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England's small step in the right direction

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Paul Fletcher | 07:59 UK time, Thursday, 12 August 2010

At Wembley Stadium

England went into Wednesday's friendly against Hungary braced for a rough ride but determined to eradicate the lingering disappointment of their World Cup campaign.

On balance, I thought they delivered a performance that provided cautious reasons for optimism as Fabio Capello and his team switch their focus towards the forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

A different formation, a few new faces and a positive attitude were all evident as England recovered from the shock of falling behind after 62 minutes to win 2-1 thanks to goals from skipper Steven Gerrard.

The most encouraging aspect was the attacking play during the opening half hour at Wembley as Capello's team appeared to relish a more sophisticated system than the 4-4-2 that looked so limited and antiquated in South Africa.

What we saw could be described as 4-3-3, with Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry and Steven Gerrard in midfield, Theo Walcott and Adam Johnson providing the width and Wayne Rooney operating as a lone striker. Gerrard and Lampard showed a willingness to support Rooney, while Barry tended to sit in front of the back four.

With full-backs Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole supporting the youthful exuberance of Walcott and Adam Johnson, it ensured that England played with plenty of pace and width.

England moved the ball quickly but accurately, frequently cutting open Hungary with the sort of crisp one-touch moves that were conspicuous by their absence in South Africa.

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Gerrard hails David Beckham


"I tried to play a new style," said Capello. "It was not easy because Hungary was always defending but I thought that we were good for the first 30 minutes."

Of course, it must be noted that England did not manage to score until after the interval. They switched back to a 4-4-2 formation at the break, while the shape changed again after Rooney was withdrawn and replaced by James Milner.

Capello opted to start with seven of the team humbled by Germany in Bloemfontein - and it had been widely expected that supporters would voice their World Cup dissatisfaction by booing the players.

But England undoubtedly received much more support than criticism. Cole and John Terry were jeered when they touched the ball in the early stages, while Rooney was booed as he left the field when he was substituted. The Manchester United forward responded by waving to the crowd, a much shrewder response than his tirade in Cape Town.

England were booed as they headed to their dressing room at the end of the goalless first half and again when Hungary scored but the 72,024 spectators inside Wembley responded positively to their team's comeback, with Gerrard receiving a standing ovation when he was replaced in the final minutes by Jack Wilshere.

Gerrard was a worthy man of the match, with his goals underlining his continued importance to the team. The first was a rasping long-range strike and the second a deft finish after a sharp turn had wrong-footed several opponents.

"I know I got carried away with my celebration when I scored the first goal but it showed what it means to play for England," said the Liverpool midfielder.

Gerrard made way for 18-year-old Wilshere, who became the 10th youngest international to play for England. The Arsenal midfielder was one of three players to make his senior debut, along with full-back Kieran Gibbs and striker Bobby Zamora. Defender Michael Dawson won his first cap as his appearance against the Platinum Stars in a World Cup warm-up campaign was not classed as a full international.

Gibbs looked assured at left-back, while Zamora, although hardly a novice at 29, played with commitment and desire. The Fulham striker almost marked his debut with a goal but his long-range strike flew narrowly over Gabor Kiraly's crossbar.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart, 23, was third choice in South Africa behind Robert Green and David James but started on Wednesday, pressing his case for a regular place by making an excellent late save to prevent Zoltan Gera equalising.

"We have to see new players for the future," added Capello, who picked out half-time substitute Ashley Young for praise after the Aston Villa winger's confident performance on the left-hand side of midfield. "I have to change things."

It is important to place Wednesday's victory in context, of course.

The game was a friendly that took place before the Premier League season has started. It featured several England players who still lack match fitness. And the opposition were ranked 62nd in the world, although, for a brief few minutes, it looked as though they might inflict a damaging defeat on their hosts. But a win is a win.

Beckham trains with LA GalaxyBeckham is back in training with LA Galaxy

There remain concerns, though. Rooney has not scored for England since the 5-1 win against Croatia in September 2009 and his form at international level is a major worry.

As for Capello's tarnished reputation, he is sure to take another battering after it emerged that he had not informed David Beckham that the 35-year-old was surplus to requirements before revealing the news in a television interview before Wednesday's game.

The England coach acknowledged afterwards that he did not expect the veteran of 115 caps to play another competitive game, although he hoped he would turn out in one final Wembley friendly to say farewell. But, whatever his faults, the fiercely patriotic Beckham deserved better than to find out second hand that his international career was over.

Beckham's future will no doubt overshadow events on the pitch but at least England have begun the long process of rehabilitation after events in South Africa.

As for restoring the public's faith in the team, what's your view?

You can follow me throughout the season at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Frankly, the performance in last night's nor any other match from now until the European Finals matters not one jot. England played brilliantly in the World Cup qualifiers and we all know how that ended.

    England need to find a way to perform at their best in the finals, not meaningless friendlies and qualifiers. No one remembers you for being top of your qualification group...

  • Comment number 2.

    If Capello wishes to get club form out of his players he needs to play them in their club roles. Stop playing Gerrard wide left, stop using Lampard and Barry as holding players and start picking players who actually play in those positions.

    If this means dropping so-called 'match winners' then so be it, because, in all honesty, they have never been match winners for England

  • Comment number 3.

    Ok match I suppose. Some encouragement for the future. Not sure about Capello though - should have told Beckham his career was over, not a nice way to do it. Also did anyone notice Capello going down the tunnel at the end without attempting to shake the other manager's hand. The guy had to run after him to shake - strange behaviour.

  • Comment number 4.

    I Thought Adam Johnson showed real potential. Gibbs also. The combination of Gibbs and Young worked well down the left hand side, and I thought Walcott played a good first half. It remains to be seen if they can cut it against teams of equal or better FIFA standing. I suspect they will be quickly found out but given a couple of years and further premier league experience the future looks bright for them in the England team.
    Glenn Johnson needs to go, he has no business being in that England team or even in the squad, We showed once again that we need defending defenders we have enough attacking scope. If we can't defend properly at one end then scoring at the other might not be enough.

  • Comment number 5.

    I think that the performance was average, against an average team but it's good to see the likes of Young, Johnson, Walcott and Gibbs get some game time. Johnson and Wilshere looked to have a good understanding albeit for just 10 minutes. My only concern is that a number of these players mught not get all the necessary matches at club level thus hindering there natural progression.

    As for David Beckham, he perhaps should have called it a day after his injury but respect to the man as he is fiercly patriotic as you say, hence why he has maintained that he is available. Obviously if Capello hadn't spoken to him prior to his interview then it is poor form to say the least and surprising especially considering the way he used to act as a bit of a Beckham fanboy, selecting him off the bench almost for the sake of it, I do think the last handful of caps for Beckham were in a word, token.

  • Comment number 6.

    Also did anyone notice Capello going down the tunnel at the end without attempting to shake the other manager's hand. The guy had to run after him to shake - strange behaviour.
    --------------------------------------
    Noticed that too, odd, maybe pressure still getting to him?

  • Comment number 7.

    Thought they were a bit lightweight and ineffective upfront in the first half, looked better after halftime, but where do you put Rooney if we need an out & out centre forward ?. Good to see England making short passes a lot more rather than the hollywood ball, looks so much better, and you keep the ball from the opposition a lot more. The future has to be with Johnson, Wilshere, & Gibbs, not sure with Walcott, Young looked more purposefull. What purpose was served waiting until the last 10 mins for Wilshere, i personally would have put him on at half time for Lampard.

