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I hadn't planned to file today - but the longer I was in the gym this morning the more I got to thinking about the subject of Wayne Rooney - again. I wish I could write and work out at the same time! Anyway - here's roughly where my mind was going.

Why is it that this lad, one of the greatest footballers of his generation, constantly gets a kicking from both public and Press alike? Why?

I can hear you all now 'ah, he's your mate so you're bound to defend him'. No he's not. I wouldn't flatter myself and suggest he is. I just happen to believe he gets a raw deal and I'm happy to defend him. It is true that he's been very good to me so perhaps we have one thing in common - neither of us likes injustice. 

We're talking about Rooney again tonight on Keys&Gray on beIN Sports. Why? Because everyone else is again right now. Dwight Yorke is with us at the moment - he'll defend him. So will I. 

Ok. So Rooney hasn't looked himself so far this season. Has anyone else at Old Trafford? 

United have had three shots on target in 180 minutes. Three. So how many chances are they creating with their new brand of possession football? Rooney needs chances. He needs balls into the box. He's getting neither. 

If I were a Utd fan (my son is) I'd be more worried about why that is. Where's the width? Where's the pace? Where's that Beckham-like ball from back to front to spring from defence. Gone. All of it, gone.

I hear there are rumblings of mis-content behind the scenes at Utd as players and staff alike struggle to adapt to LVG's abrasive style, but right now, the players are responding to him. Who knows how long that will continue to be the case? 

As for Rooney. Lay off. What is he, 19 goals from setting a new goal scoring record for Utd? He's the blink of an eye from posting a England's new goal scoring record. He's a modern day phenomenon. Ask any P Lge manager who they least want to see facing them when Utd come to town and the answer is always the same - Wayne Rooney. 

Yes, there were incidents in the past I'm certain he wishes hadn't happened, but he's been on the scene as boy and man and these things happen to all of us as we grow up. 

When do you read about him 'clubbing' now? Never. When is he ever in trouble off the field? Never. Even when he's relaxing at home with his mates he has to be on his guard - or some sly weasel will leak mobile footage onto the internet! There's never any real privacy. 

Rooney was right about the decline of Man Utd. He drew our attention to the sub standard signings Fergie was making long before LVG ripped apart that last title team because they weren't good enough. Rooney was vilified for doing it.

He's dragged Utd up by their boot laces for the past two seasons on his own - in central midfield. Left midfield. Right midfield. Off the front. Up front - all of it without a hint of frustration. Trust me, when he's gone United and England will have a massive hole to fill. Let's enjoy him while we can and stop beating him up. It's not his fault the going rate for doing his job is beyond most people's wildest dreams. It's the business norm now. Deal with it.

A more pressing question for me is 'what's wrong with Diego Costa?'.  I told you about his partying in Ibiza. I said he'd pay a price v City. He did. And I believe had Mourinho had an alternative he wouldn't have played Costa. Maybe he has now? Keep your eyes on a developing situation. 

And how long has Advocaat got at Sunderland? I believe if they lose badly this weekend at home v Swansea he'll walk - unless Ellis Short (who's suitably named because he's come up short again on his promises) starts delivering. 

Why is Pardew encouraging Bolassie out of Selhurst Park? 

And why is Martinez still claiming John Stones is going nowhere? 

The weekend may give us some answers. 

Join us on K&G on beIN Sports in U.S. Middle East, Canada, Australia, P Rico, Indonesia and Singapore. Check listings. 

In this weekend - Peter Reid to talk about Sunderland's problems. Alex McLeish. Dwight Yorke, oh, and that special guest I promised - Joey Barton.

I'm really looking forward to meeting Joey. I know he's not everybody's cup of tea, but I like him. He's got things to say - and I'm really looking forward to hearing them.

No other sports broadcast network brings you such a variety of guests. It's just one of the things that makes our shows unmissable. Enjoy beIN Sports - broadcasting to the world.

 

 

 

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I'm a very lucky boy. Like most of the lads I grew up with I only ever had dreams of being a pro footballer. I wasn't bad, but I was never going to be good enough.

I worked out fairly early in my teens that if I wasn't going to make it 'on the field' I needed to be close to something I loved 'off the field'. Football commentary. That was it. I'll have a go at that. 

I'll spare you that lengthy details, but eventually I got my first job calling games at Liverpool's commercial radio station, Radio City. I had four great years there, working with Clive Tyldesley, who became a life long friend. 

Problem was, he was better, much better than me, at the job. Damn. What now? 

