No Paris today – promise. An American on telly yesterday said that when he first heard of the Scouse Giant, he couldn’t wait to see him, but when he finally saw The Rooney in the flesh, he couldn’t believe that this was a soccer player. ‘The way he looked, I’d love to have him play for the Steelers’, he said. The stereotypical ‘what’s a big tough guy like you doing playing a sissies game?’ response. I used to coach soccer in Pa. and disappointed dads used to send us male progeny who didn’t make it playing in tights and body armour. (Not quite as bad as New Zealand, where the only choice for boys who can’t play Rugby is euthanasia.)
But all this is secondary today, for this is R-day. Will Rooney’s broken metatarsal (the bone connected to the foot-bone at one end and the toe-bone at the other) have recovered enough for him to play in our match against Trinidad and Tobago tonight? A few days ago the England coach was saying ‘Absolut’ in that dyspeptic Swedish way of his – but a new element has come into the problem. It’s the threat that, should the metatarsal fail him in this game, or some naughty Trinidadian step on his foot, thus leaving him unable to start next football season, Manchester United will sue the pants off the English Football Association. And, since neither Man U’s American owners, nor their Scottish coach, nor Sven Gali, our Swedish manager, (who quits at the end of this World Cup tournament anyway) could give a stuff whether England win or not, there’s a strong possibility that the Roon might not play. And the following game is against – Sweden. Talk about divided loyalties!
On paper, England should win easily, and if we do we are certain to qualify for Round Two - but we have a special skill at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
In the Queens Club tennis, our Tim (Henman) won his singles, but sadly, the Scot-who-supports-any-football-team-playing-against-England lost. Pretty good day then.
Fingers - and metatarsals - crossed at 5pm UK time this evening for the trials of Nuremburg. Altogether now, to the tune of Washington Post: ‘Engerland, Engerland, Engerland…