Man Utd, Casemiro and a ‘message’ to De Jong, who is languishing in, erm, second

Casemiro challenges West Ham midfielder Flynn Downes Credit: Alamy
Casemiro challenges West Ham midfielder Flynn Downes Credit: Alamy

Casemiro is doing very well indeed at Man Utd, but what does that say about Frenkie De Jong? Well bog all but…

 

Youth is wasted on De Jong
Mediawatch is more than aware that it is a broken record and very few people actually give a flying f*** what certain websites pretend is news but that is our job and you have clicked anyway, so here we go; the broken record is going on the turntable.

This – according to Mirror Football – is the biggest story in football on this Monday morning:

‘Erik ten Hag’s telling Casemiro comments send clear message to Frenkie de Jong’

You don’t need us to tell you that the succinct answer to this is ‘do they f***’.

This is what Erik ten Hag said about Casemiro:

“For me he’s brilliant. You can see why he’s won five Champions League trophies, at the top for that long in world football and you can see every match, every training and I think he will only be better and better and contribute more to the team.”

What has to be going through your head to read those quotes and think ‘that’s a clear message to Frenkie de Jong’ or, more accurately, ‘I can pretend that is a clear message to Frenkie de Jong because otherwise those quotes are pretty sh*t’?

Even by the very first paragraph, the intent has been downgraded. What was a ‘clear message’ becomes ‘what appears to be a subtle message’. At this point we should probably stop reading but we are in now…

We’re not here to point out that there are no such thing as ‘swaths’ and that ‘close-in’ does not have a hyphen – sub-editors are so last century – but pretending that Ten Hag is in any way talking about De Jong is just bollocks. As is the notion that De Jong is somehow having a mare at Barcelona.

‘Casemiro’s current fortunes are, ironically, the complete opposite to that of former United target De Jong.

‘The 25-year-old has fallen somewhat down the pecking order with Barcelona so far this season having started just nine out of a possible 17 matches in all competitions. His only goal came in a 4-0 thumping of Cadiz back in September.’

Quite why you would judge a defensive central midfielder on goals is unclear but we have to challenge that ‘pecking order’ nonsense; De Jong might have started nine of 17 games but crucially he has started the last five. He has bloody climbed the order.

Pecky fact: De Jong has played more minutes for Barcelona than Casemiro for Manchester United this season.

Another pesky fact: Barcelona are one point behind leaders Real Madrid in La Liga; Manchester United are one point behind fourth-placed Newcastle United in the Premier League.

De Jong must be absolutely kicking himself. Especially after that clear/subtle message from Ten Hag.

 

Big-time Crooks
Garth Crooks writes a Premier League team of the week feature on the BBC website, which obviously gives him the platform to give his views on the Australia team’s video message ahead of the Qatar World Cup. Obviously.

To say it is tasteless is an understatement…

‘I see the Socceroos released a collective statement against Qatar’s human rights record, becoming the first 2022 World Cup team to do so. The video message criticises the World Cup hosts’ treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ people. I would find the announcement far more compelling if Australia’s treatment of the Aboriginal Australians over the years had not been so appalling.’

Yes, Australia’s treatment of Aboriginal Australians has been appalling but does that mean their citizens have no right – in perpetuity – to criticise anybody for human rights abuses? By that measure, who is qualified? Certainly not anybody from the UK, France, Germany, Spain or other colonial powers. Certainly not the United States. Looking down the list of World Cup qualifying teams, it’s hard to find any country without blood on their ancestors’ hands.

So does that mean nobody can criticise anybody ever?

‘The Aussies have qualified for the World Cup but I propose that if they feel so aggrieved about the way the Qataris run their country, I can offer a modest suggestion – don’t go!

‘Actually boycotting the World Cup and not playing would make a far greater statement and back up their conviction far more than mere platitudes. After all, they are not going to win the tournament so why go if you feel so strongly about it?’

Just don’t go, Australia; you’re sh*t anyway.

Stick to picking 11 players who had a good 90 minutes (or at least scored a goal) in a football match, Garth.

 

Old man, look at my life…
Actually, maybe the BBC should give the job to a younger man…

‘I will declare before I go any further that there are many goalkeepers in the modern era who I think are very average. It might have something to do with the fact that I grew up in the era of Gordon Banks, Pat Jennings, Peter Shilton, Ray Clemence, Joe Corrigan, Phil Parkes; I could go on.’

So to precis, modern football is rubbish but mostly, modern goalkeepers are all sh*t compared to all these British goalkeepers of the past. Oh and you used to be able to leave your doors open and isn’t fish nice when it’s boiled…

 

Welcome to Premier League football, Aymeric Laporte
Making an appearance in Crooks’ XI is the novice Aymeric Laporte:

‘I have often thought that Aymeric Laporte was the junior partner to Ruben Dias – well, not anymore. Laporte has become a very reliable defender for Manchester City with or without Dias by his side. It has taken the Spaniard a while to find his feet in a team that does not carry any passengers. He now looks like the real deal and was instrumental in City’s clean sheet against a very dangerous Leicester City.’

Pesky facts: Aymeric Laporte is three years older than Ruben Dias and was in the PFA Team of the Year in 2018/19 before Dias arrived at Manchester City.

 

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