You’d hope Roy Hodgson would learn from

Moldova 0 - 5 England - World Cup 2014 Qulifier - September 7th, 2012

his first World Cup qualifier.

But you know he hasn’t. You know what he thinks he saw isn’t what he actually did, by he effusive praise of certain individuals and the knowledge they’ll be there against Ukraine on Tuesday.

What he really saw was the established players, those undeserving of their place, there on name not performance, the usual suspects were responsible for nearly all of the possession Moldova had, especially in the first half.

While we were told what a good game Gerrard and Lampard had by their media chums, they repeatedly gifted the hosts the only ball they saw in the opening 45 minutes. Gerrard time and time again lined up and put in one of those over exaggerated side foot passes no where near one of his own players. Using the out of a stare at the pitch indicating a bad bobble when none existed and no one else seemed ready to blame the pitch.

Lampard scored the penalty and ghosted in for the second goal on the night and that is enough to get you a 7 out of 10, aimless flicks and dinks that just lose the ball are overlooked for those two goals.

Joe Hart was another one seemingly cruising on easy street. Number one choice now, no real competition. So flapping at crosses was joined by stupid aimless kicks up the park at the two midgets in the nine and ten shirts. Defoe on Cleverly’s shoulders probably wouldn’t have won some of the balls. With the fact Moldova dropped back and didn’t really press England’s defence there was no reason for the humps up the park. Simple ball out to the fullback, England keep the ball and start another attack or hump up the park and lose it.

I suppose the exception that proved the rule was Lescott. Not quite fully established usual suspect, though he’s getting there – faster than he gets to dangerous defensive situations – when he wasn’t going through his usual dopey Doris defending antics he was playing every pass short. The number of times he played Leighton Baines into trouble was ridiculous.

It was those insecure of their starting place that performed. Baines – though he could have been better, stop stopping when he could carry on to the byeline, probably Ashley Young syndrome with Lampard/Gerrard screaming Me! Me! Me! – yes there was a wicked deflection on his free-kick for his goal but it was still a better set piece than Gerrard put in and far in excess of anything Ashley Cole could do. Cleverley who admittedly against piss poor opposition had a pretty good game, fitting in well into the number 10 role. And Oxlade-Chamberlain who showed how dangerous he can be, would have shown more if he’d listened to Gary Neville’s exhortations from the sideline. Don’t see how he couldn’t hear Roy’s assistant, we all did some 1,500 miles away. He was screaming Get at ‘im! every time the winger received the ball with the fullback to beat. Had him on toast, just cut inside a bit too much.

Roy had to find some fault, has already given the kid a dressing down in the Euros. But quite frankly is a disgrace hypocrisy for Hodgson to criticise the kid for his defensive work when the manager has picked Glen Johnson at right-back. Johnson struck lucky here. He could spend most of the game in the opponents half but what little defending he had to do showed yet again what a liability he is. When you ad in the Walcott factor on that right hand side you see while Milner is picked, it’s to cover Johnson’s inadequacies.

Walcott, oh dear the praise for Milner’s goal. Typical run from him, never in control of he ball and lucky to get it back when it bounced about as he ran into the defender. Then dithering about when he again got he ball in the box and should have shot.

It was also a typical Defoe performance, barely touched the ball, when he did he mostly either missed the target or hit a defender. Took his goal well because he didn’t have to think about it, just swing his leg on an excellent through ball from Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Put Milner in the middle with Carrick. Pick a better right-back and central defensive pair and decent winger, you might have the start of a good side who would be worth watching. But Roy will be sticking with the same old guard and he’ll be justified as this weak group will paper over the cracks.

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