The candid thoughts of Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.
Evening, gents, anyone want to suggest a topic to kick off with? Okay, Dave, what? The Wayne Rooney problem. As in… the fact that he’s scoring goals again. And that’s a problem because it was nice having him out of the England picture?
Well, I know what you mean, mate, and I agree with you up to a point. In the bad old days a year or so ago, Rooney was the first name on the team sheet for both Man U and England. Record goalscorer and all that. Then he was out injured for a bit and the youngsters stepped in and did well and when he was fit again, he couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo, so it looked like the young guns could get a clear run at it.
Yes, I’m concerned about it more from an England point of view. Not being a United supporter, and none of us here are, are we, they can do what they like and if Van Gaal wants to persevere with Rooney up front he is free to do so. Doesn’t bother me one bit.
But England, then that is our problem, because we’re all on England’s side. And without the snarling scouser the side looks more balanced, more promising, than it does with him.
Roy Hodgson’s got plenty to choose from now, with Harry Kane settled in and Jamie Vardy looking less like a flash in the pan than he did at one point. And Berahino and one or two others on the fringes.
So to go back to relying on Rooney would seem like a backward step.
Cheers, Gary, bottle of Pils please, I’m watching my weight . Yeah, so sometimes fate does you a favour by clearing out the dead wood and more or less forcing you to do what you were a bit worried about. Like the old Gerrard-Lampard conundrum. The two best midfielders in the country but it didn’t work when they played together. And it went on for years, didn’t it? Only ceased to be a problem when Lampard went over the hill a bit and it was clearly time for the new generation. And eventually Gerrard went too and bingo: daylight for Barkley and Delph and Dele Alli etc.
And all without the manager being the bad guy in anyone’s eyes. Marvellous, really. Of course, you’ve got to hope the new lot are going to be better than what you had before, but you’ll never know until you try, because sometimes people unconsciously hold themselves back without realizing it – yes, Baz, I suppose it could be subconsciously, but when did you become an authority on words of more than one syllable? Like Leighton Baines – he was as good as Ashley Cole for several years, but he didn’t feel he could make a takeover bid because he was probably a Cole fan too.
But in Baines’s case, Luke Shaw came along and disrupted the natural handover and I don’t think Baines has got the confidence now. He seems happy to be the reliable second choice.
Cheers, Gary, you’re always the first choice when it comes to going to the bar, aren’t you? You’ve got style, mate, you’ve got persistence, you’ve got a way of attracting the barmaid’s attention. If only you were a footballer.