The German Jinx has been broken, and with that out of the way, England’s path to the final looks as favorable as one could hope. And England even went a bit mental and netted twice this time out. Whether it was a coincidence that Jack was involved in both goals? I’ll leave that up to England. But it was pleasing to see him impact the game, get another assist, and for Harry to finally get off the mark.

I’d started in on this before the match, but circumstances conspired against me. However, not a lot changed, other than the “if-then” result.

Which means the question before kickoff remains the same after the long-awaited victory: Have we been too hard on Southgate?

England finished on top of their group, after all, but never seemed entirely convincing in the process. Too defensive, Kane a shadow of himself, unimaginative in attack and not exactly free-scoring.

Meanwhile, the Euros rolled on, and the first knockout round produced at least one true shock with Switzerland taking out France. A solid Czech Republic in turn took out a Netherlands team that has continued to be considerably less than the Oranje of the past, aided in no small part by de Ligt’s red card. Crotia took Spain to extra time. Did the Czechs and Croatians deserve more credit? Perhaps they did. So, France, Germany, Portugal, and Netherlands all out. Belgium may have suffered hammer blows with injuries to De Bruyne and Hazard the Elder. Which pretty much leaves Italy and Spain as the biggest obstacles to bringing it home.

As we’ve gotten to this point, Villans have spent most of our energy over the last couple weeks either aghast at Jack Grealish not being nailed on in England’s starting XI, or, more recently, fretting to various degrees about Grealish leaving Villa for City. Or both.

If England haven’t looked formidable or particularly threatening going forward, they have been solid at the back. Four to the good, none against, thanks to a fantastic Pickford save and a howler from Müller. As everyone knows, being hard to beat is Job One.

Southgate’s very defensive inclinations have come at the expense of attack. Kind of how it works. But, tournament football is far more about results than being exciting or swashbuckling. And there should always be goals in the side with Kane, Grealish, Foden, Mount, Sterling, and Saka to call on.

So, I’m not necessarily going to twist and hail Southgate’s approach just yet, although I will give him credit for sticking to his guns and setting the side up to be hard to break down and dangerous on the counter. That really may be all that’s required. And it may ultimately be the case that whereas other sides are built around singular players like Modric, we may have to get used to the idea of Grealish coming on and changing things rather than starting and encouraging a more open and creative approach from the off.

We’d all like to see England dazzling and dominating matches rather than managing them. We want to see City in irresistible attacking form rather than Burnley grinding it out. But as we see more favored teams stutter, the margins of victory become pretty irrelevant. All that counts is winning. And at the moment, it looks like solidity is largely winning out over flair.

Against Germany, I got the logic of the set-up even if I was fairly stunned like everyone else to see Grealish, Foden, and Mount all on the bench. But the idea was simple. Clog everything up, cancel out Germany’s set-up, and give a wobbly side that’s not very fast at the back something to think about with Sterling and Saka.

It didn’t really add up to a lot of attacking fireworks, but it did blunt Germany’s strengths. England were more athletic and energetic, even if the Germans seemed in control when the pace slowed. England looked better at a higher tempo.

Regardless, it wasn’t until Jack was introduced that things clicked for home side. He was in the right spot as always for the first goal, taking the layoff from Kane and drawing players to him when he made as if he was going to take it into the box. He then did the smart thing and put a perfectly weighted ball into Luke Shaw’s path who overlapped like you’d expect. The second, obviously it was Jack who was in space, went round and slotted the ball in to Harry for another assist.

The minutes have been limited, but Grealish has certainly made the most of them.

Does it work the same way with Grealish starting? You’d say yes, because we know the more he plays and sees the ball, the better he gets. But there are still unknowns. We don’t know how much his workload is being managed. We don’t know whether Southgate figures the one-two punch of direct pace, followed by a more creative approach is a winning combination. Given the system changes for Germany, Gareth is being a little flexible in his thinking. You could also call it reactive rather proactive, but he does seem to be trying to pick horses for courses. He’s certainly seemed to cop to the fact that Grealish should be the first change. As long as players get him the ball, he’s been influential.

Hasn’t been flashy, and not the kind of role we see Jack taking up for Villa. The team aren’t yet using Jack to carry the ball. The players seem much more familiar with others, like Sterling, doing that and relying more on pace to make it happen. The side kept tending toward the right instead of the passes to an open Grealish. But we all know how explosive Jack can be. He runs with the ball as well as anyone.

The calls for Jack to start will continue. And I think England have a more balanced and creative attack with him on the pitch. Saka is dangerous, no doubt, and when you have two fast forwards running the channels, there’s going to be space for them to exploit. But Saka didn’t have the impact he did previously, and Sterling, who has had the charmed touch and timing for goals, has also been a bit unreliable in possession. He’s been a driving force, but the turnover last night should, by all rights, have led to an equalizer, and he ran himself into trouble more than once.

At the end of the day, Southgate got a knockout win against Germany at long last. Not a vintage German side, but certainly a psychological hurdle. Are we going to see more of the same from Southgate against Ukraine? We might very well, though maybe not with the wingback approach. The variables pretty clearly seem to be at ‘right back’ and along the front line, meaning one of Saka, Grealish, Foden, or Mount complementing Sterling and Kane.

On another night, it could very well have gone wrong had Havertz and Müller connected. But they didn’t, Grealish had another star turn, and Gareth will keep on being Gareth. All I know is that if it nets England silverware, it’ll be hard to argue with his approach. If England stutter and fall short playing this way, well, Southgate will never hear the end of it.

Over to you.

Comments 185

  1. yes Mark .. thanks JC

    For me Jacks biggest problem internationally has actually been Southgate , he had him on the bench coming on with 10 mins to go if at all for the under 21.s and Jack so loves playing for his country he will do all he can to do so
    Gareth’s comments on leaving Villa left a horrible stink re his feelings to the club … forgiven but are we ?
    I love footy and feel I know a player when I see one and Jack was something special to the letter of what Sherwood said giving him his debut … special and no England manager shouldn’t not be able to see what Tim did and have that job imo

    however the defensive approach just might get something ,, but we are missing a trick in not being more attacking I think if we were we would be sensational with the talent available to England

  2. runtings,

    It really is a tough one. I took heat back in the day for defending McLeish (I know, I know) for doing what he could with what he had.

    Southgate obviously has a lot more to work with. He really does have a selection headache.

    Me, yeah, I think England would be better going forward with Jack starting. He wants the burden and rises to big occasions. And he’s as good as anyone else in the Euros, really.

    But, obviously, I can understand Southgate’s approach. And he just might be avoiding the trap other England managers have fallen into. But he still has three games to win to justify his thinking.

  3. And it might have been a bit of a PR masterstroke to tamp down the Grealish-Mount-Foden debate by sitting them all to start.

    At least he was smart enough to look to Jack first to change things.

  4. The only team that is stopping us from winning the Euros is Ukraine. Because they are up next. No need to look beyond them. If we do, they will beat us so it’s not only the players that need to focus but also Beaky.

    Ukraine will set us different challenges. Me? I’d select some fresh legs like Mount, Foden, Sancho and Jack. I’d rest Sterling and ‘Arry and Rice. Flat back 4 using Chilwell and James. Five in the middle and Calvert Lewin up top. The starters for Germany can come off the bench and I’d use the maximum 5 subs because the games are getting harder and occuring every 4 days or so. No point in a squad if they are not used.

    Think we need to attack Ukraine and get an early goal or two. But I’m sure Beaky will be cautious as usual and in so doing is tiring out his first choice favourites leaving us wanting in the next game should we beat them.

  5. You’re not wrong, Plug. One game at a time.

    And given the last year, it really is an open question about players’ fitness and rotation.

  6. Plug what you say is a rational approach, unfortunately there are other factors, the more the team has played together the better it’s got. Beaky has changed personal in every game. Kane has a goal and will want more, Jack has two assists and probably made the 1st goal too. Stirling has three now and there are not many managers that drop players who are scoring.

    Beaky said straight away that he had to curtail the celebrations and upset the players even rice said it’s a game at a time .

    All I know is we keep winning where other more fancied sides have cocked up, we have had some luck but mostly we have controlled games .

  7. I know keepers can be a bit nuts but this is a Youtube channel Ben Foster does and its about pre-season at Watford, 1st thing he says to Will Hughes is don’t go to villa?! so Players defo read the same crap we do or he knows something. Its interesting anyway and would love to see one at villas BMH by one of our lads, hopefully not an OCD one though 🙂

  8. Mark, What a bubble these footballers live in. Call that two days work?

    More relevant was the tests he underwent. Not one of those tests covered his back. Big mistake, it’s going to get plenty of exercise bending down picking the ball out of the back of the Watford net this season.

  9. Plug yes mate if they just followed me around for the week getting up at 5.30 and coming home at 6 they wouldn’t feel much like training, and I wouldn’t mind but I could do their job better than they could do mine 🙂

  10. Pre-season friendlies (from BirminghamLive)
    Wednesday, July 21 (ko 7.30pm) – Walsall (A)
    Saturday, July 24 (ko 3pm) – Stoke City (A)
    Wednesday, July 28 (ko 1pm) – Nottingham Forest (H – Bodymoor Heath)
    Saturday, August 7 (ko 3pm) – Sevilla (H – Villa Park)

  11. Hi All, Ian how you making out my friend, hopefully your safe and not affected by those wild fires all over the news this morning. We all have AC here in Ontario so that heat wave wouldn’t be as bad for us. Would send some of the heavy rain we’ve had the last few days if I could. Stay safe and stay cool !!!!

