Tag Archives: bootroom

Martin Keown: Premier League bootroom and Joe Hart is on top of the world

Premier League bootroom and brave Hart is on top of the world



21:48 GMT, 5 October 2012

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart looks inspired at the moment.

His match-saving per formance against Borussia Dortmund proved that once again he is up there with the best in the world.

From a technical point of view, he has tremendous reach and reflexes and he is fantastic in one-on-one situations, coming out of his goal at a rate of knots. He is so brave too.

One of the best: Manchester City keeper Joe Hart

One of the best: Manchester City keeper Joe Hart

But it is his maturity that sets him above others. After the defeat by Real Madrid last month, where he was culpable for the third goal, Hart was criticised by his manager Roberto Mancini for speaking his mind.

But he was taking responsibility and Mancini should be proud of that.

Your goalkeeper shouldn't be happy conceding goals. It's not been easy for Hart with every game feeling like a cup final for City, such is the difficulty of their Champions League group.

There has also been disruption in front of him with central defenders chopping and changing. As a keeper, you get used to the strengths and weaknesses of your centre backs and adapt your game accordingly, so it can't be easy for him at the moment.

What I also like about Hart is that he shows controlled aggression when it comes to shouting at his defenders – he's not a ranter and raver but he lets them know when they have made mistakes.

Everyone has their own style. David Seaman went quiet and used to blame himself if a goal was scored but with Neville Southall, you never looked at him when the ball went in the net because he was very vocal and would look to blame defenders.

Hart is the best England keeper we've had since Seaman. He's won the Premier League, the FA Cup and he's building a winning mentality.

He is well ahead of the game at just 25 years old and being at a successful club will only fast-track him to greatness. He is at a club where he will be continually challenged.

talking tactics
Louder, Laudrup

It is not easy following in the footsteps of a popular manager, so I sympathise with Michael Laudrup, who has taken over from Brendan Rodgers at Swansea. He's gone four Premier League games without a win now and that concerns me.

It is also hard to work out what style of manager Laudrup is as he never looks animated on the touchline.

He doesn't look happy and it's as if he's trying hard to keep his anger in check. When you are not playing well, it is often helpful to have the manager offering encouragement from the sidelines.

You need it. We'll have to see if he becomes more animated in the coming weeks.

Shaw shot

England manager Roy Hodgson is not blessed with an abundance of centre halves, so it makes sense to have called up Stoke's Ryan Shawcross.

He uses his body incredibly well, levering his opponent away from the ball without giving away a foul. He's mastered the art of denying the attacker space.

And if he's good enough against top opposition in the Premier League each week, he should be good enough for international selection. It's now up to him to prove that. It is healthy to have a look at someone new. People were sceptical about Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka but they have blossomed.

Shawcross must now do the same.


match column one

match column two

Premier League Bootroom: Robin Van Persie dare not fail at Manchester United – Martin Keown

Bootroom: Van Persie dare not fail at Manchester United



22:07 GMT, 14 September 2012

Robin van Persie saw Arsenal's performance at Anfield two weeks ago and used it to motivate himself at Southampton.

Their display against Liverpool was probably the best I've seen from them in four or five years. Van Persie will have digested the result and considered for a moment if he had made the right choice in leaving.

Three and easy: Van Persie bagged a hat-trick last tine out for Manchester United

Three and easy: Van Persie bagged a hat-trick last tine out for Manchester United

What's the score: Jamie Carragher

He will have seen the service Lukas
Podolski and Olivier Giroud are getting from Santiago Cazorla and
wondered if he had left just as Arsenal were clicking.

Winning so well
at Anfield a week after the champions went there and struggled is
impressive. It’s early days but it is possible that they could challenge
for the title.

Van Persie knows he must not fail at Manchester United. He left Arsenal because he wanted to win trophies and it will be unthinkable for him if Arsenal win one this season and United don’t.

It must be a massive motivation for him and it showed against Southampton. Having missed a penalty, he could see the negative headlines. So he had to make amends. He’s taken responsibility for his team already because of his personal mission to win something. He has to make sure he’s scoring and that his team are winning and doing better than Arsenal.