  • Comment number 8.

    The blog is wrong in one area of fact.  England did not score when playing 4-4-2.  When Rooney went off they reverted to 4-2-3-1 with Zamora up on his own and Gerrard just behind him and Milner and Barry holding.

  • Comment number 9.

    Paul,

    You write - "Of course, it must be noted that England did not manage to score until after the interval, when they had switched back to a 4-4-2 formation."

    From what I saw when Rooney went off, to be replaced by Milner, they reverted to the 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation and lo and behold 3 minutes later Gerrard scored the equaliser.

  • Comment number 10.

    It was encouraging performance at best. The first 30 minutes were the best they played, but at least there was some form of desire shown. I'm a Gooner and even Theo's performance surprised me. I hope he can transfer this performance to consistent one's for us.

    I really hope we can uncover a new holding midfielder, because for me, Gareth Barry is not good enough. Exposed agaisnt Germany, he is lucky that Owen Hargreaves career is teetering on the brink.

    I thought Gibbs looked comfortable at left back and made some good moves going forward. But he is not naive enough to get carried away knowing the quality of the opposition. But i feel that if Ashly Cole is injured or has dramatic drop in form, that he could easily step in to the breach.

    But let's have it right, this is a half decent performance against an average team and for all the "signs of the future" and "steps on the road to recovery." English players still do not understand the fundamanetals of tactics, are unable to hold onto the ball when under pressure, revert to the long ball when the going gets mildly tough and the majority do not have the mental strength to excel. None of these can be taught to this crop of player, and maybe not even the next generation. So we should prepare ourselves for a repeat of the World Cup in 2 and 4 years time.

    I know this will sound bias as I am an Arsenal fan, but the Arsenal players will be the best equipped to handle the pressures of tournament football, and have the technique and know how to play in those tough situations. I fear we will have to wait at least 10 years till we have a team full of players capable of understnding tactics, having good technqiue, with a different mindset to football and being menatally strong enough to cope with "top top level football" because the under 19s are atrocious.

  • Comment number 11.

    One mediocre team edged another mediocre team.

  • Comment number 12.

    Sorry to be picky, but four players made their senior debuts - Michael Dawson won his first cap.

    Being a Spurs fan, I was equally chuffed and gutted for him, as his slip led to the goal, but I don't think he deserved the constant 'Michael Dawson error' bashing that he got from the muppets on ITV - he did brilliantly to get back and actually get the ball off the line.

    I have to say that while I thought Phil Jagielka had a good game at the back, I still really worry about the lack of pace in the middle of our defence, be it Terry, Jagielka or Dawson. I have always been impressed with Gary Cahill when I have seen him play for Villa or Bolton, and he seems more technically proficient than the other three mentioned - although Bolton fans may correct me on that?

  • Comment number 13.

    I can only say I wish Wilshere gets time to play for Arsenal, and Johnson for Man City - and I don't even like their teams! It is important to have a good national team to assert our dominance on the International scene. How can we have the best league in the world without a top 5 ranked national team? I say Capello needs to go, and be replaced by Roy Hodgson, whilst he manages at Liverpool. You can manage both at the same time with no problems I would say. It would even help as he is a Premier League manager and sees the english players week in week out.

    Here's hoping Capello faces up to the reality of his ineptitude.

  • Comment number 14.

    Many people (Andy Townsend being just one!) seem to be getting carried away by seeing one half-decent England performance against a woeful Hungary, whose only real attack resulted in a "goal" through an unfortunate defensive error by the usually excellent Dawson.
    If Hungary had played against a decent Premiership side, they would have been mullered.
    Still too many players performing below par, not least Barry, who had a 'mare first half and consequently was left on for 90 minutes, and Walcott looked good against second division defenders, but still cannot make a decent cross or pass.
    Our front-running prima donna still doesn't look as though playing for England means anything more than another pay cheque.....and, sadly, he looks to be far from alone....don't let's get carried away, please!!!

  • Comment number 15.

    I say Capello needs to go, and be replaced by Roy Hodgson, whilst he manages at Liverpool. You can manage both at the same time with no problems I would say. It would even help as he is a Premier League manager and sees the english players week in week out.
    --------
    This isnt football manager!?!? I'm sure Hodgson has enough on his plate managing the biggest club of his career!!

  • Comment number 16.

    We already knew (or believed) before last night's match that Capello's England were flat track bullies: that they could beat feeble opposition but couldn't produce when it mattered or against any kind of quality. And last night Capello chose basically the exact same team and produced the exact same kind of result - victory against feeble opposition. Has it restored my "faith" that England can beat anyone half-good? No way!

    On another subject, any coach who picks a player religiously for 2 years, then drops him from his squad for a big competition, then in his next match has him in his starting eleven, doesn't know what on earth he is doing. Capello's treatment of Walcott is so inept, I'm starting to wonder if he's Kevin Keegan or Steve McClaren in disguise.

  • Comment number 17.

    A few points to be made.

    Johnson looked okay and will benefit from more top level prem experience.

    Hart will cement his number 1 space, and should be supported in the event of any error that as with all goalkeepers will eventually fall his way.

    It was no coincidence that Gerrard played far better and scored 2 goals when Lampard was off the pitch. Both offer exactly the same threat, and have similar footballing brains and abilities. There is unfortunately only room for one of them in any side. As Gerrard is younger, more energetic and in my opinion better, he must get the nod.

    Young proved to be a far better alternative to Walcott, who again fails to impress. Has los of pace, but is overall a poor footballer with little or no end product, he seems to run into rather than at defenders.

    Jagielka looked more assured, and it is obvious that the one paced dawson will fail to make an international footballer. Solid in the premiership when facing the likes of Bolton, Stoke, Chelsea etc when faced with the direct nature of that league. When the football becomes more subtle, this is when he will be found wanting. Even against a team ranked 60 odd in the world.

    Rooney could have been dropped last night, he either needs a rest or needs to know that he will not be picked despite his lack of goals and terrible performance at the world cup. Yes he should be indispensible, but on this form he certainly is not.

    Glen Johnson remains a question mark, however young gibbs looked very assured. The defence is the main concern for me as we do not look anywhere near solid. Shawcross deserves a chance, and Cahill is the kind of footballing centre back the international game requires.

  • Comment number 18.

    At the game last night.
    LOWLIGHTS – first half! Thought first half echoed problems we have faced for ages – unbalanced and lack of invention going forward cos playing people in the wrong place. I also think Rooney upfront on his own is a complete waste as he comes too deep to collect the ball leaving the midfield with too few options going forward and no target man. Walcott was poor and is not suited to playing in tight spots with little space. He needs to improve ball control and crossing – was woeful and looked like he was hiding from the ball at times. Can do very little unless he has space to run into and even then crossing is poor.
    HIGHLIGHTS - Adam Johnson, who the Press seem to have missed, was excellent. Also, second half was a different game -the dynamic changed completely with Zamora upfront holding up the ball. Rooney could drop without leaving a hole and Young and Johnson on the wings provided a great threat. Also showed England can play without Rooney as Gerrard filled the hole behind Zamora nicely when Rooney left the field.

  • Comment number 19.

    Well, England were always onto something of a hiding to nothing last night, particularly given the opposition.

    Still, there was some lively football, just lacking an end product.

