Bellingham right to be cocky, tiredness wrecking Euros

In his exclusive column for CaughtOffside, former Aston Villa attacker Stan Collymore discusses some of football’s biggest talking points, including why Jude Bellingham is right to be cocky, why tiredness is wrecking the Euros, why Archie Gray to Spurs is a great move and much more.

Jude Bellingham is right to be cocky but it’s not all about him

Jude Bellingham’s still a baby and people will say he’s done very little in his career. He’s not, as the kids say, ‘the man’ yet.

But if you’re La Liga Player of the Year, you’ve won the Champions League and you’ve been a key part of that then, of course, you’re going to have cockiness and sureness in your own ability.

He’s not got a final body of work, but I love the attitude he displays. I think one of the big, big things about English football, when it comes to English players, is we’ve never celebrated players with talent until long after they’ve retired.

In Jude’s case, I think that it is both true that I want him to be cocky and confident and to have ultimate self belief, but I also want him to be a fully functioning member and part of the team. To remember that his success cannot come without the success of others.

Jude Bellingham

There’s been a couple of times when he’s gone over to Gareth Southgate and taken instructions then gesticulated a little bit, but again, I think that he’s young and still learning. He probably watches, or has watched, lots of big name players take centre stage, not just with their performances but how they interact with the bench.

The media are saying how good he’s been since 16 years of age, so he’s probably thinking ‘how can I now play the part on and off the pitch?’

If he gets punished because of his crotch-grabbing antics it would be incredibly negative, and the reaction to him would be interesting. Let’s not forget Wayne Rooney and David Beckham have had the naughty little boy tabloid treatment, so he needs to be careful.

Maybe Kyle Walker or another senior pro just pulls him aside and says ‘I’ve worked with these big, big dogs. I’ve won everything there is to win with these big dogs. And in the case of a De Bruyne, you couldn’t get a more self deprecating, it’s not all about me kind of player.’

If Jude was reading this, all I’d say is keep being cocky, keep being confident, but remember that no player can get to where they need to be without the likes of Phil Foden, Kieran Trippier, Jordan Pickford etc.

You are just one piece of a cog, you’re not the cog on its own.

Too many games to blame for England’s woes, not Southgate

If you look at the teams that are starting to get to the pointy end of the Euros, tiredness has become a major factor. I saw France and Holland coming out at half-time of their games recently and they looked wasted. Everyone was like ‘here we go again.’

This is going to be a major problem and will be at the World Cup in only two years time.

When is the madness going to end, whereby we celebrate nations like Georgia and Turkey rightly for the freshness in their performances, but we castigate players like Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham, or maybe some of the Dutch guys for their performances.

The answer is the same and is very simple.

Some of the guys that have looked incredibly fresh, lively and on their toes whilst playing a super brand of football have been precisely that because the intensity, on and off the pitch, isn’t there for a lot of Georgian, Turkish and Austrian players.

Harry Kane is tired

For England players, French players, for some of the Germans and some of the Dutch etc. it is, so we’ve got to address it.

Whether it be Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe or other high profile stars, we want to be seeing our very, very best players playing their very, very best football at the end of a tournament, not in September, October for their clubs.

We’ve got to stop flogging dead horses.

If you play in the Premier League and La Liga, and to a lesser degree, the Bundesliga, Ligue Un and Serie A, the intensity of the media interest as well as the intensity of the games means that you are just spent.

I’m a massive fan of players only playing 50 professional games a season. That’s it, across all tournaments. That would focus minds, but I think that in the short term, a player that gets knocked out at the Euros this coming weekend does not go back to their club team for six full weeks.

Georgia and Turkey are the shining stars of Euro 2024

For me, the teams that have impressed me the most have been Georgia and Turkey.

Georgia came into this tournament like ‘this is it, this is as good as it gets,’ and they’ve just gone for it. Turkey is a different animal because of the Turkish media.

You know it’s a big football in nation but they’ve always underachieved, just as England have underachieved.

When I look at the talent that they’ve got… Demiral, Ayhan, Guler, Kokcu, Yildiz and Yilmaz – they have been superb. Getting the ball, turning with it, running with it, creating chances, sitting on the counter.

Austria were very good overall and might have qualified on another day with a little bit more look. It was nice to see Marko Arnautovic back in the big time too.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia celebrates

If I’m looking at other nations that you’re expecting to be there or thereabouts, you can’t really look much beyond Spain. Obviously the young lads, Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams are exceeding all expectations.

The squad have stuck with the remit of the 2010/2012 Spanish team but with a bit more flair. A big shout out for Rodri too. When you look at players in the big leagues that are mentally and physically fatigued, this guy is managing his minutes extraordinarily well. He seems to play at 70% pace all the time, so you’ve never really seen him making long, bursting runs and his timing is great. He’s a very big man. He’s a very big, physically impressive athlete. And obviously he weighed in with a cracking goal against against Georgia.

Ah yes, Georgia. Mikautadze, Kvaratskhelia and their team-mates playing with so much joy, with so much happiness… unless someone wins the Euros by scoring a hat-trick in the final or something amazing, I think that a lot of people will be nodding in agreement that the attacking play of the Georgians at their very best has been great to watch.

It’s a festival, a celebration at the end of a European season, or at the end of a global season, where all of these amazing countries come together and entertain us in the sunshine.

So for me, Georgia have been the team to watch at this season’s tournament.

Archie Gray is the right player at the right time for Tottenham

Archie Gray

Archie Gray is already nearing a half century of performances at just 18, so he will know what he’s about as a player. He’s a big lad as well, six foot two, and he’s only going to get bigger, stronger and more versatile in the next two or three years.

He can play as a centre mid or as a right-back and he’s got pedigree after turning out for England in the U15, U16, U17, U19, U20 and U21 age groups.

I think he will go on potentially and play for England, though he’s eligible for Scotland as well.

I imagine that whoever the next England manager is, he will be watching over the next season or two at Spurs, but they may well call him up for the England senior squad sooner rather than later.

Personally, I think it’s a great move. I’m a massive fan of Tottenham, the way that their Academy has done things etc…

The facilities are arguably the best in the world at Spurs Lodge, they don’t necessarily just promote ex-players as coaches in the academy and they’ve got Ange Postecoglou, who’s a very minded open manager.

Archie Gray and his family are all Celtic fans and love Ange, so I’m really excited. I think it’s the right player, the right move, the right club at the right time and I think that he will get opportunities to play.

The world’s his oyster.

Source link

About Author