Stop Hating on the International Break

I’m learning to love the International Break.

Usually, as I write this, Britain would be in Premier League fever. My now derelict train would be full of top flight and Championship fans travelling to an exciting away day. I might even make some discussion with them about how Sheffield United are doing so well this season, or how my experience as a Villa fan is putting me in brighter spirits.

Instead, starved of league football with our domestic sides we just don’t seem to have a lot to talk about. Most conversations about International football seem to be:

‘Did you see the England game?’

‘Not really mate, who even cares, we already know how it will go’

‘Yeah we’ll probably nick it in the last minute’

And that’s usually what happens. We see England give us the typical performance they’re now associated with – whilst doing a perfectly professional job which has seen them quite comfortably qualify with the World Cup. Gareth Southgate has done a perfectly fine job in the grand scheme of things really.


Harry Kane scored England’s late winner against Slovenia [Adrian Dennis, AFP]

However, it’s not England I really care about in this round of qualifiers. I’m not going to analyse anything here but there’s just so many cool stories to have caught up with because it really isn’t just about our National side.

In fact, the big game over the next few days will be Wales vs Republic of Ireland. Two teams who we’d all like to see in the finals! Unfortunately, one of them has to go – and it will be somewhat of a derby. It’s certainly going to get heated, and it remains to be seen what Wales’ youngsters can do against a solid Martin O’Neil side.


Looking at Asia, we saw Syria pull off an unbelievable 1-1 draw against Australia and all eyes will be on whether they can pull of an incredible upset and finish the job in the 2nd Leg on Tuesday night. The story of a war-torn country coming this close to World Cup qualification is a beautiful one and I’m excited to see if they can do it.

Image result for syria vs australia

Syria celebrating after Firas Mohamed Alkhatib scores important goal against the Socceroos [TIE]

Staying in that continent, the Fifa U17s World Cup kicked off in no other than INDIA! What an incredible scene it is to see football played in such a huge country, passionate about sports and full of fans of the Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga. It will remain to be seen whether their boys can start a revolution where football overtakes cricket as the biggest sport in the country.

India U17s lining up before their 3-0 defeat to USA [SportsKeeda]

Over in North America, the USA are dangerously close to having their wheels fall off – behind the Mexico and Costa Rica in their group they may be forced to take the alternative route through playoffs. It’s the story of a nation becoming increasingly passionate about soccer whilst politics surrounds so many of their national competitions. Let’s not forget the USA women are some of the best in the world – and the so the standard is set high for the men’s team who have been relying on young Christian Pulisic. A striker who has of course been tearing the Bundesliga apart for Borussia Dortmund.

Christian Pulisic celebrates after scoring the opener for the U.S. against Panama.

Christian Pulisic scores the opening goal, setting up a 4-0 victory over Panama [ESPN]

In South America, all eyes are on Argentina who are threatened by a strong Peruvian side who look to make their first World Cup since 1982. Talk continues to echo about what it would mean if we see a World Cup without Lionel Messi. Are Argentina in crisis? It remains to be seen. But a win against Ecuador should be enough for them. Elsewhere in the group, Brazil are dominating with 38 points, and Chile will hope Alexis Sanchez will help them gain a huge victory against the last hosts.

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Lionel Messi was Player of The Tournament at World Cup 2014 [The Independent]

All things aside. International football is exciting again. We just need to stop focusing on England so much. They’re doing the job they were expected to do. We can worry about them when the World Cup comes along.

I know I’ve glossed over a lot of amazing individual campaigns but all these stories I mentioned just come as an example of how beautiful a game football really is.

Football, Uncategorized

Interview with Matt Lynch (Presenter of The Villa View)

As you may know, I present a weekly sports show on BritishMuslimTV, where I invite different bloggers, journalists and the like on to talk about their specialist subject and run down the weekend action.


(Matt Lynch, Ayyaz Malik (Journalist), Me) on set

This weekend I was re-united with a long time friend and contact from Twitter who has been on an incredible journey since I first met him.

Matt Lynch (@MattLyynch) is what I’d call an Aston Villa Super-Fan who at the age of 20 has won numerous awards as a blogger  but is better known as a familiar face amongst the Claret and Blue community for his role as a presenter and producer on ‘The Villa View‘ YouTube channel which surpassed 1,000,000 views this weekend.

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The Thoughts of Daniel: ‘Candidate must be White/Caucasian’

I saw something disgusting on a casting website this morning. Now it’s normal for acting roles to request a certain skin tone for a character which in some situations is fair enough – but when you’re playing yourself, as a presenter it shouldn’t matter right?

