Solskjaer reveals how mohawk put him off transfer

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that he once refused to sign a player because “he had a mohican”.

Solskjaer, while reminiscing over his time with Norwegian side Molde, explained how he used to go travelling with members of his scouting staff to watch potential new signings in action.

And he explained how he had been put off signing one particular individual having seen his haircut as he walked out on to the pitch.

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Solskjaer told Sky Sports: “I once went to see a player and as he walked out of the dressing room or through the tunnel onto the pitch, he had a mohican, this was when I was back in Norway.

“I just said to my scout: ‘Let’s go home, not interested.’ That was a very short scouting trip.”

One of Solskjaer’s current United players, Paul Pogba, has previously sported a mohawk, along with former Red Devils teammate David Beckham.

And Beckham is among those hailing the impact of Solskjaer, claiming the results are now illustrating just how good a job he is doing.

Beckham said: “I’ve seen some of the criticism. But I suppose when you are a manager of Man United when they’ve had success over the years that they’ve had, there was always going to be a point where people get criticised. Whether it’s the players, whether it’s the owners, whether it’s the manager.

“Ole’s been in the game long enough to be able to take any kind of criticism. He’s very quiet, he gets on with his job, and I think he’s done an incredible job down at United.

“The results are starting to show that. Hopefully, it continues because the fans love Ole, we all love Ole and we all want him to do well. So when the criticism comes, he’s one person that can take it.”

Solskjaer’s side return to Premier League action on Sunday as they welcome Brighton to Old Trafford.

Currently second in the table, eight points clear of West Ham in fifth, Solskjaer is set to lead his team to consecutive top-four finishes for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club in 2013.

Solskjaer will also hope to land his first piece of silverware as United boss in the Europa League, with his side in action against Granada in the quarter-finals next Thursday.

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Merson claims Arsenal would be a ‘good choice’ for Aguero

Paul Merson thinks Arsenal would represent a “good choice” for Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero if he wants to remain in England next season.

Aguero announced on Monday that he would be leaving the Etihad Stadium in the summer when his current contract runs out.

It will bring to an end a glorious ten years at City for the Argentina striker, who will go down as a legend and the best striker the club has ever had.

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Aguero has scored 257 goals in 384 appearances for the club, winning four Premier League titles, an FA Cup and five League Cups.

When asked what was next for Aguero, Merson told Sky Sports: “There won’t be many clubs who wouldn’t want a player of Aguero’s stature.

“However, clubs will be looking at his injury record and at their wage bills. It will also come down to Aguero too because he’ll have to be in a team that creates chances. If you are not getting in and around the opponent’s penalty area too often, then it would be difficult to have Aguero in your team.

“He’s not getting the ball on the halfway line and beating three players anymore. That’s not his game anymore. We’ve seen some special goals from him where he’s scored from nothing, but he’s had injuries and is getting on a bit, so I don’t see that happening too often anymore.

“It’s an important decision for him picking who he plays for next season.”


Barcelona have already been very heavily linked with Aguero but Merson reckons Arsenal represent an interesting option if he wants to stay in England.

Merson added: “Will he stay in England or will his next move be abroad? If he stays in England, I think Arsenal would suit the style he would be looking for. They’d be a good choice.

“Mikel Arteta was at Manchester City and the way Arsenal play; they get around the box and they do create a lot of opportunities. Arsenal do tick that box for Aguero.

“But if does he go abroad where the intensity is not as hard as it is in England? He could go somewhere with a different climate and where the games are not as intense as they are in the Premier League.

“That could help with his injury problems as he moves into the latter stages of his career. It’s an important move for Aguero as he moves into the final stage of a glittering career.”

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Rio would ‘take’ Lampard over Gerrard and Scholes

Rio Ferdinand says he would choose Frank Lampard over Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard if he had the chance to select one of the trio as a manager.

Ferdinand played with all three at either club or international level, but plumped for Lampard due to his goals and assists record, while paying tribute to both Scholes and Gerrard.

Ferdinand told his Five YouTube channel:  “If I’m a manager I take Frank because he’s going to get me 20 (goals) a year. As a manager I want them to define matches, he’s going to get me 20 and probably double-figures in assists.”

