Italy, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Brazil, Spain can all forget it Roy “headaches” Hodgson has got this one. Beating Denmark was just the prelude to greater glory in Brazil.
In their infinite wisdom the F.A. chose a team in Denmark that was in no way a like for like for any of the teams England will face in their first round group at the World Cup. Nor indeed can they be seen as ideal preparation for the rounds after the group stage.
No team that poor will get that far. And as they were pretty much on par with England that really means there’s going to be no glory for Roy.
Roy really doesn’t have headaches after this game. It doesn’t matter who he picks. Whoever goes will be coming back home fairly soon, so soon it may match Scotland’s trip the last time the competition took part in South America. It may even be worse than England’s trip the last time it was played in Brazil – England’s first taste of the World Cup – they at least won one match that tournament.
Would losing all three this time round be worse than losing to the USA in 1950?
Headaches. Headaches. Who will Roy choose?
Well unsurprisingly Ashley Cole started because after 106 caps Roy needed to give him that 107th to see what he can do. And Cole duly obliged in doing what we all know he can do. This got him the same praise he gets from the same people who claim he’s the best left-back in the world. Or was. I mean you can’t exactly be the best if you’re kept out of your club side starting XI by Azpilicueta. He dithered, he played the ball back because he can’t kick with his right, he didn’t tackle, he put in one whole cross.
But Roy knowing that these kind of game deteriorate when the substitutions are made en masse started with Cole instead of actually seeing what the kid Luke Shaw had to offer.
And that’s the main problem with the likes of Roy and these types of games. It was screaming out to give the four from Southampton a go rather than all five from Liverpool. Pick Lambert, Rodriguez, Lallana and Shaw together. Give them that comfort of their mates, players whose movement they know and trust.
But no we saw what we already knew from a bunch of players Roy is going to pick no matter what.
We saw Gerrard kick long balls that made wingers jump up to collect them and gave the defence plenty of time to cover back. We saw Wilshere do nothing, except when he ran into trouble and lost the ball. We saw Rooney do not much. We saw Sturridge wasted out wide. We saw Johnson be dithering and clueless, especially in defence.
Of the players we hadn’t seen that much of before in an England shirt. Well Henderson was everything you expected. Anonymous. You only noticed him when you thought to yourself
he runs funny. Nobody pointing out that in reality his best games for Liverpool come when Gerrard isn’t playing. Maybe Henderson thinks that standing around with your mouth open and your tongue sticking out works for Wilshere.
Sterling ran about a bit but again despite all the praise and the bizarre man of the match award most of it mixed dithering with general cluelessness.
Things changed when Shaw and then Lallana came on. For once player’s first thought was looking forward not looking back.
Denmark were there for the taking it’s just nobody really looked like they were interested in taking them. This is one of your last chances to get on that plane to Brazil and yet no one looked bothered. Well those that already know they’re going didn’t need to break a sweat, so didn’t.
The two Southampton players injected some life into proceedings, finally the Danish defence were really attacked and there was players in the box when Roy finally moved Sturridge to the centre.
Will Roy have learned from that? No, he’ll just go ahead and pick the same old suspects. Play them out of position and no doubt in the great English tradition take some crocked players with the squad.
The only surprises on the night was he didn’t need to see what 103 cap Frank Lampard could do, or even more surprisingly he didn’t need to give us a master class in Tom Cleverly’s Spanish style passing so we could better appreciate it.
Not much there about the actual game, that’s because christ it was dull. Two equally match teams, equally dull, clueless, lacking any creativity, which either side could have won or what looked most likely, until Lallana showed some class and put the ball on Sturridge’s head for the winner, and what would have been more fitting a goalless draw.
Denmark had nothing up front – Bendtner hahahaha – England had absolutely nothing in the middle of the park, bar great swathes of grass.
And the smallish crowd had nothing better to do than to entertain themselves with a wave which sums everything perfectly.