The Debate review of 2018: Jose Mourinho, England, Manchester City
Last Updated: 29/12/18 10:14am
Craig Bellamy and Tim Sherwood looked back on some of the biggest moments of 2018 on The Debate end-of-the-year special.
The former Premier League players reflected on England reaching the World Cup semi-finals, Manchester City's record-breaking title win and the departures of Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho.
Here's what they had to say...
'England are here to stay'
Tim Sherwood: "Gareth Southgate has done an outstanding job. He's not won anything yet but he's on the way to doing it and he has given the country some real optimism going forward. I think the young players have got experience and we have got some world-class players in the team.
"There's a real buzz around the England team and I really think they have an opportunity to go places. It's been a fantastic year for England and they have spirit now, it's like a club team.
"I think they can win the Euros. The key for me is that the older players have to be on top of their game because there are so many youngsters coming through. If you are a senior player you are not guaranteed to be in the squad, it's about performing all the time."
Craig Bellamy: "There is still a long way to go. I would still like to be convinced a bit more about the identity and philosophy, and when the tournaments arrive and you are really under pressure can you stick to your game plan and philosophy?
"But I think England are in a really good position for upcoming tournaments. For the first time I look at the set-up and the young players coming through and think they are not far away from winning a major tournament - I have never really felt that, not even with the 'Golden Generation'. I always thought they would be outplayed and out-passed in the big games, but this generation of players will be here for a long time."
'Jose's skills have waned'
Sherwood: "Mourinho is such a big personality and I am sure he realises that the game has moved on and so have players.
"His most successful period was at Chelsea with Didier Drogba, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech, where there was a cartel and they policed the dressing room for him. He never had that at Manchester United, but that's down to him.
"The manager has to get the best out of the players at his disposal and if he continues to burn bridges with players then it's only going to go one way. You have to recognise who are the strong characters in the dressing room and get them on your side and tell them the message you want them to tell the rest of the dressing room. His man-management skills have waned somewhat. He knows what is happening but I am not sure he has the patience to deal with it anymore.
"I don't see him coming back to the Premier League. He's been box office but I don't see him coming back."
Bellamy: " I didn't see him as a fit at Manchester United from the start, the way he plays his football, it isn't what Manchester United do. He wanted to do it his own way and that's not what the club is used to. They got him to win, they were that desperate to win the league that they thought they had to go with him. I didn't think it was going to work out and watching him closely I don't think he's been the same even since his time at Real Madrid.
There's a big fuss about Pogba but I'm not sure he is as good as people say. He has a lot of talent but watching games closely you see he's not on the same planet as Kevin De Bruyne
"The way he fell out with players at Madrid has carried on and his football as well - the worst thing for him was having Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
"Was Paul Pogba playing as well as everybody thinks he should be playing? No he wasn't, but I side with Mourinho a bit on this. There's a big fuss about Pogba but I'm not sure he is as good as people say. He has a lot of talent but watching games closely you see he's not on the same planet as Kevin De Bruyne in terms of his movement, understanding his position and pulling into certain areas and playing for the team."
'City something we've never seen before'
Sherwood: "Everyone wants to watch Manchester City play because they want to score goals. Taking nothing away from the Arsenal 'Invincibles' side but they went out not to get beaten in some games - Man City never do that, they go out to win every match. That is the philosophy of the manager.
"The competition wasn't there last year and it's completely different this year as everyone else has got a bit better, but last year was an unbelievable achievement. This team entertained.
"That Arsenal 'Invincibles' team were tough to beat, and that's an art too, but if you want to watch entertaining football and see goals you would have to say City are right up there with the most entertaining Premier League team."
Bellamy: "It wasn't just how far they finished ahead, it was the manner and the way they played. The first year Pep Guardiola got a bit of stick but he was able to improve the areas he needed to and strengthen the team.
"They were that good to watch that even if you were playing against them you couldn't help but admire. They are something we have never seen before in the Premier League.
"The Champions League will keep Guardiola going. I believe he will want to be the first Manchester City manager to win it."
'Wenger opened the door'
Sherwood: "He's without doubt the best manager in Arsenal's history and he went through some tough periods with them. I do feel he stayed a bit too long but for me he will be remembered for opening the door for foreign managers to come to the Premier League. There were hardly any foreign managers before Wenger, and he was so successful that more followed.
"He will be remembered as a fantastic Premier League manager and a great finder of talent down the years. I think we will see him again but I don't think it will be in the Premier League."