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Easy assignment but England can feel optimistic

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Phil McNulty | 08:58 UK time, Saturday, 8 September 2012

England fitted in seamlessly with their surroundings as the World Cup journey they hope will end in Brazil in two years started with the smoothest of passages in Moldova. Chisinau's Zimbru Stadium offers a mix of Moldova's old and new.

The neat and tidy arena was completed only six years ago but is overshadowed by a selection of typically old-style grey eastern European tower blocks that rise imposingly around it.

It was in this setting, far removed from the legend of Rio's Maracana and the sands of the Copacabana, that England manager Roy Hodgson entrusted the next phase of his tenure to a mix of England's old guard and the new breed.

As the World Cup qualifying campaign began, he revived a time-served partnership - and a generation-long debate - by pairing captain Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in midfield.

Tom Cleverley

England manager Roy Hodgson praised Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley (10) after his influential performance against Moldova. Photo: Getty

He also gave England a fresh face by handing Manchester United's Tom Cleverley his first competitive start and keeping faith with Arsenal tyro Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

It all slipped neatly into place in a 5-0 victory that emphatically gave the lie to that infamous note of managerial caution that states there are no easy games in football.

This was as easy as it gets, mere muscle flexing for the greater challenges that lie ahead for England.

Apart from a moment before kick-off when Hodgson gazed down at the playing surface that caused rumblings of concern in England's camp and shook his head, there was little to furrow the 65-year-old's brow.

Moldova presented the most accommodating opposition but England swiftly exposed the chasm in quality between the sides with two goals from Lampard and another from Jermain Defoe before half-time.

Late goals from James Milner and Leighton Baines applied gloss and gave the victory margin a more realistic appearance.

With the congratulations must come context. Moldova offered a lack of resistance that fully vindicated their Fifa ranking of 141, and at times even suggested it flattered them slightly. Those ratings may occasionally be the stuff of high farce, as the fact England are ranked third might tell you, but the Moldovans are measured accurately.

England have made heavy weather of this sort of assignment before, so to see this mission to Moldova accomplished with such ruthless efficiency can be a source of great satisfaction to Hodgson and his players.

The Moldovan fans accepted their fate graciously long before the end. Such is England's appeal that coach Ion Caras claimed 100,000 tickets could have been sold instead of the 10,400 who populated the stadium.

It may have been painful but they also enjoyed what they clearly regarded as the privilege of watching Premier League stars in action - and England did not disappoint.

England's World Cup aspirations cannot be gauged from such a formality, but Hodgson will happily draw some pleasing conclusions.

Lampard once again proved he can still be of service to his country, and alongside Gerrard, with another excellent contribution. The two goals he scored took his international tally to 25, leapfrogging Sir Geoff Hurst in the listings.

He now holds the record of 11 World Cup qualifying goals, once again defying detractors who seem to revel in any suggestion that his international career is over.

The goals were two staples of Lampard's long and distinguished career - the nervelessly dispatched penalty and the perfectly timed arrival in the area to head in Glen Johnson's cross.

Hodgson insisted before this game that players will only be written off on grounds of performances not age. Lampard and Gerrard offered weight to his argument here, albeit against a Moldova team of very dubious quality.

Lampard worked well with Gerrard to allow Cleverley to venture further forward and lend his support to the attack. Once again, this was not the environment to judge the 23-year-old's true international class, but the signs were promising.

It also allowed Hodgson to step further back from the 4-4-2 system his critics claimed he would never tear himself away from. The 4-2-3-1 format used here, almost as in a training exercise at times, looked a good fit for his squad and as a potential route forward.

Cleverley was industrious and intelligent. He got involved in England's goals and made a good impression in the number 10 shirt. If Arsenal can get Jack Wilshere playing regularly again, there may be a look of youth and quality for England in that crucial area.

Oxlade-Chamberlain also demonstrated why he is regarded as such a key component of England's future with many nice touches and a decisive run and pass for Defoe's goal. The 19-year-old's maturity grows on and off the pitch with each game.

This was England's biggest away win in 19 years since San Marino were dismissed 7-1, and a strong case could be made that they could and should have won by a lot more.

Ukraine will be tougher at Wembley on Tuesday but such an easy win will have raised England's spirits as they flew out of Chisinau and returned home in the small hours.

No defining judgement can be passed on England's World Cup ambitions in the circumstances they were presented with here, but this was a job well done and for that Hodgson can feel justifiably delighted.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    So that's its then, England will be winning the next. world cups wih ease.

  • Comment number 2.

    @1 Did you actually read the blog?? He said, and everyone knows, the win shouldn't be taken out of context

  • Comment number 3.

    @1 Well done, reduced the comments to idiocy in record time

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Roy Hodgson's England are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

    The fun will start when the media turns on him and his team as they inevitably will in the fullness of time.

  • Comment number 6.

    @4 What negativity? The blog states we got the job done, but you cant read too much into beating a poor Moldova. Which seems perfectly reasonable to me.

  • Comment number 7.

    Okay, so we're not world-beaters, but when have we ever been (that's right - nearly 50 years ago).

    Sometimes the pessimism and criticism is just as moronic as optimism and chauvinism. Hodgsons England have still not been beaten over 90 mins, or even 120. It is (I think!) won 6 and drew 2, with very few goals against.

    Hodgson's project is now to add fluidiity and flair to the almost geometric shape we perfected against France. He's recognised this and (apart from one bad performance against Italy) he's well on the way to getting there.

  • Comment number 8.

    @6

    The blog was good and well balanced.

    I was talking about some of the people who have been commenting not just on this one @1 but also the last blog about England.

    I reckon sometimes that the England squad feel like American Soldiers coming back from Vietnam.

    We must be one of the worst supported National Teams in the world.

  • Comment number 9.

    Phil- When you win 5-0 away in your first WC qualifier the omens must be considered good for England; even if the opposition was very poor.

    To progress in Rio, perhaps even to get there, Roy Hodgson is going to need a lot of luck as well as his managerial skills and experience... he got the first installment a few minutes in last night with the penalty award, it settled everyones nerves in the England camp and put the home team even further 'on the rack'.

    Everyone in the England side looked to have had a reasonable performance last night, we should have a better idea of the 'new look' (if thats what it is!) England after Tuesday, but so far so good.

    Come on England!!

  • Comment number 10.

