Would you buy a used car

from this man ?

England head coach Steve McClaren

Nope, didn’t think so, is it the newly bought gleaming grin or the carefully scripted post match patter, that at times makes you feel your watching a party political broadcast thinking when did Jeremy Paxman turn into Garth Crooks, or the fact he reminds you of a cross between Keggy Keegle and Svennis – all talk of three lion’s passion followed by limp one night stands.

Toughest test yet face by England under McClaren’s new leadership, away to Macedonia and though they managed a 1-0 victory and I’m even less convinced by him than before.

I think it’s comments like –

The back four were magnificent Steve McClaren

That does it, is there anyone out there that thinks Phil Neville wasn’t crap, even die hard Toffees and ManUre fans can’t claim this guy should be in an England starting XI – unless it was the worst England XI ever lining up next to the likes of David James, Carlton Palmer, Emile Heskey etc, would he be the left or right back? – on the basis he can take long throws.

Ashley Cole was at it again coming inside and leaving the opposition player with all the room he needed, when he actually got close to a right sided Macedonian he was left behind as that player got away from him with ease. Of course the late on goal line clearance blinding the talking heads his deficiencies in the rest of the game.

No the back four weren’t magnificent, the central pairing of John Terry & Rio Ferdinand were the other two inept, in both defending and attacking the whole concept of passing to your own player seems to totally go over their heads.

Lumpalard was playing so I’m told, I don’t have any direct evidence to prove this fact other than his name appears on the team sheets given. The succession of useless soft floated set piece balls would provide some circumstantial evidence of his presence on the field but it’s nothing I’d stake my life on given other eyewitness accounts who would only say they may have seen him walk off the pitch a few minutes from the final whistle.

Owen Hargreaves has shown in the last few games, actually most of his games with England, that he should be taking the set pieces. He can hit a cracking free kick, get it over the wall and back down again with pace and who else in the side would you want taking a penalty if your life depended on it ? The guy brought up in German football I’m thinking.

Hargreaves was his usual self in font of the back four becoming a real invaluable part of the setup, it’s good to say “I told you so” at times 😀

Downing was so bad and one dimensional there’s been a complete 180 degree turn about him. Before last night ah we’ve got a natural left footer on the left who provides balance to the side that the right footed Joe Cole doesn’t. The only problem being it doesn’t matter which foot you kick with if there’s no end product. Cole has provided that since making the left side his own, Downing has struggled to do so. He doesn’t have the pace to beat fullbacks and his crossing has been more miss than hit. He showed great promise when emerging from the ‘Boro youth setup but a combination of injury and coming under the coaching of McClaren – who not so long ago was trying to offload the guy, he thinks is England quality, to Wigan for £40,000 – seems to have dented that promise, I’m rather glad Spurs didn’t get him.

Upfront, well as I said the other day Crouch did what Crouch does now for England and that is score, what 11 in his last 10 internationals even considering the opposition it’s not bad. From being seen as a plan B get the big lad on when we need something to happen he’s now down as plan A.

Defoe probably didn’t do himself any favours with Rooney’s suspension from his sending off in the World Cup now over. Snatched at a couple of chances that he should really have scored from, for all his running and good movement he just doesn’t seem as clinical enough when it comes to scoring.

But with Rooney back why not try thinking positively and not going for the simple direct replacing Defoe with Wayne and drop the ineffectual Lumpalard for Rooney. Let him run the game, he’s the one to build the team around.

Do you think Steve McClaren has an auto-queue when he says

In these type of games away from home it comes down to the defining moment Steve McClaren

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