It’s a sad state of affairs when a new manager can’t shape his squad without being accused of all sorts by has-beens and never-weres.
Earlier this summer, Slovenian FifPro member Dejan Stefanovic, last seen on British shores five years ago at the heart of Havant and Waterlooville’s defence, suggested Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho should be locked up for freezing midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger out of the first team.
Stefanovic later apologised, and so he should considering Mourinho has every right to try and get rid of the £150,000 per week, constantly-injured 32-year-old foolishly bought by predecessor Louis van Gaal last summer.
Now one-cap former England international Joey Barton has got in on the act, slamming old club Manchester City’s decision to effectively end goalkeeper Joe Hart’s 10-year Etihad career.
Here are some quotes from the Rangers midfielder regarding Hart:
“He is a full international, somebody who, probably before City took the money, could have gone on to bigger and better things himself but stayed and wanted to be at City.”
Nonsense. In fact, Hart was sent on loan to Birmingham City for the 2009/10 campaign, a year after the club was taken over by Abu Dhabi United Group and six months on from then-boss Mark Hughes temporarily replacing the Shrewsbury native with Shay Given.
“I don’t see what he has done wrong to be treated the way he has. His attitude isn’t terrible. I don’t like this. It is common human decency, regardless of how good a coach you are. Why treat him like that?”
Treat him like what? Pep Guardiola took over, had a look at his squad, and decided he doesn’t fancy a goalkeeper whose greatest asset is ‘making himself big’.
Football has moved on from the days of Peter Schmeichel. Just look at David de Gea, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and, indeed, Claudio Bravo, the Barcelona keeper reportedly being lined up to be City’s next number one.
“I’ve watched [Willy] Caballero and are you telling me Caballero is better with his feet than Joe Hart? I haven’t seen it.”
The 33-year-old claims to be a more competent judge of footballers than Guardiola and, by the sounds of it, England boss Sam Allardyce, who is also reportedly ready to drop Hart ahead of his first match in charge of the Three Lions.
Saying that, Allardyce did once buy Barton.
City are 8/11 to win at Stoke.