Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “A lot of people are trying to persuade me to stay at Chelsea. But I won’t change my decision. I’m leaving Chelsea in May… Let’s forget about Chelsea for this week.” – Guus Hiddink.
Runner-up: “A formal retraction from Pele will be requested, if what he said was not misinterpreted by the media that published it. And if Pele does not come forward, he will have to deal with his very unfortunate comment in court. Robinho is upset and disappointed at Pele, who seems to have forgotten the great idol he was, and that it appears Pele must be reading sensationalist media to come up with such a wrongful statement.” – a statement on Robinho’s official website.
Today’s overview: Steven Gerrard was rolled out of the England camp to meet the press on Tuesday, and unsurprisingly the papers respond by focusing on the Liverpool captain with many of the old arguments – why doesn’t Gerrard do it for England – coming to the fore.
For Kevin Garside, “the next step is to light the creative fire, to unleash Gerrard in an England shirt… If Capello cannot take those cues he is in the wrong job.” Enthusiastically, Kevin McCarra boasts “Gerrard should have the vitality to power England no matter where he is stationed.”
Jason Burt traces Gerrard’s troubles in performing under Capello, making public how Gerrard “had a habit of looking at the ground rather than making eye contact with the manager which, for Capello, was not what he wanted.” While Oliver Kay points out the painstakingly obvious point that Gerrard’s effectiveness for England “depends on the personnel around him, but also on how he performs in the match in question and, of course, the result.”
In a surprising twist, Martin Samuel encourages Steven Gerrard to take a leaf out of Dirk Kuyt’s book in order to perform for England. “Capello requires a player with Gerrard and Rooneyâ€™s ability but Kuytâ€™s understanding of the game and absence of ego… Gerrard may be an inspirational presence on the field for Liverpool, but off it, and with England, he is beset by insecurities.”
The fallout from Ledley King’s England call-up and withdrawal continues.
According to Dominic Fifield, “relations between the England set-up and Tottenham Hotspur remained at breaking point… [while] the possibility remains that King could be involved in a major finals with his country despite his club’s obvious unease at his potential participation.” The breakdown between Capello and Redknapp is also picked up by Sam Wallace, with “the England manager [said to be] furious at Redknapp’s public attack on his decision to pick Ledley King.”
The fury spreads in the Daily Mail, with Neil Ashton reporting “the England camp are furious with Tottenham manager Redknapp… and say they rate King so highly that he will remain under consideration.” Matt Hughes goes one step further claiming “Capello regards King, 28, as the best ball-playing alternative to Rio Ferdinand at centre back and will give him every opportunity to earn a place as the Manchester United defenderâ€™s understudy.” While Ian McGarry offers the most excitable article on the King situation, with an article titled “Fabio rates Ledley higher than Terry and Rio. Yesterday was humiliating but this isn’t over.”
Turning to Premier League issues, Simon Jones spreads the rumours that “Liverpool’s controversial co-owner George Gillett is considering selling his Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team â€“ in a possible bid to bolster his position at Anfield.”
We find Rob Bagchi still hung up of Wayne Rooney’s red card at Fulham, the hack farting “Rooney’s apologists maintain that if you curb his “passion” then his effectiveness will be reduced, but that does him the disservice of saying he lacks the intellect to curb the instinct. The only thing that excusing the irritability has achieved is to make hissy fits a recurring motif of his career.”
The Daily Mail put the cat amongst the pigeons claiming “Everton defender Phil Jagielka is a surprise contender for this seasonâ€™s PFA Player of the Year award.”
Troublemaker Neil Ashton bitches that not only has Michael Owen lost his pace, but he is now losing friends too. “The word is that legacy injuries to Owen’s neck and to his back means that he cannot run properly, certainly not at full capacity or in full flight… There are mutterings of discontent among the players that the striker, once the most sought-after forward in world football, can come and go as he pleases, a free-spirit at a club in freefall.”
In other news Matthew Fearon selects his Bayern Munich dream team, while Rob Smyth picks up on the story of Enzo Zidane, son of Zinedine Zidane, who turns 14 today and is set to be called up to Spain’s Under-15 side rather than play for France.
The business of football is the central concern for David Conn with the Guardian journalist writing how Manchester United’s massive debts are being traded like hotcakes in the City. “The selling of the debt at a discount speaks more of the global economic crisis than a crumbling of the Old Trafford ramparts… Here was a great, pre-eminent football club that prided itself on being well-run, owed not a penny to anybody, financed Sir Alex Ferguson’s awesome achievements and rebuilt Old Trafford entirely with cash, yet was loaded up with Â£667m of debt, massively more than any other football club ever, solely to pay for the Glazer family, whom nobody wanted, to take over the club.”
In a secondary article, David Conn remembers how the Premier League are set “to introduce a ‘going concern’ test aimed at ensuring its clubs are not laden with dangerous levels of debt.” While Adam Simmons publicizes another UEFA economic proposal that would tax “free-spending clubs on all they splash out above a set payroll threshold… If UEFA introduced the system, clubs would have to pay their bill before being allowed to play in the Champions League or the rebranded Europa League.”
And lastly, The Sun report how “Paul Merson has become the face of a betting chain â€” after battling a gambling addiction for nearly 20 YEARS. “