"So wise so young, they say, do never live long."
Plantagenet line-leader Richard the Third of England has confirmed his availability for England duty as the national side prepare to face Brazil at Wembley. Third, last seen disappearing beneath a crowd of defenders at the notoriously feisty Bosworth Field on a wet and windy Tuesday night in 1485, declared himself ‘fit and raring to go’ having been confirmed as the skeleton dug up from a social services car park in Leicester in September.
A statement read: “I feel great. Since being given that chance to train with Arsenal I really feel that age is no barrier and that I can still do a job for my country”, although it’s unclear if this was from the 560-year-old former monarch or the 512-year old David Beckham.
Refuting claims that being smashed over the head with several blunt instruments 500 years ago constituted a career-ending injury, Third likened the experience to that which presumably befell Wayne Rooney as a child. The last Plantagenet king, bent by scoliosis of the spine, and twisted further to fit into a hastily dug hole in Grey Friars church, which was slightly too small to hold his body, scoffed at the notion that he was past his best, pointing to the fact that another blunt instrument, Emile Heskey, was still being selected as recently as 2010.
“I might have no muscles, cartilage or a brain, but I’m still quicker than that clown”, he told reporters from inside a bucket of soil.
Many will also be hoping that this marks an upturn in Third’s relationship with the media and the country as a whole, as his controversial demise throughout the mid-15th century was a fractious time. Indeed, his career-threatening death was recorded by Tudor historian Polydore Vergil, who noted his initial brutal end arrived while "fighting in the thickest of the press”, reference no doubt to a long-running feud with Martin Samuel who mystifyingly suggested the leader of the House of York might want to ‘just come out for the good of the game’, following his well-documented affection for roses.
"What a morning. What a story," said Philippa Langley, of the Richard III Society. “Richard is well-known for being extremely at home in the box and for the ice in his veins when required to bury chances, as well as upstart, illegitimate siblings and, of course, himself”.
“However, it is common knowledge that Richard’s paranoia has, in the past, got him embroiled in some pretty lively spats with some of the squad members plying their trade in the north-west.”
Langley was of course referring to the infamous aforementioned Battle of Bosworth Field, where Third came in for some typical rough-house treatment, finally succumbing to a vile challenge which shattered his skull and punctured his brain, leaving his career, and life, in tatters.
England manager Roy Hodgson was, however, quick to quash any murmurings about discontent in the English ranks, declaring that any decision to include Richard the Third in future squads would be for “footballing reasons”.
“Every member of this camp knows there is no divine right involved in playing for England, whether as starter or squad member. We saw enough of this kind of attitude from John Terry and I’m damned if I’m going to let it happen again”.