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“Scholesy was a joke to play with man,” Ferdinand added. “I played with him when he played just in front of me and he just conducted the game. When I first went to United when he played off Ruud van Nistelrroy and he was unplayable, I think he scored 20 odd goals that season. An unbelievable talent, all round.

“Scholesy is hard to keep out, he’s probably my favourite player I played with. I used to thank him for letting me be on the same pitch as him – he used to think I was mad, for sure.

“He didn’t score as much as Frank, Frank’s the most potent out of all of them in terms of goals – none of them can get near Frank. Goals and assists, Frank dwarfs everybody and he was cold as ice in the box.”

Ferdinand hailed Gerrard’s heroics for Liverpool, claiming he would have done more had he played for a more successful team.

“Stevie was like Roy of the Rovers,” Ferdinand said. “He would just drag a game by the scruff of its neck, in big occasions – Champions League semi-finals, finals, FA Cup finals.

“The problem with Stevie, if he was in a great team then I’d like to see his impact then. In great teams you normally share the load a little bit more.

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“In his team it had to be him, the ball had to go to him and it had to be him all the time. So in big teams, better teams that are winning leagues it is a little bit shared out. Yeah we had Ronaldo but we had Rooney and we had Tevez as well.

“If I’m buying a ticket to go to a game, I’m picking Gerrard for those explosive moments that the other two don’t have. He changes the whole dynamics of a football match with a tackle or a shot at goal.

“Every training session, he’d do something and you’d go ‘woah’. Mad player. If you had him at United, we’d have done all sorts and even more.”

Scholes had a tough time cementing his place in the England team and was infamously played on the left of midfield with Lampard and Gerrard in the middle.

“Disrespectful,” Ferdinand said. “He’s an unbelievable player. We played a rigid 4-4-2 and you’re asking Scholesy, who isn’t a runner, to play left-wing. I didn’t like it.”

Guardiola fears Aguero is ‘irreplaceable’ at Man City

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists Sergio Aguero is “irreplaceable” and “helped to put the club in a higher level”, as the striker prepares to leave the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season.

Man City’s all-time record goalscorer will leave when his contract expires this summer and Guardiola has paid a glowing tribute to the 32-year-old, who has won four Premier League titles, an FA Cup, and five League Cups during his decade-long stay.

Guardiola believes Aguero was one of the players who established the club as a force in the Premier League and has backed him to score some important goals in what remains of this season, with City chasing an unprecedented quadruple.

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“Sergio is irreplaceable,” the City boss told Sky Sports. “I could say in terms of numbers he can be replaceable, it’s not easy when you see more than 360 games played and more than 250 goals, the amount of titles…

“So it’s the legend, the best striker this club has ever had for this century through the years, but is irreplaceable in the souls, in the hearts, in the minds of our fans, of our people, of the players that played alongside him and all the managers who worked with him.

“We were so lucky, the guys who came after him – me as a manager for example. We took over the club and he was one of the guys like Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, David Silva, many players helped this club make a step forward and of course he was one of them.

“He helped us find a club organisation in a higher level. When he came here the club was in one level, and he helped to put the club in a higher level. And that’s why all the people are still here, and of course the fans always will be grateful.

“Without them, what we achieved in the past four or five years would not be possible, that’s for sure.

“I think he still has interesting goals to score this season.”


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James, TAA and Chilwell all out of my England squad for Euros…

Get your mails into the…


My England squad for Euro 2020…
After headlining The Mailbox this morning with a prediction on the 23 players Gareth Southgate will take to Euro 2020, I am back with my squad were I to be making the decision.

I will be playing (on paper) a combination of 4231 and 433, dependent on the game state and strengths/weaknesses of the opposition.  I will essentially be using two CDMs behind a 10, or one CDM behind two 8s. However, it’s important to recognise I will be using the 325 shape for attacking phases of play and penetration in the final third that Pep, Arteta, Klopp and Conte use, and that Southgate has used too.  This in game positional transition will always involve two natural CBs and a full back to make up the back three. So, here goes:

My three GKs are Pickford, Henderson and Pope.  I have yet to decide who starts the first game, but my hunch is that it will be Henderson provided he keeps De Gea out of the Man Utd team for the remainder of the season.

