So the first England squad since the World Cup has just been announced and now trending on Twitter is #HodgsonOut. For those of you who haven’t seen the squad the main news is Rooney is the captain, which I agree with, he’s by a long was our most experienced player and I think he will step into the role very well. Beyond Rooney I would have gone for Gary Cahill as he is actually younger than Wayne but I suppose he is always there as a back up if needed. Wayne Rooney is closing in on 100 caps for his country and will surpass all goalscoring records by the time he retires yet people seem to forget that mainly because of the club he plays for. As a non-league fan it is easy for me to look upon a national squad impartially but for fans of the top teams that seems as impossible task. If you’re a Liverpool fan then you are going to think that there should be more players from Liverpool in the squad and that the Man United forward Wayne Rooney should never captain your country but Roy is in charge, and for a reason might I add, and that is his decision. I really do wish people who lay aside their biased opinions when it comes to international football.

The other story is the inclusion of Danny Rose, John Stones, Calum Chambers, Jack Colback and Fabian Delph. I am all for included younger and less experienced players for these friendly matches as there is always a chance you stumble across a player who has no trouble stepping up to international level but others seem to disagree. Many of these people are also probably people who complain when the team is full of Man United players who ‘only get in because of their club’ so Roy has picked players from Newcastle, Everton, Villa and Spurs yet people still complain. These players like Delph, Colback and Rose are only 24 years old so are only just entering their best years, if they continue to develop well then who knows where their limit is. We may in years to come look back on this squad announcement as the start of a new era and twitter users all of the country will scramble to delete tweets like ‘Well #rooney is named England captain, wasted opportunity by mgr. Need a forward thinking team and management. Time for #hodgsonout #ssnhq’ and ‘Hodgson needs to get his tongue out of @ManUtd hole! Rooney made captain! England won’t even go close with this fool in charge. #HodgsonOut’

At the end of the day these games are friendlies and this is just an experiment, its not like this is his squad for a major tournament. In 2 years time that 23 man squad will no doubt have changed drastically and I have every faith that over the next 2 years Roy will work towards assembling his best squad, this is merely the first step on that journey.

Another step on that journey in my opinion is the naming of the under 21 squad. In 2 years time hopefully most of these players will have gained plenty of playing time not only at their respective clubs, but also in the international set up with each other. These players can then move up as a group into the first team and have a real impact on our teams fortunes, maybe not at the Euros but defiantly the 2018 World Cup. If we are to be successful then this is the way we need to go. Players like Eric Dier (a player I have raved about in another post already), Jamaal Lascelles, Nathaniel Chalobah, Will Hughes, James Ward-Prowse, Saido Berahino and Danny Ings. These are all players with so much talent and potential but for these players the next couple of seasons are crucial. Will they get enough playing time at their clubs? Will they stay fit? Will they be rushed through to the senior squad too soon?

If I was a betting man then I would bet that at least 6 of this under 21 squad will make the 23 man squad for the Euros and maybe 1 or 2 of the under 20 squad as well. This will provide the perfect mix of youth and experience and hopefully provide a large group of players will experience of playing together in internationals.


It’s me, Mario!

So it looks like Mario is coming back!

Its a great deal for Liverpool if his attitude is right, if not they’ve swapped one liability for another but when Ross McCormack goes to Fulham for £11 million to get Balotelli for only £5 million more is a great deal by anyones standards.
They’ve got a player who oozes raw talent and he pushes Liverpool back up to being real contendors for a top 2 or 3 finish in my opinion.
The thought of Sturridge, Sterling, Balotelli, Coutinho, Lallana, Gerrard etc all combining makes this one of the best Liverpool teams in years and on top of that attacking threat they’ve brought in defenders and it looks like that area may be sorted as well. Yet again Liverpool look to have got a great deal but as I said this could all implode if Mario wants it to.

Quick Hits

– Deals like this are showing how times have chaged, every team has made a marquee signing but Man United when they are the team who need it the most. While they have made some good, albeit expensive signings, they haven’t yet signed a game changing player and if they don’t in the next 8 days it’ll be a long season.
– Chelsea started the season exactly as I imagined they would, Fabrages is a great addition and if someone could explain why Arsene Wenger would turn him down then it would be much appreciated as I can see why you wouldn’t want him.
– Quick word on Malkey Mackay and the LMA. Now I’m sure he’s a good guy but you can’t say the things he did and get away with it, and while the LMA are protecting their own it sends a terrible message to any managers from those races mentioned, the phrase ‘banter’ was the worst part though, being racist isn’t banter, being offensive on that level isn’t banter and he should be punished. The LMA must be aware that in England there are ZERO black managers and events like this won’t help.
– Quick shout out for my team Lincoln City. They were playing away at top of the table Barnet and their team bus didnt turn up so the players had to drive themselves. It also meant there was no tactice board or anything so tactics were discussed with Jelly Babies on the back of a locker! And to top the day off we won so I say we should keep the Jelly Babies!