Van Persie looks like an inspired signing for United, who have bought the finished article, the outstanding player in the Premier League last season. If he hadn’t been there in the last two games, they would have struggled.

People used to goad the Arsenal fans by saying they were a one-man team but Manchester United don’t look much different.

Patience of a Santi: Arsenal are building a new team under Arsene Wenger

Patience of a Santi: Arsenal are building a new team under Arsene Wenger

How the big men match up: The Premier League's tall players

It's unusual for a new signing to
start so well — normally there is more of a bedding- in period. But he
was in such a rich vein of form that the switch doesn’t matter.

He’s clearly enjoying playing with Paul Scholes. Wayne Rooney has been the United talisman since Cristiano Ronaldo left and you don’t ever want him out injured. But Van Persie’s presence means his absence is not a crisis.

Not many players who have left
Arsenal in their prime have gone on to be hugely successful. Think of
Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit, Alex Hleb. But Van Persie will want to
emulate Patrick Vieira, who also left at 29 and won a host of trophies
in Italy.


Manchester City can expect an aerial bombardment from Peter Crouch and Stoke, but they are well equipped to deal with it.

When you look at the starting XIs for the last round of fixtures (right), you can see they are one of the biggest teams in the Premier League with six players over 6ft: Joe Hart (6ft 5in), Vincent Kompany (6ft 4in), Joleon Lescott (6ft 2in), Aleksandar Kolarov (6ft 1in), Yaya Toure and Edin Dzeko (6ft 3in).


There is so much riding on the game at Loftus Road between QPR and Chelsea after what happened between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand last season.

Chelsea have started well but they did last season, too, and then unravelled after the defeat at QPR. They need to avoid a repeat. More importantly, it is vital that everyone involved — players, staff, fans — should treat each other with respect.

We should be talking about football after the game, not another unsavoury incident. The players must set the right tone, even though passions will, as ever, be running high for a local derby.

Bootroom: The weekend's matches

Bootroom: The weekend action

Barclays Premier League bootroom – Martin Keown

Premier League bootroom and five wishes for the new season



22:15 GMT, 17 August 2012

It would be brilliant for the Barclays Premier League if Liverpool can get back to their total football of the 1980s, playing the ball out from the back.

We loved the way Swansea played under Brendan Rodgers and compared them to Barcelona. If Liverpool can do that, it would be great for the Premier League.

It is crucial that Liverpool make a good start at West Bromwich Albiony. When a manager comes in with new ideas, you need results early on so that everybody gets on board with the philosophy.

Red alert: A new era is dawning at Anfield - one that could see them rejoin the elite in the Premier League

Red alert: A new era is dawning at Anfield – one that could see them rejoin the elite in the Premier League

New role for Rooney Talking tactics

Rodgers turned decent players into very good ones at Swansea and will want his Liverpool team to play that lovely passing football, too.

Bringing Joe Allen across to Anfield is a big part of that. Allen is excellent at those quick five-yard passes and is always on the move, looking for the ball and then finding a team-mate. He impressed me for Great Britain in the Olympic Games.

Rodgers will also have realised that he has landed on his feet as far as his goalkeeper is concerned. Pepe Reina’s distribution is excellent and he starts a lot of Liverpool attacks, which will be key as Rodgers tries to get his players on the ball as much as possible.


Fernando Torres has endured such a tough time at Chelsea but he is a player with so much talent and I want him to make the most of it.

Didier Drogba’s departure clears the path for him to take centre stage. To get the best from him, Roberto Di Matteo needs to back him, which means picking him for important games, and also set up the team to create chances for him. The midfielders at Di Matteo’s disposal suggest that will happen.

Torres and Juan Mata have a great understanding and Oscar, Eden Hazard and Marko Marin are all players who will get the ball into the striker on the floor.

Back on top: Torres has the chance to shine now that Drogba has left Stamford Bridge

Back on top: Torres has the chance to shine now that Drogba has left Stamford Bridge

What's the score Results prediction with Fabian Delph


More than ever last year creative players were picked on by the opposition, with team-mates taking it in turns to put in late tackles. Because it was a different culprit each time, they often got away with it.

