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Media's Championing Of British 'Honesty' In Football Is A Complete And Utter Myth

24/01/2017 12:10 GMT | Updated 24/01/2017 12:10 GMT

BBC pundit Alan Shearer made an interesting claim on ​Match of the Day's Saturday edition.

When guest analyst Ruud Gullit was asked about Rooney's regrettably lukewarm legacy on the continent in the wake of his record-breaking weekend, the Premier League's all-time leading goalscorer jumped in with this beauty:

"People talk about the finances in the game nowadays, Wayne Rooney is a guy that would play for 50 quid a week."

Whether blissfully unaware or knowingly provocative, the Beeb choose this clip to post on ​social media, thus inciting a collective 'are you sure about that?' moment from the internet.

Rooney twice attempted to push through a move away from the Red Devils (in 2010 and then again in 2013) only to U-turn faster than Donald Trump's PR team and stay put at Old Trafford, thanks to a somewhat increased wage packets - a reported £300k a week. You will note this is just the 6,000 times more lucrative than Shearer's generous offer.

Rooney is undoubtedly a star of United's glittering history and as worthy as anyone can be really of his augmented earnings. However, willing to play for £50 a week? Not a chance.

In a week famous for #alternativefacts, the gaffe from Shearer was indicative of a wider cultural problem in British football discourse - namely, that British players are seen as fundamentally honest, simplistic lovers of the beautiful game, somehow purer and less prone to the insidious twattery that plagues their foreign counterparts in the wide-ranging less palatable sides of the game such as money, diving and not tracking back.

Just in case you didn't know, British 'honesty' in football is a myth, and it always has been.

Raheem Sterling may have stayed on his feet (rightly or wrongly) before failing to convert against Tottenham on Saturday, but the England forward is still in the top ten of those booked for simulation in the Premier League, since 2008. In case you're wondering, Cardiff-born Gareth Bale takes the number one spot for those penalised for British football's cardinal sin, despite leaving for Real Madrid three and a half years ago.

Dimitri Payet is just the latest to cause a storm by using Player Power™ to force a move from his club, but Blighty's own Ashley Cole, Joleon Lescott, Saido Berahino, Raheem Sterling and even Gareth Bale (lest we forget) have all been the central figure in protracted and toxic transfer sagas.

The difference is whereas Payet's tactics are denounced as those of a troublemaker and an ingrate, Bale ​not turning up for training was simply the actions of a desperate man pursuing his dream.

Regarding the Bale situation back in 2013, the PFA chief Gordon Taylor told zapsportz.com, as quoted by the ​Telegraph: "Players have, invariably, just the one career, it's, usually, a relatively short career, and here a player has such a tempting offer to play for one of the world's greatest-ever clubs.

"Surely nobody could deny him that right, to play for such a club, with all due respects to his present club.

"The game is all about money. Of course, it always was, but much less of it in the past. Now we are talking about incredible numbers, but for the player it is also an opportunity to play at the pinnacle of the game."

In other words, Bale can be forgiven for not going to work because Real Madrid are a very big club. It will be interesting to see if Taylor is forced into commenting on the Premier League's latest wantaway flair player.

Diving, money and all the rest we love to hate were not introduced to these islands by Johnny Foreigner, but rather allowed to cultivate here as a consequence of the often grotesque spectacle we have built around the Premier League.

We really must learn to accept that the Brits have never been above what the Italians have long called 'furbo' on the pitch, and are certainly not above engaging in the less savoury aspects of the game to get what they want off of it.

Indeed neither is a holier-than-thou lack of cunning a credible reason for international abjectness. It is an excuse. An easy scapegoat for wider problems in our national infrastructure.

Would Shearer analyse the weekend's action for £50 a week? For the sheer unbridled love of telling players they 'should've done a bit better there'?

Some weeks, that figure seems too high for his insight.