Looking at Jack Wilshere’s U21 Call-Up From All Angles

“I will never say no to my country.”

So Jack Wilshere has vowed.

We all know the story by now. The European U21 Championship takes place this summer. Stuart Pearce has included Wilshere in his provisional 40-man squad for the trip to Denmark in June, there is absolutely no doubt he will make the squad and the starting XI. As you all know (in case my username isn’t a giveaway) I am Irish so I come at this 100% from an Arsenal point of view and want Jack to rest up and play the tourney on his Xbox this summer. However, I respect that the majority here are English, and while a lot, if not all, would put club over country in this case, that you want your country to do as well as possible, and having Wilshere in the squad will do that. Instead of rambling on, I will set out the arguments each side has for Jack going or staying.

Arsene Wenger — Arsenal

Jack Wilshere is 19 years old and has had his first full season as a senior starter under his belt. He has played 52 (FIFTY TWO!!) times for his club and country already this season. That would take the wind out of the best of seasoned players, never mind a young man who is barely old enough not to be called a teenager. During this time, he has taken on massive responsibility in our midfield. Personally, I can’t remember why he came into the squad, was it an injury? Was it because he did so well at Bolton? Was it tactical? All I know is he came in and played like he has been a senior for years. Playing against the likes of Xavi and Iniesta, and with the likes of Fabregas and Rooney (for England) hasn’t daunted him. He demands the ball, and he is not shy in trying to win it.

So Wenger has one question to ask himself when pondering Jack’s trip to Denmark; “What will he learn?” The answer is “nothing.” He already has all the technical ability, he won’t learn from those around him or those he is up against. He is already considered a main player for Arsenal so will not upgrade his responsibility chart. All Wenger cares about is Arsenal, and Wilshere’s trip to Denmark is nothing but a headache to him.

Stuart Pearce — England 

Just as Wenger’s considerations are all about Arsenal, so Stuart Pearce’s are all about England’s U21. He is not managing them to be friends with club managers, he is there to get the best out of who he can select, and Jack Wilshere is the best he can select. Pearce’s argument is very easy to see, yes he realizes that Jack has played a lot this season, but he also realizes that Jack is one of the best young talents in world football right now and not taking him would be madness. If Wilshere is tired after the tournament its not Pearce’s problem but Wenger’s, of course it could also be Capello’s problem. What is good for the England U21s might not be good for the Senior squad. What good will an exhausted Jack Wilshere be to you in Poland and the Ukraine next year?

Jack Wilshere

There is no doubting this is a fine young man we have on our hands at Arsenal. There was some stories early last season that he was getting a bit big for his boots, a few months at Bolton sorted that out (one of Wenger’s best loan decisions in my opinion) and you know he will always give a 100% for whoever he plays for, and he wants to play for England. Following his Twitter, Jack takes huge pride in being English, and unlike some other players who will claim man flu to get out of an international game, Jack will play whenever and wherever needed.

He sees the tournament in Denmark as a major one and one where he can lead his country. He is playing as well these last few weeks as he had been at the start so obviously he doesn’t feel tired, however its how he feels after the tournament that matters. It would be very sad that a young man who wants to do right by his country could set his career back a bit next season by getting exhausted and perhaps dropped by Wenger for the first few games.

Hopefully it doesn’t come to this. I  fully expect Jack to be in Denmark in June and in the starting XI, and while I wish England’s U21s all the best, I won’t hide my happiness if they get knocked out early and Jack is on the beach having a nice rest for the remainder of the summer.

Written by Irishgunner


122 Responses to Looking at Jack Wilshere’s U21 Call-Up From All Angles

  1. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning Irish and everyone,

    This is an intersting dilemma, Pearce has come out and said Jack wants to play, I’m not surprised, when I was 19 I didn’t know what was best for me either, and had I listened to those who cared about me I probably wouldn’t have made so many foolish mistakes.

    Pearce also uses Theo as an example saying he took him to Euro and that Wenger said he shouldn’t go because of the next season and the World Cup in 2010, Pearce uses the fact that he didn’t go to the World Cup as a “you never know the future so seize the day” justification. Failing to see that the reason that Theo did not make the World Cup was because last year he suffered burnout after the lack of break.

    We have all seen this year how heavy legged our “senior players” who went deep into the World Cup have been coming towards the end of the season and how many injuries they have picked up.

    Yet Theo and Samir Nasri started like rockets with a long rest behind them.

    As for Pearce he could have picked Rooney in 2009 he didn’t…why because he was established Senior squad player, well Wilshere is established in the senior squad, Capello talks about building a team round him, so why oh why is he being asked to represent the U21’s, its supposed to be a learning curve for players to develop, Wilshere is there already, no need to win trophies at U21’s no one remembers them, they are merely used as a stick to beat the team with when they get to senior level (Portugal of Figo for example)

    As a straw that broke the camels back Jack has also said he would like to represent GB at the Olympics in 2012, the boy just wants to play football, sometimes the boys don’t know whats good for them.

  2. Red Arse says:

    Nice one Irish, 🙂

    Well argued and nearly drawn comparisons of the different drivers affecting these selection decisions.

    GIE, and others are right. When you are young you feel indefatigable and that you could play two games a day, with a break for tea.
    He will eventually learn that is an illusion, but in the meantime standbye for some tears.

    Pearce does not come out of this too well. It is all very well to say he only has the interests of the U21’s at heart, but he also has his own self interests very much to the fore too.

