International football is a bit like 1980s synthpop when it comes on the radio these days. You know all the songs, almost immediately from the first bar, and some people are very enthusiastic about hearing it but I, like the majority of you I am sure, forget about it almost the moment the final note fades into the ether. The Premier League is the ubiquitous deejay whose voice drowns everything out.
At this point, I could wax lyrical about the olden days when radios had dials to be turned and static filled the room until you had locked in on the dulcet tones of John Peel or the velvet luxury of Peter Jones informing you that he had a clear view of the pitch from the top of the double-decker bus parked on the running track which surrounded the pitch in whichever Eastern Bloc stadium they happened to be commentating on. Not before Mike Ingham or his predecessors had prepared you for the next hour or so of your life with the immortal words, “They had played for ten minutes in the Enver Hoxha Stadium when this happened. Your commentator is Peter Jones…”
It’s all slick computing these days, one press of a button and the stations interrupt the robotic rolling of the numbers. Nothing like the wood and metal construct with its plastic fascia that, along with the black and white TV on rent from Granada, was the focus of the living room as you walked in. As the years passed, both reduced in size to the point where the transistor was placed in the bedroom and the radio in the sitting room gradually slunk back into the alcove to the point where it was sitting forlornly on the shelving behind the television, unused but never dusty; no dust was ever permitted to adorn the sideboard or any part of the room that was visible to the human eye.
All of which has made you wonder why the recollections, the sepia-toned, wistful glances to days gone past? Injuries, particularly those suffered on international duty. I have missed them. Especially those suffered in the lead up to crucial, potential season-defining matches.
Back in the days of Hugh Johns and Brian Moore, we never seemed to suffer at the hands of the injury gods so often when the players were away on international duty. It’s the price we – as in supporters – pay for a modern game where the pace and technique is bewildering at times. Today’s player is a more finely honed athlete than his predecessors and that the rigours of the international game interfering with the club season lead to more injuries being suffered. At least that is how it feels.
There are players like Van Persie who only had to look in the direction of a defender before succumbing to injury or Abou Diaby. Actually, I could be wrong but I don’t think Diaby ever came back from internationals injured. He may have done and sadly, the volume of injuries means it’s hardly likely to stick in the memory in the same way Jack Wilshere suffered in a pointless friendly or two.
But back in the day, the likes of McLintock, Brady, Stapleton, even going through to Adams and Dixon, they rarely seemed to come back injured and this remember, a time when you played for club and country as if it were a normal week. It strikes home how much the game has changed in half a century. Yes, players in the 70s and 80s considered a season of 65 – 70 games normal but playing such a number of games now is more physically demanding to the extent that few players can do so without retribution. And certainly not sustain it.
One player who will struggle to reach that total is Danny Welbeck whose injury suffered on Friday, is casting doubt on his availability for the visit of Liverpool. Roy Hodgson told reporters after the win over Lithuania that Welbeck’s injury was minor but the sportsdesktranslate.com identifies that as one step down from amputation. The reality of it all will be clearer come the end of this week.
On the subject of injuries, it’s an important step for Theo Walcott tonight when England get trounced by Italy. Not in the losing but the taking part. From an Arsenal perspective at least, the match represents a chance of Walcott to regain his sharpness and a good outing is essential for the player. Having been identified as a player to fear by the Italians, a display of pace and energy would do his confidence no harm whatsoever. Maybe the real Theo Walcott will stand up, ready for the business end of the season.
Win! Win! WIN!
Well, it was good enough for Viv Nicholson, it’s good enough for you. It’s the chance for you to hone your managerial skills and prove that you know more than Arsène about football by winning the title and the Champions League with Arsenal’s current squad – it can be done people, it can be done. Thanks to Cash Generator who deal in Xbox 360’s and other consoles, we can offer a PC version of Football Manager 2015 which you can win by answering this fiendishly tricky question:
Who has won more Premier League titles as manager of Arsenal. Is it
- Arsène Wenger
- My oldest son
Answers to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight Friday 3rd April, leaving your answer in the subject line.
I would like to add that in no way can I or anyone related to this competition be held responsible for any marital problems winning this prize may cause.
That’s it for today.