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


Click to follow
The Independent Football

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.