    England won 5-0 in an away match in a WC qualifier. Why can't you English chaps just enjoy that? Of course, much harder tests will come, but England did what they had to do and did it well. At Hampden later today Scotland take on Serbia; a stiffer test than England's, but we have home advantage and must win. I'd love to see Scotland score 5 against anyone, but I'd take 1-0 and 3 points right now!

  • Comment number 11.

    The problem this with this result it papers over the cracks with the issues we have. The older generation are proven failures in the England shirts when the big games get going.

    We should be phasing out Lampards, Terrys and Gerrards for this qualification and this was a perfect game for some of the younger lads to be in.

    It isnt being negative, it is looking at the long game. This result will do more damage to us long term as it will allow the failures of past england teams to continue.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    @11

    No the problem is not the older players, the problem is how these players are played together with what roles and what tactics are used.

    Did you not see how Cleverly was inspired to play along side teh players that he admires. This will help his perfromance.

    Good job people like you are not managers.

    I have no idea why some people offer their views about football, isnt it embarrassing to sit and type all that tripe.

    We need a good mixture or youth and experience. If you dont like the England set up you can always watch the under 21's and see how the younger generation are nowhere near as good as the senior team.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    @7

    I agree. I think England since RH took over have game by game gradually found something to build on.

    Nothing really to write home about but if we take everything in context then we are doiing really well.

    Only lost in Penalties, conceded only a few goals, players are happy, game by game we are finding a more attacking style. Younger players getting more chances, older players getting rewarded for good performances ( Defoe ).

    I think there are lots to be positive about and all good teams start from the back and the gradually turn it into an offensive.

    Roy is astute in his observations but does tend to be a bit to cautious, but thats a good thing, we need to be hard to beat.

    When Germany were through and we waiting for either us or Italy they said they much preferred to play England, that was very disappointing for me and even lesser teams think they stand a good chance to beat us.

    Now we need to be a team that other teams dont want to play, we cant just jump up and be Spain in the matter of a few months or even 2 years, but we can be a solid unit where teams think twice about playing us, and i think we are heading in that direction, and thats all positive, but still it wont be enough to impress the world class and ultimately the gods of football that grace these blogs.

  • Comment number 16.

    @8 fair enough, the general negativity towards england does get to me also. The standard quarter final exit is aabout right for a team of our standing, no more no less

  • Comment number 17.

    Shadow Warrior, I did see the match. The problem is it was against a really poor team and we cannot start thinking we are world beaters until we play against someone good. The blog should have come up after the Ukraine game as that will give us a better indiciation.

    This is a forum that allows people to give their opinions, and the above one is mine. i have not be littled my arguement with trying to be funny or having ago at anyone elses. I have just stated my opnion and where we have gone wrong for many years now.

    Teams phase in the younger players, it seems to be we havn't really phased any new young player for ages, other than Hart and maybe Wiltshire. For a team that has come up short in most of th WC and EC's that is worrying.

  • Comment number 18.

    Well even against the likes of Moldova, no top level side can ask for much more than we we got last night. Job done with some degree of style, next stop Ukraine.

  • Comment number 19.

    Moldova ranked 141st - justified.
    England ranked 3rd best team on Fifa's planet - crazy!

    It'll take a few big wins against big teams to convince me of that.
    http://culturedmidfielder.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 20.

    Happy England won, but still think England have missed the opportunity to kick out the over 30s. This is an easy qualification group and could have been a good opportunity to give all the new kids a chance to get matches under their belt. Squad should be:

    GK: Hart, Butland, Stockdale
    LB: Baines, Bertrand
    RB: Walker, Richards
    CB: Jagielka, Cahill, Jones, Smalling
    CM: Rodwell, Henderson, Wilshere (when fit), Cleverley
    LM: A Johnson, A Young
    RM: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott
    FW: Rooney, Welbeck, Sturridge, Carroll

  • Comment number 21.

    There will certainly be sterner tests ahead, but England have made sluggish work of games like this in years gone by. We were on the front foot from the off, and credit where its due, put Moldova to the sword.

  • Comment number 22.

    A win is a win, and as the adage goes you can only beat what is in front of you.

    However....the penalty was harsh in my view, Lampards second and Defoes goals would likely both have been prevented by a better defence/keeper. Milners goal came after a bit of pinball passing in the Moldovan box that again, a decent defence would have dealt with.

    Lets also not lose sight of the fact that Hodgson is intent on persisting with a midfield pairing and a centre half that are going to be borderline immobile in 2 years time, as age and wear and tear finally catch up with them. If this team went to the world cup in a hot country like Brazil, they would come home as a laughing stock.

  • Comment number 23.

    Hs it really always been the players that have let the nation down.

    I dont think so.

    So many players didnt get good feelings with some of our mangers, not everyone liked Sven and he did not know how to manage our midfield, the Umbrella was total Joke, playing 4-5-1 against Croatia going for a draw at Wembley and Cappello the players could not identify with.

    Also the media hype of just abnormal and the fan expectation is to high, when England make a few mistakes then the home crowd start to boo.

    I maybe one of the very few that think once get the formula right we will be a top international side, we are a fantastic football nation with very good players, i think individually we have better players in general than Germany, but they have a better system, more discipline more serious and more committed to the nation team from club level to managers helping the national team and more emphasis to keep the better German players in their own league.

    At long last we have a good manager for England, a true gentleman and ambassador for the badge and the players like him and they are building into a good team.

    Anything other than that your not supporter of England, and if you want to pick the squad go buy football manager.

    I see far more positives than negatives and thats what counts.

  • Comment number 24.

    Regardless of the result, which was a good one (and has allowed the players a little respite from the fanatical need of the british tablolid media to cackle maniacally at any mistake or hiccup that besets the English national team), there were one or two moments that showed a marked difference in the team that has built since Hodgson has arrived.

    The players were.........SMILING! Holy c**p on a cracker.....If that's not a shock I don't know what is.

    I don't care how much these guys earn, or how much of a prat they are or self-centred in their personal lives. What matters in a world cup qualifying match, much like everyone else when they do their job, is HOW they do their job, which is playing football.

    AND....generally speaking, if you are happy in your job, you perform better.

    Sometimes I feel it's like getting a gorilla to count. 1 + 2 =......? And when they get it right......It's a miracle! It all seems so difficult at the time, but when it works, it all seems so simple.

