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John, I think you and your iPhone have missed the point of the Hart criticism. He should be up for the game, I don’t think anyone would complain about a player being fired up and ready for the game. The constant concern with Hart is that he seems more focused on being seen to be fired up and ready for the game than on actually being fired up and focused for the game. Am I the only one that gets the sense that Hart is constantly aware of where the nearest camera is? Along with his ever-readiness to ‘front up’ for the mistakes he makes. Again, feels like that is more important to him than addressing what is causing the mistakes.
Kev (I could be wrong)
Don’t praise Roy for rectifying his own mistake
For Daniel Storey:
‘To have both of Hodgson’s half-time substitutes score was wonderful justification for his balls-out reaction to the first-half under-performance.’
An under performance that should not have been allowed to occur. A good team performance does not make the knockout rounds – goals do. And when two players (Kane and Sterling) were average in the first game, you have a big decision to make for game two. By sticking with Kane and Sterling, and their continued desire to underwhelm, Hodgson had significantly reduced our chances of progressing from the group when we found ourselves 1-0 down at half time. To say it was a ‘balls out reaction’ is giving more praise than is due – the whole country would have changed Kane and Sterling at half time, so why should we give Roy credit for it when it was so bleeding obvious? His hand was absolutely forced through his own shirking of the big decisions. In tournament football, you act swiftly or you get knocked out. Roy got lucky, as I feel he did in the first game with substitutions and our lack of killer instinct to finish off Russia.
‘There were few surprises in England’s team selection, but to make such a definitive move to change the game as early as half-time was inspired’
Again, I can’t help but feel this is a misuse of the word ‘inspired’ – there was no inspiration involved, simply a necessity to change it because he stuck with a team that was clearly struggling to score goals. It would have been ‘inspired’ and ‘balls out’ to give Kane and Sterling a kick up the arse straight to the bench from the start and say ‘this isn’t a 38 game season lads, play shit get dropped’.
The reference shortly after to humble pie I’m not sure what Storey is referring to but it feels like he’s forced these particular points.
Or maybe he’s just expressed his opinion that I disagree with!
Relegate Raheem to the Under-21’s
Regarding Sterling, I think the issue is very simple.
A player starting a game for his nation’s senior side at a major tournament should be able to shoulder the responsibility do his job. Sterling was profligate in possession, wasteful with his passing and ill disciplined with his first touch. Against Wales he didn’t take responsibility for his role on the pitch. Fine, he’s 21, but you can’t make excuses based on that; he’s young enough to play for the u21s where there is a bit less pressure. That is where he should be until he can perform more consistently. It’s why Barkley wasn’t picked at all.
Just a neutral’s observation.
Not falling for Sturridge
Fair play to Sturridge for scoring the goal but some people on here praising him saying what a great player etc, did they actually watch him? trying to beat to many defenders, shooting from everywhere when colleagues are in a better position, no awareness of play going on around him, like I said fair play for scoring a goal (which I celebrated like a demented baboon) but don’t paint him as anything less than a selfish glory hunter more interested in personal glory than the team.
Time for Roy to drop chocolate wrists and bring Forster in, Hart has had two goal attempts to save and fluffed his lines with both of them, Sterling is bereft of confidence and needs taking out of the firing line, give Rashford a chance the kids on fire. All in all a wonderful end to the game I just wish we made it a bit easier on the old ticker.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
Worries over Wayne
Rooney seems to have become the equivalent of Mike Brearley in the famous Botham’s Ashes win of 1981. Brearley was not really picked as a star player, but for his captaincy which inspired Ian Botham to some incredible scoring feats. Let’s hope Rooney can have the same effect on the England team.
Tim Royall (GFC)
…I wonder if anyone else was watching the same two games as me, or if anyone else understands the purpose of the box-to-box CM in that formation (surely the position he is playing since he is alongside the ultra defensive Dier), but Rooney only started to do his job properly in the second half yesterday.
In the first game and the first half of the Wales game, he was always too deep when we pushed forward. When collecting the ball deep, he would play a pass and stand back to admire it rather than push forward. Not having a runner from midfield makes it way too easy for the defence to pick up the front 4. I was at the Russia game, and the whole crowd around me was growing frustrated seeing Rooney amble forward whilst Lallana, Sterling or Alli were looking for assistance.
In the second half of yesterday’s game, he finally started getting forward and causing problems. That, along with Sturridge picking up the ball and running at defenders, is what allowed us to dominate for so long and actually create chances. Hopefully this has been noted by Rooney and the coaching team, and he will start the Slovakia game with a similar mentality. Otherwise, Wilshere has to be pushing for a starting spot, since he is certainly never shy in pushing forward. Maybe a little too much, at times, but we are better when creating chances than relying on solidity at the back.
