Well 2-1’s alright I guess. What do you reckon 6 out of 10? What did we learn from tonight?
– that the anticipated line-up wasn’t quite right which clearly suggests Capello isn’t going to leak news to favoured journalists – good on yer
– I think I was justified in saying Rooney isn’t a target man. He’s always better heading towards goal rather than with his back to it. He just got better as the game went on, when he was allowed to play deeper. Incidentally did you notice physio Gary Lewin run down to whisper in Fabio’s shell-like when Rooney looked exhausted late on. It’s never occurred to me before but do you reckon Ferguson has a hot line into the back-room staff and called through to insist they take him off?
– very good game from J Cole when he stuck out left – the position is clearly his. And a decent game from Bentley too when he stuck out wide. He didn’t seem half as effective when SWP came on, Bentley moved inside and it all got a bit crowded over there. Bentley needs a second or so which the wide position affords him to pick his pass/cross etc. Whilst I’m on the subject SWP isn’t England class is he? He gives far too much possession away.
– ditto Brown and Upson; they are decent players but lacking true class. Neither looked commanding. Barry, Ferdinand, James and A Cole especially had indifferent games. In fact A Cole played really poorly and it was no surprise to see him substituted by Capello (and Cheryl I suspect).
– tactically I thought Capello got out-manoeuvered early on. It was widely anticipated that he that he was going to play 5 in the middle (even if the personnel were not spot on) and Huhn the Swiss coach matched him up. It created an attritional game with no space nor time for anyone to create anything. If anything Switzerland looked the more comfortable playing this type of system.This is the only time when the long pass becomes justified – to escape the midfield crowd – but we only had relatively short Rooney up front usually unsupported and the long option wasn’t available. It looked better later I reckon. I’m sure Barry could have been sacrificed earlier to allow Crouch to come on to create more options and space upfront.
– one of the things I did admire in Mourinho was his ability to use substitutions to change game tactics. He never did like for like switches so beloved by Sven which were usually pointless and ineffective. But Mourinho could change the nature of the game and I think that’s what Capello did tonight with his initial changes. I’m not saying Crouch is a great player or should start necessarily but he’s a frigging handful and he disrupted that defence immediately and his introduction also allowed Rooney to cut loose and for Gerrard to impose himself at last. I just think the change could have been made far earlier say after 30-40 mins. I don’t hold with the view that substitutions shouldn’t be made in the first half as it upsets players, not least because the the jeering had already started around the 36 minute mark?
– I liked the fact that Capello got down there on the touchline and gave the team some serious looks and shouts. At last someone who feels the pain like we do and shows a bit of passion out there. Also how refreshing to see the Pearce the under 21 manager playing a key role alongside Capello. Why has this never been done before I wonder? Ego?
So a pretty good start all things considered. Bit of a strange selection but he corrected things and got really good performance out of Cole, Bentley and Rooney eventually and good supporting roles from Jenas, Gerrard (eventually too) and Crouch. And it’s a win. Not fab but not bad Fab.
The papers should be generally supportive I reckon/hope!