Smudger Smith, the journeyman pro: welcome back Rio, those bags won't walk themselves on to the team bus

 

In a professional career spanning almost two decades, Simon "Smudger" Smith has played for over 67 clubs and has reinvented himself time and again, from poacher to holding midfielder, centre-back to goalkeeper.

The writing was on the wall for Arsenal this week as they needed to overturn a two goal deficit to make their way into the Champions League quarter finals – a feat so incredible it hadn’t been achieved for 24 hours. History really was against them as they were up against a Bayern side that had only lost one out of one at home to English sides in the past year.

Barcelona’s win saw Messi back to his best after talk of a dip in form. Quality players will always find their way out of a hole and I remember when I started to struggle back in 1997. I have every faith I’ll turn the corner soon.

I think the FA are quite unlucky not to see England represented in the CL final at Wembley as doubtless the national side would have gone the distance but they weren’t even entered despite being entitled to qualification as hosts.

The good news for the FA is the return of Rio Ferdinand to the national team. It’s just a shame that John Terry won’t be playing as it’d be great to have the pair back together, and I’m sure they’re both chomping at the bit to reignite the partnership. Rio can obviously still do a job for England and I remember how happy I was to make the jump back to international level. I knew I was the best in the country in my role and it was only a matter of time before I was asked to once again load the bags onto the bus.

Well done to Spurs on getting through against Inter Milan. It really was a potential banana skin seeing as they had to play all 90 minutes with zero men, but luckily Bale will be back for the next game.

Finally I’d like to offer my condolences to Aretha Franklin. Sepp Blatter has said Euro 2020 is unlikely to have any soul and I know she was desperately hoping to perform at the opening ceremony.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible