I Am Not A Number, I Am A Football Fan

Hands up all those who knew Italy wouldn’t qualify for the World Cup finals last night.

Danielle Di Rossi did; he was adamant that Lorenzo Insigne was a better solution to their problems than himself. As it happened, he was right but it was so much like watching Arsenal huff and puff in attempting to break down a resolute defence.

And failing, miserably.

I wonder if xG came out in Ventura’s excuses last night? That’s a statistic where brains has had enough of the bullsht and is fighting back with bullsht of its’ own. Putting a value on the ‘difficulty’ of a chance but ignoring who the forward and goalkeeper are? Nonsense.

For years, we football fans put a proper scale of measuring the difficulties of chances. At the top end, it was “Something out of nothing” and ran down to “You muppet! How the f*ck did you miss that?”. It served us well for decades and has more relevance than xG.

Does Bouldie sit on the touchline and think, “Unlucky Alexis, that xG was 0.755”? No, he sits there, thinking, “You useless twat! How did you miss that?” To be honest, half the time he has a look on his face wondering whether he’s left the oven on.

Football hipsters like to tell you all about “wonderful” things like xG. If there were terraces today, the ode to Perry Groves would be updated to “We all live in a Jim Goodnight world”. Look it up, I had to. It’s a typically Arsenal stat, straight out of the Gazidis School of Obfustication.

Fair play to Arsène. Resisting analytics for years, he’s leapt in with both feet, realising that if Ivan has a metric for us over-performing, there’s an opportunity to make the gap to City smaller than it really is.


Despite my protestations, statistics like this do fit right into football. Not because they expand our knowledge of the game – they don’t, but they sure do make pretty graphs from rows and columns of spreadsheet data – but because nobody can agree on them. The BBC from Salford tells us that “1 being the maximum” then the Heil chimes in with City’s expected goals being 1.83.

That’s according to Opta, whose lives are a lot richer busier thanks to this stat.

Jesus wept. There are more holes in the theory of it being a useful metric than a truckle of Gouda.

Football has a plethora of useful stats already. Think points accumulated, goals for and against, final score; I could go on. What we don’t need is another army of numbers which are just high-level f*ckwittery.

“Boss, I want a payrise. My xG is 18.24 but I’ve scored 29 goals in the season. Got to be worth £250k per week.”
“Yes, but if we look at the chances themselves, you should have 55. Your record with ‘How the f*ck did he miss that’ chances shows you’re underperforming. Fancy a pay cut to £25 per week?”

Then again, Lou tells you everything you need to know about numbers.

This weekend’s north London derby edges closer with the final round of international matches tonight. Laurent Koscielny’s knackered Achilles is still a problem but no-one else is reporting a knack as of yet.

The club finds itself in the icy grip of apathy such is poverty of our performances this season. This match however, resurrects all kinds of lovely memories, and some proper Arsenal kits…

30th August 1980

21st April 1984

and to finish today,

2nd January 1989

’til Tomorrow.

49 thoughts on “I Am Not A Number, I Am A Football Fan

  1. 1980? 1983? 1989? Nah! Monday 3rd May 1971 at White Hart Lane. One nil to the Arsenal and the Double! Thank you Ray Kennedy.

  2. Arsenal 4-0 Tottenham,
    George Graham’s wedding day, my first NLD, still the best for me.

    Great vids, still miss Highbury, fabulous old stadium.

  3. vids will only be of Highbury games. It’s a home fixture this weekend so I’ll save the glorious stuff for the week of the away game.

  4. Romaninho:
    It will be incorporated into the language within the next five years.

    It already is a well known quote from The Prisoner/Shattered Visage circa 2009, where the Prisoner says, “I am not a number, I am a free man”. [Clearly he wasn’t – as he was the Prisoner.] 😀

  5. I suspect you are all going to be bored by my reminder that analytics (aka statistical analysis in the case of YW’s Post above) is only of value when the context and population of the data are taken into account within defined parameters.

    So, if the strength of the goalkeeper and defence, for example, are ignored when looking at a forwards success ratio in scoring goals, that may be because the ‘strength’ involved is subjective and could/would distort the findings and so provided that data is consistently ignored across the calculation, it may give a more valid result.

