The chosen Wan

Writes Neil Ashton in The Sun:

‘Harry Winks will return to the England squad today as Gareth Southgate prepares for the Euro 2020 qualifiers.

‘England’s head coach is also considering a shock call for Manchester United’s £50million right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka.’

Manchester United. £50million. One of the Premier League’s best right-backs. ‘Shock call’? Sure.

And The Sun’s website describing a man who turns 22 in November as a ‘starlet’ seems a bit much.

Dirty Harry

That story does not make The Sun‘s back page. But this opening line does:

‘Colchester United earned a plum Carabao Cup third-round home tie with Harry Kane and Tottenham.’

HKATHFC will be absolutely delighted.

Brief encounter

Far be it for Mediawatch to defend Alexis Sanchez, whose entire Manchester United spell has been pretty much indefensible. But
that is not only on him, it’s on the club, too.

Tony Cascarino loses sight of that in The Times, suggesting the Chilean ‘hasn’t seemed interested’ and has ‘lost his hunger, his sharpness and his desire’.

You might agree. You might not. But saying ‘I don’t think Sanchez has been a serious professional for a few years now’ seems like quite the accusation, particularly considering ‘a few years’ would easily pre-date his 18 months at Old Trafford.

‘I think he’s lost that half a yard of pace and hasn’t been prepared to work to adapt and improve,’ adds Cascarino, a man who has no idea whether or not Sanchez has been prepared to work to adapt and improve.

After going off on a tangent about why he is ‘worried’ where Manchester United’s ‘goals will come from this season,’ and that their ‘attacking, free-scoring days’ will not be replicated any time soon – as if they did not literally start this campaign by beating a Champions League team 4-0 – Cascarino reaches his conclusion.

‘As for Sanchez, he was, for two seasons at Arsenal, one of the best players in the Premier League. But this spell at United has tainted him and, but for that brief love affair with Arsenal, he will be remembered as a player who ultimately failed to prove his worth.’

His ‘brief love affair with Arsenal’ lasted three-and-a-half seasons, incorporated 166 games, 80 goals and two trophies, and garnered one PFA Team of the Year placing. Barely one-and-a-half seasons, 45 games, five goals, a grand piano and a whacking great wage at Untied will not define him.

If his spell with Arsenal was ‘brief’, what was his time at Manchester United? And if scoring 60 goals in 122 Premier League games with Arsenal is the record of a player who ‘ultimately failed to prove his worth’, how high have you set the bar?

Farewell and good luck

The Manchester Evening Propaganda is thankfully here to tell us exactly ‘What Alexis Sanchez did before he left Manchester United to join Inter Milan’.

Go ahead, Samuel Luckhurst. The floor is yours.

‘Alexis Sanchez bid farewell to Manchester United teammates before he left to complete his 10-month loan move to Inter Milan.’


‘The MEN understands Sanchez, 30, was driven to United’s Carrington training complex on Wednesday morning and the Chilean spent around 10 minutes saying his goodbyes to teammates. Sanchez was then driven to Manchester Airport, where he boarded a private jet to Milan.’


So ‘what Alexis Sanchez did before he left Manchester United to join Inter Milan’ was say goodbye to the people he has worked with for the past 19 months, before departing for his flight.

Thank you for such crucial inside information.

Wage war

‘Sanchez arrives in Milan to complete Inter loan transfer from Man Utd – but Red Devils will fork out £9m in wages during Serie A spell’ – Daily Mirror website.

‘United ready to pay £8m in wages just to get rid of Inter-bound flop Sanchez’ – Daily Mirror back page.

‘Inter Milan have agreed a deal with Manchester United to sign Alexis Sanchez on loan, Sky Sports News understands. The 10-month deal will cost Manchester United around £6m’ – Sky Sports.

‘United will pay £4.5million of Sanchez’s £21million annual salary while he is on loan’ – Daily Mail.

Ed Woodward can’t even persuade Inter Milan to pay Alexis Sanchez a full £500 a week.

— Football365 (@F365) August 29, 2019

Class act

‘Manchester United are making plans for a new Class of 92’ – Manchester Evening News, February 28.

‘Manchester United do not have the foundations to replicate Class of 92 success’ – Manchester Evening News, August 29.

Gazza strip

At least the Daily Mirror are here with a story to cheer up the Old Trafford suits that have seen their Class of 92 dreams dashed in just six months.

‘Paul Gascoigne makes Premier League top four prediction – and it’s good news for Man Utd’

They will be delighted with such inconsequential ‘good news’.

Nervous laughter

Over at the Liverpool Echo, they are still learning the power of using Manchester City and the title race in an evocative headline. Those stories don’t click themselves.

‘Man City nervous after Liverpool’s flying start but level must be maintained’ is their latest offering. It promises something different, some sort of inside information. How else can they be sure that Manchester City are ‘nervous’ after three – three – Premier League games?

But it soon becomes clear this is nothing of the sort. Instead, this is a collation of opinions from assorted journalists. It’s a lovely idea, just packaged a little questionably.

Where does the headline phrase come from? One Simon Donnelly of Freshfield, who tells us the following:

‘Played three, won three, sitting two points clear at the top of the league, and with a Uefa Supercup thrown in for good measure – not a bad start to the new season!

‘Last weekend’s game against Arsenal was meant to be a real test, against the team arguably ‘the best of the rest’ after us and City, and we put them to the sword.

‘Our high press and one- and two-touch passing left them chasing shadows – and we were of course helped by David Luiz being, well, David Luiz!

‘It’s early days, but this start has excited me.

‘I don’t care how good a manager Pep is, he and his team will be a little nervous about the way we’ve come out of the blocks, so we need more of the same away at Burnley this weekend.

‘Let’s give them something to worry about! Great start. Come on you Reds!’

Simon Donnelly of Freshfield presumably is not privy to Pep Guardiola’s office conversations or Manchester City training. Him saying they ‘will be a little nervous’ is fine, but mere blithe conjecture. It does not belong in a headline on a reputable outlet.


Recommended reading of the day

David Conn doing what he does best.

Julien Laurens on Raul Sanllehi.

Jack Pitt-Brooke on the architect of the north London derby. (£)

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