Posts Tagged ‘Leighton Baines’

England vs Uruguay WC 2014 1st Round

June 21, 2014 Leave a comment

Anyone playing England !

Anyone playing England !

I could do a report on the game and who did what, and when things happened. But, as the whole world knows, England lost and their WC dream was hanging by a thread. Since then Italy have been beaten by Costa Rica, rendering that dream smashed on the dressing room floor.

So what went wrong.? This is easy. Against Italy, England attacked and looked fresh and even though they eventually lost, they made a good account of themselves. The England that turned up last Thursday, reverted to type, and were poor going forward with little transition from midfield, relying on long balls from Gerrard. Once or twice, Sterling showed his skills in the first half, but not enough for me. You could argue, that the Uruguay captain should of been dismissed for a chop at Sturridge’s neck, post a previous yellow, but he wasn’t, blah, blah. Read more…

England – Italy World Cup 2014 1st round

June 15, 2014 Leave a comment



And so, the World Cup comes round, but this time with a difference. The usual jingoism and self believe that usually hits the UK media every 4 years has been very subdued this year. For good reason as well, as although England qualified for Brazil 2014 with only a small wobble near the end, they haven’t exactly been tearing up trees with their performances since their exit to Italy in Euro 2012. I have witnessed first hand more than a few of those games and have reported on them here and via Twitter. Underwhelming just about sums it up.

So the nation expect little and we lose our first game out in the WC, 2-1 to Italy. About right i hear you say. STOP. Last night was about the best England performance I have seen since Rooney hit the big tournaments in 2004. The mix of youth and experience was right and England played some good attacking football but just lacked that killer instinct to make the last pass or take an extra touch.

I think England can come out of the group in second place (I have thought that since the draw), and then it’s anyones game.

How can we make this team better ? First off, and this is a simple football tactic that most managers seem to struggle with. Play your best players in their best positions. Rooney on the left? really ? Yes he made a great cross for Sturridge, and he says he will play anywhere for England, but it is a waste. The manager obviously fancies Sturridge and was vindicated, but he now has to be brave. Either 2 up top or drop Rooney for a real winger. With two up top, there would be no room for Wellbeck, but Sterling can sit in a real no 10 position and Wilshere can come into midfield, and needs to push further up and let Gerrard sort out the defensive part. Wellbeck has proved he is an impact player for United so no worries on that score, and it allows us to mix it up , up top. Rooney is already looking uncomfortable and if he is to play, he needs to be doing his business right up top.

We also need to pass a little more.We have the players, we just need to be sure in the technique. And that involves Roy and his team employing a little discipline into these lads. Easily done. Watch the Germans, and repeat.

Lastly on the team front. Ross Barkley? I just don’t get it. I’m sure he will get better, but he just seems to lose the ball all the time. Pointless to me why he is even there. James Milner would be better. There, I’ve said it ! Talking of Everton players, his teammate Mr Baines found out last night how Ashley Cole got 100 caps. He was not consistent, and got lost in allowing the cross in for the Azzurri’s winner. You could argue that Gerrard had a penalty shout, but that was that and the Italians are half way booked into the next round.

That said, I believe this new look England will gel in time, just not this competition. Sterling was sublime, and Sturridge always look lively, and surprise of the night for me was Jordan Henderson starting to look like his price tag.


England MOTM: Raheem Sterling. All day long. The boy is scared of no one.




England Vs Sweden, Friendly International 15/11/2011

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

This Tuesday brought me to my first England international in the new Wembley, and brought back more questions than answers.

After the “world beating” performance against on Spain, could England’s new look Lions drive on and overturn a non-winning streak against the swedes that goes back to 1968 ?

The team look adventurous enough, with Rodwell, Baines, Zamora, Walker, Jones and Cahill in the starting lineup. The obvious omission of Rooney, paved the way for Zamora to finally deliver his Fulham form in an England shirt. He was backed up by that famous no.10 Gareth Barry ? Not sure about that, with Bent available and Defoe twiddling his thumbs.  Also, why does Fabio persist with JT at the back. Take away all the racism nonsense and the plain fact is, he is not good enough for this level. He needs to go and a new captain found pre Euros (Lampard? Barry ?).

Onto the game. Wembley as usual, is a fantastic venue, but was freezing cold. England started will with Walcott playing well down the right, and getting some good crosses in. Jones and Baines looked comfortable, and Barry look out of position. I had mentioned to my wife that Zamora needs 7 chances to score, and i was proved right, as he spurned a few chances early on. Sweden offered not a lot, and finally capitulated in the  23rd minute, when from where i was sitting (at the scoreboard at the far end), Barry scored a goal after some good English build up. This was the 2000th senior England goal, but i’ve since heard it may of been an OG. Edit. Confirmed.

England kept applying pressure, and outside of  a few flick and tricks, Zamora didn’t really help his cause. Half time comes and everyone disappears to warm up !

The second half started much the same as the first finished, and then drifted into the usual International friendly second half malaise. Countless subs and then games starts to look like a training excercise (which it is, but a lot of people, paid a lot of money, etc). This was not just my opinion, as it was the first time i hace seen a mexican wave last more then 10 laps of the stadium.

Bent replaced Bobby Z, and looked a real threat in the air, and must go to the Euros now. The rest tried to play the game out, but the swedes smelled blood and pushed on, and were unlucky, hitting the post, and also had a couple of sitters they could of done better with.

Game ends 1-0. So what did i learn?

First off, if I am to move to the Olympic Stadium with West Ham, then i need to be very picky regarding my seat, as my preferred spot behind the goal, is bloody miles away, and was more akin to watching a game of FIFA on a plasma TV. If you cannot see the name on someone’s shirt (in your penalty box), they are too far away.This was quite depressing and has swung me from sort of in favour of the move, to some real deep thinking regarding the advantages.

The other thing was did anyone play themselves in to the Euro squad? Probably Baines and Jones. Zamora played himself out in favour of Bent, but lets not forget, Gazza was not in the squad for Italia 90 until the March international against the Czech’s. so its still up for grabs Bobby! Less tricks more direct is the way to go in internationals.


Once again HS1 payed dividends. Kent to Wembley, 55 mins. Nice