042 – The Latin Killleeerrrrsss

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Weekly Football Debate Show. This week we answer your questions regarding Raheem Sterling’s contract situation at Liverpool, Jamie Vardy’s inclusion in the England squad, The U21s squad selection, Arsenal fans tendency to overrate their youngsters and much, much, much more.

Todays guests –
@Lewbob91
@Whodeknee
@demz_chappelle
@Olbanks
@AnomalousNegro
@Babamalt
@YFLatif

 

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041 – Hipsters v Talksport Callers

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Weekly Football Podcast. This weeks show features guests

@Lewbob91

@Babamalt

@TheRegista_

@OlBanks

@Antslesulk

@Whodeknee

@AnomalousNegro

This weeks show the guests disect the Champions League Semi Finals, as well as giving their verdict for the Final. We discuss the futures of Carlo Ancelotti, Paul Pogba and David De Gea, as well as giving a tribute to Steven Gerrard. A True Football Hipster v Talksport Caller debate takes place, who stands on what side of the fence for you?

 

 

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040 – Coming to America

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Weekly Football Debate Show

This weeks guess include
@Lewbob91
@BabaMalt
@Swagadore
@TheRegista_
@DemzChappelle
@EddieTrulyReds

On this weeks show we discuss this weeks Champions League games, last weekends Premier League results, Gareth Bale’s struggles in Spain, Manchester United transfer targets as well as your listeners questions.

Visit www.touchlinefracas.co.uk
@touchlinefracas

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Is Harry Kane the man to end England’s 50 years of pain?

kane-3

Report’s from FA Chairman Greg Dyke have recently surfaced, as England’s man of the moment and newly crowned Young Player Of The Year, Harry Kane, declared that he is to participate in this summer’s European Championships for the Under-21 national side. This comes as somewhat of a surprise, considering that Kane has forced himself into the senior squad and also, that so many other top, young, English talents have previously declined to represent their nation at this level in to order play for the first team, often with limited success. By doing so, the Spurs front man is addressing an issue that has kept England from progressing as a footballing nation in the same way that more successful countries have. The issue of very good footballers not being able to replicate club form on an international level, where it actually matters.

England are a nation known for developing quality players who’ve just never made the grade at producing in pressured situations. I mean for starters, the current captain is somebody who completely epitomises this notion. We all remember stories from Brazil of Wayne Rooney seeking, (and scoring) his first World Cup goal last summer, at the FOURTH time of asking! This is the same Wayne Rooney who burst on the scene at 16-years old, beating David Seaman from 25 yards out. The very same Wayne Rooney who has scored 230 goals in over a decade for Manchester United. So with such a list of accolades, why was there ever the issue with a player of such quality falling short of expectation at the top level? One possible explanation is that Rooney was thrusted into the first team fold as a fresh-faced teenage prospect. Though at an age where he was available to play for younger side, his ability made him a regular full international, meaning he missed the experience from playing very often at this level.

Now tournaments such as the Under-21 European Championship offer huge amounts to a young footballer’s development. For instance, they give players a chance to judge their ability against the best players of that particular age group. ¬†Additionally, these are more often than not, the bulk of the players who will go on to represent their nations in the future senior tournaments, providing the chance to gauge progress against their counterparts throughout the different stages of their careers.

By Harry Kane opting to represent the Under-21’s as a full international, he is opening the door for more young players to follow suit. The likes of Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley and John Stones are all able to feature for both teams, yet are often selected for Hodgson’s team in bit-part roles. There is surely more to learn by perfecting their craft as regulars with the younger side as opposed to featuring on the periphery of the full setup. Just look at some of Europe’s ‘better’ footballing nations, who send many of their younger players to such competitions regardless of their prominence in their respected first team.

Take Netherlands for example, who opened their last Under-21 Championships campaign with 10 of their starting XI as full internationals. Many of which made up the core of the side that went on to finish 3rd at last summer’s World Cup. These include Stef De Vrij, Bruno Martins-Indi and captain, Kevin Strootman who was unfortunately sidelined through serious injury throughout the tournament. Louis Van Gaal reportedly altered his team’s entire system due to Strootman’s absence, demonstrating how significant a loss such a young player was to the first team setup.

By allowing younger first team talents to progress accordingly throughout the system, these players are able to make the transition from potential prospects to international quality footballers with the experience and a certain know-how, only gained from competitive football. Something that English players have seemingly lacked, pretty much forever. I mean, can you imagine this year’s Under-21 with the likes of Barkley, Sterling and The Ox featuring alongside Kane? Would simply be better for the nation to have as strong a squad as possible going into the Championships. Instead, all the above are likely to be called into the senior side for seemingly pointless friendlies or pretty straightforward qualifiers instead of actually playing relevant football. Including such talent would ensure that England would actually have a sniff of winning a competition for once, and by doing so, it could serve as a catalyst for future successes in such competition and if not, then at least give these young players a chance to make the mistakes while they are able to, as opposed to on the big stage where it matters. The sort of mistakes that can often be harmful to the development of young professional footballers.

