And the winner for best comedy goes to

England 3 - 0 Peru - International friendly, Wembley - May 30th, 2014


Apparently the international friendly between England and Peru at Wembley was shown live on TV in Brazil. I hope they had a suitably good laugh.

I don’t know what they listed this game under in the Brazilian version of the Radio Times, light entertainment, comedy drama or just plain comedy. Whatever it was it certainly won’t give them sleepless nights through worry.

If they got the straight ITV feed with commentary did it give them a bigger laugh? As Clive Tyldesley said that playing this Peru B or C side would give Roy a look at what his team will be facing in their second group game against Uruguay.

Peru, FIFA ranked 43 who finished two places and 10 points behind Uruguay – FIFA ranked 6 – in qualifying, lined up with a front pair with a combined 10 international caps and one whole goal between them. If Uruguay line up with Suarez and Cavanai then it’s 138 caps and 58 goals. Yes Clive that’s like for like.

Hell even the Costa Ricans are nearly ten places higher in the rankings and that all comes after England face Italy in the opener. And those representatives of Gli Azzurri in the Wembley crowd must have been as amused as the viewing South Americans – would anyone really tune in out there in Brazil?

If they did what they saw was Roy Hodgson’s main problems being Roy’s mainstays. Rooney, Gerrard and Johnson.

It’s amazing that Roy is only taking one right-back to Brazil. Even more amazing that it’s Johnson. If he was actually taking some competition for Johnson I wonder if we’d have seen a performance like that. Nope, that was just standard guaranteed his spot laziness. Even this Peru side saw he was the weak link and any trouble they caused England came from that side. And when it did come where was Johnson, well he wasn’t in shot, he was barely in the same half. The problem with so many England fullbacks is they’ve got away with being poor defenders through their pace – see Ashley Cole and Kyle Walker. Well Johnson certainly didn’t show any of that, not busting a gut to get back and help those he’d played into trouble. Add to that the number of times he just lost control of a simple ball played to him it was embarrassing.

Ah but he’s at his best going forward where he ran inside and lost the ball. It was like watching Andros Townsend but with the row Z shot. The rest of the time he just passed it back or sideways.

The sideways ball to Give it to me, give it to me Gerrard.

Gerrard’s presence stifles everything around him. Everything has to go through him. So when the centre-backs have the ball his on top of them demanding it. When the fullbacks have the ball he’s beside them demanding it. When his central partner has the ball he’s there calling for the square pass.

Now nobody really thinks Henderson is international class but he have more of a chance if Gerrard wasn’t right there demanding the sideways pass. No coincidence that Henderson didn’t get forward until Gerrard was replaced.

All the talk used to be about why Gerrard and Lampard couldn’t play together for England. Nobody ever pointed out that Lampard worked without Gerrard whereas Gerrard didn’t without Frank. Lampard along with Ashely Young and Aaron Lennon have had their international career somewhat smothered by Gerrard’s presence.

Because what does he really do? He can’t really tackle, more in the Scholes school of tackling, he can’t pass the ball with any finesse, it’s all batter and hope and he generally narrows things down. Ah but those raking cross field balls they scream. Yes, either so slow the defender cuts them out or hit so hard and high the intended recipient is on the sideline jumping up to get the slightest touch giving them no chance of control.

So Henderson passes him the ball – or it he passes to Johnson, who passes back and Cahill finds Gerrard – and it’s shuffled onto the other player that everything has to go through. Roy’s other weak link. Rooney.

Again Rooney was completely disjointed from the rest of the team. He’s a man who doesn’t fit. But Roy will try. Even though he says he will drop Rooney if required does anyone really believe him? If after another misfit performance where he didn’t connect with any of the other forward players Roy keeps playing him will he ever drop him?

While Rooney is the centre of attention he halts play and Lallana a player who could get things moving in the right direction is shunted out into the periphery.

But can Roy really drop Rooney, after all we’ve all seen what a petulant little child the player can be when things aren’t going his way. How would he react to sitting on the bench and seeing possibly his last chance at scoring in a World Cup finals drift away?

Bench Rooney, make Lallana the fulcrum of the attack, introduce a winger in Sterling, remove the ego in the middle of the park and play an actual defender at right-back, no England wouldn’t win the World Cup but they wouldn’t be as useless as this game where one goal – cracker from Sturridge – papered over the cracks, three added a layer of fake gloss over the paper that was covering three very big faults.

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