Sunday Morning International Blues
International weekend is almost over and one injury target is down. Robin van Persie is not out, no, just at home being wrapped in cotton wool so that he can emerge unscathed for training next week. The Dutch believe his blood shows immense fatigue which is better than showing his blood type as 5%ABV. It is entirely keeping with the jingoistic nature of the past seven days that the language surrounding this is akin to Arsène emerging victorious from a bloody conflict or that RvP will be on a life support machine within minutes. No histrionics, eh? And it’s VAN not Ven.
Still that will give him plenty of time to stew in his own juices about his contract renewal, won’t it Pete?
On which subject, there must be some sore backs this morning with the amount of flip-flopping that has gone on surrounding the England team. They won 1-0, a win which some believe is a backward step, others a giant leap forward. The result is more positive than negative. The performance England put in is encouraging for several reasons. Firstly, the absence of Terry and Rooney. I cannot think of a positive about the former in any circumstances and it is hard to deny that the latter is talented. But in the same way Arsenal will naturally incline towards van Persie, England do so with Rooney, stifling the team ethic in the process.
Secondly, with young players hungry – maybe they should have had a pasty or pasties beforehand – to prove themselves, teamwork was more apparent than is normal for England. Observations have been made about how the lack of technique made the result embarrassing. I find that logic hard to follow. Football is about playing to your strengths and England did that; hard work. They took their chance and rode their luck, like many teams facing Arsenal. They stole a win, so what? If it had been Arsenal doing that, would there be any embarrassment or complaint?
By the same token, claiming England could do well at a tournament playing like that is taking patriotic fervour too far, somewhat bizarre given the individual in question chose the Republic of Ireland as his country for football purposes. Surely Andy O’Townsend is not disowning his roots? It was a friendly and should be treated as such, the positives should be taken forward rather than taken for granted. We well remember England’s last match against a good side in a tournament. There is still work to be done.
And don’t get me on the subject of Scott Parker. The media’s love-in was nauseating to watch, read and hear. I guess with Harry looking to get a new suit with hoops or arrows on it, someone at Tottenham had to fill the void. I wonder if Redknapp Senior has ordered a room with a view from the Scrubs Hotel?
Watching the match with the Birthday Boy, his observation that ‘Cesc’s let himself go‘ mirrored the thoughts of Wojciech Szczesny. It was the haircut that got to him and what seemed to be an increase in the number of tattoos. His observation that if that was what happened to young people when they lived in Spain, he was staying in England, went down well with the Catalan side of the family.
Elsewhere on this quiet Sunday, Alex Song is apparently going to Barcelona which was entirely at odds with the headline that screamed he was going to Internazionale. Both moves are taking place this coming January. It didn’t take long for Song’s association with Darren Dein to start bearing fruit for the Cameroonean. I am not sure who Eden Hazard’s Mr20% but he has to be one of the hardest working in the business. Having sorted out a move to Real Madrid, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and AC Milan, he has looked around and become concerned at the lack of options for his client, the deal struck with Barcelona now means that only the Bundesliga remains of Europe’s major leagues to cover off.
Right, that’s it. Round Two of Super Birthday Weekend begins in an hour or so. Enjoy your Sunday. ’til Tomorrow.