    If the players are happy playing for their country (being proud does not have to equate to being happy!), then they will perform better.

    1 + 2 = 3. Easy.

  • Comment number 25.

    Clearly beating Moldova, even 5-0, tells us little about how good a team we are.

    Hodgson has got England playing with a better spirit and rhythm than under the Capello regime - there is no doubt about that.

    I'm also pleased that Chamberlain and Cleverley are getting games - i'm sure they will improve in the next couple of years.

    However, I still feel the decisions are not bold enough. If we accept that qualification from this group should be a given then more thought needs to be put into what a possible team in Brazil will look like.

    Is Lampard going to Brazil - unlikely.
    Is Gerrard going to be good enough in Brazil - unlikely.
    What is Carrick doing in the squad - no idea.

    I expect a team like Germany are already working out formations and what personnel could be involved in 2014. Our group is easy and we should be qualifying without any problems.

    With that in mind why not see whether Sturridge and Welbeck will work as a pair up front. Why not see whether Rodwell has what it takes. Why not give someone like Adam Johnson (when fit) a run in the team?

    Instead I expect Gerrard and Lampard will continue to play and Rooney will be back as soon as he is fit.

  • Comment number 26.

    Yes, the blend of old and new is working and is the sensible way forward. No point in throwing out all the older players and starting totally afresh - that would risk not actually winning the group. It may not be the toughest group, but away trips to Ukraine and Poland could trip up a young, inexperienced side.

  • Comment number 27.

    @25 the point is to qualify for the world cup, is RH going to experiment with players who aren't as good just so he can 'blood' them in? If he got it wrong he would be torn apart by the press. Agreed they are older but with the current injuries is there any one better then Gerrard/Lampard for CM? I don't think so...

    RH was justified in his choice by winning 5-0, that's why he's the manager

  • Comment number 28.

    Cleverley, Wilshire, Oxlade C are going to be key players for 2014. No harm using the older players alongside them between now and Rio (I expect we will win this group with something to spare as long as Rooney behaves in Montenegro.) Think Hodgson is doing a decent job in very limited situation. Miles better than Capello...you can tell that just by looking at the players' body language. I hope he uses the video of the Italy Euro 12 qtr final and the lack of possession to focus their minds and training habits on the importance of having the ball. At least Pirlo is unlikely to be swanning around at Rio 2014.

  • Comment number 29.

    Far too much negativity with England. They won comfortably and emphatically against a poor side, which is expected. What's the problem?

  • Comment number 30.

    Yeah Lampard was rubbish and scoring 2 goals controling midfield is unaccaptable. Terry made mistake after mistake and almost cost is the game. While Gerrard didnt have his best game his pushing play forward was just not good enough and all 3 should never be allowed to wear and England shirt, they should buy a ticked like another good fan is they want to be part of the England game.

    Combining the experience and the speed of the new and older players is absolutely essential especially in this stage of transition for our squad.

    England had a football match that they needed to win to get our campaign going, RH picked the team he thought that could do that and guess what we won 5-0, so why moan.

    Yes Moldovo is perhaps the worst team in Europe, but i do remember in the past whe England have struggled to beat teams of the same or similiar stature, Liechtenstein comes to mind.

    Does anyone remember Pirlo in the Euros and how he was the main player and his ripe old age for a footballer at top international level.

    If Roy chose all youth players and they failed then just imagine what that does for teh yongers players confidence in the years to come.

    Roy got it right spot on and we won with ease, in fact the second half we just jogged and hardly even tried.

    Cant ask for much more than that.

    Will we do it against any top 10 teams of course not, but it wasnt against a top ten team and we did our job, we cant just say if Messi was playing against us we wouldnt have won 5-0 thats just absurd to come out with comments like that.

  • Comment number 31.

    Carrick really made a difference when he came on in the second half, almost setting up a goal for Moldova. What on earth is that epitome of mediocrity doing wearing an England shirt?
    Cleverley did well though.
    England do play with a lot more cohesion without Rooney and were a great deal better in possession without Young.

  • Comment number 32.

    There is a lot of talk about phasing in and phasing out players, emphasis on youth etc. This isn't a club team. The England national team doesn't need rebuilding. Every one of those players play week in and week out in the toughest league in the world and under the toughest spotlight. The best get selected to wear the English jersey. If they prove they can shine for England they get picked again. When a young player proves himself in the domestic league to be worthy of selection when compared to another he gets his chance. With the majority of players coming from Man U, Man City and Chelsea they also bring that winning mentality and the work ethic that is required to earn a place in those teams.

    I think Cleverley has earned another chance to claim the jersey or at least to justify inclusion in a squad. Players like Ox, Walcott and Defoe from teams further down the premier league add flair to beat defenders and score goals others can't.

    I would like to think that when Wayne Rooney is fit he will be on the bench for England. He has been given the chance to earn an England jersey but hasn't grasped it. Of course if he starts knocking them in for Man U and shows great form then by all means give him another shot as a centre forward but not the guy liking the midfield to the forward line.

    I can see Cahill having replaced Terry by Rio.
    I can see Wilshire having replaced Lampard by Rio.
    I can see Richards or Walker having replaced Johnson by Rio.
    I can see carrol and rooney competeing for centre forward by rio.

    I have no doubt that England, under Hodgson, will win games and go to tournaments as one of the top teams in the world.

  • Comment number 33.

    31. I am a Man U fan. Carrick is still a mystery to me. As they said of England under Don Revie: "if only they had had the goals at the side of the pitch, we would have won every match."

  • Comment number 34.

    Why get rid of the over 30s if they're playing well?! That's like saying ban everyone with the middle initial of "R". This is representative football, you play to win tournaments. Put the best players out to win the game and the next tournament.

    Well done Mr McNutly, this must be the first time you haven't described someone taking a penalty as;
    "player X completed the formalities."

  • Comment number 35.

    Ah an england match and out come the 'This is how it should be done' crowd. Love Diesel001's team sheet that shows a severe lack of logic by selecting Adam Johnson, Jack Rodwell and Daniel Sturridge despite the fact that Johnson has warmed Rodwells spot on the bench for years and will now take time to get back to form with sunderland, Rodwell will now sit on the bench for four years until he eventually gets sold (probably to sunderland) and Daniel Sturridge who won't play unless Torres gets injured. Im going to put this (admittedly controversial) idea out there and suggest that with a 5-0 away win on a rubbish pitch against a side who only lost 1-0 each game to the dutch in Euro qualifying, maybe Hodgson is better qualified to manage England than the football manager brigade! Love these back seat managers who by some odd quirk of fate never become professional football managers.... weird that!