    Any queries please consult, C. 😀

  6. I’m out and about this weekend, so won’t see the NLD live for the first time in n’years. I’m bound to hear the result, so will only be watching the highlights if the outcome is positive. I’m expecting a display similar to the one against City, so I guess I won’t be watching MOTD.

    Sorry for the doom and gloom.

  7. Great post Yogi

    The proliferation of stats makes can make it possible to prove or disprove anything. As C mentioned @ 1:19 stats are best used when they suit an agenda. The vast majority of the stats in football are really nebulous and most are difficult to interpret. For example, a high number of tackles can be a good or a bad thing. The best defenders stay on their feet and going to ground or putting in a tackle is a last resort when they make a mistake. A player who puts in a lot of tackles could actually mean they are a bad defender. Attempting a tackle also takes less energy then staying on your feet and defending properly. Its the same for a lot of stats. If a players pass completion percentage is really high it often means that all of their passes are one touch 5 yard sideways passes. Etc etc etc. I am sure that players use stats as part of their contract negotiations. Taking corner kicks and set pieces is also important so players can increase their number of chances created.

  8. Wavey,

    More than ever I think it will come down to the starting front 3; will Arsene go with Lacazette/Ozil/Sanchez or will he drop one of them and start Iwobi or Ramsey in that position because if he does that you might want to pop your head in after the line-up has been announced because I will vent and rant BUT I think if he starts Lacazette/Ozil/Sanchez together than I think our chances are raised significantly because Spuds defense can be got at especially with Alderweild out who IMHO is their 2nd best player behind Kane. Vertoghen/Sanches/Dier are a good back 3 but Alderweild just seems to be the one player that cleans up everything.

  9. C,

    As I read your comment I got to the Ramsey Iwobi bit followed by “you might want to pop your head in” I was expecting you to continue with “the gas oven”. 😈

  10. Orson Kaert,

    You might want to pop your head in ‘the gas oven’ because it could possibly get ugly in the Goonerverse and I could see Lacazette wondering WTF is going on.

    The funny thing is that everybody is talking about it might be a good thing that Ozil and Sanchez leave because they aren’t committed and haven’t signed new deals; YET very few actually have confidence in Ramsey to in big matches not named FA Cup but he is the player that would replace Ozil. More to that, the other funny thing is that for all the talk of Ozil not offering more than 10-15 goals in all competitions for a season, Ramsey doesn’t offer much more nor does he offer the creativity and Iwobi isn’t a goal scorer and while I think he has great potential, I think he is destined to be a CM.

  11. Arsene has spoken about his managerial career on beIN Sports:

    “Maybe, yes, I will do it at some stage. But until now I’ve liked to be involved every day in the life of a club, because the real test is there,” said Wenger.

    “Four or five weeks… OK it’s a different experience, it’s more concentrated. But I believe the real experience to manage a team is on a daily basis.

    “But I will not always have the physical strength to do that, so maybe I will move into that [international work].”

    Asked whether he could make a shock appearance as a coach at Qatar’s 2022 World Cup, he added: “Maybe – you never know. I haven’t decided that, to me it’s just a fact that my life is linked with football.

    “In what way will depend on my physical state. But until the end of my life I’ll be in football. I don’t know in what kind [of role], as a director, as a manager.

    “As long as possible as a manager, but one day that will stop. But I will stay in football, of course.”

  12. Wavey:
    I’m out and about this weekend, so won’t see the NLD live for the first time in n’years. I’m bound to hear the result, so will only be watching the highlights if the outcome is positive. I’m expecting a display similar to the one against City, so I guess I won’t be watching MOTD.

    Sorry for the doom and gloom.

    Good Afternoon, my esteemed friend, Wavey, that is not by any means ‘doom and gloom’ – no where near — in certain parts of Goonerdom, only Harakiri would suffice to register as D & G– but it is preferable to avoid that, at least around ACLF as it is bit Messi messy. 😀

  13. C,

    Have you seen the latest scuttlebutt on Maureen’s latest Wishlist for a boost to his chances of winning competitions again. The money that flows around football is becoming ever more obscene, and if anyone else tells me what a great manager Moaniho is, I will upchuck!


    Manchester United are locked in talks over a summer swoop for Real Madrid star Marco Asensio, according to reports in Spain.

    United were first linked with the Spain forward over the weekend amid claims they had offered him a five-year deal at Old Trafford.

