Like a scene from Thunderbirds (that other ‘International Rescue’) Gareth S reached out to Wayne R to come and save the day - Malta was looming and there was only one man to turn to. But Wayne said ‘no’, and at his country's darkest hour, Wayne turned his back...
... when was the last time that a player retired from international football when he was still actually playing international football?
It’s all very well to pack it in when you haven’t played for a few months and Harry Kane stands between you and the starting eleven, but wouldn’t it look less like a spoilt kid's strop if you actually retired when you were still in the team?
And for the record, I’ve never officially retired from international football, so as of now, I’m more likely to be picked for the England team than Wayne Rooney is. And that’s a good feeling.
Not content with blowing £200 million on Neymar this summer, PSG now want to spend a further £175 million on Kylian Mbappé, but have been locked in talks with UEFA so that they don’t fall foul of the Financial Fair Play rules.
Now I don’t know the ins and outs of FFP, but spending the best part of £400 million on two players in the close season surely should contravene something to do with Financial Fair Play?
FFP was introduced by UEFA seven years ago to stop clubs involved in European competition from spending more than they earn. However, PSG have so much money they could probably buy UEFA outright, but they look to have got round the legislation by ‘loaning’ Mbappé for this season - but without an obligation to buy. Both clubs however are in agreement that the transfer will go through next summer, and that hasn’t been written into the loan deal. And that’s all it takes to drive a train through the UEFA legislation which makes it about as water-tight as the FIFA code of ethics.
Meanwhile Arsenal have taken everyone by surprise by bringing their traditional mid-season slump forward to right now, and Arsene is going to have to arrive at training riding a dragon and claiming ownership to the Iron Throne if he’s going to win back those fans who think he should have gone at the end of last season.
Included in those numbers are Ian Wright and Chris Sutton, and Sutton was particularly dismissive:
I would bin him, they should’ve binned him last season.
Now, I’m not a huge fan of Wenger but I do think he deserves respect for everything he’s achieved in the game, and for Sutton to speak like that in the media just shows what a complete moron he is. As a player he was vastly overrated and as a pundit he brings nothing to the game in terms of analysis but just seeks to make his name by stirring up controversy. They should bin him.
Cardiff City are the only team in the Championship with a 100% record, and credit must go to Neil Warnock, the man with the most unfortunate anagram associated with his name in football, to show what a good manager can do even with a flaky owner.
Not doing so well is Frank De Boer at Crystal Palace, who has been very nearly sacked after three games for bringing his brand of ‘passing expansive football’ - and expressive eyebrows, to South London, where he has teamed up with Sammy Lee. Now, Sam Allardyce and Sammy Lee – ok maybe, but Frank and his eyebrows and Sammy?
‘Crystal Palace will aim to play like Ajax’, says Frank.
Up to now they’re playing more like Andrex.
When your team lets you down it’s the little things that sometimes lift your spirits. Like Paul Pogba’s hair – this week he looks like a strawberry cream slice. (Fellaini on the other hand still looks like a bloo brush). And the fact that Romelu Lukaku doesn’t have an annoying goal celebration, which given the amount of times that he’s going to find the net this year would have driven me mad.
Zlatan is back. Say what you like, but there’s no-one like him, and with all the excesses prevalent in the Premier League, there’s no other stage on which for him to perform. And Man City's completely circular new dressing room, and Spurs have stretched their unbeaten run at Wembley to – one.
Finally, we’re only a day or two away from the most boring, anti-climactic event in the whole football calendar – transfer deadline day. What a waste of time. Every channel with reporters on duty till midnight in case something happens – which it rarely does.
Sure Sanchez might go to Man City, Coutinho might go to Barcelona (despite his back injury he’s due to play for Brazil this week….), and other’s will move around – all except Ross Barkley of course, who I think we’re all agreed should take this opportunity to retire from international football.