Playground rules mean he’s eight goals more hopeless than Mr Roy

Scott Murray
·6-min read
<span>Photograph: DeFodi Images/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: DeFodi Images/Getty Images


Julian Nagelsmann is perhaps the most precocious managerial talent in the game. Last season, the young RB Leipzig coach took his little club all the way to the semi-finals of Big Cup, an eye-catching run that more than justified his given nickname of Mini Mourinho. However Wednesday night’s events in the very same competition suggest Nagelsmann, 13, still has a little growing up to do. His team were battered five by Manchester United, and that, according to other recent results at Old Trafford, plus playground rules, means he’s eight goals more hopeless than Mr Roy, a man nearly seven times his age, and 11 worse than the actual full-sized, middle-aged Mourinho. You can’t argue with playground rules. No returns.

Before turning up for last night’s fiasco, Nagelsmann, 11, had teased his adoring fans by promising a “special one”. Another allusion to José here? Ah no. In fact, he was, for some unspecified reason, referring to the suit he was intending to wear. “The trouser will not be that special but the rest is kind of special!” he was reported as simpering. “Not as special as the suit against Paris Saint-Germain but it is OK. It is a bit British style!” Nagelsmann would prove as good as his word, rocking up in a busy black-and-white sports jacket, a homage to one of the UK’s greatest cultural icons, Roger Mellie. As the 625-line jacket hummed, strobed and pulsated, Leipzig’s players fell into a trance-like meditative state. Marcus Rashford took full advantage with a 17-minute hat-trick, though the Fiver missed all of it while scrolling through the menus of our 14-inch Saisho in a futile search for the contrast setting.

With his team capitulating in abject style, it’s to the Leipzig coach’s immense credit that he refrained from jumping up and down on the touchline while quoting many of the phrases Roger would employ live on air after a long afternoon in the FTV bar. But that’s not to say his mood was good, and after the game, Nagelsmann, 14, was noticeably less willing to extemporise on matters of fashion. When asked whether his Special Jacket brought with it bad luck, and would he ever wear it again, he snapped: “Don’t talk so much about my clothes. I wear what I like. I’m a football coach, not a model.” An answer that was less Mellie, more Rude Kid. Thank goodness nobody asked him if he wanted to go to the shops.


Hot Big Vase action ahoy! Join Scott Murray and Daniel Harris for (deep breath) AEK Athens 0-2 Leicester, Lille 3-0 Celtic, Antwerp 1-3 Tottenham (all 5.55pm GMT), Rangers 2-2 Lech Poznan and Arsenal 4-1 Dundalk (both 8pm GMT).


“We came back into the dressing room and I said to the lads: ‘Well done. We’ve kept a clean sheet for four minutes. If we keep that up we’ll have at least a point.’ I had a bit of comedy with them” – Rotherham manager Paul Warne was just a chilled out entertainer when his side’s game against Sheffield Wednesday was halted after four minutes by a troublesome drone above the New York Stadium.


Football Weekly Extra? Football Weekly Extra!


“Oh Fiver! You had to go and push your luck and explain what a quarter is three different ways (yesterday’s Fiver). Three! Why do you do it to yourself? I’ll leave it to the clamouring pedantic masses to explain the error of your ways. Just don’t take it too much to heart” – Glenn Leete.

“May I be the first of 1,056 pedants to point out that a quarter, that’s 25% expressed as a ratio is in fact 1:3 or 2:6. For the Fiver’s joke to work, the appropriate fraction would have been a fifth, that’s 20%. Best leave the data journalism to Big Paper eh?” – Adam Mungin.

“I am not sure what I was expecting, though two minus eight (2-8) is a subtraction equation, not a ratio, which equals negative six (-6). I believe you meant 2/8, which can also be stated as 1/4. You’re welcome” – Tony Christopher.

“25% expressed as a ratio is 2-6. 2-8 is 20%. No wonder El Cinquero is not Barça manager. I have odds of 2:1 (50/50 as you would say) on him becoming next manager” – Matthew Robb.

“I was amused to read [yesterday’s Fiver bits and bobs] that Argentina’s state-run news agency is called Telam. Is the country’s fake news agency called Fu… [Snip! – Fiver Bad Word ed]?” – Robert Blanchard.

“Deep down I know that I should share your scornful attitude to the EFL Cup and I have no idea what or who Papa John is. However, as a Pompey fan I have to remind you that the final between Sunderland and Pompey was watched by a bigger crowd than the FA Cup semi finals that followed shortly afterwards. And, ever optimistic Pompey fans have snapped up 55,000 tickets for the final that was postponed from April. Perhaps Salford have shown the right attitude as apparently they only sold 3,000” – Steve Beaton.

“With Project Power Grab cancelled, is it fair to assume that Papa John’s sponsorship will let lower league clubs secure themselves a bigger pizza the action? If not, how else are some players meant to earn a crust?” – Simon Mazier.

Send your letters to And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … Robert Blanchard.


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Sheffield United midfielder and one-time Fantasy Premier League king John Lundstram has refused to sign a new contract and seems set to exit Bramall Lane via gangway Do One. “I am very frustrated about it,” sighed Chris Wilder.

Blades contract rebel John Lundstram is set to rack up the Fantasy League points elsewhere
Blades contract rebel John Lundstram is set to rack up the Fantasy League points elsewhere. Photograph: Oli Scarff/PA

And Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font is keen on bringing Pep Guardiola back to the Camp Nou. “Most of the best professionals who know about this style are also fans and love the club, like Pep Guardiola, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, Carles Puyol,” he cheered. “They are all legends that love Barcelona but do not work for Barça today – we need to bring them back to ensure we will have a very competitive project.”


Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday Di-e-go! Happy birthday to you!

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Marcus Rashford’s stunning cameo shows Solskjær is using his deep squad wisely, reckons Paul Wilson.

Josep Maria Bartomeu had nothing to lose so he decided to go out blazing, writes Sid Lowe.

George Best on ice and numerous Manchester United v Arsenal rumbles? It must be Classic YouTube.

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