VIDEO: England World Cup 2018 Squad Picks

As the excitement for the 2018 World Cup in Russia continues to build we’ve got Dan to go through his own 23 man England Squad. It’s an interesting list that may raise some eyebrows and start some debate, so let us know what you think of his picks and who you would take on that England plane to Russia. Will Gareth Southgate pick a similar team?

You can find more football content on and on our YouTube channel so don’t forget to subscribe! Dan will also be joining the Talk and Beans boys with World Cup podcast specials this year and don’t forget to check out more from Rebellious Noise on all of our Social outlets.

The tournament kicks off on June 14th with the final being played on July 15th. The Talk and Beans Podcast are expected to bring you another lighthearted football podcast with their World Cup episode(s), just like the Euro 2016 episode last year which you can find on iTunes and on Soundcloud.

Big Group games decided in draw for World Cup 2018

The Russian World Cup is already shaping up to be one to get excited for as the draw for the Group stage has now been announced and features some big match ups and could lead to some very interesting possibilities in the next rounds, including a Group B tie of Portugal vs Spain and a Group G match up of Belgium vs England. The Three Lions have also been drawn into Group G with Panama and Tunisia. Whilst a great performance against Belgium combined with an expected pair of wins over Panama and Tunisia may look like England will have a fairly easy ride into the Knockout Stage after having at least finished second in the Group, England fans will know that the script isn’t always kept with recent examples being a shock loss against Iceland in Euro 2016 and a disappointing start to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with an opening match upset ending in a 1-1 draw against an excitable USA.

Group G on paper looks like it’s set for Spain and Portugal to go through but a rematch of the Euro 2012 Semi Final at such an early stage of the World Cup may cause one or even both of the teams to slip up and have their confidence knocked  which could then be cause for a giant killing or two in the proceeding games. Germany may have a difficult group game on their hands too if Sweden show up in Russia like they did when they ended up preventing Italy from seeing another World Cup tournament this decade.

With some of the bigger footballing nations not making the tournament this year and some of those that did having just scraped through the Qualifiers like Argentina did you might be forgiven for thinking that this World Cup may be missing out a few too many big names, but this draw shows the potential match ups that will still be leaving football fans daydreaming in the coming months. If England top their group then their road to a potential final wouldn’t be easy as they could face Columbia, Brazil, France and then Germany in a poetic final, but coming Second won’t make it any easier for them as they could potentially draw Poland, then Spain, Germany in the Semi Finals and Brazil if they made it to the big game. Let’s not overhype England though, because as we all know it could all come down to a depressing night against Panama.

The full Group draw is below:

  • Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
  • Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
  • Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
  • Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
  • Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
  • Group F: Germany, Sweden, Mexico, South Korea
  • Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
  • Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan

The tournament kicks off on June 14th with the final being played on July 15th. The Talk and Beans Podcast are expected to bring you another lighthearted football podcast with their World Cup episode(s), just like the Euro 2016 episode last year which you can find on iTunes and on Soundcloud.

Rooney Retires from England Duty – Defending England’s All Time Leading Scorer

When the news broke today about Wayne Rooney ending his International career at the age of just 31, I for one, was in shock. Many have claimed Rooney hasn’t been the same player over the last few years, but I want to look at things from a different perspective.

Rooney totalled 253 goals in the 559 games he played in all competitions for Manchester United, giving him a goal ratio of approx 1 goal in every 2.2 games. Not a bad return. His England record was pretty much identical. Any other player, people would be raving at that record, but for some reason, people seem to be super critical of Rooney. Is he a bad striker? No. Has he played in a bad team? No. Is he a goal poacher, ala Ruud van Nistelrooy/Raul/Ronaldo (Brazilian)? No. Wayne Rooney has always worked tirelessly and selflessly for everyone else around him, supporting team mates with some world class passes and through balls (101 assists to his name I may add). I’ve watched games where he’s played up top as a ‘Number 9’ and he’s been busting a gut to get back and help out his full backs. But he would still be in the right place, when the ball came to him to put it in the back of the net.

