Terry, Ivanovic & Rooney Showing Their Age! Stan Speaks…

I’ve been battling with a few Sunderland fans on Twitter this weekend about the state their great club is in, and if they look carefully enough, many know I’m right.

The shambles that some Premier League clubs are in when they are richer than Rockefeller is one of the great embarrassments of the modern game.

Not one Premier League club should be in difficulty, all should have wonderful structures which guarantee long suffering and high paying fans a team which can compete according to their size, income and vast riches handed out by broadcasters.

So why are so many getting it wrong?

Let’s take Spurs for example. A great club with a rich history and tradition, a state of the art training complex, and a proposed move into a stadium which should see them compete with the very best. However, after the frittering away of the Bale money on players who mostly have disappointed or left, can Daniel Levy really suggest he’s fit for purpose to oversee Spurs kick on to the next level? Not for me.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool - White Hart Lane

He spent the 80 odd million pounds in a crazy week, spending and breaking the club transfer record as though he were a kid in a sweet shop. His counterpart Ellis Short at Sunderland has sanctioned 80k a week on Jermaine Defoe, a guy most believed would go out to graze in the MLS. Examples of two owners who look great in the suit, love being at the top of the food chain but constantly fail to understand the crazy nature of football.

Sunderland were at their best when Niall Quinn, a football man, could advise, give insight and help the owner in the most volatile of sports. Spurs owner Joe Lewis, a very wealthy man, could do much worse than do likewise at Spurs. Bayer, Real Madrid and Barca all embrace former players in executive roles. Why? Because they understand the game they’ve served for 20 or more years.

Daniel Levy for me still hasn’t learnt, and thats why with him at the helm, Spurs will fall short of where they really should be competing, namely for a top 4 spot.

Jose, Give Youth A Chance
Britain Soccer Premier League

This is going to be fascinating season watching Jose. Already mired in the Eva debacle, giving JT the hook last week and the continual chase for the rookie John Stones to be the answer to Chelsea’s current defensive woes. Lots talk about the “3rd season syndrome”, which for me is a pop at the fact that Jose doesn’t do longevity, he merely spends quick cash, builds a winning team, then moves on. But this is HIS club, right?

I think he’ll stay for 4-5 years but one thing he needs to do which he hasn’t at any club he’s managed this far is win something with the kids, as Alan Hansen once famously said.

He’s spent a billion, but if he’s going to take his place alongside Shanks, Paisley, Fergie and Clough, he must nurture and trust young , homegrown Chelsea talent rather than open Roman’s cheque book. That means Loftus-Cheek, that means the superb underage teams Chelsea have and it means putting some of the 20 youngsters out on loan in the first team for keeps rather than a 5 or 6 game cameo.

Until he does, he’s a very good manager, but will never be one of the greats. The greats trust youth. Jose trusts in Roman.

Terry and Ivanovic Must Be Honest With Themselves
Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Chelsea v Manchester United - Stamford Bridge

Sometimes you just know as a player when your time at the top is up. You can’t turn as quickly, you blow that bit harder, the opposition seems much younger and sharper.

Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry are true football warriors. Dependable, play lots of games, won everything there is to win and are still amongst the best in the business, but it would be grossly unfair to keep relying upon them, week in, week out. So it’s vital that Zouma, Cahill and more importantly Jose realise this and rely on them a little less.

Liverpool over relied on Gerrard for too long and it didn’t help the team. Man United over relied on Scholes and Neville and are only just finding replacements for them, so it’s vital that Jose listens to JT and Branislav, looks in their eyes and ask them one question. “How much CAN you do this season”.

If they are honest, they’ll know the answer won’t be 38 games. Ivanovic had a tough time against Swansea’s Montero and Terry got turned way too easily against Rondon at the Hawthorns – so if the manager and players fess up and be honest with each other, they both can still have a huge impact at Chelsea.

If they kid themselves that they can do what they did in years gone by, Chelsea won’t retain their title. It’s that cruel, that simple.

Pedro Looking At Home Already
Soccer - Barclays Premier League - West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea - The Hawthorns

The biggest thing the Barca exports to the Premier League have brought is the willingness to receive the ball in extremely tight areas, something English players traditionally struggle with, so its refreshing to see Yaya, Sanchez and now Pedro giving game by game tutorials on how to manipulate the ball in tight areas.

Pedro, in front of yours truly, already looked at home with Hazard and Willian at the Hawthorns, and I think he can give the same kind of pace, impetus and trickery to Chelsea as David Silva does for Man City. The more players of his caliber we get, the better for every British and Irish player in the league, and it may just give Chelsea the kick up the backside in the title race they need.

What’s Happened Wayne?
Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v Newcastle United - Old Trafford

Wayne Rooney is the poster boy of Man United and the Premier League in many respects. He’ll break the England and United goalscoring records, has been around for a long time, but if I’m honest, even I’m alarmed at how much pace and sharpness he seems to have lost over the last couple of years and the reasons are simple.

When he started at Everton, and then when Fergie demanded he play as a 9, he laid the ball off, got in the box, honed his movement, sharpness and eye for goal to perfection and the goals flowed. The last 3 seasons I feel that he no longer believes he has that pace or sharpness to score 20 plus Premier League goals as a 9, so has been satisfied to be the happy wanderer – playing as a ten, midfielder and even picking the ball up from his back 4 at times, and as i know too well, the deeper you drop, the more games you play out of the box, rather than in it, you simply lose your strikers tools of anticipation, sharpness and clinical finishing.

Can he get it back?

I’m not so sure, he’s got a lot of miles on the clock, isn’t the most natural of athletes and an impatient LVG may already be looking for a number 9 who can deliver in the box.

For Wayne that means back to the long, pinged passes, and perhaps accepting the role of the Premier League’s highest paid utility man.