This week Jen Offord talks about UEFA’s team of the year, how Bruce Grobbelaar is on hand to offer advice to Brendan Rodgers, Leicester City reject Emile Heskey and how Gianluigi Buffon has been playing football forever.
Wind of Change
The discussion/tragic lament of England’s domestic talent rumbles on this week, as UEFA announced its Team of the Year.
Compared to its European rivals, the Premier League makes a decent enough effort – with seven of its players represented in the 40-man squad – compared to ten from Germany’s Bundesliga and a whopping 16 from the Spanish La Liga.
But, when it comes to the nationalities of players who make the cut, it’s a different story. As you’d expect, on the basis of the last couple of international tournaments; Argentina, Spain and Germany are all well represented with five, six and seven players making the cut.
Perhaps more interestingly – of Bundesliga’s ten players, six are actually German. Out of the 16 from La Liga, a less respectable three are Spanish while none of the seven from the Premier League are English. In fact none of the 40 players are English. Although Wales gets a nod by way of Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale.
Why do we even bother? Oh no, that’s right, we don’t.
And speaking of British footballing talent or, lack thereof, it’s starting to look a little tricky for Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers (I know, he’s Northern Irish – I Googled him and everything – that’s why I said ‘British’). The Reds have now slipped to 12th in the league after suffering defeats in every game played in November – across all competitions. Worse still, one of those defeats was to Hull.
Fortunately for Rodgers, former Liverpool goalkeeper and one-time alleged match-fixer, Bruce Grobbelaar, is on hand to advise. Not that BG wants to poop on anyone’s picnic, but he reckons Rodgers has got three weeks to save his job.
It’s been a tough time for Liverpool, with last season’s top scorers Luis Suarez off to bite people in pastures new and Daniel Sturridge getting all injured and that, but according to Grobbelaar, this is the least of their worries. The problem according to Grobbelaar, is goalkeeper Simon Mignolet – who the mustachioed one has dubbed ‘worse than Dracula’. Worse, because “at least Dracula comes out of his coffin now and then.” *der dum tish!*
It’s true, Mignolet has only managed two clean sheets in 12 Premier League matches, and if anyone can count – it’s Grobbelaar, right? There was some heavy mental arithmetic going on, back in the day, after all.
When I’m 64
Finally, Premier League minnows Leicester City, have surprised no one by announcing they do not intend to re-sign former striker, 36 year old Emile Heskey. Heskey, who according to the stats was never very good, played 196 games for Leicester between 1994-2000, scoring a total of 46 goals.
Despite now being 827 years old, Heskey has said he’d be happy to play for the Foxes again, if asked. He should probably be happy to play for Harwich & Parkeston Sunday Shrimpers, based on that record. Though any rumours were promptly dismissed by boss Nigel Pearson, who was quite rightly offended by the speculation, commenting “you’re reading a bit too much into it to suggest he would improve what we’ve got here at the minute”.
I can’t be the only person thinking 36 has become a fashionable stage age for footballers, with news this week that Juventus’ Gianluigi Buffon has signed a new three year contract, committing him to the club until he allegedly turns 39. If either of them have been playing football for as long as I think I can remember them playing, the only possible explanation is that they’re both actually undead.
Read more from Jen Offord here!
Who would be in your UEFA team of the year?
Where is Brendan Rodgers going wrong at Liverpool?