    And now Don Balon claims United officials have begun negotiations with the La Liga giants as they bid to thrash out a huge outlay, which is claimed will set them back a Premier League record of £177million.

    Asensio will reportedly be handed a £24m-a-season at Old Trafford on a five-year deal next summer, with United cooling their interest in Antoine Griezmann and Gareth Bale as a result.

    At 21 years old, Jose Mourinho believes United would be making a sound investment in the seven-times capped Spanish star, who has become a firm favourite under Zinedine Zidane.

    Don Ballon reports any deal will not come cheap and will set United back almost double their current record outlay.

    Poor Jose — he has had so little money to buy his latest title. Shame for the little runt.
    [No! That was not a typo — it is ‘runt’.]

  14. HenryB,

    I saw that and quite honestly I laughed quite hard. If that deal does happen then that would shatter be utter madness from a Madrid perspective as well as anybody who says that players can’t be bought from big sides.

    I can’t see why Madrid are even thinking about making that deal unless they have somebody that they already have in talks because Madrid are lacking in the attacking department especially after James left for Bayern on a 2 year loan and Morata left, couple that with Bale not being able to stay fit really over the last 2 seasons and selling a Asenio would be a disaster.

    Asenio has the potential, as he has shown, to be one of the best in the world and selling him to Mourinho just doesn’t make any sense. The other thing is that, he just extended his contract at Madrid (thank you google) in September 2017 and Zidane and President Perez have spoken about how they want him and Lucas Vasquez to be the future of Madrid’s attack especially with Benzema and Ronaldo getting older and older and both featuring not as regularly with Zidane actually holding them out of matches to preserve them for the business end of the season like he did last year.

    BUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT if it were to happen I would actually be royally pissed off because while Arsene is dillydallying around with not wanting to play Lacazette and the whole Ox fiasco plus keeping Giroud (remember he signed a new contract last season along with Le Coq and Kos in January of 2017, go fucking figure that), it again shows that other clubs are willing to spend loads and loads of cash even with promising young players to force those players to continue to develop and up their game while also bringing in top talent and Arsene simply wants to keep what he has and Arsenal will fall further and further behind.

  15. HenryB,

    Mate think about this, should Ozil (latest report from both Spain and England is that Athletico has shown quite a bit of interest especially on a free) and Sanchez leave, then with Mert retiring, we could potentially line-up like this next season (naturally it would change with recruitments:

    Chambers—-Mustafi—-Kos (this could be Kos–Mustafi—Nacho as well)

    I will say though, I really hope all this chatter about Fekir joining has some type of legs to it because I would take him as a replacement for Sanchez.

  16. C

    We have seen Sanchez/Lacazette/Özil in 2 games. One good the other was meh at best. I think you may be over rating the impact of playing them together. It’s certainly not a panacea. So far Lacazette has done what we expect but Özil and Sanchez both seem to have mentally moved on already. Unless that changes especially with Sanchez we are going to struggle against anyone above the Everton or Swansea level.

  17. C,

    Maybe RM think that Isco is an ‘established’ player with great skill, and they can recruit Kane and 3 or 4 quality youngsters with that £177 — or maybe they have some more youngsters breaking thru from their Youth teams.

    RM have almost always gone for big star players, and young home grown ones seem to lack chances on the whole.

    Maureen on the other hand is always happy to spend someone else’s money on buying star players, like Pogba, and altho I have some doubts that the story is accurate, I can easily believe it is true as he has been allegedly trying to buy Bale for some time – altho injuries in recent times has made him change direction.

    How I dislike that man – and it is not because of jealousy over the players he can buy — I simply do not like the preening midget.

  18. So far the sum of the parts for sanchez Lacazette and Özil has not been great. A combined 8 goals and 4 assists in 11 games is highly underwhelming. I hope I am wrong but I suspect the idea that playing them together will lift all 3 and suddenly they will become much greater then the sum of the individual parts may be a overly optimistic.

  19. C,

    You said; – “Zidane and President Perez have spoken about how they want him (Asensio) and Lucas Vasquez to be the future of Madrid’s attack (in the future)” and if they were Arenal players, so would I.