I’m already very passionate about how the media industry can be very white centric but I’d really like to know why it would be such an advantage in a minor vlogging role. Why can’t I or another brown person be a good ‘tour guide’? Will we scare away the tourists? 

It’s attitudes like this the make diversity schemes necessary and I saw this as a little reminder that racism is still very much alive in the structure of certain institutions. 

Not saying this should be an excuse for anyone that doesn’t make it in the industry but I can say with real confidence that it’s a lot harder for certain demographics. Let this be a reminder that even if listings may not specify it – it’s in the back of the minds of some recruiters that a white face is more profitable. 


The Thoughts of Daniel: Stop thinking, start doing… Or something along those lines. 

I’m going to try and write something every day. I’m going to be honest here, I have little strategy as to how I’m going to go about doing this but it will likely include something along the lines of a bit of sport, a bit of personal motivation and immediate thoughts and reactions to thing I encounter in my life.

I’m writing this on my phone right now as we speak so bear with me if this doesn’t come across incredibly journalistic. I have a 50 minute journey to work from my little area in inner city Birmingham to Solihull and I had a lot to think about in terms chasing your dreams this morning. Gonna try not to sound like a student athlete 😤💯💯💯👊. 

Like everybody I have a lot of personal goals. I might not articulate every single one well over here but let’s just say I’m struggling to find a chance to rest because it’s hard to maneuver in this world without spending your time wisely.

Last night I attended a televised discussion with the BBC on the topic of ‘Generation Z’ (available on the IPlayer)  which featured the contribution of various young people who were either successful or aspirational and it reiterated the importance of going the extra mile. A lot of the YouTubers, bloggers and athletes go to where they are because they weren’t afraid to upset convention; but as well as that they weren’t afraid of chasing their goal.

Okay so this may seem long-winded but I just want to put out the advice that if you have something you enjoy doing – just do it.

Before getting to present SportsTalk on BritishMuslimTV on a weekly basis, I worked voluntarily for a community radio station for 4 years, doing a 2-hour weekly sports show, and without making this sound like a CV, it got way bigger than I could have imagined thanks to some incredible people who supported it along the way and the necessity of grafting.  

There’s a lot that goes into curating something in the creative industry. As a producer it means keeping on top of everything that’s relevant in your field. As a presenter it means continously portraying a positive and happy image of yourself. As a personality it means pushing various social media channels which can be incredibly time consuming in the beginning.

Sure, this may seem like it’s very little but it means initially doing a lot of unpaid work, and hoping someone will take a chance you to begin with. It also means when you get to adult life you have various other responsibilities and may not be able to survive without working a full time job. Yet having these big dreams and keeping your interests alive is integral to as a way of channelling that creative hunger all our minds have.

What would our lives be if we only gave time to work and didn’t spent a little time doing the things we love? It might mean running yourself down to the point where you have no energy and that may mean taking a break, but at least have the intention to do something.

Society is set in a messed up way which tells your you have to go to school and get good grades by memorising information and dumping it on a piece of paper. Then when you’re out of school it tells you have to get a 9 to 5 job – and when you get home you need to watch TV, eat, sleep and repeat. If you need to spend some time doing something else, do it. Time can always be made.

So my advice is to chase it. You may not get the internships or the chances you want initially but that doesn’t mean you need to stop doing what makes you happy and what you’re passionate about. Use social media to the best of your abilities and make some time to work on personal projects.

Write a blog.

Start a vlog.

Create a a documentary on something you’re passionate about!

If it doesn’t work out how you want it to, at least you can be happy that you challenged yourself and you enjoyed yourself doing it. It’s an incredible personal skill to set out your own project and to persevere with it. It’s also a great way to channel your emotions.

This may have turned out longer than I wanted it to, but I really don’t want to edit this write now. I hope you enjoyed my first blog post in a while. I wrote it in 30 minutes on my smartphone so take what you want for it.

Let me know what you think 🙂 

Football, Uncategorized

5 Potential England Managers


Slovakia v England: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Last night, Sam Allardyce has left his England post but no one really got used to him being England manager anyway – after all, he’s only had one game in charge in his 67 day tenure. It has however left the FA with a dilemma, having been unprepared for his departure. Who will be prepared enough to take a role so associated with failure and attempt to keep a whole country happy? I’ve made a list of a few potential suitors who England could go to. Continue reading


Why are people praising England’s performance against Russia?


After a supposedly ‘dominant’ performance from England last night, they failed to defeat a lacklustre Russian side that were there for the taking in the first half. I expected the dominant response following the last-minute equaliser by Vasili Berezutski would be one of criticism towards England for what should have been a simple victory, however all that seems to have come out of it is the response that England were ‘unlucky’.

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