Monday, 13 October 2014

REPOST: Do us all a favour Robbie - Retire from international football, effective immediately.

After watching Ireland demolish Gibraltar this weekend, thanks in main to another man of the match performance from Robbie Keane, it reminded me of a post I wrote from November 14th, 2011. Almost 3 full years later, it seems even more relevant now than it did back under the Giovanni Trapattoni era - when a lot was been said about removing Robbie from the starting 11. Some even called for him to retire altogether. I could easily have written the exact piece this week with a few minor detail changes.

Do us all a favour Robbie - Retire from international football, effective immediately.

Thanks for everything Robbie.

You’ve done your best.

You really have.

But being honest - it just wasn’t quite good enough.

Now don’t you think it’s time you did us Irish a favour and retired from international football?

Preferably before the European Championships.

Preferably before Tuesday’s return leg against Estonia.

Let’s just say your performance in the first leg was the final straw.

Quite simply, you were muck.

I know you got 2 goals in an important match.

Again.

But 1 was a peno in fairness...

I know you set up Jon Walters with a brilliant cross.

As well as playing Stephen Hunt through to win the peno.

And you were also the player who drew the 2 fouls which saw 2 Estonians sent off.

But to be honest Robbie, I’m looking for more from an Irish striker these days than 2 goals, 1 and a half assists and getting 2 players sent off through your quickness of thought and speed of movement.

I want to see more to strikers in general than just goals and assists actually.

People will argue that you have 53 international goals.

More than Shearer, Owen, Lineker, Keegan or Charlton.

More than Rush, Hughes, Dalglish, Law or Best.

In fact, more than any British player.

Ever.

Even though most of them were playing for far superior teams than you at the time.

But I always just felt your goals came against lesser nations.

And while Ireland never had a player good enough to score against the lesser nations until you came along, it’s the big games that count.

Like a Play-Off for a major tournament.

People will say you played in 4 Play-Offs and scored in 4 Play-Offs.

But I see the fact that you only scored 5 goals from those 6 games as being the reason we didn’t qualify from more of them.

I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself that you scored 3 goals (plus 1 more in the shoot-out) in the World Cup in 2002 and they were big games.

But one of those was against Saudi Arabia.

I don’t even know where that is Robbie.

I’ll give you the goals against Germany and Spain.

You deserve some credit.

But that still doesn’t change the fact that you are only really capable of scoring at home.

Away games against Holland, Italy and France excluded of course.

Or that cracker you got against Holland when we won 1-0.

Cause that was only a friendly.

But now it’s time for change.

Kevin Doyle is a much better player anyway.

He is 28 now and although Mick McCarthy is the only manager to spend proper money on him, it was €7.5m well spent.

Unlike yourself, who has had Gordon Strachan, Marcello Lippi, Dave O’Leary, Glenn Hoddle, Rafa Benitez and Harry Redknapp spend over €90m on you.

Kevin could get a move to someone like Internazionale, it’s just Wolves won’t sell him, that’s all.

Then there’s Shane Long as well.

23 goals in the Championship and West Bromwich Albion immediately threw €5.2m at Reading for him.

Yes Robbie, West Bromwich Albion.

And now we also have Leon Best.

He’s scored in 2 separate games in the Premier League this season.

He must start.

Along with Jon Walters.

He is also 28 and despite the fact that when you were 28 you had 33 internationals to your name, this guy has scored 3 goals in the Premier League this season.

3 goals Robbie.

He has to start ahead of you.

So, I appreciate your commitment and loyalty to the Irish side over the past 14 seasons but really, we’re not looking for someone who will turn up for every game and give 100% commitment no matter what.

You have given more to this country on the football pitch than anyone could ever ask of a player and have never once complained - but it’s time to move on now Robbie.

So all the Irish supporters who aren’t ‘fans’ of yours can experience what it’s going to be like when we’re well and truly fucked without you...

Monday, 6 October 2014

The Class of Danny Welbeck

Danny Welbeck.

Galatasary.

6 chances.

3 goals.

Man of the match.

Danny Welbeck.

Chelsea.

0 chances.

0 goals.

Non existent in the match.

The two sides of Danny Welbeck beautifully illustrated in the space of 4 days.

From the moment Danny joined Arsenal we have seen his career perform like a heart monitor.

Shot up after his two goal salvo for England against Switzerland.

