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Would Landon Donovan Playing at Everton be a Smart Move or Not?

landon donovan Would Landon Donovan Playing at Everton be a Smart Move or Not?

Everton are in advanced discussions with Landon Donovan to acquire him on loan for a three month deal, according to several sources in the English press.

If the deal goes through, it should be a win-win for both Everton and Donovan. For Everton, the club is desperately in need for new players to help a team that has been savagely disrupted by injuries. Plus the club is very much in need of a creative attacking midfielder who can take over from the still-injured Mikel Arteta and to thread passes through for Everton strikers such as Yakubu, Louis Saha and Jo.

For Donovan, it’ll be an excellent opportunity to maintain his fitness, to compete at a much higher level than Major League Soccer where he may be able to improve his game, as well as prove to the world whether he truly is an accomplished footballer. While he’s a massive star in the United States, his previous appearances in Europe for Bayern Munich and Bayern Leverkusen have been considered flops.

If the deal does go through, it’ll give Donovan an opportunity to not only try to break into the Everton team, but the Toffees will be competing in the Europa League as well as playing several high-profile Premier League matches such as the Merseyside derby on February 6 (televised live on ESPN2) and versus Manchester City on January 16 (televised live on Fox Soccer Channel).

With all said, there are definitely big question marks about whether Donovan can compete at a Premier League level as well as for a team that often plays hoofball. Everton is a tough, physical team and playing for the Toffees would significantly increase the chances of Donovan being injured before a critical World Cup tournament for him. Plus, there are many question marks surrounding the size and physique of the player and whether he would be able to adapt to the English game.

My personal opinion is that I don’t think Donovan would be an instant hit in the Premier League. It’s going to take him time to adapt to the cold temperatures and to the style of play. He’s not going to get as much space or time on the ball as he does in MLS. That said, I believe he’ll turn some heads and will make some valuable assists in games. But I don’t envision him setting the league on fire. As for Everton, they’re a team that wouldn’t necessarily be the best fit for Donovan. But given the opportunity, I feel there’s a lot more for Donovan to gain than to lose by making the move to Goodison Park.

What do you think? Would Landon Donovan playing at Everton be a smart move or not? Click the comments link below and share your feedback.

Photo credit: Stuart Wainstock.

This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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56 Responses to Would Landon Donovan Playing at Everton be a Smart Move or Not?

  1. Elliott says:

    This would be fantastic – Donovan could stay match fit and train at a high level. However, I would prefer he push for a permanent transfer – the loan deals are great for both clubs, but hard on the player. At this stage, he needs to set his foot down either way.

  2. Christian says:

    Agree. Him moving somewhere pre-WC is imperative. Everton seems like a decent fit.

  3. Wylie says:

    If this is Everton’s ambition than they deserve to be in relegation! Donovan is defintely a step backwards for them.

    • Sam Davis says:

      Why is that?

      Everton are strapped for cash, as Moyes’ comments and the requirement that this be a loan deal indicate, and who else would you reckon they should pick up on a LOAN deal to help bolster the midfield.

      Landon’s got experience in Europe (things may not have worked out thus far) and loads of experience playing on the in big international matches. Take a look at what he did against both Spain and Brazil in this year’s Confederation’s Cup and tell me that he isn’t at least worthy of taking in on loan.

      Moyes won’t get an established star player on loan from anyone and he’s not going to place a promising youngster above a veteran when it comes to trying to avoid relegation.

  4. Erich says:

    It is time for Donovan to elevate his game by playing in Europe. There is nothing to be gained by him continuing to play in MLS.

    In my opinion, it is imperative that America’s top talent cuts their teeth in the European leagues. The MLS just doesn’t provide the level of quality that will allow the top American players to develop their skills for the world stage.

    It has been nice to see Jonathen Spector get 1st team action at West Ham this year. Even though he has struggled at times, this will be of great benefit to him and the USMNT in the long-term.

    • Duke says:

      I think you’re right about this — U.S. players need to find ways to get experience outside the country. It’s the fastest way (IMHO) to ramp up our top players.

      But there’s a part of me that wonders if Donovan can cut it in the Premiership. He looks pretty good against MLS competition, for whatever that’s worth. I have serious doubt about his ability to take the next step, though.