Ross, AFC London
…An excellent “16 Conclusions” if I may say so. Am I reading too much into Rooney’s reaction to the Sturridge goal – all players (inc Hart) plus Neviller (legend) bundle in the corner, and he is on his tod screaming at the camera then (at the end of the video you linked to) seen walking forlornly past said bundle…
Or am I falling into the trap of auditioning to be a tabloid sh*t stirrer?
David, Essex (no not him)
Kane burnt out
I feel a bit sorry for Kane at the moment. Clearly, he hasn’t produced his best form in the opening two games of the tournament. But is it any wonder when they were the 61st and 62nd games of the season for him? He looks absolutely shattered. Tottenham’s failure to sign another striker to rotate with him has taken its toll. Dele Alli is under a similar predicament I feel, having now played 56 games this season – he has an unbelievable engine, but even for him, that is a hell of a lot of games for a 20-year-old, and I think you can just see him starting to tire in the games at the moment.
By contrast to Kane, Vardy’s total is a more modest 46 games, and Sturridge’s obviously lower still at 28, so it’s no surprise that they looked sharper when entering the game at half time yesterday. Against Slovakia I think Kane will be left out, and if nothing else he might be glad of the rest. I would also rest Alli for that game, Wilshere is a more than able replacement, and as we know, he’s only played 7 games this season, so he certainly shouldn’t be jaded. Give Kane and Alli that game off, and by the time we play our last 16 game they’ll have had 8 days off, after which they may actually prove to be some use, as opposed to now when they look dead on their feet.
In fairness to Sterling, he’s also played 56 games which is quite a high amount. I would also be quite happy to see him rested in the Slovakia game. I think it’s best for the squad as a whole if Vardy, Sturridge & Wilshere come in for Kane, Sterling & Alli for that game. I’m sure Woy already has something like that in mind though, given how strongly we finished the Wales game.
Olly Cole, THFC (Dier has actually played 60 games as well but he’s just a machine I guess – or he just doesn’t run as much)
Cheer the f*** up
We win and you have a mailbox full of moaners!
Get off the players’ backs – the criticism of Sterling in particular reminds me of the hounding of John Barnes, who remains the greatest England player I have ever seen.
Don’t say Gazza, it wasn’t – go look up videos of Barnes circa 1984 to 1989 – for a time he was unplayable which could have been down to new Lucozade Sport – gets to your body fluids fast.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
…What the hell is wrong with the bunch of moaners in the mailbox this morning?
England won 2-1 against possibly our fiercest rival, look likely to go through and provided the best England moment of my adult life.
Yet there is criticism for Rooney, Hart, Kane, Sturridge, Vardy and Sterling. Cheer up! England won!
Yes there were some players who didn’t play to full potential but f*ck me, enjoy the moment!
…I read this morning’s mailbox and wondered if I’d dreamed yesterday’s results. So many mails bemoaning players, saying others should have started, talking about scapegoats.
What the hairy balls is wrong? You’re going to go through to the next round and YOU JUST CAME FROM BEHIND IN THE LAST MINUTES TO BEAT A RIVAL HOME NATION IN YOUR BIGGEST GROUP GAME.
Where’s the excitement? Where’s the giddiness? Get carried away ffs!
Genuine question to people – what’s the general mood in England about these Euros right now? Up in Scotland we’re just enjoying it and (most) folk are excited for all of the home nations to do well.
A mention to F365’s piece on the pure joy of the moment – excellent. That’s what I thought today’s mails would be full of. Alas.
Expand the Euros further
I am sure this mail will have a tough time getting published the morning after the England game but anyway, I wanted to share a thought on the tournament format. I have enjoyed the tournament so far (few more goals would be nice) but can’t help feeling UEFA have really screwed the pooch by not expanding the tournament to 32 teams.
I should say straight away that my preference is always for a 16 team, high quality tournament, which is difficult to qualify for, but that ship appears to have sailed. It’s not like if you added another 8 teams it would make much difference at this point. Let’s say, for example, the following countries were added to the mix: Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Serbia, Bosnia, Finland and yes, Scotland. Can anyone honestly say that the quality level would be diluted? You would get 12 more group games and maybe 4 more days of group play, which isn’t that big a deal. Of course, qualification would be rendered almost pointless, an established country would have to be really bad to not qualify, but the benefits are there:
Same number of knockout games.