  • Comment number 36.

    Why are they sticking to the old guard still? Lampard, Gerrard etc. All part of a 'golden generation' redubbed the 'failed generation'.

    Moldova is a good opponent to try out younger players and have them gel and work together as a team.

    If all were fit, I'd pick:
    Joe Hart
    Micah Richards
    Joleon Lescott
    Gary Cahill
    Leighton Baines
    Ashley Young
    Tom Cleverley
    Jack Wilshere
    James Milner
    Danny Welbeck
    Daniel Sturridge

    Secondary XI:
    Jack Butland
    Glen Johnson
    Phil Jagielka
    Chris Smalling
    Danny Rose
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    Phil Jones
    Dan Gosling
    Scott Sinclair
    Wayne Rooney
    Andy Carroll

    Even our backup XI is free from old failures, largely:
    Ben Amos
    Kyle Walker
    Michael Dawson
    Ryan Shawcross
    Kieren Gibbs
    Theo Walcott
    Jack Rodwell
    Kevin Nolan
    Adam Johnson
    Jermaine Defoe
    Peter Crouch

    So why is Roy sticking to the oldies who will be too washed up come 2014??

  • Comment number 37.

    27.
    At 11:52 8th Sep 2012, up the turtle wrote:


    @25 the point is to qualify for the world cup, is RH going to experiment with players who aren't as good just so he can 'blood' them in? If he got it wrong he would be torn apart by the press. Agreed they are older but with the current injuries is there any one better then Gerrard/Lampard for CM? I don't think so...

    RH was justified in his choice by winning 5-0, that's why he's the manager
    ___________________________________

    Of course the point is to qualify for the World Cup. But as I said we should be doing it easily in this group.

    I would rather Hodgson experimented, made some mistakes and actually learned something than rely on the same players who haven't delivered in the past.

    As for him being justified in his choice by winning 5-0 well I reckon a team of Championship players would have put a few past Moldova. The result proves nothing other than Moldova are a terrible team who really should be battling it out in a pre qualifying event with the likes of San Marino.

  • Comment number 38.

    England should comfortably beat teams such as Moldova, and that is what happened. Let's not go over the top with either the bouquets or the brickbats.

    Hodgson played a solid midfield and defensive spine (some of the old guard) and that allowed Ox and Cleverley, and to some extent Baines and Johnson, to show their potential. He might try a different group against San Marino - another set of whipping boys.

    You can bet your life, though, that he and the team and the tactics will be very different and very careful against Ukraine and Poland.

  • Comment number 39.

    30.
    At 11:55 8th Sep 2012, shadow warrior wrote:

    Yes Moldovo is perhaps the worst team in Europe, but i do remember in the past whe England have struggled to beat teams of the same or similiar stature, Liechtenstein comes to mind.

    Does anyone remember Pirlo in the Euros and how he was the main player and his ripe old age for a footballer at top international level.
    __________________________________

    I think San Marino are probably marginally worse than Moldova. We'll find out pretty soon anyway.

    Pirlo was just 33 when the Euros started and had been in great form for Juventus.

  • Comment number 40.

    @ 36

    Selections like this will just cause doom for England. Next time you watch any football match try seeing what the starting line up is and who actually is playing well.

    Then make a decision.....

    @35 spot on :)

  • Comment number 41.

    The thing about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is..... that I don't like his haircut.

  • Comment number 42.

    I must have been watching the wrong match. Worst England player on the pitch: Lampard. Why? Too many misplaced passes, and he didn't follow Roy's instructions. Why was Lampard so out of position for the second goal? It was the same for Chelsea against A. Madrid, Lampard was supposed to be a defensive midfielder, but spent most of his time alongside Torres. Lampard is 34, smokes and seems more interested in himself than the team (England and Chelsea). Time for him to retire before he totally undoes his "legend" status.

  • Comment number 43.

    The England bashing is relentless. Why?

  • Comment number 44.

    Age has nothing to do with it. Scholes, 38 & Friedel, 41, were both outstanding in the Prem last weekend - class is permanent. Gerrard & Co may be slipping in the overall consistency of their performances, but that doesn't mean they should all be ejected en masse, just because they've passed 30. And every squad needs experience - it's one of the reasons Giggs remains in MUFC's dressing room as he approaches 40.

  • Comment number 45.

    Still lacking creativity, I think that is a void that only Jordan Henderson can fill

  • Comment number 46.

    Also what we have to consider is that the game is tactics and how football is being played is changing very drastically. The ball is doing much more of the work now and that fits with older players.

    Positional sense and control and then distribution of the ball are the main focus of teams.

    Wingers and full backs now are usually the players with more attacking intent and run more with the ball.

    What this type of system does is allow the central midfielders to hold positions and close down gaps in the centre and then pass the ball.

    This is the aspect of the game that England need to improve, we tried in partially at the Euros and did not do to well, but the more experienced players can adapt much faster to position and disturbtion roles and that will allow the younger players to have more freedom to cause problems with their movement, and thats exactly what happened last night.

    If we stay solid at the back and have 2 good central midfielders holding and creating and our wide and front players causing havoc then we can give anyone a game.

    I think Roy is heading towards this and with that type of system the older players are vital if not essential.

    If you have a sqaud of all youth who want to prove themselves and over play the ball then we get punished, go a goal down and then the whole team flaps and we again get knowhere.

    Just look at how Scholes has enriched Man U with his football sense positioning and reading of the game.

    We are now heading in a new direction of football and we are making the rght noises and so far i dont see RH doing to much wrong.

  • Comment number 47.

    I think a lot rests on Tuesday's game against Ukraine, the team looked good last night but a lot of their play was so good because they were easily cutting their way through the Moldovan midfield and defence. Against Ukraine it won't be so easy, however if we come out with a positive result and more importantly a good performance then it will sow that Roy is really working along the right lines.

    Having said that, it was a very good performance considering we were missing our best player in Rooney, as well as arguably our best defender for the last 10 years, Ashley Cole.

  • Comment number 48.