    Not sure why there was booing particularly, perhaps just fans venting their spleen. Up to them I suppose, but it's something that I don't think I would ever do because I really can't see that it helps.

    As for the future, if you look at the team and squad things are quite rosy I would say.

    The keeper is definitely Joe Hart I would say. Left back is Ashley Cole who will have pressure put on him by Gibbs who looked very good when he came on.

    Defense will still be Terry and Jagielka was comfortable. Right back we know will be Johnson but we do need a quality replacement.

    Midfield is Johnson on the left, bags of potential there I reckon. Get Lennon fit again and I would see him as first choice right wing. The middle is Barry's at the moment. Carrick and Hargreaves are not in competition and I gather Rodwell was very good for the U21's so I think he should be given a chance next time around. Gerrard and Lampard will continue to play and, though unpopular, they should be there. Wilshere is almost completely unproven so let's hope he is given a chance to show us the potential that has been talked about.

    Rooney's form is poor (worst player last night I thought) but he is still first choice. Who with him though? Zamora didn't do himself any harm and there are others flirting about.

    Right, we've moved on from the world cup, let's just try and support and help going forward shall we?

  • Comment number 20.

    I agree with #2.

    England need to learn from Liverpool's 'Benitez experience'. The man seemed to behave much like a kleptomaniac in the transfer market and yet, with a few notable exceptions, never got the best out of who he signed.

    Capello may have 'stars who cannot be dropped' but they must ony have that accolade as international footballers when they play consistently well in an England shirt. Lampard has underachieved, Barry's form has slipped, and Rooney needs to inspire supporters not antagonise them. There are others with Terry looking more and more uncomfortable on the ball. Don't play them Capello, unless they deliver.

    Gerrard's two goals were as much about 'lesser' players worrying the Hungarian defence and providing him with space as they were about his footballing gifts. Class performers need very good 'bit players' to get the message through - Capello please note.

  • Comment number 21.

    1. At 08:31am on 12 Aug 2010, citizenloz wrote:
    Frankly, the performance in last night's nor any other match from now until the European Finals matters not one jot. England played brilliantly in the World Cup qualifiers and we all know how that ended.

    England need to find a way to perform at their best in the finals, not meaningless friendlies and qualifiers. No one remembers you for being top of your qualification group...
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh don't worry, England are quite capable of messing up qualification campaigns as well.

    Usually when they're put under pressure by fans and media picking over the bones and scapegoating people for previous tournament disappointments.

    We failed to qualify for Euro 2008, USA 1994, World Cups in 1974 and 1978, and Euros in 1972 and 1976.

  • Comment number 22.

    Gerrards brace did just enough to partially cover the obvious flaws in his own and England's performance in my opinion.

    England huffed and puffed with little effect, creating one clear cup opening through Walcott which was missed by Adam Johnson, who otherwise did ok. Other than that oppurtunity Hungary looked comfortable in defence as we simply lack the creativity to break teams down which a change to the new system did little to rectify.

    The most depressing thing about watching England is how poor the use of the ball is, it is genuinely awful, possesion is constantly wasted time after time and Steven Gerrard who will no doubt be branded "Captain Fantastic" in todays papers is one of the main offenders. I haven't read any papers this morning as I may vomit.
    Gerrard regularly trys passes that clearly aren't on, he doesn't have the ability to complete or are just poor. Giving the ball away on such a chronic basis is not something you will see Xavi, Iniesta or Fabregas doing for example and even ageing pro's such as Scholes and Seedorf use the ball infineitely better.
    Gerrard recovered his performance with two well taken goals, the best and the worst of Gerrard over the 90 minutes, it's the same in every match. The problem is that he won't score two goals like that against top class opposition, he simply won't be given the time whereas it is likely that his consistent wasting of the ball will be punnished.

    I don't want to turn my post into a rant about Steven Gerrard I'm just using him as an example of England's massive flaws. I still think we miss Scholes hugely, I'm unsure if a player has even been so underappreciated in the domestic game.
    I'm certain that had Scholes been born on the continent or even played there he would be far more widely appreciated by a lot of football followers (as he is by his peers), his continental style, use of the ball and fantastic football brain are things rarely seen on these shores. As an Arsenal fan I'm hoping Wilshere may be able to fill that gap, from what I've seen so far he's got the potential to, his problem will be getting a game at the Emirates.

  • Comment number 23.

    I've been an advocate of youth for many moons and was delighted the likes of Walcott, Johnson, Young, Gibbs did so well. Now we need to go the next step and lose Terry for Cahill, Lampard for Wilshire and Barry for Rodwell. Wilshere only had 5 minutes but he was looking for ball right from the go and he has the technique to play quickly or hold then release. And was I the only one who thought they looked more threatening when Zamora relaced Rooney? Undoubted talent but does he fit the system? And, if his style doesn't firt then manybe try Walcott down the middle to use that pace to best effect in the veign of a young Michael Owen. He would get knocked over a bit but half a yard and he would scare centre halves witless - worth a try? Any thoughts?

  • Comment number 24.

    Not a bad performance overall. Yet another bad decision from a 'referee's assistant' could have thrown a spanner in the works (Sepp Blatter are you watching) - but for Gerrard's immense passion and ability. What a great leader and player. Loved his celebration after his first goal. Adam Johnson was a huge oversight in not being taken to South Africa, as I thought at the time. Ashley Young, Phil Jagielka, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshire all played well. Zamora showed good passion too. Felt sorry for Dawson. I wasn't sure whether the crowd were booing Rooney, or booing the fact he was being substituted? He hadn't been booed up to that point. Overall, England played with more freedom. Capello looks and sounds deeply troubled in a way. Will he last? Only time will tell. At least players were played in position at last. We still need to keep investing in younger players, building character and skill above fame and money :)

  • Comment number 25.

    #21 Subterranean

    Usually when they're put under pressure by fans and media picking over the bones and scapegoating people for previous tournament disappointments.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Indeed. It's amazing how many people seem to fail to understand how counterproductive this can be, along with the booing.

    Perhaps we should tune ourselves to low expectations (which are more realistic that high expectations) and celebrate what the team achieve rather than try to be clever by nurturing a culture of putting them down all the time.

  • Comment number 26.

    England's performance was a lot more assured than their performance in the World Cup, although that's not saying too much considering their World Cup campaign was dire and they played Hungary last night. However there are always good points to note:

    Joe Hart, who could do very little about the goal, looked assured, confident, assertive and commanding at the back. He also showed he can handle one on one situations as he did against Zoltan Gera. If he is given the support and faith he deserves, he can hold the No.1 jersey for the next decade.

    Adam Johnson, Jagielka and even Zamora played their part. All showed good signs.

    I might be biased but I think people are very hypercritical of Michael Dawson. Yes he made an error with the goal, but he ran back and redeemed himself. He was very unfortunate that the goal was given because he did remarkably well to keep the ball out. Other than that, he didn't put a foot wrong. I just hope Capello realises that whilst Dawson made a mistake, he DID recover.


    We have two more friendlies right? Still 180 minutes for the players to prove themselves.

  • Comment number 27.

    Firstly, Hungary are not a side we should lose against.
    England played a good 20 mins at the start, but there was no imaginative play from them or any decisive deep attacking play.
    Last half of the 1st half was mediocre and smacked of how England played in SA, boring midfield back to defense back to midfield ad nauseum passing.
    It wasnt until gerrard got the 1st goal and Capello brought on the young guns that England truly woke up.
    The last 30mins of the 2nd half was exciting to watch and it looked as though England were going to score from every attack down the wing or the centre.
    Moral.....young heads bring more imagination and throw caution to the wind, Ok, so they lost the ball occasionally, but the intent is there and that in itself is encouraging.
    Not sure they actually played to the assumed 4 4 2 formation in the end, more like 4 2 4.