I changed direction again and decided to try my luck in front of a camera. Turned out I was quite good at that and I've had a wonderful life doing it. 

Various twists and turns have led me to Qatar and my current work for beIN Sports. What a wonderful job this is.

I watch the best football in the world. I live in a glorious climate. I play golf when I want. I'm employed by a giant of an organisation and, here's the best bit, I don't spend half my life sitting in traffic jams on motorways. 

The two years I had at talkSPORT were two of the most rewarding I had in my career. Why? Because for the first time in 20 years I was meeting people I'd largely only watched, or criticised, from a distance. I was getting to know people again after all that time in an Ivory Tower and loving it. Stay with me on this, I'm getting there! 

Same here at beIN Sports. I could go on all day about the pride I feel in getting something 'growing' again, just like I did, with a small band of colleagues, at Sky. But I'll save you that tedium as well! 

Because of our policy of ever changing guests I'm meeting all sorts of people again. It's a policy I've advocated because I believe that an audience wants to see fresh faces week on week.  Watching the same group trawl over the same things week after week HAS to get repetitive. So we keep extending invites to guys to join us who you'll probably never hear from in the UK.

This weekend is a very good example of what I'm talking about. I had reservations when Paul Lambert's name came up in discussion. I'd been weighty in my criticism of him during his time at Villa. Andy, because of his affection for that club, hadn't held back either! 

But we invited him out and boy, am I glad we did. What a nice guy. What an honest, nice guy. As soon as he started talking I realised I'd had him all wrong. After two days in his company, and listening to some fascinating stories both on and off air, I'm a fan.

The same happened when we invited David Moyes to join us after his time at United. I'd hammered David at different times when he was at Old Trafford. I couldn't understand many of the decisions he made. But I listened and learned when he joined us, and yes, he's become a good mate. 

So too has Paul. Here's somebody seriously maligned by frustrated Villa fans and I understand why. We pay good money to watch our teams, we want to vent anger when things don't go as we want. It's comes with the territory of being a fan. 

But trust me, he's a good guy. Somebody will get a good operator when he goes back in, but they'll have to back him rather better than Randy Lerner did. Turns out Paul gets on very well with Guardiola, who he's been watching at work recently! 

My point is that I'm as guilty as anyone, often drawing conclusions from afar that aren't correct. Big Sam was brilliant of the subject of modern management and its pitfalls the previous week on beIN Sports. 

So we'll keep sprinkling our coverage with the wide variety of guests that we do and by listening we'll all keep learning! 

Regarding the weekend - brilliant City. Brilliant. No other word for it. Keep Aguero fit and they've got a real chance again this season. 

Chelsea have all sorts of problems at the moment and Jose is reminding me why I've often said that we should all remember how fed up we were of his behaviour the first time he left Chelsea. He's playing Abramovic. Taking Terry off was a clear message - 'I want Stones'. He won't have bothered too much about the defeat either. He'll be making the point about recruitments as I write. 

Arsenal proved to themselves they can dig results out. Spurs? Typically Spurs. I've no idea - and it would appear I'm not alone. There's a few at WHL in that bracket! 

Leicester? Fantastic. Well done Tinkerman. Nigel Pearson left a solid base and there's no need for change. I'm glad Ranieri has realised that. 

Everton? Stunning. Back to front quickly. Pacey. There was a definite change in attitude. Pass, pass, pass...... Maybe Martinez has moved on. 

United? Tidy start but well short. City would chew them up right now. 

And Dick Advocaat hasn't become a mug during the summer. It seems Ellis Short is at last getting a little stick from supporters and rightly so. Trouble is, as Paul Lambert found out, it's often the manager that goes when that happens.

There we go, my enlightened words and admission I've often got it wrong didn't last long! That's football. It's why we love it. And why I've been a lucky boy to have been on the fringes of the game all this time. See you soon Dick. Look forward to talking with you!!

Here's a few highlights of the things we discussed with Paul Lambert.

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/aston-villa-managing-club-like-9863130

 

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Top marks Slaven Bilic. If anyone told you they saw a win for West Ham coming at Arsenal, they were lying. It wasn't a fluke though. It was thoroughly deserved - not quite done the 'West Ham way' - whatever that is - but Big Sam's way.

I watched the game with the big man on beIN sports. He was delighted for his old team and very proud about the manner in which they went about the job. 

Let's take nothing away from The  Hammers, but Arsenal were awful. And Petr Cech will have much better days.

