Thursday, October 21, 2010
When Gareth Bale first burst onto the scene at Spurs, nobody was sure where to play this immensely talented youngster. He had the skills and ability to play at left back or left wing. Superbly athletic, incredibly quick and possessor of the best left foot in England, Bale is now enjoying life and football on the left flank of Tottenham Hotspur.
His performances have picked up since Redknapp started playing him on the left wing at the tail end of last season. He ended last season with three goals and five assists. This season, he has picked up from where he left off and has drawn much praise from his manager.
And when one looks at his goals against Stoke and now against Inter Milan, it is no wonder why he is garnering so much attention from admiring managers.
When I first read the news that Wayne Rooney will leave Manchester United, I was hardly surprised. After all, the man has done that before. At a tender age of 18, he ditched Everton for the best club in the country at that time, Manchester United. So yes, he has done it before and should it be a surprise that he is ready to say goodbye to a club on the decline?
What was more surprising was the obvious vulnerability shown by Sir Alex Ferguson. That was really poignant for me. Never before had a player leaving been that heartbreaking for a man who has seen it all and won it all. Fergie was clearly hurt by Rooney's insistence to leave Old Trafford. In Manchester United, no one player was bigger than the club but in my opinion, Rooney came very close to being an iconic symbol of United. Every season, Rooney's performances and heart have mirrored that of United's legendary manager and these two could have been seen as kindred spirits. As such, for Rooney to turn away from United is a stab in the back for the Scot - something Fergie is not used to experiencing.
Through his first 15 matches with Liverpool, Roy Hodgson has come across as a considerate, media friendly and very much the elder statesman that the board at Liverpool would have hoped. His amicable English nature is a sharp contrast to the more arrogant and abrasive Benitez. After saying and expressing all the right words prior to the start of the 2010/11 Premier League season, his tactical plan, match decisions and overall management ability are being questioned.
The Reds are languishing 2nd from bottom, looking low on confidence and motivation. Much of this poor form must be attributed to Uncle Roy and his post-match interviews expose him as clearly a manager with a small-club mentality. Just like what Paul Tomkins and the rest of Liverpool fans have been suggesting.
His statements post-match have been low-key, bizarrely respectful to the opposition and definitely lacking the substance befitting a manager of a legendary club like Liverpool. Though I was happy Rafa was made to leave, Hodgson is making me think again of my misgivings about Benitez!
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