Elimination of this ridiculous 3rd place qualifier sh*t, so every game would matter, not like now where one win gets you in and you see teams that won the first game not really caring if they lose the next one.
The knockout rounds go back to 1st vs 2nd.
More teams get to be part of the fun.
Can anyone point out a flaw in this plan? It seems to me UEFA have ended up with the worst of both worlds with 24 teams, a compromised tournament with diluted quality. I say for 2020, its 16 or 32 teams only.
The Peng, FFC, SW6
Rather enjoyable headline in a Belgian newspaper:
‘Big brother England puts little brother over his knee’
Super Johnny Evans
I never thought this sentence would ever be written by anyone.
Johnny Evans has been immense at a major international tournament.
It’s just a shame that Garth Crooks isn’t picking his team of the week where we’d surely see JE picked as a no. 10.
Baggies at the Euros
First of all massive congratulations for Northern Ireland. What a win! Although English, as a WBA fan I had more than a passing interest in NI game. Gareth McAuley was simply magnificent. He signed on a free transfer for the Baggies as a 32 year old, 4 years later he has never let the club down, always been a player of the year contender and scored many and important goals. Without doubt yesterday was the pinnacle of what must be the most underrated career of all time. Jonny Evans was immense. Northern Ireland were superb, and small part of (not credit) but acknowledgment should go to Tony Pulis. He has provided Northern Ireland with 2 players (3 not forgetting Chris Brunt) who were able to orchestrate and mastermind yesterdays victory. From working with Pulis, they have the knowledge, experience and skill set to provide the soundest of defensive bases. That said, Northern Ireland also took the game to the Ukraine as important times. But as a Baggie, I was immensely happy.
A quick couple of points on the England game. I personally found Kyle Walker very frustrating, time and again he got down the wing, but it seemed to me like he was only prepared to pass to a very poor Dele Alli. Alli could barely do anything right. Harry Kane was none existent again. However, I thought that once again Eric Dier was superb. I think there are big questions are about the (Arsenal fans will love this) mental strength of some of these Spurs young guns. But, I personally am still hopeful, a couple of average/poor performances does not make them bad players. But I think it is clear they should not be guaranteed starters.
Well done Roy. Shame on everyone wanting him to fail.
Land Of My Fathers is probably the best national anthem and I love hearing the Welsh sing it. It is spine tingling and the team isn’t half bad either. Hopefully they can get the job done against Russia.
Come on the Home Nations.
Ben (Gareth McAuley Is Better Than JT) Baggie.
Walker for Barca
With Dani Alves gone from Barça, they’re probably in the market for a new right back (Aleix Vidal? Not buying it).
Who better than a direct replacement, loves to attack, incredibly quick, finds himself 5 yards ahead of the opposition full back when he receives a through ball, occasionally whacks the ball really really hard at goal, and has that “I know I’m good” arrogance?
Kyle Walker to Barçelona, you know he’d look out of place, but you know it makes sense.
KC(where full backs go to live out their lives as wingers)
Mike, LFC, Dubai, to be fair, you’re talking out of your *rse. Of course the order of your fixtures matters. If you get a bunch of easy games at the start of the season and end up top of the league after 5 or 6, you’ll go into the tougher games full of confidence and with a better chance of collecting even more points. Conversely, if you have half a dozen tough fixtures and have two points out of 18, your manager’s getting sacked and your season’s in turmoil.
Not that any of this makes any difference to Spurs as they’re so wonderfully inconsistent home and away anyway.
Is Pogba all that? Yes…yes he is.
Now I don’t pretend to watch Serie A but:
*33 Appearances. Stats per game: 2.2 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, 8 Goals, 12 Assists, 1.5 key passes, 2.9 succesful dribbles. Total Whoscored score: 7.81, 10th highest rated player in Europe; 7 of the 10 above are strikers
Kante, the current “best midfielder” (I agree btw) in the world, is 21st.
Now I know statistics aren’t everything but you don’t get this much hype without something to back it up, statistics or otherwise. He is infinitely better than anyone Utd have right now by a long, long, long, long, long way. A long way.
Rob A (Mattuidi is awesome too) AFC
Lovely to hear from you, Mrs Stead
Can I just say it has been a joy reading the work of Matt Stead since he joined F365. This is not a dig at the writers who were there before Matt arrived, on the contrary. His pieces fit the site brilliantly as well as ranging varying topics. His recent articles about Martial, Switzerland, Hamsik and his ratings from the England v Wales match have all been thoroughly enjoyed. Keep up the good work!
Matt’s No.1 Fan