  • Comment number 28.

    #22 ghost_of_cygan - Frimpong loves tackling

    I still think we miss Scholes hugely, I'm unsure if a player has even been so underappreciated in the domestic game.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Scholes has been an excellent player over his career. However, perhaps appreciation of him is tempered by the fact that he retired from international football at the age of 29 when things weren't going quite his way, rather than fight for his place.

  • Comment number 29.

    The team was awful in the first half. There was no need for Lampard or Barry to be playing. Rooney played okay but he had absolutely no presence in the box. Walcott looked really lively, continually beating his man but there was never anyone in the box for him to cross it to.

    Once Young and Zamora and Gibbs came on I thought we were going to see a real difference. The only problem was Capello inexplicably switched back to a 4-4-2 and you saw again that everything was just too rigid. Gerrard stuck by the Centre circle raking 40 yard long balls to the wingers who were isolated.

    Young looked good and always drew at least two defenders to him which allowed Gibbs to come in on the overlap and find loads of space. It baffles me that he's still not had a senior start, and yet he's 25.

  • Comment number 30.

    I watched the England Under 21s and saw lots of promise.
    Sturridge, Rodwell, Rose, Mancienne as examples.
    But how many will go out on loan? Their places taken by
    dodgy continentals with fancy names.

    If England is to create a top level team it must start at the
    grass roots.
    1. Play highly competitive Under 17 games.
    Play many more competitive Under 21 games.

    For some time I've advocated a Premier Leaugue of maybe,
    12 Under 21s teams. That would give 22 games in the season, played on the same grounds as the senior side.
    Include these Under 21s games in the season tickets. Encourage supporters to turn out for the Under 21s.

    And eight home grown players must play in every match.

    In summary, we must create a graduate ladder from fifteen year olds upwards.

    There's zilch now.

  • Comment number 31.

    19. At 09:15am on 12 Aug 2010, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    The keeper is definitely Joe Hart I would say

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh he's definite is he? But what if he doesn't manage to get a game for Manchester City this season? Would you go into the qualifiers with Hart 'cold' as it were from getting splinters on City's bench? Or do you believe Mancini will play him instead of Given? The keeper spot is still a big issue, and until Hart sorts out his situation at club level I'm still concerned about it.

    I also thought Glen Johnson was our worst player last night if you want to pick someone out to criticise, he looked shaky at right back and his awareness was poor.

  • Comment number 32.

    hethers100 (post 8) and Lothar Matthaus (post 9) - that is a good point you both make. By that stage, as often happens in friendly games, the shape had become a little ragged. As England chased the game Gerrard was taking up some very advanced positions but it had certainly changed from a 4-4-2.

    Carlos Hotspur (post 12) - oh dear, rest assured I've put that right. It was never my intention to sell Dawson short on his big day. Mentally, I kind of thought he was several caps down the line. Shoddy.

    England are a bit like a bloke that needs to rebuild trust with their better half after an unfortunate dalliance abroad. What I'm not quite sure about is whether it was just a cheeky kiss at the disco or something on another level altogether.

  • Comment number 33.

    #1
    "England need to find a way to perform at their best in the finals, not meaningless friendlies and qualifiers. No one remembers you for being top of your qualification group..."

    I completely disagree with you here - friendlies and qualifiers are not, and should not, be treated as meaningless. Football teams improve by playing together over a number of games - surely if we want to find a way for England to perform at their best during the finals, a starting point must be that the players play together regularly. This point is sadly lost on many fans, players and premiership managers who put their club sides before the national team, pulling players out of international games because of spurious injuries, and then wondering why England have no cohesiveness on the pitch.

  • Comment number 34.

    Biggest suprise of the night was surely the lack of expected boos from the fans. The game itself was pretty average but at least the players showed some desire.

    Is there really a need for a holding type midfielder like Barry against opposition who just come to defend though? I would dispense with Barry in home games against weaker opposition and go with Gerrard and an industrious Milner in the centre, leaving Gareth and Lampard on the bench as understudies. Gerrard plus Lampard still doesn't go.

    Paul, do you think Fabio kept the Beckham bombshell up his sleeve to deflect attention away from the game fearing the performance wasn't quite good enough? Very strange timing otherwise and why close off the hopes of any decent player offering his services at a time others are bottling out of selection?

  • Comment number 35.

    Hungary played more openly then any of the teams we struggled against in the World Cup groups, and they missed tackle after tackle; how we didn't work the 'keeper more is beyond me.

    Anyway, what did we learn: nothing. England rarely have trouble defeating teams when the pressures off and, for all the media scandalising before yesterday's game, there was no hiding the fact that it was just another meaningless friendly.

    One thing I would like to ask is: what's wrong with Huddlestone? Young, English, first-team player at club level. One cap and, despite everyone banging on about how we should envy Spain's patient play with the ball(etc), it seems that one of our best young passers is already being ruled out of international contention.

  • Comment number 36.




    Whoo.



    We beat Hungary 2-1 at home in a meaningless friendly.



    Way to go.















  • Comment number 37.

    #31 Subterranean - you sprung on that like a coiled cobra, didn't you? Sure, Hart needs to be playing (although if someone is doing the business for England, does the amount of domestic first team action they see actually preclude them from being picked?) and I think that last nights performance may help Mancini with his deliberations. Pretty much every time I've seen Hart play he has done what has been expected of him. Not a glove wrong last night I thought. (I'd be more than happy if he played at Chelsea as it goes, such is my opinion of him.)

    #30 mikeleigh - I've often questioned why there is seemingly no natural progression from U21's to full team. Surely, if a player is performing, he is performing and therefore worthy of consideration.

  • Comment number 38.

    I find it funny how once the surposed 'Golden Boy' Rooney and Lampard go off we score?! Rooney was terrible at the world cup and does not deserve to be in the squad atm.

    we will never win a world cup Because are current crop of centre Midfielders apart from milner, gerrard and wilshire. cannot run with a ball or run at a player.

    Look at spain - xavi and iniesta can pass and move and run and attack players - lampard can only pass, gerrard can pass n runs around like a madman. spain also have a sitting midfielder in xabi alonso who again can pass a ball with quality i dont think barry is up to the job from the showing at the world up!

    get the youngster in now get rid of the dead wood!

    zamora show real quality last night and was very unlucky not to score
    gibbs will prove a good replacement for cole but will still need game
    hart - solid game.

  • Comment number 39.

    Not sure about this story on Beckham, it's got the hallmarks of the media deciding the agenda, when this is at best a side issue. Fair enough, it's pretty shabby treatment of the guy, but he's no longer captain, not even close to the first team and clearly on his way out. Why would an issue on such a player overshadow the story of the first team?

    Regarding the game (I know the irony, I discussed Beckham before the match result!) I was fairly pleased. Rooney was quiet, as the author mentions his form is a slight concern for the team. He would really benefit though if Walcott could up his game with quality supply.