    However, there are rumours that Zidane is in the last chance saloon, and President Perez is like a weather vein, always changing direction with the gentlest of breezes.
    Therefore I am not sure I believe that theory — for no good reason other than previous utterances — frankly what Zidane’s opinion, or that of any other RM manager, can be relied upon to be as cast iron as a soggy wet paper bag. Sorry. 😀

    If you are correct about the careers’ of Ronaldo and Benzema tailing off, I can see them going to Manure, if Perez keeps Asensio, as you suggest, and Maureen would be delighted at that – and it would be a lot cheaper for the Manure bosses to agree to.

    Either way —– bollix. 🙁

  20. Bill,

    If you judge them based on 2 matches then you are going against what I have heard you speak about for years and that is sample size. Its IMPOSSIBLE to judge players based on a 2 match sample size, I mean that’s absolutely crazy mate even by your standards. How about we give them a run of say 4-5 matches before we judge their impact, I mean you just don’t put players together and snap your fingers and say now go be great, there is a bit of chemistry that needs to be worked out. That’s like me saying because over 2 matches Kane/Son/Eriksen outperformed Ronaldo/Benzema/Isco that the Spuds players are better and a better trio. We simply won’t know their impact based on 2 games played together.

    The other thing is that part of my well and truly believes that you think futbolers should be spectacular or play to their max level match in and match out which is absolute non-sense. I mean what if I told you there was a player who had scored 1 goal in 7 matches to start the season would you want that player? By you and your logic HELL NO you wouldn’t want that player but what if I told you that player was the fake Ronaldo, would that change your mind, absolutely. Or what if I told you there was a starting CF in the PL for one of our rivals that has now gone 7 consecutive appearances (6 starts where he played the full 90 and 1 sub appearance where he got 20-30 mins) would you want that player, probably not, now what if I told you that, that said player was Lukuka, would that change your mind.

    Perspective mate, lets see what happens when Lacazette/Ozil/Sanchez play together and get a string of matches.

  21. HenryB,

    I could actually see that as a reasonable Madrid sort of thing to do but the other thing is that I think President Perez would almost surely have to be 100000% certain he could get Kane because otherwise it makes little to no-sense for him to even pull the trigger given Isco divides opinion amogst Madrid supporters and Bale simply can’t stay fit, but then again it is Madrid and like Barca they are a completely different breed of club.

    Madrid have always gone for the more established big name stars and sold their youth only to bring them back later but even this one seems crazy. I like you doubt the accuracy of the story but FFS that is not only an astronomical sum of money but Madrid would be able to re-load on the fly and literally get anybody they wanted.

    Mourinho, well I very much dislike his face and his personality that he shows and the persona of the man even more. Jealousy, absolutely not, disgust and distaste for the man, absolutely yes!

  22. Bill:
    So far the sum of the parts for sanchez Lacazette and Özil has not been great. A combined 8 goals and 4 assists in 11 games is highly underwhelming. I hope I am wrong but I suspect the idea that playing them together will lift all 3 and suddenly they will become much greater then the sum of the individual parts may be a overly optimistic.

    The fact that cannot be overlooked, Bill, and it is like the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’ – we should have sold both Özil and Sanchez along with the Ox, and put the combined money aside to spend on a bigee or two.

    They have done little or nothing for Arsenal this season, much tho I wanted them both to stay permanently, it was aways going to be pointless as too much has gone on with their individual psyche. That in itself should have meant a head or two should have rolled — whoever made the decision to keep them — until they could walk off scot free, or for a fraction of what we could have got to add to the transfer kitty.

    The logic for that has always defeated me.

  23. You are right, C, that team could be the one we put on the pitch next season — which is why I hate it.

    Let’s hope there will be additions, both in January and in the summer, which you alluded to — and I am sure that is right. Question is – will we go for quality replacements, or cheap and cheerful?

    Who knows? (Am I beginning to sound like Andy? I said previously that he is getting to me, even though I am wearing my foil cap whenever I type on ACLF). 😀

  24. HenryB,

    Yea the whole Zidane situation is absolutely crazy given President Perez is an absolute lunatic. I mean name another club and President who would put a manager that in 2 years has won 7 major trophies including back to back CL and is coming off doing the Treble? If Zidane comes free then I’ll personally through Arsene out his office and put a knife to Stan’s throat in order to sign him.

    With that said, I think the talk with Asenio is a bit of a non-starter given he just extended his contract to 2021 if everything I found is correct in September, I can’t even see that lunatic Perez selling him after giving him a new contract.

