Wilfried Zaha’s decision to play for the Ivory Coast rather than England has provoked all manner of ignorant comments from the game’s talking heads in recent days, prompting The Guardian’s Barney Ronay to launch a wonderfully scathing attack on the likes of Southgate and Mills in the piece attached below.
Whilst I love running this site from day to day, I’m under no illusions regarding my own talents as a writer. I like to think I’m capable of stringing a few decent sentences together when the mood takes me but there is simply no way that I could have crystalised the ongoing debate about Zaha’s international career as well as Ronay has in the article featured above; it’s a glorious piece of sportswriting.
Indeed, he’s been given the perfect source material by messrs Southgate and Mills, who, in their own desperation to seem chest thumpingly patriotic, have only succeeded in looking woefully out of touch with the English footballing landscape in 2017. In essence, it’s not difficult to poke holes in their collective argument, hundreds have done so on Twitter in recent days but Ronay goes a step further, questioning their understanding of the dilemmas that an increasing number of players are going to experience in the years to come.
As someone who has watched Wilf closely for many years, I can’t help feeling as though his upturn in form is directly related to the certainty that he now has over his international future. Ever since earning a big money move to Manchester United back in 2013, Zaha’s game has been placed under heavy scrutiny, a shift which has loaded an unfair level of criticism onto his shoulders. Now, with the academy man happy and playing well, the FA know they’ve dropped a clanger and have decided to throw more sly digs his way; luckily, the likes of Barney Ronay have seen right through it and are taking them to task.
The world is a better place for it.