So I guess Harry Kane is the man who could take English football to a whole new level. Barring his 30 odd goals this season, he has the right mentality to not only become a better player, but also to inspire those around him to adopt this continental mindset, which in this case isn’t a bad thing. A couple more like him and who knows, maybe England’s 50 something years of hurt could be a thing of the past.

By @BinnzyLohan

One Step Forward, Two Midfield Steps Back

Isn’t crazy how things in football change within year? Within that year, you could carve a name for yourself or unfortunately destroy a reputation you spent most of a career creating. Almost 12 months ago, news broke that Manchester United had managed to pull off the signing of Radamel Falcao to the delight of United fans and surprise of rival fans. The excitement amongst the fans was understandable, high numbers were being thrown about as to how many goals he, Van Persie and Rooney could get between the 3. Especially as Man Utd had just signed Di Maria, there was a sense of 07/08 about the attacking talents LVG had at his disposal.

We are now coming towards the end of the season and those numbers forecasted by fans look like a joke in comparison to reality. Falcao has 4 in 23, RVP has 10 in 26 and Rooney has 14 in 32 , which I am sure we can all agree is poor by their standards but why is that the case? Age? Injuries? Deterioration? it could quite possibly be all of the above! However something that has not been mentioned as much are the guys behind them. Yes, the midfield. LVG has tinkered with formations all season in an attempt to accommodate his best players, despite his preference of the 4-3-3 but one thing has remained, the playing style: A controlled possession approach. What has that got to do with our strikers you may ask? Van Persie was once described by Gary Neville as a backdoor burglar and Falcao could even be thrown into that category. They are 9’s with predatory instinct in finishing couple with cerebral movements. They gamble making countless runs in between the centre backs. Rooney is a different type of striker. A false 9 one who roams around the pitch in search of space yet he has been used as a 9 in the mould of Falcao and Van Persie. Anyway, I am sure we know that so enough about the strikers’ traits, let us move onto midfield.

For most part of the season, Man Utd have gone with a 3-5-2 and anyone who watched us during that period would have noticed how lethargic we were and the lack of variation we had in our passing but the formation is irrelevant as it happened when Utd went with 4 at the back, as well. The issue, for me, stems from the passing amongst our midfielders. It was slow, pedestrian, sideways passing that turned a blind eye towards the movement of our strikers. Think QPR, West Ham and Burnley away. What Falcao and especially RVP rely on is the early ball. i.e (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPf-lrsAId0) RVP goal away at West Ham FA Cup – notice how early Giggs hits that and, more importantly, it is FORWARD complimenting RVP movement. The same pair are at it again vs Olympiakos to win the penalty. Another Example (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DjLzd0vQ8o) RVP vs Villa, Rooney gets his head up and it is about 5 touches in total. That is RVP at his best. If I were to pick moments from this season, which is very few and far, here are some examples RVP vs Leicester (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0v7b8dU_9U) that starts from a pass from Rojo in his own half and 3 touches later it is in the back of the net. Rooney vs Newcastle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3BcjkCGDYg) Mata gets his head up and picks a peach of a pass into Falcao’s path, who peels off his CB. These are sporadic moments throughout the season so far. LVG earlier said he didn’t have a 20 goal striker. He could not be more wrong. He has 3 but it is how has the team gone about the business and maybe a misquote due to English being his second language. I have not mentioned Rooney much because he has played the majority of the season in midfield but recently LVG has restored him up front, to which he responded well. Coincidentally, however, that came in the run where our midfield upped the tempo and added a variation of passing to their game however he has started to tail off and the Red Devils are no closer to solving this problem that they have.
Over the weekend, United visited Goodison Park and left with their tails in between their legs. One thing that struck me was the similarity in that game and the same game a year ago against the same opposition. It was how the midfield performed – it was slow. It was unimaginative. It was sideways. It was like the possession you do whilst warming up and it was no surprise that Rooney, who many had called for to lead the line because of his ‘energy, pace and ability to run into the chanels’, looked as ordinary as his pals Falcao and RVP. At times, I feel sorry watching our strikers, especially when the players in midfield seem to have this horrible trait of turning a blind eye to the runs that the striker makes and only slinging the ball into feet when RVP/ Falcao/ Rooney are tired of making runs and come short to be involved, only to be surrounded by defenders (Not too dissimilar to the incident that led to the goal at Stamford Bridge) .
One idea Man Utd could explore is going into the market but if they were to go into the market, it would have to be a striker in the mould of Tevez, Suarez and Aguero, who like to get busy and are not reliant on the service of their team-mates, unlike regular no.9s. Another option Utd is right in front of them, in the shape of Angel Di Maria on the bench. Despite his annoying tendency to cross the ball from ridiculous areas of the pitch, he has probably been the only player, Herrera aside, to play that penetrative and imaginative pass. Cast your mind back to Mata’s overhead kick or how about the second half of the QPR away game or his off the bench cameos where he has seemed to be on the only person able to appreciate the forward runs of our strikers, but can be lacking in the execution of his attempt. I personally would love to see that and believe it would be the key into giving our strikers life again.

So what do you think? Are Manchester United in need of new strikers or are the lads behind them doing them an injustice?

@Pitchside_Mark