The Daily Mail have today gone against their better nature and refused to blame foreigners for England's ills, instead blaming theEnglish players themselves for England's limp exit from Euro 2016. Whereas the paper's sports section carried this excellent piece by Jamie Carragher, the main paper carried this appalling hatchet job upon the nation's players.
The Mail decided that they must explain England's failure to the masses, and rather than assume their readership were capable of understanding balanced and nuanced analytical insight, they listed absurd reasons to explain the players' underachievement beneath the headline 'No Wonder They're Failures'.
These pernicious reasons range from endorsement deals to secure their future and a stable family life. Those pampered, disinterested worms, how dare they pursue a healthy work/life balance whilst all the time ensuring a stable family future from a short and precarious career!
Here are a portion of the results. They are explained under the ludicrous sub-headings 'Distraction', 'Sleaze', 'Money', 'Bling', 'WAG'. They're staggering.
Wayne Rooney - Skipper with spray-on hair
Distraction: On Monday, he seemed preoccupied with his thinning hair (having spent £30,000 on a transplant). Said to have used a specialist spray to make his thatch look thicker during the match — because yesterday morning it looked very thin (since, it seems, he hadn’t given it a post-breakfast spray!).
Dele Alli - Well, who wouldn't be a little distracted!
Distraction: His girlfriend, Ruby Mae, seemed to spend much of Monday night’s defeat preening herself in the stands — showing off her low-cut, shorts-style playsuit. The 21-year-old lingerie model is clearly touting for more work to add to her photo-shoots for Dolce & Gabbana.
Adam Lallana - Never mind goals, buy my moisturiser
Distractions: The £65,000-a-week Liverpool player has been posting pictures online of products such as the cosmetic brand Nivea — for which he is the ‘public’ face — and appearing in endless TV adverts for sports brand Puma.
Kyle Walker - Hippie crack idiot
Distractions: teased by supporters after pictured inhaling laughing gas (‘hippy crack’) from a balloon in a nightclub in 2013. Apologised, saying he’d displayed ‘poor judgment’.
Obvious how Walker was distracted at the Euros by an event he showed contrition for three years ago. The whole thing is, of course, preposterous nonsense by the Mail.
It does strike a truth, however ironic and unintended it was. No wonder the English players are failures if they know that any small error will be met by this widely-read character assassination of them and their families. Steven Gerrard wrote eloquently in today's Telegraph that English players underperform owing to fear, and that their best players are not protected well enough.
At the same time, the Mail were making his point for him.
Read the full thing here.