The Euros – Didn’t We (NUFC) Do Well
So that was that, international tournaments out of the way for another couple of years for England and Newcastle United, give or take another African Cup of Nations.
How was it for you?
For selfish reasons, in one sense I was quite happy Tim Krul was kept out of the spotlight as we all know how invaluable he showed himself to be last season. In contrast, Yohan Cabaye ticked a few more boxes no doubt for certain people casting avaricious glances in his direction. I’m more than confident though that Cabaye sees at least his short to medium-term career being at St.James’ Park, so no imminent panic for me that he is going to jump ship.
With Hatem Ben Arfa we may have struck lucky, with his one start ending up with substitution and words with the manager, though thankfully it appears that Nasri is the one keeping that particular story rolling as the French FA are considering banning him fro amongst other things, a foul-mouthed rant at a journalist.
While Cabaye was the solid one club man and a steadying influence in Lille’s midfield, Ben Arfa had enjoyed a very up and down existence of winning trophies for Marseille and Lyon but falling out with people along the way.
I don’t believe anybody will pay Mike Ashley’s price tag on Ben Arfa, based on less than half a season of at times brilliant performances. However, if he’d done the same for France this Summer we could have had the vultures hovering and I wouldn’t be half as sure with Hatem as I would be with Yohan Cabaye.
Ben Arfa is a class act on his day and is why myself and many of you pay your money, like Tino Asprilla, Hatem Ben Arfa can produce that one moment of magic such as in that dour Bolton home match which will live with you forever. You won’t get it every week but every time you walk up to St.James’ Park you will have the anticipation that it could be one of those days.
As for England’s Euros, Roy Hodgson must look at some countries such as Spain and France and see the players that are left out and scratch his head. He had to make do with the hand he’d been dealt and I think the fact he managed to bluff us into almost reaching the semi-finals was some achievement.
For my money, midfielders/wingers (with the exception of maybe one out and out holding midfielder such as Tiote/Essien) have to be very good at either running with the ball or passing it, or if they are decent at both then they can get away with it. Cabaye and Ben Arfa certainly fall into those categories but how on earth have England ended up having to play Milner, Parker and a now knackered Gerrard? None of them capable of filling those rules in these Euros, with the possible exception of Gerrard’s deadball delivery, when he didn’t have to run!
It’s been interesting to watch, though of course it is only to fill a gap until the proper football begins again in August.
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