Ahead of England’s Euro 2016 Qualifier against Slovenia and Wayne Rooney’s 100th cap,Dave Hughes brings us a hypothetical XI of England’s one-cap wonders…
Ah, the one-cap wonder. It comes in many forms.
There is the in-form man, who deceives the nation with a clutch of eye-catching club displays before having their shortcomings mercilessly exposed on the international stage. The stop-gap, summoned to national duty during a desperate injury crisis. There are those who display genuine promise before tragedy curtails their careers or, in some tragic cases, their lives.
And, of course, there is Seth Johnson.
In the spirit of optimism (or kindness in the case of David Nugent), players who have currently won one cap but may, with a fair wind, regain their place been omitted. Hence the absence of the likes of Jack Butland, Jake Livermore and Steve Caulker. The inclusion of Kevin Davies is based on the premise that the three goals he has scored in 46 appearances for Preston North End are unlikely to earn the 37-year-old an 11th-hour recall. Although you never know. Continue reading →
TFN debutant Luke Jarrett takes a look at why the Premier League’s most expensive defender is struggling to settle at Manchester City…
It’s no secret that footballers often need time to adjust to the different pace of life and football in a new league. Even so, Eliaquim Mangala’s flimsiness so far in a Manchester City shirt has looked troubling pronounced following his summer move to the Premier League champions from Porto. It cost the Sky Blues £32 million to bring the 23-year-old to England; a price tag that has only intensified the ferocity of the criticism thrown at the young defender.
After having impressed so many new admirers in the Champions League last year, the highly-rated Frenchman has looked more worthy of the Football League Show than Match Of The Day up against the likes of Enner Valenica and Charlie Austin this season. His sudden fall from grace, and the sturdy promise he showed at the back for his former club in Europe, to becoming a damp squib for City is understandably unnerving for the neutral, let alone those forced to watch on from the stands of the Etihad. Continue reading →
TFN debutant and La Liga expert, Muhammad aka MochineGun, goes all Nick Fury on us as he tries to put together a super-powered team to take down Cristiano Ronaldo this weekend…
Yesterday, the internet awoke to something pretty special. After a nefarious leak, Marvel decided to bless us with an early release of the full HD teaser trailer for next summer’s blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The trailer itself was pretty great, but there was something striking about the opening line from Ultron: “I’m gonna show you something beautiful. Everyone screaming, for mercy.” Musa Okwonga was the first to make the link.
“I’m going to show you something beautiful”, said Ronaldo, before last night’s game. “Everyone -screaming, for mercy.” #AgeofUltron
Yes! Those scenes of mass destruction at the hands of a super being: that was Anfield on Wednesday night. It was Cristiano Ronaldo who led the way in Real Madrid’s 3-0 decimation of Liverpool with a beautiful goal that, well, had the Kop screaming for mercy before they applauded him from the field.
Cristiano is ruthless right now, destroying opponent after opponent. In fact in many ways he is just like Ultron; angry at the world for not appreciating him enough, thus he’s out to remind them all how brutally brilliant he is. In the film, The Avengers will try and stop Ultron, but who can stop Cristiano Ronaldo here in real-life? What’s that, El Clasico is on Saturday? A star-studded showdown where Cristiano’s Real Madrid take on Barcelona; a team of superheroes that just a few years ago delighted and thrilled us much like The Avengers? Well there’s only one thing for this then: a Hypothetical Age Of Ultron XI! Continue reading →
Alastair Naysmithassesses the virtues of managerial attire…
Sat behind the dug out at Deep Dale recently my eye was constantly drawn, despite the entertaining football, to the sight of Paul Cook the Chesterfield Manager prowling the touchline. He was as animated and vocal as you’d expect from a former player-turned-manager, but what stood out most of all was his attire. Here was a 47-year old man whose job it is to inspire and direct his players, dressed in the kind of ridiculously baggy shorts more commonly seen on boxers, basketball players and hanging up on Nora Batty’s washing line.
As the teams went in at half time I wondered what kind of team talk he’d have to come up with not only to inspire his team to turn around the 3-1 scoreline but also to distract them from the fact that he looked like an over-competitive Dad on Sports Day. This is the bit where I eat my words; Chesterfield came out after half time and got a commendable 3-3 draw. While it is conceivable that the comeback had as much to do with Preston’s defence showing all the resistance of a FIFA delegate being offered a bribe, as it did with their inspirational management/fashion guru, their form this season does suggests that Cook is having a good effect on his team. Continue reading →
Making his TFN debut, Billy Macfarlane writes about the unreliable nature of football opinions and their mental footprint on the old memory…
Ginola, look at this run by Ginola, oh that is a fantastic goal, another outstanding strike by Ginola, he’s taken on the entire Barnsley defence and left them all standing.
The greatest goal that I have ever seen live. I remember the jinking run, the neat finish, the celebration, the White Hart Lane crowd going berserk and all of the emotions that come with a truly great goal.
Except this memory is false. I wasn’t in attendance when David Ginola scored after that mazy run, one of the finest in Tottenham and FA Cup history. Ginola’s goal wasn’t even scored at White Hart Lane it was scored away at Oakwell, a ground I have never even been to. Continue reading →
Greg, James and Elko welcome Alex Stewart onto the pod after a week of prime beef to talk Southampton, England’s Ajax, defensive issues at Liverpool, the trend of top clubs doubling up on goalkeepers, problems at Manchester United, defensive midfielders *AND TO FINISH OFF* the two most pressing questions in the game today.
Jonny McConnell looks at Diego Simeone’s options beyond Atlético Madrid…
It has been said over and over again, but even in management, Diego Simeone has retained the ferocity and sheer determination that made him such a formidable opponent in his playing days.
Often unpredictable on the pitch, he had enviable talent and he has impressively taken his playing qualities into his role as a manager. Since replacing Gregorio Manzano in December 2011, Simeone has showed his coaching ability to the world, helping the club escape from a period of mediocrity, moulding them into La Liga winners in the space of two and a half seasons. What next though? Can Simeone and the club improve on this, or have they finally reached their ceiling as a club. Continue reading →