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5 minutes ago, 83owl said:

I’d get rid of Jenas. Fell asleep this afternoon listening to him.

I think hes got a lot better than he used to be.  He used to sound wooden and out of his depth.  I.thought his analysis was interesting and confident today.

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I think this debate about women commentators is interesting.

I think it comes down to authenticity.

 

Would Chris Turner in his pomp get into the world cup  womens winning teams of Germany or the USA?

Probably. Maybe definitely.

 

What would be the reaction of he was on the Euro panel of pundits?

I suspect that he would be seen as not qualified to be there.

Edited by Costello 77
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17 minutes ago, StudentOwl said:

So let's just say it takes a generation, for sake of argument, because I don't think that's an unfair ballpark, and it's suitably a timespan to give us a fair amount of wiggle room.

 

I think the general consensus, what with sports science, increasing walkup attendances, MASSIVE increases in the money involved and global viewership, it wouldn't be unfair to say that men's football is much bigger now than it was in the 90s. So let's fast-forward a generation to a point where women's football is to within the same kind of ballpark as the men's game has been over the last 15ish years... would it not be fair to say that the men's game could have progressed in size even more than it has now, and LondonOwl9313 would be making the same argument, as the women's game is just so far behind the men's?

 

I'd also put it to you that in a progressive society, should we really be waiting this ill-defined generation before having a lass chat about men's footie on the TV because maybe by that point it'll be suitably big enough?

 

I believe in a meritocracy for sure, it's integral... but if the stipulation is that women's football must be an equivalent size before a woman can chat about it... you could easily make the argument that it will simply never happen?

 

 

I think the women’s game will grow at a much faster rate, the men’s game must be quite close to saturation point now. Think they’ll struggle to keep increasing the wages and money involved, whereas you can quite easily increase it in the women’s game if you get more interest. 
 

I know what you’re saying, that it’s basically a chicken and egg situation where giving them air time on the men’s game will increase exposure to their game, and that waiting for equivalence means it would never happen.

 

But it’s hard to be a meritocracy and promote the women’s punditry on men’s football at the same time. I think if we’re opening it up for them to have their say, then why don’t we have more diversity in the male voices. More non league players or unknowns. And I think it’s because most people wouldn’t be interested in watching that.

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28 minutes ago, MarvelOwls said:

I'm with you there. Never seem to have got it together for a fair few years. Used to like watching Davids and Seedorf too.

Italy and Belgium have both set the pace and delivered big statements.

Netherlands have a pretty easy group dont they?

They definitely look favourites to go through. Sometimes though when there is an obviously weak team in a group (North Macedonia in this group) things can get tight as all other teams pick up a win against them. I’d think they will make it but Ukraine are no pushovers!

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18 minutes ago, 83owl said:

I’d get rid of Jenas. Fell asleep this afternoon listening to him.

Agree. He is the most boring man in the world. I've no idea why the BBC keep putting him on TV.

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25 minutes ago, HIGHERSTATE said:

Ill tell you later 😉

 

I went to see FC Groningen when i was there...they were good at passing and moving but there was virtually no tackling.  They really do focus on their technical ability...and I guess Ajax, Eindhoven and Feyenoord hoover up all the young talent.

I went to see Ajax a couple of years back and the noise was immense. Souvenir shop a bit pricey so only got a keyring 😂

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1 minute ago, striker said:

Agree. He is the most boring man in the world. I've no idea why the BBC keep putting him on TV.

I must be in a small minority on Owlstalk as I don’t have any problem with him. Certainly better than my own least favourite commentator Mark Lawrenson! 
My wife heard Jenas commentating and recognised his voice from ‘The One Show’. She didn’t even know he used to be a footballer…

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25 minutes ago, Costello 77 said:

To balance out Savage's hysterical outpourings?

 

Now he is terrible. Can't stand him and from the crap he comes out with, if you weren't into football, you'd be amazed he'd been a professional footballer and PL as well.

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21 minutes ago, CircleSeven said:

I must be in a small minority on Owlstalk as I don’t have any problem with him. Certainly better than my own least favourite commentator Mark Lawrenson! 
 

