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Mascherano Move Exposes English Shortcomings

FIFA has cleared the way for Javier Mascherano to be loaned to Liverpool, which means he will have played for three different clubs by the time the Premier League season ends on May 13. The London Times examines what the Argentine's failure at West Ham says about English coaches and the English game.

There's no doubt that both Alan Pardew, West Ham's coach at the beginning of the season, and Alan Curbishley, Pardew's replacement after he was fired, failed to get the best out of the 22-year old Mascherano, who, when he arrived with Carlos Tevez on Sept. 1, was immediately touted as one of the men who could turn West Ham into a serious contender for the EPL title. Yet his failure to generate the chance to prove himself is what really remains a mystery.

Mascherano played seven games for Pardew before being dropped, while he never even got a sniff in with Curbishley. In part, this is vexing because no one ever complained about his work rate, his social life, homesickness, or any of the things that cause coaches to drop good players. If Mascherano turns out to be a success under Rafa Benitez at Liverpool, The Times says, "the shortcomings of certain English traditionalists will have been exposed." The paper adds that that assertion is supported by the fact that the best coaches in the EPL, with the big exception of Sir Alex Ferguson at Man United, aren't British. "This is much more than the average transfer deal." Indeed it is: Rafa wanted him badly enough that Liverpool lobbied FIFA for special dispensation to sign the player on loan -- the FIFA transfer rules prevent a player from playing on three teams in one season. West Ham certainly wasn't desperate to keep him.

Read the whole story at Times Online »

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