Monday Midday Thoughts: Wigan, EJ, More…

A fun weekend of soccer as we start to rev up the EPL season and head for the home stretch of the MLS one.

Some thoughts:

The next Wayne?

• Get ready for a Rooney-like bombardment by the Brit tabloids…

…of stories about Andy Carroll.

TSG would like to take this opportunity to apologize to you for suggesting you shouldn’t put Carroll in your fantasy team for at least the first seven games of the season.

Had you listened, you’d be sitting near the bottom of the fantasy table…just like us.

Carroll looked impressive in notching a hat-trick as Newcastle rebounded off their season opening loss to the Red Devils with a 6-0 shellacking of Villa. Admittedly, Villa was playing their 2nd game in three days and were missing some key players…still.

Carroll with an extraordinary game and if the youngster doesn’t get a call-up to F.C. England Senior shortly then fans across the pond have every right to get upset.

Talking...to the BBC...

• As we mentioned yesterday, Bob Bradley went on BBC live to comment on his interest in the Aston Villa job.

We’ll keep the conversation on Villa and Bradley in yesterday’s piece, but a very shrewd move by Bradley’s agent Ron Waxman.

First, even without any expressed interest from Villa, you get a major media outlet–the most major media outlet–in England putting the words “Bob Bradley” in the same story multiple times with “Aston Villa.”

This drives up Bob Bradley’s brand equity, in the same country that he has aspirations to coach in.

Let’s says Bradley’s name were to come up for, I don’t know, the opening at Sheffield United, now you would have folks saying, “Oh yeah, I know Bob Bradley–he coached the US team and was going to be the coach at Villa,” even though Villa has never expressed that Bradley is, in fact, a candidate.

Further, by telling his story overseas, it dampens any negative blowback that might occur if Bradley made the statement Stateside.

It might have been construed as, “He’s the coach of the U.S. National Team and he wants to coach in England?” by the lay soccer fan.

As an American soccer writer, I don’t like that the tight-lipped Bradley–arguably the most visible non-player associated with US soccer–commented to a foreign outlet, but I understand the calculation of the move.

• Well, if Villa isn’t in the offing for Coach Sweats, then Wigan could be.

Roberto Martinez might have been electrifyingly good in his commentary during the World Cup, but the preparation and pride of his Wigan side is the diametric opposite in the early going of the Premiership.

Wigan should have never been crushed at home by Blackpool in the opener; against Chelsea on Saturday is a little bit more understandable.

However, if you take a look at the end of the game and the final goal by new Chelsea signing Yossi Benayoun, you see a defense that was horribly out of position, lacks discipline, and worse, looks like it gave up.

Can you really quit on a team and coach two games into the season?

If Wigan don’t bounce back next week, there may be new rumors linking Bob Bradley with the gig…or Curt Onalfo (kidding).

On Friday, we contributed our thoughts on Roy Hodgson potentially ticketing Alberto Aquilani out of Merseyside; now word today on Aquilani’s midfield mate Javier Mascherano being Barca’s new Cesc. Terms yet to be agreed on.

I don't know Eddie...I think you've gotten plenty of chances overseas...

• Eddie Johnson commented that Americans don’t get respect in the EPL.

I could understand if Clint Dempsey were making those accusations, but Johnson is the same player that couldn’t push 31-year-old molasses-maker Eric Nevland out of a role last season.

It’s not a conspiracy EJ.

Eddie I wonder what you have to say about…

Making his mark...

• Thanks to our community for posting this to us:

Owen Coyle on Stu Holden:

“He brings an unbelievable energy and desire. I mean this is a lad that we managed to get for free last year from Houston and hadn’t played in the Premier League – and probably had a bit of rejection early in his career. I think he’d been over at Sunderland for a little bit. The thing I love about that is that he’s got a real desire to try and be a Premier League professional. As you say, there’s an energy about him and with him and Muamba in there they certainly cover every blade of grass.”

Coyle doesn’t have a conspiracy against Americans and I’m wondering how much dinero MLS missed out on by the management of Holden in 2009. Could MLS have structured something to make some change from this? Not sure.

• Asked new MLS Designated Player signing Geovanni on Saturday how he felt playing up top instead of out wide as he did quite often for Hull City last season. His response? Diplomatic:

I like playing forward, the main thing is I like that the team won today. I like more more that we won. The crowd was very good to me and gave me a good reception when I came in.

I’d like to thank the club and the fans and everyone for welcoming me.

Geovanni said the weather was hot and he’s going to ready to give more next week.

(Thank you kindly for the translation provided by Jay Mettee of San Jose’s front office.)

• A quick note on a good read on soccer journalism by Brent Lathan–he of the multitude of years doing a good job covering the game.

Lathan laments the use of “anonymous sources” in “breaking” a story. Couldn’t agree more. Also agree, in the much shorter time that we’ve interacted with USSF, that they are notoriously quiet on newsworthy issues…either that or our publication is way too young to have curried favor or developed a deep-rooted rapport.

What is perhaps worse than Latham’s frustration at anonymous sources, is those that cite stories using them as a source in their own pieces.

Pieces with a headline like, “Bradley reportedly favorite for Aston Villa job.” Read a few lines in and you learn that the source is…The Daily Mirror. C’mon.

• Question: “So let’s say they marched off about 50 yards between you and Jozy Altidore and had you both run at one another, who’s hitting the ground?”

Answer: “Oh. Jozy’s a big boy; he and I weigh about the same. He also has to run with the ball and keep defenders off’em. But I played football. So, he’s hitting the ground. I think I’ve got him.”

Our interview with DC United goalkeeper and USMNT prospect Bill Hamid, who shut out the Union this past weekend, coming up this week…

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98 responses to this post.

  1. I’ve been very impressed with Stu Holden, particularly after watching him play his first two games of the season with Bolton. He could be a little better with his through-passes, but his crosses are great and his defensive work rate has been impeccable. Not to mention he’s a real threat if you give him space to shoot. He was inches from a goal in Bolton’s first match and had a wide open chance on Saturday after beating the offside trap, but his teammate couldn’t put the ball at his feet. I think he’ll have a goal in the next game or two.

    Reply

  2. Very interesting picture of the SJ ‘Quakes Jerseys for sale there. If you look at the SJ roster, Arturo Alvarez is #10. Do the fans still love Senor ‘Cakes enough that they’ll buy his name and number on a newer replica kit???

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/players/san-jose-earthquakes

    Reply

    • I believe you are confused, that is a Galaxy jersey… Quakes away jersey’s have blue side paneling.

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      • Good point, I saw the shade of blue on the shoulders and thought it was the SJ Blue, kind of forgot that LA isn’t green and gold anymore (sadly).

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  3. AGREED! Hamid is right, I play GK and I played high school football. There is nothing anyone on the soccer pitch can do to scare me. I routinely received more punishment from my friends during practice than I ever have on the pitch in game-time situations.

    It’s part of what makes me a good GK, fearlessness and the willingness (dare I say enjoyment?) to instigate physical contact. I also play any position on the d-line and I am forever frustrating faster opponents. I’ve had at least two players sent off for retaliating against my provocation. I’ve never injured anyone, and the most I do is a hip-check or short/shirt-tug when the ref isn’t looking. I’ve also been elbowed in the mouth a few times by strikers looking for revenge, but you won’t hear me crying.

    Say what you like about “playing dirty,” if you haven’t mastered the dark arts yet that’s your fault. If you’re faster than me, and you’re always burning me, I will always resort to what my father taught me way back; the defender or the man can get past you, but never both.

    Cheers to Hamid!

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    • My men’s league team could use a keeper like you.