I’m taking Trippier and Kyle Walker as my RBs.  Apologies to Reece James and TAA.  Apologies also to Lee Dixon, Paul Parker and Aaron Wan Bissaka.  I’m taking Luke Shaw as my LB and Bukayo Saka as my back up option.  It’s harsh on Chilwell, but Saka offers me an option in the final third off the bench if needed in a way that Chilwell simply can’t.

Stones, Maguire and Mings are my three CBs.  Yes, I’m only taking three.  Gomez has been broken all season, I’m not sure I trust Coady to play in a four during defensive phases, and I’m not taking Dier or Keane.

I’m taking Henderson and Kalvin Phillips as my two CDMs, and I’m taking Declan Rice to give me an additional option both as a CDM or as a fourth CB option.

Kane will obviously be my number 9.  Dominic Calvert Lewin will be his back up.  That is 15 players, now for the fun part.

Sterling, Sancho, Mount and Rashford are the obvious choices (to me at least) for the wide positions either side of Kane, (not forgetting Saka as an additional option too!).  Foden, Grealish and Maddison are the obvious options (to me at least) for the creative players in slightly deeper positions.

I now have one wildcard option.  I’m taking Jude Bellingham, who has looked very good in the minutes he’s had so far, and clearly has a great future, so he can be my equivalent of Sven’s Theo.

Sorry P Nev.

A bit top heavy I accept.  But I think I have my defensive bases covered through versatile options.  And there is lots of fun in this squad.  What does everyone think?
Naz, Gooner.


Qatar Boycott
I wanted to write in to give my opinion on Qatar and address the “6500 deaths” that have been quoted by Johnny Nic, various news sources and Amnesty Intenational and which are not disputed by the Qatari government.

Firstly I agree that giving the WC to Qatar was a terrible decision.  Apart from the footballing reasons, it is clear that Qatar has a poor human rights record and that immigrant workers are being exploited.  This is evident from the Amnesty report as well as everything else that has been exposed over the last few years.  According to the Qatari government workplace reforms have been made – possibly as a result of the extra media attention that comes from the WC – but whether these are real or will be effective is a different matter.

Johnny Nic and other news sources often lead with the “6500 deaths” line.  I have an issue with this being taken out of context because I think it is misleading when talking about the WC.  6500 deaths is actually normal given the overall population and we would expect similar numbers in the UK.  Why is this?  Here we get into some maths…

As per the Amnesty report, 6500 is the total number of deaths from South Asian migrant workers (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) in Qatar over the last 10 years since the WC was awarded.  It is not the total number of deaths of people working on WC projects (which are 37 according to the Amnesty article, although they note this is likely an underestimation as it is based on official statistics).  There are many other construction projects in Qatar apart from the WC, and there are many other jobs in Qatar that migrant workers do other than construction.  However 6500 is also an under-estimation of total migrant worker deaths in the last 10 years because it only includes those from South Asia.

Fine, you may say – but we should still not be accepting 6500+ deaths (right?) even if they are not only from WC projects…

The fact is that there are over 2 million migrant workers in Qatar.  The average age is about 35 if we look at demographics and most of these are male.  If we look at a country such as the USA where there are reliable statistics, we expect the probability of death for a male aged 35 to be 0.2% in any given year.  So with a population of 2 million, we should expect 4000 deaths per year, most of which will be due to natural causes, road accidents etc.  Over 10 years this will be about 40,000 expected deaths for the total migrant population.  We can adjust this for healthiness (unhealthy people will generally not travel for work) and for risk (construction / immigrant work in Qatar may be more risky than normal), but the overall picture is there.

6500 deaths over 10 years is therefore not an unreasonable number of deaths over 10 years from the total South Asian immigrant population.  We would expect similar death rates in the UK or the USA.  What is unreasonable in my view is the level of worker exploitation that we read about and which is not disputed, and this should be the main reason for suggesting a boycott.

I think there needs to be some “fit and proper” criteria for handing out events like the WC which could include the requirement to put in workplace reforms.  But as Ross Taylor says, what about Etihad sponsorship?  What about football clothing made out of Uighur cotton?  And is FIFA really responsible for human rights?  (etc etc)


I hope you allow this email into the next Mailbox and allow me to quickly respond to Adonis – AFC.