Cech was at fault for both goals for me, but he wasn't the only Gunner that played badly. It's amazing how a team can go from being so impressive one week to just plain awful the next 

Winning also justified Bilic's decision to get out of the Europa League by playing his third string on the previous Thursday. Well, I say justified, in the short term it was the right decision, but again I'm saddened that an English team seems to care not a jot for that competition. It's a shame and when our co-efficient is affected and we start losing European places we might all take a different view. 

Anyway, well done West Ham, but there's a long way to go in the season yet guys. 

Well done Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool as well. They weren't pretty at Stoke, but what a horrible game to face so soon after being torn to shreds at the same venue. 

They too were very pragmatic. When, for instance, do you remember a Liverpool goalkeeper walking 20 yards outside his box to thump a long ball onto the centre-forwards head? He did it twice.

Is it a sign of things to come? Rodgers has argued having Benteke in his team won't affect the style of play he wants to see. I disagree and I think we saw the evidence that he'll have to change at Stoke. 

I'm not criticising, just pointing it out, that's all. And it's a useful option to have in the team, one he's never previously had. It's a good idea to get the ball from back to front, where it can do the opposition harm! How long before Rodgers is claiming he's re-invented the game again? Great start though. 

United, like Liverpool, won ugly. Again, I'm not criticising. If you're winning when you're not playing very well that's all you can ask for. Even better if teams that you believe are going to be challenging for the league with you, are dropping points. 

I get Liverpool playing the way they did. Rodgers couldn't afford another hammering, but I still can't work out what Van Gaal is trying to do. And I don't believe his players can either. 

There was no real width. No pace. Two things United have in their DNA. It was all too slow and although Spurs came up short on the day, their first 20 mins will encourage more to have a go at United, both home and away. 

On the goalkeeping situation - how on earth could Van Gaal and Ed Woodward allow themselves to get to the opening day with so much uncertainty around that position?  I'll say again, as I did in January, De Gea is going to Real Madrid. His deal is done. If I know that, surely somebody at United can make the same calls as me and find out too? It's a scandalous piece of mis-management. Ridiculous. They should've sold by now and had a replacement signed. It's not rocket science. 

Palace have picked up where they left off. No 'high pressing' for them. They'll let you come onto them and then hit you with pace. Arsenal will have to be careful next weekend. 

Villa gave Bournemouth a harsh lesson. I went for a 0-1 and was even more convinced when Eddie Howe named 9 of the 11 that got them up, because the boys 'deserve a chance'. No they don't Eddie. And if you stick with them without adding quality re-enforcements, they'll take you straight back down. 

Watford did well, but didn't quite have enough to hang on. I hear the natives are restless at Goodison. They've every right to be and it's only going to get worse in the short term. Everton will get £30m for John Stones, but his sale will do nothing to lift the gloom. Roberto Martinez needs to be careful. I hear his coat is on a shaky peg

There's mutterings behind the scenes at Chelsea as well. Mourinho was in a foul mood all day, ranting at everyone, not least his medical team. Dr Eva Caneiro was only doing her job when she went on late in the game to treat Eden Hazard. I know what upset Mourinho. Hazard was going to have to leave the field once he'd received treatment and Chelsea were susceptible to a break against nine men. He said Hazard only had a 'slight knock' and didn't need attention. Then tell Hazard to stop play acting and get on his feet Jose. That's the answer surely? 

But Mourinho has had a long running dissatisfaction with the medical team at Chelsea. It was bubbling under all last season and this isn't the first time he's publicly fallen out with them.

Mourinho gave his team two days off after the game, but his mood won't improve with the news that Diego Costa was partying in Ibiza at an Avicii concert Sunday night. Just so you know I've got my facts straight (again!) it was a gig held at the Ushuaia Hotel. Of course players need to relax, but Costa has been nursing hamstring injuries now for half the time he's been at Chelsea. Does flying help that process? Drinking? Wouldn't he have been better served staying at home and resting? Over to you Jose 

Oh, and one final thing, Courtois didn't have to go off. There was doubt. 1. Was Gomis getting the ball once he'd knocked it past Courtois? 2. Was Cahill getting round? Mark Halsey and Graham Poll agreed with each other for once - the answers are 1. probably not and 2. yes. Therefore there was doubt. If there's doubt you can't send him off. Yellow was enough. I know Chelsea have been considering an appeal but that will depend on whether the keeper is fit enough to play at Man City. For me, the more intriguing question is 'should he have played'? I'm told after the knock in the warm up the answer to that one is 'no'. So why did he?  Over to you Jose.