The Mailbox reacts to Gareth Southgate’s last England squad before he picks his World Cup party. Also: more All-Star missives, Man Utd in Moldova, and Shaun Goater.
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What we’re hoping for…
Pickford – just shades it
Chilwell – England’s best left-back
Dier – filling the Maguire meat head role
Tomori – England’s best centre-back
Reece James – World class right back
Rice – mainly because Phillips is now a Man City reserve
Bellingham – the Jude Bellingham era has to start sometime
Mount – Foden is better, but Mount runs around more
Sterling – Foden is better, but Sterling does the business for England
Kane – of course
Saka – bigger and better every day. Foden is still probably better.
What we’ll get…
Pickford – 48% pass completion in Euro 2020…going long is the way to go apparently
Trippier – one-footed right back, gets nose bleeds over the halfway line, shoe-horned into the left back role because he can take free kicks
Maguire and Stones – never let anyone down.
Walker – speed outweighs brain farts
James – it’s not going to be TAA is it
Rice/Phillips double defensive pivot – where England attacks go to die…
Sterling – isolated due to Trippier not crossing the halfway line
Kane – isolated due to no No.10 or any attacking midfield
Saka – told to double team as an extra wing back
…My favourite times of the year; the England squads being announced. Going to go over all of the things that annoy me about it so much. It’s probably my biggest pet peeve in football.
Firstly I’ll start with people getting annoyed that Southgate doesn’t pick on form. Why the hell would he? You can’t build an international side if you’re picking on form. You need to consistently have a similar group of players. If a player keeps up form for a sustained period they’ll get in i.e Bowen at the end of last season. If they are out of form for a sustained period they won’t get in i.e Sancho and Rashford. There are obviously some caveats to this. Grealish hasn’t been great but he can’t drop everyone. Grealish has performed well in the past and won’t be a starter anyways.
There’s also this weird narrative that he doesn’t select players from smaller clubs. It’s the most moronic thing I’ve ever heard. Let’s go through it. Coady, Mings, Guehi, Rice, JWP Phillips, Ings, Grealish, Watkins, Toney. All of these have had call ups and most of them have been called up very regularly.
Southgate has and will drop players from big team if they’re doing poorly especially if they can’t produce for country. Maguire is probably on his last chance soon but just remember it’s only a month ago he was a starter. All this nonsense about “oh he’s picking players that can’t even start for their club side”. So if he picked the squad last month it would be ok because he was starting then? I don’t even rate Maguire but he’s served Southgate extremely well. Hes been a starter and key player in both of their major tournament successes. Seeing the same thing for Shaw and that people can’t understand why he’s picked. It’s simple. He’s been good for him in the past and we’ll their left back options are shit. We aren’t going to pretend that Tyrik Mitchell is a better option.
I can pretty much predict Southgate’s team and I know it’ll differ massively from what the average person wants.
Walker Stones Maguire Trippier/Shaw
Rice Bellingham/Phillips Mount
Saka/Foden Kane Sterling
Southgate gets abused every chance people get yet he’s the most successful manager in most people’s lifetime. In all honesty, the squad is decent but they’re not as good as some people suggest. The GK isn’t a top level player. The defence has some good players but very few are world class, probably just the right backs. The midfield isn’t world class by any means. Rice and Mount are the best of them and are players I rate highly. Then you have Kane who is undoubtedly world class and a lot of great talented wingers. I think Southgate probably plays the right way considering the players he has. It’s proven to work so far. I swear people don’t remember how shit England always are. I feel like if Southgate won the World Cup with the Golden Generation people would say he should have won more.
Dion, Donegal (Arsenal)
Kilman for England
Maximilian Kilman is better at every facet of football and defending than Harry Maguire. This isn’t a recent thing either, it’s been 2 years now.
Southgate yet again exposed as a man in thrall to the badge on a players shirt, rather than performances on the pitch.
The silly season caused by football being cancelled has given undue attention to Boehly and his remarks given to an American audience in America in an attempt to draw parallels they might understand.
Add that to the English habit of deeply enjoying pretending to be offended at people from abroad not having the same perspective as English people, allowing them to beat up on a foreign without being called racist and you get what we’ve endured the last week.
Of course an all-stars game makes no sense for English football. We’re a small country, there’s no room or appetite for geographical football rivalries that aren’t based on a specific historical team or local region.
Liverpool and Manchester are rivals, not allies against London and Brighton.
The Charity Shields mild interest is in rival clubs setting out a marker in their pre-season, generally there is a new signing or two to get a first real look at and often a hangover of niggle between the sides from the previous seasons conclusion.
None of that applies to an all-stars game. No one cares.
It’s irrelevant that there’s no room in the fixture list, it’s irrelevant that players are contracted to clubs who would have no reason or intention in risking injuries to their players.
