Somewhere in the corridors of power at the Daily Mail, the idea of giving Alan Pardew a Euro 2016 column was deemed a good idea. In his latest offering, the Palace boss has certainly made a few waves.
Our gaffer is a man who can easily be put into the category of managerial Marmite in the minds of most football fans who encounter his uniquely bullish style on a regular basis via the medium of their TV screens. In a league that thrives on drama, Pardew is more than happy to play along with the rolling soap opera that the media work so hard to cultivate, as proven here by the extremely forthright nature of his comments on the England team.
It is not stretching the point to claim that Hodgson’s England were an embarrassment in France this summer. Having edged through a group that, on paper at least, looked incredibly straightforward, our humbling at the hands of Iceland in the last 16 saw fans and journalists alike indulge in gallows humour at the team’s expense on a scale seldom seen before.
Most sane football watchers have come to terms with the fact that something is drastically wrong at national level, even though no one has quite been able to pinpoint exactly what it is that needs to change, but in the brain of Alan Pardew, five or six England players are more than good enough to get into France’s starting XI. I’m not usually one for throwing fuel on the fire for the sake of it, but even by the sensationalist standards of the Daily Mail, that statement from Pardew is extreme.
Forgetting the wonderful individual display of Antoine Griezmann, Hugo Lloris’ imperious performances in goal or the impressive tactical guidance offered from the sidelines from Didier Deschamps over the last month, it’s worth noting that the likes of Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery didn’t even make it into the French 23, such is the strength in depth available to them.
I’m sure you don’t need me to explain further why Pardew’s statements above make for puzzling and in truth rather laughable reading, but we should perhaps look at them as a symptom of the undeniable arrogance that has infiltrated our footballing thinking over the last 20-30 years, rather than simply something to laugh at.
Still, I’m sure Harry Redknapp agrees with you, Alan…