Jermaine Pennant tells Benitez: “Give it a Rest”

Just what we need – another opinion on Rafa


Remember Jermaine Pennant? We here at thespoiler certainly do, mainly for classily proposing to his girlfriend in a graveyard. On the off chance you care, Jermaine now strolls around the touchline for Real Zaragoza in the lower echelons of la Liga.

Pennant turns 27 in January, and it may be fair to say that he hasn’t quite fulfilled the potential of his teenage years, when aged just 15, that fine dissector of young talent Arsene Wenger, splashed out £2m on the Notts County lad. But whose fault? Being a footballer, the answer is inevitably, not his own. These are his thoughts on Rafa:

“Liverpool have had some great strikers come and go – Robbie Keane is scoring goals at Tottenham, Peter Crouch is scoring now. It didn’t happen at Liverpool: it must be about how the manager relates to players, how the tactics are and how he restricts players. The coach plays a big part when you arrive at a new team. If he restricts you, it’s going to make you play differently.

When I was there, sometimes I would like to get the ball and not even beat the man, just put it straight in. And he would be shouting: ‘Go to the byline.’ He’d say it before the game and, if I had put a ball in early, as I was jogging back he’d be there gesturing for me to get to the byline. You think, ‘Give it a rest. Can I just play like this? Can’t I just express myself?’”

With his PR team suddenly awake and jolted upright, Pennant later clarified:

“I have no qualms or bad feelings about Rafa and I still love the club. He’s a great manager and there are times when he is a genius but sometimes his approach can take the best out of you.

The quotes seem fairly typical of a footballer with an axe to grind, exploiting the current sports news agenda. Let’s just hope for his fellow travellers, that Pennant isn’t at the wheel of this particular bandwagon.

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