Ray Wilkins launches bizarre criticism of Liverpool after Arsenal rout
"A poor man's Coutinho, without being disrespectful to him."
The words "Ray Wilkins" and "bizarre criticism" are no strangers to each other. You might remember when Wilkins condemned Manchester United for signing Victor Lindelof, a Swedish central defender, rather than making a move for England international Michael Keane.
Wilkins said Lindelof has "done nothing, absolutely nothing" in the game and decried Premier League clubs' willingness to sign European players instead of buying British. Ray is a Proper Football Man, and he can't just keep his mouth shut while them foreign types come here and rob British footballers of their rightful place in a team.
He's also not that impressed with Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp's side have seven points from three league games and have won four games in a row. They also put four goals past Arsenal on Sunday. But Wilkins reckons they aren't as good as they were last season - when they earned four points from the opening three games.
The former Chelsea assistant manager claims that the absence of Philippe Coutinho makes Liverpool a lesser team. The Brazilian handed in a transfer request and agitated for a transfer to Barcelona, who had three bids for the player rejected. It appears Coutinho will remain at Anfield, and Liverpool fans are happy to see him stay. Yet, the team have not particularly missed him, despite his obvious talent, but just try to tell Ray that.
"I think Liverpool are less than they were last year, purely and simply because Coutinho isn't playing," Wilkins told Talk Sport, before taking aim at Mo Salah, who has scored three goals in his first five games for Liverpool. Ray is a fan of Sadio Mane though.
"Salah is a very good player, but he's a poor man’s Coutinho, without being disrespectful to him. Coutinho is on a different level. Mane is the man. A lot of money has been spoken about, that Barcelona are going to pay whatever for Coutinho, but Mane is the guy. He's the one who rips teams to pieces."
Wilkins treated listeners to another bizarre claim on Monday morning when speaking about Manchester City's pursuit of Jonny Evans. City have had two bids for the West Brom defender rejected, the latest worth £21m, as the Baggies are seeking £30m for their captain.
— John Percy (@JPercyTelegraph) August 28, 2017
You would imagine that Wilkins is delighted to see a homegrown player join a team competing for the Premier League title. But no, Ray wants him to stay put.
"I really hope Jonny Evans does not move," Wilkins said.
"At Man City, he could play. At West Brom, he will play. If I am on £80,000-a-week and they (City) say, 'I will double your money', I probably wouldn't go. What more money do I need if I have been on that since I was 20? Jonny Evans wants to play football. You can't stop him but, if I was Jonny, I would say, 'I have got the house, this and that sorted, what do I want to do for the next six years of my life - sit there getting splinters on my backside or playing football?'"
So, Evans should remain at West Brom, where he will be paid less and will win less, because you think he won't be able to start ahead of Nicolas Otamendi?
If Evans doesn't back himself to play in City's three-man defence, which also features Vincent Kompany, who has had fitness issues over the last few seasons, he may as well retire. Great advice, Ray. If City were attempting to sign a "foreign defender", Wilkins would probably ask why are they not looking to buy Jonny Evans.