Hang on a minute. Wasn’t this kind of thing the reason they launched the UEFA Nations League? To rid us of god-awful boring friendly matches between two teams who’d rather be doing anything but?
England ‘played’ Switzerland at the King Power Stadium last night but the first half was so terrible that even the players felt a little bit embarrassed for the playing public and, according to Danny Rose, held an ‘inquest’ at half-time to work out what was going on.
Rose said that the players got stuck in to each other before Gareth Southgate had even entered the dressing room which, apparently, means there is ‘leadership’ in the dressing room. It’s funny, that. I have a sneaky suspicion that if a story like that broke about Manchester United at half-time, ‘dressing-room leadership’ might be replaced with ‘dressing-room revolt’.
Switzerland could have been two or three goals up at the break with Shaqiri and Xhaka pulling the strings. Yes, Shaqiri and Xhaka – players, if you buy into the English player tax, who apparently wouldn’t get into this England team.
Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford ended a good international break by (a) playing two games and (b) scoring two goals – not something that is likely to carry any favour with good old Jose.
Gareth Southgate talked well post-match, as he always does, mentioning the difficulty that faces the side now the bar of expectation has been raised so much higher and the fact that he was giving ‘minutes’ to players who haven’t played much club football this season. Yes, it has come to that ladies and gentleman. The manager of the national team, once a team considered to be the pinnacle of a player’s career, is being treated like a club reserve team, the stiffs if you will. “Gareth, it’s Jose. Would you mind giving Marcus a run up top this week? He needs a couple of games so he stays fit for our Carabao Cup campaign next month”. Or worse, “Gareth, it’s Maurizio Sarri. I’ve not really bothered checking out Ruben Loftus-Cheek but people tell me he is quite good. Can you pick him so I can run the rule over him, please?”
This isn’t really the way it is supposed to be, folks.
Anyway, that’s no more international football for at least a month so we can all start looking forward to the return of the Premier League circus this weekend.
Arsenal‘s Unai Emery might be pretending all is well between him and Mesut Ozil, but Fenerbahce are far from convinced. They are lining up a multi-million swoop for the German luxury in January and Unai will not need a great deal of persuading. Hilariously, this news has caught the attention of United as well, because Ozil is exactly the kind of stroller Jose likes to employ in those attacking areas.
Cesc Fabregas is eyeing up places to live near Milan and isn’t that bothered which side of the city he ends up playing for. The fact he is even further down the pecking order than Ruben Loftus-Cheek is enough for Cesc to take the Sarri-sized hint.
Ben Chillwell came on to replace Danny Rose for England last night and this has given Tottenham Hotspur a cunning idea. They would now like to replace Danny Rose with Ben Chillwell in their very own white football kit and that would cost them around £30m to do. Hopefully, for Spurs anyway, PSG are still interested in taking Rose in the January sales.
Newcastle United’s Chelsea loanee Kenedy is nothing if not a dreamer. He is hoping that his performances so far this season might lead to a recall to Chelsea at some point. I get the feeling that Kenedy hasn’t watched his clips back on his iPad yet. Trust me mate, Chelsea won’t be calling. I doubt you’ve even heard from Eddie Newton this month.
And Farhad Moshiri has been so impressed by Marco Silva not being Sam Allardyce that he is off to buy even more shares in Everton. That means he’ll actually own a lot of the club ‘no later than July 2019’. Thanks for the heads-up, Farhad.