From the euphoria of last-minute victory over the Germans to a deflating home loss against the Netherlands, some might say its classic England. Que predictions of another major championship failure. For my money though, there’s no need to panic.
I think there are lots of things to be positive about after the friendlies. Lets start with the goalkeepers. Butland and Forster both gave solid performances, proving why they are number 1 at their clubs, Stoke and Southampton respectively. It also shows that if Joe Hart is unavailable, then we have 2 pairs of dependable hands to call upon.
I dont think anyone would have tipped Harry Kane to be leading the charge for England at Euro 2016. Mauricio Pochettino has done a magnificent job with Kane. He looked assured and accomplished against Germany, taking his goal brilliantly. He also gives England variety up top.
This guy is a gem. Whatever my personal view is towards MK Dons, I have to credit them with providing a platform for Alli to improve. He has taken his game on another level this season at Spurs. The heartbeat of the England team for years to come.
Chris Smalling has been a revelation under Louis Van Gaal, one of Dutchman’s few claims of success at United. But who plays with him for England?! Cahill is a quality defender, but seems to lack something against the very best. John Stones is young and an unquestionably talented footballer – footballer, not defender. Yet.Phil Jagielka is not good enough.
John Terry anyone?
I’m not Rooney’s biggest fan. Nor am I his biggest critic. I’ve always tried to look for how we get the best from him and how he can influence the team he is in. I think he is negative because at the moment, the best way for England to play doesnt suit Rooney’s style recently. Having so many games on the clock at the highest level is beginning to show. He slow’s the game down too much when this England side thrives on playing at near breakneck speed. The Holland game was slow in the first half and we looked ordinary. Quick play with width brought our only goal.
Depth of talent
In my opinion, I think we are capable of fielding a starting XI that can reach the semi’s. Its when injuries, suspensions and form come into play. Can Henderson really do it? Are the full backs good enough? Can we effectively change system and maintain a good level of performance. What the two friendlies showed me is that this England squad were able to utilise the outrageous pace on the counter, but when it comes to having players able to unpick a stubborn defence, maybe we lack enough on that front.
Overall, it was good for Roy to see how the two sides stacked up. 8/11 that started in Berlin will more than likely start against Russia. Those three up fro grabs places were open for the starters against Holland, I’m not sure enough of them did themselves justice.
My starting XI vs Russia on June 11
Clyne Cahill Smalling Rose