Sorry Mr Barton But I’ve Been Proved Right
Well here we are, England, Wales and Northern Ireland are through to the next phase of the tournament, how many of us thought that would happen when the draw was made? Not many!
England, by far, are the side that many feel have missed the golden chance to get into the better, easier half of the table and as always with England, controversy about something always follows the 3 Lions.
This time it’s team selection, and I have to be honest, I’m going to take an unpopular opinion and back Roy 100% on this one.
Many think that 6 changes were too many, I disagree. There was nothing wrong with England in regards of dominating the game, chances, possession or intensity, not at all. In fact if we are being truthful about what we watched, if the ball ended up in the onion sack as much as it could have done on another day, we win the game 4-0 and we all start getting very excited about how deep and good our squad is.
Give Players A Chance
Lets look at facts people. Kane, Alli, Rooney were knackered and running on empty, 2 goalscorers scored goals in game 2 so all of us wanted them in. Indeed only Raheem Sterling was the player we all felt didn’t deserve his place in the side so let’s try not to be clever after the event and suggest that with no changes we would have rolled over Slovakia. Evidence I saw against Wales was we needed freshness, give players a chance and to use the squad. We did, but we didn’t get that crucial goal.
Only 2 players disappointed me against Slovakia if I’m being honest. Firstly Jack Wilshere who still looks woefully short of sharpness and Jordan Henderson, who’s energy I admire in a Liverpool or England shirt but for me I’m afraid isn’t a good enough player for either. Neither would be in my plans for first 11 duty moving forward in this tournament.
Premier League Style
What England do need is to play an English style. Watch the first 10 mins of any England game and if our tempo is slow, we play across the back four continental style we almost invariably come up short. We need to replicate Premier League Tempo, and if we can’t or won’t, we will always disappoint.
I think for the next game in Nice we need to go back to the personnel from game one, maybe even only have Dier as one holder with 4 in front of Lallana, Rooney, Alli and Sturridge or Rashford with Kane given the space to do what he does best, lead the line.
I Was Right
I was slaughtered on Twitter for daring to disagree with the modern sage of punditry Mr Joey Barton ahead of game one.
Happy to be there, “I’ve played against many of theses players and there’s nothing special there” etc etc were put forward as arguments, but I’m afraid on this one I was bang on the money with my argument that these teams were there on merit, with quality and with national pride and passion to sometimes fill a technical gap and that I wouldn’t be surprised if the smaller sides did well.
So with Wales topping the group, Northern Ireland through, I’ll just leave that one there for all to ponder.
Wales for me answered the question as to whether they could show more adventure after the England game and they keep a clean sheet and score 3. Question answered then! Gareth Bale has 3 in 3, the midfield of Ledley, Allen and Ramsey are class acts, top drawer players in their own right who’ve left relatively disappointing club seasons behind to give a very solid platform for the Welsh to stay competitive in games.
Northern Ireland is simply a sensational story.
Anyone who feels that keeping a scoreline down to 1 against the world champions is simply an exercise in parking the bus has no clue what they are talking about.
You need everyone filling gaps, talking constantly, helping out a team mate who may be labouring under the pressure of wave after wave of attacks by truly world class players. Add heroics from a goalkeeper who’s surely earned himself a big move and you see that it’s that steely determination as much as great technique that can get seemingly ordinary into extraordinary territory.
Like we didn’t know that anyway after the season Leicester have had!
Bring on the weekend!