Friday, September 13, 2013

Big Lad's on tour

While the nation was roaring on one 31-year-old late developer (in international terms) this week, another was scoring his first goal for his country. His younger brother may have been following in his footsteps by turning out for England U21s, but Big Lad has since pledged his allegiance to Nigeria and broke his duck in a friendly against Burkina Faso. Despite expressing delight in his post-match interview, he did also hint at a dispute with his employers - the clearest evidence yet that he was barred from playing for his country in January against his will: "It's unfortunate I missed the African Cup of Nations triumph. A lot of things happened that I don't want to go into."

Also on the scoresheet this week was Haris Vuckic, who netted in both of Slovenia U21s' fixtures - something that will presumably have caught the Silver Fox's eye, given that we've been short of goals as well as creativity in our opening few games.

You have to feel some sympathy for Shane Ferguson, for whom the international fixtures provided no respite whatsoever from what is already shaping up to be a tough season for Birmingham. First the Northern Irishman was asked to fill in at left back at home to Portugal and found himself part of a defence tormented and tortured as Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick and overhauled Eusebio's scoring record in the process. Of course, it didn't help that they finished the game two men light... Worse was to come, though, in the form of an embarrassing 3-2 defeat to lowly Luxembourg.

Also in action for their countries were Sideshow Bob, Moussa Sissoko and Mr T. It'll be interesting to see if the latter gets the nod ahead of Vurnon Anita for tomorrow's trip to Villa - or indeed whether both miss out if the Silver Fox decides to reintroduce Dreamboat at the expense of a defensive midfielder rather than sacrificing a more forward-thinking player.

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