Theo Walcott has said that the MLS is close to Premier League standard as he tries to lead the Arsenal charm offensive in America by saying things we all think isn’t true.
My first instinct, of course, was to mock this suggestion until I remembered that I would be passing judgement on a league I don’t even watch.
Every single one of my impressions of the MLS has been formed by the narrative that has been peddled since its inception – that it’s a graveyard for players at the end of their careers and therefore not really worth any consideration when talking about ‘serious’ leagues.
I’m sure I’m not the only one.
So I’m not going to do that.
Anyway, Walcott told ESPN, “I’m sure American soccer, as you guys call it, is actually gaining very close to Premier League standard, definitely.
“There’s a lot of players that have come from England to America. The game’s growing, it’s getting bigger and that’s exactly what we want.
“When I was a kid we always used to hear about the All-Stars, obviously with basketball, and to actually be involved in an All-Star match against America’s best is great to be part of, to be honest.
“Hopefully there will be more and more of this, and hopefully we can show what the Premier League’s about.”
Arsenal kick-off their US tour against the All Stars team in the early hours of Friday morning. Ahead of the game they’ve been training in San Jose and Arsene Wenger caused an internet meltdown as he played Francis Coquelin at centrehalf.
Headlines claiming he was ‘retraining’ the midfielder to cope with Arsenal’s centre back issue were quick in coming even though it was clearly just a necessity for training due to the numbers of players Wenger has at his disposal.
If it’s not, you should also expect David Ospina to play as an outfield player next season too as that’s where he trained.