Wednesday, March 28, 2007

England: We're definitely better than 163rd

Well, well, well. England fans, armchair managers and 7-year olds unite: what you've been bleating on and on about finally came true. With Frank Lampard riding the pine due to a fractured hand and/or lack of inspiring creative play (most likely both), Steven Gerrard looks closer to being the world-class midfielder he really is.

Thankfully, England did very little to impress against the 163rd ranked team in the world. You can imagine the ridiculous shite that'd be bandied around about English pride and resilience (read: lumping it upfield and doing a little tackling) if McClaren's boys were able to thump Andorra the way they should have, considering they've shipped 19 goals to 1 in group play up until today.

A few things to take away from this match:

McClaren is still in big trouble - his lack of creativity and apprehensive managing style was pretty much epitomized by the first half of what was essentially an ugly performance. Sure, they won a game they had to, but that doesn't change the fact that he's a diffident fool. As long as he's in charge, unless he actually wins some silver next year, nobody's going to support him.

Steven Gerrard should be playing in central midfield. Period. It doesn't matter where you put Lampard, as long as it's not on the pitch.

It's time for Wayne Rooney to start earning his due. The entire country has been riding this kid as the next offensive star since Euro 2004. And he hasn't done anything to live up to those expectations since then. Wazza hasn't scored in a competitive match for country since that tournament, and hasn't scored for Man U in Europe in the same amount of time. It's fairly obvious that he's prone to moments of brilliance; now it's time to do it consistently, and I don't mean against a mid-table Prem side.

Andy Johnson won't get the job done up front. If McClaren's intent on playing an "English" game, how's he going to do that without a big target man up front? I know Peter Crouch looks ridiculous out there, but has anyone, even Wazza, been as effective as him in international play?

Let us know your thoughts on any of the Euro qualifiers.

[Guardian Sport Blog, SMiA]


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