STEWART Downing, Andy Carroll and Gareth Barry have all been earmarked as amongst the most average players taking part in the upcoming Emmanuel Olisadebe European Cup.
The three Englishmen join 12 others from across the continent to make up the Titus Bramble XV (full line up below).
All are expected to have little or no impact on the tournament, and will be employed as forfeit players for managers breaking rules in tomorrow night’s auction, due to be broadcast live on Twitter from 7pm.
“We’re delighted to announce the Titus Bramble XV for the auction, including, for the first time ever, two honourary VIP selections from the host nations. These fifteen players will replace anyone forfeit tomorrow night,” said the Chairman, before being escorted into a waiting car by sharp-suited, severe-looking men from the Vatican.
Titus Bramble XV
Grzegorsz Sandomierski (Pol) – Will have an excellent view of proceedings from the bench.
Behrang Safari (Swe) – A good defender relies on clean sheets and clean sheets are built upon team unity. With 22 men playing for the democratic monarchy of Sweden and one for the evil, Slavic autocracy of Emperor Zlatan, goal-shy Safari must surely be a wildcard at best.
Simon Kjaer (Den) – Recently named one of the worst signings in Serie A this season who ‘has consistently been tortured by quick attackers’, the Dane can only struggle against the speed and precision of German and Dutch forward play.
Per Mertesacker (Ger) – Surprising inclusion in a slick Teuton outfit considering his lumbering form and recent injury at club level.
Rolando (Por) – The poor man’s Ronaldo.
Nigel De Jong (Hol) – Nicknamed ‘The Lawnmower’ for his combative style of play, there’s more chance of De Jong being able to repair a Briggs & Stratton engine during a match than avoiding the book or finding his way onto the score sheet.
Alexandros Tziolis (Gre) – From
Tziolis’ agent wikipedia: “He plays a ‘silent’ role in the game, and he tends to occupy the role of a deep-lying playmaker more than a defensive stopper. His crisp passing and physical strength are also positive aspects of his game.” The content of this summary is as doubtful as its syntax.
Keith Andrews (Ire) – Tournament highlights: booked against Croatia scything down Modric, booked against Spain upending Andres Iniesta, misses Italy game.
Stewart Downing (Eng) – No goals, no assists and spent most of the league season looking like a timid schoolboy on the ball, must be quaking at the prospect of playing in the bread basket of Soviet terror.
Andriy Voronin (Ukr) – On average, the Steppe’s answer to Tarzan scores a goal every 10 games for his country. Even if an unlikely Ukraine get to the final, he’s left with just over half a chance of netting one.
Georgios Samaras (Gre) – Thinks he’s Ronaldinho. Is not.
Andy Carroll (Eng) – striker – played really well for the last three games of the domestic campaign, but for the rest of the season has shown less talent than a Tuesday afternoon in Gateshead Weatherspoon’s.
Gareth Barry (Eng) – midfielder – Against a similar standard of opposition, but without the likes of David Silva and Yaya Touré a short pass away, Barry is in for another tournament ride bumpier than Fred West’s patio. Will be replaced by Jordan Henderson if injured.
Honourary host nation representatives
Yulia Tymoshenko (Ukr) – Libera – The ‘Gas Princess’ may score as many goals as Bobby Sands this summer, but in international terms the PR value she brings to any outfit is welcome to Olisadebe managers who tend to lurch from one media disaster to another. At 51 still has the looks to alleviate the inevitable curse of squad boredom.
Pope Jean Paul II (Pol) – Goalkeeper – A regular between the sticks for his school and university sides, the former pontiff is the reason why there are so many top-level, Polish ‘keepers around. Spiritual contribution cannot be overlooked.