Football Friday #001

Friday will now feature exclusively football thoughts. For my loyal transatlantic followers, I mean soccer!

England’s Glovemen

Where better to start than at number one, England’s number one! Jordan Pickford is the man in possession but what about the back-up? Despite deputising for three competitive matches not that long ago, Gareth Southgate seems to have fallen out of love with Nick Pope. Though the England manager did mention Pope’s recent return from injury when recently omitting him from the squad, Pope’s playing out from the back (Or lack of) doesn’t seem to fit Gareth’s (Or the modern) way. Sam Johnstone (Who started against Andorra), despite being back in the Championship and Aaron Ramsdale, have clearly usurped Pope. Southgate made a pointed remark regarding Ramsdale (Who don’t forget has been relegated in both of the last two seasons), namely that he’s now at a big club and therefore has to handle added pressure. Nick Pope take note!

Dean Henderson is only a cup ‘keeper but remains in the mix while Karl Darlow was unfortunate not to earn recognition last season. Steve Bruce ditched him just prior to an England squad announcement, so suddenly not being first choice at club level did for Darlow’s chances. Recently of course, Under-17 World Cup winner Freddie Woodman stood in for COVID stricken Darlow at Newcastle.

It’s great to see England have options between the sticks. The players in question are generally still young but experienced (Goalkeeper’s often don’t break through to mid-late twenties) and can more than keep Pickford, who has performed well for England, on his toes!

Stagnating Sancho

It’s all well and good scoring a bucketload of goals in the Bundesliga but is Jadon Sancho really a £73 million player? 0 goals and 0 assists for Manchester United this season suggests not! Ronaldo, Rashford, Martial and Lingard make for some healthy competition at Old Trafford. They have (Bar the injured Rashford) contributed in front of goal this term. Even no spring chicken Edison Cavani, though maybe more suited to the central role, started ahead of Sancho recently.

Megabucks Manchester City couldn’t stop moaning when Sancho left The Etihad for Borussia Dortmund. This was despite the fact that Man City had themselves pinched him from Watford, where he’d had many years of development in the London side’s youth set-up.

As for Sancho’s England efforts so far, prior to last/this week’s internationals, Aaron Lennon, Shaun Wright-Phillips and heck… even Stewart Downing had performed better in an England shirt. On club form alone, there’s no way that Sancho should’ve been selected ahead of Everton pair Andros Townsend or Demarai Gray. All that said though, Sancho finally got going against the mighty Andorra! He registered two assists and started to display some confidence. Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come for him, particularly in an England shirt. I thought that he could’ve come on in the second half against Hungary but it wasn’t to be.

FC Nantes’ Away Shirt

Moving across the channel, let’s celebrate FC Nantes’ 2021-22 away kit…

Hopefully there’ll still be some in my size once the price has dropped! It’s a simple but beautiful shirt, though not quite as good as Serie A side Venezia’s…

Lookout for more football thoughts every Friday!

Published by Planet Paul

Planet Paul

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