haven’t a team that would reach the pinnacles of international football.

Football was never played on paper.

Come on you ENGLAND!!!

Comments welcome.

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