The Warm-Up: England's big, big problem
Plus, John McGinn is worth £50 million (perhaps), and Zlatan will be back!
MONDAY’S BIG STORIES
England are still decent but play players in form, eh, Gazza
England lost to the Czech Republic in Prague on Friday night. It marked their first qualifying defeat in 10 years.
Now, it was a poor performance all over the gaff but England must, must, must sort out their defence. Kieran Trippier and, to a lesser extent, Danny Rose are hardly the most mobile of full-backs so playing two centre-halves with the turning circles of heavy goods vehicles seemed a curious decision. Harry Maguire gets a pass as he brings other qualities to the team - namely a massive head, and also an ability to play out from the back - but what does Michael Keane offer? A marginally less big head and a bad run of form.
It is admirable that Gareth Southgate is adhering to his own policy that players need to be playing at their clubs to play for the national team. Hence, no Joe Gomez, who for The Warm-Up's money, is England's best defender. However, if a player is playing badly for their club, like Keane is, then that is self-defeating.
England were poor but a kick up the behind never did any team any harm. However, the Three Lions need to get their best players playing, looking at you, the currently injured, John Stones. And to be fair, it looks as though Southgate has acknowledged that in his team selection for the Bulgaria match, where it has been widely reported that the very much in form Tyrone Mings is set to get the nod at the centre of defence.
Big John McGinn worth every penny of 50 big
It is international week and that means two things: 1) it is international week and 2) there is a distinct lack of news knocking about, you know.
So bear with the Warm-Up with this one - there is some substance in there. Somewhere. There were times when biffing a hat-trick against San Marino meant nothing. However, these are not those times for these are the days of style over substance. So, John McGinn's hat-trick against, yes, San Marino, has probably added a further few quid to his already impressive asking price of £50 million.
Scotland's midfielder John McGinn celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Scotland and San Marino at Hampden Park, Glasgow on October 13, 2019Getty Images
That is an outrageous sum of money for a player who has three months of Premier League experience but these are strange, strange times people.
Want a measure of said madness? There were reports that some clubs were willing to open their cheque books to the tune of £50 million over the summer when McGinn had the square root of jack all Premier League experience and no hat-trick against San Marino. Madness.
The Warm-Up is on record as being, well, less than a fan of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's schtick - you know, the 'I am a lion' gibberish. A bit contrived #forTheWarmUp. However, The Warm-Up is a big fan of his on-field antics - you know the goalscoring and all that. And, truth be told, it is the all that that a few Premier League clubs are in need of - the leadership, the will to win and the dedication to his craft.
So what? Well the what is that the forward, 38 years young, will become a free agent on December 31st and if there are not a host of European, and certainly Premier League clubs, knocking on his proverbial door, well then, the game has well and truly gone.
Now, this is not to say that Ibrahimovic would be a sure-fire success if he were to return but, for example, Manchester United are currently unable to hit a barn door. Tottenham could also do with his character in a pretty broken-looking changing room. Even if United don't see him as a viable footballing option they should just sign him to fly-kick Jesse Lingard in the head the next time he starts running around a hotel shouting 'beans, beans, beans'.
IN OTHER NEWS
This is class and that's coming from a football fan.
HEROES AND ZEROS
Unconventional attire for a politician to wear to the European Parliament, but these are unconventional times.
This shambles represents elite levels of incompetence.
If there were ever a reason for the EU to push for a No Deal Brexit it would be solely to deny these clowns visas.
Dennis Bergkamp. What. A. Player.
More international football, with England taking on Bulgaria. Yay. Also, more importantly, there is the start of the English Open on Eurosport and the Eurosport Player.