29 Jun 2014

'What a player': Lawro hails 'fantastic' €45m World Cup star. Dream transfer for LFC, but sadly there's no chance

Who is the World Cup's best player? There are quite a few candidates at the moment, and for the most part, the big players (Messi, Neymar, Robben etc) are living up to the hype and producing the goods. Colombia's James Rodriguez is arguably the star of the tournament so far, though, and Reds legend Mark Lawrenson insists he deserves more credit that he's currently receiving.

With 5 goals, 3 assists, and 3 man-of-the-match awards, 22-year old Rodriguez has taken the World Cup by storm, and after witnessing his double-strike against Japan, Lawro raved:

"What a player he [Rodriguez] is. He absolutely just gives you something else. If he had an Argentina shirt on, everyone would be raving. Fantastic"

Lawro has a point here. Against Uruguay last night, Rodriguez smashed in one of the World Cup's greatest ever goals, and if Messi had scored that goal, everyone and his dog would be eulogising him as the best player in history.

When you see young talents like Rodriguez playing so well at the highest level, it becomes easier to understand why certain managers (like Brendan Rodgers, for example), are obsessed with buying young players with massive potential.

Monaco shelled out €45m for Rodriguez, and the time, it seemed like a ridiculous overpriced transfer, but it's clear now that it was money well-spent.

It would be absolutely amazing to have Rodriguez at Anfield, but the chances of that happening are slim-to-none as he is not a fan of the Premier League. In a recent interview, he noted:

"The Premier League is very physical. In Spain, for example, it is more about the technique and guile which can give a player like me more touches of the ball. That is what I love about playing this game"

I find it incredibly amusing that Rodriguez has achieved more in just ONE major tournament than Gerrard, Rooney, Beckham etc managed in multiple World Cups/European Championships. England huffed and puffed to collectively score two goals in three games in Brazil, yet Rodriguez has smashed in 8 goals/assists in just 4 World Cup games (!)

What England player has ever achieved that on the world stage? Gerrard and Rooney *combined* have struggled to achieve 8 goals/assists in over 10-years of major tournaments for England. It's an absolute joke, and it makes a total mockery of England's legion of overhyped, underachieving international failures.

If Rodriguez can do this for Colombia at the age of 22, why have Gerrard and Rooney - England's two alleged 'world class' players - repeatedly failed to make a similar impact on the world stage?



  1. My dog and I still prefer Messi.

    Rodo (as he's not known to his friends) scores great goals and lots of them but Messi excites me every time he gets the ball.

  2. I'm not suggesting that Rodriguez is on Messi's level (!), just that he's seemingly more effective on the international stage than England's two allegedly World Class players.

  3. I watched the Uraguay v Columbia game and his first goal was indeed fantastic, don't know what he has done for Monaco so I don't know if the last few games are not indicative of his play over a longer period.....

  4. English players are overhyped when it comes to internationals but I think that is as much to do with rubbish England managers who can't get the best out of them. After seeing Hodgson and his negative approach at Anfield, does anyone really expect England's young attacking talent to take on the best in Europe in 2016 under him? Most managers who failed immediately offered their resignation but the FA, true to form, backed him to carry on.

  5. How can it be blamed on the manager? We're not just talking about Hodgson. Gerrard and Rooney also failed to produce under McClaren, Erikssen, and Fabio Capello, one of the world's most successful managers! It's not the managers, it's the players (IMO). It doesn't matter if you have Del Bosque, Scolari, or Van Gaal in charge of England, Gerrard and Rooney still wouldn't be able to grab 9 goals/assists in 4 World Cup games.

  6. My problem is the definition of the term,"world class". Everyone has a different opinion of what that means and that's why it gets bandied around so much. I believe my definition is the best and eliminates the ambiguity associated with the term. Here goes (but don't laugh):

    "If a solar system league was established to represent planet earth against the Mars, Jupiter, Saturn etc, who would we want to be in Earth's squad of 22?"