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    • Haha, I also played GK in high school. I once got trucked going for a ball against a guy that played defensive line for his football team… he only played soccer to stay in shape and the forearm shiver that my face received was pretty good proof. I did a full flip and my nose was gushing blood… good times. He got a red card and I got to count stars for a bit.

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    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/23 at 12:18 PM

      It is far easier to be a nuisance and destructive than to be skillful and creative…

      I am not sure what it’s like here in the US, but generally in England, the higher the standard, the more regulated and less dirty the game is. You wouldn’t get away with thuggery.

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      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/23 at 12:22 PM

        You guys are tangential! :>

        My question to Bill was merely, no ball….two guys, 50 yards apart (like the SAT question: one train is coming from the east coast at 30mph….) who falls…

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        • Oh that’s easy then. Jozy falls. Not that I don’t wish the best for him in his career for club and out country, but for being the size he is he hits the deck quite often from contact most would be able to shrug off. I know he’s doing it to earn free-kicks in dangerous places, but sometimes I think a more honest account of his size and strength would put the team in a better position to score.

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      • Sir, I assure you that how I play can never be considered thuggery. If you ain’t cheatin, you ain’t tryin! It’s all in good fun, and I don’t ever hurt anyone. It’s mind game, and by the looks of it, it would work really well on you. :-P

        Works well on the Brits in my rec league.

        Also, I’ve probably missed less than 10% of my slide tackles, have never been sent off in my life, and only had two yellow cards in all my 6+ seasons playing adult rec soccer. Dirty? No. Crafty? Yes.

        I’ve never been gifted in terms of speed. I train my arse off and even the playing field with good positioning and anticipation.

        You’re telling me they don’t teach the “ball or the man” philosophy in England? I was taught that by every coach I’ve ever had, and I’ve been playing since I was 3 (currently 26).

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        • If they don’t, it would explain a lot of England’s defensive problems… ZING?

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        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/23 at 2:06 PM

          My coach would “encourage” the *tactical* fouls further up the field, so there would be less chance of a card, plus we could re-set. But that was at University level.

          People with less ability will always use unlawful means to even the playing field.

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        • How quickly people jump to conclusions. Are you guys seriously telling me that you’ve never grabbed a handful of jersey on a corner kick?

          I’d have replied to your specific posts, but it seems I’m being moderated.

          So what’s the solution when you play someone faster? If the ref didn’t see it, did it even happen? Like I said, I’m not hurting anyone, just a competitive advantage. And did you read the “elbow to the mouth” comment? I always pay for it, and the refs don’t usually catch that either. Never hear me cryin tho.

          I’ll end this hear before I get reprimanded for instigating again. George started it…

          Oh, btw, el-oh-el guys. Deep breath. Now remember this is the internet.

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  4. Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/23 at 12:52 PM

    you know ej is on to something though because americans just dont get the respect in europe, most notable in the uk. think about it. holden is playing for a coach who brought him in from his old team, plus these two are both scotsmen, dont think that has any bearing, just look at the fulham situation where you know davies is benefiting from having hughes as his coach.

    isnt it kind of funny that in week one fulham and bolton are tied and dempsey comes on in the 70th min and turns the game in fulhams favor. then yesterday dempsey starts, fulham gets the tying goal, then dempsey gets yanked in the 60th minute of a man u game for a brand new player. im not saying the 10 minute difference is some sort of proof that americans are treated with some bias, but to believe that americans are treated in england as well as english players would be foolish. and it only seems fair that an american going to europe should be aware of this.

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    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/23 at 1:06 PM

      I see it differently.

      I think coaches, American and non-American, don’t know hot to deploy Deuce. Just like coaches didn’t know how to deploy Dennis Bergkampf.

      It’s tough when a player just doesn’t “fit” in position; it’s a little harder to manage. US fans know all about Deuce in that way.

      I disagree with EJ’s comments on Americans. I thing number (1) maybe English fans are unfair towards Americans and (2) Europe is just starting to scout the US domestic league and players more as the sport has grown.

      Jozy immediately played at Hull, fell out of favor and was tried again by two English coaches Phil Brown and Iane Dowie.

      Eric Lichaj made the 18 for Martin O’Neill at Villa this year while many thought he wasn’t ready.

      Best example: Brian McBride immediately coming in at Fulham in 2004 despite no preseason and fresh off a full MLS campaign. He played 18 out of 20 games I believe for Fulham that year–scored 6 goals I think too.

      I’ll agree in that I think an anti-American bias extends to English fans in some respects, but not to coaches or those charged with making sure their club wins.

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      • Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/23 at 4:39 PM

        matthew, wasnt phil brown jozys first coach at hull? and if there is an example of favortism in europre it is jozy at club xerox. if that was not one of the most blatent cases of misuse of a player, then i dont know one. club xerox got there due though. one season in la liga and it was see ya. then freddy adu at monaco. the president wants an american player, the brasilian coach is resiliant to the idea, freddy gets caught up in a tug of war. maybe just american paranoia. lol, how many americans even new freddy played for monaco. and then for good messure renieri comes out and says he is not sure if freddy is really as old as he says he is after a decent performace against juventus in a warm up. very weird

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        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/23 at 4:45 PM

          Ok, last reply here.

          There is a reason that Freddy Adu has not caught on at Benfica, Belenenses, Aris and Sion.

          It has to do with his contract and his talent, not that he is an American.

          Phil Brown game Jozy a chance. And I’ll point you to this article right here on Phil Brown from December 2009.
          http://theshinguardian.com/2009/12/27/big-jeezy-phil-brown-talks-to-wfd/

          Doesn’t sound like a coach that has it in for an American does it?

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    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/23 at 1:07 PM

      I see it differently.

      I think coaches, American and non-American, don’t know hot to deploy Deuce. Just like coaches didn’t know how to deploy Dennis Bergkampf.

      It’s tough when a player just doesn’t “fit” in position; it’s a little harder to manage. US fans know all about Deuce in that way.

      I disagree with EJ’s comments on Americans. I thing number (1) maybe English fans are unfair towards Americans and (2) Europe is just starting to scout the US domestic league and players more as the sport has grown.

      Jozy immediately played at Hull, fell out of favor and was tried again by two English coaches Phil Brown and Iane Dowie.

      Eric Lichaj made the 18 for Martin O’Neill at Villa this year while many thought he wasn’t ready.

      Best example: Brian McBride immediately coming in at Fulham in 2004 despite no preseason and fresh off a full MLS campaign. He played 18 out of 20 games I believe for Fulham that year–scored 6 goals I think too.

      I’ll agree in that I think an anti-American bias extends to English fans in some respects, but not to coaches or those charged with making sure their club wins.

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      • Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/23 at 5:25 PM

        “jozy immediately played at hull, fell out of favor and was tried again by two english coaches phil brown and ian dowie”

        this statement makes it sound like phil brown did not bring jozy into hull, or is that just me?

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    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/08/23 at 2:36 PM

      I see it like there’s not a lot of respect. Managers will be more prone to not want to play him because he is american, but at the end of the day the manager won’t make the decision because you are american… if that makes any sense.

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      • Its not a lack of respect at all. It comes down to how the Premiership works. You get a very short time period no matter who you are or where you come from to prove you can cut it at a Premier League level.
        That’s why McBride fit so well, his physicality and aerial presence fits right in. Deuce is an incredible player, and will still play at least 75% of the season for Fulham this year, but Matthew is right, I’d be hard pressed if anyone could tell me what position it is that Dempsey plays.
        There is no grace period, you cut it or you don’t. If you struggle like Jozy did, you must prove yourself in training to get that second shot, it has nothing to do with being American.
        EJ was a terrible signing by Fulham. He is a player that believes he is god’s gift to football, but really only has speed on his side. He isn’t a great goalscorer, and he certainly can’t deal with the physical side of the Premiership. Fulham don’t need a speedster, that’s not how they play, they need people that score goals. Its not a conspiracy, he’s just not good enough.

