Poland on Tuesday night.
After all if he’s going to act the part of McClown he might as well dress the part.
Just get the overwhelming sense of deja-vu and that this World Cup qualifying campaign is going the way of Steve McClaren’s doomed single campaign in charge. Uninspiring and lucky with that luck running out come the final reckoning.
But then it’s a sense of deja-vu that it’s just like Svennis and Fabio as well as the McClown.
As Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole picked up their 99th cap each, it was just that feeling that nothing’s changed, nothing at all. As this game showed again that England players don’t need to perform, there’s no incentive to do so, no reason for them to put themselves out for the national team.
Roy favourites, as with the favourites of Fabio, McClown and Sven, know that it doesn’t matter how poor they are on the field they’ll be picked for the next game. Gerrard is guaranteed, well even more guaranteed than before with possession of the armband, as is Cole no matter that this fallacy of
best left back in the world is looking more and more ridiculous – not even best in the squad. But come next year and the next qualifier they’ll both be there, bar injury or Tweet.
And when they aren’t picked because of injury or being rested or protected from suspension the understudies have no incentive to perform because they know whatever they do when the favourite is back available he’ll be straight in.
And so we get games that the one we had yesterday evening.
A game where England couldn’t have looked much worse if they’d gone ahead with the game on Tuesday night, ankle deep in ever increasing puddles. More chance of trench foot than looking world beaters.
It’s amazing to think the sight on Tuesday night, as the rains fell in the Warsaw National Stadium, through the open roof, of the FIFA appointed referee throwing a ball to see if it would bounce on the paddy field, time and time again, wasn’t the most farcical thing that happened this week in World football. No it came fourth.
England’s performance was third topped by what happened to the U21 side in Serbia, as the natives reverted to type racially abusing England’s black players and then the Serbian officials blaming Danny Rose and UEFA charging England over their conduct. Farcical doesn’t quite touch it really, it’s beyond a farce and quite frankly you wouldn’t blame any England player black or white from going back to that country if fixtures work out that way.
So back to the fiasco in Poland. Now this isn’t to denigrate the hosts but quite frankly they didn’t exactly set the world alight either. Good up until the final third then it went to pieces. But even with that it managed to put England in the shade.
Poland happy to sit back and let Lescott, Jagielka, Cole and Johnson pass it between themselves in the knowledge one of them would give the ball away and if not one of them then Gerrard would become impatient at the ball not coming out soon would drop deep and ping one of those Hollywood balls straight for a goal kick. Then if it wasn’t the captain it would be Carrick who over the last two games has given the ball away more times than you’ve ever seen from him.
At some points the ball reached Rooney where he would just give it away as Defoe just didn’t touch the ball what so ever. For the fourth game out of Roy’s 11 in charge, England managed just one attempt on target. Rooney’s off the shoulder number from a corner. Certainly the highlight of his game.
It’s coming up to a decade since Rooney really burst on the scene with his goal against the goon scum for Everton. And yet even with him moving into the top 5 of England’s all time scorers, he doesn’t look the part. Not long in he looks knackered and unfit and he just doesn’t provide any link up play. Back then he looked like the best player since Gazza, now can you really say he’s filled that potential for country. Had a golden spell when he first came into the England side but since then.
White Pele? He should be up there with Ronaldo and Messi. But no, he’s nowhere near.
Here if he hadn’t been Wayne Rooney he would have had the hook a lot earlier than the 73rd minute and if he wasn’t Wayne Rooney he probably would be picked for the next game. But he is and so like all the
big names he’s one of the first names on the team sheet. Unlike at club level where he has been dropped.
And so we’ll keep getting performances like this and if England actually do manage to get out of this group – one of the weakest about – they’ll limp out of Brasil after another embarrassing tournament.
Roy had the chance to change this but no he chose to follow the same well trodden path of his predecessors.