What has really

changed?

The England side that ended the game against Slovakia on Saturday would more than likely be the same one that McClown would pick. Having Beckham and Downing trudge up and down the wings isn’t going to fill any decent side with fear.

No matter what the fawning media, most of whom are ex-Liverpool players or fans of the Scouse red half, say it was going to be a wrong even before the great show was made of the new shirt just before the national anthem. Ah yes the new kit, aren’t we taking this thing about Fabio being a teacher too far now, he’s got them wearing what looks like officially sanction school PE uniform, the players better watch out and remember to bring their kit for every game or he’ll have them playing in their pants.

Against a very limited Slovakia side, who before the weekend somehow were topping their World Cup qualifying group, England may have managed to put 4 goals away, concede none, and put together the appearance of a coherent display but there’s still so much wrong that Fabio is over looking and fudging.

Well the Beckham, collect more meaningless caps band wagon rolled on. Italian football is we are told by the experts slow, ponderous and useless when their sides are losing to English ones in the Champions League, yet an ideal place for Beckham to play so he can keep his England place.

Oh wasn’t Gerrard great say the ex-Pool players, red broadcasters and ghostwriters, hmm he’s still being accommodated, against a side that was bothered would he have had all that freedom, no, he would have put in his usual “not really bothered about country before my club” performance, it’s another undeserved cap. And what it really showed, as it has in the past, is Ashley Cole can’t be exposed to better opposition in such a way. Ah the great booing debate, funny how the media types can slag off Cole, quite rightly, for being the scummiest act in town, yet when the fans, a lot of whom are not in the ground on expenses, show their feelings about the individual the only way they can all of a sudden those in print and over the airwaves get all so precious about poor little Ashley.

Why wasn’t Baines played anyway, he offers more than Cole going forward, his crossing is far better than Cole’s has ever been and when was the last time you saw Cole score a free kick as the Everton man did in the league the weekend before and he’s certainly not worse defensively than Cole who is hugely overrated and error prone. But that would mean Fabio would have to go against his policy of the “usual suspects”, so he has to pick someone who has started every game when available while others don’t get a look in. Cole’s dithering to go with Upson’s, that looks so promising, can see why the manager was desperate to get Ledley into the fold.

But of course Fabio only picks those that are playing and on form, not that Cole’s is any better than Baines, or Upson’s than Woodgate or Dawson. It is why Owen won’t get a look in, though of course Downing isn’t exactly on the best of form in a team that’s crap and Carlton Cole, well he was on form a bit back, can’t really say it of late and Foster well in one game he did OK, is that playing enough and showing enough form Fabio?

The Owen debate opens up again with all the front guys going down crocked in one game and Fabio going straight for striker to fill the nations heart with joy and optimism – Darren Bent.

Imagine the scene somewhere in South Africa, 2010, a World Cup semi-final it’s extra-time England nil Argentina nil, last seconds the ref has looked at his watches he’s just lifting the whistle to his lips…

Scenario A: Beckham humps one final aimless ball from deep, the Argentinian defender misreads the flight and somehow the ball finds Darren Bent, just outside the eighteen yard line and left of goal he bursts forward, into the box pulls his right leg back, he’s just about to let fly when somehow his left foot nudges the ball, it bounces up, his right leg swings through, hits nothing… as the ball dribbles to the dead ball line the whistle goes. Darren Bent is flat on the pitch, looking confused.

Scenario B: Ferdinand humps one final aimless ball from deep, the Argentinian defender misreads the flight and somehow the ball finds Jermaine Defoe, just outside the eighteen yard line and left of goal he bursts forward, into the box pulls his right leg back. Bang he smacks the ball as hard as he can the net ripples, thousands of England fans rise and cheer a cheer that stops half way through as one by one they realise it was just the side netting that was hit, from the wrong side. Defoe stands hands on head as the Argentine fans start laughing.

Scenario C: Gerrard tries just one more Hollywood glory attempt on goal, the ball bounces off someones arse and somehow falls in front of Michael Owen, just outside the eighteen yard line and left of goal he bursts forward, the nation sighs a sigh of relief that it’s Owen one on one with the keeper, 9 ties out of 10 he buries the ball, the team win and are in only their second World Cup final…

Of course it’s a World Cup semi, he misses, we than have to pick which of Terry, Beckham, Lampard or Gerrard is going to be the goat in the penalties, as Argentina meet a piss poor German side in the final. And the nation starts thinking “we’d have stuffed Ballack and his mates” and then why couldn’t it have been Darren Bent, wouldn’t have got my hopes up with Bent on the ball, with only the keeper to beat.

But then what are the chances of getting to the semi in the first place, when you’ve got someone in charge that thinks Downing is an international player?

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