      But yes, I think he should go to Everton. Having two Yanks on the team might help EPL’s profile here in the States, and we’ll get a chance to see how good he really is. And, for the record, I hope he proves me wrong.

    • jmansor says:

      This is do or die for Donovan. Maybe the pressure will get to him.

      I would also like to say I don’t think his stint in Munich was that bad. He made an impact in a few friendlies during the winter break. He really got caught in a political battle between Klinsman and the board. Everyone can say it isn’t true but Americans have to be better in Europe to get a chance.

      I also think this means he won’t move anywhere perm. He is worth much more to MLS than any Euro club is willing to pay.

  5. fabrizio says:

    wylie- donovan is not a step backward. that sounds like someone who has never seen him play. he is better quality than most other everton players who play out wide or behind the strikers

  6. The Gaffer says:

    There definitely would be a contingent of soccer fans (and pundits who have had a history with Donovan) who would probably want him to go to England to fail. For me, I’d love to see him succeed in the UK and to show the world how talented he is. Most Europeans haven’t seen the full array of his talents thus far.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

    • Sam Davis says:

      Yeah, after his first go-around in Germany the general consensus among everyone outside the U.S. was that he’d never be able to cut it anywhere in Europe. The only league whose style of play I think would be a better fit for Donovan than the EPL would be La Liga but I haven’t heard anything about any interest in him from there.

      The U.S. and English NTs both employ a very physical style of play and while England have far more skilled players, they don’t play particularly mind-blowingly creative football. What I mean to say is that national teams are often represenative of the style of play of a country’s domestic leagues and from looking at the two NTs Donovan shouldn’t have a problem fitting into the English game.

  7. Chris says:

    You could say this about any player….Would it be a smart move or not…Well It could be good and it could be bad…You never know, we will just have to find out. The thing is, He will be opened up to quality players and playing against quality teams. He will have to give it everything he has if he wants to succed and be the player he should want to be. So It can be a good move to get alot of good experience and stay match fit and play against the best…This could lead to a permant move in the long run at some point in time. Having done everything in MLS, I have no clue why he would want to stay here. Its silly.

  8. ovalball says:

    I am no Donovan hater, but he has seemed content to be a big fish in a little pond. I would like to see the move to see if he could actually break into the side. It would certainly help him and the USA in the World Cup if he could.

    I wouldn’t bet money either way.

    • Jorge Curioso says:

      Agreed. Two whimpering failures in Germany, hardly the apex of club football. Maybe it was a language issue, and he’d shine in England?

      Somehow, I doubt it.

  9. brn442 says:

    Landon’s pace should help him fit better into the English game as opposed to Germany.

    It’s been over two years and Everton still hasn’t recovered from Moyes’s decision not to re-sign Mc Bride. Donovan’s pace should open up space for the midfield, especially Cahill to score more goals. He will also give extra cover for Saha and Yakubu, both who struggle to stay fit.

    Donovan is not getting younger, he has to take one last shot in his prime to ply his trade in Europe, there is no reason why he shouldn’t succeed.

  10. ourteta says:

    Hoofball – have you watched everton even play the last few seasons? ball on the deck and can mix it up,thats how we play.moyes is a genius, he’ll have him looking a threat in the premiership within weeks. if ya know ya history……..

  11. Jim Gavin says:

    ‘Hoofball’????? The disrespectful writer shows he knows nothing about Football.
    And one of the funniest things I’ve ever read is this comment from a contributor ‘Everton still hasn’t recovered from Moyes decision not to re-sign McBride’!!! Oh Dear – you Guys REALLY do have a long way to go don’t you?
    It’s quite amusing though. Keep it up.

    • Henry H says:

      And you Guys REALLY have a long way up the table don’t you? What is it now, 15th place? That loss to Hull City should help in the relegation battle at least.
      It’s quite amusing though. Keep it up.

  12. The Gaffer says:

    The ‘hoofball’ reference comes from a recent interview I did with probably the biggest Everton supporter in the world, David France. He described the team as playing hoofball. And I agree with him. It’s not meant to be disrespectful, just reality.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  13. Alan says:

    he would be an instant hit. He scored 4 goals in his 5 games at B Munich

  14. Charles says:

    Why would moving to a team that has no chance at winning whatsoever, be a good move? To wear him out, for money ?