  12. Kamloops BC is an hour away and last night they had the entire fire dept out after lightning strikes close to hundreds of buildings. A town not much further west burned to the ground 2 days ago. This is the first time we are getting a kit together to leave at the first notice of fire. Everything is normal until it’s not, it’s that quick.
    Meanwhile we’re sitting in AC. Got up to 45C the last few days.

  13. The Weather Network is saying you should be getting some relief as the real heat is now heading to Saskatchewan. Fingers crossed you don’t ever need that evac kit!!!! Mean while here I just lost all my Satellite feeds due bad storms near Shaw’s Uplink in Mississauga.

  14. Hey, Ian, our thoughts over here in Brum are with you guys in BC wearing 45 degrees C heat and fire risks. The hope must be that the electric supply isn’t disrupted for your air con. Otherwise it’s shiney faces eh?

    I’ve been following the NHL too. The Bolts look just about there now. Think the Habs need something special to turn it round.

  15. Beaky’s refusal to use his squad means the deeper we go in this competition, the more knackered his favourite players will become. He asks what message it sends out if he picks a fresh team with a semi final place at stake.

    This stance means the message to his players other than his preferred 11 is “you boys are here in case there is an injury, period. Otherwise forget selection”. I imagine there are quite a few unhappy players in the squad.

    The Ukraine game is made for a flat back 4 with James and Chilwell at FB bombing forward. Before that happens, I’ll see flying pigs.

  16. Plug- I was just listening to the radio and apparently there is a siege mentality and the headquarters have no media allowed. Everything is planned meticulously.

    I must admit the players look very together from what I have seen, nobody likes not playing but that’s football. Its knockout and the time to experiment is probably not now, and the likes of Maguire, Jack, Henderson, Kane are all getting fitter, its the yellow cards that will likely upset the apple cart, if they are not use to a game every 4 days after this year they never will be.

    Got my mom’s 80th this afternoon then off to a barby for the match, can’t wait.

  17. The temp has dropped 12 C. You’d never have thought 30C would feel cool.

    Once you get past the first stage and into the knockout stages the football changes. What we are seeing is what will take England deeper into the tournament. Absolutely no room for error. Everyone on the same page. Can’t afford a counter attack as all the teams have that killer instinct and good finishing. This is chess on an acre of grass not basketball where 110 points in a game doesn’t guarantee a win. It’s why it’s 6 points for a touchdown and not one, it makes it more exciting.
    This is purely tactical, no real dipsy doodling on the pitch. Cloak and dagger not Marvel super heroes.

  18. Rather strange one, today. Heard lots of praise heaped on England, which is fine, 4-0 will do that, but Ukraine basically seemed to stop playing, and then I still didn’t see any big impact from anyone besides Sterling, Kane, and Shaw.

    Maybe this will work for two more games, certainly hope it does, but I wasn’t anywhere near as excited by anything I saw as I was being told to be.

  19. We are nailed on to win it. Because we have the best team in the world. This must be so if we can afford to leave Jack out.

    I was happier with the second half but not the first half. It was also a poor Ukraine side. Here’s hoping Beaky’s way doesn’t leave the team legless next Weds.

    Jack looked pissed off at the end.

  20. Ian that’s a good description.

    Don’t get the pessimism you don’t get points for style, I keep hearing such and such were poor and when we meet a good side etc but we continue to make teams look stupid. Ukrain even when they had nothing to lose could not spring forward, when they tried it was like pulling a trigger and England hit them. Could easily have been more. Not conceding one goal yet is not down to meeting all the poor teams. I cannot remember an England side looking more organised in truth. It’s not Brazil but neither has any other team been, can’t knock the side for doing what many teams have done before and won the competition, which is the aim.

  21. Next up is the eriksen inspired Danes, they will look to press England and they are quite good at it. I think it will hinge on that battle and as we saw last night it can backfire.

    It will be interesting to see how Italy cope with Spain , could be a card littered game that one.

    I could see Jack making an impact against any of the remaining sides.

    I could easily see villa not being a million miles different to how England play it next season. Hopefully as it’s a long season not quite as cagey with jack playing and Beundia .

  22. Not really pessimism, MK. More that I’m still not quite sure what this England side are really about going forward besides the obvious plan A. The set-up, etc., is clear as day, and it’s been working. The finishing has been clinical, Rice and Phillips have been good.

    I think it’s what seems like an unwillingness to play in the middle of the park, and maybe all the rotation up front. Whoever the other two are besides Sterling and Kane, they don’t really see much of the ball, and aren’t asked to do much with it. So, here again, it’s the crazy-like-a-fox thing. Hard to say whether the minor supporting parts they’re playing are by design (which seems likely), and how much down to not all being grooved in together and having a run of games together under their belts.

    The capitulation from Ukraine, I’ll assume it was the extra time they’d played, no idea. But they seriously came about as close to stopping playing as you can. Happens, I guess, but that’s why I didn’t really find myself feeling excited after the second. Seemed as much down to Ukraine not even trying as anything England were doing.

    Then it fizzled to an odd stalemate down the stretch, almost like a gentleman’s agreement to just run out the clock.

  23. So if it seems I’m dancing along a fine line, I am. I don’t want to be critical of results, because results are all that count, and style points, well, not really necessary since they don’t show up on the scoreboard. Clean sheets, goals. Nothing to argue about or criticize, really.

    It’s just been a strange experience watching the side. Usually I watch and come away with much more definitive impressions.

  24. Mark I certainly hope we play nothing like England are. We have been horrific to watch so far but then again we were from January onwards awful to watch.

    Getting a bit worried about our transfer business again this summer.

    Wolves have just signed a winger from Barcelona for good value.

    Smith left us short in quality first season up and last season and at this rate its going to be another season where we have absolutely no quality depth out wide or up front.

    We seem obsessed with Smith-Rowe who we aren’t going to get. There are better players out there for cheaper.

    We need another striker, WES AND Davis aren’t good enough. Sell both.

    We need another quality winger. Nobody stood up when Grealish was out.. Ghazi should be sold just doesn’t do enough in open play. Traore should only be a sqaud player. Have Grealish wide,Buendia behind Watkins and sign a quality right winger.

    Also desperately need a tall DM. Luiz isn’t a DM.

    We Nedd to sell Marvelous really as he isn’t getting in, or loan Ramsey and sign a good DM

  25. I also worry about where Buendia plays. If we are going to counter again he certainly hasn’t got the pace to get up quick as a winger

  26. What do people make of the following bit of reportage on the BBC Sports page today?

    “Aston Villa are talking up their chances of keeping midfielder Jack Grealish, 25, but few expect them to succeed. It has been denied by all parties but speculation will not go away that a deal to take Grealish to City is already agreed. ”

    ‘Few expect them to succeed’? I’m worried: what gives the Beeb that idea?

  27. JC- I just get the feeling people would be singing the praises of a team called Bongaslavia if it was as disciplined and professional as England have been and would be saying why can’t we play like that? as its England and they are not being brazil like enough they get slaughtered, Just a teensy bit like Villa have at times, its never enough. Not saying thats you and I understand your points But I we go and win it I will find the disappointment a bit strange.

  28. Frem- we set traps like England, defend like England, hit balls in behind like England, Don’t play possession based in the midfield like England, the only difference is Jack and the opposition.

    I think many of the players will be brought up a level as the likes of Buendia come in just as they were last season. You idea about Smith leaving us short ? can’t buy everyone.

  29. Viva, whilst we have no idea what’s in Jack’s current contract, he may well have a release figure in it. If he has, we can be sure his agent has let someone like Citeh know it.

    On the other hand, that may not be the case and it’ll be down to Compass to decide whether they keep him or sell him. I’ve seen £90 million mentioned. This has to be way too light. If Sancho is £73 million, Jack’s value is well over £100 million and he’s worth more than that to Villa.

    Compass have decided to try and keep him. They are the real deal. If he does go, he’ll need to get used to spending much time on the bench like he has had to do with Beaky. If he stays, there’s a great chance Villa will be trading blows with Citeh before too long. I’m also wondering how long Pep is going to stay around these shores.

    Either way, he’s a true Villan and I think the BBC are generating vapour.

  30. There is pretty much universal acclaim from the media of Shaw’s performance against Ukraine which I find amusing. It all happened in the second half for him. Perish the thought, he attacked as an overlapping FB.

    What can be achieved when our mindset is to attack rather than play backwards all the time eh?

  31. Mark. Yes and it’s not good to watch. England have been hard to watch and we were hard to watch from January onwards. We certainly won’t get anywhere unless we play like we did first half of the season

    It’s our 3rd season now promoted. We should be having a good sqaud now and it’s still way off.

    We are still a few players away this summer. We still have some players not good enough.

  32. Ings has rejected a new contract

    That’s exactly the type of player we need but we won’t go for him because Smith doesn’t seem to like having 2 good strikers. He just likes one. Wesley and Davis need to go but we will probably end up keeping both and for the 3rd running have absolutely no depth up front.

    If we don’t keep Grealish, sign another top winger and striker we won’t get top 10 let alone top 6. We can’t have another season just Watkins as our striker. And Luiz as our DM, and Traore and Gahzi playing so much. They aren’t good enough

  33. And we are absolutely waste weeks and weeks thinking we can get Smith-Rowe

    Not a chance

    But we seem insistent on just him when there are better players out there

  34. Plug- so taking the lead and controlling the game then hitting Ukraine when they came out second half isn’t a plan then? I have never seen a game where the Players do exactly the same all game, it ebbs and flows and yes FB do get instructions to overlap or not , like I keep saying I can’t understand the criticism, These tournaments are short, 7 games if you get to the final, the aim is to win not entertain, its not a 38 game league with massive home support to attract.