 

I bloody hated Lawro, the man was like aural valium. Give me Jenas anyday.

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I think this is a good analysis by a female pundit  - it's by Emma Hayes who is the manager of Chelsea women.  It's a better read than most football analysis written by males.

 

https://theathletic.com/2643383/2021/06/12/emma-hayes-why-england-should-play-two-holding-midfielders-at-euro-2020

 

(There's a paywall but I think you can read a few for free.) 

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Emma Hayes' article this morning I read:

 

Emma Hayes: Why England should play two holding midfielders at Euro 2020

By Emma Hayes Jun 12, 2021 190 

 

Indulge me for a moment. There is a way England could squeeze all their best creative influencers into the same line-up at Euro 2020 and, on paper at least, it is a mouth-watering prospect.

They can have Phil Foden, such a wonderful talent with the world at his feet, as that “inner-corridor” player drifting in off the left into the half-space as he does at Manchester City, and a left-back bombing forward on the outside into the area the midfielder vacates.

They could ask either Raheem Sterling or Marcus Rashford to provide some proper width as an out-and-out winger pinned to the right flank. His task would be to stretch the pitch and open up space for team-mates. Yes, that may not be either player’s natural game, just as it isn’t for Jadon Sancho. All three may prefer to dribble inside. But, if instructed, they could hug that touchline for the good of the team.

They can use Mason Mount pushing on from midfield as he’s done so effectively for Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea, the oil in the machine to keep everything ticking over. And they can incorporate Jack Grealish, another of those instinctive in-to-out players who craves the freedom to charge forward, as a second progressive No 8. He has been outstanding for most of this season, so encourage him to play his intricate one-twos with Mount, as well as interchange and link up with Harry Kane through the middle.

The captain, the one player in the squad who absolutely guarantees you a goal, has already publicly acknowledged that he plays with Grealish better than anyone else in this squad. They read each other’s game. The Aston Villa player is the closest thing we have to a Son Heung-min in terms of that relationship. He can drop the shoulder, go round a player, burst away and put a ball into the box. He can be Kane’s foil in the national side. It might bring the best out of both.

Declan Rice would anchor midfield and, to ensure he is not completely outnumbered if there is a turnover, you ask Kyle Walker to tuck inside from right-back to help close down a counter-attack. He is rarely an overlapping full-back at Manchester City any more, but plays that inverted brief, one of three counter-players in possession of the ball. He knows what it entails. Indeed, lots of the personnel involved are used to playing these slightly modified roles for their club sides, and Gareth Southgate and Steve Holland have made a habit of picking up some of the best tactical innovations from the day-to-day of the Premier League and applying them to international level.

Do that and you’ve probably got all your best, creative attacking talents on the pitch at the same time. These are all wonderful players, the kind I love, and the fact we’re playing the vast majority of our games at the tournament this summer at Wembley — in familiar surroundings at home — does make it more plausible as an approach. Against lesser opponents it might be a no-brainer. The thought of those sharp exchanges between Mount, Foden and Grealish slicing through an opposition leaves you salivating. Think of how much damage you could inflict in possession.

 

It’s what my heart says England should do.

But then reality kicks in and my head is screaming something very different. That you’d be asking a hell of a lot of Rice and, behind him, Walker, not to mention a back line likely to be without Harry Maguire for a while longer. Whenever we lose the ball, alarm bells would ring. I can hear my assistant at Chelsea, Denise Reddy, saying, “You want to play all those tippy-tappies in there? Who the fizz is going to put their foot in?” She would have a point. Are we really going to risk handing over the centre of the pitch to Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic?

And as much as it would leave me absolutely gutted, accepting as much may have serious implications for Grealish and the make-up of the England attack.

The original brief for this column was to examine what kind of blend you need to ensure a front three clicks, but that felt too simplistic. The make-up of your forward line has to fit into a rounded team structure. It has to complement the shape of your midfield, and even the framework of your back line. It has to reflect the resources at your disposal at any given moment.

