Monday, October 04, 2010

Hatchet man axed

At least someone other than Chris Hughton has had the good sense to condemn Nigel de Jong's leg-breaking assault on Hatem Ben Arfa yesterday. The Dutchman was inexplicably absolved of blame by ESPN pundits Nicky Butt and Kevin Keegan, amongst others, but his international manager Bert van Marwijk has taken a very different view, dropping him from the squad for the forthcoming European Championships qualifiers.

Van Marwijk described the challenge as "a wild and unnecessary offence", claiming that de Jong "went in much too hard" and finding it "funny" that it wasn't even deemed worthy of a yellow card. Funny isn't quite the word we'd use for it, but all the same... Showdown talks are now on the agenda: "I have a problem with the way Nigel needlessly looks to push the limit.

Meanwhile, there was mixed international news for members of our squad. Haris Vuckic will be celebrating graduating from Slovenia's U21 squad to the seniors despite having only just turned 18, but by contrast Bigger Lad's omission from the England squad (with 33-year-old Bolton captain Kevin Davies selected ahead of him) will have compounded the disappointment of being dropped by Hughton for yesterday's match. Big Lad's muscular display at Eastlands did enough to earn him another start when the domestic campaign resumes at home to Wigan in a fortnight, but Hughton had some consolatory words for the player to whom he handed the number 9 shirt in the summer: "Andy is a massive part of this club and will continue to be for a long time".

Finally, spare a thought for Lee Clark, whose Huddersfield side are going through a rough patch, having lost three on the bounce without scoring, and who has today seen fellow former Toon employee Derek Fazackerley poached from his backroom staff by new Leicester manager Sven-Goran Eriksson. Perhaps we could cheer him up by bolstering his unusually goal-shy attack with Nile Ranger on loan?


Blogger Paul said...

If ASBO had made that tackle, he'd have been villified by the press and sent off by the referee.

1:32 p.m.  
Blogger Paul said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:32 p.m.  

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