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        • Posted by Kevin on 2010/08/24 at 3:51 PM

          I’m sorry to word that as bad as I did but I’m really just trying to say that there’s something in the back of peoples head that says “American? Well he’s not vey good” but I wasn’t at all trying to say it was a conspiracy theory. Nobody ever takes that into account or no American would ever get signed. I would not use jozy as a failure in the EPL because I don’t think he totally failed I think he just had some work to do. EJ is a terrible example though and I was not talking about him because we all know why he isn’t playing except for him.

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  5. Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/23 at 1:13 PM

    yeah, you remember last season when ej scored a couple of nice goals against cardiff in a friendly and he did not even make the 18, then like a week later, david elm gets goal in a reserve game and he is inserted into roy hodgsons lineup. of course every coach wants to win, but you know a coach is going to be less likely to risk his neck over an american than he might over someone from on the continant.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/23 at 1:26 PM

      Ludicrous. Then why even sign an American.

      It makes zero sense.

      A couple of nice goals for Cardiff does not an opportunity make. So what?

      All depends on what the coach wants.

      If EJ was scoring boatloads of goals match after match, then regardless of anything else he should get an opportunity. Johann Smith got his shot at Bolton out of nowhere.

      Playing stiker in Hodgson’s system specifically–see Andy Johnson–is about effectively playing trap defense, moving off the ball and being consistent. All attributes that EJ has not specifically proven to have.

      Conor Casey scored two goals against Honduras in a critical game. Would he have been effective at the World Cup for Team USA likely not.

      And by the way, on Hodgson, he’s got a chip on his shoulder because for the longest time (10 years) since Blackburn he couldn’t get a job back in the UK and had to go all over Europe.

      …and you’re talking about Fulham a club that has gladly employed at least 5 other Americans in the 2000s

      Reply

      • Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/23 at 3:53 PM

        im sorry matthew, i was not saying ej scored goals for cardiff and as such he should play for fulham. what i said was that fulham played cardiff in friendly and ej netted a couple of goals. now the next week ej did not get a shot with the first team. yet soon after, when elm netted in a reserve game, he was called into the first team and saw playing time. maybe you did not understand where i was coming from, but this is just regarding ej and a particular instance last year with fulham. how much dempsey played is for another post.

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  6. Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/23 at 1:24 PM

    matthew, its like feilhaber at derby. he was mis played and he was coming off a long season and a long summer and he was thrown into a bad situation. i dont think many americans looked at feilhaber and eddie lewis and said oh, eddie is starting at derby, so he must be better than feilhaber and it was only a season earlier that feilhaber was playing in champions league games with hamburg. and it was only a couple of months after the famous feilhaber golazo.

    look how nicely a guy like jack wilshire is treated. with kit gloves, england dont want to hurt their prize possession. can you blame them? and still, holden looks just about every bit as good as wilshire. i dont think americans should be surprised with the difference in treatment between players from different continents, but it is there and to say it is not, is not fair.

    look at fulham last season. not for nothing, but hodgson played dempsey hard. he played dempsey without break for long stretches last season, until deuce broke down. hodgson could have removed dempsey before the end of games last season on numerous occasion, but he kept him in for the full 90, when ten minutes at the end of a game in hand would have been relief for our boy.

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    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/23 at 1:29 PM

      Feilhaber, by his own admission, was both injured and immature during his time at Derby.
      Deuce played less minutes in games when fit than nearly every other member of the midfield.

      Unfortunately you need to check your facts.

      Look at who’s playing for Bolton this year, Holden.

      Jack Wilshere may (or may not) be better than Holden, but Arsenal wanted him to play for them at what 5 years younger than Holden. C’mon.

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      • Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/23 at 4:53 PM

        matthew, i hve to reply here, since you told me to check my facts. with regards to deuce, are you saying that deuce played less minutes in the midfield or just on the field period, than every other midfielder and are you talking before the injury, or when he returned. and i guess my point here, is that deuce was playing lot of minutes last season, once he won his starting spot and that there where times when roy could have subbed deuce to give him a break. personally, i see no reason to think hodgson or any european club coach should care one iota about an americans national team prospects.

        the feilhaber comment is curious because im not sure if you are saying feilhaber said he had a bad attitude and he says he was injured, or if someone else said he had a bad attitude and he said he was injured. honestly, if you ask me, it sounds a little like jenn ching reporting and secret sorces.

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    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/23 at 1:54 PM

      With the utmost respect, I disagree wholeheartedly.

      One minute you’re saying you don’t like Dempsey getting subbed, and then in another comment you’re complaining that he played too much? Which is it?

      As for Wilshire, Wenger is very careful with all of their academy gems (Fabregas [Spain], Clichy [France], Walcott [England], Diaby [France], Ramsey [Wales], Vela [Mexico], Denilson [Brazil], Song [Cameroon], Bendtner [Denmark], Gibbs [England], Mannone [Italy]) – they play in the League Cup and slowly get bled through regardless of nationality – and many also leave. And remember, why would a Frenchman go out of his way to help England? It makes no sense – he only has Arsenal’s best interests (remember, Wenger is very vocal about quotas etc ).

      Regarding anti-American sentiment, I’d say there is a little of that going on at Liverpool and Man. United, but that’s nothing to do with the playing staff. I think Americans are mega-paranoid about getting treated badly in the EPL / Europe. If they’re good enough they will succeed, and there are plenty of examples I can point to. BTW, with all the Americans playing in Europe, which country are most of them playing in?

      As for yesterday, I thought Fulham played much better in the 2nd half, but I thought it was more to do with the wingers swapping sides…

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      • Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/23 at 4:30 PM

        george george george, it is very astute of you to name the entire arsenal academy squad. bravo. and with reagrds to deuce, for sure i can have it both ways, why not? deuce got twenty minute run out in the bolton game, yet the new signing got 30 mins. against man u. so if im deuce or a fulham fan, im wondering why a new signing is getting better runout. its no big deal, deuce will get his goals and he will help fulham again this year.

        i will admit i did not see the man u game, but i saw the bolton game and believe fulham looked better when deuce entered the game, if only he would have had ten more minutes to work his magic against bolton. of course not seeing the fulham mn u game, ill not comment about when fulham looked better, but they did give up an own goal and a pk after clint left the field and there first goal came right before he left.

        so with regards to clint dempsey, i want to see him do well with the us national team first, over him doing well at fulham. fulham does pay him, so that counts for something, but if fulham was not paying dempsey, someone else would be. honestly george, are you going to sit here and tell me you dont think mark hughes, a welchman, is not going to give a little more consideration to simon davies, a fellow welchman, because you know he will do so. just like hodgeson will give a little extra consideration to whats his name molassis and the elk.

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        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/23 at 6:11 PM

          Dikranovich, my comments about Arsenal’s youth team was in direct response to your foolish statement – “look how nicely a guy like jack wilshire is treated. with kit gloves, england dont want to hurt their prize possession” He is Arsenal’s player.

          Hughes too off a midfielder and brought on a forward. It was a tactical change rather than a like-for-like sub.

          I think managers go with players they like and know which is why I feel that managers go back to old their clubs for players.