Of course I don’t diminish or belittle the deaths of people, in any amount, either small or large numbers i.e 6500 people.

Unfortunately, as has been pointed out, it is 10 years too late to make a stand about this. And what should the stance be about exactly? People dying on construction sites? This happens in the UK at least twice a week, and in every developed country in the world. Should we therefore boycott any building projects in the UK? The boycott / stance should be aimed at the corruption within FIFA that awarded the WC to Qatar in the first place.

I work in construction in Qatar and while it is impossible to defend all of the practices here, as ever the narratives and statistics are being twisted to form the latest liberal agenda of which JN will happily jump on ………. therefore creating “a liberal bandwagon”.
Plato – MUFC


EFL Cup issue
I simply don’t get the big issue with the clash of the EFL cup and the CL. Just decide that the teams who qualify for Europe don’t play in the cup…
Yes, it may make it a little less fancy, but on the other hand it will allow some teams to win a trophy. And surely a better solution that scrapping it completely, although to me that would be the best option and make the FA Cup more interesting again.
Andreas (Denmark won 8-0, so I am happy) Brussels



State of Irish football
Please don’t listen to people like Aaron CFC Ireland when they talk about the state of Irish football. Football is not 5th behind rugby and golf. FFS when’s the last time he saw hundreds of kids on a golf course on a Saturday morning up and down the country.Football is the most popular sport to participate in followed by GAA. Rugby is not even in top 5. Coaching at club level has improved and there are more UEFA licensed coached then before but we are still massively short on good coaches. This is a result of how football is run in Ireland.

The FAI has been run by an ego maniac for years who only cared about what was good for him rather than what was good for Irish Football, and before that a bunch of old men who only wanted to look after themselves and friends with regards tickets and jolly’s.
Until the FAI is sorted we will continue to get results like last weekend. There has to be huge change on how things are run and with identifying and coaching the best talent in the country,
Ken, Cork, Ireland


VAR consultation
After a shareholders meeting earlier this month the Premier League announced that it had begun a consultation on VAR with players and managers.

We at the Football Supporters’ Association believe one vital component is missing from that selection, however – match-going supporters.

We have launched our own survey of supporters which aims to pull together the opinions of fans throughout the country on the implementation of VAR, to examine fans’ experiences with it, and the areas that need improvement.

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Stadiums have, of course, been largely empty for the past 12 months or so, so while we are asking those of you who have experienced VAR in stadiums to give us your feedback from what you can remember, we are also interested in your opinion as TV viewers.

The results of our survey will be fed into the Premier League consultation as part of our regular meetings with the game’s authorities, and we believe it’s vital that the fans’ view is heard on one of the game’s biggest issues.

The survey should take no more than five minutes to complete – we’d appreciate your time by filling it in here.
Garreth (Football Supporters’ Association)


Kent XI
Here it is a Kent XI, Razor Ruddock and Neil Shipperly, surely a match for any eleven Essex could rustle up.

1     TONY BURNS – Edenbridge
2     GLEN JOHNSON – Dartford
3     JAMIE O’HARA – Dartford
4     ANDY TOWNSEND – Maidstone
5     NEIL RUDDOCK – Ashford
6     CHRIS SMALLING – Chatham
7     MARK BARHAM – Folkestone
8     DAVID SADLER – Yalding
9     TONY CASCARINO – St Paul’s Cray
10   NEIL SHIPPERLY – Chatham
Dave, Folkestone 


Statues of players
Hi there,

Great news for Rosie Poppins! Even if UEFA hadn’t relaxed FFP, Manchester City’s Emirati Overlords would be able to spend as much as they would like on commissioning sculptures of great former players and managers.

Only money spent on “football-related” expenditure is applicable for the purposes of FFP. A statue would be considered “facilities and/or infrastructure spending”, and is exempt from the regulations.
Dara O’Reilly, London


Player attitudes…
Graham, Glasow asks “Are there any other players mailboxers can think of with similar media assumptions on their attitude?”.

Yeah, pretty much any young black player.
Damian, Athenry

Houghton, Parris to miss England’s upcoming friendlies

Steph Houghton and Nikita Parris have been ruled out of England’s friendlies against France and Canada in April.