Straight back down for his debut miss at Manchester City.

A hat trick in the Champions League.

Then absolutely nothing during the game with Chelsea.

Never more beautifully did he illustrate how he is such a class player - just not a world class player.

Danny can produce brilliantly like against Galatasary on Wednesday when he became only the sixth Englishman to score a Champions League hat-trick.

Then get completely nullified four days later on Sunday when he played against a top quality side.

Just like last month when he scored against last season’s fifteenth placed Aston Villa.

And was then completely shut-out when he played the champions Manchester City.

A lot has been said of one of the most surprising deals of transfer deadline day in recent weeks.

Mainly from Arsenal fans.

Who reacted on twitter with many feelings - bewilderment included.

Their team had just spent £16m on a player who often attracted derision from fans outside of the Old Trafford.

Derision from fans inside at times too.

They needed a striker, badly.

With Arsene Wenger off refereeing a charity match in Rome, the Gunners faithful feared the worse with just hours to go before the window closed.

No mention of a striker for weeks until suddenly Danny Welbeck’s name cropped up.

He was a striker alright.

Just not a very good one.

Or at least that’s what they had thought.

His record suggested he wasn’t what their team needed.

Games for Manchester United - 142.

Goals for Manchester United - 29.

Hardly figures to set even the most optimistic of supporter’s imagination alight.

The reaction of Manchester United’s fans suggested otherwise.

Respected pundits such as Gary Neville questioned the sale.

Paul Scholes, Dwight Yorke, David Beckham too.

Even Mike Phelan, Sir Alex Ferguson’s right hand man came out against the decision of Louis Van Gaal.

A decision make entirely by Louis Van Gaal.

For Louis Van Gaal.

And for Manchester United.

Louis has come in to this massive club and now needs to stamp his authority.

He will have looked at the reactions of said former players and known every one of them came from the Sir Alex Ferguson school of thought.

And under the great Scotsman, Danny would not have been sold.

At least not yet.

But life is different now and Louis is not cut from the same cloth.

He has no sentimentality towards players who came through the ranks at the club having been there since the age of 10.

He is a lot more black and white than that.

He will have seen the stat of 29 goals in 142 games.

The problem for Danny is he will have looked at the stat of 155 goals in 200 games as well.

Radamel Falcao’s return since he came to Europe is astonishing.

He hasn’t stopped scoring since he arrived on the continent.

Lighting up the teams of Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco.

Costing the French side £51m last summer.

A return of 35 goals in his 41 games in European competition.

His two seasons in Europe’s best league saw a return of 24 and 28 league goals.

36 and 34 overall.

In every season he played in Europe bar the one season not finished due to his cruciate ligament injury, he has scored more goals than Danny has scored in his 6 years at Manchester United in total.

Every season.

34, 38, 36, 34.

Compared to an overall of 29.

Danny is just not in the same league.

Not even close.

Excuses can be made of how Danny has been forced to play out wide in far too many games before.

He has craved this central role that he will get at Arsenal.

But Falcao wasn’t played out wide to accommodate Diego Costa at Atletico Madrid.

The same Diego Costa who would go on to score 36 goals the following season.

That’s not what managers do with world class players.

They do that with players like Danny Welbeck.

They even sell players like Danny for sums as paltry as £16m.

A great price for Arsenal to pay.

A price that got them a great striker.

Just not one as good as Falcao...

Monday, 22 September 2014

Forget Manchester City and Chelsea - Manchester United are back.

Manchester United are back.

And back big time.

Not that they were really ever gone mind.

It’s just now the fears of them actually going away have been extinguished.

For anyone who ever had any doubt - Louis Van Gaal gave them one hundred and fifty four million reasons this summer.

Each single reason a pound.

A single currency that appears to be Manchester United’s new way of thinking.

Although very much their old one when you give it a moment’s thought.

A lot has been said about how United have become the new Manchester City.

Or the new Chelsea.

Even the new Real Madrid with the phrase ‘The Galáticos’ being replaced with ‘The Gaaláticos’.

Truth is, they were always that.

They just hadn’t flexed this muscle as often in the previous few seasons.

There were clubs who spent more than United during Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure, sure.

But United were invariably coming from a healthy position of talent.

When they had to spend big to address any discrepancies they may have had - they did.

