“It’s coming home, It’s coming home, football’s coming home”. World Cup fever has broken out ahead of Russia 2018, and we’ve caught it here at Londonroad.net. So, we’ve dissected Gareth Southgate’s England squad that is looking to end 52 years of hurt in Moscow come July. “But why is this on a Peterborough United fan website!?” I hear you cry. Well, to be specific, we’re looking at each player’s encounters with our beloved football club, to see how they’ve grown from being crap enough to play against us to future world champions. It’s a weak format, but stick with it yeah?
Jordan Pickford-“ENGLAND’S NUMBER ONE!” Is usually only ever said on this site when laughing at Joe Lewis, but we’ll make an exception here. Pickford has gone from relative unknown at Sunnerlan’ to England’s most expensive goalkeeper, as well as his nation’s first choice stopper. Part of his development was served 5 years ago on loan at Bradford City, who faced us just before Christmas 2013. Posh won 2-1 that day to arrest a worrying slide in form, and the deadlock was broken by Kgosi Ntlhe. From 35 yards. Jordan Pickford. 35 yards. Kgosi Ntlhe. England’s number one. 35 yards. Kgosi Ntlhe. God help us.
EDIT: So it turns out Pickford wasn’t in goal that day, but instead has faced us 3 times for Bradford and Carlisle, conceding 7 goals, including one from Kyle Vassell. I’m not sure if that’s a better or worse sign than my original misconception
Jack Butland– Ah, now here’s a ‘keeper that did do well against us. Butland was THE goalkeeping prospect of world football in 2012-13, playing for underperforming Birmingham City. Posh were riding the crest of a wave when Butland came to town with the Bluenoses, having beaten Leicester and Millwall in the weeks before. In a match that we dominated, JB was imperious, making countless stops including a stunning double save from Lee Tomlin. We eventually succumbed to a 2-0 defeat, when 3 points would have dragged Birmingham into trouble and of course, been enough to help us survive that fateful season.
Nick Pope– A local(ish) lad, Pope’s excellent season has delighted plenty, none more so than the residents of his home town of Soham, whose “notable people” section on Wikipedia now contains more than just Ian Huntley. The 3rd choice has played once against us, as Charlton won 4-1 in the Carabao/Capital One/Rumbelows/Milk Cup. He did well, but conceded to Jermaine Anderson, so is probably crap in reality.
Trent Alexander-Arnold– He’s still a foetus isn’t he? Of course we’ve never played against him.
Kieran Trippier– Made a name for himself in the second tier with Burnley, but had a mixed record against little old us, losing once, winning once and drawing twice when The Clarets and Posh were equals. I vividly remember him putting in a few excellent crosses in those matches, although I reckon tougher opponents than Nat Knight-Percival will be marking his teammates in Russia.
Kyle Walker- A Sheffield lad, who began his career at T’Blades. The world’s most expensive right back has played a single game against us: Mark Cooper’s first Posh match in his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reign. Walker was on the winning side that day, although that’s nowt to brag about when you remember how crap Cooper was.
John Stones– Stones, much like Kyle Walker, started his career as a right back in for a Yorkshire Championship outfit. Now he’s living The Champions League high life with Walker at Manchester City. He played twice against us for Barnsley, losing both (even Tyrone ‘kin Barnett scored against the defence he was a part of). The bastard played a part in helping the Tykes to a 1 crucial point edge over Posh in the race for survival that year, not that I’m bitter.
Gary Cahill– Played once against us for Chelsea in the cup 18 months ago. Was alright, but as we carry on the theme of ‘being part of a defence that conceded to a crap Posh player’, Tom Nichols got a consolation that day. Really Gaz? You can do better than that.
Harry Maguire– Maguire strikes me as a likeable player. A Ma-hoo-sive centre back that knows how to play, he’s twice appeared at London Road. The first of which came in 2013, in a 0-0 that was dull beyond words against Sheffield United, and most recently for Lesta Citeh 6 months ago as they horsed us in the cup. That’s a pretty good record against the best team in Cambridgeshire, so he’s bound to do well against the rest of the globe.
Phil Jones– Another member of the ‘one game, one win club’, Jones was a promising centre back nine years ago for Blackburn, who beat us 5-2 in a cup game that saw Joe Lewis sent off. His manager that day was Sam Allardyce, who would have been leading The Three Lions to Russia had he not been caught discussing the ins and outs of sporting corruption over a pint of sauvignon blanc two years ago. I can’t say I’m too sorry for Big Sam, he treated his Premier League side beating 10 men from the worst team in the division below as some kind of achievement. Karma’s a bitch.
Ashley Young– Never played competitively against us. Despite that, whilst an Aston Villa player he scored a quite frankly unbelievable chip against Joe Lewis in a pre-season friendly. The oldest player in the squad is far from the only member of the “I put the ball over Joe Lewis’ head” club, mind.
