Let’s hold criticism until England are sh*t

Date published: Monday 13th June 2016 2:36

It’s a decent mailbox. Keep them coming; mail us at theeditor@football365.com


Wilshere for Rooney and England are good to go…
Yeah it’s been one game in and England are third in their group. I will say it the way I see it. Hodgson doesn’t need to change the system. The system was perfect on the night. England controlled the game and created numerous chances but were let down by their finishing. On another day, the boys could have won by a three-goal margin. No need to cry over spilt milk. Wales is up next.

For me Wilshere has to start in place of Rooney. Rooney is no centre midfielder. Though he looked solid but who would have expected less against a Russian midfield comprising of relatively unknown players. It’s been half a decade the man had a great game at the centre forward position so no need trying to crowbar him into the team. All he has to offer is cross-field passes and his first touch is usually atrocious. And we all know that Wales won’t afford him time on the ball like the Russians did.

England will do a whole lot better without Rooney in the team. So just drop the deadweight, stick with the same system and England are good to go. I absolutely believe England can hand Wales a spanking. ‎Sterling really needs to start offering more than an outlet. He should be a threat to the goal. He could even win penalties by utilizing his pace by running at the fullback. And Lallana needs to really bury the numerous chances that comes his way. The guy doesn’t receive enough plaudits for putting himself in great positions. He had England’s best chances on the night. He is England’s Muller without the finishing touch.

Those calling for Stones to be included for his ball-playing ability are missing the point. Cahill and Smalling were almost flawless on the night and were solid defensively before a last-minute loss of concentration. Russia barely threatened and were just pinging in long balls. Stones’ ball-playing ability won’t be needed when he has Bale running at him.
Smith (Fellaini to elbow his way into the net tonight against Italy)


Defending Lallana’s goalscoring record…
Seems quite strange for Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London to say England will miss Townsend because Lallana doesn’t score enough goals. It’s quite clear that finishing isn’t one of the string points of Lallana’s game but to put Townsend as superior in that regard is very misplaced.

Lallana’s record for Liverpool is 13 in 90 appearances over two seasons, sure, not fantastic, but I’m sure everyone who watches Lallana will agree that he’s not there to score goals, and brings a lot more to the team. His harrying of opposition is much better than the “engines” of Milner and Henderson, and he is capable of some great moments of skill to suck in players.

Townsend meanwhile, in a comparable spell; his time at Tottenham, scored 11 in 93, albeit with less squad security. It’s quite easy to see that Townsend is no better at scoring goals, but benefits from the nature of his goals – everyone remembers his 25-yard wallops over Lallana’s finishing.

Had Townsend been playing in place of Lallana against Russia I think a lot of the well-worked opportunities would have already been knocked into row Z.
KC (scorer of great goals, not great goalscorer…)


Actually, England were great
Great England performance on Saturday night. That didn’t feel like watching England at a major tournament at all – I am more used to frustration than excitement. I see lots of people are blaming Roy for the substitutions but when you’re leading a game with 10 minutes to go your objective isn’t to score more goals, it is not to concede. I appreciate that we didn’t achieve that – but I’m not sure that bringing on Vardy/Sturridge would have solved that problem. That was a last-minute lapse in concentration – an issue that certainly needs to be addressed going forwards.

The other two areas of concern as I see it are 1) Finding another player to take corners and 2) Our finishing.

We can address point 1) Fairly easily by asking another one of the available nine outfield elite players to kick a dead ball in to the box. So on to point 2). Our biggest regret of the match has to be going in to half time without anything to show for a fantastic performance. We probably won’t play quite that well again for as prolonged a period, but if we can reproduce anything similar to that against Wales then we should be looking to beat them by two or three goals. The team can be forgiven in the first match for not producing the end product, but we need to be scoring from open play against Wales on Thursday in order to kick start the campaign.

Of course any kind of goal would be welcome, but in particular I think that if Kane scores on Thursday, that could be the catalyst for the whole team – and this would be made all the more likely by him no longer taking corners and being available in the area of the pitch where he is most dangerous – the opposition penalty box.
David Aina, Croydon


…As usual people are overreacting to England’s result on Saturday night. We played really well and could have won 3-0, Russia were lucky. I actually thought Smalling and Cahill were solid at the back and distributed well, the fault for the goal lay with James Milner failing to close down the cross. Eric Dier was the best player on the pitch not just for his goal but for his excellent defensive work.

