they’ve finally got their wish.
Years of envious looks from England over the channel to the Netherlands, only slightly broken up by one glorious night in 1996, ended as both side look similarly dull and second rate.
Who didn’t want England to play football like the Dutch, now they do it’s just not worked out quite the way you hoped. England haven’t risen to the heights of Dutch football, more the Orange have plummeted.
It’s amazing to think that the most expensive player in Dutch football history started this friendly with England. More amazingly he’s struggle to get into this England side. Well, he probably would feature, not due to his footballing ability but because he now wears a Liverpool shirt.
But then under Southgate he might struggle to get into the side, what with being a centre-back and Gareth filling his squad with such players and then playing a fullback in the back three.
Oh look favourites are getting picked. Southgate face with the fact Trippier is a better deliverer of the ball than Walker he has to crowbar him in somewhere, so yeah let’s put him in a more defensive role, because Walker is so suited to being n a defensive role, as Wigan will tell you. Walker can run, run fast but with the ball… meh… he’s another Walcott and England playing out from the back with him that close to the keeper is just asking for trouble, what with his tendency to leave kicking the ball to the very last second.
Only a handful of games left before Southgate has to pick his squad and he’s not trying out centre-backs who’ve had good seasons but sticking with a favourite out of position. Gareth had to pick Walker, otherwise he’d be left picking a Burnley player and well, he doesn’t want to be doing that too often, it might lead to dropping Joe Hart.
A squad packed with centre-backs and goalkeepers. Four goalkeepers… four. All because Southgate doesn’t want to drop Hart, who is the worst of the four and shouldn’t be anywhere near the squad never mind the first team. The fact that everyone has Hart in the squad for Russia leaving Pope – probably the best English qualified keeper this season – behind is beyond ridiculous.
But this is the role of an England manager. Pick your favourites, take someone injured and hope for some back luck to befall you so you can blame that.
And so we’re left with this World Cup warm up friendly, against a Dutch team that don’t look like this’ll be the last tournament they’ll miss out on. Quite frankly the worst Dutch outfit we’ve seen since the day Johan Cruyff put his boots on. Where neither side had any real guile or craft. An end to end game. First one team slowly meanders up the pitch, fannies about, loses the ball then it’s the other teams turn, back and forth they go ad nauseam.
ITV managing to pick out the few forward passes Henderson managed, to highlight how in acres of space he is apparently “running” the game. this fed into the print media and all of a sudden this was talked up into an inspiring performance showing how England have progressed.
A dull as hell game that in reality just points to a typical England performance in the World Cup. Struggle against poor teams, embarrassed against a better one. A quality side would have ripped this England side apart if Friday night was a meaningful game.
Lingard took his goal well from yet another awful ball from Rose that was lucky to reach him. Southgate then managed to make things worse by changing his whole forward line. Leading to a completely disjointed last 20 minutes, where Vardy never touched the ball and Dele couldn’t link with anyone. Leading of course to the likes of Paul “Rictus Grin” Hayword to start questioning the Spurs player and whether he should feature.
Now if Southgate had made the change earlier and not in a block, just one player off – Sterling, who again just minced about in that useless manner of his – shift Rashford to the left, where he’s played well for club and country, put Vardy up the middle and see how they can play together. Wouldn’t that make more sense?
Italy were apparently dull and poor against Argentina in their first friendly of the break and like the Dutch didn’t reach the finals of this World Cup can we expect the same from England in the next game?