    I personally am choosing to be optimistic & putting Faith in RH that he will start to blood youth throughout qualification.

    It's all very well the forum know it all's saying he should be playing a completely new team but frankly, we should be using our strongest team for the first few games to make sure we don't have to chase the group qualification. Lets start the new blood when England are top of the group, with (hopefully) six points under their belts, worst thing would be for the young players to drop points & Having to drag the experienced players back at the end of the campaign to guarantee qualification.

    I'm not too concerned by the likes of Gerrard & Lampard in the team, if nothing else they bring goals.

    I AM worried by the continued presence of JT - not only is the man the worst captain England have ever had but also we want a CB partnership that have got a few games under their belt TOGETHER. No other part of the team need to bed in for quite as long as the CB's with a GK, they need to know how each other play inside out.

    Plus JT & RIO are nowhere near the top 2 English CB's anymore anyway.

  • Comment number 49.

    Moldova will win home and away to San Marino, makes me laugh when you see some comments - "the worst side in Europe".
    They are not good at the moment, but with a population of 3.5m there is no reason that at some time in the future they may get a decent team together capable of qualifying (see Ireland, Scotland, Estonia, Slovenia, Croatia etc all countries similar size that have qualified for major tourneys).

    Same can't be said for San Marino, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Andorra, Malta...

    As for the match, a good away win, well organised. Selection at some stage has to be made with the WC finals in mind (IF England qualify). Lampard (fair play to him with his headed goal and the move) will be too old at 36, so probably will Gerrard at 34. Terry will be incredibly cumbersome at 33, only Ashley Cole of the senior players looks like he may still be good enough.

    Finally, England once again were much better in Rooney's absence. RH should only consider him as a bench warmer until he bucks his ideas up.

  • Comment number 50.

    Also we need to play Shelvey, the English Zinedine Zidane!

  • Comment number 51.

    Good blog.

    I'm sure Lampard and Gerrard will work fine - all they need is a third midfielder in there to operate around to give them balance. They're too similar to work as a central midfield pairing (as has been proved over many years) but if if they have an axis to work around - be it somebody further forward like Cleverly, or somebody sitting behind (possibly Carrick?) then there's no reason that they couldn't function together.

    The age argument is a valid one but until somebody comes through and pushes them out then they will still be the starters. It's up to the likes of Rodwell etc to start stepping it up.

  • Comment number 52.

    49.
    At 12:35 8th Sep 2012, Kurt Replei wrote:

    Finally, England once again were much better in Rooney's absence. RH should only consider him as a bench warmer until he bucks his ideas up.
    __________________________________

    I hope you are right but I fear Rooney will be straight back in the team when he returns from injury.

  • Comment number 53.

    Moldova were below ordinary... I mean, some of their players played in the Polish second division - I didn't even know the Polish had a league system!
    But, you can only beat who is put in front of you and England did that comfortably. Always simmering in third gear, it was hardly scintilating stuff but they just picked the Moldovans off when they became careless (which was often!). They gave our full backs acres of space at times which will not be replicated on Tuesday. And, as soon as you throw in even the most mildest of attacking threats as the Ukraine, we won't be anywhere near as confident going forward. The next game will be the acid test.

    I feel, with the World Cup some 18 months away, that Roy is playing the old guard for the first 6-12 months to get some points on the board. I think our youth players will develop over the course of the year and playing them now will provide little benefit as things change so quickly (and new players will push through). Select the best team we have available at the start of the 13/14 season and pile the friendlies in over the course of the year. Set up a training session every month in Burton upon Trent to get the players gelling too.

  • Comment number 54.

    please tell me someone didn't mention Jonjo Shelvey seriously? Surely that was a joke right? Like someone saying that Jordan Henderson would fill the creative gap in our midfield.... oh wait, someone said that too!

  • Comment number 55.

    Can't understand the praise for Cleverly - I thought he was awful - really wasteful both with passing and his own chances. He should have shone against a team like Moldova. Ox Chambers was excellent however.

  • Comment number 56.

    Of Lampard the writer says, "now holds the record of 11 World Cup qualifying goals, once again defying detractors who seem to revel in any suggestion that his international career is over.

    Notice the word "Qualifying". Not Tournament. No more need be added.

    As to the result, fine but what are we are progressing to ? The aim should be France 2016 which with long term thinking should be a better bet than Brazil 2014.

    Fast foward 2 years to the heat of Brazil. What then of Lampard's goals record in qualifying ? Brazil should be a stepping stone for a young team NOW.............. for goodness sake if we cant get out of yet another cakewalk group without relying on past failures in the team instead of youngsters, we are not even the second rate international power we surrently are, FIFA's pathetic table notwithstanding.

  • Comment number 57.

    Super Super Frank. Another broken record for a player who recieves unfair criticism.

    People should just enjoy this for what it is, a comfortable win. If we expect England to be better than they have been this is how you start.

    @Contona. Seriously? Terry worst captain ever? Dude leads by example on the field. Continued playing yesterday on a twisted ankle, think you could do that? Also salmoned across the pitch to stop a shot in the 2010 wc. Best thing I've ever seen done in an England shirt.

  • Comment number 58.

    Ref 55.

    It's because you are a horribly biased Liverpool fan who wants to slight the only Man U player on the pitch.

  • Comment number 59.

    I just dont understand all the hate for our players. Lampard Rubbish, ermm didnt AVB make that mistake and alot of the success last year for Chelsea was down to him. Terry while off the pitch has got to some people he is still our best CD plays with full commitment and passion and is a decent footballer, makes the odd mistake and lacks some pace. But what footballer player on the planet doesnt.

    I think people need here to understand that they are not the manager of England, i doubt most could even manage to not eat 6 bags of crisps 3 pies and warm larger when they prepare for a football match.

    Club bias should go out the window when it comes to England, and some people need to look in the dictionary what support means.

    This doesnt mean all supporters have to be stepford wives and agree to everything and constructive debate is all the better, but this wave after wave of not just this blog but every England blog has to be cut out.

  • Comment number 60.

    Cleverly awful, what..

    His first start to England game.

    Just imagine if some of these posters were the England manger,

    they would be feilding out teenagers and then sacking them after the first game until they are left with a bunch of 10 year olds.

    Or maybe its people who are only around 10 that keep posting these tripe blogs.