Kane was terrible, as he was in the friendlies, and should be dropped for the Wales game, it’s also clear that Lallana just isn’t quite good enough to play at this level, too many dummies and flashy flicks not enough actual end product. I’d like to see Vardy and Sturridge/Rashford replace them. I don’t see how Walcott is an upgrade on Sterling, he might be lacking a bit of form but he’s still our most proficient dribbler and quickest player. Otherwise I wouldn’t change that much for the Wales game, other than to tell Kyle Walker to actually cross the ball and not cut it back every single time. It seems harsh to blame Hodgson for the team’s shortcomings in finishing chances and shutting the game out. Definitely plenty of room for improvement, but I would rather that than peak in the group stages.
Alan Ewens

…I just wanted to comment of the negative drivel directed towards Mr Hodgson in recent mails for his substitutions the other night. Now I’m not saying they were great but when 1-0 up with 15 minutes to go in the opening game of an international tournament bringing on a controlling midfielder to see out the game is a good idea. Then also with only a few minutes left bringing on your tireless Mr Dependable to help bolster a flagging team is a good idea.

A few minor individual errors (and they really were minor) turned a well deserved win into an unlucky draw. The team played pretty well with a positive formation and tactics, if the team continue to play that way then England will surely qualify from the group stages and could do alright in the knockout rounds.

I gleeflully partake in bashing the England team for being sh*t but really it should be reserved for when they are actually sh*t (we usually don’t have to wait too long for that).
Dave, Manchester


The correlation between Spurs and England
I’ve always said: supporting Spurs is excellent practice for supporting England.

That said, if you’re going to pick the guts of a Spurs team (Walker/Rose/Dier/Alli/Kane), I would assume you’re going to encourage the kind of high-pressure play that made them look good in the league…

Kane doesn’t do the whole floating around up top ‘maintaining presence’, he chases people down for the ball, as do all his team-mates. Then he gets the ball with the defence a bit unprepared and the fact that he’s not the quickest/strongest/most-technically-gifted striker isn’t such a problem.

As a side note: I don’t get Lallana. Lots of running around, but all felt very labrador-ish to me. If we want someone to look a bit threatening then spoon the ball away I’d have Walcott or Townsend.

I don’t think a draw with Russia is a problem for us. I don’t think this is what we can expect from the team when it comes to the crunch games. It’s the summer, it’s hot, the players have done full seasons for their respective clubs. You can’t send the lads out to do the ‘gegenpress’ for the entire tournament, they’d be broken by the knockout rounds.

I’m really hoping that we just bully our way through the group by being better than the other teams, and save our energy for the knockout rounds and suddenly blossom into the high-up-the-pitch pressing team that we are well placed to be. We may have to go behind in a game to see what the team is actually capable of.
Dan (grum-bling for England (en gerr land)) Watford


Shame on you, Football365
For many a year I have become completely disgruntled by the English media as a whole and their lazy , biased and knee jerk reaction style of reporting. Which in many cases just brings a football fan with a decent level of football intelligence to near tears as to how some of these journos and pundits get paid for spouting this boll0x.

Therefore , F365 has been my first port of call for my football fix. I have long since admired F365’s style of reporting as it is the opposite of what I have mentioned above.

However, after F365’s call for Harry Kane being dropped, I fear you may have dropped to the level of rest of the sensationalist media you always in my mind anyway stood a level above.

The lad was playing his first ever tournament game. Oh ye of such little faith. Kane has been superb for two seasons and is England’s best finisher by a distance. It’s not like he missed a lot of chances or anything or in general play had a complete stinker. Also, I’ve played up front albeit at a much lower level and when you have 2 guys (Sterling and Lallana) on either side of you who can barely ever pick the correct final ball or finish themselves it’s not easy, in fact it’s draining as you know your runs are ultimately for nowt.

It must be tough being a striker in a major tournament if you don’t get a goal in the first game you will be under serious pressure, this in fact was going to be the topic of this mail originally. My honest opinion is that you sit down in the build up weigh up all your options, pick your number one striker and you live and die by that decision in many ways, unless your man has a couple of absolute stinkers. Especially a guy like Kane who even if it’s not going his way you know he’ll just keep plugging away and given any half decent chance will soon be back on track.

Rooney must be giggling, from not wanting him in team to blaming him coming off as a reason for the draw. The wazza pendulum in full swing again. At least he can pull Kane to one side and say listen Harry just keep your head up and don’t let all them knee jerk numpties in the media get to you!

As for F365 , I’m not angry I’m just disappointed. I hope it’s just a case of England fever that threw you so off course.
Pedro, Luxembourg


…Right, he’s got a lot of stick since Saturday, most of which I think is unfair. Yes, he had a quiet game but the service he got was, well, not there. They took one pass too many to actually play the through ball to him when they tried it. Lallana had a good first half but I don’t remember him actually creating anything for Kane. Sterling looked dangerous until he got about 30 yards away from the goal. He has the kicking ability of a 10 year old and also provided next to nothing for the striker. I would have liked to have seen Barkley maybe come on and try some through balls or balls over the top.