  35. Frem we won’t play like the start of last season we will evolve again, what that will be we will see, it will likely involve more possession.

    No team has bought loads of player yet and as far as wasting time we don’t even know the real targets so I wouldn’t get your knickers in a twist over nothing.

    I imagine with your unwavering support the team will be amazing though.

  36. frem

    ive said before. with playing 1 up top its very very hard to have the 2nd striker of real quality. Watkins is rightly are number 1 st and everyone knows it. ings wnt come to sit on the bench and neither will tammy. best to go for a young up and coming st who is content to be bit part at the mo

  37. Mark, if it was a plan, it relied heavily on luck. Walker’s back pass put the Ukraine forward through on goal and in so doing, almost wiped out our early lead but for Pickford. Just as lucky was Sterling against Germany when his back pass played Muller in on goal immediately after our goal. How lucky for us was that miss. If the mindset is pass backwards, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

    England’s strength is its attack. If they ripped into teams from the off like they did in Spain a few years ago and got 3-0 up at the break, then that’s the time for game management.

  38. Smith-Rowe even verbally said to Arsenal before holiday he will sign a new contract and we are still wasting our time on him

    We don’t have a wide scouting range do we

  39. Plug your not suggesting that there’s a plan where nobody makes an error ever are you? If we had pushed up and left Ukraine space they would of been very happy indeed, they have some very good players. I am not sure that all out attack would be as effective as you imagine when your facing teams with decent strikers.

    As for they should of scored etc when has any game been without risk? why does it matter that the keeper did his job when needed? woulda coulda shoulda doesn’t mean anything and I’m sure every team that ever wins anything gets bit of luck, the main thing is to be as solid as possible and they are.

    Would they look as solid if we opened up? I don’t think so, could we play another way yep, but no goals against is a minor miracle and as a good friend said to me today he can’t remember England playing better, usually you are hanging on for the last ten minutes, now I have little worry they will concede beyond something spectacular.

    England’s strength is in attack but have conceded 0?
    and if the chances had gone in then that might be 2-3 at best. We have scored 8 now I can’t imagine we would get a lot more if the opposition is entrenched in its box facing waves of England attacks. Its about tempting them out and hitting them with pace when they get stretched and its working.

  40. Frem if you have learnt anything it has to be that Villa do not advertise there business, click bait is all thats out there at present, things will happen once the Euro’s over I’d guess for most clubs, clickbait headlines are nothing to bash the clubs scouting over especially as you haven’t got a clue who we are looking at, Rowe could be one of many or nothing at all. I think that Argie forward is more promising as can play wing and 9.

    Smith has forgotten more about football than you’ll ever know, Brentford played possession based and counter attack when he was there, we will mix it I think.

  41. While I’m at it, Vit D so many study’s now saying high levels in the blood keeps you out of Hospital with Covid and probably a whole lot more ranging from heart disease to Cancer. Considering its cheap as Chips you would think all Governments would be giving it out like candy and opening up, but they are not.

  42. Frem,

    Looks to me like there are a number of possibilities Villa are exploring, and they’d each mean different things. Alvarez implies a different approach next season than ESR would, for example.

    If the press are to be believed, does seem like ESR is a primary target. Why are Villa persisting? Seems as though they’re hearing things other than a hard no. Whether it’s his agent just angling for a better contract, who knows?

    If that one doesn’t come off, then I think we see other dominoes falling fairly soon after. They don’t want to drag out the business, but, again, there’s apparently a strong belief that ESR has what Villa are looking for, and, as we now know all too well by now, seems to tick the boxes we’ve set out.

  43. MK,

    Hard to say, for sure. Could be smokescreens, could be playing ESR against JWP. Could even just be forcing Arsenal to spend more, or getting in their heads (playing defense with their own squad versus offense in the market).

    But they do make sense in terms of building a midfield/attack. Three skillful and creative players, all good on the ball, playing fluidly across the line behind Ollie. All in the right age range, all with the right experience, all have produced.

    Seems like it’s three-part: convince Jack to stay, challenge for Europe, have quality bedded in if Jack does go next summer.

    Not reading anyone denying the ESR bids from Arse, but haven’t been clicking all the links. (Getting tired of reading the same thing over and over.) But it seems like we are actually making bids.

  44. My read is that ESR maybe seems easier to pry loose than Arse are saying, and easier than JWP for less money. So, also would make some sense there.

    Dunno that I was ever convinced about JWP. I think it’s the same everywhere. If he’s not going to force the issue, maybe ESR does by just not signing a new deal, and Arse decide to take the money. And maybe Villa are dangling a better package and more guaranteed starts.

  45. ESR is 20 seems a lot to drop on him when we have youth players on the brink of being squad players. SWP makes more sense to me due to his skill set and captain status , would be invaluable in our mid. Won’t be long until we find out I suppose. Then we have no jack, Martinez Beundia or Luis in trading for a few weeks not ideal so many will get game time that maybe wouldn’t.

  46. Seen a couple of things, Tim Iroegbunam is signing From WBA he was their youth player of the year last year, has been offered a lucrative contract to stay but the Villa pulled him in, he’s from Great Barr.

    The other thing is Marv has turned down an international tournament in Africa to stake his claim With Luis going to the Olympics for Brazil, so short at DM but fair play to Marv.

  47. Also signed Josh Feeney from Fleetwood, England under 16 captain, He is a CB and Manure having been trying to get him.

    Just listened to the Canadian chap again and he has some very interesting info. Jacks Sponsorship Deal with Nike is up this year and there is a bit of a scramble for him. He also says that he knows for a fact that these big kit sponsors have a say in transfers. Also some interesting stuff about the owners.

  48. Michael Olise going to Palace. The lad is an absolute baller.. Wjll be better than Smith-Rowe. He’s another Eze who’s top class who has already doubled what they paid for him.


    Brighton have signed a very good DM for 18 million who’s better than anyone we have. I really Hope Smith doesn’think Luiz and Mcginn can play together again. Luiz certainly way to weak to be a DM.
    Leicester signed a fantastic striker for less than what we paid for Buendia. Another position we need

    I’m not to sure what we are doing to be honest

  49. I’d say Ollise and Eze are better players than our center midfield ( Mcginn, Sanson, Luiz)

    I thought we would have been a lot faster this summer with good buys

    At this rate this season is going to be no difference ro last season where we have absolutely no quality past the starting 11

  50. How the fuck do you know this Frem? Have you been travelling around the country keeping tabs on them. Give your head a shake for Christ’s sake.

  51. Whislt we are just wasting our time over paying for a player we aren’t going to get.

    It’s like we didn’t really have a plan going into this summer

  52. The thing now is Brighton have two quality DMs. We have none.

    Our midfield especially second half of last season was shambolic. It got walked through because it has no athleticism or power.

    We need a tall athletic DM

  53. Frem, it’s just me. I try to keep up on what it happenings around the league and you seem to have inside knowledge on what’s going on. No names of the players though. You’re never satisfied mate. Look at the dealings Villa’s owners have done. Not just football dealings. They both live in the world of billions of pounds or dollars. edens is a shrewd player in the NBA. And not afraid to put his money where his mouth is. Sawiris is the wealthiest guy in Africa, believe me it didn’t fall into his lap like Trump. They know a good deal when they see it. I’m sure they can do more than one transfer deal at a time. They are after youth as that’s where the smart money is. And I think they are pulling Arsenal’s chain. If smith-prose arrives at Villa it will be on their terms not Arsenal. They have a top spend limit on him and won’t go over. The transfer season is more than buying and selling, it’s high stakes poker.

  54. Hello all, been a while. Hope you been enjoying the games, been a refreshingly fun tournament.

    Woke up early this morning to see the Argentina game, @Plug – Emi was immense. Was fun watching him get into the Columbia players heads, two of them Everton and Spurs players. Final is going to be cracking, nice to see Villa players on both sides.

    Could be Villa players in the Euro finals as well if todays game goes well. So good to see the representation.

    To paraphrase Ben Franklin – we can be certain of death, taxes and Frem’s whinging.

  55. Ian,
    That article about Edens and his success with his NBA team was fascinating, impressive and exciting in equal measure.
    I think the bit that I was most pleased to read in regard to his ownership of his Bucks team was: “”This is something I intend to own the rest of my life,”
    The article didn’t say it, but you’d imagine he’ll feel a similar way about Villa. He’s clearly a sports fan, not just a businessman so he won’t be able to help himself becoming personally invested in the trials and tribulations of the team.
    Not only are his NBA team gaining respect on the playing side but the value of the club has grown enormously too. There seems to be no reason why a similar model can’t work with Villa. Indeed the value of the club must already be significantly higher than when he bought it. let’s face it, we now have two world class players that could play in any team in any national league so they alone will be worth more than the whole club was a few years ago!

  56. With Emi’s heroics last night it won’t be long before we’re reading about who will now be buying him.

    how he, Jack and other players now behave will say an awful lot about their characters and what makes them tick. Both of these players ‘seem’ to be rounded characters who will obviously want to win things, but I suspect that both would get more about of being a key part of ‘building’ that success rather than just riding on the coattails of others who have gone before them.
    With this current Villa set up, they have an opportunity to be part of a project, the likes of which will probably never come around again for them.
    Let’s hope that’s how they see it too!