          For example, Mark Hughes was the Wales manager prior to Blackburn Rovers, so he knows Simon Davies from his time as Wales’ National Manager. This can also be evidenced by Hughes purchasing Craig Bellamy (Wales) and Roque Santa Cruz (Blackburn) for Man City, and potentially for Fulham.

          Did Arsene Wenger buy Thierry Henry because he is French and not because he knew him from his time at Monaco and thought he was a good player? Are you going to tell me that Jose Mourinho bought Ricardo Carvalho because he is Portuguese and not because they worked together at Porto and then Chlesea and that he rates him? Or Redknapp raiding Portsmouth for Crouch, Defoe and Krancjar? I could really go on and on with examples.

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  7. Posted by scweeb on 2010/08/23 at 2:01 PM

    All it come down to is there are not that many top quality American soccer players. To make it in the EPL you either have to have and amazing gift that a coach needs or your have to fit into there system perfectly.

    Reply

    • Agreeing with this comment and George’s. I feel that some Americans are hard done by, but not because they’re American, simply because they were purchased/loaned based on their best performances but consistently don’t live up to them, or aren’t a good fit for the system at that time.

      As for EJ’s comment about respect…if he’s talking about true respect, I gather it’s difficult for anyone to earn regardless of where you come from, but it may be a tougher road to hoe for those who don’t come from nations that are considered decent in footballing terms. I bet it would be a little tougher for a North Korean to earn some “dap” (as Michael Wilbon and Tony Korheiser would say) compared to a South Korean, or a Chinese player vs. a Japenese player. I gurantee you that Aussies and Kiwis don’t always get a fair shake as well compared to the European counterparts.

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/23 at 2:20 PM

        I also predict that it will be more difficult for Americans to break through in the EPL in years to come. My logic is the Home Grown rule. American players typically go to University and that is the critical time for players to be registered with the FA or FAW (for 3 years before their 21st birthday).

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        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/23 at 2:39 PM

          Not sure I agree with you here George for two reasons.

          First, I think you’re right, the Home Grown Rule will put an onus on finding the nuggets of value with English footballers.

          However, one, more Americans are playing the game…and playing it well. Sot there is a different talent pool now to join from.

          Second, more Americans will develop earlier and eschew university for the sake of their career.

          Third, as soccer viewership grows (and this is a point I’m big one), clubs overseas searching for revenue streams beyond Europe will look to the United States.

          Manchester City is doing this right now.

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        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/23 at 2:55 PM

          These are all fair points.

          But my point is that with the non-home grown playing spots being more competitive, it will up the ante for all ‘foriegn’ players – including Americans, rather than only Americans (I wasn’t clear).

          Regarding EPL / football entry into a relatively untapped marketplace I agree with you. But to think that a team will field an American just because he is American, rather than his ability, for revenue is far fetched – especially as there is sqaud sizes. Sure, American fans want to see an American player succeed, but do you think an American Arsenal supporter would want to see an American in the team who he know wasn’t good enough?

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        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/23 at 3:01 PM

          Agree George–it *will up the ante for all non-Americans, but as oppose to say, Italy, the amount of Americans participating in soccer is not stagnant….it can and is going up.

          There will be just more Americans competing with other nationalities than before with only one or two less roster spots.

          Regarding EPL and the marketplace. The answer is “No, I don’t believe an American will be fielded merely because he is an American.”

          But what I have said is that, all things being equal (which is of course very subjective) the American player has the advantage of a revenue dollars and cache behind them.

          As you’re seeing with Jozy Altidore right now, either Villarreal is pricing that in to their movement on Jozy (highly doubt that) or more likely clubs are not willing to take a chance at Villarreal’s price.

          I keep on coming back to one event that’s taken place: “Why would Manchester City–who toured the US–set up an alliance with a NYC youth soccer team?”

          Why not do it in Kansas or Tokyo or Jakarta?

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        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/23 at 3:18 PM

          In a perfect TSG world, there would be an USMNTer on an elite European team’s first XI and that team would sell a sh1tload of t-shirts.

          Man City are trying to get a foothold in the USA and are years behind the traditional European G14 teams. If you’re going to do some PR, then you’re going to do it where there is a massive football target audience.

          I agree with the football business economics that you are implying. But I still think that it will be governed by on-field success. I would love to know what teams Americans “support” since the EPL has aggressive exported their product from the early 2000s. I bet there aren’t too many Blackburn Rovers or Sunderland fans.

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        • It’s tough being an American fan of the game in general because we don’t feel that connection with the club; we don’t celebrate the highs as much, and we don’t feel the lows as much as supporters who are there week in and week out.

          I chose Fulham back when they signed McBride (an all-time favorite) and have stuck with them though their football isn’t champagne and there’s only one Yank left on their roster (that plays anyway). Watching them navigate the Europa League was interesting last season, I liked that they kept winning and taking a few large scalps along the way, but I wasn’t depressed when they lost the final; I wasn’t thrilled about it, but not crushed. Similarly their woeful away form is something I’ve grown to accept, and it rarely troubles me more than 10 minutes if they lose a game that they should’ve won. Talk to me after a US game, and it’s a different story.

          All that being said, I also enjoy watching Arsenal and Manchester United, simply because they have great players and entertain rather than pack it in. I’ve also marched to the beat of the Toon Army’s drum when Shearer was leading the line. I’ll even admit to rooting for Chelsea back in the Mourinho days (the first part where they scored bags of goals) even though they’re the anti-everything I believe in about football; I just wanted to see him win the Quadruple and then rub it in Sir Alex’s face by annointing himself the supreme ruler of all and have an ego so large coaches will have to shake his hand twice after a match. I will also give Owen Coyle’s brand of footie a chance and watch some Bolton games (though there is a USMNT rooting intererst in there), because I liked what I saw of his Burnely team. I’ll also give Blackpool a chance because who doesn’t like a plucky underdog,

          As for US fans of specific teams, you’re absolutely right that it’d be tough to find a Blackburn or Sunderland fan in our country, but really, seriously…outside of Blackburn and Sunderland you’d be hard pressed to find a fan of those teams, and not just because the people would be fans of other teams. Our fandom is not as dyed in the wool as your own, but if you asked young English kids in towns of, say a League 1 or 2 team, who they support after their hometown club, I highly doubt they’d say Sunderland or Blackburn, but instead Liverpool, ManUnited, Chelsea, etc.

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        • And yes, in a perfect TSG World, there would be at least one yank in every squad, but they’d be there on merit and we’d be winning world cups.

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        • Posted by CJ on 2010/08/23 at 4:56 PM

          I own a sunderland home candy striped dandy!

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        • Matthew, Man City made that deal because they are MILES behind the other major English teams at doing so. Chelsea has the Galaxy, Tottenham has the Earthquakes, etc. While these teams get first choice at the products of these systems, they are used more so for their summer tours and the chance at income, as I have yet to hear of any of these systems actually creating a potential transfer.

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        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/23 at 6:20 PM

          Nick, I wasn’t criticising the connection aspect of American fans, more the fact that many fans choose successful clubs – therefore on-field success is important for teams that want to cash in on America’s dollars.

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        • I didn’t take it as criticism, and didn’t intend to come off defensive. I set out to simply respond to your “I wonder what teams Americans support” statement about why I follow the clubs that I do because I feel that it’s a story that’s very similar to other fans out there. Especially when it comes to rooting for the plucky underdogs. My closet sports so many different jerseys that you’d have a hard time figuring out which team I follow the closest these days.