    A winning U21’s team bolsters his reputation, and could see him become the new England manager, a losing U21’s would show up his managerial skills in a bad light.

    To gainsay this, Mr Pearce, would be hypocritical!

  3. Morning all

    Thanks Irish for the post.

    Clearly Stuart Pearce is the fool here for choosing to include Jack Wilshere in the squad. He’s only thinking of himself and his own future – Capello should have told him ‘hands off’ Jack even before AW had the chance to.

    Of course Jack wants to play in the tournament but as GiE says young men don’t always know what’s best for them.

  4. Have a read of the automatically generated post ‘What next for Wilshire?’ – its just under the post above. It was writen by BigRaddy on May 5th 2010 🙂

    Also Irishgunner wrote a great post on Jack earlier in the season – I’ll go find it.

  5. Harry says:

    Morning all, great debate IG……

    I listened to Pearce have his interview live on talkshite the other day when travelling in the car….

    I do think in a way, more of this is getting made than is needed as usual in the land of the pressmuppets…

    Pearce made some interesting comments and justified to a point why Jack would be included, he cited similaraties with Spain using Bojan and Mata…..

    He did mentioned about that theo didnt make the world cup squad as expected and as such would have been wasted if not used in the u21 the year before…etc

    My stance is that once a player is a firm fixture in the england senior squad then, they should stop been selected by england u21…..

    At the moment he is a squad member, but not firm fixture, nearly but not quite…..

    With Jack himself stating he wants to go, then i would say go, this is your last u21 tournament…My caveat would be that the first england friendly in august, he should not play…..

    Regards to the Olympics, too early to discuss.

    We all have to be pragmatic here, the hard bit is controlling jacks urge to play every game….

    Next season wenger will be able to rotate JW and AR more…….

  6. chas says:

    Nice post, Irish. I imagine everone will agree with its sentiments.
    52 games is a heck of a lot. Let’s hope

    Cesc Fabregas appearance record
    starting with 2004-05 and ending with this season: 46, 50, 54, 45, 33, 36, 35

  7. chas says:

    oops pressed post comment to early…

    Let’s hope Jack’s Arsenal appearance record doesn’t deteriorate as Fab4’s has.

  8. chas says:

    * too early
    more coffee required, methinks.

  9. Rasp says:


    Thanks for the balanced insight Irish. Only time will tell, but in 2 years we could be bemoaning the fact that Cesc played too much football too young and is now only likely to play half a season. It happened with Michael Owen, it could happen with Jack.

    Obviously he is ambitious and hungry to play but his managers have to nurture his talent. He should not play for the under 21’s. Capello should get on the phone to Pearce and say he’s a senior player now and the country needs to have him fresh for the Euro’s.

    I believe that club managers should have the final say over whether a player is available for his country. We know AW is a fair man, but I am sure he’s unhappy at LJ playing for both the under 21 and senior sides.

  10. Wonderman says:

    Hi Irish Gunner an excellently presented post and I look forward to the debate.

    Being a gooner I obviously would prefer Jack to rest this season in preparation for next season. If i’m honest I only ever watch England if there is an arsenal player involved. Make no mistake this whole episode is one of self interest.
    On every FA Course you go on they talk about Long Term Player Development which includes amongst other things the danger of a player playing too much football and the potential consequences, on this point I feel the FA have ignored their own philosophy. Stuart Pearce has no vested interest in Jack Wilshere’s long term health he just wants to win a tournament for his own career progression

    I also dont buy into a system that allows a player to yo yo from Full international to under 21 and back, especially when this player is in a top 4 club and has played in the champions league !!!. I find the situation even more farcical as there is a Chelsea player called Mceachran who i’m told plays in the same position and who has not played much for his club this season whose development will surely be arrested by the use of Wilshere

    However what I will say the u21’s is probably filled with lots of Jack’s mate’s and no doubt he would be gutted to miss out on the antics that these tournament no doubt produce. I would also add that tomorrow belongs to no one and on that basis Jack should take advantage of the opportunity

  11. Morning chas

    Fab’s appearances make interesting reading and I’m sure that most of us would prefer Jack to not experience the same sort of injury/burn out that Cesc has.

  12. tommystout says:

    Morning Irish, Its good to see you writing again.
    This topic is a difficult one because I can see each point made from each side.
    Having said that though, I see what that tourney did to Theo and I am swamped in caution.
    To my mind the organisers, the authorities get this one wrong. The rules make this dilemma possible, so until the rules change then we are going to always have this problem. The competition should run when the senior competition runs, that way the player is selected for one or the other.
    Better still once a player has reached the senior squad then he shouldn’t be allowed to back track, that way the Capelli and Pierse would have to work together and not jeopardise one another’s competition.
    But what irks me most of all about this debate, is when people get on Arsene’s case – butt out stirrers, who pays the effin wages.

  13. Good point tommy about the competition running in the same years as other major tournaments then the players couldn’t be used for under 21 squads and senior squads.

    Wonderman – I agree with you that as much as playing, Jack also doesn’t want to miss out on the fun of being with his mates.

  14. tommystout says:

    Thanks Peaches
    Jack is too young to do the sensible thing, he’d probably play for the U19s given chance if there was a comp somewhere in the peripheral. He just wants to play.
    Michael Owen is a great example to use in this debate for the argument against.

  15. Red Arse says:

    Well said Tommy. 🙂

    The argument Pearce has put forward about the Spanish U21’s and their full International side being a progression, has also been put forward for the Germany teams.

    In neither case, to my knowledge, has this resulted in ‘full’ team players being yo yo’d between the senior and junior teams.

    Pearce is like someone who borrows a neighbours Aston Martin (we are talking about multi-millionaires here) 🙂 and running it into the ground, without a care for the original cost of the car or its future maintenance, and simply returning it knackered and expecting the owner to ‘fix it up’.

    He was a crap club manager and he is now showing that leopards do not change their spots, despite his high moral claptrap.

  16. tommystout says:

    Thanks Red.

  17. Red Arse says:

    Hi Wonderman, 🙂

    We seem to be in overall agreement on this one.

    You are right in pointing out that Jack will see any tournament as a chance to get together with his mates for a laugh, as well as to play in the competition.

    That does not hold water with me, I am afraid.
    Jack is a professional sportsman, paid a great deal of money by his club, and he owes them an obligation to behave professionally and give them his best.

    If I, or any professional, took on more clients at a time than I could reasonably cope with, and my work deteriorated as a result, there would only be one end result. Finito! There can be no argument, surely?

  18. WiganGooner says:

    I remember being 19 and playing a footy match on the Saturday morning then Sunday morning and then Sunday afternoon.

    It didn’t phase me at all because I just loved playing and loved the competition. As has already been said, at 19 you don’t know your body and you just think you are bulletproof.

    Pearce is being a bell-end about it because he wants to win the u21 Championships to then have a shot at the full England manager job.

    He knows Jack will be a great springboard towards that goal.

    He’s not stupid, he’s stubborn, ambitious and arrogant. In many ways like Arsene himself and perhaps that is part of the problem.

    If I was Arsene, the second I know I don’t need to rely on Wilshire I’d send him off for a short break before his call up and then tell him not to come back until mid September.

    I know we lose him for the start of the season, but better that and he’s good for the run-in than dying on his feet in Feb or worse, getting a bad injury due to fatigue.


  19. Wonderman says:

    Morning RA,

    You must be an accountant!! lol But I would argue the following
    a) Most professionals are not on high yielding long term contracts which ‘shield them’ from the deterioration factor you mention. If jack becomes fatigued he wont get the sack
    b) How many 19 year olds do you know that have an overriding sense of obligation ?

  20. mickydidit89 says:

    Great topic Irish, and nicely put.
    When my mate Charlie and I were fourteen, Charlie had to shave at least three times a day and was just plain old. He was also very good at football. He played in the U18’s, while I played in the U15’s. Charlie did not play in both.
    England, and England U21, are the same team. You should play for one, not both.

  21. mickydidit89 says:

    I do wish Rayne Wooney would bun out, and I would never have to see his ugly mug again. Nothing short of offensive that yob.

  22. mickydidit89 says:

    I am clearly not having the desired effect. I will grow up and come back later. Later.

  23. I know Wilshere should get some rest but I’d like to ask all footballers a question. There are so many other sports where you don’t get as much rest as footballers but still don’t complain. I’m not a fan of cricket(in fact I don’t like it at all!) but the thing is those players play around 100 matches every year. They are of high intensity and anyone who think that effort put in football is more, just check out Test Cricket. Players play for 5 consecutive days(6-7 hours every day). One point to argue this is the injuries Jack might suffer during the summer but is it the players’ minds where they feel tired. I know Stuart Pearce is useless and has no brains. But I’d want to know from the fans about my argument.
    Btw, There’s a new article I’ve written:
    Please have a look at it!

  24. mickydidit89 says:

    I think that’s a little unfair. Cricketers are either sitting in that little house next to the grass, or standing around on it wearing shades and sun hats. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about, I used to play at Long Stop and spent three hours making daisy chains. Not exactly a hard days’ work.

  25. Oooooh micky – you’ll be in trouble with the men in white for that comment 😆

  26. goonermichael says:

    Jack will probably get called up for the olympic squad as well.

  27. Maybe he’ll take up cricket in his spare time

  28. I know that many cricketers sit out enjoying themselves but what about the wicketkeepers who play all the time.
    Being in India, cricket knowledge comes to you even if u don’t want it 🙂

  29. Red Arse says:


    Sadly, I am an accountant, you have sussed me out. 🙂

    I know I was whistling in the air about Jack (and all other footballers) behaving with a degree of responsibility to both their paymasters and us fans.

    My call to young ‘professional’ footballers to understand that they have an obligation to display a professional attitude would, in the main, clearly fall on deaf ears, but that does not excuse Mr Hypocrite Pearce from showing some integrity and considering the unarguable needs of others, and not just himself.

  30. Red Arse says:


    Did you say the men in white are coming for my friend Micky? 🙂

  31. I thought it was quite clever of me 😳

    How are you RA, haven’t chatted for a while …..

  32. RA – I think you’re spot on with your comment about the young footballers failing to understand their responsibilities but Stuart Pearce should know better and has superiors to point that out to him surely.

  33. Wonderman mentioned earlier about how the FA talk about Long Term Development of players, is there no-one at the FA prepared to stand up and say it can’t be right for JW, after the season he’s had, to play in this tournament.

  34. Wonderman says:

    RA….it takes one to know one lol!!! I completely agree with your stance on Stuart Pearce he is a hypocrite , but then it is his arse on the line. I find it a strange situation because it isnt as if he is being lined up as the next England senior manager

  35. Red Arse says:

    Hi Peach,

    I never have much of interest to say, so I presumed that’s why you, Rasper and the delectable Evonne never talk to me. Very wise! 🙂

    In addition, (20-5+8+3) also seems to have disappeared from my life, and if you can’t argue with a flippin’ lawyer ….. well what is the blogging world coming to? 🙂

  36. dandan says:

    I would take issue with Pearce not being stupid, having listened to him talk he is hardly brain of Britain. An electrician who came into football late he played under Brian Clough I could see Cloughie standing idly by whilst one of his players was abused or his authority challenged.
    It was not just for his commitment on the field Pearce was called Psycho, ask some of his former players, his lack of acknowledgement to the damage done to young Theo by his insistence on picking him last time, only underwrites the obvious, that it is only Stuart Pearce’s future career that matters. After all electricians have to work to European rules and regs. now, so he cant go back to that as he is out of date there too.

  37. Red Arse says:


    I am sure Pearce lives in hope.

    He got the job, I understand, because the FA powers that be, wanted ‘continuity’ with the intention of appointing an English manager.

    I am not interested in the England team, but god help them if politics determines that a no-hoper like Pearce gets the job!

  38. Red Arse says:

    Dandan, 🙂

  39. Big Raddy says:

    I have to be the dissenting voice on this one – I think JW should play.

    The U-21’s have a very good chance of winning the tournament as most top sides have been knocked out. This will be a huge boost to JW and make him a Winner.

    England will play only 5 games in 15 days – if they reach the final

    This has some bearing upon our Olympic qualification (but what I am not entirely sure!). And this team will be sure to represent GB in 2012. They need pitch time.

    I think it is very important to have AFC players in the England team. It still represents the pinnacle of achievement for a player. JW may well be good enough to play at adult level, but this remains a high profile tournament and as such we should be represented.

    And I get the chance to see the lads in the flesh (though they are playing all the games outside of Copenhagen).

    Lastly, we have the players to coverJW for the early part of next season. He can take a rest post-tournament.

  40. dandan says:

    Bit of a Stuart Pearce there BR, vested interest and all that. 🙂

  41. Big Raddy says:

    Is there really a proposal that Pearce should be England manager? Impossible. The man cannot write his name!

    His tenure at MC is proof of his meagre management skills. His MC team score the lowest total ever in the PL and did not score at home at all after Xmas!

  42. Come off it Raddy, you just want the chance to go and cheer England when they’re playing down the road 🙂

    …… and wear a Wilshere shirt 😆

  43. Big Raddy says:


    Take out the selfish aspect 🙂 and my comment remains my viewpoint.

  44. London says:

    We do all realise that Wilshere has not choice but to say he wants to play for England don’t we?

    He is still in the early stages of his international career and one little slip, just the merest hint that he is not 100% committed to everything England and the press would have a field day in destroying him. Just think about that for a moment: if you listen carefully you can hear Adrian Durham accusing Wilshere of being an unpatriotic sudo Arsenal Frenchie and many others would jump on that band wagon.

    Pierce, as most people have pointed out, also has little choice, his job is to try and win the tournament and to do that he needs the best players he can get.

    I don’t have the answer but there is one thing I disagree with and that is that Walcott suffered from playing in that under 21 tournament — absolute tosh he was average before and he was average after; he never got picked to go to the World Cup because he wasn’t good enough.

  45. Gooner in Exile says:

    The person I feel sorry for in this situation is Arsene. We know full well that if Pearce had picked Rooney in 2009 (he was still eligible) Fergie would have told him he was injured and if he didn’t accept that would have sent Neville to make sure he was injured come the next training session.

    If Wenger refuses Jack the opportunity Jack will hold it against him.

    Wonderman raises a good point about Mchechran, not that I’m worried about his development but England should be. If Jack had played maybe 30 games for us and been on the fringes of the senior England team I would have no issue with him going.

    The fact that Capello played him in the Wales qualifier is enough to say he should not feature add the games he has played for us and he definitely shouldn’t.

  46. 26may1989 says:

    I’m here Senor Arse, ready for a good barny!

    Except I don’t think I can create much of a row here – hats off to Raddy for trying, but it’s just so obvious. As Irish says in her excellent post, Wilshere is now an England first teamer and will need a rest at some point in 2012, so shouldn’t even be in this prelim squad.

    Despite his very poor management track record (Forest relegated before he quit, City almost relegated before he was sacked), I do agree with Pearce that next summer’s competition in Denmark is important, and he’s right to point to the record of the likes of Holland, Germany, Spain and Portugal and the benefits success at U21 level later yielded for the senior side. But that isn’t enough to justify risking a player’s fitness and development when he happens to have done well enough, early enough to establish himself for the England Seniors. I thought Exile’s reference to Rooney not being picked by Pearce was especially telling – Pearce, for all his fist-pumping machismo, is just too scared of Fergie to ever have had the balls to try getting Shrek to turn out for the U21s.

    Listening to someone of such limited managerial talents as Pearce bitch about Wenger, who has more coaching talent, experience and understanding than Pearce could muster in a hundred lifetimes, really gets me going. And the ironic thing in all this is that Wenger is in fact not only trying to protect Arsenal’s position, he’s also trying to protect England’s, both in the short term (big Euro qualifying games in September) and the long term (for which Wilshere should be a major element). Pearce’s reference to Walcott is especially galling: Pearce’s insistence on taking Theo to a tournament when Theo should have been resting, was part of the reason Walcott wasn’t picked for the World Cup squad (though even Capello now admits that was a cock-up).

