Theo Talks But Can Nik Walk The Walk?
For once international week is looking half-decent for Arsenal with reports that Robin van Persie and Cesc have both pulled out of their respective countries meaning
lessful international friendlies.
It would be nice to think that these illnesses are genuine but for once, my natural cynicism is shining through and it is just too convenient, especially as there is little fuss being made of them in the media over here.
On the subject of injuries no confirmation that Johan Djourou is out for months that we were told although his Twitter account suggested that it is not as bad as first seemed.
The Dynamic Duo are going to be facing Denmark with Capello insisting that Wilshere is a holding midfielder, despite the pocket dynamo possessing more attacking flair and threat than Lampard has shown in his whole international career. The hope has to be that appearing for England will not have a detrimental impact on his technique as Capello returns the national squad to the mid-1970s in terms of its playing style. And abilities.
The Italian though has found Theo Walcott praising him for being approachable. Having admitted that omitting the Arsenal player from the World Cup 2010 squad was a mistake, Capello is not being let off the hook easily on that score. The move backfired because of the appalling form of Lennon when it mattered although whether Walcott would have fared any better is open to debate, such was the poverty of his form for the national team at that time.
Such matters would not have bothered Nicklas Bendtner who is lining up against his club team-mates, hoping to prove to Arsène that his form is improving. Having won Goal of the Month on the club website, Bendtner believes he should be featuring more in the side,
I am happy to be an Arsenal player but, of course, I must play more. I mean that I’m good enough to be in the line-up. I will play this season to the end as an Arsenal player and then make a decision on my status in the summer. If I’m still happy then I will stay. Otherwise, we must see what will happen.
Whether Arsène agrees remains to be seen but it is hard to see Bendtner displacing a fit Robin van Persie in the starting line-up. That means that under current formations, the Dane had better get used to being a right-sided forward or supersub. Rotation means he will play centrally but not as often as he thinks he should.
His season was rudely interrupted by injury and he has yet to find the consistency of performance to warrant a starting place. The signing of Chamakh has made the forward line a competitive area of the Arsenal squad and it would be no surprise to see one or more of the fringe players leave in the Summer as they seek first team football.
Bendtner invited that with his comment but he has also put wages under the spotlight once more. His observations about the money earned at the top level of the game are not wrong. Footballers obtain their salary levels because that is what the market dictates.
Their abilities are judged by the manager. His judgement is based on seeing them every day in training, knowing their strengths and the performance levels they are capable of, rather than a jaundiced view of ninety minutes where no matter how well someone plays, they are criticised.
We can have an opinion and guess what players earn but media reports are notoriously unreliable concerning amounts paid. Do we have the right to know? Some would argue on the basis that we pay their wages via merchandise and tickets, that we are entitled to know. However, do you know the salary of the Argos cashier who served you at the weekend? No but on the basis of the previous logic, you are surely entitled to.
Constantly we are told that football is an entertainment business which, if it is correct, the comparison with actors is not wrong. Looking at other sports, the top earners worldwide outpace footballers yet not in this country. With Uefa’s rules, the salary levels are going to drop at some clubs but not others. Arsenal, for example, will be able to pay more than they currently do; Chelsea won’t.
Elsewhere, apparently Cesc will have recovered sufficiently to partake of a £50m move to Chelsea this Summer. It beats months of worrying about Barcelona come June, I suppose…As Liverpool fans jibed at Stamford Bridge, Cesc would do better to stay at a big club.