    By that definition, no current English international or any recent international would make the squad.

  7. My definition slightly differs to yours (!), but I agree with your conclusion: no English player of the last 20 years would make the squad, and that includes Gerrard.

  8. I don't rate any of those managers. Sven always made the 1/4 finals. Maybe that was the best England can achieve.

  9. Give us your definition please. Always interested to know how people define this topic.

  10. I don't rate McLaren, but Erikssen is not the worst, and at the time Capello took over England, he was one of the world's most successful managers. If a manager like Capello can't get anything out of Gerrard et al, then it's clear there's a major problem.

  11. Capello didn't do any better with Russia. He is not an international class manager

  12. That's not the point. Look at his list of achievements in the game. He is clearly (and objectively), a top class manager.

  13. After watching teams with lesser expectations on them like Australia Algeria Costa Rica i cant help but wonder if England need to play more attacking football.
    But the main thing is for them to play with no fear they just seem to play with something to lose and putting inflated expectations of themselves.

  14. I mostly agree with your definition and conclusion but it means that Gareth Bale, for example, can never achieve world class status. My (albeit extreme) definition means he can be considered world class even if it requires more subjectivity.

  15. I think a definition for a "world class manager" is required ;-)

  16. My definition does not exclude Bale. You have to consider Wales' Optimum Achievement Level, i.e. what is the best they can hope to achieve on the world stage? If Bale plays a significant part in helping Wales achieve that, then he can be considered World Class.

  17. Whilst I completely agree with your points I'm going to be pedantic here just for the sake of it. Rooney and Gerrard have got 9 goals/assists in major tournaments combined, Rooney has 4 goals at Euro 2004, 1 at Euro 2012, 1 at this world cup, plus the assist for Sturridge's goal this world cup, while Gerrard has 2 goals at 2006 World cup, and one in 2010, I'm sure there have been a few more assists in there as well. Also Rodriguez only has 2 assists this world cup. Sorry I'm dead bored... ;)

  18. Rodriguez has 3 assists at this world cup, not 2: One against Greece (corner); 2 vs Japan.

    As for Rooney and Gerrard; it's taken them 10 years of tournaments to achieve what Rodriguez has in one tournament.

  19. Yes, we both spotted your tartan eyed observations about English players but chose not to bite.

    We are treating them with the contempt they deserve (and, like Luis, could not think of a credible defence either)

  20. James Rodriguez has been outstanding. His first goal last night got me out of my seat.
    England's World Cup record is hilariously bad. I think England are tactically in the dark ages too and that certainly isn't going to change during the Roy Hodgson era.
    The English media do the team no favours either. During the first couple of games there was a big campaign targeting Rooney, your supposed best player. Questioning his fitness, his role in the team and even his place in the team to the extent the player took to Facebook to vent his frustration about it. Can't imagine too many other countries that would do that

  21. Totally agree. I cannot see the Scottish press targeting their World Cup stars in such a despicable manner ...he .he he! :-)

  22. We've not got a star big enough for the press to be interested

  23. To be fair, that's a terrible Russia team

  24. I have to admit when they got Cappello in, I was quite worried they'd actually win something I rated him so highly. They also looked good in qualifying. Fortunately at the major tournament he bottled it, played all the usual suspects in their usual roles and their dismal tournaments continued

  25. Pretty sure that someone flicked that on at the near post but anyway, and I fully agree that England's players have woefully underperformed at international tournaments, I just thought I'd go about checking the numbers in your article cause I've nothing better to do :)

  26. If you can remember those sorts of details off the top of your head you've earned the right to be pedantic.

  27. I've got high hopes for Jordan Rhodes

  28. Could be right there and the Scottish half of me hopes so too.

  29. I think we need a definition of who is qualified to define World Class

  30. Mr. JAMIE K
    I don't know why are u always criticising Gerrard
    For ur kind information James Rodriguez is a left winger and Steven Gerrard is a defensive midfielder
    And according to me Comparing Rodriguez to Gerrard... is absolutely an insult of Gerrard
    Gerrard has always performed very well
    Whether in a LFC shirt or the three lions one...

