Well what did you reckon to last night’s game? It was alright I guess. DB came, crossed and conquered the headlines this morning. He had a pretty good game I thought; lots of effort, a few beautiful passes, one 25 yarder that went very close and that stunning free kick that Terry crashed in. At the goal the camera caught McClaren turning to Venables and saying something like ‘I told you so’. To which Tel shrugged with a wide smile as if saying ‘for sure, but it’s hardly progress me old china is it?’ That’s the point really, it was effectively Sven’s team – certainly his midfield – and are England a better side now?
The answer’s no of course. Up front we were useless. Smith and Owen just looked out of condition which is hardly surprising. Why do they ask Smith to play that in-the-hole role? His best ever performance was against Roma when he harried the defence in an all-out 20 minute blitzkrieg of aggressive forward play. It terrorised the Romans and if he’s going to be selected why don’t we play a fast tempo game capitalising on Owen’s pace and DB’s searching passes? Instead we try and play the Brazilians at the cagey cat and mouse game. Was it worth bringing Crouch on for 5 minutes or so at the end? Pointless. Don’t know what the guy’s done to deserve that kind of humiliating substitution.
At the back. Bit of a shambles. King wasn’t very good I thought – he too looked short of match practice. Why on earth Carragher wasn’t playing at his best position I don’t know. Can’t we pick a proper right back to play in that position? At left back Shorey looked nervy but did absolutely nothing wrong did he? So to midfield. Ho hum. McQuiff was talking afterwards and saying there weren’t many negatives to take from the game. McJargon, were you watching the same match as me? Lampard and Gerrard did ok for a change but they are too similar. I keep saying this and I’m convinced we’d be better balanced with one or the other. Personally I’d go for Gerrard in the centre of midfield as Lamps looks like the light’s burned out. Then have Owen or Carrick holding. I’d have DB as a squad player but not start with him. It’s time for them to persist with developing the new talent. We have enough friendlies let’s face it and prospects of one a week if the FA had their way.
Round pegs, round holes with classy replacements on hand eg Beckham, Lampard, Crouch, Woodgate, Barton (?) if we need to change things at say the 55 minute mark. Not 85 minutes. One final thing, McClaren is a painfully square-headed square peg in the role of England manager. He just doesn’t look impressive, sound impressive or act impressively. It was a mistake to banish Beckham to history. He’s not the future but as he proved last night he can play a role. But he needs managing strongly. McClaren looks like he’s in as much need of the player now as Sven ever was. It’s all too desperate. Beckham’s going to manage McQuiff now towards 100 caps and a glorious career finale even though he’ll be playing in Disney league football. The time for change is upon us. Come on Brainiac Barwick show some mettle and grasp the nettle and frighten McTufty away.