Friday, October 12, 2007


Matthew Le Tissier

International weeks bore the arse off me. You wanna play for England? Easy, move to a big club. Other than that pray someone gets injured 'cos it doesn't matter how talented you are unless you are at the right club you ain't getting a look in. You don't have to look beyond Gareth Barry for proof. Let's face it he's in 'cos Lumparse is injured. No other reason. Barry plays well and the press jump on the bandwagon but just wait. One duff performance and he's out.

Matthew Le Tissier. What a superb talent. So good in fact that in a career lasting 16 years he played a daft 8 times for his country. Believe it, if he was foreign nations would have built their whole ethos round him but England? Forget it! He was considered lazy! A sublime player comfortable good with both feet but because he didn't tackle back he wasn't considered worthy. Wonder why there are no decent English managers eh? 'Cos they want 11 Roy Keanes in their team and are suspicious of the prodigal son who has fans of every team on the edges of their seats.

Another problem with Le Tissier was he played for a struggling team all his career. Southampton. In an age when money is the be all and end all and loyalty is sneered as being quaint but naive, Le Tiss never left the Saints. He tore up a contract with Tottenham, hey the nearly men nearly signed him. He turned down AC Milan and Chelsea. He was a player content with his surroundings and his efforts. And of course the Saints fans loved him. Le God they called him.

Le Tissier played over 500 games for Southampton. He scored over 200 goals. He has an apartment block named after him as well as a hospitality suite at the Saints stadium. That he was overlooked by the men charged with pushing our national team to the next level says everything you need to know about England managers. Le Tissier was in good company. Stan Bowles, Rodney Marsh, Frank Worthington, Tony Currie. The list of talent under utilised by England is long.

I saw one of Matty's first games for the Saints. It also happened to be the last game of Ron Atkinson's teure at Old Trafford. Soon after he was sacked and replaced by Sir Alex Ferguson. But this thread is about Le Tissier. He was 18, just breaking into the first team. I went down to The Del for a League Cup tie with the Red Devils and paid on the gate. Southampton won 4-1. Le Tissier scored twice and dead impresive he looked to.

To get a glimpse of just how good Matthew Le Tisser was, and just what England missed out on, check out this clip.


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