Guardiola & Pochettino Play The “International Injury Window” Game To Perfection. Mourinho Is More Cagey

Posted: November 8, 2017 in Arsenal, Chelsea, England, Football, International Football, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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With two more meaningless friendlies on the horizon for a very average England team, the Premier League has, once again and for the third time already this season, ground to a shuddering halt.

These two games are against Germany and Brazil and withdrawals through injury mean that England go into the games with an even greater paucity of talent than usual.

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Mauricio Pochettino has decided that Harry Kane, Harry Winks and Dele Alli are not fit enough to even travel with the squad, never mind take part in the games. He has, as a token gesture, left Kieran Trippier who he thinks could benefit from the game time.

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This has led to Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola, deciding that, if Tottenham can rest some of their best players then so can he and has declared Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling unfit for service. His token gesture is to allow Kyle Walker to remain with England in order to compete with Kieran Trippier for the right back spot.

Given that Kane and Alli in particular are central to Spurs’ title ambitions then it is hardly surprising that their boss does not want to risk them being genuinely injured in a couple of ridiculously pointless games, organised at a vey important stage of the season.

With City, Fabian Delph is doing a very capable job at left back. It is not, however, his position and he is only there because of injury to Benjamin Mendy. An injury in a stupid friendly could very well have dire consequences for City and it is no surprise to discover that he is “injured”.

Raheem Sterling has been withdrawn as a precaution because, despite not playing well, he is the team’s top scorer and that makes him rather more important than he has been for a few years.

Poor old Gareth! He wanted to see how many his strongest team would lose these games by, now he’ll have to make do with watching his second choice eleven getting hammered.

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Over at Old Trafford the only suspicion of any jiggery-pokery with regards to the international injury window concerns Paul Pogba. Whisper it quietly but we here at WSA are under the impression that he maybe could have played against Chelsea. He didn’t do so for two reasons.

The first was that Mourinho thought he had the right tactics to take at least a point from Stamford Bridge and decided not to risk his French midfielder.

The second, and more realistic one, is that if Pogba had played, he would immediately have been called up by France meaning he would be straight back in the firing line and not even for his club who, when all is said and done, pay his wages.

The English players called up from Old Trafford are Phil Jones, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young and Marcus Rashford and, as yet, none have pulled out. If any are to do so then we expect that it will be Rashford as the other three are entirely dispensable and an injury to any or all of them would be no big big drama.

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Surprisingly, Chris Smalling has been overlooked for these friendlies, which is not good news for him. Basically, his exclusion means that he is worse than useless.

Normally, a Manchester United player only needs to be English to get the call from the national team. They don’t have to be playing particularly well and, in a lot of cases, they don’t even have to be in the first team at United. So the fact that Smalling, who IS in the first team if only through default at present, hasn’t been given the caps is worrying for him.

Anyway, José Mourinho hasn’t seen fit to withdraw any of his players so that may be a strong indication of what he thinks about them.

Look at it this way. Manchester City and Tottenham have withdrawn players they consider to be important parts of their team in the quest for the title. Mourinho hasn’t pulled any of his so maybe he doesn’t think their title challenge hinges on the fitness of his English quartet.

We hope so anyway because three of those four wouldn’t get into the City or Spurs teams and probably not even the Chelsea team at the moment.

Jürgen Klopp, in an attempt at not being accused of non-conformity, has withdrawn Jordan Henderson because he likes his company and didn’t fancy hanging around Anfield without him.

Now all that remains is to see out this joke of a fortnight which will have England lose two games, some players get injured and the vast majority of supporters saying, “what was the point of that“?

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