An all-stars game is completely irrelevant because absolutely nobody would give the tiniest shit about watching, televising or sponsoring it.
It wouldn’t generate anything in terms of income.
We all know this, so the Boehly beat down is a little unnecessary.
Tim Sutton (Mitro 6 – 1 Nunez)
Man Utd in Moldova
The first 15 minutes were slow and clear that we were missing match fitness with games being cancelled, but after that, United took control of the game, controlled the pace, and was the better team for the remainder of the game.
Good for Sancho to get a goal especially after not getting picked for England when players who are not even starters for their team get in. He showed composure like he always does in front of goal and hopefully builds on getting more involved in the final 3rd.
The defence was solid again. It is crazy how from the first match day most United fans could not see a defence without Maguire in it as it seemed he was undroppable even after a terrible season. but just over a month later we found a great partnership in experienced Varane and young and powerful Martinez. They to me are so undroppable that the only reason Maguire should be coming in is if one is injured or it’s a cup game against some League two team.
Ronaldo scoring a penalty will hopefully get the blood pumping for him to get more feisty in the box and look for more goals. Casemiro came on and proved to me why he should be getting in over McTominay with just calmness and actual defensive ability as well as good passing and can move the ball forward.
Overall, It is a good result but could have been better. Hopefully, next game some youngsters like Iqbal, Garanacho or McNeill get a start or at least a half of football.
Max Of Whitegate
Move over, Shaun Goater
My favourite city player ever is Shaun Goater, for scoring goals off his backside, mugging Gary Neville off, and being a thoroughly nice bloke with a dry sense of humour.
But I’m sorry Shaun, if Haaland carries on like this there’s not much hope for you remaining number 1. What an absolute monster! After 1 month I’m developing an unhealthy man crush on the guy. Last night’s goal was ridiculous, Rio Ferdinand was right, only him and zlatan could score that goal (ok maybe bale in his pomp).
He’s just on a whole new level and I loved his interview afterwards where he’s obviously a nice guy up for a laugh but really arrogant too. Never seen anything like it.
Give in to the All-Star urge
I know the purest in me knows an all-star game is just plain wrong (games gone at all that), but the heart wants what the heart wants.
Split it by Captains picks in a draft.
PL winning Captain vs FA Cup Winning Captain. A toss to decide who picks (Haaland) first.
All proceeds go to grassroots football (or curing world hunger).
It’d be more than a bit of fun.
…100m race. One player per club. Winner gets in the All-Star Game for their region. Simples.
So basically, Adama Traore, congratulations: you are an All Star.
I can’t be the only person who remembers 1992’s Rumbelows Sprint challenge (no you are not – MC), with its heats rattling around empty lower league stadia, and then a final at Wembley where a hungover John Williams of Swansea won.
11.49 for 100 m on grass and boots was good going then, wonder what players would be capable of now.
Rob Evans, Birmingham.
…Maybe the worst thing about a North v South game is the inevitable hysteria, complaining and perceived injustices on here and your social media of choice when Liverpool players get picked with a grand conspiracy to get them tired and injured.
Closely followed by the inevitable hysteria, complaining and perceived injustices on here and your social media of choice when not enough Liverpool players get picked with a grand conspiracy that they get ignored.
How to save time and the dark arts
In response to time-wasting, how about this:
Keep matches at 90 mins, but if the ball hasn’t been in play for 60 mins, simply add on whatever is needed in injury time to make it add up to 60 mins (so 30 mins guaranteed ‘play’ per half).
So we still get to see the time-wasting antics but know we’re getting our money’s worth.
JR (Lillywhite Bee)
Stones’ shot ‘was not hit particularly hard’. I’ve heard it all now. I’ll let Jose off for referring to a non-existent high-foot rule. Otherwise, an absolutely brilliant email, Jose.
…Come on, that email from Jose is hilarious, surely that’s just deliberate trolling? He’s had several brain farts himself.
Stones shot not hit hard? It was a rocket! Who knows what the keeper was doing but the speed certainly surprised him.
There’s nothing in the rules that say you can’t raise your feet, its endangering an opponent which is the important bit. Haaland foot was nowhere near the defender, it was well past him. A simple look on YouTube will show that Nani skewered Arbeloa in his side when Jose claims there was nobody around him??? He’s just making stuff up.
Nice half empty stadium joke as usual, why bother looking at actual attendance figures?
Couldn’t muster a shot? Yeah upto a certain point but then y’know there were 2 goals and then more chances but do shots only count before 70 minutes?
I wouldn’t usually rise to nonsense like this but seriously I couldn’t help it, I did a proper LOL after reading his mail. At least do a tiny bit of research first man!
Andy, Cheshire, (To be fair though he’s probably right about pep playing him at right back)
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