    I could however see him selling Benzema to Manure but they already have Lukuka. Above all, I think Perez wants to keep Asenio simply because he is one of the players that most certainly has the potential to be a once in a generation sort of talent and has shown on the CL stage twice that it isn’t too big for him.

  25. HenryB,

    Trust mate, I hate that team too and even me typing it made my stomach turn in knots at the thought of it.

    I truly hope that there are not only additions but quality additions but the biggest problem with it all is the same thing that we have run into the last 2 summers, WTF will Arsene do. Quality over quantity for me but we all know that its not guaranteed given the amount of pieces we actually need.

    don’t follow Andy, that’s not the best road to take, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  26. C

    I am not judging Ozil, Sanchez, and Lacazette based on 2 games. I am judging them by what each has done so far this season. Ozil and Sanchez have a combined 2 goals and 3 assists in 11 games. You can’t possibly have a great partnership when 2/3 of the players involved are not producing. What I am questioning is your idea that if played together they will form this symbiotic relationship which will raise the game of all 3. Ozil is never going to morph back into the player he was 5 years ago and I becoming more and more skeptical that Sanchez will regain form until he gets a new club.

    I don’t think we could have given away Ozil last summer . However, I held out hope that Sanchez would have a good season and I wanted us to keep him while Henry and Andy were both campaigning to sell Alexis. So far there is not much doubt that I was on the wrong side of the fence on that debate.

  27. C,

    Thanks Gents, glad to be of service. It’s worth remembering though that it’s not just the quality of the individuals, it’s how they blend as a team. To a certain extent the two players in question have performed well on occasion individually but are they really team players?

  28. Bill,

    But you did judge them based on 2 matches. The other thing is that we simply don’t know why Ozil’s game or Sanchez’s game hasn’t been what we wanted. Judging a player based on what they did 5 years ago is madness too, I mean again, your not the same man you were 5 years ago but we still let you come in the party because we know your quality 😉 . The point is, top players and top quality players perform well when they play with other top players. I mean lets see what happens when they play together before we judge them. Maybe Ozil was frustrated that even though he was still creating chances he would watch them time and time again go sailing over the goal or not converted or Sanchez was frustrated with the fact that players around him weren’t matching his desire and they got beat down.

    Lets see what happens when they are featured together for a string of matches and maybe playing with players of similar quality will re-ignite their flames. Ozil will never and was never a player that relied on physical gifts, yes he has a magical left foot but his futboling IQ is his driving force and that won’t go away and he has shown he is still capable. I mean for as much as people bang on about Ramsey in the FA Cup and you talk about Ozil has been useless the past two season, think about this: the last 2 times we beat Chelsea in a competitive match Ozil was nothing short of sublime and was the driving force in those matches.

    Sanchez has ALWAYS been a player that does things in bursts, yes he scored goals last season but they were in bursts of periods. The point I’m making is that you are judging these players yet Ronaldo has scored 1 goal in La Liga this season and Lukuka is 7 appearances (6 starts and 1 subs) without a goal for club so lets pump the break on players being shit.

  29. C

    You are right about Sanchez doing things in bursts. I still hold out hope because he does have huge upside and may be he can find a spark. Myself, I would keep him in the line up until the transfer window and cross fingers and see what happens. If he does not pick up his form by mid January then we should probably try to dump him.

    Its been 2 years with Ozil and all of the the excuses we come up with to rationalize why his long term poor form is someone else’s fault just don’t hold water any more.

  30. Hi Andy, 🙂

    The C-man is right that quality is the key attribute we need in new players.

    In addition you are quite right too — the ability to jell with the rest of the team is also crucial — but being slightly cynical, I would say that the most important thing is to hope that Arsene agrees with us and goes for quality, and does not bring in a mere ‘roster filler’.

  31. No! No! — I have tried to resist the call of food — but the lads have said they are going for fish and chips nd invited me along.

    Much as I love you all — I gotta go — my stomach gurgling is becoming embarrassing! 😀


  32. HenryB,

    Indeed, we need both quality and a coherent plan. As I think YW said recently in the past we seem to have bought players and thrown them into the mix and hoped that it would work. If only someone at the club could come out and tell us what the vision or the strategy is!