Gareth Bale, in particular, was a victim. If we want flair players to excite us rather than be injured, we have to protect them. That means booking people early for cynical challenges as a deterrent.


Too often last season we saw defenders losing their man in the box and making silly errors. They need to get back to basics and remember that their priority is defending, not charging forward all the time. You don’t have to lose all creativity but responsibility comes first.

The Italians were so good at that at Euro 2012.

The midfielders need to play their part, too. Forwards such as Sergio Aguero and Javier Hernandez are as fast as Olympic sprinters over a short distance, so having to handle them one on one is an impossible job.

Teams must defend as a group and offer protection to the back four.


Wednesday night against Italy was full of promise for England and Roy Hodgson. But if we are to kick on as a national team, we need players to be in the starting line-ups for their clubs every week.

Players such as James Milner, Jack Butland, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Steven Caulker, Andy Carroll, Tom Cleverley and Adam Johnson won’t improve by sitting on the bench, playing 10 minutes here and five minutes there.

Let’s hope they are given a platform to shine.

Young and old: The likes of Carroll and Johnson are England's future

Young and old: The likes of Carroll and Johnson are England's future


Team line-ups


Team line-ups

Newcastle success down to strength of squad: Andy Townsend

Andy Townsend's Bootroom: Pards success story hinges on the fringes



00:19 GMT, 5 May 2012

Newcastle have that bit of magic — but they are in the hunt for the fourth spot because of their heartbeat.

All the talk has been about Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye. But above that they have got the best bunch of squad players in the league: such as Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, James Perch, Danny Guthrie, Ryan Taylor and Shola Ameobi.

They don’t grab all the headlines and they often get overlooked, but they’re better than any other second-string in the league.

On the road to Europe: Alan Pardew will lead Newcastle into either the Champions League or Europa League next season

On the road to Europe: Alan Pardew will lead Newcastle into either the Champions League or Europa League next season

At some clubs fringe players don’t always accept they’re not going to start every week but at Newcastle fringe players are happy to be part of the squad and try to make a difference when they get their chance.

They might play out of position, but they don’t moan in the press, they don’t stroll around the pitch when they come on as a substitute. They’re realistic about their own ability.

They play with great spirit and energy, happy to do it for the team. At other clubs their fringe players could do with adopting a similar attitude. It’s been the team’s greatest strength.

That’s why Newcastle are where they are. Those players are so significant to the team. And Alan Pardew deserves credit for managing those players better than any other boss in the league.

He’s taken what looked like an average bunch of players at the start of the season and transformed them into an excellent team.

The question is: what happens now If Pardew can keep those squad players and find a few more Cisses, a few more gems, they can stay in the top six for the next few years.

Regardless of where they finish in the league it’s been such a fantastic season. They can’t afford to take a step backwards.

This is the best chance they’ve had in years to become regulars in Europe again.

Wigan’s switch to a 3-4-3 formation has been brave and it reminds me of when I played at Aston Villa in the 1990s.

It doesn’t happen much anymore, but when I was at Villa we played three at the back to great effect.

We won trophies and were competing in Europe every season.

Earlier in the season Wigan were a shambles. Every manager in the land would have used them as an example of how not to defend.

But manager Roberto Martinez has switched to playing three centre backs with two central midfielders — James McCarthy and James McArthur — sitting in front of them.

Key man: James McCarthy

Key man: James McCarthy

They don’t play wing backs so it keeps them solid while they go all-out in attack. It could have left them exposed on the flanks but it’s worked.

Martinez’s tactics were really vindicated when they thumped Newcastle — the only time Alan Pardew’s side had dropped points in nine games.

To be 4-0 up by half-time against a team in that kind of form was something else.

Wigan could not continue playing as they were and survive. Martinez has been brave — and hats off to him.

Arsenal v Norwich

Newcastle v Man City

Villa v Spurs

QPR v Stoke

Bolton v West Brom

Wolves v Everton

Fulham v Sunderland

Man Utd v Swansea

Blackburn v Wigan

Blackburn v Wigan