Love him or loathe him, his records speak for themselves. You don’t become Manchester United’s all time leading goalscorer if you’re a bad player. Likewise, you don’t become England’s all time leading goalscorer if you’re a bad player. But for some reason people seem to think Rooney is that. Yes, admittedly, some of the teams he scored against weren’t the best, but he didn’t choose to be selected for those games. His managers chose him, to do a job… Score goals, and that he did! You cannot criticise a striker for scoring goals. He had his fare share of big match goals too, scoring on big occasions for Man United in Europe, in Title winning seasons, and in cup finals. He always rose to the occasion, and rightfully wrote his name into history.

Let’s put things into perspective here, Alan Shearer has 260 Premier League goals, there is only one other player who has scored 200, guess who… Rooney! Because, he is one of the best players of his generation. There is no question about it.

Rooney has drifted away on occasions too, the major tournaments with England weren’t his strong point, and unfairly, that’s what most football fans are going to judge him on with a return of only 5 goals from major international tournaments. They forget the amount of times Rooney has dug England out of a hole in tricky qualifying games to actually get us to the major tournaments. Another interesting stat about Rooney, is although his Man United record was pretty poor, he actually had a 100% record from the penalty spot for England. Something that not many Englishmen can boast about.

But as his international career draws to a close, his playing days seem like they are far from over, he is a reinvigorated figure under Ronald Koeman at the club where he burst onto the scene back in 2004 as a 16-year-old, Everton, and looks to have flown out of the traps this season with the two goals needed to notch 200. Ironically, at The Etihad, against Man City, where he also scored his 50th and 150th.

I had the pleasure of seeing Rooney score two of his 53 England goals live and in person, and on that day, he was different class.

Wayne Rooney has won everything domestically there is to win with no fewer than 5 Premier League titles, 1 FA Cup, 3 League Cups, 4 Community Shields,  1 Champions League, 1 Europa League and 1 Club World Cup.

Thank You very much Wayne Rooney for everything you did for England (and Man United). Best of luck at Everton, and long may it continue… Alan Shearer, he’s coming for you.

Premier League Predictions – The Outcome


1.            Man United

2.            Chelsea

3.            Man City

4.            Spurs

5.            Arsenal

6.            Everton

7.            Liverpool

8.            Leicester

9.            West Ham

10.          Southampton

11.          Stoke

12.          West Brom

13.          Swansea

14.          Crystal Palace

15.          Sunderland

16.          Middlesbrough

17.          Bournemouth

18.          Watford

19.          Burnley

20.          Hull



1.            Chelsea

2.            Tottenham

3.            Man City

4.            Liverpool

5.            Arsenal

6.            Man United

7.            Everton

8.            Southampton

9.            Bournemouth

10.          West Brom

11.          West Ham

12.          Leicester

13.          Stoke

14.          Crystal Palace

15.          Swansea

16.          Burnley

17.          Watford

18.          Hull

19.          Middlesbrough

20.          Sunderland



I made some bold predictions at the start of the Premier League season, and predicted that Manchester United would end up as Champions. That wasn’t the case, and they finished miles off and in sixth place. It would appear the Europa League did indeed take a toll on Man United, and no European football seemingly helping Chelsea along the way, as they strolled to a Fifth Premier League Title. But a fantastic achievement from Chelsea none-the-less.

I predicted correctly what this would indeed be the year Arsenal finished outside of the top four, and they left it until the last day of the season to prove that prediction correct. As did Manchester City, who proved me correct in my prediction that they wouldn’t win the league, and would in fact finish in 3rd place.

It looked like Hull would finish rock bottom when I made the predictions, but Marco Silva’s resurgence was in vain, and so unlucky, he deserved to stay up. Props to Sean Dyche and Walter Mazzari for proving me wrong by keeping Watford and Burnley up, and commiserations to Sunderland and Middlesbrough for making it Two Down and One Up for the North-East clubs in the Premier League Next Season!

Onwards and Upwards to 2017/18 where Newcastle and Brighton will join English Football’s top Tier, where they will be joined by either Huddersfield Town (what a story that could be!) Or Jaap Stam’s, Reading.

