England are now Manchester United. Chill out everyone. Southgate’s at the wheel. He doesn’t know where he is going or how he will get there but neither does anyone else. What’s new for the national team?
England’s traditional inability to recycle the ball forwards for more than a couple of hopeful flung passes coated this wasteful performance. England’s passing vision was literal. Just get it to the next man, pass the buck and it’s their problem now. Point and shout like you and only you know the master plan and your job’s done. With Keane in the team you might just go unnoticed.
The team’s attacking plan was to try to play a single killer pass to our speedsters. Southgate’s tactic can only really work if you have a midfield that includes a Pirlo, Silva (take your pick) or KDB. We all know Henderson isn’t that player. We are learning Rice isn’t that player. It may take a year or so to know Mount isn’t that player. And no F365 swapping Winks for Henderson should not get us dreaming! The contrast to the Czech team’s quick, short imaginative pass and move was stark.
Amazingly we did get the ball clean through to the best front 3 in the world on several occasions. Mostly unrehearsed blind lumping is a thing. We even won and converted a ‘there was contact’ penalty after Sterling bumbled, stumbled and wasn’t rumbled. Unfortunately the Czech defence learned on the job and refused contact with Kane, Sterling and whoever else in the box thereafter. England’s most potent attacking threat of kane-iving penalties was marked out of the game. The Zeitgeist Czechs had Coleened us out.
The veneer of international footballing quality was exposed yet again. We can blame the players. We can blame the coaching and tactics. Can we still blame mid-season breaks? The truth is England like Man Utd now are a mid-table team chasing the shadows of past glory. Both are stuck in a pergutorial conversation/rant of What-iffery and If-onlyry. At least judging by the crowd the FA are shifting plenty of replica shirts and who doesn’t like Engernoodles?
Rating, sorry, salting, the players
I’ve just picked up my kindle to email in and before I started typing, England have gone 2-1 down! However,I don’t think it will change my opinions!
That was something that sounds like ducking drawer full, where we’re the “technically gifted youth”, where we’re the tactics of an innovative, forward thinking coach, ffs, where was the “we might not be very good but at least we have spirit” of old.
The only thing any England player looked any good at was pointing.
Pickford , had little to do and did little, awful distribution 6/10
Trippier, was ok, did he put in a cross? 6/10
Maguire, 10/10 for pointing, 3/10 for passing, £80 mil !!!!!
Keane, looked like a centre back who plays for a team in the bottom three. 2/10
Rose, never has a rose smelt this bad, no idea, fish out of water 2/10
Sancho, must have been a lookalike, no control, no ability to go past an opponent, never a threat, 1/10
Rice, invisible, ineffective, 4/10
Henderson, as I’m a Liverpool fan, I’m a big fan (he’s lifted the Champions league trophy), but awful, poor passing, poor pressing, ran a lot, 5/10.
Sterling, f””k me, I’ll say it again, that Man City must be some team, to be fair, had a couple of good runs but the moment that summed him up was we he continued to play after the whistle, it was 3 against one and not only did he not play in one of two unmarked teammates, he didn’t even get a shot off. 6/10
Mount, showed just why you shouldn’t start for England 5 games into your career, picked by the press, 4/10
Kane, the only player to come out with any credit, was our best forward, our best midfielder and not our worst defender. However, missed a couple of good chances so 7/10
Southgate, the commentator said that 9 years ago he was just being sacked by Boro when in the championship, nuff said. 4/10
A disgraceful, embarrassing performance, too many players picked because of who they play for not how they can play.
Just don’t know how to express just how bad this was or how unsurprising.
Half term grades
So… given it is international week why not still how a selection of the class of 19/20 is doing….
A* – Liverpool. They haven’t looked great in every game, and have been lucky to get 3 points in a few games now but in truth, they are really beginning to remind of Chelsea circa 2005 – somehow finding a way to win. They now have the *aura* about them. If this is not their year I’m not sure it will ever be.
B+ – Palace. Given the sheer pessimism surrounding them at the start of the season (and from a site not a million miles away), it has been a great start. Cahill has bolstered their defence, and Zaha has yet to even start firing on all cylinders. Great work Uncle Roy
B – Chelsea. Where to start. The 4-0 defeat to Utd had me worried to begin with, but my god, Lampard Has had his faith in the youngsters rewarded. Tammy especially has looked the real deal. The defence still needs some work, and having to score 3 every game just to ensure we win isn’t sustainable but I’ll take this for now. The joy is back at the bridge for the first time for a while.
B- – Arsenal, Leicester, Burnely. All of the Arsenal fans I know seem dejected and depressed and yet they sit 3rd in the table. Maybe Emery doesn’t have a plan but points on the board this season more than most will count for a lot. Ditto Leicester – not quite as good as people want them to be, but sitting 4th after away trips to Liverpool, Chelsea, and Utd – thank you very much. And Burnley back to being Burnley. Keep up the good work.
E – Spurs, Everton. Oh Spurs. Every time you get close you have to shoot yourself in the foot. Toxic atmosphere, toxic rumours (you know the ones), and hopeless performances. Reminds me of Jose last year at Chelsea. Poch out by Christmas. Everton, well where do you even start. Compare their team to West Ham and Leicester and then look at the money spent over the past 4-5 years. How, just how? Lucky to finish in top half
F. Man Utd. How strange that opening day seems now… and how the mood has changed. Slow turgid play, slower players (I’m looking at you Matic – how we got £40M is a true wonder), a manager with a haunted look in his eyes. It’s going to be a long long season for them. And who would want to go there at the moment with Ole in charge? If I was Maddison / Sancho, I’d say no thank you very much. A rot that will take years to heal (here’s hoping). Must try harder. Much, much harder.