Sir Alex Ferguson broke the British transfer record five times alone.

Five times.

The only reason it’s not six is because Robinho signed the same night as Dimitar Berbatov.

The Brazilian forward becoming the first major signing to symbolise Manchester City’s ‘buying success’ period.

He cost a mere £1.75 million more than what their city rivals had just paid.

The following summers saw an increase in City’s spending but only because they were starting from a distance back.

They needed to play catch-up first to obtain success before they could try sustain it.

A much more expensive game.

A game of heavy spending that inflation has a habit of distorting.

But just as Chelsea or Manchester City needed to do so of late - United needed to play catch up on Arsenal in the summer of 1998.

It was a huge summer.

A £27 million size summer.

Dwight Yorke, Jaap Stam, Jasper Blomqvist all bought in.

Almost triple the amount spent by their nearest rivals.

An historic treble followed.

A treble funded by the largest outlay any English club had green lighted before.

Manchester City have been the most recent club accused of buying success.

But it’s been a long time since a team hasn’t.

The last of the non ‘big’ teams to win the league was Blackburn Rovers.

Bankrolled by the treasure chest of Jack Walker, they paid huge sums for various players at the time.

The British transfer record was broke to bring Alan Shearer to Ewood Park before they won the title.

Job done.

There’s even teams in the Premier League who have spent massive amounts to ‘buy success’ yet just haven’t achieved the desired results that go with this expression of intended derision.

Liverpool have spent more than Manchester United in the Premier League era.

Tottenham Hotspur have spent more than Arsenal.

The only difference between what they did and Manchester City or Chelsea did is the amount spent in the first few seasons of this ‘new’ money.

Playing catch-up meant they had to spend big to jump up to a level playing field with the established clubs.

But just as this season sees Manchester City spending only £50 million compared to their previous larger amounts - a plateau invariably occurs.

Resulting in spending now that equates little difference to the regular spends of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal or Tottenham of certain periods in the last 22 years.

£154 million was a huge outlay.

And one suspects there will be more money spent come January and next summer.

But it’s no different to breaking the British transfer record to bring Juan Sebastien Veron to the club for £28.1 million in 2001.

Nor is it any different to breaking the world transfer record for a defender when they brought in Rio Ferdinand for £29.1 million in 2002.

Roy Keane, Andy Cole, Ruud Van Nistelrooy the same.

All 5 times Sir Alex Ferguson broke the British transfer record was an example of a big club buying success.

It’s been that way for a long, long time.

Manchester United haven’t become the new Chelsea.

Haven’t become the new Manchester City either.

And they certainly haven’t sold their soul.

They’re just back to their traditional Manchester United selves.

The original big spenders of the Premier League.

Intent on buying success again...

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Mark's Noble Decision

Mark Noble is eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland.

He was born in England.

He has played for England.

He has even captained England.

But his Grandparents are Irish.

According to FIFA, this makes him eligible.

It’s that simple.

If Mark was to play for the Republic of Ireland in their next game against Gibraltar - nobody could have a problem.

Not the English FA.

Not the FA of Ireland.

Neither UEFA nor FIFA.

Nobody could have a problem at all.

Nobody except Mark that is.

After all is said and done, with rulebooks checked and applications processed, there remains only one simple hurdle in the path of the player playing for the birth country of his Grandparents.

Mark Noble does not want to play for the Republic of Ireland.

Or perhaps more pertinently, Mark Noble does not want to play for the Republic of Ireland, yet.

And it’s the use of the word ‘yet’ that has turned this story into a debate.

Dave Kitson was available to represent the Irish national side.

He made it clear from the beginning that he didn’t feel Irish and didn’t feel it would be right to play for Ireland.

He falls into the category of ‘not wanting to play for Ireland’.

So too, do Zat Knight, Anton Ferdinand and Curtis Davis.

All players eligible to play for Ireland.

All players who’d rather have represented their country of birth and were prepared to finish their careers uncapped than represent the birth country of a member of their family.

The difference between all of them and Mark of course, is the little word ‘yet’.

Mark has already told us he would rather play for England.

He has told us this for many years.

And for that he deserved respect.

He was biding his time for an opportunity.

But as the door opened with the retirement of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, it subsequently closed with the call-ups of Jack Colback and Fabian Delph.

This was the chance Mark had waited for.

Instead it went to two younger, fresher midfielders.

