Our regular reader(s) may have noticed that the international retirement of Wayne Rooney had not had even so much as a sideways glance on Tales this week. Good things come to those that wait and all that, and now Gareth Southgate has announced his squad for the upcoming international fare against Malta (ha) and Slovenia (which I believe will cost you a mere £10 to sit through the torture at Wembley). Who can possibly fill Rooney’s shoes? Well, even Southgate doesn’t seem too sure as he has named 8 (eight) strikers in his squad. Admittedly, he has also named four goalkeepers which says quite a lot about Joe Hart right now.
Rooney’s retirement is right, but a little strange. For me, it has come across as the jilted girlfriend who was dumped last summer for a younger, more attractive girl with better hair, fewer miles on the clock and, probably, a better body. Since then, said girlfriend (Rooney) has moved out of town, done something to her hair, got back in shape and is out on the town doing rather well for herself (scoring against City for example) and planning her response to the ex-boyfriend who has just realised that his latest squeeze (let’s say Daniel Sturridge) actually has nothing on the tender touch of, er, Wayne. So when Gareth called Wayne, all fresh and casual, seeing if they could, you know, try again Wayne always intended to turn him down, but not privately. Oh no. Hell hath no fury like a woman, or ex-England captain, scorned and Wayne went public with the call, saying how nice it was for Gareth to call and all that, but he’s not going back there girlfriend. You don’t dump Wayne Rooney and get away with it.
So yeah, international football is back next week. Yay, or in the words of Jurgen Klopp, yippee.
Manchester United, always looking for new ways to cut costs and not to ever be thought of as frivolous with their money, successfully achieved their aim of saving themselves a few bob on Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Rather than pay him to be injured for nine months, they have managed to save themselves four months of wages by sacking him, telling him to go away and prove that is knee will be up to hanging around up front, demanding that the ball be passed to him in the box and generally posing in the way only Zlatan can. Zlatan has apparently not just proven this, but beaten the devil in an arm wrestle too, which is quite impressive. As a result, Jose has chucked him another one-year deal which means that the new style, clinical when taking chances Manchester United could well quickly morph back into last season’s drawfest XI very soon. It’s great news for those United fans already moaning that the league is too easy this year – they can return to the weekly lottery of whether the side will draw 0-0 or 1-1 and how many clear cut chances they can miss in one 90 minute spell. But, as Zlatan says, he is back to finish what he started. I presume he means win the Premier League or something.
Arsene Wenger is “very reluctant” to sell Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as he has correctly identified that the England international is one of the ones worth keeping when compared to Lucas Perez, Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs, and (insert your own rubbish Gooner here). The Arsenal manager has even gone as far as suggesting he would like to build a team around the Ox, which is incredible considering Wenger has no idea where his best position is. In the last season, Oxlade-Chamberlain has played right wing, in that “number ten” position, central midfield, holding midfield, right wing back and yes, left wing back. Maybe Wenger’s translation of “building a team” around the lad is to actually play him in every position this season?
Wilfried Bony is, apparently, still a Manchester City player and could well be on his way back to Swansea City before the window slams shut. Swansea City will be hoping that the player they sold is the one they are getting back. Do you want to tell them, or shall I?
Leicester City winger Demari Gray has politely requested that Craig Shakespeare start picking him or would he mind awfully selling him to somewhere that he might get a game? Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, looking to keep to his quote of eight pacey wide men with no end product since letting Max Gradel leave the club on loan, is keen to tempt the Foxes into a deal worth £30m. And they say Eddie Howe hasn’t got a clue how to work the transfer market?