    James Rodriguez 9 goals 13 assists ligue 1
    Steven Gerrard 13 goals 13 assists EPL
    Even though out of 13 goals Gerrard had 10 penalties
    But u can't disagree with the amount of chances created by him for his teammates every season
    Talking about england performances
    Gerrard has scored around 21 goals n 20 odd assists
    Has represented three lions more than 100 times
    That said
    Gerrard will always be the strongest pillar of the LFC institution
    LFC is one of the most loved club all over the world
    And Gerrard has a big contribution to this....
    He has single handedly
    Won LFC 2005 champions league
    2006 fa cup
    And ALMOST won the EPL in 2008 when Torres was at Liverpool
    And last season coz of terrific form of suarez
    Gerrard has always adapted himself acoording to the needs of the club n country
    He has featured in almost every possible position
    For LFC apart from goal keeper
    And even for his country he has always compromised his playing style
    To be honest...without Gerrard LFC wouldn't have been what it is now
    Players like dalglish Gerrard rush fowler carra form the all time favourite players of the LFC supporters
    And unnecessary criticism of any of those players
    Will not be taken in a good sense by the LFC fans

    Seriously Mr Jamie K
    I don't know why
    For me he will be my all time favourite LFC hero
    For his contributions to LFC
    May be I don't know LFC as good as u do
    And I m not close to LFC as u are
    But I do love this club as much as any other LFC supporter does....it is the club I support and will always do coz its the boyhood club of my favourite footballer

  31. Off topic. Rumour has it that Madrid are after Sterling.

    Re the England national team, if they keep Hodgson at the helm then they will be going nowhere and that is a fact. Have the FA ever considered Guus Hiddink?

  32. My present theory is that the reason big English teams aren't interested in Rhodes is that he has declared himself a Scot, thus he doesn't 'count' for an English player in their stats. If he had declared himself English, he'd be playing in the PL now.

  33. Yes he has been great, but like Klose, Rodriguez has been less stellar playing where the money is.

  34. A world class player could walk into any team in the world, this is my definition but everyone to they're own I suppose.

  35. Muhammad Ibrahim1:44 pm, June 29, 2014

    The is not just the players it is also the managers and media; but mostly managers inability to recognize the team, not individuals and tactical know how on how to set them up to play the opposition. We get stuck in to the idea that all our high profile players must play at costs even if that means we get knocked out early. For e.g. this time round we played Gerrard he is the captain, he has a certain skill set that can be very useful, but he does not have the legs he once did and at time looks labored on the pitch as he tries to make up ground due to his defensive frailties as he is not a natural CDM. Henderson was played alongside Grerrard to cover this but this was obviously not enough with as we also can a weak defense. We should have set up 4-3-3 or 4-1-2-1-2, with 2 players playing in midfield alongside Gerrard to cover him and allow time time on the ball to find the telling passes from deep. It what Italy were trying to do, but they lacked the players like Sterling, etc with pace or did not play them enough to get through. Italy haved the likes of De Rossi and Marchisio around Pirlo to do the dog work so Pirlo can look fantastic as he shifts around looking good.

  36. The pressure on England players is insane: there's nothing like it in World Football. Perhaps Italy, who also stumble sometimes. The Brasil team are experiencing some of that now.

    I think England don't get enough credit for their consistent performances in qualifying and in tournaments. This time they played very well and were unfortunate not to spark and go through. Some better finishing, one or two refereeing decisions, and they'd be looking like one of the stronger teams around: a top ten side in the world, which is certainly not to be sneered at, and certainly not by Scots.

    They played very attractive football, full of technique and skill. Hodgson deserves great credit for the work he's done there.