Joey Barton has been banned from football for 18 months

The Burnley midfielder has been fined £30,000 and banned from football for 18 months after admitting to The FA that he has been involved in a huge amount of football bets. Joey Barton is said to have made 1,260 bets on football matches between 26 March 2006 and 13 May 2016, something that is a seriously forbidden act for players.

Barton has stressed that “this is not match fixing”  and that he has a gambling problem, claiming “I have fought addiction to gambling and provided the FA with a medical report about my problem – I’m disappointed it wasn’t taken into proper consideration”.

The player also admitted to placing bets against teams that he played for between 2004 and 2011 but insisted that they were on matches that he was not taking part in and therefore could not influence. One bet that Joey Barton placed was a £3 stake on a Premier League game in April 2006 where he bet that he would be the first goalscorer for Manchester City against Fulham, however it was his team mate Richard Dunne who scored the first goal in that game.


Gareth Southgate announced as England manager

It has been coming for a few weeks now and today we have the confirmation that former England player Gareth Southgate will be the new manager after a fairly impressive “trial shift” in recent weeks. Southgate has been in charge on an interim basis since the scandal that lead to Sam Allardyce stepping down in September and has won two games including a 3-0 over Scotland and a 2-0 win over Malta.

A panel of five interviewed the former England U-21’s Coach last week and it has been decided that he will be the man to take the England team forward. The team crashed out of Euro 2016 earlier this year in embarrassing circumstances under Roy Hodgson, something discussed in the Talk and Beans podcast a few months back.

The new Manager will be looking to take the team to the 2018 World Cup Finals and have significantly more success than his predecessors and is thought to have signed a four year deal which according to the Guardian will earn him between £1.5m and £2m a year.

Gareth Southgate has said that he is “extremely proud to be appointed England manager” . The new Manager also explained how he enjoyed working with the players over the previous four games and gave insight into his hopes going forward by stating “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the players over these past four games and I think there’s huge potential. I’m determined to give everything I have to give the country a team that they’re proud of and one that they’re going to enjoy watching play and develop. For me, the hard work starts now”.

It will be interesting to see how this new regime will be, we just hope he doesn’t get England to a Shootout and fancy stepping up for a penalty himself.


Steven Gerrard has announced his retirement from football

The former Liverpool legend and captain has announced his retirement from football. Steven Gerrard captained the reds to many trophies including the 2005 UEFA Champions League and also captained England for a number of years. Gerrard joined the MLS in 2015 when he completed a move to LA Galaxy which ended when the midfielder left the club last month. The rumours about his future have been flowing ever since his departure from the American club, which included rumours of a managerial role at MK Dons, but the former player has said that the managerial role had come “a bit too soon” for him.

Steven Gerrard had a prolific career, especially at his boyhood club and was considered one of the best of his generation by many of his peers. Gerrard retires as the only player to this day to have scored in the FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League and UEFA Cup final, a feat that will be hard to top.

Speaking of his time as a player, Steven said “As a teenager I fulfilled my childhood dream by pulling on the famous red shirt of Liverpool, and when I made my debut against Blackburn Rovers in November 1998 I could never have imagined what would then follow over the next 18 years”.

Rumours of Gerrard heading back to Liverpool have been circulating for a while with Manager Jurgen Klopp recently stating that the club would always have space for the club legend. Now that the retirement has been officially announced the rumours have picked up again with suggestion that he will take up a role in the clubs academy.

When Klopp was asked about this he said “When there is something to announce, we will announce it. We’ve talked, that’s clear” and went on to add that “One day in the future, there will be something to announce—I’m pretty sure”.

What the future holds for Steven Gerrard is currently unknown to the public, but one thing for sure is his magnificent career for both club and country, whilst Gerrard may not have won any major tournaments for England (The again, How many fantastic English players have missed out since 1966?) he captained the ‘Three Lions’ at three major tournaments and his club and personal accomplishments sure do tell a tale of a fantastic player.

Take a bow Stevie G.