If Mark wants to play international football, he will most probably now have to switch allegiance.

A topic which is not unfamiliar.

The Republic of Ireland have benefited aplenty in the past.

Most nations have at some stage.

Only last year did a tug of war take place between Spain and Brazil for the services of Diego Costa.

The same Spain and Brazil who were favourites to lift the World Cup.

Diego had the opportunity to play for both and chose Spain.

He turned down the chance to play for Brazil in a World Cup in Brazil.

That’s how much he wanted to play for the Spanish national team.

Winners of the actual tournament Germany, had two Polish born players.

Runners-up Argentina had a Frenchman.

Third place Netherlands had players born in Portugal, Canada and Switzerland.

But for every Miroslav Klose, Lucas Podolski and Gonzalo Higuain - there is a Kevin Prince-Boateng.

Mercenary extraordinaire.

At the age of 27, he has amassed a grand total of fifteen caps for Ghana.

Seven of which came in World Cup tournaments.

Five in World Cup build up games.

And only three other ‘non World Cup related’ appearances.

You get the feeling if he was in Mark’s situation, he might wait until the Euro 2016 campaign starts to show more than just promise.

No show of national pride like in the case of Diego, who turned down the opportunity of playing for his country of birth at a World Cup in his country of birth.

You don’t get much more noble than that.

Not every switch of allegiance is as extreme a case of course.

For every Kevin-Prince, there is a Kevin Kilbane, a Clinton Morrison and a Paul Butler.

The question of Mark’s ability compared to these guys should be asked.

Not his ability on the football pitch mind.

His ability to affect the Irish squad.

Of which he can affect massively.

Just maybe not in a positive way.

Or just maybe not in a positive way, yet...

Monday, 1 September 2014

Does England Have The Premier League?

The hyperbole machine is in full flow this month.

We’ve been told the best league in the world has returned.

We’ve been told the most entertaining league in the world has returned.

We’ve been told the most competitive league in the world has returned.

Problem is - We’re just not sure if it’s returned to England.

The Premier League hyperbole machine will tell us it has of course.

They’ll tell us just about anything about how eminent the league is.

But it continuously fails to mention the most pertinent description it can offer - the best branded league in the world.

The Premier League has an awful lot going for it.

Most fans.

Most watched.

Most money.

Off the pitch it’s unbeatable.

It’s on the pitch the problems lie.

Season after season the best the Premier League has to offer seems to be off to La Liga.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the first major talent to leave in recent seasons.

Manchester United’s main man.

He was followed by Cesc Fabrages.

Arsenal’s main man.

Gareth Bale then picked up both player of the year awards.

Then promptly picked up and left.

The trend continued this summer when multiple player of the year award winner Luis Suarez landed in Barcelona.

Yet when we look at the reverse transfer dealings, it’s not the top players or star men of Spanish clubs that head for the shores of England.

As usual, Diego Costa aside, it was another summer of England’s finest picking off what Spain’s finest decided to cast off.

Barcelona decided Cesc Fabregas was surplus to requirements after they signed Suarez.

Alexis Sanchez too.

Much like when Bale arrived last summer and Mesut Ozil was allowed to leave, this year it was the turn of Angel DiMaria who was free to go.

Available for transfer only after Real Madrid had sufficiently bolstered their squad with the best there was to offer.

When it comes to individual awards, the English league’s top players rarely feature either.

Since 2010, only Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidic have made the FIFPro team of the year.

Not that the Germans or Italians have featured prominently either.

It’s the Spanish who have dominated completely.

Of the 44 players chosen since the turn of the decade, 34 have come from the Spanish league.

32 players more than the ‘best league in the world’.

Of course, It’s not just the players who make the league.

The teams are primary.

And right now it’s hard to look past the elite of the Spanish and German leagues.

An all Spanish affair in the final of the Champions League last season.

An all German affair the season before.

In fact, if it wasn’t for Chelsea flying the flag for the Premier League, it would be pretty poor reading in the Champions League over the past three seasons.

Manchester City have gone out in the group stages twice and the last 16 once.

Manchester United have gone out in the group stages, the last 16 and the quarter finals.

While Arsenal have not made it past the last 16 any of the seasons.

Even Chelsea, with their triumph 3 seasons ago have exited the competition at the group stage too.

Hardly statistics to back up the title of best league in the world.