    Adam Lallana is a similar player to Rodriguez, elegant and skilful, combining running in behind with an ability to turn and find a killer pass, though he doesn't have Rodriguez magnificent finishing as far as I know. Nevertheless I'm looking forward to seeing him in our colours soon.

  37. I was just going to comment that this kid is the one to replace Suarez . The kid has got the lot and we would still have around 25/30 mill left if we got 80mill for the teeth and that would be great business for us as he's 3yrs younger and has the potential to be just as good as Suarez. And am I the only one who thinks Luis did this on purpose so he could get a move. Here's why I think this.1 after the season he just had there was no way we would of sold him,2 his buyout clause is too much and barca can't afford the suppose 100m .3 his in laws had already said he would be better leaving for barca as he had nothing left to prove in England (they live 5 mins outside Barcalona and that was before the bite . 4 Suarez himself knew after what the fans and club did for him last year he wouldn't be able to try force his way out as there would be uproar and this time he wouldn't of had the fans begging him to stay it would if got nasty for him and he knew this . So him his agent and barca come up with this. Think about when he did it 15mins to go game level and Uruguay on there way out it was his last chance to do it to try force our hand and sell as they probably feel we will have to take a lot less now as he's image us in ruins again. Just my opinion but I'm pretty sure it's been done on purpose. I hope we sue him for breach of contract and take him to the cleaners as the man is a selfish fool who couldn't give a shit about liverpool and us fans

  38. Everyone would eulogise messi as the best player in history because he is the best player in history. It would just be another in a long list of incredible goals he's scored.

    Also think that your comparison with Gerrard, in singling him and Rooney their goalscoring/ creative returns as being an 'absolute joke', as ridiculously oversimplified and over the top. Rooney has under performed yes, but in three games here he scored one and made one from left of a three, hardly an absolute joke. In his first World Cup he played injured returning too early, managers fault not his, so the only one you can say he massively underperformed in was South Africa where every player in the team did too. As for Gerrard, singling him out and comparing him to Rodriguez is even more ridiculous. He's never played high up for England in a World Cup, so effectively you're asking why a centre mid hasn't come close to top scoring in a World Cup, when in my memory no centre mid ever has.

  39. How well did Shearer and Sherigham do? I remember them getting lots of praise but not sure of actual goals/assists. In fairness though he is getting James (apparently not pronounced that way) is getting lots of praise right now from all quarters. When Lawro said that it was after a different kind of fantastic goal. Now there is a highlights reel on BBC. He is already old news ;P

  40. Look at some of the best teams in the cup up to now and you see teams with fluid movement and high pressing. These things are an anathema to Hodgepodge.

  41. Oh and team cohesion.

  42. Everyone has the right to be pedantic. In fact it's a duty!

  43. Has he had a senior cap yet? Just thinking if we can poach him?

  44. It's british though no?

  45. Deep frying is the norm

  46. Not to mention we're again choosing to spend far too many millions to "buy British" rather than investing that money in buying truly class players like this one.

  47. Interesting view, but does that mean that great Liverpool sides have never contained a world class player?

  48. No, it means you haven't read the article properly (specifically the section on Optimum Achievement Level).

  49. He has indeed had a senior cap, pretty sure he scored on his Scotland debut.
    I'm pretty sure it is British players that count as opposed to just English

  50. So not British for too long then?

  51. Absolutely spot on Jamie. This is exactly why i love this site. bold enough to speak the truth...no hyping or ego-massaging even if the player in question plays for the club you support. gerrard is a top class footballer, no doubt about it. but in general when you compare english/british players to say spanish or latin players, they are nowhere good enough.i don't know whether it is due to the standards at grassroots level education or just by nature, but it is clear for all to see that british/english players are generally massively overrated. it never ceases to amaze me that their price in the transfer market is generally sky-high compared to the more technical/quality players from other areas. thats why i don't like the still unchanged transfer policy of ours to buy "british talent" for extortionate fees. i also would love to see J.Rodriguez in a liverpool shirt but i guess the probability for that to happen is equal to Zero.