In Brief

Premier League All-Star game: reaction to Romelu Lukaku’s idea

Manchester United striker wants to see a North vs. South NBA-style clash for England’s top flight

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku this week suggested that the Premier League should hold an All-Star game similar to the one played by basketball stars in the NBA. 

Writing on Twitter, the Belgian star asked why doesn’t the Premier League arrange a North vs. South match with players being chosen via a fans’ vote. He tweeted: “Here’s an idea for you guys... the NBA has all-star game! Don’t you guys think we should organise one in the @premierleague.. The north vs the south! And the fans vote... what do you guys think?” 

Lukaku’s idea has certainly got the conversation started among fans. As of 3pm today, Lukaku’s tweet had thousands of replies - some agreeing, and some not - and more than 26,000 retweets and 67,000 likes.

The UK’s football writers have also taken the story forward with many putting together their best North and South teams and debating which players would be involved in a potential Premier League All-Star game.

The Daily Star, using statistics from the Who Scored website, have put together a North XI featuring players such as Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva, who are alongside Liverpool stars Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. While in the South XI, Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil make the cut. 

The Daily Mirror says that Lukaku’s idea was a “genius suggestion” and the paper’s football writers have selected their XIs to play in “annual” encounter. Choosing the geography, the Mirror Football writers picked players from the North and South divide: 

  • North teams: Burnley, Everton, Huddersfield, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Newcastle, Stoke, West Brom
  • South teams: Arsenal, Bournemouth, Brighton, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Swansea, Tottenham, Watford, West Ham

There were some interesting suggestions with Darren Lewis’ North team including Liverpool’s Sadio Mane instead of City’s David Silva in a 4-2-3-1 formation. While Andy Dunn’s South XI features eight Spurs players and Mauricio Pochettino as the manager.

Over at the Daily Mail, the paper’s sportswriters had to decide if Lukaku should be selected in their North team. Although he gets an “honourable mention”, Lukaku does not even make the bench.   

Selected by Sportsmail’s Mike Keegan, the North team includes Aguero and Salah up top with Firmino and Raheem Sterling on the bench. Keegan said: “I was tempted to raise interest levels across our wonderful land by including, say, a token Stoke, Newcastle, West Brom or Huddersfield [Aaron Mooy] player, but this is the north v the south and it is win at all costs. Winning is what this lot will do.”

The Mail’s South XI, selected by Oliver Todd, has a 4-2-3-1 formation with Kane leading the line. Todd writes: “This is a London-led side, but then that’s inevitable given that five of the available clubs - and the three best ones - are from the capital. Harry Kane and Eden Hazard are the most obvious inclusions - players who would be the outstanding member of any Premier League side.”

The Times also picked its North and South teams, but there’s one caveat: only three players are allowed from each club. 

For the North XI, James Gheerbrant says there are three “non-negotiables” - David De Gea in goal, Kevin De Bruyne in midfield, and Mohamed Salah in attack.

Automatically including Harry Kane and Tottenham team-mate Mousa Dembele in the South XI means there’s only one spot left for another Spurs star. Gheerbrant writes: “Although Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min deserve consideration, the depth of quality across the league is shallower in central defence, so the outstanding Toby Alderweireld gets the nod.”

While the the UK’s football writers pour over the stats in putting together their North and South sides, what do the fans think about Lukaku’s Premier League All-Star game idea?

We pick out some of the best replies from Twitter.

What about the All-Star game instead of the Charity Shield?

Craig Burley slams one fan’s idea...

Maybe the Premier League vs. La Liga…

Why not add some skills challenges?

ESPN pick their teams.

Perhaps there could be a PFA Team of the Year Cup?

Man City’s Benjamin Mendy was in agreement with Lukaku.

“What’s the point?”

Bleacher Report test the North vs. South concept on Fifa.

“Complete rubbish, we have enough football”.

Make a weekend of it...

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