The Jocks are consoling themselves that the game against the Auld Enemy didn’t count for anything, it’s the Euros that really matter, but it doesn’t half make them look bad being outclassed and beaten by Roy’s mob.
Ireland, Poland and Germany must be looking on today in shame after they respectively lost, drew and just beat the Flower of Scotland. Even with the help of Hodgson they weren’t even second best in this friendly.
Yes, yet again Roy couldn’t help himself in hindering England with his initial team selection and then substitutions. He gives with one hand, no Henderson, then takes with the other, Stewart Downing. Stewart Downing?
Well Roy had brought him back into the squad so had to play him – though Saido Berahino who deserved to play wasn’t seen all night. Of course Roy chose to play him “out of position”. Downing got back into contention through playing for his club in the forward middle number 10 position. So what does Roy did? Puts him further back and out on the left where he failed repeatedly for England and one of Roy’s previous clubs.
Downing didn’t feature much before he was hauled of at the break. When he did it was poor stuff indeed. It left you wondering what was the point of bringing Ross Barkley to Glasgow. These are games to bring through players of the future not failures of the past.
Roy compounded this error by bring Lallana on in Downing’s place. Now I like Lallana, think he should be a starter but we also know what he’s about. Blood some kids you berk. This is the perfect game, it’s a friendly so it doesn’t matter but no matter how limited the opposition were they were at least trying.
Opposition were very limited, as England played a high tempo pressing game that we haven’t seen from them in a long time. For once they got the pace of things right. That slow, slow, passing it about sideways thing might be what Roy wants, possession is king and all, but quite frankly the players he has aren’t up to the task. Especially centre-backs like Smalling.
Anya, on Scotland’s left, got past England’s Clyne once early on, it was the last time. Anya was an easy out for the Scots, quick cross field ball usually found him but after that first run round Clyne the defender was on top. Not getting initially too tight but then quickly closing him down and cutting off all crosses.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was also doing his bit. No real tackling but getting back and getting in the way of those in blue. This was expertly highlighted after Roy made another baffling substitution just after the hour bringing Sterling on. The Liverpool players lazy attempts at tackling leaving Clyne exposed with a couple of players to cover. It eventually led to the consolation, if Anya hadn’t been replaced it could have led to more.
The consolation goal, well god didn’t that give ’em high hopes. Back in it after being outplayed. Outplayed but even with two goals scored the Scot’s ‘keepers had had very little to really do, not much more than Forster in England’s goal.
Wilshere again is being talked about in glowing terms, did Andy Townsend give him the man of the match again? One pass, his first assist as an England player, surely worth at least a 9. Much talk about him being the natural heir to Beckham and Gerrard in the quarterback role. Well yes he was as both of them were rather adept at over-hitting their intending targets as he did for most of the night. He got there with the one for Chamberlain’s goal, which he took well, after the defence completely misplayed it. The rest missed, or were passed sideways.
It’s much like Milner – who again I’m not against in an England shirt – who was getting high praise for his free-kick which led to Rooney doubling the lead. It was one of two balls that were any good from Milner all night, he had a poor game, even one of his biggest fans who I was watching the game with thought so. With some of the talk you wouldn’t know the ball ping-ponged about the box before Rooney headed it in.
The aforementioned Milner fan did say before the free-kick that he hoped a goal came from it after Mulgrew escaped the red card he should have got for his forearm smash on Chamberlain. Hell even the Jock commentator thought he was lucky to stay on the park.
But that third was fun. All that singing died away in a second. Back in, back out of it in the blink of an eye. It was one of the best bits of football England put on all night. One, twos, triangles, get to the byline, cut back, it ain’t rocket surgery but it’s a winner.
Some thing England don’t do enough of. Unlike head scratching substitutions, which Roy does a plenty. Sterling wasn’t required, he was hopeless, Barkley given a handful of minutes was ridiculous, Berahino not seen equally so.
Scotland are making excuses but hell there’s got to be something wrong when you make this England look good.
Post match what I really like is the moralising of journalists. Journalists that josh about the Jocks singing abusing songs about Jimmy Hill and then get all high and mighty because the English contingent sing songs about IRA terrorists, in a park where some celebrate the latter. One made a comment about Dave Narey’s toe poke against Brazil at the 1982 World Cup the others murdered people throughout the land. One is fair game according to some in print.