    Of course Wilshere could (should) say he is honoured to be included in the prelim squad but is mindful of the need for a rest at some point, and whenever it comes, that should take priority. But he’s unlikely to say that publicly, it’s bad PR and he can let Wenger fight his battles for him, taking all the flak along the way. I imagine Wilshere might say something quietly about it when the final squad is being considered, if he’s got his head screwed on right, but no more than that.

    In the end, I bet Wilshere doesn’t go to Denmark (sorry Raddy). I expect Pearce (and by extension, Capello) just want to make sure they get their message across in the perpetual club vs country argument. But even if my optimism proves well-founded, it is bloody annoying to have to go through all this.

    I really do despair of the current management of England. I’m no zealot but I like to see England doing well at all levels. I just think the current regime is very poor, and is a long way from putting all the England teams in a position where we might see them emulate the fantastic young German side we saw in South Africa.

  47. Red Arse says:

    Hi 26, 🙂

    Can’t see anything in your comment to disagree with.

    Aside from the – should Jack play for both the U21’s and the England senior team, or not, issue – I think you have summed up my irritation with all this by rightly identifying Pearce’s poor management skills and public criticism of AW, which has allowed this to become an issue, where neither Jack nor Arsene can win, whatever they do, is what has really stuck in my craw.

    The man is an arrogant, egotistical tart!

  48. 26may1989 says:

    I take it others saw Ryan Shawcross making Sunday all about his battle with those mean, nasty, aggressive Arsenal fans, who always boo poor Weeping Ryan. Forget the fact that it’s the not the first time he’ll be playing against us since Ramsey’s leg was almost taken off, and that Sunday’s game is a home one for him, so most of the fans attending will be on his side; we just needed to be reminded that it’s all about good, decent, very English Ryan.

    Oh spare me, what a crock of shit.

  49. RockyLives says:

    Very well balanced article Irish.

    My take is that I don’t blame Pearce for wanting to take JW. He wants to win the tournament and wants the best players to help him do so.

    I do blame Capello for not ‘having a word’ with him (and the rules for allowing this ridiculous situation).

    I fully expect Jack to be more injury prone next season and miss more of our games if he does not get a good long rest.

    Finally, the idea that even if Pearce’s team win the tourney he might have a chance of managing the full England team is laughable. The man is thick. Does anyone remember that former England U21 coach who had an incredible unbeaten record with the juniors. When he stepped into club management (taking over Leicester after O’Neill left) it was a disaster. Can’t remember his name – Steve somebody?

  50. 26may1989 says:

    I take it you mean Peter Taylor, Rocky? He was pants at Leicester but I quite like him.

  51. trueg00ner says:

    Rocky it was Peter Taylor, spent a fortune on players like Ade Akinbaye

  52. RockyLives says:

    Thanks 26may and trueg
    That’s what I meant – Steve Peter Taylor 🙂
    I remember I liked him a lot (he seemed a lot more decent and intelligent than Pearce), but the point is that his success with the U21s just didn’t translate into success in the ‘real world’.
    Frankly I doubt if anyone at the FA would seriously consider Pearce for the senior job regardless of what happens this summer. He’s there as a token of ‘Englishness’ to damp down the criticism (in some quarters) of us having a non-English manager.

  53. 26may1989 says:

    You’re right Rocky, Pearce is a token. I really don’t care where the England manager is from, it’s about quality. And right now, instead of a rubbish English manager, we’ve got a rubbish (and wildly expensive) Italian manager. I’m sure Redknapp’s a shoo-in next time though.

  54. RockyLives says:

    You’re probably right about ‘Arry (if he’s not being entertained by Her Maj). It makes me laugh – he finally gets a massively expensive squad into the ECL, buys yet more players, then, the following season, drops right out again (all being well 🙂 ) and gets dumped out of all the cup competitions (in a quite humiliating way in some cases). Yet the media love him and think Arsene’s lost it.
    We live in a mixed-up topsy-turvy world…

  55. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rocky, 🙂

    I remember Steve Peter Taylor, the ex-Spurs player very well! 🙂

    Trevor -thick as a plank too’- Brooking was Pearce’s mentor, at the time of his appointment.
    He was full of the ‘continuity/English manager claptrap, and being Red -‘too cynical for my own good’- Arse, I still think the evil of politics will have its stinky say. 🙂

  56. chas says:

    yeah, but he snapped up VdV for a snip and was manager of chimp of the year, Rocky. 🙂

  57. RockyLives says:

    chimp of the year 😀

  58. 26may1989 says:

    I still don’t understand how the Twitcher got van der Vaarty Pants so cheaply – anyone would think there was something dodgy about that transaction….

    Rocky at 3.40pm, on the button there matey. Plus, with Pool vs Spuds still to come, looks a good bet that our North London chums will miss out on Euro footy completely next season.

  59. RockyLives says:

    “Maybe he’ll take up cricket in his spare time” made me laugh out loud (or LOL, as I believe the young people would have it).

  60. RockyLives says:

    They’ve got to play ‘Pool and Citeh, so there won’t be many air miles getting clocked up at Shite Hart Lane next year…

  61. Big Raddy says:

    26. I bet Peaches new house that JW travels to Denmark.

    RL. Harry is a crap manager who inherited a team on the turn. The only reason I would like to see him as England manager is to see him fall flat on his face (again) and also to see the Spurs fans mewling and puking.

    The last decent England manager was Terry Venables and the FA got rid of him. Robson got lucky with his team which included Barnes, Gazza, Shilts, PLatt, Beardsley and Lineker.