          As for supporting teams that win, you’re right again and you need look no further than Major League Baseball. How many people in the Pittsburgh area (or other random non-successful market) actually like the Pirates(insert team name here)? It’s not fun to root for a team that will always be stuck in the relegation zone, that is unless they have a prodigal American striker on their team…

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  8. Posted by zlionsfan on 2010/08/23 at 2:01 PM

    Bradley would be an interesting hire for Wigan. The Latics have shown remarkable inconsistency under Martinez; not sure if Bradley will provide that, but if he could be in place by tomorrow around 2:45 Eastern, that would be great. I have no confidence that Martinez will have them prepared for Hartlepool, not after the embarrassments last year in both Carling and FA Cup play.

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    • Posted by zlionsfan on 2010/08/23 at 2:01 PM

      er, not sure if he will provide _a cure_ for that, I mean.

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    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/23 at 2:08 PM

      Oh dear lord I hope you’re not both a Wigan and Lions fan. I would give the Lions a better shot at the present campaign than Wigan at this point. No disrespect…

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      • Posted by zlionsfan on 2010/08/23 at 2:12 PM

        Sadly, yes, it’s true … no disrespect taken. :)

        The Lions at least have both clearly upgraded personnel and management, although they may have a while to go before the results show it. I am beginning to wonder if Wigan will manage to fare well in the Championship next season.

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        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/23 at 2:16 PM

          On the bright side, I really like Rodallega.

          At this point, I see the relegation battle involving: Blackpool, Wigan, West Ham, West Brom and maybe Stoke City. I think there is enough talent and Wigan…and frankly there home pitch (if they designed their game for it and played more defensively) would be an advantage.

          If I had to pick my three right now? I would say WB, WH and ‘Pool with Wigan staying up just barely.

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        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/23 at 2:17 PM

          I meant to mention that Bradley’s attention to defense as well on that pitch would see Wigan avoid relegation. I do believe that.

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        • Posted by zlionsfan on 2010/08/23 at 2:45 PM

          Yes, it’s great that Rodallega is staying (at least as of now). The last thing Wigan need is to lose the one player who seems capable of scoring more than once a month …

          I like your optimism (in this context anything other than relegation is optimism), but it’ll take some favorable results before I feel better about Wigan’s chances. -10 in two matches at home is no way to start the season, particularly not when one of the losses is to a squad that was supposed to be fighting relegation as well. Down 1-0 to Chelsea at halftime, that would have been a great result if they could have matched it in the second half. Four extra goals, well, at least it was Chelsea, but coming after the Blackpool loss …

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  9. title is all wrapped up, Chelsea have it in the bag, end of :)

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  10. Posted by Matt B on 2010/08/23 at 5:04 PM

    To belatedly weigh in on the lack of respect for American players, I will point out the case of Landon Donovan. After not succeeding in 3 separate attempts in Europe (whether through his own fault or not), Moyes immediately put Landon into the lineup at Everton to let him prove his worth. Not many players with Landon’s European track record would have gotten that chance, despite his success in MLS. I would also point out how quickly Tim Howard went into Manchester United’s lineup, although I realize it is a separate case with goalkeepers. If there is any bias, it is generally in favor of English players and against any foreigners. Look at how many chances Bobby Zamora got before he finally started playing well with Fulham. But this bias is natural and basically exists in every league in the world, MLS included.

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    • Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/23 at 5:41 PM

      matt b, very sharp comments. , it seems like americans going to play abroad should be aware of what is in store for them. the strike zone is larger in europe for american players and that is just the way it is. getting beyond this is something that in the end should help the american player. so if ej and adu can land themselves in a good situation, they will in the end be stronger players for it. howard and donovan have both become stronger players and having to reestablish themselves has been a big part of it.

      remember when mathis went to germany and scored goals but could just not find the time on the pitch. im a fan of americans playing in the usa. i mean, how many brasilians want neymar going off to chelsea. certainly not the santos fans or anyone else fond of brasilian club ball.

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    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/23 at 6:55 PM

      The English just want quality players that make the league better . My gripe is why import average foreign players when we have plenty of average English players here already? That is what I and many English people object to.

      IMO, Man United handled Howard poorly. They should have loaned him out. I wonder if there is anything in his contract that says MU get first pick? Surely Van der Sar cannot go on beyond this season?

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      • As a fan of the sport in general, I would agree that teams in the Prem need more average English players instead of importing average foreigners. I think it would breed a little more of a local vibe for a club like Liverpool, United, Chelsea, etc. to see someone from that town actually make it onto the gameday roster. Seeing a local lad make it to the big time makes people feel mushy inside and good about the club that actually imports 95% of it’s playing staff from other towns and countries. However, George you do have to admit that average English talent is severely overpriced; can anyone really see Scott Parker being worth 8 million plus Robbie Keane?

        The Timmy to United situation was a mishandling on the part of the club as well as a naivete on Timmy’s part. He expected to be walking into the best team in England with one of the better defenses, but instead he was faced with Rio Ferdinand doing an impression of Titus Bramble, and the Neviller seemingly on his last leg (how has he made it another 5 or 6 years???). United should’ve definitely loaned him out, for his development’s sake, but it was either the untested Howard or Roy Carroll who is now in League 1 I believe. Though, one has to wonder if the United snub helped propel Howard to become the keeper that he is today.

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        • People’s hatred toward Scott Parker on this website is ridiculous! Does anyone watch him play? There isn’t a more motivated player in the entire Premiership. Even during his time at Chelsea he was noted for being one of, if not the most influential person in the dressing room, even though he was hardly getting any playing time.

          He’s a defensive mid. You could have said the same about Chelsea buying Makelele from Real Madrid in 2003. He was 30 years old, and Chelsea paid 17 million pounds for a non-glamour player, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t worth every penny. With Parker you are buying more than solid, consistent performances, you are buying a leader and a motivator, more than anyone else you can name in the league.

          People need to watch more West Ham games… regardless of how wretched the rest of the team is.

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          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/23 at 7:39 PM

            Hatred? Hatred?

            Really, don’t see it.

            Very fine player, very motivated player. Smart player etc.

            Overrated by English media? Without question.

            Hatred? Tell me where you see the hate on this site?

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        • I take any claim that someone would rather have Ricardo Clark than Scott Parker as veiled discontent with the man. That is a statement that shouldn’t be uttered about anyone.

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          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/23 at 9:42 PM

            First of all, that makes you a hater on Ricardo Clark.

            Ricardo Clark is a back-up on a mid-tier Bundesliga club. That makes him at least in the same universe as Parker.

            Secondly, one of the serious challenges with Parker’s game is he is not fast enough. When you’re talking about a team like Liverpool, that actually makes Ricardo Clark a much better fit than Parker since Steven Gerrard fairly regularly does not track back on defense.

            Mascherano’s ability to cover such a vast amount of ground freed up Xabi Alonso when the two player together a few years ago.

            Last year, Mascherano compensated for the need to push Gerrard in attack.

            Scott Parker is a good player–nobody disputes that–but there is a reason that he is 29 years old and signed a long term deal with West Ham, not Chelsea and not Liverpool.

            Who would I rather have? Tough decision, I’m not a huge fan of either player. But if I’m Liverpool much rather have 27-year-old Clark over 29-year-old Parker, especially at the premium that Parker’s English roots makes him a target at.

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            • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/23 at 9:45 PM

              And further, there is a reason that Michael Carrick was taken over Parker for England.

              Carrick is not super fast either but he’s a more physically talented defender.

        • Chamo – I’m not saying Parker isn’t a talented player. It’s just that at this point in his career I don’t see him being worth 8 million pounds plus a proven goalscorer. Your points about him playing the Makelele role are spot on, but he’s a lot more rash in his tackles (so is Clark, but I’m definitely not the one saying I’d want Clark over Parker all things including transfer fee being equal), and frankly I didn’t see an inspiring performance by him this weekend against Bolton.

