Smudger Smith: Wayne Rooney must keep his chins up over weight
The Journeyman Pro
In a professional career spanning almost two decades, Simon "Smudger" Smith has played for over 67 clubs. The ultimate utility player, as his pace has diminished, he has reinvented himself time and again, from poacher to holding midfielder, centre-back to goalkeeper. Now that his website has been closed down, we have exclusive access to his column.
Wayne Rooney has this week been criticised for revealing that he tends to put on a few pounds during the summer break and I know just how he feels. The important thing is that he has a good manager on hand to lift his spirits. I felt really out of shape and let my performance in training get to me midweek but luckily the bossman was there to tell me to keep my chins up.
Another great striker, Alessandro Del Piero, had to make a decision even more difficult than Korma or Tikka Massala this week. Would the Italian legend go to Liverpool or Australia? Surely it was a no-brainer and he'd plump for the home of the best band ever? So it proved as he signed up for Sydney FC. The allure of Men at Work was simply too great.
Del Boy wasn't the only Italian maverick making headlines. Paolo Di Canio, also caused a stir. First the Swindon boss substituted his goalkeeper after 21 minutes. This was a storm in a teacup since it's not uncommon for a manager to want to change shape and freshen things up tactically by taking his keeper off early. It's happened to me countless times over the years and the success rate speaks for itself. Sometimes as a keeper you know you've not contributed to the 4-4-2. There are times when you just have to put your hands up. Unfortunately I often forget the best times are when shots are heading for the top corners.
The loveable fascist caused further controversy when he then had a pop at a defender. "Flint came in tonight as if he was on holiday," Paolo opined. We've all been there. I recall Rafa Benitez losing his rag with me for wearing goggles and flip-flops on the bench at Sunderland. Things went from bad to worse when the beach ball Ngog-ster and me were tossing around ended up on the pitch. Safe to say the sun wasn't the only thing tanning my hide that day.
Follow me on @smudgersmithpro
Latest in Sport
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
Wow - what a weekend for British Motorcycle racing!
by Luke Wilkins
22 May 2013 05:00 AM
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.