    The media love HArry because he probably reads the Mirror & Sun whereas AW would be a Guardian man and thus the target of suspicion (and he is a garlic ridden, surrender monkey of a Frenchman)

  62. RockyLives says:

    Spot on, but surely, for Arsene, it’s Le Monde?

  63. Big Raddy says:

    “Spurs are watching East Enders”. Just like the old days – the world has returned to it’s natural order 🙂

  64. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Or the Asahi Shimbun …

  65. RockyLives says:

    I’m sure I had a pint of that last night in our local sushi place…

  66. Red Arse says:


    I read that Real had quoted £22m for him in the Summer, (V der Fart could not get a game all season)and the Italians (Ac Milan/Juventus) were quibbling with them.

    On the last day of the transfer window, Levy was in Spain, trying, unsuccessfully, to buy a forward. When the Italian deal fell thru’ Madrid, in desperation to off load, offered Levy Van the Fart for a knockdown £8m.

    Good player, but inconsistent!

  67. Red Arse says:


    I think you are supposed to smear the Shimbun all over your nether regions.

    Domo arrigato! 🙂

  68. Red Arse says:

    There is a very strong rumour going around, another one I have invented.

    Apparently Bladder’s public conversion to goal line technology is not what it seems.

    He has decided that having up to 6 cameras focussed on the goal line is too complicated.
    So instead, he is pushing for a white goal line that can be moved up to 2 feet either way at the push of a button.

    He guarantees there will be no further controversy with this system, and SAF can bung the operator ‘a drink’ so that will keep him quiet too, when Manure need a goal.

    Seemples! 🙂

  69. Red Arse says:


    I have got to stop practising hypnotism. Everytime I hit the keyboard you lot go into a trance! 🙂

    Toodle pip, until someone wakes up.

  70. RockyLives says:

    It’s the rigours of blogging while actually “at work” Redders. Have to occasionally disappear to appear busy, then pop back in as and when a free moment presents itself.

  71. RockyLives says:

    I think Blatter feels there’s less need for new technology now that his new rule about teams who play Barca only being allowed 10 men is working so effectively.

  72. Irishgunner says:

    Evening all,

    Glad the post got a bit of a debate going, have to give credit for Peaches for the topic.

    I can’t remember who said it, but I like the idea of underage tournaments happening at the same time as senior ones, but then I suppose they would be worried that they wouldn’t get any coverage?

    As for the underage tournaments being a spring board for success and creating winners, the Rep.Ireland won 2 underage tournaments back to back and our “golden age” didn’t really turn out as such…

  73. Big Raddy says:

    Irish. It worked for Spain.

    And for both Brazil and Argentina and to a certain extent Nigeria.

    Very little news on the AFC front … a

  74. Irishgunner says:

    That’s very true BR, and England have some good young players coming up, Wilshere, Gibbs and Carroll have all the abilities to be world class.

    “The Dutch media report that Oğuzhan Özyakup has rejected Arsenal’s latest contract offer and will now be leaving the club this summer.” – from Young Guns

  75. Gooner In Exile says:

    Just a quick mention for some of the twitter banter today between our players (and one old one):

    Wilshere : I wonder what @EmmanuelF4 is doing today…probably in bed recovering from the run around i gave him in training yesterday Hope your ok mate

    Frimpong : Okok I Admit I was given the round around by @jack_wilshere but when am proper fit he wnt be Talking too much as I will b kickin him

    Which I thought was funny in its own right but then Evina (released to Oldham in January this year) got involved:

    Evina : @jack_wilshere steady u broke my ankle cos I was wayy to quick for u n the only way u cud get near me was to foul me haha

    Wilshere : That is true @ceddy_16 but you was lucky you was quick because you had to be quick to catch that first touch of yours!!!! Haha

    Evina : @jack_wilshere haha being quick has it advantages init lool 😛 u wud kill for my pace wilsh haha

    Now I raise this as I have often heard some of our old players talk about time spent around Colney and the lack of atmosphere around the place (ie ribbing and banter). It certainly seems our younger players have it, and they display it on Twitter too. Honorourable mention goes to Lansbury for his pop at Sagna on Twitter:

    Lansbury : Just seen worm head @Sagnaofficial thinks he’s sexy ahaha !

    Sagna : @henri_lansbury aha lucky it come from u “loco” otherwise i would have been crying at this time ☺☺ do you still want this brain you ordered?

  76. Gooner in Exile says:

    ““The Dutch media report that Oğuzhan Özyakup has rejected Arsenal’s latest contract offer and will now be leaving the club this summer.” – from Young Guns

    Doesn’t suggest we’re paying as much as some would believe…but then how are the Dutch press for writing non stories?

  77. Big Raddy says:

    What chance has he realistically got of getting a regular first team berth?

    If I was his agent, I would advise him to leave.

  78. Red Arse the Hypnotist says:


    That sounds like a bit of face saving by his agent, to me.
    When I have seen Ozyakup play he has looked OK, but nothing more than that.

    Not sure Liam Brady was that bothered, or at least not above a certain contract cost.

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Irishgunner

    I enjoyed reading your post. I am with Big Raddy though: if he were to get injured, or got just tired out, then we have the squad to replace him at the start of the season.

    There are plusses and minusses to whether he should go or not, but who is to say what is best?

    Let Jack go out there and enjoy himself. When you are as young as Jack, three months without football feels like forever. What is so great about Jack is his real desire to play football, and if he wants to play he should go and represent his country…. and as long as he is playing football he is not doing silly things….

