The usual collection of Fleet Street scribes gathered around Brian Woolnough’s Sky Sports breakfast table to discuss the burning topics in English football.
Is Wayne Rooney a diver? John Richardson of the Daily Express was first to shoot his mouth off, refusing to admit that the United forward dived against Slovenia “and some of the headlines are very harsh on him.” Martin Samuel (Daily Mail) admitted that he cringed after reading Rooney’s comments made last week that he never dives, while commenting on Saturday’s incident that “it wasn’t a dive. It wasn’t a foul. Just get on with the game.” Andy Dunn (NOTW) also defended Rooney arguing “the last thing on Rooney’s mind, ever, is to go into the box looking for a penalty.”
Chelsea’s transfer ban was the next item on the agenda, Andy Dunn celebrating how “Chelsea clearly didn’t see this coming” with Fifa correctly handing out a “punishment that fits the crime.” Martin Samuel continued the conversation to discuss how football should govern the freedom of teenagers, agreeing that kids should on the one hand stay loyal to their local clubs but that also there should be “some way of ensuring self-determination… otherwise we’re gonna have kids held to contracts.” Conversation then turned more general as the talking-heads discussed whether it’s right that the Big Four can spirit away youngsters from other clubs.
Lastly on the chopping block was the question on England’s second striker – Emile Heskey or Jermain Defoe? Martin Samuel dove straight in picking Defoe as his man – “Defoe is the man in form, and I like strikers that score goals.” Putting forward the other side of the argument, Andy Dunn noted that “when you speak to Rooney you get the impression that he relishes playing alongside Heskey. Heskey is a good partner.”