Friday, September 30, 2016

Rooney Dropped?

Today’s post is going to be about quite possibly the biggest decision Jose Mourinho has ever had to make in his managerial career...dropping Wayne Rooney. This decision has not been taken lightly by the Portuguese manager but seems to have already proven worthwhile after The Red Devils absolutely trounced Leicester last Saturday.

Dropping the United captain against The Foxes saw an amazing performance (as much as I don’t want to admit it) from Paul Pogba, the £89 million man that arrived from Juventus with a lot of expectation in the Summer. Not only him but seemingly the entire team looked like world beaters, bringing some similarities to the days of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Now some of you may be wondering what’s so important about dropping Wayne Rooney? Well for me, this means the turning of the tide. This means that suddenly he is nothing special. Before he was untouchable, he could do no wrong in the eyes of football commentators, pundits and managers, whilst us fans were left bemused by how he is still getting into the starting eleven of one of the best clubs in the world…

Some people may be wondering why I even care, they might say “it’s Manchester United, why do you want them to win?”. Well in response to that I have to say I don’t, I don’t give a flying fuck if Manchester United are collared for match fixing, are docked points for breaking FIFA transfer regulations, fined billions, go into administration and end up being liquidated only to start again in the conference North as ‘Manchester Devils’…

...But what I do want is Sam Allardyce...or should I say Gareth Southgate/Steve Bruce/Alan Pardew/Mike realise that we no longer have to accommodate this average player into a young side seemingly hungry to prove their worth on a national scale. It baffles me that we accommodate him anyway, his best position is up front so if we have 2 or 3 strikers better than him then why should he play...
~ But then again what do I know, I’m not a manager. Then again I did get York City from the Conference to the npower Championship in 6 seasons on Football Manager 2012...I’m probably within a shout for the England job with that record ~

It aggravates me that Wayne Rooney is only 9 appearances away from breaking Peter Shilton’s record for most England appearances. Not that Rooney will be England’s most capped player, but that there is no question as to whether or not he will break the record. He could shit out a poo on The Queen’s favourite Corgi before turning around and giving her a Nazi salute and still find himself in the starting lineup in any England game.

I mean this isn’t the first time that Wazza has managed to get away with things that would ruin other footballers careers. Shagging pensioners, criticizing England supports when they booed the players, he even missed out on death threats after attempting to recreate David Beckham’s red card at the 2006 World Cup.

David Beckham got sent off against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup after flicking a leg at Diego Simeone. He then received death threats and had effigies of himself hung from every lamppost in England.
Wayne Rooney on the other hand got sent off against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup for stomping on Ricardo Carvalho. All the blame was pushed onto Cristiano Ronaldo for a little wink to the camera’s. I bet old Becks wishes Simeone gave a little wink to the camera’s, then he’d have gotten away with it too.

Don’t get me wrong though, back when Wayne Rooney was first bursting onto the scenes he was one of the best young talents out there. He had a deadly combination of pace, strength, power and a receding hairline, along with world class technical ability and a direct attacking style that would catch even the most experienced of defenders off guard (that same direct play that Manchester United and England fans love about Marcus Rashford).

But those days are long gone now, with his style being less like Marcus Rashford and more like Marcus Bent. For me Rooney just looks so slow in attack, holding the ball too long, not looking to pull the trigger when he’s in a good position, being reserved and playing it back where in previous years he’d have at least attempted to skin the defender. Just literally taking no risks what so ever…

There’s times I think that the reason he plays like this is because he had the directness knocked out of him by Fergie. I feel it was couched out of him because Sir Alex Ferguson wanted Rooney to be more a complete player, not needing to rely on his pace all the time to bag goals. Sadly though it’s seen the united captain decline into more a midfield role as he now seems to lack that killer instinct that strikers need to be top goalscorers.

I can remember when United brought in Van Persie to make up for the lack of goals the side were scoring, essentially taking Rooney’s crown away from him. Did the Scouse striker buckle down and work hard and try and show his worth? No he handed in a transfer request and didn’t want to be considered for selection…

This was a weird moment in the career of Sir Alex Ferguson in my opinion. If any other player started making demands like that, whether it be Roy Keane, David Beckham, Jaap Stam or even Cristiano Ronaldo, Fergie would’ve let them go. But in this instance the Glazer’s went over the manager’s head and accepted Rooney’s ridiculous demands, offering him £250,000 a week, captaincy and a say in all transfers…

Fergie always had a strong policy that nobody was bigger than Manchester United. Not the players, not the owners, not even Ferguson how come Rooney gets to demand a contract that in certain situations will put his decision above the one of the manager? It breaks the hierarchical structure and makes me think that Rooney could’ve gone further and demanded a stand named after him or maybe even a statue erected where the United Trinity is.

Now some of you may have noticed I’m talking about Manchester United again after saying earlier that I “don’t care about them”. Let me rectify that by moving swiftly back to his national team. Wayne Rooney will more that likely go down as England’s greatest ever player.

Now some of you might be thinking “ that’s ridiculous, he’s nowhere near as good as Shearer, Lineker, Gazza, etc.” But let's look at the facts: He’s gonna be England’s most capped player and is the leading the end of the day he will always be remembered for statistics not performances.

I find it really sad that he’ll go down as the greatest for scoring (so far) 53 England goals, of which only 5 came in actual tournaments. Geoff Hurst managed to score three goals in a World Cup final against a truly world class Germany side...whereas Rooney can’t even score one past a bang average Algeria side.

