Benjamin White has exited the England squad for personal reasons. I don’t really have much to add to this bar the hope that whatever he’s flying back for is less serious by the time he lands. Life does not respect the time of year, regardless of how festive it is, so everyone from Le Grove make sure you send some of that telepathic love his way right now.
England dropped our boy Bukayo and made a whole bunch of changes to kickstart their World Cup campaign after those damn pesky Americans took two points from us. The answer was Foden, who he played out of position, and Marcus Rashford, and when you look at the productivity in the game, it’s hard to argue with what happened.
So, we exit top of the group, top 5 for goals, top 5 for defence, but England fans all have the #GarethOut saved in their drafts. In fact, I think it’s fair to say most international fans are probably feeling a little unsatisfied with what’s been put on offer this World Cup so far.
My hot take? We’re spoilt at club level these days. We purrrrrr over coaches that take 18 months to get their teams playing a highly technical game of football that is choreographed like a New York Christmas ballet. Mikel Arteta, the best young coach in the world right now, has everyone so drilled it’s nearly a subconscious act to play in his system.
You think Gareth Southgate or Didier Deschamps is going to achieve that level of sophistication with a 2 week BootCamp in the middle of a season? No chance.
The good thing about this is it lowers the overall standards of the game. The lower teams get a little closer to the better teams, which gives chance for upsets like we just saw today when Tunisia beat France. If those two are club teams, it’s 7-0 to France, but at the international level, it’s anyone’s game because neither team is particularly drilled in anything, so it can become a slugfest.
Here’s the other tough thing to swallow with Gareth Southgate… he gets it done. How can we all be out here saying we know better when he’s delivered a WC semi and a European Championship final? Everyone always has the right answer, it’s ‘whoever is not on the pitch’, but let’s be real here, it’s super hard to be good at international football, we’ve had plenty of talented teams, but it’s only Gareth who has delivered anything in the last 30 years.
There are reports that Liverpool might be a point of interest for Sven Mislintat. The German, who has been exited at Stuttgart, is keen to link up with Jurgen Klopp. I like this sort of move because it’d basically be Klopp building out a power structure where he’s king. I like Sven, he’s done great things in his career, but he’s gone off the boil a touch since joining Arsenal, so we’ll see. He had this to say about his departure.
“In our talks, we didn’t find a common denominator for continuing my work at VfB. I very much regret that because VfB has become a matter close to my heart in recent years and I would have liked to have continued to contribute to the positive development of this great club,”
You have to imagine this comes down to leadership, because this exit reads a little like he wanted the next level, and he wasn’t given it. ‘Diamond eyes’ might be good at one very specific thing, but not very good at leading teams. Who knows, but getting him to Liverpool works for the agenda.
There are some reports doing the rounds that Arsenal will be part of an elite crew of teams that will have a 3rd kit next season with no sponsor… the brand is called lifestyles. Now, this sounds… weird. I can’t for the life of me understand how Adidas will be allowed to sell shirts with no sponsors on them, because that would cause absolute SCENES for sponsors and sponsorship teams around the world. This would be some wildly massive loophole that is getting exposed if true. Why would you spend all that money to be on the front of the kit if it became an optional extra moving forward?
I guess there will be more to come there.
Ok, that’s me done. Get the latest AOP in your veins RIGHT NOW.