Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Alan Green: Pay no heed to managers’ mind games

A colleague may have taken it a tad personally when, recently, I pointed out my strongly-held view that if you’re thinking ahead to what a team selection might be it’s rarely sensible to pay heed to the players put up for interview beforehand. So often, ‘that’ selection is meant to mislead.

It happened again last week prior to England’s game against Wales. Once John Terry got his ‘non-apology’ out of the way — ironic, isn’t it, that Capello has to name yet another captain in this non-event against Ghana — those charged with second-guessing the team pointed to the interviews given by Crouch, Milner, Barry and Jagielka as evidence they’d be playing in Cardiff.

Well, Crouch and Barry never even made the substitutes bench — neither, interestingly, did Lennon — and Milner and Jagielka only came on with the game long won. Was it just a game the manager played with the media or did the Italian really believe it also confused Gary Speed?

It took me back many years to a silly dispute I once had with Sir Alex Ferguson when I said I never believed any ‘propaganda’ that might emanate from his office prior to a game. I preferred to recognize the United players when they took the field and I still do.

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