I could rant and rave about Rooney for hours so I’ll stop here before I start slagging off his looks. Honestly if I don’t stop now I’ll just keep going ogre and ogre and ogre the same topics...that was a low blow.
I will leave you with this question for now though (feel free to comment your answers below) if you had to pick your ideal England legends team, who would you pick and would it contain Wayne Rooney?

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Cheers for reading.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Flight of the Owls V

Right, I’ve had my little break from Blogger during the Summer as normal (despite the Euro Championships being on...but to be fair I’m glad I didn’t write about that, it was a dreadfully boring tournament) and now I’m back to continue talking about the situation at Sheffield Wednesday.

My last Flight of the Owls post left off with the Wednesday about to go into the playoff semifinals against Brighton after an impressive season that had seen us finish 6th. I think I must have been too deliriously pissed to write a post after we beat them 2-0 at home before seeing out a 1-1 draw away to guide us to a play off final game against Hull City.

Despite the excitement of both semifinal legs, the playoff final was as boring a game of football as you’re ever likely to see. Due to a family wedding I had to watch it on a train using my mobile data but I’ll tell you this, if it wasn’t Wednesday playing I wouldn’t have bothered. Both teams looked too scared to try anything exciting in fear of making a mistake. The only piece of skill in the game came from Diame’s right boot to settle the game in the 72nd minute.
~ Side note: I’d like to add how proud I am of the fans that did make the trip down to Wembley. From what I heard they were incredible as usual and showed what a sleeping giant we have been for the last 15 years ~

Now that brings last season to a close, what’s been happening this season? Well I’d like to start with a message to Carlos Carvalhal. Carlos...where do you get off? Signing good players and having them play attractive football? Who do you think you are? By now you may have guessed I’m speaking ironically and have nothing but good things to say about what you do. Carlos, do not change a thing.

I actually can not believe that fans are already calling for our bosses head. He has been unbelievable since arriving at Wednesday, he has a strong philosophy, has the players on his side, he loves the club...but with only 3 wins in our opening 8 games some “fans” are wanting him out like a dick for Harambe.

Apparently 3 wins, 3 losses and 2 draws isn’t a good enough start to a season despite The Owls being 2 points worse off at this time last season. I’d personally be happy with another season in the playoffs and with the amount of teams that should be challenging for a play off place this season, those 2 points could make a hell of a difference.

Next I’d like to discuss the players brought in by Carvalhal, the first one being Steven Fletcher. I was sceptical of the Scot coming in, I thought the aerial threat he would inevitably bring would be helpful but who would you drop for him as both Fessi and Hooper scored a good amount of goals last term. Thankfully though he has shut me up, bagging 2 goals in 7 appearances so far and looking more than worth his £0 transfer fee.

The next big signings were Watford double Daniel Pudil and Almen Abdi. Pudil was a good signing, rumours being we paid around £1.5 million for him which for me is hefty for a left back at this level but thankfully we’re in a position now where we don’t have to penny pinch.

Abdi on the other hand was a bit of a mystery for me. I’d heard the name for Watford but never actually seen the Swiss international play. From what I’ve seen of him in a Wednesday shirt though, he seems to be a welcome addition with a nice range of passing, a strong workrate and, if his Watford days are anything to go by, he has the potential to score quite a few goals from midfield which is never a bad thing.

David Jones was a transfer that confused me a little. I’ve heard one or two fans compare him to former Wednesday legend John Sheridan but since I was born in 1995 I didn’t really get to see a lot of his style of play (although I can watch his goal against Man United in the ‘91 League Cup Final all day every day). I personally thought we had enough quality in central midfield but I suppose one more quality addition wont hurt, hopefully he can show off his ability...once he’s served his suspension after his debut red card.

After last season I felt we were crying out for a winger. A winger who could cause an impact in the same way Ben Marshall and Antonio did when we were in League One. Carvalhal signed Will Buckley on a season long loan and Adam Reach for £5 million.

Buckley was an intelligent bit of business in my opinion. Can bring something to teams at this level, should be looking to impress here if he wants to get back to playing week in week out and if he doesn’t perform then there’s no skin off our nose cause he’ll be back at Sunderland next year. At 26 and in his prime we should hopefully be seeing some impressive stuff from this lad which would be a stark contrast from his days at Sunderland and Leeds.

Adam Reach’s transfer is a bit of a different issue though. He’s 23 with plenty of years to improve, has impressed in multiple loan moves across England and lastly is now Wednesday’s record transfer player. Now these days with Paul Pogba going for £89 million and the likes of Christian Benteke go for £27 million, transfer fees mean fuck all, so £5 million isn’t really a large amount of money to let go.

But considering Reach has just joined a club which has spent a combined 46p in transfers over the last 15 years I have to say £5 million seems like a lot of money. I don’t think the price tag is going to be loomed over this lads head but I do think they’ll be an expectancy of him to perform over the next few seasons.

The squad we have is more than capable of challenging for a playoff place and if the side clicks like all Wednesday fans are hoping they will, then we could be seeing a possible automatic promotion push...I can dream. I know it's early days but I can’t help feeling optimistic each season. One of the main reason being our reserve side now is stronger than most of the starting 11’s we’ve had in recent years.

Now we’re more or less up to date with this season so far. Hopefully The Mighty Owls can get 3 points vs Forest this weekend and shut up those “supporters” who seem to confuse anger with passion (yes I’m looking at all the people who have slated Westwood. One mistake and suddenly he’s not fit to wear the shirt? Get a grip). I suppose I’ll continue our flight when we’ve gone 10 games without a win and I’m stood in Hillsborough car park with my shoes off. But until then, I’m just gonna enjoy it.

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Cheers for reading.