Thursday, May 05, 2011

Jose's team talk

Talk about a back-handed compliment. Here's what Jose Enrique had to say to BBC's Late Kick-Off:

"It's hard for players like me, Jonas [Gutierrez], Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan - we've played with big names before. But a lot has changed. Before, we had players like Mark Viduka, and now we have players like Williamson and Perch - players who have played in the Championship and they fight to play in the Premier League. We're doing well, we had Michael Owen and players like that and we were relegated, but with this team we will stay in the division."

Way to go, belittling your team-mates by implying they're not "big names" and suggesting they're Championship-quality try-hards rather than Premier League class. Can't imagine that'll have gone down too well in the dressing room.

In fairness to our Spanish left-back, mind, he's only really echoing the sentiments of a lot of supporters. Mike Williamson has been largely sound this season but looked totally out of his depth on Sunday, while James Perch has yet to convince us (and Alan Pardew too) that he's anything more than a solid chugger at Championship level.

Ultimately, though, we want a successful Newcastle team and, for this season at least, that's one that does no more or less than survive in the top flight. If that can be achieved without the flashy stars, marquee signings and Billy Big Bollocks of yore - and let's face it, far too many of those haven't worked out - then we'll have no complaints.

Inevitably Enrique was also questioned about his future, contract talks still being on ice - and equally inevitably his response has been the primary focus of reports on the interview: "If I have to continue here, I'm happy. If I have to go to another club, I'm happy in England. If I have to go to another league, I'm happy. I just want to play football - it's my life and it's best for me." An inscrutable reply, though it's certainly no firm statement of allegiance.

If he does decide to depart, the papers have been suggesting possible replacements, the Sun and the Daily Heil agreeing on Franck Tabanou of Toulouse. Tabanou is nominally a left winger but has been pressed into service as a full-back this season - he's impressed in his makeshift role, but is the mere thought bringing back nightmare visions of Damien Duff for anyone else?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good article but I'm not sure thats what Jose was actually saying. I think he was more referring to the fact that we now have a squad with good, honest grafters. They may not have the technical ability of a Michael Owen, Mark Viduka or Obafemi Martins but they see playing for this club as an honour which counts for a lot more. I think that is what Jose was trying to say.

9:06 a.m.  
Blogger Ben said...

Absolutely. Ultimately it's praise he's dishing out - these supposed grafters are actually succeeding where far more illustrious players failed two seasons ago. But the way he phrased it might have upset Messrs Perch and Williamson. Lost in translation, perhaps...

10:41 p.m.  
Blogger Paul said...

I'm inclined to agree with anonymous, if anything it appeared to be a criticism of messers Owen, Martins and Captain Pasty rather than Williamson or Perch.

Didn't inspire any confidence that he'll be here next season mind.

8:58 a.m.  

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