Australia coach Graham Arnold leaves out son-in-law from World Cup squad

Ryanair’s Twitter account strikes again; Conor McGregor expresses an interest in buying Liverpool

Family feud

The bravest decision by a manager choosing his World Cup squad? You’d have to go for Australia’s Graham Arnold opting not to find a slot for experienced centre-half Trent Sainsbury in his 26-man selection.

“Obviously it was a very, very difficult decision,” he said. “I’ve spoken to Trent about where he’s at right now, he’s not played for a number of weeks. He was very understanding of the situation but it’s a decision that, again, is hard to make.”

Sainsbury, in fairness to the fella, was gracious when responding on Instagram. “This one hurts,” he wrote. “But I believe everything happens for a reason. Big congrats to all the lads selected. I know they will do themselves, families, friends and Australia proud in Qatar. Good luck to all my brothers.”

There’s been no reaction yet from Sainsbury’s wife Elissa, although you’d imagine she’s spittin’ with Arnold. Which is tricky …. because he’s her Da.

Word of mouth

“A lower-leaguer who wouldn’t know what it is like to win a medal. And who is now finding how difficult it is to win football matches.”

Has Martin O’Neill forgiven Keith Andrews, Stephen Kenny’s assistant, for being somewhat critical of his Irish team when Andrews was a pundit? Whatcha think?

“I’m a little bit starstruck. What a guy. I couldn’t stop looking at his teeth - they are amazing. Also, he is massive. I was thinking, ‘I hope my wife and daughter aren’t watching this because they will say ‘look at little dad’.”

Derby manager Paul Warne all aflutter after meeting the Liverpool gaffer when the teams squared up in the League Cup last week.

“@Sanchooo10 we’ll still fly you somewhere.”

Ryanair’s tweet to Jason Sancho after he was left out of England’s World Cup squad. Cold.

“I saw a couple of naked players because they were still in bed or had only just gotten up.”

Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal on his FaceTime calls with players he left out of his World Cup squad, their revenge to appear starkers in front of him.


“A really fine footballer. Terrific. What he knew about management, you could box in a thimble.”

Martin O’Neill saluting the managerial abilities of Paolo Di Canio, his successor at Sunderland in 2013.

Number: 200

Under-20 international Tom Cannon became the 200th Republic of Ireland player to play in the Premier League when he made his Everton debut on Saturday (hats off to the record-keeping skills of @irish_abroad).

How much is too much?

Le Havre’s youth system earned quite a reputation over the years, producing the likes of Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Riyad Mahrez, but while waiting for a few more nuggets to emerge, the club is casting its net a little wider in the search for talent.

That task is largely falling to Mathieu Bodmer who was appointed as the club’s sporting director during the summer, and it would be accurate to say that he’s very, very committed.

“I watch about 50 full matches a week: Ligue 1, Ligue 2, National, U19s, U17s, N2, N3, English divisions, Italian divisions, Spanish divisions, and other championships depending on the profiles that we’re looking for,” he told L’Équipe. “I also watch montages from matches played in Korea, Libya, or Panama. I practically watch football from day to night, especially since I don’t sleep much.”

On the rare occasions that he does sleep, where does he lay his head? In the stadium, of course. “We have a big room with a view of the pitch. I do everything to optimise time as much as I can.”

Dedication, that.

More word of mouth

“This is a shame, a joke! When he walks around the mall here, nobody knows who he is! What has Martinelli done in European football? Arsenal are not even in the Champions League! This is a calamity!’

Apart from that, former Brazil midfielder Neto welcomed Gabriel Martinelli’s inclusion in the country’s World Cup squad.

“I WOULD LOVE IT! I requested information on this, yes. Soon as I heard. What a turn of events! What a club!’.”

As if this hasn’t already been a testing enough season for the Liverpool faithful, Conor McGregor expresses an interest in buying the club.

“His biggest worry is putting on a suit - he’s not worn one in his life.”

Damien Duff on what was keeping Shane Farrell awake at might ahead of the FAI Cup Final, rather than concerns about his fitness.

“I am going to play holding midfield and Jurgen is going to play left-back.”

Pep Guardiola reckons Manchester City and Liverpool will be a touch short of fit players for their Carabao Cup meeting … which will take place three or four days after the World Cup final.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times