Houghton misses out due to injury – the defender has not been involved in Manchester City’s last four matches because of what has been described by the club’s boss Gareth Taylor as a problem “in the Achilles area”.

The Football Association said Parris was unable to join the squad as a result of a number of positive coronavirus cases at her club Lyon, adding that “the situation is being regularly assessed”.

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Uncapped defenders Niamh Charles and Millie Turner are among those included in Hege Riise’s 24-player squad, while experienced goalkeepers Carly Telford and Karen Bardsley return, with Hannah Hampton missing out.

England face France in Caen on April 9 before taking on Canada at Stoke’s bet365 Stadium four days later.

Interim Lionesses boss Riise, whose first match in charge was a 6-0 win over Northern Ireland in February, oversees the France and Canada games before naming a Great Britain squad for the summer’s Tokyo Olympics in May.

Riise said: “We have such an exciting group of players; many have enormous major tournament experience and others have proven themselves capable of competing for England at the highest level.

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“It was very important for us to secure fixtures against top opponents in France and Canada. France are currently ranked third in the world and Canada are eighth, so this international window will really test our squad against some of the best in the world.

“This is crucial as we move closer to the Tokyo Olympics, but also important as we continue to prepare this squad to compete at the home Euros next year and the World Cup in 2023.

“I look forward to two exciting fixtures and the opportunity of challenging every player to impress us and stake their claim for a place in the shortlist for GB Football.

“I have also been watching very closely those players from the home nations who are in contention for the GB squad and I will continue to do so right up until we shortlist next month.”

Richards: ‘Exceptional’ West Ham man has been overlooked by England

Former Man City defender Micah Richards believes West Ham defender Aaron Cresswell has been overlooked by Gareth Southgate.

Cresswell is in his seventh season with the Hammers. He joined them in 2014 from Ipswich Town for a fee of around £3.75m plus add-ons.

The full-back has been a mainstay for the Londoners since his move. He has made just short of 250 appearances for them since signing.

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The 31-year-old has impressed for West Ham this season as they are mounting an unlikely push for the top four. He has been capped three times by England but he has not played for his country since 2017.

Richards told BBC Sport that Cresswell needs to be considered for a call-up:

“Not a lot of people have mentioned Cresswell. We talk about people who can fill in when there’s three at the back and wing-backs.

“(Cresswell) has played three at the back comfortably and gone into wing-back role as well. I still believe Luke (Shaw) and (Ben) Chilwell are ahead of him, but his name doesn’t get mentioned enough.

“He’s been exceptional this season. If you talk about versatility, Cresswell has to be considered as well.”

Cresswell’s West Ham teammate, Jesse Lingard, has been recalled by England however. In a recent interview, he suggested that he has been given a “new lease of life” since joining the Hammers on loan:

“It’s a been bit like a new lease of life. I’ve moved to London, which is different, different group of lads – all the lads are brilliant at West Ham, they’ve welcomed me with open arms.

“The staff have been great and the whole club, the whole set-up is really good. I’m playing week in week out and I’m doing something that I love so, for me, it’s been perfect. Like you say, it’s a new lease of life.

“I think [getting back in the England squad] was always in my mind. I love playing for my country. I’ve already missed half a season and had to really start very quick with West Ham and do the best I can to try and get in there.

“It’s just about believing and doing well for West Ham – scoring, assisting, winning games – and I think obviously you know that’s what warranted me a place here, just being on form.”

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Bent names five Prem strikers better than Aguero

Darren Bent has suggested that there are five Premier League strikers from down the years that are better than Sergio Aguero.

Aguero joined Manchester City in 2011 for a fee of around £35m from Atletico Madrid. He immediately hit the ground running in England as he scored 30 times from his 48 outings for them in 2011/12.

The forward scored a 94th minute winner against QPR on the final day of the season to clinch the Premier League title.

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Barring this season, Aguero has scored at least 17 goals in all competitions in every single campaign he has had for Manchester City. He has also scored 30-plus goals a season on five separate occasions for City.

This form has made him their new record scorer as he has 257 goals from 384 games for the Cityzens.

Aguero has helped City win the Premier League four times. With the striker, they have been dominant in the League Cup as they have won that on five occasions. He has also won the FA Cup once.