  57. It was nice to see Gary Lineker saying that Argentina had made it to the final “talks to the brilliant Martinez”.
    Further into the article it says “In the space of a year Martinez has gone from relative obscurity to becoming one of the world’s best goalkeepers.”
    What it missed, but is really important for players considering whether or not to join the Villa project is that he has achieved this. . . .with Aston Villa!
    I’ve seen another article which talks about him having met with and been impressed by the Villa goalkeeping coach before he joined us. The club has been assembling a team of excellent coaches for all positions within the team so players can feel confident that not only will they be part of an exciting project as the club grows, but that their own skills and profile will grow at the same time.

  58. Apparently Emi had a child at the weekend too! He wasn’t able to attend the birth because he was taking part in the tournament but he’s had quite an eventful few days hasn’t he. Seems he scores as well as making saves.

  59. I do wish Villa fans wouldn’t gloat online about our attempts to buy Smith Rowe. I remember how much I’ve hated it when other clubs have done it to us and it would have been nice (but idealistic I know) to think that our fans had a bit more class and empathy now that we are in a better place financially.
    Quite apart from that though, it still seems very odd to me that this is all being played out so publicly and therefore more likely that those fans will end up with egg on their faces (and the club diminished in the process) when he ends up signing a new contract with excellent personal terms at Arsenal (and his agent does very nicely from having played us and Arsenal so adeptly)

  60. final comment. . . . . . Great to see new signings for the youth set up and the best of the existing young players being rewarded with new contracts. Was pleased to see Brad Young being within that group as he doesn’t seem to get the recognition of some the others but seems to be a really good prospect and a great team player

  61. Love the link about the owners Mark , how lucky are we
    Looks like there is a good amount of reshuffling to come this window and we are linked with some really good players and have brought a good in and a very good youth player indeed

    It shows how much the club has moved forwards from 3 years ago when we have fans saying a 22 year old Brazilian full international isn’t good enough for Villa never thought I would see that day
    Best wishes to the club owner who recently lost his dad condolences to the family

    Loving Lange’s stat driven buying strategy hence why we want Smith Rowe so much I guess , sounds like he is up for it

    my best mate is a goner he actually stopped speaking to me for a few days after receiving my Croydon de bruyne voice messages 🙂 .. they are not very complementary about us and are saying who do we think we are … they are a huger club but any villain can tell you that you can only really be as good as your owners and ours are brill

  62. Martinez- The Premier League ‘keeper could be heard trying to psyche out Colombia’s Yerry Mina right up until the moment he struck the penalty, telling his opponent: “You look scared”.

    He was also quoted saying: ‘That ball looks big for you…I know you…You’re nervous, I can see you’re nervous…I know where you’re going to shoot… chickens**t…’

    The best bit is the hip thrust afterwards lol.

  63. Runtings they are a dream come true.

    Robbo there is no need to mention Brad young when your about mate.

    Apparently Chuck has put on 5 1/2 pounds of Muscle under the training coach this summer, try eating that amount of meat, he’s done well.

  64. Vegetarian isn’t vegan lads , and how many injuries has Aguero had lately Robbo?

    These days a vegan or vegetarian diet can have more processed food than normal, especially as they need to get protein from powders like pea and hemp.

  65. Mark,
    You’re right, there’s a very big difference between vegetarian and vegan diets. I reckon around a third of my meals are vegan and a further third vegetarian. I don’t consciously do that but I’ve found (for example) that breakfast cereal tastes better with Oaty milk than dairy (although, for me, it destroys the pleasure in a cup of coffee!).
    We’ve also found some vegan ‘substitutes’ that we eat because we like the flavour and texture rather than just to feel good about ourselves. You’re right though that some of these are very highly processed and I do wonder what effects that may have on the nutritional benefits.
    There’s no doubt that you can live a perfectly healthy life on a vegan diet although I don’t have the discipline to make sure I’m balancing it healthily so I think it’s unlikely I’ll ever go 100% down that route.
    I doubt I’ll ever go 100% vegetarian either. . . . . .as it happens I’ve just spotted the bloody rabbit that’s been getting in our Polytunnels . . . .and I’m off to try and deal with it now. . .could be rabbit stew tonight

  66. Amid the euphoria of last night’s result, Beaky’s piss poor man management shone like a beacon. To bring on Jack as a sub and then sub him after 35 minutes is mindless, embarrassing and insulting to the player.

    Before everyone shouts “look at the result”, we won with a terrible decision from the ref. The world press this morning think we’ve cheated. We had them by the throat in the first half of extra time and the Danes went down to 10 men for the entire 2nd half of extra time due to using all subs, compounded by a further injury.

    Beaky’s response was to insult Jack and put on another defender. Just in case the knackered 10 men could raise an attack. At half time, bringing on Bellingham for Phillips would have surely got the 3rd goal and killed the penalty argument.

    The good news is….the treatment of Jack gives him a taste of what’s in store if he moves to one of the greedy clubs. Much bench warming. It should ensure he’ll want to stay at Villa.

  67. Plug,

    Yeah,agree. Sh$&tgate could have brought off Sterling or Kane vs risking them picking up an injury for the final. Even give them a rest.

    But no, he makes it personal. So fudge Sh$tHead. I live for football and Villa, but I’m going to go swimming with my kids during the final and will not record the game

  68. Mark/R0bb0,

    I do keto diet 6 days a week, although it’s not really a diet if you look at what you can eat. My only weakness is I like a bottle of wine on a Friday evening! It was hard to give up bread and spuds initially, but almond bread is great. Minimizing carbs and bad sugar is the key for me. I agree plant diet is ideal, but I like meat and seafood 🙂

  69. Plug and Villa MD. It was difficult to watch Jack being taken off but I do see it a bit differently. Southgate and the team at Burton have invested a huge amount of research time and money into analysing how other teams have won major tournaments. They’ve drawn their conclusions and have developed plans for a series of scenarios. Whilst we may prefer it if their conclusions and plans were different, it’s right that they stand by what they believe will bring success.
    We are blessed with attacking talent and a Brazilian coach would probably have come up with different plan to make best use of them, but that’s not the conclusion that Southgate and his team have come to and its right that they now stick with it.
    It was tough seeing Jack taken off yesterday but you can see why they decided to do it, to protect the lead that we had. We’ll never know whether we could have won by more if we’d continued to attack them ( I believe we would), but their plan worked and now we’re in a major final for the first time since 1966 for **** sake.
    When Southgate needed someone to change the course of the game he turned to Jack. He played his part in our win yesterday. . . .I’ll bet Rashford, Bellingham, Calvert Lewin, Sancho and others dearly wish that Southgate had wanted to turn to them instead.

  70. r0bBo, you’ve given a robust defence of Beaky’s tactics and thinking. And yep, we are in the final so happy days.

    Beaky says they noticed that when the Danes go behind they throw 4 men forward, and he wanted 5 men at the back to deal with it. So his actions were reactive. You don’t really need an astute coaching team to determine that if your team goes 1 up 15 minutes from the end, the opposition are going to throw men forward and start launching longer balls to them.

    I prefer the proactive approach. Understand this is going to happen so occupy the midfield and forward areas to prevent the supply reaching them. And in so doing, make the most of the extra space left by those thrown forward. This is where my criticism of Beaky is aimed. He tends to be defensive rather than utilize a squad that is rippling with danger when being offensive.

    I’m already on standby to eat my hat and a large slice of humble pie if he gets the better of Mancini. Even so, I’ll be right behind our team on Sunday.

  71. Ings available we should be all over that but we won’t be.

    We missed out on Eze now we’ve missed out on Ollise because we are wasting time on someone arsenal won’t sell

  72. I am completely in the Plug camp re England

    great that we are in the final its been a long time coming … there are more than one way to skin a cat and garath is doing it in a safety first way which is very defensive

    I feel we have so much attacking talent that if we set up say like villa currently do we would have the tools to put most teams to put most teams to bed …. braver football a bit like Italy

    It seems most of the country want Jack and a lot of managers and ex players out there , the Italians are apparently loving Jack however he has seen very little international action under garath starting with the under 21,s to this point
    I certainly wouldn’t want garath to be the villa manager neither do I believe he is good enough to hold down that job

  73. The great debate rages on. Then there’s Gareth and Grealish.

    Have to say, was gutted myself. Jack wants to play so much. But then they all do.

    So, I get the tactical side. There’s a psychological side, too. The point about Jack seeing what it’s like not to have the side built round you is pretty solid. I’ve a feeling he’ll have a point to prove heading up to the WC.

    Me, I was left wondering why Sterling and/or Kane weren’t pulled to save them for the final. Should be enough attacking intent and fresh legs on the bench to keep Denmark honest or finish it off.

  74. Plug and runtings. bearing in mind the strengths of our players I’m with you, and would much prefer England to adopt a more attacking mentality. My point is that the current England manager and his team have convinced themselves that they have a plan that ‘can’ win us a major championship. Now they have their plan they should stick with it.
    We all remember the ‘golden generation’ which probably should have won something . . . .but didn’t. I want England to win and I’m prepared to give Southgate the benefit of the doubt.

  75. Well Southgate has defied his critics, and got England to its first final since 1966, when football was a very different game.
    To be where we are now, and facing a great day on Sunday, when we can win the respect of the world, with a team where some of our squad are still bursting at the seams to take part, which is exactly what Gareth wants, and keeps the opposition guessing until the last moment.
    Like everyone, I would love to see Jack participating, and making a difference, as he did against the Germans, but he is not taking any risks with Jack, because the final could be the place where he does star and make a huge difference when the moment is right.

    it is the same with Villa, when the time is right, the new signings will appear, but certainly none of the paper gossip will influence our future.