    Take the rest, get ready for next season and the World Cup.
    He should work on his mental game and bring it for the US, which he failed to do for the Galaxy in the Championship. Playing for a team that has lost 7 games already is worthless.

  15. The King... says:

    to be fair ‘The Gaffer’, we play good football with the likes of Osman, Arteta and Pienaar (small, diminutive, creative players) in the same side.

    We revert to hoofball when those players are injured, that is true. But lets be honest, so would alot of others teams in our situation.

  16. man99utd says:

    We’re also forgetting the assist provided by Howard. Howard will be invaluable in helping Donovan settle. I think it will take some time, but he will do ok.

  17. nothap'n says:

    If US players don’t try to play outside the country, they get knocked for not competing with the best players in the world. In this case, a star player for the US is going to one of the best leagues AND the Europa League and some think it’s not a good move? What???

    Second, it’s fine to say someone hasn’t competed against top talent if they have ONLY played in the domestic league, the MLS, but have some of the comment writers seen that he has played, just recently, against Spain, Brazil, Italy in the Confed. Cup and in the previous World Cup against top talent from a handful of teams?

    Why someone said it’s better that he not compete from now until the World Cup to “rest” instead of getting and staying in top form is beyond me.

    And by the way, last year Everton finished 5th in the Premier League and led 1-0 in the FA Cup to Chelsea, even though they strung things together with injuries. Those injuries have continued to mount, leading to their 15th place spot in the EPL, but they did qualify for the next round of the Europa Cup nonetheless. Getting Donovan AND seeing the return of anyone amongst the likes of Arteta, Jagielka, etc. will only see them move upwards.

  18. OleGunnar20 says:

    This would be a bad move. A move to the EPL will see Donovan have to mak some serious adjustments and at a team with the talent of Everton in the creative midfield (Arteta, Cahill, Peinaar, Osman) it would take time for him to break in … if he even could. Donovan needs to go somewhere like Birmingham City where he is clearly more talented than their options currently and would start right away even when “adjusting”. And Birmingham city is a good up and coming side and need new players in January to turn their “overachieving” so far into what can be regularly expected of them. Other options might be Sunderland? Or Hull to replace Bullard?

    • Curtis says:

      Arteta is hurt and, besides, plays a rather different position than Donovan. The closest to playing spot competition that you have mentioned is Peinaar (left winger). But, then again, having Donovan in the lineup would give an ability that Pienaar is a little lacking in — the ability to mix in the center of the park. It would be interesting to see Donovan and Cahill switch out depending on how the match is flowing. I don’t think he would start his first match with the team, but I think he would break in rather quickly, especially with how many competitions in which they are currently involved (including FA starting in Jan).

  19. Gaz says:

    I think the point about Donovan’s possible trouble with the physicality of the EPL is so true.

    It’ll take at least a few consistent starts for him to get used to the knocks (if he ever does).

  20. jleau says:

    I’m not sure if it’s a positive move or not. Playing time is the most important thing and I’m always a little leary if coaches in the EPL will give an American the run of games they need to get on form.

    Moyes seems to have a good attitude towards Americans, Howard’s in the team and he signed two relatively obscure Americans over the summer. They need help so it might work. I do worry that as players comeback Donavon would be pushed to the bench.

    I don’t think the physicality of the English league will bother him. MLS lacks a lot in the creativity department but it’s a very fast, physical league. The officiating is terrible and the ref’s hardly call a foul.

    He’s got the skills, I’m just not sure he’s got the heart to make it in the EPL.

  21. Peter says:

    This is a dream move for all involved. Donovan is dynamic player in his prime who will relish the opportunity to play in the ultimate top-flight league and for a team in need of a spark. Did anyone watch Landon’s goal against Brazil in the Confederations Cup final? If he can do that against the samba boys, he has a great chance to make an impact at Everton. The fans will love him. While he may be small in physical stature, he has the fighting spirit and pace to turn some heads.