The club announced on Monday evening that Aguero will leave at the end of the season when his contract expires.

Bent told talkSPORT that Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba and Ian Wright are all better than Aguero:

“For me Thierry is the best. I don’t think, personally, Aguero is in the same bracket in terms of all-round play.

“I think there’s a lot that Thierry could do that Aguero can’t, but there’s a limit to what Aguero can do that Thierry couldn’t.

“You’d have to say Shearer. 260 goals is incredible. I think Rooney is up there. For being the actual best, there’s so many different arguments.

“If you ask me who my personal favourite five are, it would be Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney, Ian Wright, Alan Shearer.

“Aguero wouldn’t make my personal top five. He’s absolutely outstanding but there’s been so many greats.

“Someone who doesn’t even get a mention is Andy Cole – he scored one penalty and has got 187 Premier League goals. That’s frightening in itself.”

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Five England stars before Harry Kane who won f*** all…

The debate continues to rage over Harry Kane and whether the England captain will have to leave Tottenham if he wants to win major honours.

He wouldn’t be the first England star go potless…


Matt Le Tissier
When Southampton pair Le Tissier and Alan Shearer presumably wept having ended up on the losing side in the 1992 Zenith Data Systems Cup final with Nottingham Forest in front of almost 68,000 at Wembley, they must have talked about how their chance would come again. For Shearer it would, with the Premier League being claimed three years later. For Le Tissier, that would sadly be as close as he would ever come to glory. He would never finish higher than seventh and the Saints would reach an FA Cup final the year after he left the club.

But he was bloody brilliant. And never having won a pot doesn’t seem to have dimmed people’s memories of that brilliance in the years since he hung up his Quasars.

“I’ve no regrets whatsoever,” Le Tissier told FourFourTwo in 2010. “From seven years old I had an ambition to be a professional footballer and I had an ambition to play for England, and I fulfilled both at Southampton. Yes, I knew I probably wouldn’t win any honours, but when you’re at a club that size, staying in the Premier League for 16 years gave me as much pleasure as winning a medal if I’d gone somewhere else. No-one expected us to stay up there for that long. I was so chuffed to be a part of that.”


Johnny Nic: The case for an England boycott of Qatar 2022


Clive Allen
The former Tottenham striker is the pre-Kane Harry Kane…

Allen scored 49 goals, including 33 league goals, for Tottenham in 1986-87, winning the Golden Boot and both the PFA and FWA Player of the Year awards. And though Spurs seemed on course for a Treble, they ultimately fell short across the board. David Pleat’s side finished third in the league; lost the FA Cup final to Coventry; and were knocked out of the League Cup by Arsenal at the semi-final stage.

Allen did win the Second Division title with QPR and with Rangers he lost another cup final, to Tottenham in 1982. Major honours also eluded him at Crystal Palace, Bordeaux, Manchester City, Chelsea and West Ham.



Stan Collymore
As Daniel Storey wrote in 2017: ‘England’s very own nearly man. There are many supporters of Nottingham Forest and Liverpool who will talk long into the night about Collymore’s natural talent, but his three England caps and lack of any major career honours is testament to the problems that bubbled under the service.’ As does the fact that he scored fewer Premier League goals than Dean Holdsworth.

Collymore did at least reach one major final, but he lasted only 74 minutes of the absolutely rotten 1996 FA Cup showpiece before watching from the bench as Eric Cantona scored a late winner to claim another Double for Manchester United. The irony is that Collymore had seemingly been close to joining United only for Sir Alex Ferguson to opt for Andy Cole.

Cole’s honours list: five Premier League titles, the Champions League and two FA Cups.


Leighton Baines
Another big name who came close to joining Manchester United. Had Everton sold him to the Red Devils, his medal collection might have mirrored Marouane Fellaini’s haul of FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League; instead he has three times come close to claiming a medal and has emerged with jack all. He was in the Wigan side that finished second in the Championship and then reached a League Cup final in which they were comprehensively beaten by United. He then joined Everton and reached the FA Cup final in 2009 only to lose to Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea.