          The comment about Makelele being bought for 17 million pounds might be a tad off since that was the beginning of the Abromavich era and we know that they’ve overpaid for players simply because they could. As for Makelele being worth it…in the end he was the perfect role player on two teams loaded with stars and made everyone around him better. Did he make Chelsea 17 million pounds better? Tough to say. Would Parker make Spurs 8 million pounds better? Again tough to say, but I lean towards no.

          Also, my comment that spurred this debate should’ve included James Milner who City paid 26 (+Ireland’s 8 equaling 34) million for. Really, is he worth that much money? Is City the new Chelsea (overspending to overspend)? Or is this yet another case of the English Clubs overvaluing their own? I’m sure there’s 20 more examples that others could spit out off the tops of their heads too.

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        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/24 at 6:02 AM

          Nick – in the Jumble, I think one of the main points I mentioned was player inflation regarding Home Grown players. And yes, the market price for English players is distorted and artificial.

          I just think that defensive, counter-attacking football has increased over the last decade, which has in turn, placed more emphasis on the defensive midfielder, and there seems to be a dearth of quality ones – hence the silly money being quoted.

          Do I rate Parker? Not necessarily – just think he’s probably the best English DM in Hargreaves’ continued absence.

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  11. Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/23 at 7:46 PM

    george and matthew, i appreciate your expert soccer journalism. if i did not, i would not be here. you guys watch games like the rest of us. you go to a bunch of games and you are pretty well versed. you want to debte soccer or world football, that is great. you want to try and shove some opinion down a guys throat, that is ok also. its all good. for me, i want to see us soccer improve, every day and i want us soccer to rule the world. end of story. does a brit want the usa running the show? i think every reasonable person knows the answer to this question. i sure as sh1t dont want spain dominating world basketball. and no kiwi wants south africa dominating rugby.

    i mean look at the situation. jack wilshire gets nice kush loan deal to bolton, little did they know stu holden is a golden player and he was pushing wilshire for pt and would have obviously done more if not for the dejong attack. yes, dejong ws malicious and everyone knows it. but thats his game, hopefully that is jermaine jones game also.

    please compare wilshires loan to bolton to that of either adus loan to monaco or altidore and his move to club xerox. how is villarreal looking out for jozy when they send him to a team that is not even interested in using him. of course everton was interested in jozy during this period, but villarreal did not allow this deal to happen. instead everton goes and picks up jo, who does nothing special during his stint at everton. meanwhile adu is over here getting jerked around in a power struggle at monaco and the point is that these american players are not being looked out for by their clubs the same way a jack wilshire is.

    isnt the point of sending player out on loan to actually get them playing time. so lets send ej to cardiff where boythrod and the little scotish player re doing well and they had brought in chopra. now its on ej to win a spot on any team, that is for sure, but you lon a guy out with the idea of him getting some pt. i dont know, it just seems odd that these americans have been finding themselves in these situations. im sure alot of this has to fall to the agents and the players themselves

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    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/24 at 6:05 AM

      You have your opinions and I have mine. In this instance I disagreed and tried to explain why I thought you were “wrong”. That’s all.

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  12. Posted by KickinNames... on 2010/08/24 at 9:03 AM

    Wow. This was one of the strangest threads I’ve seen on here. A whole lot of Dungeons and Dragons pissing contests being tossed back and forth.

    Anti-American bias? If we were sending over whole cloth players with A games they would be playing.
    See Demps, Donovan, Holden, Friedel, Keller, Howard (who didn’t show well all in his MU stint BTW)
    Brian McBride went over almost 10 yrs ago and became a beloved leader and captain of his squad. Why? He scored goals. worked hard and producted results for the team.
    Eddie Johnson? Complaining about opportunities? Please! He’s had more career resurrection opportunities than..well…than Freddy Adu)))
    And Altidore was given over 20 solid games in a primary role and yielded 1 goal and not much else. Same work rate issues that EJ has, lack of ball holding skills for a big man and fear of taking on defenders face up. To be using Adu, EJ and even Altidore as evidence of an anti-US bias just undermines your argument.

    Dempsey has gotten a fair runout and provided offensive spark to Fulham. 10 mins here and there is irrelevant. He’s a tweener type player who probably fits best in a platoon type role. As good as he looked on Sunday he can disappear for long stretches as well if not in the right role.
    Prediction- As the level of player quality increases you will see more quality playing time (see Holden, Deuce. Lichaj, etc) for US players. It’s really that simple.

    Great site and what has made it enjoyable is the objective, factual exchanges that don’t degenerate into personal feuds.
    Relax and enjoy.

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    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/24 at 9:18 AM

      Agreed with all of that except EJ’s willingness to take on opponents when faced up. I think he’s done that well.

      My favorite stat on Demps that I researched. 85 percent of his epl goals come in the first 20 mins or last 15 mins.

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2010/08/24 at 11:30 AM

        Wow. That’s pretty accurately details his contribution over the last few years. Although he was their most effective offensive player throughout the MU game right up until he went out.

        But stats are just like opinions right?))))…

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      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/24 at 12:34 PM

        I think his goal to game ratio for Fulham isn’t bad at all (34 / 138) – especially when you consider he keeps on getting subbed!

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    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/24 at 10:06 AM

      Friedel vs. Howard this weekend.

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      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2010/08/24 at 11:33 AM

        Has Friedel looked a little shaky this year? Obviously Howard has had his early miscues.

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      • Posted by scweeb on 2010/08/24 at 11:57 AM

        I was just wondering do english players try and go out side the EPL to play?

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        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/24 at 12:25 PM

          I think that in the 80s and 90s not too many were that technical, and to be honest, pre-Heysel, there probably wasn’t that much “need’ in the sense that English clubs *dominated* Europe, so players thought why?. After Heysels, a few went, notably Hoddle, Lineker, Waddle, Wilkins, Platt, Gascoigne. The best players seemed to go to Italy and Spain.

          With the money on offer in the EPL today, there are only a few clubs who would be willing to pay those wages, and to be honest, presently, I think only Rooney and A. Cole would be wanted by an elite team / like-for-like anyways. Why would somebody like Young leave Villa to go to say Fiorentina or Hamburg for less money?

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        • George is right, the money just doesn’t make a move out of England all that feasible for most of these players. When you do see it happen its kind of a strange sight (Matt Derbyshire to Olympiakos anyone?). The other issue is that, once you leave England, unless you are already established in the National Team squad, you are taking yourself out of contention. Capello, or any other coach, won’t take the travel time to watch one player in a different league when 99% of the playing pool stays in England.

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  13. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/24 at 12:57 PM

    Here is something that I have been thinking about. With the new home grown rule and the fact that we have all talked about football in the US still in its relative infancy, and the that fact that people feel that the amount of Americans participating in soccer is not stagnant – it can and is going up etc etc.

    Well, in order for a European team to get a non-EU player, that player has to of played X% of the last 2 years internationals (I think there is a special rule in place for players under 21). So, with all these players that America will produce, only so many of them will be USMNTers – so what will happen with the rest of them? Will this mean that this will improve the MLS as a result? I am assuming that players will still earn more in European football than US football, and UEFA will still be the elite footballing continent.

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    • Excellent point. Though (and I’m not positive on this) I believe that England’s rules are the strictest for this type of player movement. I want to say that Italy, France, and definitely the Scandinavian leagues don’t have the same requirement or at least as strict, which is why you see a lot of Americans beginning over there (Scandinavia) and then moving into the larger leagues.

