One new, fully opened (finally) National Football Centre and two England international fixtures in one night. It’s a busy week, and here’s a little bit of the combined news and views that you might not have seen – or, this week, heard.
I’ve covered St George’s Park at great length and am genuinely excited to know that it is open and functioning, hopefully ushering in a new era for English football. The Guardian‘s David Lacey points out that there is a big old monster to slay too, namely long-ball football. Santi Cazorla and Juan Mata don’t do it, he writes, so why should we?
Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry missed UEFA Euro 2012 through injury and has found it difficult to regain his place since. It seems that England’s sometimes half-cooked embracing of the next generation has few older victims, and Barry is chief among them. But he’s not interested in retiring from international football, says Russell Stoddart at Goal.com, and he wants to fight hard and win back his place.
This picture is wonderful.
Chelsea’s Ashley Cole has retained his place in the England squad despite his infamous #TWUNCHOFBATS tweet, although he misses out against San Marino this evening. His personal apology to the Football Association’s #CHAIRMAN, David Bernstein, appears to have saved his international bacon.
Who Ate All The Pies? – under the stewardship of Ollie Irish and now Chris Wright – has long been a favourite of mine, and hasn’t disappointed this week. First, yet another gem from Garth Crooks, whose BBC team of the week (made up almost exclusively of goalscorers, naturally) quite rightly carried some gushing praise for West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison.
“This is a player Roy Hodgson should now be taking a keen interest in,” writes Crooks. An interesting take, given that Hodgson was the Albion manager as recently as last season. Oh, and Morrison is Scottish. Not just a little bit Scottish. He’s 23 caps Scottish.
Also from Pies comes Kyle Walker’s Phil Jagielka fanboyism, and his elegant soup-based example of how it’s strange to be his team-mate.
And finally, another England profile on this week’s The Football Ramble: Ian Wright. Well worth your time, as the Ramble invariably is.
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