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Sam is a Lead Writer here at B/R, based in London, and specialising in the Premier League, tactical analysis and scouting reports.
His work elsewhere has been featured on CNN, Goal.com, the International Business Times, Squawka and Yahoo! Sports. Sam has appeared on NASN Radio, BBC Five Live, BBC World Sport and CNN Worldwide. He also votes on the Associated Press global football panel.
Alexi Lalas complimented his hair.
Hi Sam, hope all is well. What are you predictions for the Champions League and Europa League finals?
I was just watching Leicester's game against Sunderland and saw how effectively their system works, how well the counter-attack works with the long ball to Vardy or with Mahrez just carrying the ball forward and how that really does away with the need for a specialized Number 10 or central attacking midfielder. This is something that is also similar to what Atletico Madrid does, although they do it primarily using their wingers and Saul who just carries the ball ahead. Given how both teams tend to use two strikers up ahead, pacy and tricky wingers (like Carrasco and Mahrez), and do not have a recognizable Number 10, do you think 4-4-2, complete with its quick movement, flying wingers and players bombing forward, is finally coming back having been exorcised after the English sides weren't consistently able to keep pace with Europe's best (around 2010)?
Hey man, just read your article analysing whether Barkley or Alli will make the biggest impact at the Euro's and there was one bit where you stated your confusion about the Everton fans view on him which I thought I would try clear up for you :)
He's been with us since he was 11, and has been very well known to almost every real fan since he was about 14. He is a genuine Everton fan himself, and every fan has watched him develop over the last 8 years and so, more so than any player I've ever seen before, he has a genuine affinity with the fans. We Everton fans are fickle to say the least and are indeed quick to get on players backs, but it is different with him than any other player. Whenever he makes a mistake the critical atmosphere isn't because we're annoyed at him, like people get when Deulofeu or Lukaku give the ball away with poor touches, it's more like disappointment because we want him to do better. It's like if your brother played for Villa and you went and watched him play but he kept giving the ball away; you wouldn't be annoyed as a Villa fan, you would be annoyed that he's not doing his best!
It sounds odd, romatacised and exaggerated, but I promise you he is treated differently to everyone else because he is viewed in a different way to everyone else. The only other player who had a similar situation was Rooney, which is why he still gets abuse to this day; because he meant more to the fans than any normal player which is why his 'betrayal' hurt so much more.
The way he draws more sighs than everyone else has been picked up on more than one occassion by the media and is always, lazily, reported as though it's because he's a frustrating player to watch, but it would be nice if one journalist who I do actually respect understood the situation a little better :)
Hey Sam, whats up bro!
I am a Chelsea supporter and just like all true blues the question which is bothering me most is who will be next Chelsea manager. There have been a lot of rumours flying about Pep Guardiola, Dirego Simione and even Manuel Pellagrini...God forbid...sigh... Anyways, now personally I think that the Squad reflects Simione and with the release fee in his contract as little as 15 million pounds, he is cheap as well considering his credentials! BUT with Guardiola we can get a manager who encourages and promotes youth players, which IS my biggest concern regarding the next man at #CFC. You see Sam with the academy flooding with top talents- RLC, Charlie Musonda, Patrick Bamford, Kennedy, Solanke, Jay Da Silva, Bertrand Traore etc. -who are crying for being developed and featured, I think Pep's the man. I do not follow the Atleti squad too much -just their top players, results and progress -so could you please tell me about Simione's work with youth. It would be great if you could please write an article on Chelsea's managerial position.
Thank You Sam, I am a huge fan of your works, especially because you have great tactical knowledge of the game. I too aspire to become a Journalist and have always looked up to you :)
Who do you rate as a better player: Verratti or Pogba? I watch PSG a lot and I have watched Pogba when Juventus play top clubs and I think Marco is better. People like Paul Pogba because he is in a way like big man in basketball that can handle the ball and pass it. He is big, strong, has very good technique and can score a cracker. However, having those type of skills doesn't necessarily him make anywhere near the best midfielder in the game. I wouldn't rank him as a top 5 mid in football. There is a big difference between potential and actually playing on a high level every week. On the other hand, Verratti does it almost every week he plays. When PSG have played other top teams, he's stood out as the best mid in those games. I rate him as the best in Europe as far CMs go. I'd easily choose him over someone like Modric. He can pass long, he can pass short, has excellent ball control and is very tenacious--albeit a loose cannon at time. Someone who I think is close to him is Thiago Alcantara, but he plays so little that I don't think a conclusion should be made about him. I know Verratti and Pogba are not the same type of players, but neither is Messi or Cristiano. I would certainly pick Messi over him because he's a better player.
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