The duties you assign those front players depend upon whether the team are seeking to build attacks with maximum depth and width, or whether the balance works better with one player pinned wide with instructions not to stray and his team-mate on the opposite side drifting infield off the flank. It is dependent upon the characteristics of the players in your squad, and where they do their best work, but also those of your specific opponents and where you spy their weaknesses. How can you best open them up? Where do you press them? How do you stop them dominating the ball and nullify the dangers they pose?

It also hinges upon the threat you want to carry from set pieces, and how you best repel the opposition’s own free kicks and corners. So many of these major tournaments are won and lost at dead balls. I sat down with Steve Holland for a one-on-one on that topic recently, discussing the painstaking preparations he put in around the World Cup in Russia back in 2018, and why they were so productive at the finals. Mark my words, it’ll still be a prominent feature of their game this time round because you can never pick 11 players without thinking about your set plays.

And, in truth, that team picked with my heart would be dying defensively with so many shorter guys in the side.

So you take all this into account when determining your shape and, within that, you pick your forward line. At Chelsea I instruct my No 9, Sam Kerr, to stay in the penalty box where her real strength is. The last thing I want is her running the channels. My whole system is based on her staying central — something I would impose, too, upon Kane — and I never compromise her positioning. Fran Kirby has a tendency to drop into those inner corridors. So, too, does Pernille Harder. But they both know that, if we’re building an attack and the full-back isn’t bombing on down the flank, then it falls on one of them to go into that wide area and stretch the play.

I am constantly impressing the importance of pitch geography. Drilling on the training ground, so critical to everything, ensures they all know their phases, their roles, the patterns of play and what is expected of them in any context. It’s about playing to your strengths, but your strengths to beat a specific opponent.

Foden, Kane and Sterling could make a balanced front three 

Like Southgate, I am blessed with options. Arguably England’s greatest strength at this tournament is their depth. This is a group who are well schooled in starting with a back three, one that might see Walker or Luke Shaw tuck in as a third centre-back and ask wing backs to provide the width. That system probably best suits the defenders and midfielders at the manager’s disposal, though not the attackers. England lack a centre-forward who wants to run the channels and stretch the play, a Timo Werner-type. You need that in a 3-4-3, a striker who extends the pitch vertically and provides some depth, opening up areas in which the team can play. Kane’s instinct is actually to go the other way and drift into midfield, as he does at Spurs. You simply can’t make the pitch short, and clogged up, if you want that formation to work.

Even so, it is a group who can adapt within games. Footballers nowadays are far more tactically cute. They’ve been exposed to more systems at club level, and their roles have been developed to take on more. Walker tucks inside and plays as a central midfielder in possession. John Stones has those tricks in his locker that allow him to play as a libero or even a holding midfielder. Kane is not just the clinical goalscorer but can be the key assister.

But it still needs a structure that provides the best balance between attack and defence, allowing you to excel with the ball and, if you lose it, win it back smartly and quickly. To get that right, you sometimes have to make sacrifices for the good of the group. Which brings me back to my fantasy line-up.

The reality is that, if you don’t win the middle of the park, you don’t win games at this level. Sure, with that selection, it would be lovely when we have the ball. We would thrive in possession. But what happens when we lose it? All the opponents we come up against, starting on Sunday against Croatia — an eastern European version of Spain and masters of short-ball football — are strong and organised, and will sit and protect the centre.

Against those who want to monopolise the ball, England will need players who can claim it back. Against those who are intent on sitting in a low block, drawing the full-backs forward and then springing upfield at pace, England will need players to stifle the counter-attacks. Rice will get stuck in. He will hold his position. He will do all the dirty work going backwards. But on his own? Really?

No, to start with that line-up would feel incredibly brave. The moment the ball is turned over, you’re chasing shadows.

There is a reason Mount, a player whose energy and quality neither club nor country can do without, does not play in central midfield at Chelsea, and that Tuchel still feels the need to have N’Golo Kante and one of Jorginho or Mateo Kovacic in there. Those players have to put in a shift in central areas to give others the platform to do their stuff. They stop opponents countering and give you a chance to get in among them.

