What is it about Stevenage?
Interesting place Stevenage. For a relatively small town, it’s produced Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and now, perhaps the brightest young star in England football, Jack Wilshere. A month or so ago, Wilshere signed an extension to his contract at Arsenal and this week, he was named man of the match twice as the Gunners beat Athletico Madrid and Rangers to win the Emirates Cup.
There’s talk that Stuart Pearce is thinking of elevating him to the England under -21 squad. Sod that. Get him in the senior side under Capello. If he’s good enough, he’s old enough. And he looks good enough to me, just as a 13 year old Hamilton looked good enough to F1 boss Ron Dennis.
What is it about being 17?
It’s a good age at the moment. 1992 was obviously a top vintage. There’s Jack Wilshere, as mentioned above, while at Charlton, their wunderkind is Jonjo Shelvey. He’s been offered the chance to join Chelsea but in an incredibly mature decision, has turned the London glamour club down. Why? Because he was worried that he wouldn’t get enough first team football.
Whilst every player should be encouraged to back their own ability, Shelvey looks to have a very wise head on young shoulders. Appealing though the thought must have been to share a training pitch with the likes of Lampard, Terry and Drogba, Shelvey has decided to move when he thinks he’s up to it. And when he can demand a place in the starting line up. Smart lad.
What was it about Sir Bobby?
He was, simply, a great man. A gentleman, lover of the game, generous, thoughtful, a good player and a top coach. I can’t recall anyone having a bad word to say about him. He achieved so much in his 76 years but you got the impression that he still had more to give, certainly with regards to raising money for cancer research.
He may have got the odd name wrong over the years (he used to call Des Lynam ‘Les’ every now and again) but such was his stature within the game that it didn’t really matter. Cheers Sir Bobby. We’ll miss you.
What is about Scottish football?
Let’s hope that Celtic can do the business against Dynamo Moscow tonight in UEFA Champions League qualifying. If not, the picture looks pretty bleak for Scottish football even before the season proper has got underway.
Falkirk are already out of the Europa League, beaten by that well known football powerhouse FC Vaduz while Aberdeen and Motherwell shipped eight goals between them, scoring only one, in their third qualifying round, first leg matches against FK Sigma Olomouc and Steaua Bucharest.' As well as that, the game in Scotland has been through the Setanta TV debacle and the national side aren’t exactly tearing up World Cup qualifying. Scottish football fans are amongst the most loyal in the world. They deserve so much better.