England – what is wrong with Steven Gerrard?

English: Steven Gerrard playing for Liverpool ...

Gerrard - good enough for Liverpool but not England?

What does Steven Gerrard have to do to get a deserved break with England? He is finally fit, he has been a consistently strong player for his national team and he gives 100% each time he gets picked to play.

John Terry has made a fiasco of the England captaincy, Rio Ferdinand doesn’t want it, Frank Lampard can’t get a look in and while Scott Parker seems like a thoroughly sound character with leadership credentials worthy of a captain, Gerrard has been in the frame longer. He has captained Liverpool, supposedly one of the greatest football clubs in the world to major success including the  Champions League and yet he still gets snubbed by England. Take nothing away from Parker; in different circumstances he would be an admirable choice. There is not a debate to made that England have an abundance of leaders at the minute, with the squad and approached favoured by caretaker manager Stuart Pearce, Gerrard and Parker are it.  The thought that Gerrard is at best fourth choice to take the armband now, or for the up-coming Euros, is difficult to believe. What Herculean qualities do England selectors look for in a captain? Is a candidate who doesn’t have their martial affairs, disloyal relationships and/or racist allegations emblazoned across every tabloid from Barking to Brisbane not enough?


Sporting Oscars

What do people who are not interested in sport do with their weekends? It’s a mystery. Having just four television channels, not the full fat, wall-to-wall, obesity inducing, pocket robbing Sky Sports package, three rugby matches, one Cup final and spring time horse racing were on show over two days as well as highlight programmes of football league action and the 6 Nations competition. Individually and collectively the performances produced more drama, excitement, heartache and release than many of the films nominated for a Hollywood Oscar did. Sportsmen and women often lament the highs and lows of winning medals or silverware, ranking one performance against another but the truth is, they would rather have the award than not. So stand up, show some leg and accept this weekends Sporting Oscars…..

Best performance – Cardiff City. This is not a sympathetic vote; the Championship side defied themselves and science by staying upright as many of the team suffered cramp and beyond exhausted exhaustion. The Bluebirds literally gave everything they had to force the tie into extra time so much so that Rudy Gestede nearly didn’t make it as far as the ball when he came forward to take a spot kick.

Best leading man – Sam Warburton. What is this man made off? Strong, determined, hard as nails but clever and alert with it.

Best storyline – Gerrard and Gerrard. Cousins and opponents on the day of the Carling Cup final, both miss penalties yet one is the hero lifting the cup high.

Best drama – England nearly scoring a try in the final minute of the game against Wales. It wasn’t a try though and Wales went on to celebrate a victory and the Triple Crown, the champagne tasting all the sweeter as they paraded around Twickenham and under England’s noses.

Best twist – Arsenal versus Tottenham. This script could not have been written. Arsenal off the back of a couple of losses but more worryingly a few hideous performances went two down and deservedly so. The switched was flicked and team suddenly caught up with the imagination of the writer as five goals, scored by four different players, hit the back of the net and at the same time the reality button for Tottenham and their supporters. Yea they are a good team but nothing can be taken for granted yet, they are not guaranteed third spot or Champions League football just yet.

Best reaction – Tom Court. The front row scored a try against Italy when the game was dead and buried as a contest but celebrated like he had just secured the World Cup for his country

Best name – Dodging Bullets. The unfortunately named horse didn’t win the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton, finishing behind Baby Mix ridden by a jockey whose name always invokes a smirk for less literal reason, Robert ‘Choc’ Thornton.

Best newcomer – Stuart Hogg .The 19 year old scored the opening try for Scotland on his home debut proving that his side were not actually physically repelled from the try line but were able to cross the whitewash and claim five point to out the wind up a stagnant French team.

Best oldcomer – Ryan Giggs. As far as the Welshman is concerned it has all been said before but then he keeps setting new records and breaking old ones. On his 900th appearance for Manchester United Giggs scored an injury time winner that ensures his team remain only two points shy of city rivals.