  80. Irishgunner says:

    Fine points made TotalArsenal, I am just worried that playing too much will see him rack up the niggly injuries, but sadly Rambo has shown that bad injuries can happen anyway.

  81. goonermichael says:

    Have we got the squad to cover Jack and Cesc?

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    It is almost inevitable Irishgunner that Jack will get injured at some point, and I worry about that too. But, that’s life! On the other hand, is it not great that he seems to know what he wants so well, and at such an early age… a sign of future greatness??

  83. TotalArsenal says:

    Goonermichael, are you assuming Cesc will be sold this summer? If so, then yes Cesc and Jack out would be too much. But if we were to sell Cesc then surely we will replace him with an experienced (D)Midfielder such as Van Bommel, Gatuso or even Seedorf, who will help the likes of Frimmpong, Jack, Rambo and Lansbury to develop their incredible full potential.

    I dont think we should put too much expectation and weight on Jack anyway. If Cesc goes, Jack should not be the one to take over from him: that would just be too early in my humble opinion.

  84. goonermichael says:

    I hope we do buy an experienced midfielder. From what I’ve seen of him Frimpong looks a good prospect for the future. Michael Essien rates him and has been trying to get him to commit to Ghana.

  85. TotalArsenal says:

    Until his big injury, after which he simply has not been anywhere near his very best, I thought Essien was the best DM in Europe. An absolute beast of a player who made life very easy for fat Frank and co. I would love it if he came to Arsenal: he would be the missing piece of jigsaw in our midfield: Song, Essien, Nasri, Jack and Theo and RVP upfront… But that dream wont happen, maybe we can tempt Van Bommel or Seedorf..

  86. Carlito11 says:

    Evening all. Thanks for the excellent post Irish. I think you made it clear that there are very different drivers for the different camps. You may have been a bit charitable to Pearce, barely mentioning the self-serving stupidity of having a senior player in the squad and, as Wonderman pointed out, ripping up the FAs own rule book on long term development of players. I wish Jack would see the wisdom in what Cesc is saying to him and even look into the recent case of Theo, who had a poor season pre-world cup because he hadn’t had a proper off season due to the U21s tourney the year before, and who played a blinder like Nasri after having the summer off. Both those players also had something to prove of course, so it may not have just been fitness…
    GiE- love the banter between players- thought Sagna’s comeback was ace! “do you still want this brain you ordered?” 😀 Quality!

  87. Carlito11 says:

    Having just read through the comments fully I now see that I have added nothing to the debate- and merely look like I am stating other people’s opinions as my own! 😳

  88. 26may1989 says:

    What’s wrong with that Carlito, they should be pleased to be copied!

    I’d be delighted if we acquired an experienced midfielder this summer. But van Bommel, Seedorf and Gatuso are three over the hill candidates I’d not want to see joining, we can do much better than that.

  89. Carlito11 says:

    26M- agree with that- would have loved Seedorf 5 years ago- what a player he still is but his pace left him completely 2 seasons ago. Such an intelligent player though- his reading of the game was a joy to behold but surely this will be his last season. Is he not about 38!! Gattuso is the right kind of player- would have been a great replacement for PV attitudewise though not half the player skillswise- but again must be mid thirties by now…

  90. Carlito11 says:

    26M- I noticed you had your old famous red and white avatar earlier but you’ve ditched it for your neon green recent away kit again now!

  91. TotalArsenal says:

    C11 & 26M, have you watched Seedorf recently? He is still fit – looks well after himself and just became 35. We just need a whiley old fox among the young wild dogs, somebody who has won things, is an extravert on the pitch, somebody who shouts and screams at players when they are not pulling their weight, and puts a hand on their shoulders when support is needed. Just for a season, maybe two. Van Bommel just became 34 and would transform the team.

  92. 26may1989 says:

    Hi Total: Yup, have seen Seedorf play recently. He’s still got a fantastic football brain but his pace is completely gone – looks like he can just about cope with the pace of Italian football but didn’t look too comfortable against Spurs. Also, I’ve never noticed him being much of a shouter. But if we could dial back 4 or 5 years, I’d definitely want him to join.

    Carlito: If only I had control over my avatar. Oh yes, I do, I’m just too lazy to get it sorted. Sorry for the random changes though.

  93. Gooner in Exile says:

    TotalArsenal I was with you until we got to the Van Bommell bit. Can you run that past me again?

    The problem with older players is that if they don’t want to play or haven’t played football the Wenger way it will be difficult for them to adjust into the side.

    Let’s face it most of the ideal candidates are at big clubs already, we won’t spend the money required to get them away so we are going to have to hope Wenger or his scouts already have the players in mind.

    I’d take a few of the German national side at the drop of a hat.

    I’d also take Pavlovachenko (sp? 😉 ) probably the only Spud I’d take.

  94. 26may1989 says:

    Interesting Exile, Pavlyuchenko eh? Blows hot and cold too much for my taste, can score pretty goals, but seems utterly out of things often. I’d happily take any of the top three at WHL (Modric, vdV and Bale), Dawson or Assou-Ekotto.

  95. Gooner in Exile says:

    He may blow hot and cold for them. But in my opinion he has an uncanny knack of finding himself in the right position to score.

    Would probably not be a starter but a sub with an eye for goal who gets himself in goalscoring positions and finds space in the 18 yd box when there doesn’t appear to be any. Think he would suit the way we play.

    I’d take Modric I guess, couldn’t take the other two. VdV has been found wanting in second half of season and Bale is all pace no close ball control.

  96. mickydidit89 says:

    It is just feels good to say: “I wouldn’t take Bale” 🙂

  97. mickydidit89 says:

    How about: “I would like Bale as back up”.

  98. Big Raddy says:

    Bale has been the Spurs Chamakh.

    A superb start to the season, a slight injury and then anonymous after Xmas.

  99. chas says:

    I know we must beat Stoke, but I can’t really see how we can lose from the outcome of the manyoo v chavs game.

    1)manyoo win…..means we could be back on the same points as the chavs

    2)a draw…..chance to catch up 2 points on both

    3)chavs win…..possibly 3 points behind both with the slimmest chance of overhauling both still on

    Which would you choose?

  100. Hi chary – the author wants to re-jig it after this weekends results and will send it in a differnt format. Thanks for the offer …….

    More importantly we are now postless for this morning so if anyone fancies putting together a few words to get us started that would be great ………..

  101. Hey Peachy, your comment has dispappeared and I look like I’m being incoherent.

    Also my log on name doesn’t show as a blue, wierd, plus I can’t edit my comments.


  102. I’ll take your comment off chary, I took mine off before I saw yours

  103. Big Raddy says:

    Interesting CHas.

    Short of them both losing, I would take the draw. GIves a little hope. and a possibilty of improvement on last year

  104. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    Just a brief visit. So it appears my hunch was right ,cesc is off to real madrid.

  105. You’re in blue now …………

  106. Morning kelsey – it looks that way, all the stuff on NN is about him going to Real Madrid. That’ll be hard for him won’t it? I thought your other option was probably better as a stop-gap for him.

  107. If no one else can come up with anything I could quickly knock up a few random musings Peachy.

  108. Carlito11 says:

    Chas- Chavs win for me. I’m inspired by this comment by RayGooner on LG that SUGA3 linked to another blog: (apologies if you’ve already read it but it’s a great comment)
    Stoke-Arsenal 1-3 (We did it last year…same result now, and Stoke is sitting safe in the middle of the table and are thinking of the F.A. Cup final).

    Man United-Chelsea 1-2 (Not impossible, right?)

    Blackburn-Man United 2-1 (Relegation worry for Blackburn, and this could be their last chance…at least they’ll fight for it! And remember that Wolves managed to beat United and United’s away form this season isn’t so great, also if United has lost against us and Chelsea in the previest games means they have lost the lead in the title race…).

    Arsenal-Aston Villa 3-0 (What can i say, it just has to be this result if we’re gonna have a chance, and by this time, if the results have gone our way, it’s all to play for).

    Chelsea-Newcastle 2-1 (No matter how i try, i can’t see Chelsea lose any points in this one…).

    Everton-Chelsea 2-1 (Here on the other hand, Everton always plays good against Chelsea so why not…).

    Fulham-Arsenal 0-3 (Considering the results have gone like above up until now, we will have to beat Fulham by at least 3 goals, but also we have to beat Fulham by at least the same amount of goals as United beats Blackpool…hopefully 3-0 will do…).

    Man United-Blackpool 4-1 (Well, United will of course beat Blackpool, but let’s just hope it ends with 4-1…).

    Table: (In the most unlikely, but still possible way)

    Arsenal 38 22 10 6 78-38 76 (+40)
    Man Utd 38 22 10 6 78-39 76 (+39)
    Chelsea 38 23 7 8 71-32 76 (+39)

  109. Yes please chary – can you confirm?

  110. kelsey says:

    so did I, peaches. Off to bowls, laters 😉

  111. Carlito11 says:

    Kelsey- if we’re going to lose him- it’ll be hilarious if he ends up at RM!!!

  112. I think you’re right Carlito, also, surely he would only go to Real Madrid if he’s really unhappy at Arsenal?

  113. Yes, just give ne a few minutes Peachy – I’ll try and get it ready for the 9.30 deadline though.

  114. Ok, i’ve just emailed you …………..

  115. Going to Real Madrid is tantamount to treason isn’t it for a Catalan?

    I still think the Inter story has better legs …..

  116. New post guys…..

  117. Gooner in Exile says:

    If the leak is coming from Arsenal is this just to force Barca into offering more?

    Considering Adebayor is on his way back to City as RM won’t pay £17m or meet his £5.5m wages what makes us think they’ll pay good money for Cesc.

    My other major concern is if he goes to Madrid and Maureen leaves I would fear a battle to keep Arsene…I’m sure from a personal point of view he could go with money to burn and a mission to upset and outfootball Barca

  118. TotalArsenal says:

    GiE, like you I just do not see us buying an established top midfielder from a top club for top money, such as S Gerrard or Iniesta or Essien, or even Sneijder. The alternative would be another good footballer but without the experience of winning something really big, which for me would not work.

    van Bommel played in a number of teams under great managers. Without van Bommel Bayern Munich have suffered badly, before and after he was offloaded to Milan for some inexplicable reason. He would fit perfectly in a 4-2-3-1 scenario, and would have no difficulties in adjusting to our football style. I would ask him to sit back and be intelligent with his use of energy.

    He would be in the two with either Song, or Jack or Rambo. He would add more steal to the team and that all important winning mentality. He is a shouter and if van Bommel is not winning everyone in the team will know. He also has a great shot on him so we could start scoring goals from distance. I just think we missed that so much this season. The other midfielders would look up to him and he would fit very well in the vertical, central line of Czseszny, Vermaelen, Van Bommel, Nasri and RVP. That would be some spine to the team!

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