Archive for the ‘Internationals’ Category

City Kill England’s World Cup Chances

In case you didn’t notice, it’s a Champions League week. We’re currently into the second of two days of match-day four. Without having to watch a single minute of football it is very easy to tell that the Champions League is back.

Glorious montages are everywhere (well on Sky Sports and ITV anyway. Sometimes even Sky1) and the main difference between these montages as opposed to the regular ones is that Darren Bent is replaced with Cristiano Ronaldo and Chris Brunt is now Lionel Messi. The other great giveaway is in the twitter behaviour of our most boring British journalists.

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David Conn takes the boring biscuit this week. As Manchester City qualify to the glory stages of the Champions League for the first time, he can only find regret. Regret that with this achievement City couldn’t find it in their hearts (hart pun here) to start an English player. And thus Manuel Pellegrini is to blame for England’s future failings. No doubt he’ll point to the several Spanish starters for Barcelona tonight. A mere coincidence that they are also world class footballers, of course. Or maybe he’ll make a similar comparison to Bayern Munich, as they seem to be very popular these days.

The thing is David, like so many others, for whatever reason, would rather see a team of English men (and perhaps one starlet Spaniard) fail to get a single win in Europe than see an English club progress in any other possible scenario.
What Mr Conn doesn’t realise is that if Manchester City are successful in Europe their squad value raises as a whole. Their academy, blessed with English players as well as others, will have a higher standard to reach and the benefit will be felt all the way through the club. A young 15 year old academy kid, English or otherwise, will have to further develop his skills to reach the level required to be a Manchester City player in the future. As Diana Ross would say; it would create a chain reaction. A positive one too. But of course, what’s that in the face of a bit of short term panic, eh?

A Micro Guide to the Irish Team

They may play in England but they’re not that well-known, a micro guide of the Irish XI for English fans.

David Forde: Plays for FA Cup semi-finalists Millwall and at 33 looks unlikely to be a Premier League goalkeeper anytime soon. He came in during Ireland’s match against Sweden and put on a competent display showing strengths in dealing with corners and crosses.

Seamus Coleman: That full-back at Everton that isn’t Leighton Baines. NO NOT TONY HIBBERT. Good right back and this season has been more consistent a weakness he had which made Trap reluctant to play him initially.

Sean St Ledger: A typical Irish international who plays better for country than for his club. Released by Leicester he has stated he intends to use this game to win himself a new club. Plays best alongside Dunne – struggles in his absence.

John O’Shea: Played every big game club football has to offer but is error prone at centre back and could be a weak link that is exposed by England.

Stephen Kelly: Ireland’s left back was – once upon a time – an average right back but is not anymore and a glaring weakness as McGeady will do his best not to track back.

Jon Walters: Annoying for a left back to mark but not difficult. A Stoke player so you know what you get.

James McCarthy: Has a fractious relationship with Trap but his talent cannot be ignored, relegated with Wigan but will probably follow out going manager Martinez to Everton; or a stronger team.

Glenn Whelan: Our defensive minded midfielder that struggles to create on the ball; will concede free kicks, ideally around the centre circle.

Aiden McGeady: 200 step-overs and a poor cross, McGeady continues to frustrate. A talented lad that never matured into his own abilities; would rather be part of Soccer AM’s Showboat rather than be on the winning team.

Shane Long: Like West Brom this season Long also surpassed people’s expectations of him. A difficult to mark striker who has energy and enthusiasm in abundance; without saying he has fantastic ball control he has a knack for making defenders foul him – will probably win a penalty.

Robbie Keane: Our all-time record goal-scorer a legend and his experience is crucial. Will understand the significance of this match and could be doing a 90th minute cart-wheel & tumble.