  76. Well Boys we are in the final. Now you can quite rightly say that we can do better or be more attacking and be right or you can say we have not been able to get to a final for 55 fucking years and we are damn well not going to fuck this up. I think that there was a huge amount riding on not losing, 55 years of huge amount and therefore could not give a monkeys how we did it. How many times have teams bored themselves to the final while we sat wondering what happened?

    I was sad for Jack as its usually because your crap that a sub get subbed. I didn’t think he was doing that well anyway (by his standards) and didn’t see a lot of the ball even at Ten. I think its going to take Jack some time to get to grips at this level where he has to understand its the best of the best and they all want the ball. They also play for teams that are not Jack centric.

    In one way its good he see’s what a move might mean but it also might be a challenge to him? I hope Villa give him that challenge this season with the new signings and help him fit in for England. I think in time he will be 1st on Gareth’s or whoever’s manager sheet.

    So while we could of gone for them ( as we did to start until they fought back) In fact for most of the match we were going at them, Even Rice was in the attacking third. I can forgive Beaky shutting up Shop at the end.

    It was a soft pen but they are given time and again, if Stirling wasn’t bumped by the Dane he was on the ball regardless and who knows what then.

    I heard that the Danes goal by the way should have been disallowed and taken again as the new rules do not allow you to stand in the wall and obscure the goalies vision apparently, so I am not crying for the Danes, they didn’t deserve to win.

  77. Robbo, ViilaMD.

    The old Plant Diet is not Ideal it has become an Ideal though. Not one society outside of Religious orders ate like that. India has loads of vegetarians and the worst diabetes and heart disease going. The healthiest society is in Hong Kong and they eat the most meat per capita followed by China. The west has eaten less and less meat since the 70’s and have gotten fatter and sicker.

    I recently saw the Sainsbury’s advert that claims we should eat plants etc to save the planet, they should be sued. So little is understood about Animals effect on the land we farm its criminal yet these twats would see it turned over to be ploughed and fucked up, killing millions of animals by the way. Behind the get rid of meat campaign is a load of rich people who want to sell you there shit burgers, no more no less.

    Millions of years of Meat eating vs potentially 10-12,000 of agriculture, Grains etc. It may be a fact that the reason we began farming was to make alcohol, We are one of the few animals that can handle it because we would eat rotten fruit and carry the enzymes to do so. While it allowed us to stay in one place and become civilisation we are still 99% the same meat eaters we always were.

    Right now brain size is shrinking and we have a mass of lifestyle and food induced illnesses from the Seed oils and high sugar foods we would never have seen in nature.

    Plant foods are fall backs when times are hard its that simple, some are medicinal but that does not mean you need to eat aspirin until it comes out your ears, most of them if not cooked are poisonous.

    Meat has just as many nutrients if not more known and unknown than plants do, they are just massively better absorbed and in the right form for humans. Plant antioxidants are oxidising in the body and stimulate the bodies own antioxidants, which it will do very nicely without the plants by using heat , cold and exercise.

    Take a stroll around the countryside and see how many plants you feel like munching on, Berry’s and the like no problem, actually don’t you’ll likely die.

  78. I think we all know that Sterling dived for the penalty. . . . .shall I put it differently? We all know that Sterling created the opportunity to fall over in the penalty area and in so doing helped us make it into the final.
    When interviewed he said something along the lines of . . . ‘he put his leg out and. . . . . ‘
    At that point you could almost hear the cogs turning as he thought. . . .’what the **** am I supposed to say next?’

    What pisses me off, is not Sterling diving for penalty, because we’ve suffered our own injustices in the past . . .anyone remember the ‘hand of god’? No, what pissed me off, was the twit of a BBC presenter who during the commentary, gratuitously criticised Jack for sometimes “falling over” to win fouls.

    Yes, there have been times when Jack has created fouls and sadly, there have been a few occasions when he has gone down when he has barely been touched, but you’d struggle to find a player in the premiership who hasn’t done that sometime or other. His comment was totally uncalled for and unfair.

  79. Robbo- Our opponents on Sunday have literally thrown themselves at players in recent games whilst clutching their faces, heads, legs etc its almost GBH at times. Jack makes the player commit but is to quick, simple as, done on purpose sometimes yes but so is shirt pulling, blocking, tripping etc all to gain an advantage.

  80. Yeah, r0bb0, heard that. I despise his commentary. Complete bell-end.

    Will agree with MK, by and large Jack does get legitimately fouled. He does “buy” some, knows they can’t resist the challenge, but that’s fair. As I’ve written many times, if you don’t want to give Jack those fouls, don’t stick your leg out and play off him instead. Pick your poison. He’d be on his way but for that. And accumulation on a given player should be given across the side. If it’s the fourth or fifth on Jack, then the last guy gets the yellow.

    I think of all the soft fouls, the ones that are doing me in most are the “he hit me in the face,” (which I’d never have let stop me unless it really got my eye or nose good and made me pull up), and defenders, especially CBs, going over with a whisper of a touch from behind. I’d say that should go for all players, and it should, but I really dislike seeing so-called hard men going to ground like that because they don’t want to give up a throw, and know they can’t play themselves away from the attacker.

    There really needs to be a post-match review panel to fine (or yellow card) those who fall over and go clutching their heads and writhing around, or grabbing the wrong body part. It’s usually pretty easy to see after the fact on one or two viewings.

  81. But, to your point r0bb0, there have been a couple where you say c’mon, Jack, don’t do that.

    He also doesn’t help himself remonstrating so emphatically. Kane buys a lot more soft ones, especially the bump from behind, but he makes less of a scene about it.

  82. JC- I was told that Jack has been hacked at all his footballing life and has always moaned about it. I suppose if you are the most fouled player wherever you play then it must get on your tits.

  83. MK,

    I think there has to be a lot of truth to that. What I’ve always read into his reactions is frustration. Every time it’s “WTF?!” basically.

  84. So latest update just now and Villa reporter

    We don’t want a striker. We aren’t in for Ings or Tammy. The club want to watch Wesley be useless again.

    We’ve walked away from Sarr, the tall young quality DM we desperately need. He will be a huge player in the future. So that’s more crap news. Another season of Luiz flapping tackles all season.

    Smith rowe is our main target but isn’t leaving arsenal so we’ve wasted 3 weeks bidding for a player everyone new we weren’t going to get

    So it’s going well. Fantastic recruitment.

    Still a winger, striker and DM short

  85. We had absolutely no attacking depth last season and it looks like nothing is going to change

    We can’t think Wesley and Ghazi are good enough for another season on our bench.

  86. In reality the prem Transfer window ends on the 31st Aug, in Frems head it ended3 weeks ago and isn’t 12 weeks long at all with many other transfers being done as other moves are made. Never in its entirety has it been over on day one, never have every player the club looks at ever ended up at the club, never have players in the press all turned out to be actually linked, and never have I seen such an utterly miserable outlook before a ball is kicked,
    Oh now wait? there was Frem last season,. and the season before, and th…………………………………………..

  87. well done yourself Frem for stressing yourself for no reason 🙂 If we did bid for him just think of it like this, we don’t see Arsenals players as un-gettable, that my friend is a cosmic leap forward.

  88. Another kid in, that’s three or is it 4 now? two CB’s a mid and a winger.

    “Ajani Burchell signs, 16 year old winger from Bournemouth.. comp paid.. apparently one to watch”

  89. I’ll echo viva and MK, Frem: Don’t get yourself in a tizzy.

    They can work on more than one target at a time. It’s not like Lange is sitting around saying, “Well, nothing much on today, just waiting around for a callback from ESR’s agent. Fingers crossed.” I’m sure they knew the odds, and could’ve been any number of reasons to keep the “interest” alive.

    re strikers: Barry will also be given a look-in this summer. The only thing holding him back atm is physical maturity. At the rate they’re accumulating young talent, some of it’s going to have to break through.

    And it would seem the Brazilians rate Luiz more highly than you, not that they know much.

  90. Just when it seems it couldn’t be any worse, virus, environmental doom, fires raging all around me, and thousands of unmarked indigenous graves thanks to religion and colonizers I then read Frem’s articles and all of a sudden things seem a lot brighter.

  91. Surely the rumors of us signing Wayne Hennessy on a free are bogus. I love Jed Steer as #2. Class goalie and we have two 19 year old goalies. That’s enough!

  92. Hey Frem. I see the Arse have just signed Tavares from Benfica for £8 million. They ain’t got a pot to piss in if that’s their shopping budget. No wonder ESR’s agent has been courting Villa. His 5 year deal is probably worth……not much. Let’s see if he signs it.

    Of course, the 8 million quid geezer might turn out to be a diamond. But one thing is certain, Benfica haven’t had their trousers down for that price.

  93. Mark, you have some strong views on meat v plants . . . and there’s even a fair amount of truth to some of them! 🙂
    There are areas where growing meat makes far more sense than growing plants to eat. Welsh hills produce great lamb (we’re having half a leg today) and would be hopeless for vegetables, grains or fruit (except bilberries maybe?)
    You’re right that ploughing up land for crops releases loads of carbon and also that meat tends to pack in more nutrients than most plants. . . . and there are some nutrients and vitamins that can be tricky to obtain from a plant based diet.
    I’ve read a few articles on the subject, but I reckon this one in Scientific American gives a pretty well balanced view of the likely diets of our ancestors and based on that, and the difficulty of properly balancing a vegan diet I will carry on with my omnivorous, but predominantly plant based diet:

    If we want to reduce the risks of climate change and feed a planet with 9 billion humans then one positive action would be to reduce the meat in our diet, or find new ways of producing it. One key problem is that we grow a lot of perfectly good food to feed cows, pigs and chickens and this is a hellishly inefficient way of producing food. Broadly speaking, it takes 25kg of grain to produce 1kg of cow meat. Pork isn’t quite so bad, but it still takes 9kg, with chicken taking 4kg.

