Thursday, September 13, 2007

No Beckham, no Lampard, no Rooney: a team.

International weeks have been boring for a long time due to the dearth of quality football played by the England side for so, so long. I sometimes watch other international matches, especially those with Arsenal players, but it's hard to muster too much excitement until the world cup/european championships are actually reached.

So, it's genuinely a pleasure to report that the England Russia match last night was actually enjoyable, something that I haven't been able to say about watching England for what seems like an age.

And why was this so? Less galacticos; more team-spirit. Instead of the England team being the 'Can David Beckenham win 1,000 caps' show, (watched by ten viewers in America), balance and and a degree of coherency was evident in the team.

So in central midfield we had Barry and Gerrard, a pairing that actually compliments and balances each other. Barry is one of the players who's patiently and quietly been plugging away for quite a while now, turning out consistently good performances for Villa. He's also one of the few players in the England set-up with a genuine left-foot. His performance last night was wonderful, one of the best I've seen for a long time. He did all the things a holding midfielder should do: break up the movement of the opposition from midfield to attack, and in turn push England's play from defence to attack. If Lampard replaces him, it'll be a tragedy. The central midfield partnership for England should be Gerrard or Lampard with Barry or Hargreaves. Only then will there be any balance to the midfield.

The need for a holding midfielder has been obvious for some time now; what hasn't been as apparent is the need for balance in the forward line. Rooney and Owen can work together, but it remains to be seen whether they can really bring the best out of each other. Yet what is clear, is that Owen loves Emile Heskey. Yes, Heskey. Owen is an instinctive poacher, and a great finisher, but he needs service of the type Heskey can provide. Should McClaren keep Heskey in the team over Rooney? It's almost incredible that this question is being asked, but it is, and McClaren somehow needs to come up with the answer.

The other area which appears to have improved is the right-wing. Now, SWP is clearly not perfect. His final ball often leaves a lot to be desired, and he still has moments of tactical naivety. But how refreshing is it to see a winger who can actually take on and beat players? For too long, we've been in the thrall of Beckham-mania, especially since his false renaissance in Estonia. Yes, he can pass the ball well and take free-kicks with metronomic accuracy, but SWP is a better overall player than him now, far better in fact, and SWP is first choice for the foreseeable future.

So, England finally play like a team, and it's no coincedence that this has happened when some of the bigger names have been forced out due to injury. Whether McClaren takes this on board or not will remain in question until the next round of qualifiers. I hope he does.

Elsewhere, Eduardo scored, again, and Slavan Bilic thinks he's one of the best strikers in the world. Excellent. We also don't seem to have suffered any injuries, although Lassana Diarra maybe feeling a little shame-faced after France's humbling to Scotland last night.

Right, so international fortnight is finally over. Next stop, The Lane.

16 comments:

SwedishGoon said...

1st Boy!

Anonymous said...

No gooners near the England squad - surely a more important and telling factor in our success!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, that explains it why England were successful. No Arsenal players. Funny...there were no Arsenal players for the defeats against Germany and Croatiat not mentioning the horrific performance against Andorra.

Also, look at the prices for English players-Carrick is 6th choice behind Gerrard, Lampard, Barry, Hargreaves and Phil Neville and worth 18m, while Bent is behind Heskey, Owen, Rooney, Johnson and worth 16. Im perfectly happy with our lack of English players

Anonymous said...

Stick Rooney left-wing and get rid of that horrendously over-rated chav j.cole and we have a team.

Anonymous said...

Far from there being a paucity of good Englisn players we've discovered that actually we can construct 2 very good teams. It's when you try and squeeze all your superstars into the first 11 that problems occur.

1st team: Robinson
Richards Rio Terry(c) Cole W-Phillips Gerrard Barry J.Cole
Heskey Owen

2nd team: James
Nevile Campbell Woodgate Bridge
Lennon Hargreaves Lampard Downing
Crouch Rooney

With the 2 Daves (Beckham and Bentley), Johnson, Bent, Smith, Defoe, Walcott, Nugent, Carrick, Brown, Lescott and Ben Foster competing for a spot in the Euro 2008 squad.
What are the odds that Phil Neville gets chosen ahead of one of these lads?...