Hyperbole will argue that the Premier League is more competitive of course.

It’s only the big two in Spain and the big one in Germany.

A quick look back over the last 10 years reveal otherwise.

All three countries have had a dominant club in the league - Manchester United (5 times winners), Barcelona (6), Bayern Munich (6).

Followed by a secondary team - Chelsea (3), Real Madrid (3), Borussia Dortmund (2).

And some less successful clubs - Manchester City (2), Atletico Madrid (1), Wolfsburg (1) and Schalke (1).

Tough to argue it’s more competitive when only 3 teams have won the league in the last 1o years - the same as it’s La Liga counterparts and 1 less then the Bundesliga.

The battle for the Champions League places, or top four, is even less compelling reading.

Only 7 teams have qualified from England in the last 10 years.

The supposedly less competitive nation of Germany has had 9 qualifiers.

The supposedly even less competitive Spanish league has had 12.

Examining the top 4 of each league last season pours further cold water on the argument of competitiveness.

The top 4 in the Premier League dropped a combined total of 125 points last season.

Only 3 points more than the combined total of the top 4 in both Spain and Germany - equal on 122.

Hardly convincing evidence that the other leagues are dominated by just the elite.

A look further down the league tables suggests the strength lies in the other two leagues as well.

In the last 3 seasons 5 teams from Spain have made the semi-finals of the Europa League, winning it twice.

Just the 1 English representative here - Chelsea again.

In the week that Hull City crashed out before the group stages even begun, it was another reminder of what little success English clubs have had of late compared to their Spanish counterparts.

It’s not all grim reading of course.

The likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal are still up there with the best in the world.

Likewise players such as Angel DiMaria, Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez.

Even the clubs that have competed in the Europa League from England are good clubs who have had success in the past.

All pointing to England’s elite competition being one of the best in the world.

But that’s not being questioned.

The English League is no doubt up there with the best in the world.

It may be that it’s just not the premier league...

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Mourinho could manage Manchester United’s expectations

Nigel Adkins was relieved of his managerial duties last week following a noteworthy tenure.

Southampton had just completed back-to-back promotions and at the first time of asking, have given themselves a real chance of staying up as they reached the midway point of the Premier League.

Give this option to any Southampton supporter two seasons ago and they would have snapped your hand off.

He didn’t need years to lay foundations and build from the ground up.

He didn’t have substantial backing.

He didn’t even have much time.

Yet Nigel could not have achieved much more.

Not so long ago, Tottenham Hotspur were struggling in the relegation zone when they moved for Harry Redknapp.

In four seasons at the club, Harry finished 4th, 5th, 4th and even managed to take the club to the quarter finals of the Champions League.

No lengthy regime.

No extensive rebuilding project.

No complaint from Spurs fans.

As for David Moyes, he is highly regarded for his achievements at Everton.

Ten seasons of stability is all he has really achieved though.

Despite being in the Premier League for his entire reign, selling numerous players for vast sums, David has never won a major honour for them.

This during a period where clubs like Blackburn, Portsmouth, Birmingham and even Middlesborough have won silverware of some sort.

All of whom have had various candidates at their helm.

Then there’s Jose Mourinho.

It’s been nine seasons since Roman Abramovich took over at Chelsea.

In that time, Roman has hired or fired nine different managers.

His first appointment was Jose.

While his treatment of a selection of these managers, namely the special one, has sparked vociferous debate in the stands - his methods have proved massively successful.

Chelsea hadn’t won the league in fifty years.

The only time they’d won it.

Three times they’ve won it under Roman now.

Last season they went one better.

Adding their first ever Champions League to the trophy cabinet.

In fact, they’ve qualified for the tournament every season Roman has overseen proceedings.

Coupled with four FA cups, two league cups and on numerous occasions reached the final four of Europe’s elite competition.

Jose was responsible for five of those major honours.

Not a bad period at all.

And no comparison with their former rivals Arsenal - the epitome of stability in the modern era.

Arsene Wenger has governed every single aspect of Arsenal football club for sixteen straight seasons now.

He has full control in decisions made yet hasn’t managed a major honour in his previous eight campaigns.

No contest when it comes to finance.

And no contest when it comes to success.

The idea that a manager must embody longevity is a distinctly British one - throughout the major European leagues anyway.

