England can’t bank on Vardy
Jamie Vardy’s journey from non-league to Premier League record breaker has to be one of the best in English football for a long time. Whilst his exploits with Leicester have been phenomenal and I might add- richly deserved, Roy Hodgson must have reservations about Vardy leading the line for England at Euro 2016. The Premier League has seen a number of English strikers take the Premier League by storm but fail when England duty comes around.
In 1998, Dion Dublin and Chris Sutton were joint Premier League top scorers, Kevin Phillips won the European Golden Shoe in 2000, whilst Marcus Stewart and Andy Johnson were runners-up in the goal scoring charts in 2001 and 2005 respectively.
All of them were successful in the Premier League with their clubs and were talked about in similar fashion to Vardy. But none of them found the net for their country. And neither has Vardy. Yet.
In his four caps, against the Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, San Marino and Lithuania, he hasn’t been able to replicate his stunning form for Leicester City. That’s where the problem lies. The same problem Dublin, Sutton, Phillips and Johnson had.
What can be familiar and easy for your club, can be alien and impossible for your country.
The hot streak enjoyed in one team can go cold in another. Hodgson has other concerns with his frontmen- Wayne Rooney has 11 goals in 14 games for England but his form for Manchester United is increasingly worrying and Daniel Sturridge, who didn’t play any part of England’s Euro 2016 qualifying games, looks a lost cause. No doubt Vardy on this form is an automatic choice in Hodgson’s squad but don’t bank on Vardy leading the line or records being broken in France.
Arsenal’s mounting injury crisis is making a real mockery of their transfer business. No outfield players were purchased in the summer. What’s amazing is that of all the sides that need cover, its Arsenal. They always have injuries. Last October, the Gunners had 11 players on the injury list. So this Summer should have been the opportunity to address that.
Currently Danny Welbeck (knee), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Tomas Rosicky (knee), Kieran Gibbs (calf), Theo Walcott (calf), Francis Coquelin (knee) and Mikel Arteta are all sidelined. With stars like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil it can be hard to find better players to replace them but every side needs reinforcements.
Chelsea signed Asmir Begovic for £8M, knowing full well he was an understudy to Thibaut Courtois. Begovic would have had to have been seriously deluded to not have known it too. But now that Courtois is injured, Begovic is now No.1. Alexis Sanchez now faces weeks out with a hamstring injury- But where is his backup?
Arsenal have a Champions League place to salvage and a title bid to mount but are now running on empty. If only there was some kind of warning. I mean, it’s not as if this happens every year or something?
Sunderland are safe
The hiring of Sam Allardyce has been a rare piece of good business at the Stadium of Light. A succession of under- performing players and one season managers has seen them struggle over and over again in the last few seasons. Allardyce was a great signing because he’s the man for all occasions- go down and he’ll be the best man to take you back up, or stay up and he can take the club forward. Sunderland have hired a number of managers (Martin O’Neill, Paolo Di Canio, Dick Advocaat) late in the day to try and keep the Black Cats up. All succeeded but the club needed more direction. Now that Big Sam is in charge, they look up for the fight again.
Three wins and three clean sheets in his first six games is peak Allardyce. He now has a January transfer window to take the club further.
Sunderland won’t get relegated this season. No chance. That’s very weird to say.