Anonymous said...

::::::::::SUPER ENGLAND 2008:::::::
...Schmeichel(declared English)...
...........Iron Terry.............
Richards...................Cheryl
.............Grrrerarrd...........
Rightstuff......Lamps......Coleface
.............Rooney................
...........Owen......Crouch........

:::::::::SHITTY ENGLAND 2008:::::::
.............robinson..............
ifil.....gardner.....king....dawson
lennon..huddle...jenas....routledge
..........defoe.......bent.........

Anonymous said...

Arsenal's England Team:
........... ...........
Hoyte..... .... ......
Walcott.... .... ......
............. ...... .......

Anonymous said...

"Stick Rooney left-wing and get rid of that horrendously over-rated chav j.cole and we have a team."

I love this post..... Are you trying to say Rooney is not chav?...

Anonymous said...

No dickhed.

I was saying Cole is a chav. But his chaviness isn't the reason I'd like him replaced. It's his inability to produce a regular end product. One assist for SWP over two games is not enough. He is not the player we like to think he is or the player he once promised he would become. In fact, I'd have SWP and Bentley ahead of him for the left wing.

If anything, McRooney's a Scally. But also a truly world class footballer. Unlike J.Cole.

Anonymous said...

If Owen only performs at his peak when he's alongside Heskey, surely the question now is which parnership will be most prolific for England: Heskey/Owen or Rooney/Crouch? As good as the HO combo has been in the past 2 days I think Crouch holding it up and knocking it down for Rooney could be even better as Crouchy will score a few as well. I can't see Heskey scoring many, hard-worker though he is.
Just imagine; in 3 competition matches you might get 4 Owen goals, 0 Heskey. In the same 3 you could have Rooney on 3 and Crouch on 3. That's 6 goals versus 4.
Can't see Rooney/Owen beating 6 - 2 short arses doesn't work with England's hoof tactics. So what about Crouch/Owen - could that beat 6 goals? Maybe, but statistically Owen is far more prolific when playing with Heskey...it's something they have to work on.
Just what is England's first-choice strike formation? Heskey-Owen? Rooney-Crouch? Crouch-Owen?Rooney-Heskey-Owen with Rooney dropping deep, or the same with Crouch on for Heskey?
But then with 4-3-3 do you drop WPhillips and move Gerrard out to the right, with Ronseal at the tip of a midfield diamond?
It's a shame England have been shit for so long, otherwise they might have been able to take the fundamentals for granted and work on different tactics and formations.

Anonymous said...

Oi Dickhead, Joe Cole is the vicar's crumpets. Only a fool would want him out of the England side.

Anonymous said...

Is Rio Ferdinand the thickest footballer currently playing for England? Or is it a Neville brother? Or Beckham? Rooney surely?Damn, Joe Cole starting to look quite smart in such exalted company.

Anonymous said...

If your gonna call me a dickheAd, at least try and spell it correctly.

Rooney is well overated, hasn't done anything in an England shirt since 2004 and in reality not a hell of alot for Man Utd either. he is not the saviour the press try make us believe. Good player yes, world class no.

Anonymous said...

How did I know that was coming. "At least spell it correctly blah, blah, blah"

Its called a typo wankstain.

If anyone anywhere thinks Rooney is not world class, and Joe Cole is, there is no hope for you.

And I'm a Gooner who watched the fat lump fall over thin air to stop our unbeaten run. Thus no pro-Wayne bias. Just a football brain.

Unlike you shakepeare.

Anonymous said...

Rooney is World class.
Joe Cole is Continental class.
Phil Neville is Incontinental class.

Goonerboy said...

I've never forgiven Rooney for that dive.