Friday, October 13, 2006

Parker the pariah?

Can I be the last person to I-told-you-so Gary fucking Neville by saying you should never hit a backpass on target? Thank you.

Anyway, this is a blog dedicated to Newcastle, not England, so let's consider for a moment what last night's calamitous defeat to Croatia might mean for our captain Scott Parker, who made his first full start for the national team.

The tabloid scapegoat may have been Paul Robinson (predictably but ridiculously so - the second goal was a freak and the fault of Neville if anyone (see above), and aside from being a bit far off his line for the first goal he did very little wrong, pulling off a number of great saves), but I fear that in the longer term it'll be Parker who gets it in the neck. Without ever being spectacular, he was solid, quietly efficient and certainly superior to the vast majority of his teammates - but I'm worried that unfortunately he'll forever more be associated in the mind of Steve McLaren with that ill-fated 3-5-2 formation and a very poor defeat in Zagreb.

No matter that Parker could do an excellent job in what we're slowly coming to terms with calling "the Hargreaves role" in a 4-4-2 - I imagine he'll have to get used to being overlooked again.

I just hope for his sake that I'm proved wrong - but sod's law that'll happen and then he'll pick up a long-term injury on England duty. Still, there's always the possibility of squeezing compensation out of the FA...


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