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Mails: Loftus-Cheek on the right track with Chelsea

Keep your emails coming to…   The Martin O’Neill plan 1. Convince your players that the ball is in fact a member of the opposition team and should be tackled with the same ferocity. 2. Take off your striker on 70 minutes and replace him with your fittest substitute striker, regardless of how the game is going and how it will work out tactically. 3. Bring on a defensive midfielder between 80 and 85 minutes, again regardless of how the game is actually going. If Glenn Whelan is on the bench, bring him on. If he started, leave him on. Always trust in The Glenn. 4. In injury time bring on a lesser known squad member – usually a Championship midfielder – to waste some time. Again, regardless of… You see the pattern here. 5. Pray that nothing happens to James McClean, Shane Duffy or Darren Randolph. Jesus, that was not pretty. However, if at the start of this campaign you had offered me – and all rational Irish fans – a one-off game in Dublin against Denmark to qualify for the World Cup, I would have taken your hand off. That said, it will not be pretty on Tuesday either. And despite our home form in big games being pretty poor this campaign – lost to Serbia, drew with Austria and Wales, one scored, two conceded – this team has proven time and time again that they can grind out results when needed. Therefore, I await the match with (slightly) more hope than optimism. Just Martin, please play Meyler and Hoolahan. Please. John, Ennis   Strangest places to watch football Now that the excitement of England’s 0-0 draw against Germany is dying down, I thought you might want to pad out another interminable international break mailbox with my contribution to the theme of football in unusual locations. In 1995, myself and two mates were backpacking around Southern Africa when we found ourselves with a few days to kill in sunny Harare. Perusing the local newspaper we noticed a small ad in the classifieds, giving the location and time to join a coach to go and see Blackpool FC at an away league fixture that weekend. This was one of Zimbabwe’s top teams at the time (although a Google search now tells me that the sadly disbanded in 2000). We turned up at the address, a dusty industrial estate, and saw a nice smart minibus. We jumped on and started chatting with the guys already on board. They were extremely surprised to see us but really friendly, asking us loads about our trip and life in England. The beers and local spirits were already flowing and before long we were all way more drunk than usual for 10am on a Sunday. All of a sudden this big, filthy, noisy old coach pulled up next to us belching out diesel fumes. It was full of absolute maniacs chanting, drumming and dancing in the aisles, and our new friends told us to get on it and then we’d all head off. Pretty terrified, we asked if we could just travel with them in the minibus. “No sorry guys, you can’t do that – we’re the players!” So after accidentally getting drunk with the team, we had a two hour drive out the sticks, it was madness, drumming and singing the whole way (we were given tambourines and taught to chant god knows what in Shona), we were complete novelties of course and supplied with endless drinks and huge cigarettes rolled in newspaper. The journey back was even crazier, with the hot sun, day drinking and no food taking it’s toll on all. It was the best day of watching football I’ve ever had. And the match? Can’t remember a thing. James, Westcliff-on-Sea   RLC’s time is coming As is often the case I’m forced to write in to address a grievance I have with a mail today. Firstly Chelsea definitely knew they had a ‘rough diamond’ in RLC. So we should have hung on to him this season to play in the squad? Like we did the previous 2 seasons where he was cautiously played and praised by Mourinho and Conte but was a defensive liability and therefore barely got minutes? RLC was a pure box to box midfielder in the youth teams (he would literally carry the ball from penalty spot to penalty spot often finishing it off with a goal and assist). I remember thinking if this kid doesn’t make it no one will – it was like watching a huge powerful man against boys. He struggled initially with the intensity of senior matches and would often be subbed off around 60 minutes. His technique and attacking prowess was never in doubt but Mourinho publicly questioned his work rate after a pre season game – saying RLC preferred watching Mikel and Matic doing the defensive work. Even yesterday I thought he could have pressed Ozil et al a little better which is a small detail but be hugely important to a manager like Conte. Conte seemed to agree with Mourinho and moved him to attacking midfield/second striker in the title winning season where he got limited time in cup competitions. But when you have Fabregas and Willian coming off the bench in a title push you won’t play unless you are good enough and frankly I understand Conte’s reluctance – RLC just didn’t have enough of a hassling harrying presence. If Tottenham had Hazard/Silva, would Dele really have developed so quickly? He wouldn’t have gotten the minutes that’s for sure, but he might’ve been a title winner. The Chelsea thought process was to send him to a Frank de Boer ‘play the right way’ for solid minutes. If he continues to be successful with Bodgson bunging him up on the wing then it truly will be now or never time for his career at Chelsea. In my opinion the timing (most important thing for a young player) is right as he would offer more than Fabregas in a midfield with Kante and Bakayoko (because Bakayoko he is NOT). His range of passing while decent is a ways off Fab but he will create as much space with his surging runs. RLC has always been the great hope of the Chelsea academy system and he’s still on track. Saaj (CFC)   Who would play managers in a movie? After watching Johnny English Reborn today it would be a travesty if Rowan Atkinson didn’t ever play a role of Jose Mourinho...


Published By: Fottball 365 - Sunday, 12 November, 2017

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