Van Gaal, Rooney need to deliver

Someday soon a manager is going to be sacked minutes after the first game of a Premier League season. Football’s going that way, ladies and gentlemen, and although you and I, as modern-day fans, are arguably part of the problem, we’re powerless to do anything about it. Take the summer just gone as evidence of the sport spinning away from the relevant, with managers and players scrutinised for their preseason performances.

Not too long ago, it was universally accepted that the purpose of friendly matches was to develop fitness and team spirit. But in 2015, even Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal’s substitutions are under scrutiny, because surely there must be something we can learn from all 11 of them in one 90-minute kickabout.

These forced and meaningless conclusions come amid the domestic break when, even despite the distraction of international tournaments, our patience for the 38-round format is wearing thin. Having 24/7 access to watch and debate this wonderful game means that when it leaves the stadiums and our television sets but then returns in some form — in the shape of a transfer rumour or an exhibition match, for example — perspective is lost.

Source: ESPN FC