    • David Griffith says:

      “Did anyone watch Landon’s goal against Brazil in the Confederations Cup final? ”

      Uh yes, & it was world class… Landon Donovan is the greatest US player ever, he’ll do just fine anywhere (if given a chance)

  22. james says:

    i would like to see him come to everton, but it wont help him january will see the likes of arteta jag anichibe osman neville dan gosling, and there all more skilled than donovan, with a midfield like everton has when all fit, donovan possibly wouldint even get a slot on the bench, Osman Cahill Pienaar arteta neville rodwell gosling fellaini bilyaletdinov, thats one of the best midfields in the world and donovan hasint got what it takes to break into it. if he came he could maybe be a supersub, but it would be best for him to go to a team like hull or possibly liverpool with there current lack of talent and constint injurys to main two players *torres gerrard*

  23. Brian W says:

    I’m not going to root against him, not in a World Cup year, but I have never liked him and I am glad some people finally are starting to see past all of the hype.

    Not a bad move for Donovan, but not the best. Much is required of him at Everton in whichever role he plays. In England, the fullbacks defend higher and attack more, meaning if he plays on the wing, his average skills won’t be as exposed as if he were in say, Italy, where the fullbacks play deeper. He won’t be forced to beat many people off the dribble and won’t have to be as pacey on the wing. If he plays as SS though he will get eaten alive by CBs, but he’ll at least have a chance to play through the middle, make quick cuts, and not as much will be asked of him individually in that position.

    Moyes, play him at SS and show Bob Bradley he is a SS, not a winger!

  24. brendan says:

    He shouldn’t have too much trouble with the physicality of the league. Anyone who thinks so has never seen a US v. Mexico match, or, for that matter, a US v. Italy match. Referees in MLS generally allow a great deal more physical play than do referees in other leagues, at least according to Freddie Ljungberg, so Donovan should be used to being tackled. Also, in MLS he is frequently double-teamed, which is far less likely to occur in the EPL, where he may indeed be one of the weaker players on the field.

    As my last bit of evidence for not worrying about the physical side – I can’t recall the guy ever being injured. He might be slight in stature, but when he gets knocked he gets up and keeps on playing. I can’t think of a time when he was taken out of a game for a knock, or even came to the sideline momentarily. For all the “landycakes” stuff that has been bandied about, he is a pretty straight-forward player when it comes to the field. Those negative comments apply more to his mentality than to his physical toughness.

  25. Jeff says:

    I like this move because I’m a fan of the EPL and I will definitely get to see him play but I think he would be better suited to play in La Liga. He should make a move to Villareal.

  26. edgar says:

    Great move for Donovan! He needs to show his quality outside of MLS. It will be tough, but if he is ready to work, he should be fine.

  27. Ray says:

    If Dempsey can make it at Fulham and Spector at West Ham, there is no reason in the world that Donovan can’t make it at Everton. This is a guy who has simply elevated his game in the past year. No one needs to look further than the Confederations Cup for evidence of this.

  28. Tommy says:

    It will be interesting, give an indication of how big a step up it is to go from MLS to the EPL. I imagine he’ll be a bit of a journeyman in England, but can’t be too much worse than Jo! Can’t see him threatening the top scorers market, although millions of European fans can’t bet on this because of EU endorsed betting monopolies not allowing freedom to bet on what they like. The campaign at http://www.right2bet.net is seeking an open gambling market and end to monopolies, please sign the petition if you agree!

  29. TrueBlue84 says:

    Good bit of business again by Moyes,

    Simply as a loan signing though, obviousley when we have the Cavelry are back (Arteta, Osman etc) he won’t be needed. We are in desperate need of a creative player with our injury list. I think Donovans experience in the Bundesliga and his international experience will count.

    I hope he can emulate Joe Max Moore when he had a spell at the blues!!!! I’d be happy with anything like that!

    Up the Toffees!

    • Eddie says:

      I’m having a hard time understanding why people think guys like Osman and Piennar are better than Donovan. They’re good players, but we’ve seen Donovan play well against some really good competition (Italy, Brazil, Spain). Why don’t people wait and see how he competes against Premiership competition before deciding he’s not better than these other players?