      I think it’ll definitely make MLS a more American league in terms of player nationality, and if we’re producing more Donovans and Dempseys instead of Johnsons and Adus then yes MLS will get better, unless they start moving to South American, Asian, or other EU Leagues that aren’t as strict due to the money.

      I think UEFA will always be THE continent when talking about club football, but in terms of Internationals, it’ll be interesting to see how the homegrown rule in England, and Platini’s proposals for all of UEFA will bear fruit.

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      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/24 at 1:42 PM

        The thing is about England is that we haven’t won anything since 1966, yet there are people talking about the foreigners in the EPL. What about the 1970s and 1980s where we didn’t qualify for WC74 or WC78 – can’t blame that on Johnny Foreigner!

        Tangential: this is controversial, but a lot of people talk about how the FIFA world rankings favour the European teams and traditional heavyweights – but if you look at the last 8 semi finalists (WC co-efficient is based on the last 2 WCs I believe), 7 have been European…

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        • That is very true. I’m not arguing that internationally UEFA is overrated, just wondering how the homegrown rule will impact its standing. Currently there are some great English players getting exposed to very high levels of competition because the best of the best play in the EPL.

          However, if homegrown rules are being implemented throughout UEFA, especially the likes of Platini’s proposal which I believe stipulates a team must have X number of players in their starting XI that are eligible for the national team of the country they play in, will this help or hinder the nurturing of younger talent. One could argue that the Dutch are a great international side because their best players test themselves in the best leagues which does not include their own. The FA’s current homegrown rule probably won’t hinder the English National team at all given that most clubs are already in compliance, but this is something that’ll bear watching in the next decade or so.

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        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/24 at 2:57 PM

          The homegrown rule is only for EPL games via a Gentleman’s Agreement. I cannot see this being implemented across Europe.

          The issue with Platini’s proposal is that it is a Restraint of Trade and outright illegal under EU Employment Law. And I find it amusing that he is proposing this considering that he is French but enjoyed a lot of success with Juventus in Italy – smack of hypocrisy!

          There is an interesting point of view in Soccernomics that talks about what you said about the Dutch – and most of their players playing in the stronger teams in the best leagues.

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  14. Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/24 at 3:10 PM

    you know people, tim howard was named into the best eleven in his first year at man united nd he also won an f

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    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/24 at 3:39 PM

      All in all he was very unconvincing when you look at his whole Man United career.

      People talk about Jose Mourinho winning the European Cup with the unfancied Porto in 2004, but it was Howard’s goalkeeping gaffe (we’re talking Robert Green proportions here) in the dying seconds that gifted Porto a goal that sent them through to the final on away goals.

      That’s why I said in an earlier comment that I feel that going to Man United from MetroStars was a massive step that United never managed well. The step up was just too large,and he didn’t handle the pressure. If he went on loan for a season or perhaps two, I have no doubt he would be the United No. 1 today – or at least in the mix. He has to be considered in the top bracket of goalkeepers in the world.

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      • Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/24 at 3:48 PM

        george, is this your response to tim howard being named in the epls best eleven in his first season at man united?

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        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/24 at 5:04 PM

          He did OK during his first season, but he was unconvincing as a whole. Why do you think they went and bought Edwin Van der Sar? Because he was too inconsistent and make too many errors. He was in and out of the team – he played 45 games in 4 years.

          I am not saying he is not a class keeper now, just that he wasn’t then.

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        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/24 at 5:05 PM

          To continue to participate in the community here, please try and make your responses less personal. Thank you kindly.

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      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/08/24 at 5:10 PM

        George – agree with Dikranovich here.

        Tim Howard was extremely convincing at Man United. He was just inexperienced and inconsistent.

        United fans were huge fans of Howard but he got in a little bit of a funk after some miscues–like the Porto one–and then had a hard time getting his confidence back.

        There was no doubt and still no doubt now that he had the talent. It’s just extremely hard to go from the MetroStars (the MetroStars!) to a new culture, without a lot of support in place, at a supremely young age (as a keeper nonetheless) and be counted on to be the best in the world for the best in the world.

        That’s why players are often loaned out that early. Howard went right into the frying pan.

        Most of the world’s other top goalies didn’t go right to the top club or weren’t the number one at first.

        Interested to hear your comments on Ben Foster.

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        • Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/24 at 7:22 PM

          its really a little disingenuous to say howard only played 45 games for man u over four years, even though its on wikipedia. i mean he played 32 in his first season and vandersar came in during his third year and howard was starting for everton during his 4th year with man united. and nothing to me is bigger in all of this than the fact tht rio, maybe the top defender in all of europe, was out of the team on drug suspension when howards “form” took a dip.

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        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/24 at 9:04 PM

          Matt – how can you say that “Tim Howard was extremely convincing at Man United” and then say “he was just inexperienced and inconsistent”. Doesn’t admitting that he was inconsistent prove my point?! If there is one position that cannot make high profile errors, it’s the keeper. If he was as good as you say he was, please advise why Sir Alex went out and bought another senior keeper? What you’re saying just doesn’t hold any credibility IMHO.

          Regarding what you wrote after, please re-read what I wrote above (GeorgeCross on 2010/08/24 at 3:39 PM) – you’ve basically regurgitated it…

          Re. Ben Foster. I just think that the English media made him out to be *much* better than he actually was, especially in a World Cup year because we were (are) desperate for good keepers. I fell it was similar to Howard’s United experience – and I think he will do well at Birmingham City in an environment where there is a lot less pressure. It will be interesting to see how his form is once he gets a string of games under his belt.

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        • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/08/24 at 9:05 PM

          United went through a string of keepers in order to replace Peter Schmeichel. They tried and failed with Barthez, Taibi, Bosnich and a slew of others, but none could replace the great Dane. Howard was brought in as one of those. He came in as first string hence playing 32 games in his first year. As it is said he played well, but over time and especially in his second year he became inconsistent and Van de Sar was brought in. Howard was loaned out as Van de Sar was long removed from the days of Juventus and Ajax was considered past his prime and only a stop gap.

          United saw Howard as their keeper for the future at the time, but Van de Sar’s fine play and experience coupled with Howards inconsistency lead him to make a permanent move to Everton where he has thrived.

          So what George is saying is true. He went straight into the frying pan which was nuts and acquitted himself admirably, but if he was such a great success, then Ferguson would have kept him. No one is saying he failed and he has come one leaps and bounds at Everton where he is a success.

          Blaming Rio for Howards form is weak, considering Howard has rarely had world class defenders in front of him at Everton and on the USMNT. It’s often solely of him that both teams have been competitive at the back.

          Howard just lost his confidence at United and never got it back and a move to Everton was EXACTLY what he needed.

          Reply

  15. Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/24 at 3:24 PM

    ok, so timmy wins the fa cup in his first season and is named best eleven in the epl, and that does not sound like a bad stint at man united. if someone was saying that howard did not do well at man united. of course howard had to deal with the fact that rio was out for a long portion of howrds starts due to his drug suspension. that probably had as much to do with a poor performance than anything for timmy. im happy knowing americans get a little bit of the business when they go off to europe and that is not to say every american is going to experience some bias. obviously holden is recieveing the reverse of this with his new coach being a big supporter.

    the thing of it is that holden probably does have a strong mentality just like bradley, and we as americans should be happy about this. now we just need to get feilhaber, adu, and a couple of other players to get this strong mentality. eddie johnson needs a coach that will guide him a little and give him a chance to shine. eddie johnson has a weak mentality, no doubt about it, but, he can do some good things if given the right enviornment. look at ej, his first game for fulham was a start against man united and in a close lose he plyed right mid, yes, right midfield, eddie johnson. isnt that kind of funny in itself. so his next two games he starts, fulham pick up a win and a tie against blackburn and everton. then he loses in the toon, with the freaking birds flying all over the pitch, then he really does not play anymore at fulham, with exception of ten mins here and there. then off to cardiff and then on to aris. now the funny thing about ej is that brits on the fulham web site are calling for ej. not all brits of course, but some of them feel he deserves another run. of course fulham does not play in the reserve league this season, so there are no reserve games for eddie to tear up. well, maybe some closed door ones.