    Once Theo beats his man a couple of times early on, he should relax a bit. Once the opponent knows he'll get roasted for pace, they will make mistakes- going in too early for the tackle, or giving too much space. Then it's business time, winning free kicks and sending in crosses. As it is now, the guy beats his man, then tries too hard to do something else, when all he needs is a decent cross/ through ball. Is the Arsenal way (overcomplication) corrupting his game?! Sorry to single one player out, but he will be amazing one day soon if he can fine tune his game(we hope!).

  • Comment number 40.

    Different match...same overrated players and one rather incoherent manager who should be out of a job...it just would have cost too much to sack him.

  • Comment number 41.

    Andooooooo (35)

    I thought Huddlestone should have been in the squad - if he was good enough for the 30 pre-world cup then why not now, particularly as he didn't go in the end - but then I am biased, of course.

    I think in a three-man midfield, if this is the way we are going, Huddlestone could flourish. We seem incapable of keeping possession for any more than 5 passes as lot of the time, and Hudd could help rectify this. People have reservations about his mobility but he has come on a lot in the past year.

    My real area of concern in the midfield though is the lack of anyone to close down and win the ball back, or offer any sort of protection to the back four. Barry simply isn't this sort of player - I was a bit surprised that neither Parker or Cattermole were in the squad... think what you will of them technically but at least they pressure the ball.

    Spain are successful not only because they are technically superior but because they press all over the pitch and offer you no time on the ball, whereas we seem to stand off and leave gaps across the back four.

  • Comment number 42.

    A friendly, the only pressure was from fans, and lets face it, most still underperformed, Rooney for a start, Gerrards brace saved a meltdown to be fair, Hungary are a decent side, nothing more and they did not perform well last night so I can't see any positive other than the new chaps did ok, otherwise, same auld story.

    As for the goal, If Dawson had black boots and not those white fairy nancy boots the linesman would not have given the goal, he thought dawsons white boot was the ball in such a qiuck moment. Black should be enforced anyways, all these flambouyant colours are just rediculous and poncey, no matter how special they seem to make some players feel wearing them. Clowns.

  • Comment number 43.

    #39 simon

    The media seem to have decided that Capello isn't as clever as them and that it is up to them to tell him what to do. It seems to be their want to see things through a few tiny prisms that help them sell papers and make them feel important and Beckham is one such prism.

    Did Capello mean to say what he said last night? Perhaps for him, the words were meant to say something slightly different and perhaps he doesn't see the fuss. Is it necessary for Capello to go around and call each person that he no longer plans on picking? I would say not.

    Still, if it is the case, then perhaps we can move on from that particular sideshow. They seem to have made something of a hoo har about Robinson and Brown 'snubbing' Capello at the weekend (though I still haven't read a proper explanation of the sequence of events for that - wouldn't suit to report facts would it!) and they are making a hoo har that Capello has 'snubbed' Beckham as well. Does any of it matter?

  • Comment number 44.

    #42 BringBackFootie

    Black should be enforced anyways, all these flambouyant colours are just rediculous and poncey, no matter how special they seem to make some players feel wearing them. Clowns.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    It is odd how the colour of someone's socks is considered so important is identifying a player and yet they can wear any colour boot they wish.

    I agree, black boots should be the norm. We all know that coloured boots are almost completely for marketing, a bit like all these silly bits of embroidery on the boots at different times. A kit is a uniform for the players, not a fashion statement.

  • Comment number 45.

    I don't really understand the posters bashing Walcott. He was very lively and a constant outlet, giving their left back loads of problems. It seemed like almost every time he took him on he either got past him or got fouled, and his excellent footwork and run created the best chance of the first half which Johnson somehow missed.

    Yes there were some poor deliveries as always, but try not to solely focus on the negatives will you? I know he's far from perfect, but it seems people are just looking to give him stick no matter what he does.

  • Comment number 46.

    22

    The most depressing thing about watching England is how poor the use of the ball is, it is genuinely awful, possesion is constantly wasted time after time and Steven Gerrard who will no doubt be branded "Captain Fantastic" in todays papers is one of the main offenders. I haven't read any papers this morning as I may vomit.
    Gerrard regularly trys passes that clearly aren't on, he doesn't have the ability to complete or are just poor. Giving the ball away on such a chronic basis is not something you will see Xavi, Iniesta or Fabregas doing for example and even ageing pro's such as Scholes and Seedorf use the ball infineitely better.

    ----------

    YES!! The way the media worship Gerrard encapsulates why England will never achieve anything at international level. The Barry-Lampard-Gerrard midfield trio relate technically to Xavi-Iniesta-Alonso the way that Leyton Orient relate to Real Madrid.

  • Comment number 47.

    Paul, just to clarify, England started with a 4-2-3-1:

    ..................Hart...................

    G Johnson....Jagielka....Terry....Cole

    ..........Lampard.......Barry..........

    Walcott.........Gerrard........A Johnson

    ...............Rooney..................


    At half time they reverted to a 4-4-2:

    ................Hart....................

    G Johnson....Dawson.....Jagielka....Gibbs

    A Johnson...Gerrard...Barry.....Young

    .........Rooney.......Zamora...........


    And then when Rooney was taken off, we were back to 4-2-3-1:

    .................Hart..................

    G Johnson.....Dawson...Jagielka...Gibbs

    ..........Milner.....Barry.............

    A Johnson........Gerrard..........Young

    ...............Zamora..................



    It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out why we were good for the first 45 minutes and the last half hour (their goal aside). We were good when we played our best formation, 4-2-3-1, with every player in their proper position, playing the role they're used to - case in point, Gerrard, who doesn't have to worry about anything other than staying forward in the "number 10" position when used in this formation. Lo and behold, he scored 2 goals.

  • Comment number 48.

    I also agree on the points made that Rooney has done enough to lose his place in the squad.

    Just goes to show how the media pick a certain portion of Englands starting 11 and have for years, because no manager wants to fail after leaving Rooney out, the media backlash would last till the next tournament. Sma ecan be said for others too, dead wood. Even Gerrard "just" earned his next game in the national side, if he hadn't scored then his performance was quite ordinary. The result is nothing, what is learned is the point of a friendly, nothing learned yet again.

  • Comment number 49.

    Are we really supposed to care about Beckham ? All due respect to him, he has been a loyal and consistent (mostly) player for England over the years, and its fair to say one of the few, but he is ageing now, coming back from a serious injury.

    Sure he still has the passion, and is still arguably one of the best passers of the ball that we have, but he will still have these attributes at 45, so should we be calling him up then ?

    He has not played for England (or any other club I think) for nearly 6 months and its time to start looking towards the future.


    That being said, I do hope he gets one more game, and gets a fantastic reception from the England fans (as I am sure he will do), as I said at the start he has been a fantastic player for us.



  • Comment number 50.

    For years we've heard that Heskey isn't international quality because he's a striker who doesn't score goals. However, being a defender who can't and doesn't defend seems to be okay when you're Glen Johnson.

    Strange.

  • Comment number 51.

    Nothing to get overexcited about in my opinion. Gerrard's performance was encouraging and the youngsters did well.

    For me the key change was when Gerrard dropped a bit deeper into the middle. Playing him directly off Rooney, with Lampard deeper, is not likely to work in my opinion - if he's pushing forward he's in Rooney's way when he comes deep, when he drops back in in Lampard's zone. This doesn't help anyone, it just means that 3 of our best players are unable to express themselves. I like Frank but I think for now at least it's bench time.