Since Sir Alex took over at Old Trafford, Bayern Munich have had twenty managers.

Ajax Amsterdam eighteen.

FC Porto the same.

All clubs dominating their domestic leagues as well as conquering Europe throughout this period.

A similar picture in Italy too.

Juventus fourteen.

AC Milan sixteen.

Internazionale as much as twenty seven.

All hugely successful in Serie ‘A’.

All winners of the Champions League during Fergie time.

Then comes the biggest club of all.

Real Madrid.

Jose Mourinho’s home right now.

The Spanish giants have had twenty five managers since Sir Alex took up his reigns.

Won eleven La Liga titles.

Three Champions Leagues.

Plus numerous World Club Cups, European Super Cups and Copa Del Reys.

Never one to have a problem with moving on a manager at seasons end - no matter how successful.

Fabio Capello won the league yet didn’t do it stylishly enough.

Jupp Heynckes won the Champions League in his only season in charge.

Vicente Del Bosque won two and it still wasn’t enough for him to retain his job.

Yet despite all this, Real Madrid remain the most successful club in the world.

Even more remarkable is that by the end of this season, Jose should be their third longest serving manager in their one hundred and ten year history.

He has had two and a half campaigns so far.

Brought in to end Josep Guardiola’s Barcelona dominance - labelled the greatest club side of all time.

It took Jose just one season before he started to overturn the Catalan giants.

No better manager in the world to undertake such a massive challenge.

And it will be a similar challenge that faces the next Manchester United manager - taking over from a man who has been in charge for almost thirty years.

How to find the next Alex Ferguson is the question people keep asking.

Not a job that Jose seems made for.

But what they should really be asking - is who will manage Manchester United next?

And expect Jose to be able to manage that...

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Daniel Sturridge is the New Andy Carroll

Daniel Sturridge opened his Premier League account for Liverpool on Sunday.

He did so by scoring against their biggest rivals.

Which means he’s now scored as many league goals for Liverpool this season as Andy Carroll has for West Ham United.

It was his league debut.

Liverpool dipped into the January transfer window to sign Daniel last week.

Two years on from signing Andy Carroll at the same stage.

Both attackers.

Both unproven.

Both moving for big money.

The main difference being that Daniel cost almost three times less.

When Andy had signed for Liverpool, he was relatively unproven.

Despite it being his fourth season in the first team, he had only managed eleven goals in the top flight.

He had yet to play for England.

As Daniel signs for Liverpool this week, he too is relatively unproven.

After unsuccessful spells at Manchester City and Chelsea, he comes with nothing more than promise.

It’s only on loan at Bolton that he managed nine goals to bring his top flight tally to sixteen.

Four caps for England.

But both players had potential.

It was never a problem for Liverpool fans that Kenny had bought potential when he signed Andy in 2011.

It was just the thirty five million pound price tag.

The egregious figure that must still haunt every Liverpool supporter the world over.

The corridors of Anfield still reverberating with questions as to why Kenny was supported with a war chest that size when the permanently appointed Roy Hodgson wasn’t.

How Brendan Rodgers could do with that money now as he rebuilds their great and famous club.

A club too great and famous for Andy.

Whereas Daniel didn’t come from a small club like Newcastle who were spending time in the Championship.

He came from the European Champions.

And should thrive with the less pressure on him at Anfield.

He struggled to cope with the responsibilities of playing in a side with aspirations of winning the league and conquering Europe every season.

He knows Liverpool are at least a few years away from that now.

And will hopefully have matured into the side by the time it comes around again.

Andy went from a small club with a big fan base who had just spent time in the Championship.

The step up to a much bigger club under Kenny proved too much for the man who had never experienced that before.

He was used to being the main man at a small club where everything was focused around his strengths.

Liverpool had enough good players to not have to rely on this one dimension.

Daniel will have played with much better players.

The step down will only serve to make it easier.

This all makes him the new Andy Carroll.

The answer to Liverpool’s attacking problems.

The main difference of course, being the price tag.

Andy came as a thirty five million pound player.

That came with all the pressures of being the eight most expensive player of all time.

More expensive than Rooney, Van Persie, even Luis Suarez.

12 million pound more than Luis in fact.

The pressure was too much.

They are both attackers.

Both unproven at Premier league level.

Both signed for their potential.

But luckily for Daniel, both not costing the same...