John McCormick writes: wasn’t it good to see Jordan Henderson picking up that trophy the other day? It wasn’t his first, either. Way back in 2011-12 he’d been on the winning side as Liverpool picked up the League cup. He’d also been a runner-up in a few competitions (FA Cup, Europa League, Champions League, Premiership and so on) had captained his country in the World Cup, and, generally, proven to be a bit of a canny player. Yet, not long after he left Sunderland, I remember listening to Liverpool fans explaining why he just wasn’t good enough for Liverpool and how he’d never replace Steven Gerrard [the sniping from sections of the Liverpool and England support has continued – Ed].
There were similar criticisms about his selection as an England player after he made his senior debut in 2010 and, indeed, it was a while before he earned another cap. Yet we knew all long, didn’t we? At least Stephen Goldsmith did. Here’s what he wrote just 7 years ago, on June 5th 2012, under his byline “Goldy’s Logic” and with the title:
Monsieur Salut writes: so sad. England should have been two or three up at half time but lost their way after the interval. Only the sort of toerags who jump on ambulances would deny that Croatia grew stronger and stronger in the second half while England wilted.
For Sunday’s final, Monsieur Salut’s personal disappointment – having warmed to this England manager and side more than any since 1966 – is lessened only to the extent that he can shout for Mme Salut’s Bleus.
I’ve been impressed by France, and especially by how well the racially mixed team has gelled. Look at the players belting out the words of La Marsellaise – the rotten far right in France has lost a spurious reason for doubting their allegiance. Here is a piece, for anyone interested, that I wrote for The National (UAE). The editor is happy for me to reproduce my work here ….
Jack Rodwell has gone, that’s a fact, and rumours abound that Whabi Khazri’s on his way out, with a decent wedge coming through the revolving door in return. Over in Russia our local boys continue to do good, drawing praise from Alan Shearer and earning the club that taught them everything at least a few more thousands, money which presumably won’t be squandered on absent players. The SOL is getting new seats and the weather remains brilliant.
So how could the weekend improve?
With a post from Pete Sixsmith, that’s how:
“The loyalty, well held to fools, does make Our faith mere folly”, said Shakespeare in Anthony and Cleopatra.
Could those words be applied to us? Has our loyalty made fools of us? And of those few players who have kept faith with the club?
It has been a while since Jeremy Robson appeared on these pages. It’s good to see him back and, as ever, he produces not only a good read but also a thought provoking article.
But does he answer those questions? You’ll have to read on and decide for yourselves…
ps: John McCormick prepared this article for publication and wrote his introduction before two of the players mentioned by Jeremy featured in England’s World Cup win on penalties against Colombia. Jordan Henderson was nearly the shoot-out villain, missing his penalty, but otherwise had a fine, all-action match. Jordan Pickford, of course, was the hero with that stunning save. Our friend Barry Emmerson, who knows JP well as his occasional chauffeur, reacts: ‘My pal Jordan the hero. Drove him down to St George’s before they left for Russia. He is a super confident lad and I am always saying to him, “stand still for penalties, don’t dive first”. Well for the save he did that, I’m taking all the credit. He is going to be a giant of the game, maybe Real Madrid one day.’
Monsieur Salut writes: we’ve acclaimed Jermain Defoe. So has the country at large. Pete Sixsmith’s Observer Q+A talked of a man who, at Sunderland AFC, had enhanced his reputation as a striker and – through his quite beautiful bond with Bradley Lowery – as a man.
Pete’s piece, reproduced in expanded form here, briefly mentioned the other positive from our truly awful season: the superior goalkeeping of Jordan Pickford, albeit interrupted by a midseason injury layoff.
Jordan deserves and will probably attain the status of England’s Number One. He may well do it while keeping goal for a club other than the one he has always supported, SAFC. That is his right, maybe even a personal duty, as a pro. I wish him well and, while regretting that Sunderland are unlikely to provide the platform for his ambition, will follow his progress much as I follow Jordan Henderson’s.
Here are some excerpts from an interview with Jordan (P), speaking to EASPORTS.com to mark his EA SPORTS FIFA 17 rating being upgraded (that’s a football video game for the unitiated). To read the full interview, go to https://www.easports.com/uk/fifa/news/2017/jordan-pickford-interview …
Gareth Roberts*, editor of the ‘leading independent voice on Liverpool FC’, The Anfield Wrap, comes up with a scoreline prediction none of us will thank him for. But he also answers our questions with an informed and informative manner, defending Jurgen Klopp in his spats with the media, acclaiming the two Jordans, doubting Mignolet’s Anfield future and, naturally, going for Liverpool to win the title …
Win a trip to the Euros … read on
Roy Hodgson has probably worked out where Sunderland is on the map but not clearly enough to make him select an in-form striker, who grabbed an astonishing tally of 15 Premier League goals despite playing for a team that spent most of the season in the bottom three.
So no room for Jermain Defoe at the Euros 2016 in France. Roy did include in his provisional squad a well-known Championship player, Andros Townsend, and a man who doesn’t quite match Jermain’s standards of clean living, Jack Wilshere.
And SAFC fans who turn out at the Stadium of Light on Friday may well see Jordan Henderson, long lost to us as a player but still a fan, in the England friendly vs Australia. Since Roy’s a linguist, this link helping him find our ground is in French.