    Against teams that will play deep I think we can go with Gerrard alongside Barry in a 4-3-2-1 and play Rooney in the 'number 10' role in the middle of the 3. Against the better sides we can mirror the United formation more and make it more of a 4-3-2-1 with Rooney the 1 and Milner (and eventually Rodwell) in midfield.

  • Comment number 52.

    Time to give Rooney a rest. He is becoming as about an effective striker as Emile Heskey when he plays for England.

    For me the team played so much better once Rooney and Lampard were substituted.

  • Comment number 53.

    England have no one in midfield to create anything, so no wonder Rooney isn't scoring. It isn't any surprise that the two goals that got Capello out of the mire last night were solo goals and made by Gerrard himself. He needs to get Barry or Lampard out of midfield and get someone in there that has some imagination and can create something.

    I thought it was an average England performance against a mediocre team. Get rid of Capello asap.

  • Comment number 54.

    33. At 09:37am on 12 Aug 2010, mrollydavis wrote:
    #1
    "England need to find a way to perform at their best in the finals, not meaningless friendlies and qualifiers. No one remembers you for being top of your qualification group..."

    I completely disagree with you here - friendlies and qualifiers are not, and should not, be treated as meaningless. Football teams improve by playing together over a number of games - surely if we want to find a way for England to perform at their best during the finals, a starting point must be that the players play together regularly. This point is sadly lost on many fans, players and premiership managers who put their club sides before the national team, pulling players out of international games because of spurious injuries, and then wondering why England have no cohesiveness on the pitch.

    _____________________________________________________________
    Players learn nothing when they "know it all" already, It is a bit naive to think that their egos and rivalry dont play a part in all of this. Also to think you can get team cohesion froma few friendlies is an error, I think spain would have done well if they had no friendlies, training is where you get this understanding, training is where you try out the stuff you trained on. Match fitness, lol you dont get that from friendlies thats a fact. Capello has made England leak more than a sunken Gallion at the back, not something I am used to seeing, now anyone can score against England,, its not good enough.

  • Comment number 55.

    I think that in the 1st half, England kept the ball nicely with some short, sharp passing but without much penetration because the midfield three didn't really push on enough and so Rooney was left isolated.
    At the start of the 2nd half, England didn't keep the ball as well as the 1st (presumably because they only had a midfield two rather than three), but there were more chances created. I also think the game changed when off went Rooney and on came James Milner. Milner moved into the midfield with Barry and that freed up Gerrard to do what he does best.
    Now I'm not saying we should drop Rooney because when he's on form there are few better in the world but Gerrard did play better with Zamora and his quality link up play.
    The main thing I hope Capello relises is that Gerrard should be allowed this free role behind a striker( whether that be Rooney, Crouch, Zamora or someone else), not tied up in a midfield three.
    I don't know about anyone else but this friendly has left me with more questions than answers.

  • Comment number 56.

    In defence of Capello regarding Beckham's future, what was he supposed to say when pressed by the interviewer on that subject? Maybe the interviewer should have been asking him about the debut of the young English players. Or what he though of Joe Hart. And in further defence of Capello, he did say that Beckham would get a 'farewell' cap. How many players have ever received that accolade?

  • Comment number 57.

    The younger the better because when they get a chance they're enthusiatic, unafraid and prepared to play their game. They haven't yet been brainwashed, made millions or come with 3 tons of negative baggage. Some will freeze and may not make it but those who can play (and last night showed some can) have a bright future. But, it is vital to clear out the 'reputations' and iffy personalities like Terry and Cole who may influence youngsters the wrong way. Even Gerrard, upped his game and influence considerably once Terry had left the field.

  • Comment number 58.

    I was at the game and thought it very telling that after half time we switched to 442 and went one nil down. We then switched formation again, using Steven Gerrard behind a lone frontman (where he plays his best for Liverpool) and lo and behold two Gerrard crackers, 2-1 England, and a much better last half hour. I think arguably Gerrard was better without Frank Lampard on the pitch who makes the same runs as Gerrard and stifles his game.

    For me last night proved that it's far more important to play eleven players who can mesh as a team, rather than the 11 individuals that started the World Cup. Lampard needs to be dropped so that we can see the best from Gerrard for starters.

  • Comment number 59.

    Last nights match meant nothing.

    First of all, Capello used pretty much the same team and players who flunked at the World Cup. I was hoping he'd start with a totally fresh lineup so they can gel together and get to know each other for the good of the team. What's the point of still using players like Gerrard, Terry etc when they'll all be too old come the Euros and next World Cup? We need to build the future team now. The likes of Hart, Gibbs, Jagielka, Dawson, Shawcross, Gibbs, Parker, A.Johnson, Lennon, Wilshere and Rooney all need to gel together as a team as often as possible, otherwise we'd end up with a collection of strangers like the 'team' that got badly beaten by a young and largely unknown Germany side.

    Furthermore, whilst we can say all's good when England win friendly and qualifying matches, it all means nothing until the real big event comes along - Euro or World Cup - and how they cope against real opposition (i.e. the likes of Spain, Brazil etc), and whether the mental block will be overcome. I was suckered into the hype that the 'golden generation' would go far given how the players we had had about a decade of champions league experience, world cup experience, played together for awhile and had a hell of a qualifying campaign. In the end, it meant nothing, because when the real thing (i.e. tournament) comes along, they choke.

  • Comment number 60.

    53. At 10:03am on 12 Aug 2010, universityred wrote:

    England have no one in midfield to create anything, so no wonder Rooney isn't scoring. It isn't any surprise that the two goals that got Capello out of the mire last night were solo goals and made by Gerrard himself. He needs to get Barry or Lampard out of midfield and get someone in there that has some imagination and can create something.
    ----------------------------

    That is the single biggest problem in our team, a lack of creativity in the middle. That's why against defensive teams we need to play Rooney as a number 10 where he can unlock defences. Gerrard has his positives, but he's not creative in the same way - he's a sledgehammer rather than a lock pick. At United Rooney has the spark of Scholes and Giggs plus the crossing of Valnecia on a regular basis, is it any wonder he scores more?

  • Comment number 61.

    Cry baby Gerrard has taken offense over fans remarks and said that the fans are unfair a lot of the time.
    He is lucky to be playing in the team after so many dismal performances.
    His two goals do NOT make up for the years of bad play.
    The players that made a difference last night were all relatively new so get rid of the old failures.

  • Comment number 62.

    Pssst, it's not going to happen overnight. Now sit back and think to yourself "maybe I shouldn't get so angry about football, and just try and watch it instead?"

  • Comment number 63.

    I always thought that the front man was supposed to score goals. Seems strategy has changed. When did Rooney last score a goal or assist in scoring a goal for England.

    When will it be realised that he is a good player only when he is in a team day after day with the same players around him. He just seems out of his depth when in an England shirt. Is it because the United team are built around him ?

    It is no wonder the England team are demoralized when the up front player is not scoring. All their efforts are put to waste. Sad as when Rooney disappeared last night the new players made the game come alive.

  • Comment number 64.

    The best thing for Rooney might be to drop him for his lack of form.

    It will either invigorate him to try harder.
    Or he might go off in a huff and explode...

    Either way, we get a better TEAM for it. One with him playing well, or one with him not playing at all.

    The world doesn't revolve around Rooney, especially an out of form Rooney.

  • Comment number 65.

