TFN’s Hugo Greenhalgh thinks Wayne Rooney should be revered rather than ridiculed…
There was something reassuring about Manchester United’s comfortable 3-0 victory over Tottenham last Sunday. The ease at which United blitzed past Spurs was reminiscent of a Sir Alex Ferguson performance; the kind of game Fergie used to prepare for by telling the dressing room, “Lads, it’s Tottenham”, as Roy Keane revealed in his autobiography.
What will have been particularly pleasing for United fans was the display of Wayne Rooney. The England captain put in one of his best performances of the season, capping it off with a goal at the end of the first half. Picking up Nabil Bentaleb’s stray pass, Rooney danced past the remaining Spurs defenders and stuck it past Hugo Lloris with a nonchalance that recalled a player in his pomp.
The celebration that followed was a wonderful touch of self-awareness. There were shades of Robbie Fowler and Paul Gascoigne as Rooney showed the ability to laugh at himself – as well as the morning papers. It also served as a massive release for a player who has endured a significant amount of criticism over his career. Continue reading
In the first part of a new series, Hugo Greenhalgh reveals why the Andy Kellett move is a damning indictment of player development in English football…
Anecdotally, it’s a brilliant story. Local boy gets shock move to European giants. It is little wonder Andy Kellett thought Manchester United’s move for him was a ‘wind up’. Theories did the rounds that Jim White had misread ‘Sheffield’ as ‘Manchester’ on Sky Sports News. The whole matter seems totally implausible, yet beneath the surface Kellett’s loan actually serves as a damning indictment of youth football in this country.
The January window saw seven young United players head out on loan to clubs in the Football League. This is where the emphasis now lies with youth policy for the big clubs; the U-21 Premier League offers little in the way of a challenge as the players are simply competing within their age group. Conversely, the Football League allows them a test outside their comfort zone, both mentally and physically. They get the chance to work with more experienced players than their contemporaries in the youth team and compete against tougher, stronger opponents. Continue reading
TFN debutant and Blackburn Rovers fan Felix Reed assesses the career of Phil Jones…
Phil Jones has recently found himself on the wrong end of some negative publicity because he’s taken a few corners and pulls a face that launched a thousand Sportbible-worthy memes. However, given that Jones turns 23 next month and that his current contract has less than 18 months to run, it might be time to have a more serious appraisal of where his career is heading. He still has some way to go if he is to fulfil Sir Alex Ferguson’s prediction that he could be the greatest player in Manchester United’s history.
Even as a fan watching Jones make his Blackburn debut as a fresh faced 18-year-old, his talent was apparent. Coming up against the 2010 version of Didier Drogba and Chelsea, his positional awareness, speed and tenacity were remarkable. One tackle he made on Frank Lampard will live long in the memory. When locally-born, 18-year-old academy graduates are making their league debut and absolutely smashing through established England internationals it does tend to stick in the memory. Continue reading
Simon Smith looks at how the smaller Premier League clubs have upset the balance this season by signing the right players and assigning the right tactics…
Recent events have got me wondering how the league table would look if Chelsea hadn’t managed to have such a productive summer in the transfer market and get their act together this season. Would Southampton really be the league leaders? The trend in recent seasons has grown from none to one, and then to two, of the big teams each season to struggle. Not necessarily terribly, but to fail to achieve what they ought to, to invite the media crisis circus upon them. This season has reached new crises heights due to the fact that all the big clubs bar Chelsea (and to a lesser extent Manchester City) have failed to get their act together.
Just what is going on at Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton, Liverpool and Manchester United? The answer for all those clubs will be different, so perhaps instead we might muse what Southampton, Swansea and West Ham are doing that these sleeping giants are incapable of.
Tactically, it’s hard to conclude anything concrete: all three of those clubs have reasonably different plans, styles of play and ways the team is set up. What perhaps sets them apart the most is their player recruitment strategy. In a chaotic summer for Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United in particular, these smaller clubs have shown the value of planning signings with the team in mind. Continue reading
Joe Devine brings us five reasons why Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal could actually be dead…
“But he’s the current Manchester United manager” I hear you say. Yes, that’s true – but can you prove he’s not dead? I very much doubt it. The following is five reasons why we believe he might be dead.
1. He Looks Dead
Despite being reportedly alive and 63 years old, Louis Van Gaal does look quite dead. Remember Babs from Chicken Run? Well, Babs looked dead and Louis looks just like her. He also looks like that premier Nazi guy who melts in that Indiana Jones movie. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to smell him, but he definitely looks dead, and we’re happy to use that as evidence.
2. He thinks no one can see him
As shown in this photograph below, Louis Van Gaal appears to believe that nobody can see him. He takes this opportunity to stare right into the breast area of a Fox News reporter. Do you really think a man of 63 years wouldn’t be aware of when was and wasn’t an appropriate time for boob-gazing? Only someone who thought they were invisible would do this, and only dead people are invisible. Continue reading
Elko Born considers the apparent need for more passion from certain football managers…
As someone who grew up outside of Britain, some of the convictions and norms of a lot of Premier League spectators simultaneously amuse and confuse me.
Take your average British fan’s tendency to automatically question the qualities of any footballer who has ever played in the Dutch Eredivisie. Because Afonso Alves was bad when he played for Middlesbrough, the reasoning seems to go, every former Eredivisie footballer ever will always fail in the Premier League.
Recently, some Manchester United fans have started taking offence to manager Louis van Gaal’s touchline antics, or lack thereof. If Twitter is to be believed, anyway.
Van Gaal needs to get off his arse, these critics make known. How can he expect to be a good manager when he’s sitting in the dugout all the time? He needs to go and stand near the touchline so he can effectively shout at the footballers. Continue reading
In his first piece for TFN, Kammonke Obase-Wotta looks at why Louis Van Gaal is set to succeed as the new Manchester United manager…
As the World Cup comes to a thrilling end, it is time to say goodbye and turn our attentions to one of the most anticipated soap operas of the year; the English Premier league. As last season drew to a close after another drama-filled year, the news of David Moyes’ sacking came as no surprise and was greeted with sighs of relief from the Manchester United faithful.
I can remember vividly the last three games of the season and watching Manchester United’s poor performances. After one of the matches I got involved in a heated discussion about whether or not United would bounce back. I remember saying something like, “Manchester United has probably two to three years to bounce back, based on the fact that Liverpool flopped and were out of the Champions League for over four seasons.” Fast-forward three months and I am rethinking my stance. Why? It is quite simple – because of the virtuoso tactician, Louis Van Gaal. Continue reading