In a hundred words or less

England 1 - 1 Ghana

can you explain that Fabio?

No. Didn’t think so.

Well you see Fab – I can call you Fab? – you didn’t pick the majority of the usual suspects and those that previously did belong to that group don’t now and are fighting their way back in.

So what did you get? That’s right a lively team performance, against a decent side who came to Wembley to play and win. It is neither brain science nor rocket surgery.

Take for example Gareth Barry, now after the World Cup debacle and the emergence of others you finally dropped him completely from the squad to play Wales. He’s back in the side against Ghana, with the armband, with both a point to prove and a place to regain, so he has to raise his game. Now it wasn’t an outstandingly dynamic performance but he did the job asked and was there to block a number of Ghana chances in the box.

So Barry isn’t cruising along now knowing he doesn’t really have to bother because he’ll be picked by you no matter what. You know the way Terry, Ferdinand, Cole, Rooney, Lamaprd, Gerrard etc have cruised through the last decade or so.

OK so it wasn’t a completely outstanding performance by England but most of the first half we saw a more dynamic enterprising performance than there’s been for some time – oh look who is missing. The link up between the middle and front threes, along with the fullbacks, far better than we’ve seen under certainly this manager and a number before.

Still improvements to be made, Carroll spread himself a bit far and wide, coming too deep and drifting out wide. He hasn’t got the pace for the former and when doing the latter he was left facing a Englandless penalty area. Restricting himself to the width of the box would have helped.

Downing, while some good runs, good chances created, good interplay it certainly wasn’t a man of the match performance. As for the goal, yes a great run but he miss-controlled the ball, from Ashley Young, trying to set himself up for a shot not Carroll. Cracking finish from the big fella. Downing wasted a number of good chances and was dismal in the second half, losing possession and playing others into trouble throughout the second period.

I just look on and wonder why when playing for England Lennon never gets the service on offer last night. Balls played for the wingers and fullback to run onto, played into space. No when Lennon plays it’s aimless cross field balls that are head height and pin him right on the touchline, balls played behind him making him stop.

And that was thing for most of the first half, everything was played to go forward, fullbacks and wide men were all going towards goal. Baines at leftback, going forward not stopping and turning onto his weaker foot Cole style.

Of course no one was hindered on the night by Gerrard screaming and demanding the ball so he could go for glory.

So you now have Dawson, Cahill and Jagielka for the two centre-back roles, no need for Terry or Ferdinand, certainly no need for Lescott who was by far the worst player on the park. His introduction did more damage to England than Ghana really. Moving Jagielka to right-back was a disaster and complete destroyed most attacks down the right. Have to feel sorry for Jarvis when he came on. If Johnson had to come off it would have been better to move Milner to fullback and keep Jagielka in place. His introduction completely screwed things up in the second half.

Lescott, dear god why not hand Ghana a goal, well he tried giving them a penalty with a needless shove in the back, luckily the ref though it was outside the area. Great work by Gyan for the goal, he had Lescott in knots.

Oh my man of the match was Young again.

So what did you learn Fab? That’s right no comfort zone, no one guaranteed their place – which means no England captain, just someone with the armband on the night, someone from the best XI to play as a team – that Gerrard, Lampard, Terry, Cole, Ferdinand & Rooney – who really weren’t missed at all – should not come straight back in.

Oh so that’s more than 100 words so you didn’t learn anything past the first couple of paragraphs… no surprise there then… usual suspects is it then next up…

All those complaining that they paid full price and didn’t get to see “the stars” before the game are they now happy that they got a decent game to watch because of the lack of those “stars”.

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