    A key downside of meat production is the amount of land that has been cleared to produce grain monocultures to feed the cows. Nearly 100,000,000 acres of land is used just to grow soy and nearly 80% of that is fed to animals (only 7% goes to make tofu btw). In just the last 10 years, around 4,000,000 acres of Brazil alone has been converted from its original natural state into soy fields.
    Rainforest reduction is one of the drivers of climate change but another one is the methane produced by all those cows. One kg of methane will cause around 30 times more atmospheric heating than 1kg of CO2. One cow’s annual belching has roughly the same impact on climate change as driving your family car over 10,000km.

    So what’s happening is that we’re destroying vast areas of mature, biodiverse, carbon absorbing habitat, to grow monocultures of grains, which we inefficiently turn into cows which in turn belch out huge quantities of climate changing methane (and it really is huge quantities), so that we rich westerners can enjoy our Big Macs and Whoppers.

    There are plenty of drivers of climate change other than producing meat, but it is an important one, and it’s one area where the average Joe in the street can make a real difference.

    Humans can be very resistant to change and although we all know that eating too much sugar isn’t good for us, we’re slow to change. Governments realised that introducing a sugar tax was the fastest way to influence citizen behaviour and the sugar tax quickly reduced sugar consumption in soft drinks by 10%.
    I’ll be very surprised if we don’t see them introducing meat taxes in the next decade, as the most effective way of sending a strong signal that we need to eat less meat in order to hit their climate commitments.

  94. Robbo- There is so much wrong with that I don’t know where to start. Cattle are absolutely crucial to farming and soil, any crops we grow for food either use chemicals and pesticides all which need energy to produce. rice is the single largest contributor of methane from human activity in agriculture. Cattle not fed a species specific diet will produce more gas, Given seaweed in their feed the methane reduces by 86%. You can just let them eat Grass and live about a year longer to grow, the reason why we don’t is we produce way more food from less cattle in the west these days. The vast majority of live stock is not in factory farms but is the main food supply of the worlds poorest peoples who cannot grow crops where they live.

    Humans also produce methane particularly ones eating large amounts of fibre and our Personal CO2 emissions from eating , excreta and breathing are huge. Years ago there were billions of herbivores and no global warming and less humans, now there are billions of humans and we have transformed the world with agriculture and denatured the soils releasing carbon as we do. Cattle done properly using large herds moved around becomes carbon neutral and is being done today by many ranches in America.

    The rain forests, the farmers there cut down trees to plant crops which very quickly deplete the poor soil, they then have to put cattle on it to bring some life back to it.

    Crops like Cocoa, Coffee etc all alter the landscape and change water tables, rivers etc. The switch to sun-grown coffee has resulted in over 2.5 million acres of forest cleared in Central America. Like an Avocado? Intensive avocado production has caused biodiversity loss, extreme weather conditions, extensive soil degradation of the soil and is on the brink of causing an entirely human-made environmental disaster.

    The biggest fallacy is the crops produced to feed cattle, Cattle eat the parts we cannot and that would just be waste. You see we are not plant eaters like them, they don’t have to ferment, cook food to assimilate fibre, their guts do it for them.

    Cattle raising done properly increases biodiversity and produce the richest soils in the world, such as the 25 foot deep soil that the Buffalos etc helped create, now being decimated by mono crops.

    Pointing the finger at cattle as a huge problem when really its people that don’t want to give up their luxuries, travel, cars, phones, tele etc is a bit rich. And lets face it without fossil fuels the vast majority of people would not survive in cold or hot climates, without energy we freeze or boil to death and cannot refrigerate food. And that’s if you actually believe there’s a problem, there’s enough historical evidence to suggest otherwise.

    To put it bluntly you would be better off buying pasture raised meats, healthier too and better for the environment than plant foods. Buy your food locally not from far flung corners of the world. Of course you might struggle getting your 50 million nutrients from the stuff we can grow here but you could always eat animal foods which have it all 🙂

    So much land is only fit for cattle we would be insane to abandon our natural diet. Haven’t even read the vegetarian schtick article yet but the Hadza of Tanzania will tell you that there go to food is Meat, they also love honey, last on the list is Tubers which are more like chewing on wood than a potato we would eat. Not one food we grow now is as found in nature, all are sweeter, sugar full and less poisonous.

    Why didn’t we invent the plough before we invented methods of killing animals and cracking bones? why is our stomach acid the same as hyena’s if we were not eating rotten meat etc? Chimps hunt and kill small animals and eat them with their bare hands quite regularly. I am sure at some point we ate plants in our evolution exclusively but then Elephants common ancestor were Hyraxes.

  95. Mark, it might surprise you, but I actually agree with a lot (obviously not all!) of what you’ve said.
    I didn’t suggest that we should give up meat and having stated that I’m having lamb for dinner it would have been hypocritical if I had. I stated the extreme position of rainforest being cut for soya which will then be fed to cattle but you’re right that most beef isn’t produced that way. A highland cow grazing natural pasture has far less environmental impact than one reared indoors on Brazilian soya. It also has comparatively high levels of Omega3 so is a healthier meat for us too (albeit probably expensive).
    It’s not meat per se that is the problem, it’s the amount we eat and how it’s reared. The grain fed to cattle in the US alone would be sufficient to feed not far short of a billion people. With arable land area diminishing and populations set to continue to rise to the middle of the century a crunch point is coming and some things will change for a lot of people, whether we like it or not..
    Our guts are adapted to extract nutrients and calories from a wide range of foods and I don’t advocate any particular diet based on what our ancestors may have eaten in the past.
    It’s almost certain that not so far back in human history most of our ancestors ate significant numbers of insects and many populations still do today. I’ve eaten several different types of insect myself, some of which I’ve even convinced myself I’ve enjoyed!
    On the ‘buy local’ point, it’s something that I try to do, particularly with vegetables. When not in season here I tend to buy British frozen veg as it’s just as good nutritionally as fresh (often better) but wouldn’t try to feed myself exclusively with home grown produce. Bananas for example are pretty low carbon, requiring few inputs and being transported by sea. The asparagus air freighted in from Peru I saw in the supermarket this week though is an environmental disaster and a home reared chicken would be a far better choice.
    I’m trying not being absolutist in any of my arguments. I want to enjoy most of the luxuries I have now and I believe that science can find ways of providing them without costing the earth. I do know that it’s selfish though and the world couldn’t support 7 billion people living my lifestyle. I’ve chosen to eat ‘less’ meat and if more westerners did that it would reduce our environmental impact. We also need to improve our home insulation, reduce and amend our travel, generate energy more sustainably, and generally consume less.
    . . . . .and now I’d better get back in the veggie garden!

  96. Robbo- soy oil is used in food production for humans 100% of it, there are many other products.

    Soy meal – 1.1 million tonnes (35% of total soy imports; 48.7% of soy meal) is fed to livestock (approximately 90% of it to pigs and poultry and farmed fish); 1.16 million tonnes is used as flour improvers, included in pet food and used in a wide range of industrial products including paint, pharmaceuticals and in the production and use of asphalt.

    Whole soy beans – precise data are not collected, but the limited available information suggests that most of this is used in soy food products for human consumption, including flour improvers, soy milk/drink, whole soybeans for cooking and tofu.

    Soy oil – close to 100% is for human use: 80% as refined soy oil, mostly then further modified (interesterified, or partially hydrogenated) vegetable oil in confectionary and other processed foods, 19% in biofuels, 1% in cosmetics and fly spray.

    If you stopped using it for animal feed you would have a crap load of waste left from all the other things its used for, or we would grow more Palm oil another massive problem. so to suggest that its just for feeding animals is inaccurate and misleading.

    That I’m afraid is why I don’t like the push to lower meat consumption, its based on falsehoods and poor farming practice and greed. The Vegan lobby is a very small but loud percentage of people. Of course meat production on a large scale has problems but they are fixable.

  97. vivavilla. . . . can’t speak for Mark, but I’m trying to take my mind off this evening! Was trying to do it by gardening but it’s rain stop play for now!

  98. Mark, I think the statistics you’ve used are based on UK imports of soya products and you’re right that in the UK a good proportion of what we import does not go to feed animals. We only represent less than 1% of the world’s soya consumption though and in the rest of the world, from all the data I’ve been able to see, most of the crop goes to feed animals.

  99. I agree that a lot of the problems with large scale farming are fixable. . . .if we have the will to! New breeds of cattle and improved knowledge of ruminate digestion will, as you say, reduce methane production. Synthetic meat production looks like providing convincing, tasty and low cost ‘meats’ soon. They may not replace a T bone steak, but will probably be a great burger substitute.

  100. Robbo- Read the article, for one we cannot digest cellulose, our lower colons are much smaller than other apes suggesting adaption to meat, They have looked at fossilised man poo and found it consistent with an apex predator in content.

    In prehistory There were very few humans and masses of animals to hunt compared to today and they were much bigger. As we are mostly talking about Europe and its climate there would not be year round nuts and fruits, fine in the tropics maybe but we evolved in Europe and Asia we came up from Africa mixing with Neanderthals and Denisovans our DNA says this.

    Cooking/fermenting is essential to eating a lot of plant foods, I imagine that forest and plains fires happened enough for there to be plenty of cooked animals left lying around and not so many deliciously prepared vegetables. And we would of moved with the herds and seasons not lived in a cul-de-sac.