  33. Henry @ 5:31

    “RM have almost always gone for big star players, and young home grown ones seem to lack chances on the whole.”

    Real can’t really take the risk that comes with giving their home grown players a lot of chances in high leverage games because they know Barcelona will buy big players and using inexperienced home growns would put Real at a competitive disadvantage to Barca and the other top teams in the Champions league. We have plenty of evidence to support that theory. If you have enough money to spend you are statistically more likely to have success if you buy and experienced big player

  34. Andy1886,

    If you are talking about Ozil and Sanchez then the answer to your question is yes and when he wants to be. I think Ozil is the player who actually needs and thrives in an environment where there is quality around him because his style of play brings the best out of players; a player that doesn’t necessarily take the team by the scruff of the neck but instead makes everybody around him better and the team as a whole better. Sanchez is the type of player that is more about taking a team by the scruff and with that he will either drive them forward which works perfectly with say an Ozil who will enhance the rest of the players quality or it will divide the team because Sanchez will demand the most of everybody and the players simply aren’t good enough.

    If you ask me, personally I think the combination of Ozil/Lacazette/Sanchez are actually the perfect compliment. You have Sanchez who is the individual who is really good at what he does but also enjoys playing with quality players. You have Lacazette who is the natural goal scorer and the type of player that feeds off of service but can match Sanchez for work rate and then you have Ozil who is the provider but also the one that kinds of makes it all work because of not only the stuff he does on the ball but also the stuff he does off the ball such as make the runs to create space for another.

    Problem is, Arsene loves Ramsey, Iwobi and Giroud and won’t give Lacazette/Ozil/Sanchez a run of matches together to see if what I’m saying and how I and many others think that it can and will work.

  35. Bill,

    Has it really been 2 years for Ozil because I’m going to say nope it hasn’t. Last season in the opening months he was brilliant and he and Sanchez were ripping teams to pieces and then Everton-Citeh happened and the Christmas period he struggled but then the end of the season when we switched to teh 343 he flourished again topping it off with a MOTM worthy performance if not for Mert securing his name in Arsenal folklore with his performance. The year before he was all set to shatter the assist record before Giroud decided to literally stop scoring for the rest of the season, and before you say we can’t really blame Giroud, he was the starting CF so the chances were literally falling to him (remember OZil ended up shattering the chances created and he actually wasn’t taking corners at times) for 15 straight matches.

    Sanchez plays in bursts and if you think about it, it actually makes loads of sense given how he plays.

  36. C @ 8:05

    “The year before he was all set to shatter the assist record before Giroud decided to literally stop scoring for the rest of the season, and before you say we can’t really blame Giroud”

    We can always find excuses and try to shift blame away from our favorite players but at some point they have to take responsibility for their own form. No?

    Ozil went into his current funk somewhere around the holiday period 2015/2016 so its about 22 1/2 months which is close enough to call it 2 years.

  37. C,

    C-you are genuinely blinkered in your thoughts on Özil -you cannot compare him to Rambo as Rambo(since his baaaad injury has not played the number 10 for an elongated period of time.

  38. Two goals for Lacazette as France draw 2 – 2 with Germany, an assist for Ozil. Koscielny an unused sub, Giroud not in the squad.

    Two goals for Iwobi as Nigeria beat Argentina 4 – 2.

  39. I always enjoy watching Brazil play, they’ve got some lovely skills but are not averse to the odd cynical foul and the diving gets to be tiresome. In a more competitive match a less lenient referee might have booked a few more of their players and there could have been at least one red card.

    A good result for a very inexperienced England side, only 34% possession and just two shots on target, but the defence held out and Hart made a couple of crucial saves to earn us a 0 – 0 draw. The two new central defenders, Maguire and especially Gomez, did very well. They even made Stones look good.

    If Southgate sticks with the youngsters the Quarter Finals look possible and who knows, we may go further.

  40. I agree, Orsey, it was a less than scintillating game, even with Brasil playing — but it was a good game for England in terms of keeping to the manager’s tactics, but the midfield was pretty lacking in any attacking quality.

    If Jack was fit, he must be a possibility to provide the forwards with thru balls etc, and with Delli Ali and Kane that could be a much better alternative.

    [Mind you, young Loftus Cheek might have doomed Jack’s chances of an England return.]

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