Exciting times

Tomorrow the English Premier League begins again and it is shaping up to be one of the most interesting seasons yet with 7 teams fighting for top 4 spots and managers departing before the season has even begun!

Ohh and in 3 weeks the NFL season begins, sports never ends and that is why I love it.

Transfer Window So Far

I know there are still 25 days left of the transfer window and as always there will be some last minute moves, most of which made my Harry Redknapp, but I thought I would do a quick evaluation of what has happened for the Premier League teams so far.

I’ll start with Arsenal, a team I have mocked before for never spending any money and showing no real ambition. Well it does appear Mr Wenger has been listening. Alexis Sanchez for £31.8 million, Mathieu Debuchy for £12 million, David Ospina for £3.2 million and Calum Chambers for around £16 million and I still believe there will be more money spent. Arsenal have gone from perenial 4th placers to genuine title contenders. If their teams can stay fit for once then they have a genuine chance especially with players like Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud, Ramsey, Walcott, Oxlade Chamberlain and Cazorla they have some of the best attacking options in the league.

However Arsenal will have to get past Chelsea, who we’re unlucky not to win the league last year and to improve has signed Fabregas, Costa, Luis and brought back Didier Drogba. Chelsea are my favourites for this season because of the massive strength in depth they now have, they literally have a world class player in every position and enough left over to fill their bench.

Everton have made 2 massive steps this summer to move themselves, hopefully, into the top 4. They have resigned Ross Barkley on a 5 year contract and signed Romelu Lukaku for £28 million (which for a team like Everton is a massive amount of money). Those deals with the players they already have will push them on but unfortunately Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, Man United and Tottenham will all be pushing for 4th as well. A very interesting season ahead!

Liverpool have splashed the cash big time but in my opinion they haven’t massively improved their starting 11 but they have improved their depth, which for them will be huge with a season in the Champions League ahead.

Man United biggest chance was at manager and will be with their formation. I expect more deals from them once Van Gaal has had his much publicised clear out.

Newcastle have brought in 7 new players so far and players like Cabella and Janmaat, on paper at least, are very good signings but Newcastle still strike me as a team who could finish 4th or could finish 16th you just have no idea which Newcastle will turn up.

QPR have made 2 of the best deals in my opinion. As a newly promoted team having a solid defence can be the key that keeps a team up. To address this they have signed Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker. This is the perfect balance of experience, youth, ability and potential and they should form a solid partnership but more importantly for QPR and maybe even England Caulker will learn masses from Rio that will move his game onto a new level.

Southampton have let go 12 players so far and most of them have been big name players; Shaw, Lambert, Lallana, Lovren and Chambers. Obviously this will have a massive effect on their team. They have signed two players so far Pellè scored 23 goals in 28 games last year and Tadić scored 16 so they have so far brought in players who on paper can score goals but will that be enough. They need more players but for some reason I have faith that they will have more youth players who are ready to step up when called upon.

Stoke. Stoke signed Bojan Krkic. Stoke. The same Bojan who since he joined Barcalona at the age of nine scored over 850 goals. Aged 15, he was joint top-scorer at the 2006 Under-17 European Championships. A year later and he scored the winning goal for Spain in the final of the same tournament. He beat Lionel Messi’s record as the youngest player to score in La Liga for Barça by nearly eight-and-a-half months and soon after he became the first footballer born in the 1990s to play in the Champions League. He now plays for Stoke, if he can play to his full potential and abilty he will be the best player to ever wear a Stoke shirt by a long long time.

Sunderland have signed Jack Rodwell and all I’ll say about that is that for Englands sake I hope this kick starts his career because he is the type of players England desperately need.

Eric Dier has signed for Spurs and if you read my other blog posts you will see how much I have ranted and raved about Eric Dier and I am massively excited to see him play in the Premier League. I will say it again that I believe he will be Englands starting centre back of the future.

So all of that has happened so far and I imagine most of it will be eclipsed by what will happen in the next 25 days, god I love the transfer window.