Another qualifying campaign and it’s the same old same old from Southgate’s England, him and they are nothing if not predicable.
Yup, it’s the same old laboured victories over the minnows followed by a bit of a struggle against the better team, gaining a lucky three points, with the usual failings of the usual suspects.
Five nil against San Marino. Sterling’s desperation. My god that was embarrassing from Southgate’s captain on the night. His greed and desperation to get on the score-sheet cost England a number of chances. The look on Calvert-Lewin’s face said it all when the camera closed in on him after Sterling had got in his way desperately trying to score, while completely butchering an easy chance for the Everton striker.
Not a team player. Which he showed in the rest of the games, with his insistence on stopping when a break was on so he could come inside and let a defender get back and tackle him. Cut back every time, the only time he didn’t he got lucky and won the penalty against Poland. Needless, stupid, challenge when Sterling was going no where and had pretty much let the ball run out of play.
In that game the commentators kept banging on about Harry Kane dropping deep or going wide to get the ball. Well, he had to or he wouldn’t have seen the damn thing. If the other front players, who said commentators kept lauding – Sterling, Mount, Foden – had done their job then Harry wouldn’t have to go searching. But while those three were repeatedly talked up what exactly did they create? Very little.
Southgate again got lucky with Poland missing their main man. And with Lewandowski missing so seemed Poland’s belief. or maybe it was just a first half thing, the manager knowing after Southgate’s half-time talk England would be half asleep for the second 45.
And so it was. None more asleep than Calamity John… Stones.
It doesn’t matter what has happened with Stones of late you know that is always there from him. Deer in the headlights, face like he’s about to burst into tears and the gifted chance to the opposition.
Of course while his media fans will mention his howler for the polish equaliser they won’t mention he got away with one a little earlier, when he played Pope into trouble. Both instances came about due to the same failing. Stones playing the ball towards goal, into trouble, when he could have turned wide both times, away from goal, away from creating trouble for his own team.
The thing is that three of that back four against Poland all have this type of howler in them, Walker, Stones and Maguire and chances are at some big moment in the big game out it’ll come.
And they all know that Pope isn’t the best with the ball at his feet… so stop bloody playing it too him. Face bloody forward. There is the story of England in these three games from the kick off against San Marino where the ball didn’t get into the visitors half for over a minute.
Passing it backwards. Lost count of the number of times that an England player had acres of space in front of them, ran forward, stopped and then passed it backwards. Sterling Walker and James were the worst. Like watching a team of Winks. Pretty sure in that first game that James only passed the ball forward twice.
Lost count the number of times England had the ball on the edge of the opposition box only for it to be back closer to their own box within a couple of passes. And they wonder why Kane goes searching.
In the end they got lucky against Poland with the late winner. Someone actually got on the end of a set piece, which for the most part were utter rubbish in the game.
So it’ll probably play out as per usual for England in qualifying. Get through with ease then go out to the first decent team in the tournament knockout stage.