more than six against that lot and he’s 69 years old.
Jimmy wasn’t that impressed with England’s opposition last night, he reckoned that he and his team mates that didn’t play in the final who received World Cup winners medals from 1966 last night could take on Andorra and they are all in their 60s and 70s.
They might have tired but you still feel the likes of Greaves, Armfield, Callaghan, Eastham, Hunter even now would stuff the country ranked 196 in the world. FIFA don’t usually get the lower rankings wrong the higher it goes the dodgier some of them look. And they would have done a hell of better job than the current wearers of the Three Lions. Jimmy must wonder what his excellent international scoring rate – 44 goals in 57 games – would have been like if he could play against the type of teams in England’s group.
Yeah they won to keep up the unbeaten competitive record under Fabio and scored 6 goals in the process but it was a dire performance, pretty much all round.
Listen to all the pundits marvel at the game, listen to them talk about not only World Cup qualification but World Cup winning and then take one player off that Wembley pitch last night and ask how good was that really. Remove Glen Johnson and what kind of night would it have turned out to be. Even worse replace the Pompey right back with Fabio’s choice of substitute the 34 year old dullard that is Mr One Dimensional Gary Neville. The only thing he has in common with what went on last night is his self appointed position as England’s shop steward, Red Nev more fitting with the 1970s style tube strike than the international game in 2009.
Yeah without Johnson, the only player that showed any real guile, dribbling skill, passing ability, it would be left to the other lot giving the ball away constantly. Andorra weren’t interested in the ball, just stopping it and they wouldn’t have touch it as much as they did if England didn’t repeatedly hand it to them. On the other side from Johnson Ashley Cole had the freedom of the left side, freedom he did bugger all with. He stops, turns inside can’t kick it with his right so panic passes it away to anyone or he runs at defenders, trips over something and loses the ball the whole concept of running round or past someone is totally lost on him. The final choice is to try and cross the ball, his attempts at this are so bad you start wishing he’d tried one of the other two approaches. Best left back in the world, my arse, not even the best in the England setup.
Then you have the midfield, Gerrard moving in from the left to clutter it up running around like a headless chicken. When he wasn’t going for personal glory with aimless shots on goal, every time he got the ball round the box you knew it was coming, never testing the keeper, he was battering his passes to team mates less than 10 yards away with 4 red shirts around them or over hitting Hollywood balls and generally giving the ball away. So bad a game even his chief cheerleader and ghostwriter couldn’t find anything to big up his presence on the pitch.
Beckham has them all salivating again, because this is exactly the type of game you’ll get come the finals next year. All that time and space is just common place in the international game. And if you actually look at what he did with all that time and space against a pub side… yeah that’s right sod all. How many times did you hear glowing accounts of a pinging ball to an England player that resulted in that player being at full stretch while the ball zipped past them out of play? Far too many. The goal didn’t really come from his free kick it was keeper error, he just played this one badly unlike the previous similar attempt by Beckham which the keeper took with ease. His other set pieces were also crap, how the hell do you constantly kick it over Peter Crouch’s head, you’d think it would be almost impossible, once maybe but time after time.
Then when the substitutions are made and Ashley Young has the space and ability to take the ball to the byline on the left he comes inside all the time passing to Beckham who has far too much influence on the park, especially with the unestablished players.
Walcott needs to pull his finger out or is he expecting to live off the hat trick against Croatia, run to byline cross ball it’s not rocket science and against Andorra it’s not a Herculean task.
Footballers come in four groups those that aren’t international class, those that are and play in friendlies, qualifiers and tournaments. The second don’t matter and there’s far too few of the latter, unfortunately the last 8 years has seen to many that fit into the first and third group the same ones that failed previously are still there doing what they’d done before. Flattered to deceive.
It was funny listen to Jimmy’s interviews yesterday about finally getting a medal. You don’t get that much honesty in the game these days. It was a nice day out but it’s a bit late and doesn’t mean that much in the great scheme of things because it can never make up for missing out on the final and what would have been the greatest day of his career. All said without any bitterness but with a smile and a joke, especially when Jon Snow said he might be rich, Jimmy replying he certainly wasn’t as shown by his last job being for Setanta.
Third goal against ManUre in a 5-1 thumping at the Lane, England’s greatest ever striker Jimmy Greaves at his greatest…