In fairness his shooting was a bit off, but you can rest the blame on him, strikers need service. The corners thing is really annoying me in that, he’s actually okay taking them, I can remember when over hit one, the rest were pretty decent. From memory I can’t remember him scoring a header from a set piece, he’s not that great at that to be honest. They’ve been training all this time, he’s not going out saying I’m having this corner and this one, he’s been told to, because he must be the best one at them in training. Let’s just not do what we always do and get on our main player’s back. He had a quiet game. There’s no need for Vardy or Sturridge. Get behind him, let him shoot from 25-30 yards, he does it for Spurs every week and it works okay, let these players try things.

It was a good performance from England, exciting and direct. If we play like that again, there’s no way we will only score one, it was just one of those games. Eric Dier banging in a free-kick almost brought me to tears, he’s my favourite player and I’m like a proud father watching him for England. Maybe even better than the goal was a few minutes later when he chased a Russian player back and told Smalling and Cahill to stay where they were as he’s got this and he did, nicking the ball off him and setting up the play again. Future captain!
Matty Giles


Just look at that Germany midfield….
If any clarification were needed on why England, however well they perform, won’t win Euro 2016, Sunday’s games provided it beautifully. England are approaching this tournament with a midfield of Eric Dier (decent holding player actually, albeit not as physically imposing as some), Rooney (converted striker, limited technique, poor short passing), and Dele Alli (hugely talented, probably a tournament too early for him to excel).

By contrast, Germany yesterday had Khedira and Kroos. If the former was quietly impressive, the latter was spectacular. And Croatia had Rakitic and Modric, who collectively put on the best Paul Scholes tribute act I’ve ever seen. In terms of range and diversity of passing, game management, control of space and tempo, and ability to unlock deep-lying defences, there’s simply no comparison between what Germany, France, Spain and Croatia possess in midfield, and what England can call on.
Chris, MUFC


What’s harder to win – the PL or the Euros?
I was just discussing Euro 2016 with a friend of mine when he remarked that managers such as Klopp, Mourinho or Wenger wouldn’t want the England job because it’s “too difficult” and “harder to manage a national team than a club team”.

He went on to say that winning the Euros is a more difficult achievement than winning the Premier League and I couldn’t help but think he was severely mistaken.

The argument he presented was that with less time with the players, and longer time in between tournaments, the squad can evolve massively between major games and you have to constantly change your squad whilst only having limited to time to work with them…therefore achieving great things is a finer example of managerial prowess than winning the Premier League, where you have week after week, and year after year, to build your squad and shape it in your image.

I couldn’t disagree more. To win the Euro’s you only need to play seven games. You have to qualify, admittedly, but once in the competition, seven games and it’s yours. In fact, not even seven games, as you can afford to drop points in the group. To win the Premier League you must perform consistently better than 19 other teams over 40 games through the period of a year. It seems blatantly obvious to me that this is a far greater challenge for a manager to complete.

Winning the Premier League – for both the team and the manager – is a much greater achievement than winning the Euros. In some peoples minds, winning the Euro’s may be considered more epic, more grandiose, more memorable due to having a whole country’s hopes rest on your shoulders. It may go down in history for your nation, but in pure simple footballing terms: it’s simply not as difficult.

Who agrees/disagrees? Would love to hear other people’s thoughts
Seb Whitehouse (MUFC)


This England side likeable to a Scotsman
In response to Scott in Australia I am a proud Scotsman in Scotland who is not afraid to say they are happy to back the England team this summer in the Euros! Maybe it is old age, maybe it is the fact we are so bad and Wales are such a one-man team that makes me root for England more, who knows, but I could not agree more that there is something very much likeable about the England squad. I recently took my son to Wembley for the Portugal game as he loves Ronaldo (he never played of course!) and with Scotland unlikely to ever qualify for anything this side of the year 3000 we took the opportunity to attend.

Obviously there is a huge rivalry between our two nations which goes throughout history but the reception we received from those around us on hearing our accents gave me a new-found respect for the English support and nation as admittedly beforehand you do worry about these things. It was amazing to see the build-up to the game and just the general sense of everyone being in the journey together for a greater cause. A big part of that is down to the squad England have at the moment, most of these players are huge ‘stars’, however you also get the impression that they are the kind of guys who are still supporters as well and are the kind you could have a pint with like the old days and that is something I very much feel filters through into the stands, unlike in recent times with the fabled Golden Generation. As an outsider you can tell that they genuinely want to do well for their nation as a whole and not what they can get out of it as individuals and for any nation big or small that’s the least you can ask for.