    #60 Frodo_MUFC

    At United Rooney has the spark of Scholes and Giggs plus the crossing of Valnecia on a regular basis, is it any wonder he scores more?
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Conversely, at Chelsea, Lampard sets up Drogba, is it any wonder he assists more. (Top assists in Premier League 2009/10 http://soccernet.espn.go.com/stats/topassists?league=eng.1&year=2009&cc=5739)

    So, is Rooney the problem, do England need a Drogba? Or do they need a Scholes/Giggs/Valencia?

  • Comment number 66.

    The best thing for Rooney might be to drop him for his lack of form.
    ==

    I'm all for that. Keep him at United, he doesn't need this circus

  • Comment number 67.

    Why are we still talking about 'uber has been' David Beckham, he has been past it for some time now. McLaren knew this. But he is the medias darling, always has been, what will they write about if he ia not in the england set up.

  • Comment number 68.

    #67 black bad the faithful bin liner

    Good point. With no Beckham to write about, then Rooney and then Gerrard, do you think the media might become football journalists again?

  • Comment number 69.

    Wayne Rooney has now gone ten matches for England without scoring.

    This is an absolutely appalling record by anyone's standards - if he were playing for a club side, he would have been dropped long ago.

    And yet we all know who will be the first name on Fabio Capello's team sheet for the RURO 2012 qualifiers.

    Capello's 29 matches in charge of England:

    http://www.myfootballfacts.com/England2006-2009McClaren-Capello.html

  • Comment number 70.

    Beckham is still twice the player Walcott, SWP and Lennon are. The stick Beckham got is laughable when you consider nobody's even mentioned SWP and lennon since the world cup

  • Comment number 71.

    A slightly messy performance posession wise but overall better than our performances in South Africa. Not as many new faces as I'd like though(what will it take for Fabio to ditch Terry and A Cole? The sooner we ditch this pair of disloyal...I'd better not complete that sentence...the sooner we can develop replacments).

    Still, I never complain about an England win. A decent enough start to a new era.

  • Comment number 72.

    And yet we all know who will be the first name on Fabio Capello's team sheet for the RURO 2012 qualifiers.

    ==

    Do you think that's because he was the leading scorer in the last qualifying campaign?

  • Comment number 73.

    What happened to Phil McNulty?!

  • Comment number 74.

    MrBlueBurns -

    Interesting, maybe what is really needed is for Lampard to express himself for England like he does for Chelsea! He's certainly got more of a creative edge to him than Gerrard in my opinion.

    Or maybe we've shown that this problem isn't as simple as some of us would like to make out! (Though if you give me £6m a year I'll have a decent crack at it)

  • Comment number 75.

    #73 Zidanepirouette

    Well, he's still on the list of bloggers on here. He has been conspicuous by his absence since the world cup though.

    Perhaps he's on a journalism refresher course prior to the new season ;-)

  • Comment number 76.

    I'll miss McNulty's blogs, they really drove to the heart of the most pressing issues such as "Are Arsenal now out of it?", "Are Arsenal Back in it?" and "Are Arsenal out of it again?"

  • Comment number 77.

    and Walcott looked good against second division defenders, but still cannot make a decent cross or pass.
    .......-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------............

    Except when he picked Adam Johnson out with a perfect ball only for him to unfortunately sky his finish !

  • Comment number 78.

    Drop Rooney.

  • Comment number 79.

    #74 Frodo_MUFC

    Do you want an assistant? Have opinions, will travel, talks a good game and makes a lovely cup of tea?

    Thing is, despite all that has been said and done, Rooney and Lampard were the best two players in qualifying last time around so until someone really does the business somewhere, I can see why they are still picked.

  • Comment number 80.

    Gerrards behaviour last night was hilarious. Here is a man who was awful the whole of last season and then a total embarrassment at the World Cup who now thinks scoring a couple of goals against a dross side in a friendly has an ounce of importance. Daftest celebration I have ever seen and he then has the cheek to say criticism of himself and his teamates is unjustified despite the fact they turned a once proud footballing nation into a laughing stock only a month ago. These guys are totally out of touch with reality, it is harldy suprising that Gerrard, although usually known as 'the driving force' for some reason also carries the knicknames 'stevie me' and 'captain big head'.

  • Comment number 81.

    Surely Cappelo needs to be punished for yet another cock-up!!!
    He has absolutly NO respect for any of the england players and in turn you only had to see Carrick and Ashley Cole at Sundays Charity Shield to realsise the England players real thoughts on him.
    Everyone put's it down to Cappelo's lack of English language... soooo not true. It's common courtesy to treat someone whose played more games than anyone else with the upmost respect - No matter what language you speak. Even when injured Beckham was on the sidelines... name me one other player that took a month out of there holiday to do that?
    Total Disgrace - Cappelo needs to realise that he's not bigger than everyone else.
    And don't even get me started on his complete lack of reaction to WINNING A BLOODY GAME. He looked as if he was at a funeral!!!

  • Comment number 82.

    Was at the match and disagree with several points.

    Our first half performance, especially in the centre of midfield, was almost totally lacking in invention, characterised by the Lampard / Gerrard axis. Lampard played effectively glued to the halfway line, which rendered him a shadow of his Chelsea self.

    The movement from Rooney was almost non-existant. At times he appeared so utterly fed-up and demotivated, that although he had some decent touches in the second half, his substitution and subsequent - what I would actually dub sarcastic, rather than "shrewd" wave - hardly helped endear his performance to the Wembley crowd.

    I think this in fact summarises the atmosphere last night. It was initially far more positive than was being touted by the media as being: you could tell that, yes, the World Cup had hurt, but, no use crying over spilt milk, we were ready to get behind the team so long as the effort and performances were there. The booing at half time was not something I joined in with or agreed with, but came about because that first 45 minutes was a typically stagnant England performance, interspered with moments of proper play, such as Walcott's wing play. But these were few and far between, and between 8.00 and 8.45pm witnessed the quietest I have ever heard during a match in this stadium.

    Invariably, as with the Mexico game, the displacing of most regulars in the 2nd half drew and improved, fresh performance, though it was disappointing that it required a Hungary goal to spark it. You could see how much the fans were willing England to perform well and react, we are fans after all. We didn't pay our money to boo our team; collectively the mood was one of resolution in the crowd. You could see how the stadium responded to England's recover by their own graft, quicker play, better wide play (playing an actual left sided player in Young rather than sticking a MR in Johnson out there) and removing Lampard for Milner.

    Full credit to the second half team for responding when they did, as the game was in real danger of repeating the first half, and then you just sensed the knives would start being reached for.

  • Comment number 83.

    Well, he's still on the list of bloggers on here. He has been conspicuous by his absence since the world cup though.

    Perhaps he's on a journalism refresher course prior to the new season ;-)

    -----------------------------------------------------
    Indeed, by now i would have expected his predictions for the forthcoming Premier League season after his success in tipping my club Liverpool to be champions last season. Kiss of death that was.

  • Comment number 84.

    Having felt generally in favour of Capello staying on after the shambles in South Africa, where he was badly let down by some of his supposed key players, now that he has announced to self appointed 'man of the people' Adrian Chiles and his platitude heavy cronies on ITV that David Beckham's England career is over then I admit I was very wrong; it's time to pack up the M&S suit Fabio - serious lack of judgement when dealing with a 115 cap veteran who appears to be the only senior player with a genuine desire to turn out for his country. I know your English is poor, but I'm sure you could stumble through a (deserved) phone call...

  • Comment number 85.