    Reply

  16. Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/24 at 10:34 PM

    schwebb, its nice to have your comments on howard and it is good to have this discussion here, because the howard case might be at the cruxed of what ej was talking about, when he mentioned respect. im lost a little, becuse i was under the impression that howard went to man united and was an immediate success. so he was thrown into the frying pan as matthew said, not george and he succeeded. howard had a strong first season at united and that is fact.

    where is roy carroll playing now anyway? so howard could have gotten butterflies even after a flying start and i can buy that. man u is a big club and they want a tip top keeper, vandersar fits the bill. but plesae dont say timmy wasnt ready, when he in fact stepped right in and proved that he was ready by winning. im not sure how big the rio loss was and how you can equate losing a player like him under the circumstances which he was banned. anyway, i do know what happened last year when ferguson tried to run carrick and fletcher as center backs against fulham and it was not pretty for united. not having the regular stud center back in the team is always a major blow. it just so happened to coinside with howards second season. carroll had to play without rio as well.

    so v’dersr comes in and timmy moves to everton and is still a most solid keeper and may very well one day play again at man united. was howard treated unfairly at his time at man u? no, i dont think so. was he given the benefit of the doubt? for sure he was not. there is no doubt who is the better keeper between howard and carroll and timmy went to everton and has proven that he is world class. united just did not give him the benefit that they might for nother keeper. so ben foster is english, so what, he is not in howards class and united have the dutchmen.

    basically americans get respect in europe, the same way refs ref a concacaf champions league game fairly between MLS and mexico. but can you blame the refs, they are obviously being worked over by mexicn “officials” but lets face it, mexicans hate losing to americans, especially at soccer. it all ties together very nicely and howard could have stayed with united persevered and been the starting keeper in 2006 for the us national team. of course adu, ej, and altidore were all sent on a musical bench tour just leading up to 2010 world cup. if usa wants to win a world cup, she better wake the f up. matthew son, it is personal and if it is not, then there is really something wrong here.

    Reply

    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/08/25 at 12:04 AM

      Howard was dropped from the starting 11 in March of his first season after the Porto mistake as it appeared to disrupt his confidence. He did reclaim his spot before the FA cup final, but trust me that all to do with Carroll not being any good either. He started the season well and did end on a high note (finishing in PFA 11…speaking of which that kind flies in the face of your claim that US players get no respect), but it wasn’t like he took anything by storm. He got back in the team cause Carroll was worse and they had no one else.

      His second season, they were both poor and after that is when they signed van der sar. Howard was loaned out to get experience elsewhere. United had not won anything but an FA cup final since Howard signed on and for a club as successful as United they could not take the risk of having a keeper who might have shown spots and patches of brilliance, but who was inconsistent at the time. They needed to win trophies and started doing so again after Howard left. I’m not suggesting that it was to do with Howard per say, but they did They loaned him out and Howard thrived showing United they made a mistake and good for him.

      Howard started of fantastically with United but as the season went on he wasn’t the same keeper as previous months. If Howard were to go back to United now he would do fine as he has grown into the world class keeper that United thought he was when they signed him 2003.

      Some EPL stats – In Howards first year he played 32 of 38 games and United let in 35 goals (carroll let in 4).
      The next year Howard played 12 EPL games and United let in 26 goals. 10 of those goals were when Howard was in goal.

      In his first two years Howard played 42 EPL games and let in 41 goals. Ferdinand played in 20 of Howards first seasons games and all of the ones in the second so really was not there for 12 games.

      Is he a world class keeper now yes. Did he have the potential when he signed on for United…YES but it’s his time at Everton that has made him what he is.

      Reply

      • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/08/25 at 12:08 AM

        Actually, Ferdinand was not there at the beginning of the Howards second season. My bad.

        Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/25 at 6:12 AM

      I still do not understand your paranoia, seriously. Howard is a fantastic keeper and he happens to be American. If a player has ability, his passport doesn’t matter.

      The way Ferdinand was playing back then, any team would have missed his presence. But to blame Ferdinand’s absence on Howard’s patchy form is remarkable. Certain goal-keeping fundamentals remain the same regardless of who your centre-backs are. I think it is safe to assume that Ferguson and his goal-keeping coach know when a keeper is at fault and when he is not – regardless of how many goals are conceded.

      Reply

  17. Posted by dikranovich on 2010/08/25 at 6:14 AM

    george and shwebb, do you chaps believe what lord trellsman, or whatever his name is, the former head of the english FA, when he says he believed, this is before the world cup now. but he said that spain and russia were basically in collusion. he had to step down for this, but basically what he said was russia was, in exchange for spain support for the russia 2018 bid, russia would work the officials in favor of spain. its a pretty crazy accusation, but i tell you what. sepp blatter comes out and says england better worry about the bid from russia. it all sounds like something russia would be involved in.

    meanwhile england wants to host and so does the usa. so if england does not get 2018, and they then could not get 2022, because if russia gets 2018, europe could not host two events in a row. so we will see. im sure russia was looking to get all the support it could and spain carries a lot of weight as a spanish speaking country. but this is the kind of thing that goes on in world football. whether it is germany against austria in 82 or maybe a “dirty” water bottle, or any number of host countries forging there way into the finals in dubious fashion. it happens.

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/25 at 6:47 AM

      GeoPolitics has been going on for years within FIFA, especially with Sepp Blatter.

      From what I have read, it seems that the 2018 World Cup will be held in Europe. In my opinion, the two best candidates are England and USA for 2022. But unfortunately it’s not so black and white. FIFA have openly said that they do not prefer joint bids, so in theory, that should rule out Belgium & Netherlands and Spain & Portugal, leaving England and Russia as the two remaining European candidates. After South Africa and the (economic) uncertainty of Brazil in 2014, you’d think that FIFA would want a “safe” tournament in a country where not much needs to be done in terms of stadiums and infrastructure, right? Wrong. This is likely to be Blatter’s last cycle as President (which is why I think both 2018 and 2022 are being announced simultaneously on 02-Dec-10), so do you think he wants to leave a lasting legacy regarding his presidency? You’ve heard want Blatter has said about England’s bid (and USA’s bid) – he said that they could host a profitable tournament tomorrow. But for some reason, Blatter doesn’t want to award it to England for the first time since 1966. Not saying I am against continental rotation of the World Cup, but how many global white elephants do FIFA want to create in the name of “Legacy”? Russia was warned last week by Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the Chilean football federation president who is leading the inspection tours, that it would have to start work immediately on building up to 10 new stadiums from scratch, plus infrastructure, airports and hotels that could cost +100BN. But knowing Blatter, his ego will decide. Russia 2018 and Australia 2022…

      Reply

      • Giving it to Russia would be extremely sad in lieu of something I read on a different blog that had this picture http://bit.ly/9KmAJb.

        I wish they hadn’t stopped the continental rotation policy after South America got it for 2014, meaning that North America (most likely the US) was no longer guaranteed 2018. I can see Sepp’s thinking in wanting to expand the game to different areas of the World, but like George points out, are Russia and Australia really where you want to go when England and the US would have massive attendance and monetary numbers?

        Reply

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