  • Comment number 61.

    @55 dogeared

    Cleverley was one of our best players last night, along with Chamberlain and Lampard. We have desperately needed a player who can maintain possession and play a simple ball and Cleverley is definitely that type of player.

  • Comment number 62.

    @61
    Agreed. I don't understand the negative comments against Cleverley, he keeps things simple and ticking over, what's there not to like?

  • Comment number 63.

    Anyway time to prepare the pies and warm larger for the real football match, cant wait to watch the skill and ability of Scotland today.

  • Comment number 64.

    shadowwarrior @4

    I just cant understand the negativity. It looks as though England cant do anything right

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

    Well it is very easy for me to understand.

    Take this match out of the equation, Moldova are not even Div 1 standard, so please no plaudits or we played with promise. The gulf in class was enormous so nothing can be learnt from the result or the way we played.

    The only evidence we have is when we last watched England, in a competitive situation, namely the Euros. Against Italy, the scoreline may have been different but the gulf between the 2 teams was more like the gulf betwen England and Moldova, in terms of actual play.

    However i was pleased to see Cleverly, he does not quite fit at the moment because his movement off the ball, is far better than a few of the existing players [that has also happened at Utd for him] The Ox is a plus, still someway to go but he is improving.

    The biggest plus for me is Roy and his and the backroom guys, somehow the Rubbish that is normally associated with England, does not seem to be there now. They even look as though they want to play but that did start at the Euros.

    The biggest negative for me is the right flank, Milner does not really have the necessary ability to perform the role. Works damn hard but that is not enough in that role but he looks like he has become a Roy regular.

  • Comment number 65.

    @61

    I agree he played the simple sideways ball, and that's all he seemed capable of last night - when he tried anything else it ended in failure. Hardly inspiring against a team like Moldova.

    @58

    Happy to praise any player that performed well - Ox Chambers, Lampard, Baines... Cleverley I thought was next to useless, Walcott all pace and no control, Carrick blindingly mediocre.

  • Comment number 66.

    Why is everyone complaining about using older players? Yes we do have some good players coming through but look at all these sides that we actually do consider to be world class.
    Germany's main striker at 2010 was Miroslav Klose, who was 32, and he finished joint top scorer. He made the squad again in 2012 and he wasn't performing anywhere near as well as Gerrard or Lampard at club level.
    Still not convinced? Italy, the team that tore us to pieces in the quarter final had their entire team built around Andreas Pirlo, who is going to be 35 by the time the world cup comes around. And I bet he'll still be in the squad.
    And for everyone saying that it's not worth judging our team against Moldova. I do agree with you, but we can only beat what's been put in front of us. And we did a fairly good job of that. No one would be complaining too much if Manchester City won 5-0 against a non-league side, it'd just be 'job done'.
    As well as that, we beat Italy last month. That must be worth something away from home. It's not tournament football, but at least we are finally showing that we can at least compete with some of the bigger nations.

  • Comment number 67.

    baggiosponytail @52

    I hope you are right but I fear Rooney will be straight back in the team when he returns from injury.

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

    You may well be right, in fact I can almost certainly say your right.

    That may well pose the biggest test for RH to date and i do not mean on the pitch.

    If Rooney comes back after injury and once again it does not work for England with him in the team, dare they drop him. Certain England players have been auto picks in the past and there is nothing to suggest they won't be again in the future.

    The camp seems a fairly happy place to be right now and Rooney being automatic and playing like he has for the last couple of years, will rock the boat.

    Myself, I was always opposed to his Euro jaunt [should never have been picked for the squad] Now I feel the future would be better for England without him. That is until he shows his match fitness and show he wants to play for a new look England. He also has to accept that he is not and never will be the star man for England.

  • Comment number 68.

    uninventiveusername @66

    And for everyone saying that it's not worth judging our team against Moldova. I do agree with you, but we can only beat what's been put in front of us. And we did a fairly good job of that. No one would be complaining too much if Manchester City won 5-0 against a non-league side, it'd just be 'job done'.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well no one is saying it wasn't a a 'job done' but just like City against a non league team, nothing could be taken from the game.

    True people can't complain or praise too much because there is nothing to gauge it by.

  • Comment number 69.

    @67

    Londoner, I couldn't agree more.

  • Comment number 70.

    So, in summary, England were magnificent! ...against weak opposition... And Lampard! Boy, he was excellent! ...against weak opposition... And Gerrard, Cleverly, the Ox! Oh, they were so good! Against Moldova...

    Needless to say, I am so very encouraged and optimistic.

  • Comment number 71.

    @ london in Exile.

    Thats not the the type of negativity i am going on about.

    Yeah we do lack world class talent in every single position and until we get it then we will get the type of comments as we do here.

    Cleverly is was usless, but really what he means is i support Arsenal and Hate Man U.

    Milner did fine and has done great work for England, considering his role and the amount of effort he has to put in to put in to cover and let GJ get forward is more than enough, sorry he cant add that skill style and finish on the wing and put in performances like Valencia, so him not being superman makes him not good enough. Dear.......Oh Dear......

    Yes Italy who have 2 years atleast more head start than us out played us, but still they could not beat us in open play with a sqaud that was under strength and playing a new system with a brand new manager.

    But again thats enough given the context of the England set up at that time.

    Then we beat a really porr side 5-0 thats also not good enough and because we didnt play like Spain we were rubbish and to many old players.

    Carrick came on and had a very good influence to how the second half was being played, slower tempo keep the ball and let them do the running. Yeah he and others got complaicent at times, but thats what happens when its total domination, players get careless because its not challenging enough.

    What i mean in terms of negativity is that no matter what England do is never good enough.

    I personally think the future is ok for England and we are progressing and the players seem to be more relaxed and happy and we are getting results.

    The euros we exceeded expectations and we didnt have our full strength squad but again that was not good enough, because we didnt win every game 6-0 and win the Euros, anything less than that is just not acceptable for the pre match, half time and post match pie fans.

  • Comment number 72.

    Only a fool will write off Rooney.

    Lets not forget how amazing he was in the Euros when he limped out injured and then he was just as good when he got sent off. He also was the top scorer for the qualifying games. In WC SA what a mess that was, but that was not just him, it was collective mess stemming from Hitler Cappello. The last Euros he came into the squad with heaps of pressure and was clearly not fit and did not fit into the system as we all wanted to see him get us more goals.