  101. Robbo with all due respect do you think that as there are loads of things that can make money from Soy’s usage that that would be likely? not for me , people are not that stupid.

  102. Robbo- honestly? you think that synthetic meat will have all the things a real living thing had in them? Have we learned nothing? we reduce plants to drugs that cause illness themselves because they lack co-factors and now you are suggesting doing the same with meat I despair.

    The expansion of mankind and constant building and need for energy effect the world a darn sight more than cow farts, its a strange focus we have developed. By eating less meat we will become sicker and therefore need more interventions in latter life requiring more resources to keep sick people alive.

    Get rid of the crap food and cut pollution would be the best thing we could do. All the things being proposed such as electric cars, plant food, synthetic meat will create more pollution. I don’t know the answers but less meat eating is trivial in comparison to industry and transport.

  103. If we play offensive footie, we will win. If we play defensive footie we will lose. Not rocket science. One off games, especially finals are won by who gets the most goals. We need one more than them.

    So attack Beaky. Attack, attack, attack. This is our chance. Forget nerves, forget fear. Grab it with both hands. LET’S GO ENGLAND!!

  104. Mark, products will follow the money. If the best price for soya is paid by the meat industry then that’s where the majority of production will go and everything I’ve seen suggests that most soy does indeed go that route:
    That article you linked to confirms this but does also go on to run through some really interesting alternatives. I went to a sustainable food exhibition three years ago where insect based pet foods were being showcased and there are plenty of options on the market now.
    The reason I think alternatives like artificial meat will become a reality is that we probably won’t be able to feed the world without adopting new foods and technologies. Arable land area is falling, water is already becoming scarce in many areas and climate change is reducing productivity in others.
    One thing that I thought Trump got right, from a parochial perspective was trying to limit the flow of immigrants through their Southern border. Many inhabitants of latin countries are already feeling climate change induced pressures and looking to escape to a better life. A couple of quotes from farmers trying to cross into the US:“It didn’t rain this year. Last year it didn’t rain,” he said softly. “My maize field didn’t produce a thing. With my expenses, everything we invested, we didn’t have any earnings. There was no harvest.”

    “It wasn’t the same before. This is forcing us to emigrate,” he said. “In past years, it rained on time. My plants produced, but there’s no longer any pattern [to the weather].”

    These are just two anecdotes but they are real human experiences which are borne out by the data of climate change in their countries.

  105. Plug, I reckon you’re whistling in the wind if you hope for Southgate to suddenly go for all out attack!
    If we go 1 nil down then we may see Jack, Foden or Rashford and if we go 2-0 down THEN we may see a fully attacking mindset. . . .so perversely I’m hoping for a boring defensive minded game because that probably means we’re still in with a chance of winning it!

  106. Getting a bit nervy, myself. So near and yet so far.

    I expect the Italians to come hard with pressure early and try to get on top. Which of course means they’ll sit back.

    But I think if England get through that initial phase, settle down, there’s a real opportunity. The pace should pose Italy some problems, as well as the attacking depth. Avoid mistakes under pressure, contest it in the middle, but draw Italy forward a bit, get some space to work with.

    Don’t know that Italy are going to let England be as deliberate as they’d prefer, so may well come down to whether the side can turn it up a bit and play more quickly.

  107. Plug. . . . . I hadn’t anticipated Trippier for Saka. More defensive than even I’d imagined!
    Hey. . . .we’re in then final so I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt

  108. The media talked Beaky up. And up. And up. He was ruthless, just what we needed. Someone capable of subbing his sub Jack. Arise Sir Beaky. But he wasn’t prepared to sub Kane at half time was he? Kane was legless. The ref had worked out his dives and ignored them. He became a statue by half time.

    Three at the back can be attacking but it very quickly became 5 at the back and everything went defensive. Klinsmann stated the obvious at half time. England needed to stop defending and go for the second goal to win it. Sadly our charges were out on their feet, the result of overused favoured selections by Beaky and his refusal to use his squad to best advantage over the whole tournament. One change per game in reality is untenable.

    What prat asks a 19 year old kid to take THE most pressured penalty?

  109. Despite everything, England must have the best team in the world. It has to be so if they think Jack is only worth 20 minutes of extra time.

  110. Final rant and I’m done. If Beaky stays in charge for the World Cup next year, we will experience more of the same. Wasting our talent. Wasting our strengths. Wrong formations. Square pegs in round holes.

  111. I’m putting that one under shit happens, 1st half Italy had no answer, second wasn’t much better but they got on that rebound. Game was crying out for jack but in all honesty same thing happens when he comes on, there’s no real attempt to get him on the ball. If we are going to use him them we build around him moving forward.

    I thought the ref tried to let it flow but was wrong to on several occasions with Italy constantly foiling attacks by fouling. The foul on jack was a red and grabbing the opponents collar and yanking him back?? wasn’t that outlawed in Rugby? I thought that was disgraceful and he also should of seen red for Violent conduct and a professional foul.

    Pens are pens and always a lottery and players were picked before hand, the reality of taking one in that situation is something else.

  112. Robbo- If a crops grown it will get used for as many things as they can make money from, if we stop feeding animals with it then it will be grown anyway for oil. Oil was waste product until they decided to put it in our food, the start of health decline and surprisingly the rise in Diabetes. Seed oil is to high in omega 6 which causes massive inflammation when out of whack with omega 3. Cattle cannot just eat Soya beans they are to high in fat, if they eat them whole its in very small amounts or they get ill. Feeding other animals like pigs and chickens these high omega 6 foods also means their fat becomes higher in them and not the saturated and mono fats that they would ordinarily have, thats why factory farmed chicken and pork is not as good for people but its not as bad as eating the oil straight from source. Beef is grass fed until about 3 months from butchering. Soya is very tricky for young animals to eat.

    Right now the sugar crop in Brazil is being threatened by frost not heat or drought. All over the world there are unusually hot spells where they should not be and record cold ones, Australia are having the coldest start to their winter for a very long time.

    I know this is all put under climate change now not global warming as it was because it just does not stack up to temps rising everywhere (because they are not).

    The sun is going into a maunder minimum with very little activity. Research show that this throws up very odd weather patterns and effects the jet stream, extreme heat and cold existing close to each other and weather staying in place for long periods. We have seen these patterns before it happens in the early 1900’s to 1930’s. whether this one will be worse we will see.

    Two theories exist at present one is man made, one is cyclical in nature. We are putting our eggs in the man made basket when it appear that we are getting colder and colder weather. You would not know there are two theories though as one is advanced as science fact. If it turns out that the sun is the driver of the climate (which it is really ) then crops will be fucked and people will die of hunger and cold and lowering CO2 etc will be pointless.

    Its funny because I look at both sides and measure it against the real world around us and the sun looks the more likely theory knowing that CO2 has been higher and lower whilst the overall temp has been higher or lower independent of CO2.

    Like the recent pandemic the Global warming schtick really does stink of something not so pleasant, I hope it does warm/stay the same because the alternative is far worse. One thing both things have in common is the labelling of people and even scientists as deniers or cranks its all a bit religious in its fervour and looks like an Agenda is being pushed. We live in some very strange times.

  113. Plug,

    Southgate making Saka take the 5th peno shows he’s not an international manager. Plus Jack offered to take one of the five and of course got rejected. Those penos are all pressure so not sure why Southgate put all his faith into what players did in training.

    Hopefully a couple of players come in over next 2 weeks.

    It’s unreal what we’re doing at youth level – trying to replicate Fergie babes. Hope Bidace, Carney and Barry get a run out in preseason. Did Kessler pick up a serious injury – I hope I misread. Ajani Burchall looks an interesting signing. Won’t be 17 until November so a player for the future

  114. We can all blame Southgate for letting Saka take a pen but Rashfords Miss was worse really, shit happens in those situations, poor old Southgate, years of penalty abuse and now he’s getting it again without taking one lol .

  115. But, like everyone, it’s clear the game was crying out for England to do more.

    Southgate stood pat. Had been working for him, but we saw what we feared might happen against a top opponent.

    Will have more thoughts, but attention will obviously be turning back to the market.

  116. JC- can’t have to many complaints, thought we made a good side look average for periods and but for a few timely interceptions would of scored more, we got in behind them quite a lot whereas they were limited to shots from distance or caught offside. Could of been more offensive when we went one up but were also unlucky not to score more.

  117. Mark, You’re right that there are alternative theories to the climate change one but it wouldn’t be right to present them as having equivalence in the scientific community:
    I studied climate change 45 years ago so it has always been the theory that I have favoured, but as more data has become available it has only reinforced my view.
    Of course it is possible that 97% of scientists are wrong. . . .it would be far from the first time that scientific consensus has had to be changed in the light of new information, but until then it will take something pretty convincing to push me into a different camp.

  118. The real risk of course is that 97% of climate scientists are right and yet we do nothing. If they ARE right and we carry on our current path then the consequences will be truly appalling for billions of people.

    I strongly believe that effects of climate change are now being seen and so in my own small way I am trying to do my bit to make a difference. From investing in 1000 solar panels and now another 300 on the way, planting 2000 trees last year and now buying land to plant more trees.
    I’ve invested in a carbon assessment of our current business and hope to make it carbon negative with our tree planting and other actions and beyond that hope to help other businesses to do the same.

    I may have got it wrong, but at least I am putting my money where my mouth is.

