A.K.A. Defenders? We don’t need no stinkin’ defenders…
Back when Glenn Hoddle was driven out of the England job by Tony Blair on Richard & Judy, I really rather wanted Roy Hodgson to get the job. Be careful what you wish for.
Roy has turned out to be Keggy, except for one minor point. On that wet afternoon when Keegan stood in the tunnel, outside the dressing room, after he’d watched England lose to Germany in their last game at the old Wembley, he had the good grace to admit his failings.
He knew he wasn’t up to the job, hell we all did, good on him for being honest. Roy on the other hand thinks he should be getting an extension to his contract and that England will win the Euros, much like he thought they’d win the last World Cup.
He shouldn’t have stayed on after that tournament, it was if anything worse than the one competition Keegan led the team to, Euro 2000, where they at least won a game.
This week’s squad announcement followed by the last warm up game against Portugal has yet again highlighted how out of his depth Roy is and how the main obstacle to the team doing anything is the manager.
Keggy liked a striker, defenders, well he liked a good 5-4 game. That could be this England under Roy, except if he has them playing as they did against Portugal those goals won’t be coming any time soon.
So in the squad announcement it surprised no one that he decided to take all the injured, out of form players he could. Delph pretty much mustn’t be able to walk to not get on this flight. Roy jettisoned the only real understudy for Dier in the holding role, Drinkwater, while taking a couple of defenders who are now carrying knocks, Cahill and Bertrand. One of those three centre-backs go down and well it’ll be Roy’s first choice of mouth open tongue out Wilshere there.
Who needs defenders when we can have as many strikers as we have… Then again who needs strikers when Roy plays them as he did against Portugal?
Some say that the game was rendered meaningless after 35 minutes when Bruno Alves tried to comb Harry Kane’s quiff with his studs. It was rendered meaningless the moment Ronaldo didn’t turn up. That’s all it was, a tester for Bale and Wales. The visitors were typically tidy, very comfortable on the ball, liked to keep possession and lacking any real cutting edge that the Madrid player brings them. He scored just under half of their 11 goals in qualifying, one player got 2 the other four shared around.
It was also rendered meaningless by Roy’s decision to crowbar his captain in at the expense of the team. Rooney really is the new Beckham / Gerrard in that regard. Not needed and just a hindrance as his inclusion pushed the two top strikers in the land this season out wide.
Now we don’t know if this was Roy’s plan or Rooney just took it on himself to push forward from the top of the diamond – it’s not a natural diamond, it’s one of those made from the ash of dead bodies. Going by the fact that yet again Kane was taking the set pieces, I’m going with Roy’s bright idea.
Either way it added up to England having the same cutting edge as Portugal.
Vardy barely registered a touch, something like 8 in little over an hour. The one from the kick-off doesn’t really count. Hell, Leeds get through more managers in a year. Kane had just over half the touches of Rooney.
So both were off where they could do least damage to the opposition while providing defensive cover. It also shoved Dele Alli away from where he could be more effective.
But this seems to be Roy’s plan, shoving Rooney in the middle and getting him as far forward as possible, after all he put him in as the front man in the previous game after the substitutions when it would be better preparation to see how Rashford managed in the role.
Anyway Roy doesn’t know how to play Vardy, he’s already jettisoned the one player who does. I know Drinkwater didn’t exactly make himself undroppable but he’s the only one who’ll think of banging a ball over the defence into space for the Leicester man to run onto. Christ even Ian Wright can see it.
So Roy’s got all that wrong and we haven’t even started on that defence, what’s that Roy, yes there are defenders there, well nominally. Somehow Walker got man of the match, think Glenn has a thing for Spurs’ fullbacks, apparently for running up and down. Smalling scored the winner, one wonders when Roy will move him up front, while still looking out of his depth at the back. Walker’s grabbing with pace is annoying, Smalling’s grabbing with no pace is even worse with great potential for red cards.
Happy, happy, joy, joy…
We can only hope that one day Roy will stand in that tunnel and be a bit honest about himself…