Alan Shearer got what he asked from England

HIGHLIGHTS | England’s goalless draw with United States puts World Cup progress on hold | ITV Sport

he’s just too dim to know it.

Shearer asked for more of the same from England and he got it in another dull display that they got lucky for the most part the USA matched them to produce a nil-nil draw.

That’s the problem with the scoreline from England’s previous game against Iran it glossed over the dullness of the performance, it was the same game they played against the USA just this time they didn’t have those six moments.

After watching Wales be worse than inept in losing to Iran – they weren’t exactly much better in their draw with the US, no matter what the pundits say – all England had to do was win the game to get out of the group, it would almost have guaranteed top spot. England came out as if Southgate had given them his halftime talk before the whistle.

Slow, dull and ponderous from the off. They either didn’t looked bothered or they had that attitude that “lads, it’s America” attitude that’s seen them never beat the States in a World Cup finals. A press that was more a meander and back passes. Be still my beating heart.

One surprise was Pickford and goal kicks. I’ve never seen Pickford hoof the ball into the opposition half from goal kicks so many times in a tournament, never mind a single game. Of course it was a complete waste, due to the fact that when he was booting the ball his two centre halves were stood next to him, while his fullbacks and central midfielders were about halfway inside their own half. Leaving three players, two of them midgets fighting for this high hump.

The only other surprise was that Kane finally had a shot. It was blocked off but he at least had a shot. But yet again all of Gareth’s chosen ones didn’t play him any sort of ball all night. Post match you hear Jenas and a Welsh lumper blame Kane yet not one mention that Sterling, Mount, Saka, Belligham will play him a decent ball.

Jenas saying Kane looked “leggy” yet missing out on the fact that Kane was doing the defending work, while having to drop deep, very deep at times, to actually get England playing and going forward. H was the only creative player in white on the pitch.

Yet again the two either side of him were well inside, while neither fullback really ventured forward. The US weren’t going gung-ho the way they did against Wales, there was no need for this cowardly caution. But patience… patience. Contrast and compare with the way France played. Their wingers played as wingers, stayed wide and were always there for an out ball. Now image Sterling and Saka doing that and playing crosses to Kane like France do to Giroud, a far inferior player. Then you could have Maddison doing the Greisman role. In a 4-2-3-1 to 4-2-1-3 formation.

Saka did get to the byline twice, both from the perfect ball by Trippier, onto his run, it created good chances. I was most surprised that the first time was followed up so quickly by the second, I wasn’t surprised that they never did it again, even though the opportunity presented itself many times after.

And there sums Southgate and England up. Needing that creativity in the middle, what did he do. He brought on Jordan Henderson. The dullest dullard in dullardville. His one contribution to proceedings was an aimless hump high into the box. It was laughable. People saying how many trophies Henderson has won. He’s won nothing. He was there, he was present but he didn’t win anything.

Southgate watched this rubbish not working for nearly 70 minutes before making his changes. Sterling and golden boy Bellingham coming off. The other golden boy Saka made way shortly after. And there’s England again. Their chosen ones can do it for one game. How Mount stayed in is well… how does Mount start, how does he get in the squad. It’s Southgate that’s how.

England were let off the hook by the USA’s dullness. Time and time again they had good opportunities to get an early cross in, test out that defence but time and time again they chose to stop, take a touch and pass it backwards. At times they were out Englanding England. Incredibly infuriating all round. They had the best chances but ballooned them.

Yes this game was much like the dull draw against the Jocks in the last Euros. But that doesn’t mean things will get better. Yes it is only Wales next and they have been awful, laughably awful – John Hartson’s eulogising of Bale in their opener when he did two things all game and one of them was being fouled, I think he did even less against Iran but still more than Ramsey.

England though have that habit of underestimating the opposition. They have to lose by a bundle not to qualify. Stranger things have happened, look at the Saudis and Argentina – can you image England being as tactically creative as the Saudis were, playing that extra high line and totally discombobulating Messi et al? The Argies didn’t have an answer, neither would Southgate’s England. They would never have the balls to play it.

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