    So for me alot of Rooneys chances for England has come under bad circumstances and with a bit more SUPPORT he will flourish.

    I actaully like him, he is pratt sometimes and doesnt come across well with the public sometimes, but people who know him like him alot and he is an amazing football player.

    Bt i do think he needs to try that bit harder and Fergie needs t use him a bit less near the end of the season when we have a competition coming up.

    Its all in the management and the support, we have a decent manager now can we get the right type of support, from the evidence of the Media and the people who write and comment about England i think we dont and never will do, because the vasy majority of football in England are Neanderthals .

  • Comment number 73.

    As an American (and recent UK resident) I can't wait to read the comments regarding any England performance - always pessimistic, bitter, lots of whinging, even after a positive result. (Yes, I know that's sort of the cultural fabric of the nation, and that England HAVE been disappointing for many, many years, but it still cracks me up...)

    The fact is that England really ARE a top-10 international side, and that people around the world (like me) really DO admire and support them. I don't doubt that they could have sold 100,000 tickets in Moldova... There IS cause for optimism here (look at Chelsea in last year's CL - I hope they don't use that style as a model, but the result shows that anything is possible), so cheer up, put on a smile... and cheer for England!

  • Comment number 74.

    I have to agree with shadow warrior - the negativity is way over the top. When England have done a good job even against poor opposition we should be pleased. I seem to remember in campaigns gone by struggling to undignified wins against the likes of Azerbaijan and England rightly getting critisism. So when we get through comfortably, cleanly, without breaking a sweat, England get... critisism. Germany took nearly half an hour an home last night to break down the Faroe Islands and there is only about 20 people living there. I would be surprised if they are getting this sort of treatment on German blogs. A bit of support after a good result would be a lovely change of pace.

    Well done Ireland, saved in the nick of time from what would have been a rather embarrasing defeat. Soul Patch or whatever you are calling yourself now - WRONG AGAIN! Still you have your GCSE resits on your mind I am sure.

  • Comment number 75.

    73 Guy

    Well said.

    On another topic, is it true that Americans who have Mexican heritage tend to cheer Mexico rather then the USA when they play internationals? I met an American guy earlier this year who told me that, which seems outrageous. Considering how a lot of Americans who do like football are of Latin American origin I had this image of USA home games being packed out with Americans booing their own team because they are playing against the country of their ancestors.

  • Comment number 76.

    @72
    We clearly can't 'write off' Rooney. No matter how much we want to. Hodgson will continue with the tub of lard regardless. England are a better team without him and his petulant attitude which is always likely to cost a red card.
    Carrick- What IS he doing in an England shirt?
    Cleverley played......well....cleverly.
    England delivered. Well done.

  • Comment number 77.

    Ok, just to go over the aims of any football match for the team you support
    1. Get the required result
    2. Get a win even if a draw would have done above
    3. Get a comfortable win
    4. Have as many good performances as possible
    5. Have as few poor performances as possible
    6. Use the game to prepare for the next match by keeping possession, creating chances through good movement and passing, showing good decision making and most of all everyone knowing what the game plan is and and keeping discipline for their role within it

    From last nights game level 6 could still do with some work. We outplayed a poor team on their poor home turf but as the game became comfortable some players were losing concentration and becoming casual although some match sharpness played a factor as well.

    Things to improve :
    Hart usually giving away the ball by just blasting it upfield too many times

    The number of times we had the ball down the wing and either gave a poor cross or decided to stop and being crowded out by defenders, the header was the only decent cross from outside the box all evening

    Defoe to look up and pass to better placed team mates rather than blasting the ball into defenders in front of him

    Walcott to learn when to take the ball outside a defender and the whipping a cross in rather than running inside straight into 4 defenders

    Roy is doing a good job so far with what he has and with has time to develop further.

  • Comment number 78.

    72.
    At 14:28 8th Sep 2012, shadow warrior wrote:

    Only a fool will write off Rooney.

    Lets not forget how amazing he was in the Euros when he limped out injured and then he was just as good when he got sent off.
    ______________________________

    This is the problem though shadow warrior. Those great performances were 8 years ago and at tournaments since then his performances have been terrible.

    In 2006 he was clearly unfit and shouldn't have played - but he did.

    In 2010 he had a shocking tournament - not sure what the reason was.

    In 2012 he was awful - he was clearly not fit and in hindsight should not have been in the squad.

    Despite all of that do you think he will walk straight back into the team when he recovers from injury? I bet he does.

  • Comment number 79.

    Before people want to go belittling the achievement, this equalled Moldova's BIGGEST EVER LOSS. Moldova have lost by 5 goals twice before, both away games - once at Turkey and once at Germany. This was their largest ever home defeat. Moldova aren't a good team, but England actually made them look worse than they are. There should be no negativity - England played well, hammered a team that don't usually get hammered (particularly at home) and picked up the three points.

    Well done Roy, onwards and upwards

  • Comment number 80.

    Yeah Baggios your right he has gone missing for one reason or another. Mostly i think its down to his off field life.

    The set up for England has not been the best in the last 8 years also and he was talked as the saving grace but didnt perform to how we wanted him too.

    But i think he still has potential and if approached right both by him, Man U and Roy we can get the best out of him and when we do he will be a force, age wise he should be now just coming to his peak.

    I think if we did a real ananlysis of what went wrong with Rooney then i think Injury and pressure would play a big role.

    Should he walk back into the squad, no and i am not and never will say that, a good manager should also be aware if he is fit and ready and how to play him.

    If we do manage to get the Wayne Rooney that we know can play to the highest level then we will push on that step further, but how do we get him playing the way we know he can, thats the question. I agree that he should take some flak but on the same note i reply only to say dont write him off just yet, if in form he is by far our best player.

  • Comment number 81.

    I think we COULD be better off reconsidering automatic first-choice selection of Wayne Rooney, for what it's worth... I've been following him for several years, have never seen more than the odd glimpse of 'greatness', and the team seems to perform better when he is absent. His first touch is pretty awful, his ball skills mediocre at best, and he retains a perpetual immaturity that often sends him out of control, where he ends up doing more harm than good - through fouls, bookings, spats with teamates, referees, and even the fans...