“During my time and in recent seasons we have just been beneath, we have come close a few times with cup finals, semi-finals, trips to Wembley but falling at the final hurdle,” said Baines in summer 2017 as he allowed himself to dream after a window of significant spending at Everton.

The investment reaped nothing and Baines retired without a winner’s medal.


F365 Says: Enjoying an international break that actually feels like a break


Johnny Haynes
Gerry Francis is the last England skipper to have won f*** all during his playing career but before him, Haynes captained the national team without a winner’s medal to his name, 60 years before Kane.

Haynes achieved plenty – he is widely regarded as Fulham’s greatest ever player having remained loyal to the Cottagers for two decades. He was the first player to be paid £100 a week after the abolition in 1961 of the £20-a-week maximum wage.

Pele said Haynes was the greatest passer he had seen but the closest he got to major honours was a couple of FA Cup semi-finals. Haynes did pick up one winner’s medal – the National Football League in South Africa with Durban City in 1971, a whites-only competition in the apartheid era.

READ MORE: Kane urged to leave Spurs by Keane and Cole


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Richards reveals reason behind Keane-Redknapp Spurs bust-up

Micah Richards has revealed the real reason former Spurs midfielder Jamie Redknapp faced “the wrath” of Roy Keane on Sky Sports earlier this season.

Redknapp and Keane clashed on air as they disagreed over the quality of the Tottenham squad as Keane claimed top sides in the Premier League “wouldn’t touch” any Spurs player beyond Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

Redknapp pointed to Spurs underachieving this season with Jose Mourinho still possessing a “strong squad full of internationals in every department”.

JOHNNY NIC: The case for an England boycott of Qatar 2022

Something which Keane disagreed was a guaranteed mark of quality, Keane responded: “Playing for your country doesn’t make you a top player. If you can trap the ball you can play for your country these days…

“If you don’t play for your country these days you are a bad player. It doesn’t guarantee anything.

“Which one of this Tottenham team now would get into Liverpool, Manchester City or the Chelsea team? You wouldn’t touch any of them. Son and Kane – outstanding – but the rest of them you wouldn’t touch.”

Redknapp was visibly annoyed by Keane’s reaction to his comments, hitting back: “Alderweireld would get in the Man United team right now.

“You’re right that the goalkeeper is not good enough and the two right-backs they’ve signed, no, I don’t trust (Serge) Aurier or (Matt) Docherty…the back four isn’t good enough but (Sergio) Reguilon is as good a left-back as there is in the country.”

But Keane responded by asking: “Is that why Real Madrid let him go?”

Keane added: “I expect them to be in the top seven or eight but the idea that Spurs automatically should be in the top four, if you analyse the players…they say (Jose Mourinho) is chopping and changing but he’s chopping and changing for a reason – he can’t trust them.

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“We talk about (Gareth) Bale and Bale came on last week and made a difference. What did he do? He put in a corner. He’s come in to do big things and get them back in the top four but he can’t get in the team.

“I’m sick of talking about Dele Alli. What do we think is going to happen with this kid? We look at stats from three years ago. He’s lost the hunger. He’s lost the eye of the tiger. He’s not going to get Tottenham back to the top four.”

And Richards thinks Keane was more angry than usual as he turned up an hour later than normal to start the show.

Richards said on the Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast: “He was driving down to London, but he was late.

“He normally gets there an hour or an hour and a half before, but he was stuck in traffic and he got there 20 minutes before going on air and you could see his hair was all ruffled, along with his suit.

“Jamie just got his anger because he was an hour later than he was supposed to be and he got the wrath!”

On working with Keane, Richards added: “Roy’s a legend of the game and when I’m initially going to work with someone I don’t get nervous – I never get nervous – but you’ve got respect for people and that’s the way it should be. I’ve seen his clips and he used to destroy people left, right and centre.

“The first clip that did the rounds was where I said I’d burst on the scene as a defender, that’s the one that went viral, and he said he didn’t know any defenders that had burst on the scene.

“I said, ‘hold on, hold on, I’m the youngest ever defender for England, won the Premier League and won the FA Cup’ and at that moment he was like ‘OK’ – I earned a little bit of his respect.

“After that I just loved working with him because I can never compete with Roy Keane as a player, or his medals, but I can make him feel uncomfortable on camera, and that’s my strength.”