  30. Nick says:

    Im incredibly excited to see how this devolps. Im just afraid Landon is going to hit a wall. From the MLS season/Confed Cup through the summer, and through qualifying, and now heading to England…im not so sure hes up to all that…from a fitness standard.

    Hes coming into the worlds best league, and hes going to have to adapt quickly. The play will be more physical, not only in the EPL, but as the Europa League progresses and if Everton can get some deep cup matches…it will certainly be the toughest experience he has had yet.

    I hope that he goes over there, establishes his worth as maybe not a World Class player, but at least shed the ridicule that he really doesnt deserve from the world. If he does go there and perform, it would certainly catapult him into being the American captain, and would be an awesome lead in to a World Cup that this American team really needs to step up in.

    I just dont want to see him get hurt, or hit a physical wall before South Africa.

  31. nothap'n says:

    Thinking logically about the move for Everton, Donovan could be quite good as a potential replacement during the last 30 minutes of games to take free kicks and spell players like Piennar who use a lot of energy during every game. He could also work well as a starter in Europa League games and potentially save some of the current starters from pulling double duty during European play weeks. That seems to be one of the big problems for teams without depth like Everton and Villa who achieve great things one year in the Premier League, only to have an extra load of games and travel the next year that they don’t have the quantity of players for.

  32. Mike says:

    It is a great move for Donovan, but lousy timing is all. He’s the USMNT best player and I want our best at 100% for South Africa. Too many things could go wrong.
    http://startingeleven.blogspot.com/2009/12/is-toffee-on-landon-donovans-menu-as-he.html

  33. Jay says:

    at this point, he should do the loan deal… if anything to shutup the eurosnobs… sure he played like crap in the German league (too young his first round, a bit screwed at Bayern Munich)..

    oh and keep in mind that Bayern Munich is a world class club, lightyears beyond Everton’s quality… he’ll be perfectly fine… heck, he dominated in the Spain game (Euro champs as a reminder) who were in excellent form.

    the bias against donovan is tiresome

  34. Andrew Ranson says:

    Whenever Landon Donovan is put to the test, he fails miserably. When it counted against quality competition, he has time and time again come up short. Two failed stints in Germany, multiple poor showings in qualification, and not to mention a horribly missed penalty in the MLS Cup final-these all go to show that while a good player by American standards, Landon Donovan is by no means on the level of a Lionel Messi or Kaka. For him to lead an American side to victory in the World Cup, being good by American standards will simply not suffice. American standards saw the US struggle to qualify in arguably FIFA’s easiest zone. In life, people often rise to the level of what’s being demanded of them, and in MLS the quality is not demanded of him that is necessary on the world stage. In this respect, I welcome the possible opportunity for Landon Donovan to-yet again-try his hand at making it at a side miles beyond anything the MLS would have to offer. Will he be able to prove himself in Europe? He needs to, for where he leads, good or bad, the US side tends to follow.

    • nothap'n says:

      C’mon now, if anyone was comparing Donovan to Messi or Kaka there were no be no argument, but that’s not what’s being talked about here.

      Second, the US struggling to qualify ended up with them winning the group, traveling to hostile places like Mexico and Honduras.

      Third, while I actually don’t care for him as a player, he’s one of the best the US has to offer this go around so getting this experience can only help him and the team.

      • Andrew Ranson says:

        What is being discussed here is the role of Landon Donovan in leading the US to a world cup victory. My argument is for him to fill that role, he needs to step up and take a Messi-like role in his team. When his team needs him, Messi is able to stand in the gap. I understand that Donovan’s penalty miss is an isolated incident, but I believe it goes a long way to show where he is now as opposed to the level where he needs to be. His team depended on him to convert the penalty kick, and he failed them. If the margin of error in America won’t tolerate that, then the world’s best footballing nations will certainly take advantage of that too. They won’t relent simply because “Oh, it’s the American’s-let’s go easy on them.” We’ve drawn a line in the sand of being a significant national side and told the rest of the world to “Bring it.” In order to be a leader of a team like that, Donovan needs to be able to stand toe-to-toe with the Kaka’s and Messi’s of the world-and come out on top. Just as an isolated success does not make a nation one of the best in the world, isolated moments of form and brilliance do not make a great leader.
        As far as your argument about the places the US has had to play is concerned, I am in agreement to a point. While places like the Stadio Azteca and others are difficult places to go to and produce a result, teams such as the one the US aspires to be need to be able to go to such venues and do just that-walk away with points in hand.
        Where your third point is concerned, you could not be more correct. Landon Donovan is the best we’ve got-and we need him to be his best, and maybe even better.

