What to make of England and

McClown after the Israel game.

A comfortable 3-0 win against a team that offered nothing and McClown got a few things right.

But then most of those things were enforced on him, just think how bad this could’ve been if not for the injuries to Beckham, Lampard and Neville, cause they would have played in the game no matter what. Their three replacements – Wright-Phillips, Barry and Richards – were the highlights of the game and we are now told will cause McClown a selection headache. Mmm that would suggest there was thought put into his team selection, when past experience and the substitutions on Saturday show it’s a done by numbers usual suspects course of events – probably that’s what he jots down in his little notebook all the old pals.

Heskey was also forced onto him with Crouch’s suspension and he did what we expect of Emile, he nearly always did nod it, or chest it on to Owen well and get in the right places it’s just when he got there he buggered things up. As shown in the first few minutes when he had a clear shot inside the box and skyed it over the bar cause he was leaning back for some reason and then later with a header that went where he aimed it you just wonder why he was aiming it away from the goal in the first place ❓ It could have been different if he hadn’t gone for the big money move to ‘Pool, he learnt nothing with that dullard Houllier, what did they think he was the finished article? If he’d stayed with O’Neill or moved to a better setup, someone who could’ve taught him it could’ve been very different.

Wright-Phillips and Richards showed McClown what should have happened against Germany in the last game and should signal the end of Beckham’s chase for the glory of a hundred caps, which is a personal glory that effects the team. The pace along with staying out there on the wing and not constantly coming inside to clutter things up, Wright-Phillips did everything that you’ll never get from the show donkey. Richards just has to make sure he doesn’t lollygag getting back into his defensive position after those charges forward, he did it a few times and was lucky it was just Israel and that Wright-Phillips did a good job covering back. If only the little Chelsea winger wasn’t related to that muppet.

The substitutions by McClown again sucked the life out of the team the shocking site of “usual suspect” Phil Neville coming on as a defensive midfielder when the Israelis were dead and buried, says it all. Everyone knows what this Neville can and more importantly can’t do, why not bring on Ashley Young for a run out on the left, personally I’d have started him in place of Joe Cole. The Villa winger has had a very good start to the season while Cole has been getting splinters, also the amount of times Cole slowed play to try and be clever was annoying.

Read some rubbish about the game, 8/10 for Gerrard being one peach but the main piece of crap was that the fans were wrong to boo Bentley, because “he has served his penance”, yeah for snubbing his country he missed one friendly and was straight into the squad after that. That is in no way serving penance, never being picked again for his arrogance would have been. You don’t turn down playing for your country in a major championship because you are tired and you want to preserve yourself for your future England career. Yes he was arrogant enough to assume he’d be walking straight into the full squad, well I suppose he realised he more than likely would with the McClown in charge.

So Russia, should be stiffer test but then everyone said those well known Europeans Israel would provide that as well. Just think it could have been Hiddink in charge of this England squad and not Barwick’s first choice the McClown.

Do you change a winning side or keep the confidence of a team that looked balanced and did what was asked of them? One choice between Crouch and Heskey has already been made by FIFA and the refs when they were told to target Crouch. Got to shake your head, everything that goes on on a field and Crouch just has to touch someone and it’s a foul, I’ve kept saying for some time now that refs have got it against them and it’s true. Typical FIFA though the one fould he actually did commit in the Wordl Cup and they didn’t give it so his goal against T&T stood. It’s not Crouch’s fault other players only come up to his elbows.

There’s calls for Hargreaves to come in against the more attacking Russians, a sensible choice it’s just who he would replace is the ridiculous suggestion. One central midfielder had an outstanding game and I can see why Chris Waddle said he should have been man-of-the-match, some exquisite defence breaking passes, no wasteful Hollywood glory balls and he was in the game all the time, running it. The other player in the middle had a couple of good passes in the first few minutes, got blocked on one run then went missing for the majority of the match ’til one decent pass to Joe Cole created a chance. One player had all the hype and yet again in an England shirt did bugger all the other took his chance with both hands. It’s Gerrard that should be replaced with Hargreaves and not Gareth Barry.

Of course it won’t happen, you’d think one of the Israelis, Ben-Haim for example, could have stepped on his bad toe but then like the rest of us they probably didn’t see him so forgot he was there.

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