BBC BLOGS - Football Tactics

Archives for February 2012

Can Scholes be the fulcrum for England?

Post categories:

Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 18:50 UK time, Wednesday, 29 February 2012

What was your reaction when Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp said Paul Scholes should go to the 2012 European Championship?

Inevitable, after Scholes came out of retirement to remind us he is still one of England's best midfielders? Or a very shrewd bit of man-management?

Before we plough into what difference Scholes has already made to Manchester United since coming out of retirement in January, it is worth clarifying that Redknapp has distanced himself from the England manager's job and might not even take it. Then, there is whether Scholes himself wants to deal with England circus again.

Having retired from England duty after Euro 2004 after being played out of position, the now 37-year-old did hint regret at not taking up former England boss Fabio Capello's offer to play at the 2010 World Cup. He was contacted by Capello's assistant Franco Baldini and only given hours to make a decision before the England squad was named.

But by calling for Scholes to travel to Poland and Ukraine four months before the tournament starts, Redknapp has already succeeded in giving Scholes plenty of thinking time no matter whether the Spurs manager changes jobs or not.

Scholes has been close to his best since returning to play for Manchester United

Read the rest of this entry

Old Trafford result will eclipse Suarez-Evra sideshow

Post categories:

Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 12:38 UK time, Friday, 10 February 2012

Such is the subplot between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra as Manchester United host Liverpool this Saturday that it takes time to refocus on the football matters at hand.

Suarez served an eight-match ban for racially abusing Evra in the previous Premier League encounter between these two north-west rivals in October, and the Liverpool striker is back in the side in time to face the United defender in the return fixture.

The prelude to this already competitive encounter was the 2-1 victory by Kenny Dalglish's side over United in the FA Cup at Anfield last month, where Evra was booed and Suarez was absent.

After completing his suspension, the Uruguayan subsequently made his return to the Liverpool side as they drew 0-0 with Tottenham last Monday.

Now it is time for the final performance of the season between these two teams, and once the baggage surrounding the match is stripped away, there are some signs that Liverpool could put a serious dent in Manchester United's title ambitions, while chasing fourth spot themselves.

Read the rest of this entry

Are club and country now working together?

Post categories:

Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 23:53 UK time, Wednesday, 1 February 2012

As much as there is a growing sense of excitement about St George's Park finally opening its doors in August, there is also a feeling of what might have been.

Taking a tour around the 330-acre site last week, it looks as if the Football Association will be able to boast one of the leading national football centres in the world, but you also have to wonder what position English football would be in had the facility opened as originally planned in 2004.

How much better would a 25-year-old England regular be, having first trained at St George's Park as a 17-year-old? And what influence would a coach attending courses there have had on a five-year-old now in the throes of junior football?

The FA's director of elite development Gareth Southgate says it is "pretty pointless" to speculate about where we could be. Like a seasoned pro he is focusing on the future, and in the coming months youth football in England is set to undergo some fundamental and exciting changes.

Read the rest of this entry

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.