Jim White

  • Poor Jack Wilshere.

    He must think he has run over every black cat in London. A player of wretched ill luck, he has now had another blow to his development. After Daniel Agger’s close attentions on Wednesday night, he will now be out of action for six weeks. He is facing a race to be fit for the World Cup.

    And so begins another of England’s traditional World Cup warm up yarns. It must happen in other countries too, but here we seem to specialise in the injury drama. Ahead of every tournament one of our principal hopes gets crocked and we spend the next few months fretting whether he will be

    Read More »from Wilshere injury is blow for Arsenal – but break could favour England
  • Hodgson must pick Shaw over Cole to send right signal

    Roy Hodgson says he has a dilemma. He can only take two left-backs to Brazil and he has four. It is the one area of the pitch where he is so generously over-subscribed. Given that Leighton Baines is certain to be one of those on the plane, that leaves him with a choice between Ashley Cole, Kieran Gibbs and Luke Shaw. Which in truth shouldn’t really be a choice at all.

    Baines will be his number one choice for the World Cup. No wonder. He is a player of real accomplishment, the modern full-back personified, as capable of defending as he is of attacking, a brilliant crosser of the ball, the

    Read More »from Hodgson must pick Shaw over Cole to send right signal
  • Pellegrini needs victory to validate big-spending City

    Does Manuel Pellegrini pay much attention to football history? The Engineer is clearly a thoughtful, studious, thorough kind of coach, who seems more than aware of his position in the grander scheme of things. But if he is a student of the past, on this occasion he might be wise to stick to the present and pay no heed to what has gone before.

    Because here is a quirk of history that the Chilean will certainly not wish to sustain: Sir Alex Ferguson aside, every single coach who has won the League Cup since 2007 has subsequently been fired by their club within a season of lifting the trophy.


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  • Tunstall Town FC are a lesson to us all.

    Last Saturday, the side currently marooned at the bottom of the Staffordshire County Senior League recorded their first win of the season, 2-1 at home to Betley FC Reserves.

    Actually, it wasn’t merely their first win this term. It was their first win since 2007. For nearly seven years the club had not recorded a single victory, the bar in its clubhouse had not rung to a single celebratory chant.

    Indeed, until January last year, they had been engaged in the longest-running losing streak in English league history. But then last January came a draw. And

    Read More »from Manchester United WILL turn it around – but David Moyes may not be there to enjoy it
  • Four ties, three at home, no wins and no goals: it was not the most elevated of European weeks for Premier League clubs. Tottenham aside (reversing a 1-0 away defeat in Ukraine should be well within their capabilities) it is hard to make an argument of further advance. For Manchester City, Arsenal and Swansea this looks like the end of the line. For them the European adventure is over.

    But I’m not sure we should be writing the epitaphs for Premier League competitiveness just yet. Given their opponents next week, there is every chance that the two other English clubs in the Champions League

    Read More »from A nightmare week in Europe, but English football isn’t dead yet
  • Delusional City shown up by brilliant Barcelona

    It is surely one of the unspoken truths of modern football that everybody loves Vincent Kompany. Even if he doesn’t turn out for your team, the Belgian is one of those players you can’t help but admire.

    The commitment, the enthusiasm, the drive, the talent: this is a man with a surfeit of all the qualities you want in a footballer. The only thing he lacks, we discovered last night, is an active sense of proportion.

    Interviewed by Gabriel Clark after his team had been given the most chillingly efficient lesson in the realities of European football by Barcelona, the Manchester City captain – the

    Read More »from Delusional City shown up by brilliant Barcelona
  • Slumping Arsenal can expect more Mourinho sneers

    And so it begins again. After six months of ceasefire, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger have resumed verbal hostilities in the most robust fashion. Wenger suggested at a press conference that Mourinho’s continued insistence that his team was not in the title race was born of "a fear of failure."

    It was the verbal equivalent of flapping a red cloak in the direction of a particularly stroppy bull. Or approaching an angry looking Rottweiler with a sharp stick.  Or telling Piers Morgan on Twitter that you were delighted to see him being reeled into the phone hacking inquiry.  With the blue

    Read More »from Slumping Arsenal can expect more Mourinho sneers
  • United’s problem is that Moyes doesn’t know what he is

    I got an email this morning from a Manchester United supporting friend bolding telling me that his team would win at the Emirates tonight.

    Not just win either, but record a stonking 4-0 victory. David Moyes’s Manchester United to win 4-0 at the Emirates: never mind Candide, that really is the very definition of optimism.

    His analysis was this: things were not as bad against Fulham as were widely reported. There was nothing wrong with United’s spirit, nothing wrong with their desire, nothing wrong with their guts. The problem was merely one of defensive organisation. Which can be quickly and

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  • Manchester United will mourn the loss of fearsome Vidic

    Nemanja Vidic needs a new challenge. That is the reason, he says, he is leaving Manchester United this summer.

    That is the reason why he has ignored his manager’s entreaties to stay on. A new challenge? You might have thought that playing for a mid-table team, one with zero chance of landing a trophy in the near future, would be sufficiently fresh a challenge for a man whose entire career in England has been conducted at the trophy-acquiring end of the football pool.

    What a player Vidic was for United (and frankly given his performances this season we are entitled to use the past tense even as

    Read More »from Manchester United will mourn the loss of fearsome Vidic
  • The consensus, we can all agree, is that Roy Hodgson is not exactly spoiled for choice. When fewer than 30 per cent of the players turning out in the Premier League are available for selection, he is not going to be losing sleep over who he should be picking for the England side.

    Such is the paucity of options, this is a team that picks itself. In truth, we could all write down now the names of the XI who will turn out in their first game of the World Cup against Italy in June. And barring the inevitable toll of injury, most of us would get it right.

    Which must make it all the more frustrating

    Read More »from Terry impasse means England will head to Brazil without their best player