Danny Rose– Well, we all know Danny Rose. Whilst he did play against us for Tottenham in the cup a few years back, the 27 year old of course played for Posh themselves in a bizarre 2009 loan spell. Billed as an exciting winger, Rose was curiously played as a central midfielder by Darren Ferguson as part of a reshuffle that saw Charlie Lee moved to centre half and Jamie Day to left back… and we wonder why we got relegated that season. Rose’s debut came against Plymouth, in a match I strangely remember as clear as day. Minutes into that encounter, the ball was played to Rose who had his back to goal, and an incredible dummy to beat his marker left London Road in awe. “We’ve got a real player here”, the bloke sat in front of me exclaimed. However, it turned out that was all Rose could do. Literally. Every time he received a pass, he would attempt that same trick, and needless to say, it never worked again. His demeanour struck most as disinterest, and a low point for him came at Doncaster, when he visibly didn’t want to be there. Departed Peterborough soon after Fergie did. If you need a single anecdote to symbolise some of Posh’s odd decisions in recent years, signing England’s future first choice left back and playing him in bloody central midfield is probably it.
Eric Dier– spent his early years Portugal, so the closest he got to Posh would have been when we went out there on one of those preseason training camps where Barry Fry gets his tits out.
Fabian Delph– A decade ago, Delph was hot property for Leeds United. His two matches against Posh were polar opposites; he displayed his class at Elland Road as The Peacocks picked up 3 points, but was outshone by Paul Coutts in the memorable 2-0 victory at home that season. Delph hasn’t lived up to his early potential, but has still had a better career than the majority of professional footballers.
Jordan Henderson– Right, this idea was quite desperate to start with, and we’ve reached yet another player who has never encountered Posh. But I’ve done too many of these profiles to turn back now. He’s a Sunderland fan so I imagine he’ll be looking out for two Posh results next season. See, there’s a connection with all of them, I’m an expert me.
Dele Alli– Right, this lad definitely has played against us. From MK Dons rookie to a genuine super star, Dele’s rise has been astronomical, and he has had two encounters with Posh. Fortunately, he was on the losing end twice. Despite the deficiencies of his teammates on those occasions, his quality was clear for all to see. Which made chairman Darragh MacAnthony’s claim that Posh prodigy Jermaine Anderson could be just as good. As Alli is preparing for a World Cup, Anderson is probably preparing for a trip to the job centre.
Jesse Lingard– Despite having a series of loan spells away from Manchester United, Lingard avoided all meetings with Posh prior to breaking through under Louis van Gaal. He once got substituted for Davide Petrucci in a youth match at Old Trafford, so there’s your tenuous Posh link.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek– Like Cahill, his only encounter with us was that 4-1 Chelsea victory. He played quite well in Posh’s thumping and *SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT* Do you know who else played well that day? New Aberdeen signing Chris Forrester.
Raheem Sterling– “Raheem Sterling shows no shame as it emerges he has NEVER played against Peterborough United. The bloody shit”, writes The Sun.
Marcus Rashford– I refuse to believe someone who left school at the same time as me is playing for England. However, after I’ve realised how futile this article has been, I find it very easy to believe he’s never encountered Posh.
Danny Welbeck– Another one hit wonder against Posh. When Darren Ferguson brought Preston North End to his old stomping ground in 2010, they’d been souped up with the lanky Man United loanee Danny Welbeck. Very highly rated at Old Trafford, ‘Welbz’ was seen as a major coup for PNE. However, he reverted to his natural state, and was absolutely crap, failing to escape the marking of Gaby Zakuani before he limped off with an injury.
Jamie Vardy– Two matches against Posh, one victory, one defeat, zero goals. In spite of this below par record, the rags to riches story of his life is incredible. Yet, his career could have been far different… Back in 2012, Darragh MacAnthony agreed a fee with Fleetwood’s scoring sensation, and despite a successful initial meeting with the Yorkshireman, Leicester City blew Posh out of the water with an eye watering salary. If you value my opinion on anything… Well, don’t. This was my hot take on Vardy’s potential signing six years ago.
Harry Kane– Two games against Peterborough United, two wins. A flurry of loan moves meant clashes with us were inevitable, and they came against Millwall and Leyton Orient. Whilst with the former, Kane impressed against a makeshift Posh defence, scoring a sensational volley past Paul Jones. Nobody expected he would one day be carrying the hopes of a nation back then. Is he going to be the man lifting the trophy on 15th July? Will he win the golden boot? Can he say “red lorry, yellow lorry”? The answer to all of these questions is probably no.
So, there we have it. The 23 players that are looking to steal the nation’s hearts, as told through their clashes with (or even for) Posh. Will they all emulate Danny Rose and Jordan Pickford, or can Jack Butland channel his world class performance against Peterborough United to his international team mates? Feel free to reminisce about any games mentioned here over at the discussion board, featuring a brand new forum to discuss every little thing about The 2018 World Cup.
James Bloodworth (jwb1997)
James can be found on twitter @jamesb17_