Welcome to the first edition of our new blog, What A Strike, where we will look at football at all levels and discuss the current football news, Eventually, we would like to develop the blog into a podcast but that is in the future.
In this first edition I am joined by our very own Jamie Winter to discuss the upcoming Euro Championships that begin this evening, including who the squad think will win the competition, as well as these weekends opening games. However, we start off with the news from Tannadice that Tam Courts is the new Dundee United head coach.
So, Jamie what are your thoughts on what some are saying is a crazy appointment, whilst others are saying it is an out the box decision that is refreshing in the Scottish game.
“I think fair play to the club and good luck to him, he has obviously impressed in the interview stage, so he’s earned the right to have a go. Primarily I see it as a brave but positive performance and it’s good to see a young manager getting the opportunity on the big stage”.
I agree, I have met Tam on a few occasions over the years, particularly when he was at Kelty Hearts, he came across as someone who believed in his own abilities but also those of his players and encouraged his squad to get the ball down to play. I agree it is refreshing to see a young manager getting a chance, there is a feeling within Scottish football in the top leagues that you must have years of experience and the same names are trundled out for each job. There are some talented managers and coaches in the lower leagues and outside the SPFL that don’t get a chance and Tam’s appointment bucks that trend and may make some clubs think twice before appointing a new boss.
Tonight, sees the European Championships start, all be it a year late, with a definite excitement for the tournament and not just because Scotland are involved. There are some good national sides taking part and you could argue a case for 8 or 9 countries having a chance of winning it.
What are your thoughts on the tournament Jamie and who do you think will win it Jamie?
“I am not going to be popular up here in Scotland, but I fancy England purely on the players they have in the squad. The key will be if they can sort the defence out and get a consistent unit because going forward, they look good with the likes of Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Mason Mount, and of course, Harry Kane up top to score the goals.”
I think England will be there or thereabouts, but I can take a step back from the media furore that will be going on south of the border, there isn’t any strength in depth for me. I was really surprised that Trent Alexander Arnold was replaced in the squad by Ben White, surely that was the opportunity for a Ward-Prowse or Lingard. We know Kane has dodgy ankles, so heaven forbid he gets injured who replaces him? Calvert-Lewin is a different kind of striker and certainly not of the same quality as Kane. There are massive question marks over the fitness of Maguire and Henderson and its unlikely either will start on Sunday so England will start on the back foot injury wise.
For me I think Italy will be, as usual, very hard to beat and are in form, on a run of something like 20 games unbeaten so for me it must be the Azurri.
I have been speaking to the squad and asked them who they thought would win it and they don’t agree with either of us overall, having said that I am pleased to say the gaffer agreed with me and went for Italy as did Jamie Robbie while Gordon Macdonald agreed with you Jamie and begrudgingly went for England.
The skipper, Ryan Roche couldn’t decide between France or Portugal, Brian Clark, Paul McLellan, Sam Simpson, Cammy McMahon, Paddy Conway, Pat Martin, Ryan Suttie and John Dunn all opted for France although both Paul McLellan and Pat Martin both said they had gone for France because Scotland weren’t quite ready.
What are your thoughts on the French team? “They will be contenders, but they do have a number of players that would appear to be able to start an argument in an empty room. To win the Euro’s you need to be able to have the whole squad singing from the same hymn sheet and I am not sure the French can do that for the whole tournament.”
Let’s look ahead to this weekend’s games and predict the results starting with the opener tonight.
Turkey v Italy Italy Draw
Wales v Switzerland Draw Wales
Denmark v Finland Denmark Finland
Belgium v Russia Belgium Belgium
Austria v N Macedonia Austria Draw
Netherlands v Ukraine Draw Netherlands
England v Croatia England England
I think our predictions show how wide open the tournament is likely to be and getting off to a winning start is vital if countries hold real ambition to win the tournament and no more so for Belgium, Netherlands, and England.
“Yeah, I’d say everyone who’s got an eye on having a right go at winning this will be wanting to take maximum points in their first game. They all look like they should take wins in their first games, but they’ll have to be at it from the start and maintain it to make sure there’s no shocks early doors.”
Well, that’s that for the first edition of What A Strike, we hope you have enjoyed the read and we will be back on Sunday to look back at the first games and look forward to the big game at Hampden on Monday afternoon as Scotland take on the Czech’s.
Enjoy your weekend!