For the same reason, this England team would need Jordan Henderson or, if the man Southgate trusts as his on-field leader is not fully fit, Kalvin Phillips as a second defensive option alongside Rice to help manage the middle of the park. And, if you play Henderson or Phillips, you need Mount’s drive in there to knit it all together. He is fresh off the back of an outstanding season at Chelsea, in which he was integral to winning the Champions League and provided dynamism and goals. He has become so reliable.

In that context, and as much as it pains me — I can’t stress that enough — it may be that Southgate has to look at the bigger picture. For me, Grealish misses out from the start.

Cue all the accusations of negative tactics and an unambitious approach. Of picking two defensive midfielders for group games England should be aspiring to dominate. But you can’t just fling all the perceived best players into the side at once and simply assume the blend will work because, all of a sudden, you’ll find the collective doesn’t function properly. The creative free spirits you hoped would flourish have no foothold in the game without a defensive platform behind them and are starved of possession without ball-winners wrestling back control.

Or the play becomes too clogged up centrally without someone providing genuine width to open up the space. England have been guilty of cluttering up the middle too often of late, with players’ instincts always to dribble infield, leaving our best attacks reliant upon counter-attack transitions, such as the move which led to Bukayo Saka’s recent winner against Austria. They need players to open it up, to bring the best out of each other. Hence pinning a player — a Sterling, Rashford or Sancho — to the wing to drag a full-back out of the centre and free up some space. That may not be their natural game either but, in pursuit of balance, you sometimes need to make sacrifices for the good of the group.

The more I coach, the more I realise it all boils down to structure, structure, structure. The more I coach, the more I realise you can never compromise on that front. If you don’t have a proper structure, you’re in trouble.

Croatia will have it. Italy will have it. France will have it. Germany will have it for sure. Joshua Kimmich will play right-back for them even though he’s a world-class midfielder. Why? Because they have enough brilliant central midfielders and they’re not risking their overall structure just to incorporate him in the middle as well.

The same applies to England. Offering some of our supremely gifted and technical attackers a platform upon which to perform may have some people up in arms. Some will see it as pragmatism gone mad, others as overly cautious with such a talented group at our disposal. But it may actually be the best way to bring out the best of the collective.

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Start of Wayne Rooney's (also read this morning when my old man dropped the paper round), can only post the start of it:

 

Jack Grealish is the closest England have to Paul Gascoigne – he must start

Wayne Rooney explains why the Aston Villa talisman should be a key part of Gareth Southgate’s plans against Croatia and beyond

Wayne Rooney

Saturday June 12 2021, 6.00pm, The Sunday Times

When I came through, people compared me to Paul Gascoigne, but I was a completely different player. Now everyone is saying Phil Foden is the new Gazza because of his haircut — but they are looking at the wrong England player.

Jack Grealish is the closest thing I’ve seen to Gazza on a football pitch. He has a lot to do to reach Gazza’s levels but his style of play, the way he takes the ball and runs with it in a way that is so awkward to play against, his sheer confidence on the field — it all reminds me of the legend I watched at Everton, and then trained with when I joined their first-team squad.

 

For me there is one brilliant article, and one I wish I hadn't bothered reading. (Rooney's, just in case of doubt)

 

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In the last World Cup for women they had filters on their profile pictures like bubbles in the background and stars shooting about in soft focus.

I didn't mind but it was obscuring their stats.

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59 minutes ago, MarvelOwls said:

I went to see Ajax a couple of years back and the noise was immense. Souvenir shop a bit pricey so only got a keyring 😂

haha i did the same in the psg shop..got a badge i bought 20 years ago.

 

i wore an ajax bobble hat during the winter in groningen..2 months later someone told me it was a really bad idea.

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1 hour ago, Costello 77 said:

I think this debate about women commentators is interesting.

I think it comes down to authenticity.

 

Would Chris Turner in his pomp get into the world cup  womens winning teams of Germany or the USA?

Probably. Maybe definitely.

 

What would be the reaction of he was on the Euro panel of pundits?

I suspect that he would be seen as not qualified to be there.

That’s my point in a nutshell

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