        • Nick says:

          Adam,

          First of all, im an avid supporter of the USMNT.

          That being said, we would be complete idiots to think for a second that this team can WIN the World Cup. This team does not have the talent to pull off such an upset. What we need, is to make the knockout stages, and MAYBE with the way the draw worked…we could hit the Semis.

          Donovan was a victim as a youngster of the American Hype Machine. THat…plus he was always slotted as a forward rather then his current role in midfield, where he is turning into quite a performer.

          Before the COnfed Cup…I was ready to kick Landon off the team altogether. Since then and through this alst round of qualifying, he is surely improving, and will learn VALUABLE lessons in England.

          And FYI. Dempsey has got to be the best player we have…He performs week in and week out for Fulham.

          And Donovans Form as of late

        • Ray says:

          I don’t think anyone here is under the delusion that Donovan should be compared to Messi (not to mention even with the great Messi, Argentina nearly screwed the pooch and missed qualifications because their coach is a douche) or Kaka. Secondly, I don’t think even the Americans posting here think that the USA has a reasonable shot at winning the World Cup. At the very best I think most of us want out of Donovan is the leadership that is needed to field a competitive team…and he has done that role exceedingly well during the past 12 months.

          Donovan is arguably the best player on a very average american team. He is not the US soccer messiah, nor should he have to be.

  35. TrueBlue84 says:

    Jay – Know your history,
    The Bundesliga is “lightyears” behind the Premier League. Evertons team would win the Bundesliga every day of the week. Manures reserves beat the Bundesliga Champions 1-3 mid-week without batting an eyelid. We snotted the German cup winners last season in the UEFA also…

    Don’t get me wrong, Donovan is rather an unknown quantity in Europe however, I think given the right circumstances he could potentially be a starting eleven prem player. Hope he proves his critics wrong and puts one or two in the score zone sack!!!

  36. Patrick says:

    “Landon Donovan is by no means on the level of a Lionel Messi or Kaka.” I love it! Yes, that is the standard by which Donovan should be measured!

    Everton is a solid side with a great work ethic. Amazing comeback against Spurs on Sunday. They looked completely outplayed, tired and done, down 2-0, came back to tie it 2-2, then Howard saved the PK to keep it even. Great match against a Spurs side that is better than ever.

    Donovan has great skill and is a fun player to watch. If Everton were expecting him to be their Messi, of course he would fail miserably. But as a cog to distribute and control the ball, he can be useful, and he will pick up some goals if he gets playing time. Everton definitely need more skilled, attacking mids if they are going to climb up the EPL table while progressing in Europa League. They never seem to give up on games – that’s how they beat Man U in the cup last year.

    Seems like a good fit to me.

  37. james says:

    Jay haha…

    “oh and keep in mind that Bayern Munich is a world class club, lightyears beyond Everton’s quality”

    they have 1 or 2 good players and 1 world class player, a fully fit everton team has 11 amazing/world class players. we beat bayern munich in the european cup winners cup in 85 we can do it anyday of 2009/10 also.

    <3 the way people comment on things they have no idea about keep it up guys :)

    Dixie Dean!!! 60 league goals – 84 in all compititions 1 season!!!

  38. james says:

    semi final** rapid vienna = final

  39. Pete says:

    Donavan has decent pace and skill and providing he can take a few hits he will do ok in the premiership. The real reason the loan deal is going ahead is the fact that the African cup of nations cup starts in Jan and players like Pienaar and the Yak will be flying off to that. Donavan is a replacement for those players why they are gone.
    I am English and watch the Prem week in week out. I keep a close eye on Dempsey as I have in my dream team and think he is a very good, hard working player, if Donavan can do something similar for Everton, I think the scouse fans will be very happy.
    P.S You boys are going down in the world cup, COME ON ENGLAND

  40. Bryn says:

    Gotta love the 20/20 vision of hindsight now…

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