Premier League - Can you hear the drums Fernando?

Eurosport - Mon, 13 Sep 08:59:00 2010

Liverpool's drab draw at Birmingham may not be remembered for much other than some great goalkeeping by Pep Reina, but Sky's TV coverage of the game will be forever known as the moment Jamie Redknapp grew a set.

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Redknapp was a footballer when he wasn't injured, and after an early bath (literally) he turned pundit on the basis of being a. married to an ex-pop singer, and b. handsome. The housewives' favourite - literally.

He is by no means a bad panellist - he is at least animated, and passionate, unlike the BBC 'smug' trio of Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson, who seem more concerned about chummy back-slapping as they compare golf tans.

But Redknapp usually speaks in platitudes, swerving controversy and stating the obvious.

Not to say Fernando Torres wasn't an obvious target - the Spain star looked like he didn't want to be there, literally and metaphorically.

However, Redknapp's scathing criticism of a player he openly idolises ("I'm his biggest fan", Jamie cooed in his defence) is notable in that is the first time he has said anything remotely lairy.

"He's shown no appetite for the game," Redknapp smouldered at half time. "He looks frustrated, sloppy, lethargic.

"I know people talk about his ruthlessness, but he looks fed up."

Nice one Jamie - and ED couldn't agree more. Even last season when Liverpool were rubbish and Torres constantly injured, he was still one of the best players in the division, getting almost a goal a game when fit.

But something has changed. Maybe he feels genuinely let down by the boardroom wrangling, the lack of a takeover, the absence of significant funds?

Maybe he feels genuinely hurt by the departure of Rafael Benitez, the man who gave him his chance at a massive club, and simply wants out with him?

Perhaps he developed the football equivalent of 'Stockholm Syndrome', where a kidnap victim feels sympathy with their captor and eventually becomes dependent on him?

Or maybe Torres is just physically and mentally exhausted, rushed back by both club and country when clearly not match fit and lacking the spark needed at the highest level?

Only El Nino knows. Either way he has been rubbish this season and needs to sort it out. Or Jamie's gonna come and get him.

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So Coventry's impending signing of woman-beating, cop-baiting, belt-brandishing jailbird Marlon King is "inevitable", according to boss Aidy Boothroyd.

"There are no problems, it's just a very delicate situation," Boothroyd, his former boss at Watford, admitted.

Boothroyd is a likeable man, gushingly positive, a believer in giving second chances and getting the most out of players.

But there is a massive risk with King, who - unlike the contrite and anger-managed Joey Barton - appears to have been in constant denial about his actions, unrepentant and arrogant and thus likely to 'slip up' again.

He also has a history of hitting girls who won't get off with him.

Good luck Aidy. Let's just hope he doesn't fancy a snog, eh?

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I don't share (Jamie Redknapp's) opinion. Fernando is working hard for the team and a constant thorn in the side of defenders." - Roy Hodgson shows some of his famous man-management skills by backing Torres when Benitez probably would have ignored him. For six months.

FOREIGN VIEW: "Playing with France gave me a boost of confidence. When you play for your country, train with great players, you learn fast." - Mathieu Valbuena becomes the first French player since 2002 to actually gain something from international duty following his match-saving antics in Marseille's 2-2 draw with Monaco.

COMING UP: Rain permitting, the rescheduled US Open Final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic starts 9.30pm tonight, with text and scoring here. You can also follow Stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana, from Gijon to Cotobello, as Mark Cavendish tries to cling on to the green jersey: available in live text and graphics, as well as live on Eurosport and the Player. Last, but not least, there is still some Premier League action to be had as Stoke City host Aston Villa at 8pm. Outside of live sport, Paul Parker will be reviewing the weekend's Premier League action, with the fabled Eurosport Podcast doing likewise, and Desmond Kane casting his beady eye over Scottish football.

Eurosport

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