Yesterday evening I wrote a bit of a flippant tweet that a year ago nobody would have expected Theo Walcott to be on the verge of ending Wayne Rooney’s England career, but having heard from the man himself in the afternoon at the England training camp, I do wonder if he’s got that outcome in his sites too.
As you know, any kind of international break usually sends my mind into spirals of footballing negativity, but there is somewhat of an element of Schadenfreude about seeing Rooney suffering, especially if it is at the hands of an Arsenal player in usurping his position in the England team. Let’s all not forget that he’s only scored more goals against Aston Villa than he has against us, with his last away goal in the Premier League being in last seasons 2-1 defeat at The Emirates. He’s been tormentor-in-chief to us at times, so I am quite happy to see Theo being quoted publicly telling Roy to give him a shot. He was his usual humble self when quizzed further, also going on to say that he would be happy with a role across that front three that England might adopt on Friday night, but with qualification secured and Walcott in such a purple patch for us, Hodgson would be mad not to have an experiment and see whether it gives a different dynamism to Arsenal’s play.
Of course, he probably won’t, because for many an England manager, hierarchy and ‘favorites’ always come in to play. Wayne Rooney is the captain and regardless of whether he looks a shadow of his former self, Roy will pick him as the central striker in a meaningless game, because he won’t want to upset the apple cart.
It’s just another reason why I can’t stand international football. It’s worse than club football by a mile when it comes to politics. Plus the football is never as god technically and I come from a country full of perennial under-achievers, so it all combines into one hotch-potch of irritating football that I only ever half-watch depending on how many Arsenal players are playing. And that’s only usually to make sure they make it through without being scythed down by some sort of oaf from the middle of nowhere who plays for FC Mithawallerjollerstoller.
Still, I suppose there is some football on, as opposed to the summer where everything is about getting worked up because we haven’t signed just about ALL THE PLAYERS.
At least the official site are doing their level best to keep us entertained, with snippets of the Francis Coquelin interview on the official site for thee and me to read about. I love the bit about Jens having an argument with him on his first day of training. Here’s a kid of 16 looking to impress, and you’ve got a 35-year-old Lehman going in to him, probably because he didn’t get up high enough for a header in a practice match.
It does give you the tiniest indication of that team from the early 2000s era though, doesn’t it? What I mean by that is the fact that they were so drilled as winners, that there was simply no such thing as ‘practice’, ‘friendly’ or ‘training’. Every day had the same level of intensity and that fostered a belief of being ready for any battle, of wanting to win absolutely everything and as a result we saw some simply breathtaking football during that time. It was also ruthless too. Remember how swift we would kill off teams on the counter? How ruthless we were in our play and clinical in our finishing? It was born out of an unbridled determination to succeed and the outcome is that we won trophy after trophy and saw some of the best football of the Premier League era.
When you hear stories like that one from Coquelin, it does make you question whether or not the current team has that kind of crazy 100 miles-per-hour attitude all of the time. As a fan I naturally leap to the defence of the players and club when pundits from other parts of the football world make comments about how the players are perhaps a little softer than the Arsenal team of old, but perhaps there is something in the comments? Or am I reading too much in to what is essentially an amusing ditty from a player who has clearly shown he’s made of sterner stuff in the heart of our midfield?
Whatever, just hurry up and roll on Watford away, that’s what I say.