Cultured Football #143
Unrecognised in North Cyprus. Best in EPL. Searching for Talent in Ligue 2. Wataru Endo. Progress in Iran.
By Gazzetta Stadio
Football is often a universal conversation starter; spot someone in a club shirt you recognise and you instinctively know what you’re going to talk about. Yet that universality of football does not extend everywhere. There are countries and regions that exist in an administrative limbo, unrecognised by world authorities and thus having no status. And, whilst the negative impact on football might not be the biggest problem those places have, it is also a constant reminder of what is lacking. Yet, the “football here is not less than, just because it is unrecognised”.
By Ben Fisher for The Guardian
I am completely amazed how there could be another Bellingham at Birmingham and not one club from the Premier League moved in to sign him. Or perhaps they did and he didn’t feel it was the right move for him. Whatever the reason, Jobe Bellingham is lighting up the Championship following his summer move to Sunderland and he’ll be playing at a higher level soon enough. As will many others on this list.
By Alex Stewart for Analytics FC
In English football culture, France’s Ligue 2 is notable as the place that delivered two of the key players that led Leicester to their miraculous league title: Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante. Yet the league has produced much more than those two players. With most clubs having robust development systems that have produced top tier talents, it is little wonder that they are the target of both scouts and - sadly - investors looking to add more outlets to their multi-club ownership model. Ignore the dry sounding heading: this is a fascinating and in-depth look at this talent factory, highlighting not only the many (many) players to have come out of Ligue 2 but also just how much of a bargain most are.
Every Saturday, Cultured Football brings you five great football articles you should be reading.
By David Segar for The Analyst
Speaking of value, Liverpool certainly found theirs when they brought in Wataru Endo for £16.5 million. After a slow start, the Japanese midfielder became a fixture for Jurgen Klopp so much that his departure for the Asian Cup is now seen by fans as a big blow. As Klopp himself admitted “he’s an exceptional player”.
By Kalika Mehta for DW
Gianni Infantino, as Infantino is always bound to do whenever there is the slightest of positive news that makes him look good, hailed the news of women being allowed to attend football games in Iran as “progress”. And, he’s right. FIFA threatening to ban Iran from international football finally delivered some results. Yet there is still much which needs to be done for the fight to be won.
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