The football part of Martin Bates‘s grand pilgrimage to Sunderland, where his parents were born and raised before heading west to Canada, began with a stirring but losing performance at home to Manchester City. Since he was fearing the worst at Anfield on Saturday when two home goals went in, you can imagine Martin’s joy at witnessing a gutsy late revival. Here is part two of a Canadian Mackem’s trip-home diary …
Neil Atkinson*, our old pal from The Anfield Wrap podcast and site, had to rise above a mountain of typos to make sense of Salut! Sunderland‘s questions ahead of SAFC’s visit to Liverpool on Saturday. Once he’d deciphered them, he came up with these thoughtful and entertaining responses, kindly predicting survival for Sunderland and offering a lyrical, Shankly-inspired appraisal of Jurgen Klopp’s needs …
Callum Huckle is one of the younger generation of Liverpool supporters, born too late to remember the glory days of the seventies, but old enough to celebrate the 2005 EUFA Cup win with a soaking. An admirer of tactical developments within the game, he sees good things in both Brendan Rodgers and Jordan Henderson and is confident that even if we send out eleven items of assorted seaside paraphernalia, Liverpool will be far too strong to ever feel threatened by the boys from Wearside.
M. Salut put the usual assortment of questions to him.
Salut! Sunderland: What a result at Old Trafford. The Sturridge dive marred it a bit for me, and I was delighted to see the penalty missed, but you looked good in all positions, How has Rodgers achieved it?
Callum: Obviously I can’t officially condone any of Sturridge’s behaviour but seeing as we won in United’s back yard and Vidic got sent off I may just have to look the other way this time! Rodgers started out with a pretty rigid system and philosophy concerned with keeping possession at all costs and I think the reason we’ve come so far, this season especially, is that he’s shown a good level of pragmatism. He now knows that possession isn’t the best option against every opponent and a prime example is the sublime counter-attacking football we used to beat Arsenal 5 – 1.
And did Jordan Henderson have to win you over or did you always see his worth?
He did have to win me over, yes. However I never really thought Dalglish was correct in deploying him out wide on the right, it felt like a bit of a waste and I think it’s a shame he never got more playing time in the middle in his first season. Now though I couldn’t be happier with the progress he’s made and a lot of credit has to go to Rodgers as well for trying so hard with him.
Unlike Sturridge, Suarez stayed up when in the past he’d have gone down. Is he a reformed man?
I don’t particularly think so, he’s still going to try and win at all costs that’s just his nature but it’s nice to see him trying to atone a little. Staying up does need to be a bigger part of his game as he’s clearly one of the worlds best on the ball and lying down for no reason won’t help him score.
Let us put you straight on the spot: what will be the top four in order?
Conservative estimate is Chelsea, Man City, Us, Arsenal.. Third and missing the qualifying round would be unbelievable!
And who – he said, asking for trouble – is going down?
Fulham and Cardiff – just don’t see anything about them that makes me think they’ll up. Norwich is my shout for third as their run in is just unbelievably hard and if they don’t get any points before then they’ll be toast! (Answered before Saturday’s capitulation – ed.)
Any happy, sad, amusing memories of past encounters between our clubs?
It has to be Beachball-gate! Now it’s passed and doesn’t matter so much you can’t help but laugh at it.
Any thoughts on Sunderland, the club, the fans, the region?
Not to grovel too much but you guys easily get my pick over Newcastle. Pardew is a nightmare and I love what Poyet is doing with the team at the moment, nice to see Borini get a run of games. I have one Newcastle friend and his face the last few times you’ve beaten them, especially the 3 – 0s at their place has been absolutely priceless!
Is Brendan Rodgers the man to restore Liverpool to past glory and how happy are now you with the ownership status?
So far there is just so little to complain about with Rodgers that I don’t see why he can’t. He learns from his mistakes very well and seems committed to improving individuals as well as the whole team. Can’t fault the ownership either, handled Suarez expertly and the direction our finances are going in is a huge boost.
Plenty to choose from but who is or are the greatest player/s you have seen in Liverpool colours (or wish you’d seen)?
Had the pleasure of meeting John Aldridge and Jason McAteer at a legends evening the other night and they were fantastic – wish I was a little older and could have experienced the glory days in full swing.
And who should have been allowed nowhere Anfield?
Roy Hodgson. Shouldn’t have been let anywhere near the England setup either!
Your own highs and lows as a supporter? I suspect Istanbul may figure in your reply.
I was on holiday in America for Istanbul and I remember jumping in the pool fully clothed when my Dad told me what happened. Low point has got to be when I saw a ‘Liverpool will be relegated this season’ facebook page a few years back – the future didn’t look very bright at all.
Which aspect of the modern game appals you most – and does anything inspire you?
Inspiration? – I think it’s got to be getting into football tactics and coaching more as Tiki-Taka has developed – seeing all the ways coaches have tried to counter it and then seeing people completely out do it with new styles like Bayern did last year. I take a lot of inspiration from seeing relatively young coaches like Rodgers, Klopp and Villas-Boas doing fantastic work right at the top. Just as a disclaimer I think Spurs were definitely wrong to sack AVB.
Brazil: getting excited or not too bothered?
Getting massively excited, every four years I’ve learnt more about the game and players and then seeing all the best talent come together in one place is amazing. Would love to see Spain go to South America and dominate.
Will you be there for our game? What will be the score?
I won’t unfortunately but I’ll be watching it after work. With the utmost respect I’m going to go for a 3 or 4 – 1; we’re just playing too well at the moment and we don’t have anything else to go for but the title.
Tell me something about yourself: who you are, what you do, your reasons for and history of supporting Liverpool.
I’m a supporter from Bristol in England and have been since about 7. I’m a student at the moment so mooching off the government. Michael Owen is the player that originally got me into Liverpool so it’s been a shame to see him fall from grace – I just tell people it was Gerrard now.
Interview – Colin Randall