  119. Mancini outfoxed Southgate. After watching England play through the knockouts, playing an exact game and probably thinking England had a superior team, he did what I would have done, played a chippy, in your face game. 5 yellows and 20 odd penalties told us that. It put the England team off their game as you could see by the pissed off body language of the English players. It was a win at all costs. Not within the rules but definitely within the game of football. You had old Italian players against a limitless amount of talent of Englishmen. The only difference? Italy knew what was needed to win. By hook or by crook.

    The Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL perfected this type of playing. Nicknamed the Broadstreet Bullies they won two cups in a row. They were a nasty bunch but hey, they were winners.

  120. r0bb0
    Too many people, greed, chainsaws, and cars. The recipe for climate disaster. Did you know that the US dispatch 650,000,000 animals a day for food?
    Regardless of the cost carbon capture needs to be built now. Meanwhile Richard Branson did the biggest “look at me” ever. I’m sure his poster has gone up in every hut in Ethiopia.

  121. I really think you need to have players who put the fear of god into the opposition. And one who is a bit of a nut bag. Joey Barton for one Roy Keene for another. And an aggressive keeper.
    Villa have two of the three.

  122. Ian totally agree with you assessment of the final

    I have made my views clear re Gareth , he has allowed for a great camp between the players who are already much more in tune with the general public due to being out of the social media age ….. some great bromances ect … which is good because England camp used to be so clicky and players out of the top 2 or 3 just got tapped up on internationals
    The issue is we have a squad worth more than double that of Italy and some real talent and Jack who is the player that can drag a team through adversity and is a true jewel in footballing terms

    The FA are talking of extending his contract so I do not hold out much hope of silverware without a major change of tactics
    Less than 40% possession in a Wembley final is a shocking stat

  123. Robbo- fair play to you mate, the consensus these days seems to involve large amounts of money being made and a lot of half truths and outright lies being pushed to do it , that is how I see it. Even in this so called pandemic we have seen huge profits over potential life saving protocols being pushed . I am afraid that scientists, doctors etc are not incorruptible.

  124. Ian, it doesn’t surprise me to see that huge number of animals killed for food in the US each day. I confess that whilst I hate to see any sort of animal suffering, I am not sentimental about it. I will shoot grey squirrels and rabbits that are bring a nuisance and have been surprised that on visits to abattoirs I have been more fascinated than shocked. In New Zealand, seeing a live sheep go in one end and then emerge, gutted, cleaned, stamped, jointed, wrapped and Waitrose stickered just 20 minutes later is pretty amazing.
    We don’t yet keep animals but Mark will be pleased to hear that we do intend to as I agree with him that they are an essential part of a productive farming system (and they taste good). I’m wanting to capture carbon, but I reckon that the land still needs to produce food too. What I’m trying to properly understand is how we keep the animals whilst also protecting the young trees etc.

  125. Starting to sound like Grealish to City is going to happen

    Personally I think its been all but done verbally and Jack already knows he’s a City player. Has his head turned most likely.

    Other clubs starting to do bits as well. We’ve gone absolutely dead in the market.

  126. r0BB0, Mark,
    I am one of the sentimental ones. One that likes beef,fish, pork chicken,but probably not insects.
    The indigenous people here and in the rest of Canada believe everything has a spirit whether it’s animal, plant, or the environment. They have ceremonies thanking their god for the provenance they receive and also thank the animal which lost its life for their survival. In the grand scheme of things we should be looking to these people for guidance on how we live our lives.

    Yep I’m sentimental, catch bugs in the house and set them free. If you are a god fearing man, this is god’s world. If not, everything must have its place in nature and therefore part of the puzzle.

    Modern animal agriculture is done with cattle, birds, pigs, etc that have been manipulated over the centuries by farmers. GMO practices are centuries old. We just have the ability to speed nature up. Fertilizer definitely screws things up as does herbicides and pesticides.

    I’m all for keeping Southgate as manager. Just as the players are learning so is he. Southgate got it wrong once in the Euros and that’s not a bad record. The players will remember that Italy game too. They won’t get caught out next time. Tournament play is a different game to club play. We have to get used to cat and mouse, kitty bar the door style of play. Knockout does not have next week’s game to make amends.

    Mark, we only need 4 ounces of complete protein a day for proper metabolism and muscle growth not that fred flintstone 30 lbs rack of lamb at the start of his show. 🙂

  127. Dunno Frem. The media went full on with England, and now that’s over, they need to start printing more BS click bait. I’ll believe it when I see Jack wearing a Man Citeh shirt.

    If I was a Wolves fan, I’d be concerned though.

  128. You’re right: the story was always going to start right back up, Plug.

    From “EuroSport” to getting regurgitated by every other clickbait outfit. His agent was driving all this talk earlier. Probably like ESR’s agent getting him a better deal at Arsenal.

    Like you, I’ll believe it when I see him in a shirt, “undergoing a medical,” or maybe if he refuses a new deal.

  129. Robbo I like the idea of raising pigs in woods for food it’s being done already. Also like the idea of permaculture, it’s bloody hard stopping nature coming to the party though, everything’s hungry.

  130. Ian – I love animals , insects , birds etc but wouldn’t let it get in the way of a good meal. In honesty we are the only ones that really care mate, the rest will fuck you over for food and not blink an eyelid. Dogs are the only ones and they’d nick your dinner.

    That amount of protean is ok if you don’t leave your bed, also if you then fill the rest of your plate with carbs you’ll get fat, if you had just eaten the protein you wouldn’t. Carbs are the only macro that’s not essential, you don’t need it as sugar can be created from protein as you need it not in a massive hit that buggers up your insulin. Meat also has umpteen things you just cannot get elsewhere, if you eat tinsy bits you get next to nothing. If you just ate lean meat you will however become ill, Hunter gatherers that can only get say rabbit become ill eventually. Fat is essential for hormone creation and energy. Modern people eat so much sugar and starch they rarely go it fat burning at all, which is why they are fat and ill.

    As an experiment eat some fatty meat for breakfast as much as you like and see how long it takes to get hungry. Do the same with carbs and you will be reaching for the biscuits by 10. I eat at 6am then usually about 12 hours after, just not hungry because the hormone response is different. I have started chasing cars though.

  131. Ian – oh I’ve tried

    Apparently the average American eats 2oz of beef a day, that’s not even a cows eyelid. Just had a full rack of ribs yum.

  132. Interesting that of the 120 Twitter comments aimed at England players that 96% came from outside the UK. Southgate is the only person to have mentioned that fact.

  133. What are peoples thoughts o Mcginn Luiz?

    If we want to get better this season can those two be starting every week?

    Personally don’t think so. Marvelous I think offers sit much more protection. Mcginn is to sloppy on the ball but offers great mobility and energy.

    I’d be worried if those two are starting on the first game

    I’d hope we have a DM coming in who’s tall and powerful, and maybe someone like Sanson

  134. Also as we’ve wasted a monhin Smith-Rowe, what now? We need another CAM and clubs know we have 30 odd million to spend

  135. Frem,
    I too think the same regarding McGinn and Luiz. But sometimes a player needs a proper partner to really excell. This is my thinking on those two. Plus McGinn wasn’t used to his best abilities last year, playing for Scotland shows that. So maybe Sanson is the key to McGinn or Luiz really shining or an incoming mid is the answer. Look at Ezi and Mings great together but take Mings out of the picture and Ezi becomes a little hesitant. It’s a rare player that can operate at a high level without a “sidekick” looking out for him. Jack and Ibrahimovic come to mind who operate at that higher level.

    As far as Smith-Rowe is concerned, he wasn’t seriously considered as a must get. It’s like looking for a used car, chuck out a lowball offer and see what comes back. Arsenal are a bit short of cash ATM and just might have taken the bait. Every team does it. It you don’t try you really do get nothing. One thing though, Villa did make an offer as no one has made an offer for Jack. Everyone knows Jack is a Villa man unless Jack says so. Jack’s tweets and instagram messages are shit disturbers nothing else. And as far as wasting time, how long would it take to put an offer in? Five minutes max especially if you are taking a flyer.

  136. Also, 30 0dd mill is nothing when you are dealing for decent Prem players. It’s almost as if it’s the starting bid at an auction. And every auction in the prem has a reserve bid…don’t hit hit that and you go home empty handed. Besides NSWE have reserves of cash only two other teams have and i wonder why they would have to sell to buy. It could easily be like Jay Leno’s garage, dozens of concours cars just because he can.

  137. Yep Frem, I too think Naka managed to perform at a better level than Dougie at the end of last season. But the previous season end, Dougie was really hot.

    Could Naka be our Kante? He seems to have a good engine but needs to work on his passing. And someone who can take a free kick around the area would be brill. Dalsgaard of Denmark for instance.

    We still have Sanson to assess and then there is Buendia. All together, we may have the nucleus of a decent midfield. But a tall defensive midfielder would help no end against the teams that rely on height like West ‘Aaaammm.

  138. Frem,

    I’ve had my doubts about McGinn. On his day, he’s a handful. But he’s been very up and down.

    Luiz? I think he’s a better overall package than Nakamba, more upside. Nakamba’s put in some really good shifts lately, to be fair.

    The business isn’t done, and we’ll see how it shuffles out. With someone impressive in the middle/10 role, could have a big knock-on effect for the two behind/beside.

    I also think that last season was such an aberration, it’s really hard to judge certain players. Grealish and Luiz haven’t gotten much rest, but I think that the light work for Jack has been good, and probably also for Luiz. Can’t hurt his confidence to be in the Brazil setup, and probably did him some good to have extended time back home.

  139. So, there’s a new post up rehashing England, Jack and the rest. Just felt obligated to finish that off.

    Plus, it’s a fresh sheet.

    Anyway, carry on as you like.

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