You hear it a lot these days – ‘There are not enough real characters in the game.’

Where is the modern day Gazza? Or Beefy Botham? Even a John McEnroe? And don’t the latest batch of golfers all look, dress and play much the same? There is no sign of a John Daly successor.

So when did professional sport become so serious that any idea that it can be fun disappeared or moved a long way down the list of priorities?

Maybe it happened the day that players started counting their expensive cars rather than their winners’ trophies.

Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios clearly has his sights on becoming something of a character – the pantomime villain

He might think the idea of smashing a ball at more than 100mph straight at an opponent (and seeing no reason to apologise) makes him a character. Maybe serving underarm, or smashing a few rackets along the way will make him a worthy successor to McEnroe.

Boorish behaviour is more likely to make him the curse of the courts or, as one reporter labelled him after his run-in with Rafa Nadal, ‘an irrelevance.’ He is ranked 43 in the world – another reason he will never be the new McEnroe.

Then there is football’s answer to Mr. Marmite.

Paul Pogba, with a little help from his friend and agent Mino Raiola, has decided that it takes more than a different hair colour for every day of the week to make a lovable character at Old Trafford.

So he kindly agreed to change his plans and join the Manchester United party on their flight to Australia at the weekend, but not before making it known to anybody who would listen that he does not intend on hanging around Old Trafford for longer than is necessary.

Real Madrid and Juventus are reported to be interested in the 26-year-old Frenchman and willing to pay £100 million plus change to sign the World Cup winner (we are regularly reminded of that).

What’s the hold-up, Mr Solskjaer? With £100 million to spend there must be somebody out there he can buy who wants to be there.

*Flicking through the channels to keep up with what is going on in the sporting world can be a painful way of spending a Sunday afternoon. And if you add in listening to a certain radio channel it can get even worse.

When all the things you want to happen just don’t, you know it is time to switch off or watch an old film.

There was, as usual, plenty of choice. For golf fans, there was the Irish Open at Lahinch and Robert Rock, a personal favourite for NOT wearing a cap, was heading for a first victory in years. But even a third round 60 was not enough, so when he fell out of the lead it was time to switch over to women’s cricket.

England, chasing 270 to beat Australia, were 5-3. Back to the golf before returning to Canterbury and England were 26-6.

Robert Rock fading, England disappearing, switch on the radio – Raiders 20-10 in front. Joy at last.

But it couldn’t last and Dewsbury 34 Raiders 20 was the next report from the front.

England 75 all out, Raiders beaten 40-26 and Jon Rahm wins the Irish Open with Robert Rock three shots adrift.

Ah, well, there’s always the World Cup Final to come and the Netherlands to topple the USA. Not a bit of it. A combination of VAR and superior skills confirmed the Americans as World Champions for the fourth time.

And there was not even the consolation of an England bronze medal from Saturday’s ‘nonsense game’ against Sweden.

*It’s been a busy month for women’s sport – and there is still the Netball World Cup to come – but only time will tell whether bumper TV viewing figures for the football or Sky’s coverage of the Women’s Ashes will bring any lasting benefits.

England manager Phil Neville said reaching the semi-finals in France as not worthy of an open top bus parade (he is right about that) and whether the cricketers losing the one-day section of their games with Australia and being bowled out for 75 will encourage more players to take up the sports is still open to question.

The ladies rugby league team of Wakefield Trinity have some staying power. They were beaten 100-0 by neighbours Castleford in the semi-final of the Challenge Cup but they’ll be back again next week.

Perhaps the performances of 15-year-old Coco Gauff will encourage the new rush of young players to sustain their interest in tennis for a bit longer than the Wimbledon fortnight.