    In reference to Beckham.
    I have said all along that he is at the root cause of Englands woes.
    If we are to use Beckham as a yardstick then our performances are always going to be below average.
    If he is the best we can produce on the world stage then what chance have we?
    All this media frenzy over Beckham makes me think that the world has gone mad.
    At his best he is an average player that would not make any world class team.
    His goal scoring record is pretty poor considering he took all the free kicks.
    Beckham is no better than Terry, Gerrard, Lampard, Barrry, Rooney who lets face it have all failed at International level.
    The sooner we start rewarding performances with caps the better.
    I shudder to think that Beckham has more caps than Bobby Moore and Charlton.
    That is a sign that we have accepted mediocrity!

  • Comment number 86.

    Mr Capello has no idea what to do and has learned nothing from the World Cup. Gerrard and Lampard cannot play together. Johnson doesn't even understand the concept of passing to the man in space.

    In the midfield we have no players with any guile at all. The only striker we have that has a decent scoring ratio for England doesn't even get a mention (Crouch).

    There wasn't anything wrong with 4-4-2 and there isn't now but no formation will work with players who play for themselves and not the team.

    I could get England to play better than Capello and I'd give most of the players he picks the rest of their lives away from international duty.

  • Comment number 87.

    this is the team that will cause anyone problems and should've been picked in south africa apart from injuries

    ....................hart.......................

    ..richards...........ferdinand..........jagielka.........cole



    ............rodwell(hargreaves may never play again)..gerrard......



    ...johnson...............joe cole.................a young............



    ............................rooney..............................

  • Comment number 88.

    79. MrBlueBurns -

    Why not, you can be in charge of talking to Terry and Cole as you're a Chelsea fan!

    I agree though, Rooney and Lampard were fantastic in qualifying and then a few bad games, albeit at the world cup, and they're on the scrap heap. Rooney was clearly unfit at the world cup and had it not been for a linesman Frank could have been a national hero! I'd like to see Bent playing off Rooney for a bit.

    The only thing is, I feel out of Gerrard and Lampard one has to give.

  • Comment number 89.

    hardly helped endear his performance to the Wembley crowd.

    ===

    Rooney would rather play infront of people who want him to succeed

  • Comment number 90.

    Really amusing to read through the reports in the media this morning about the Capello / Beckham 'retirement' issues. For those few working in the media its a really big deal and an insult etc., but the reaction of Joe Public is like 'who cares.... he's barely played a competitive for England (or anyone) in 4 years, should have announced his retirement himself, way past his best whatever that was, etc, etc,

    It just goes to show that media and players are nowadays almost the one and same thing, with nobody to provide the players with a reality check - which is why you now have situation of England players being routinely booed as it is the fans' only way of getting their dissatisfaction across.

  • Comment number 91.

    #20 Spot on.

    There were some encouraging signs from the new and recalled boys: Gibbs looked good and combined well with Young, Walcott created good openings (he could win a lot of penalties if he were to take the ball into the box instead of trying to cross), Zamora was far more effective than Rooney. Barry was poor.
    Hopefully it is the last time we will see Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney on the pitch at the same time for England. It is no coincidence that Gerrard's performance improved when Lampard left the field. These three players always want to 'try something', they are risk takers but most of the time they lose possession. The team improves when there are fewer risk takers because it can keep the ball for longer and then when a chance presents itself it will usually be a good opening. Don't get me wrong, all three have match winning abilities but they each need support players around them that will play in a way that enables them to 'try something' at the right time. When the three play together they each want to 'try something' every time they get the ball and have no appreciation of supporting each other. It is up to the Manager to select which of the three is most likely to produce end product. Given that Lampard and Gerrard play a very similar game it would appear to be a choice between them.

  • Comment number 92.

    It is absolutely shocking that arguably the best player to pull on an England shirt during the last ten years should find out secondhand through a TV interview that his international career is over. This is basic management tact any manager in any walk of life should know.

    It is amazing that a man paid such an astounding amount of money can get so many basic things wrong, be they PR gaffes or basic football tactics.

    I've totally lost patience with Capello, the only reason he is still in position is because the FA don't know how to write a contract. We lambasted Eriksson for being "too quiet", yet Capello was stonefaced when we scored last night, no passion whatsoever. Seemingly £6M can't buy passion!

    I was watching highlights of some of our games under Eriksson recently - dare I say we played better football under him?

  • Comment number 93.

    #88 Frodo_MUFC

    And after last night, with all others things being equal, Gerrard should be ahead of Lampard for the next game. Home to Bulgaria is it?

    My starting 11 at this stage would be:-

    Hart
    Johnson - Jagielka - Terry - Cole
    Rodwell
    Lennon - Gerrard - Johnson
    Zamora - Sturridge

  • Comment number 94.

    A lot of people on here bashing Gerrard, i thought he played well last night and certainly looks to be getting back to the form he showed in 2008-09. Thought most of his passes were good and his set piece delivery very good. Not to mention the 2 goals.

    What more would you like him to do? Perhaps celebrating like he didn't give a sh*t would have gone down better with some of you?!

  • Comment number 95.

    Hi everyone,

    I'm from Hungary. It is taken for granted that I supported our national team yesterday. There was an exceptional case because my second favourite national eleven is your team. Unfortunately we weren't able to qualify for the World cup or the European championship so I supported England during the WC. To summarize we have to pull ourself together before we are facing against Sweden. However this defeat was not a shame for us. England would play better in order to win the European Championship. I would be satisfied if we were there.
    Sorry for my mistakes.

  • Comment number 96.

    Wolves Secret No19 (post 47) - I'm not sure that your first-half formation is correct. I know that is what had been widely predicted when the team was announced but it looked to be more of a 4-3-3 to me.

    I kept quite a close eye on the system and noted that Gerrard, Lampard and Barry often reverted to a three in midfield with Gerrard usually on the left side.

    Having said that, these sort of things are pretty fluid. Gerrard and Lampard showed a willingness to push forward (usually one of them but sometimes both), changing the shape to more of a 4-2-3-1, while Barry was more or less always anchored in a deep midfield role.

    I don't think that Capello dropped the Beckham news as a deliberate means of distraction. It appeared to me as I watched him answer questions about the situation, that he really thought it was no big deal and was a bit surprised about the whole brouhaha.

  • Comment number 97.

    #92 Fiddy 2 Chew

    Capello is not employed for his PR abilities or how entertaining he is on the touchline. He is employed based on his footballing CV.

    The fact that it was a tv interview and not a conscious statement by Capello shows you that it is a media thing rather than a football thing.

  • Comment number 98.

    It appeared to me as I watched him answer questions about the situation, that he really thought it was no big deal and was a bit surprised about the whole brouhaha.

    ===

    He clearly doesn't understand how desperate the press need a soap opera to keep themselves in a job

  • Comment number 99.

    which is why you now have situation of England players being routinely booed as it is the fans' only way of getting their dissatisfaction across.

    ==

    I would have put that down to two things

    1) Fans believing everything they read in the paper
    2) Fans being fickle and impatient, demanding success. "I PAID TO SEE THIS, WE SHOULD BE WINNING BY NOW"

  • Comment number 100.

    # 96 Paul Fletcher

    it was no big deal and was a bit surprised about the whole brouhaha.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Good, so you agree it's fuss then. In that case, please pass this on to the editor of the BBC Football homepage where there are 8 links regarding the Beckham story and only 2 links to the international match last night.

 

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