I do not expect many of my fellow Scots to feel the same as I do but end of the day we are all entitled to our opinions and this is mine!
Paul, Scotland


Some love for Danny Ward…
Amongst all the (justifiable) hoopla over Wales’ win against Slovakia I haven’t seen much mention of Danny Ward stepping in last minute after Wayne Hennessey’s horribly timed back spasms. From the indignity of being behind Simon Mignolet and Adam Bogdan in the Liverpool pecking order, Ward took himself off to Aberdeen and played superbly over the first half of the season. To now find himself starting his country’s biggest match for nearly 60 years is the stuff of dreams.

Ward looked suitably chuffed after the match and handled post-match interviews with the excited glee that any of us would. He had little chance with the goal (Ashley Williams’ side step did the business for every one) and performed well.

It would be tough on Hennessey given his role in a qualifying campaign that only conceded four goals but if Ward gets a chance to play on Thursday who knows where it might lead? Liverpool have signed a new keeper but not necessarily as a guaranteed starter. A great Euros could do wonders for young Danny…
Micki Attridge


Actually, this tournament is great
I have to disagree with Mike, LFC, Dubai, about the tournament being boring so far. I’ve watched every game and have enjoyed them all – I’d much rather watch a tight 1-0 where there’s still something to play for right up until the final whistle than an easy 3-0 win.

I actually really enjoyed watching Albania, they’re not packed with talent but they were tidy on the ball (worryingly much more than England look) and made some good chances for themselves, I don’t know how anyone could find that game boring. Same with France vs Romania, Romania were always in the game up until the end.

The first half of the N.Ireland game wasn’t a spectacle, but it was still an intriguing battle of defence versus attack, and then the game changed completely after the goal. Can’t wait for today’s games..
Mike Rolls


Whatever the reason, hoolies are c***s
Really enjoyed the article on hooligans, I just wanted to add; you list possible reasons for this behaviour, such as depression, drink, etc. One of the potential reasons is that they’re all c**ts. This last one is true, no matter what the reason. If the hooligans are depressed, can’t handle their drink, emasculated, racist, whatever, to act as they have been acting, they’re c**ts. No matter what you’re going through, if this is your reaction, you’re a c**t. It’s a shame these people probably will pay no regards to UEFA’s threat to kick us out, and carry on fighting. It’s an even bigger shame that even after they carry on fighting, UEFA won’t kick us out, because they’re spineless. I remember this s**t happening at EURO 2000, and thinking these people were idiots when I was 13. I’m 29 now, and I just despair.

In addition to this, I have to say; how much fun is the 2018 World Cup in Russia going to be? I know this is obviously a tiny minority of the fans, but there are probably more of the minority who didn’t make the trip to France, but will be out on the street in their home towns. It’s going to be absolute carnage. And you know what’s sad? It wouldn’t surprise me if people died. The only thing that would surprise me would be if FIFA actually did anything about it.
Rob (wonder if these English c**ts will be trashing London in 2020?) Leeds


And some of them are German
Good article from JN this morning and sad that it was ever written; but it did get me thinking, there hasn’t been much at all reported about violence from countries outside the group of Russia, England, Croatia and Turkey (the latter two, admittedly less than the former). Is that because no one else has been misbehaving? Not so:


If you don’t fancy reading the article, the title translates as ‘German hooligans go on the rampage/rioting in Lille’. The highlights included a reporter getting beaten, 50 German hooligans clashing with Ukrainian fans by the train station, eye witness reports of Nazi flags and around 150 hooligans from Germany known to the police, all arriving in Lille. Police in Germany have stopped another 21 from leaving the country, many with links to far right groups.

Clearly the problem is more than just football related. Football unfortunately seems to be the stage for extremist groups from all across Europe, getting tooled up to fight each other and by proxy, terrorise genuine humans. Let’s face it, UEFA fines and bans won’t make the problem go away and the fact that the Kicker.de article goes on to mention how thousands of Ukrainian and German fans enjoyed the game peacefully together, just underlines that it is a minority causing the problems. But it’s an organised, determined and dangerous minority that severely threatens the safety of many more individuals, unless more decisive action is taken in the right areas.

I’d like to know what extra measures UEFA plan to take other than banning alcohol around fan zones and other areas. It’s very easy to blame drunkenness and threaten teams with expulsion. But it isn’t addressing the uncomfortable truth; that while domestically, football hooliganism has decreased dramatically since the 80s, there is still an undercurrent of far-right extremist groups linked to football throughout Europe and they are using the game as an excuse to do battle.

For me, this is a political problem and we’re not going to fix this immediately, hence why banning countries from taking part won’t change an awful lot. So in the short term, I’d like to hear more about what additional security UEFA are planning and what exactly they will be working on with local and foreign police forces to protect the peace loving majority. Until we publicly tackle the problem head on, nothing will change.
Mr (sorry for cheating on you with Kicker…) Green, Bristol

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