    He DOES have incredible determination, passion, and competitive spirit, a thunderous shot (and a fair knack for getting it on target), and some ability to head the ball... but goes missing more often than not when it really counts, and his "automatic" selection keeps other choices on the bench.

    Those other choices can be better ones, at times - better individually (look at United, for example; Rooney keeping Berbatov on the bench was insanity) - or perhaps NOT as good individually, but simply better for the team in some situations (Peter Crouch comes to mind, along with Andy Carrol, Jermain Defoe, etc.)... but will Hodgson have the courage to MAKE these other choices?

  • Comment number 82.

    Not a great fan of RH, but sorry for him considering the 'talent' that he has to work with. Baines, (Notso)Cleverley, Sturridge, Carrick, Milner, Young - they may be the best that England can produce, but this level won't compete with world class teams. The problem is that it's the FA who are responsible - lack of quality English players is due to not enough natives in league club squads. It's not a racial thing, just plain common sense. But the FA won't do anything about it, so stand by for yet more years of disppointment....................

  • Comment number 83.

    @73

    It's a valid observation, and happens at club level too - nothing seems to be good enough other than a five nil win. Oh, hang on...

    Of course many of the posters here are Welsh and Scottish, and pretending to be English ;o)

  • Comment number 84.

    @81 Guy Hardrock

    Personally I would like to see Sturridge and Welbeck given a run of games up front. Both are young, have potential and need to improve areas of their game.

    I would have Rooney on the bench for now and bring him on in the last 30 minutes of a match if required. The key for me is Hodgson needs to make him understand that he is not an automatic pick and needs to work at several aspects of his game if he wants to be a better player.

  • Comment number 85.

    @ 82

    people will only get disappointed if the expectation is unrealistic. And judging by the media and a fair amount of posters then anything less than 10/10 performances with 70% possesion and hatricks from each player including Joe Hart then it wont be enough.

    England since the sacking and the disgraceful behaviour of the British Media to remove Sir Bobby England have never been the same. We have had countless talented players all wasted by bad management Media and the Premiership where second rate Foreigners are given more of a chance than our own players.

    England should get to Brazil and i think we have enough in our squad for some rotation and to have a look at some other players, but its not just the selection of who plays in the starting 11 its about which English players are getting their fair chances to play week in week out in the Premiership.

    For example Rodwell now is in Man City, do you really think he is going to start each game and become a regular player, and then without match fitness gets picked perhaps for England just because he is in Man City.

    There are 100's of examples this since the premiership started and that means that 100's of English players never really got the chance to grow and shine.

    So if we are realistic then getting out the group stages and being a team hard to beat in Brazil and walking out the competition should be our target and thats attainable imo.

    The next Euros we should be more of a force, but will we then be getting Wilshire, Cleverly and Joe Hart are past it and we need some new wonder teeenager to come in save us, vicious circle of uneducated football pie fans.

    But for many its time to wipe off the crumbs on your vest, have a shave and wash and get realistic about the state of England at the moment.

    If we get oour lads playing more regular in the top 4 sides and support from the clubs then we will prosper as we have bundles of talent in this country but the chances are not being given so easily because of the world wide market that the Prem attracts.

    If you think England are going to win every game, and win by at least 3 goals and walk away with the WC then yeah your gonna be disappointed, but if you follow football take away biased opinions and actually support the team and the selctions then maybe you just might enjoy watching England and see that we are now at the gateway to improving our team and getting back what is rightfully ours, and thats respect.....

  • Comment number 86.

    @ 84 Baggios

    That should be happening week in week out in the Prem, just remember England only get together once in a while so Roy has to play the players he sees playing in the Prem.

    He cant just oh i think Sturrige played well 6 months ago lets give him a bash, i might get the votes of some bloggers but its just a shame i lost my job because Strurridge came on saw someone with camera and then tried to score and individual wonder goal and missed.

    I think Wellbeck is getting some pitch with England just the same as he in in Man U.

    I cant see to much wrong with what Roy is doing at the moment.

  • Comment number 87.

    Is it me or watching Scotland V Serbai a bit like watching Scunthope Vs Luton

  • Comment number 88.

    What a surprise. England wins well when Rooney isn't playing, plus Lampard and Gerrard were only shoe-horned together for 45 minutes.

  • Comment number 89.

    @86 shadow warrior

    I agree with you to a certain extent but it's a bit of a conundrum.

    Rooney scored a lot of goals for Man Utd last season but has often been poor in an England shirt (certainly in tournaments and recently at Euro 2012). When fit (and even when not) he seems to be an automatic pick for England.

    Cleverley has only just become a regular in the Utd team and this situation may change. He has played well for England (and also for GB at the Olympics) so surely has to keep his place in the England team at the moment.

    Gerrard has started the season poorly for Liverpool but played well at Euro 2012. He is the England captain so is pretty much guaranteed to start.

    Sturridge played well at times for Chelsea last season and showed some good touches for GB at the Olympics. His playing time at Chelsea will be limited if Torres keeps scoring goals.

    So four players - who should play for England and who should not?

  • Comment number 90.

    Win and three points...next

  • Comment number 91.

    A good result, we don't always stroll past the minnows like that. But ... I thought the defence was generally awful when put under any pressure. And why oh why has an international player only got one foot!! Cleverley hop forward ....

  • Comment number 92.

    I ma certainly not saying that Rooney should be an automatic pick, in fact nobody should be.

    I would like to raise the question about Sturridge at the Olympics, did he really play well, i gave him some slack because he came back from illness.

    He is a local lad to me and i know people who know from Birmingham and while he has pace and skill i dont think he is ready for big games, to big headed and to much over trying to get himself recognised . Once he gets this out of game and stops being a glory seeker then perhaps we can trust him in big games but at the moment no, he needs to leave Chelsea if he doesnt get the games he deserves but thats up to him his club and his agent.

    But for me only players that are playing well for their clubs should play.

    But then you get the question about Gerrard who isnt playing to well for Liverpool but that can be down to the players around him. Liverpool are very much under strength this year. But we all know how devastating he can be and the last few games up until the world cup i think Gerrard for his past games deserves the right to start if he is fit.

    The thing is with our tried and tested players espcially at club level they can play poor for 89 mins and then just pull something special out of the bag, and thats what managers hope for in the big games, they have quality but can they produce it at the right time and most managers would always risk that 1 miin in a game with the best players rather than start a newbie with little or no experience.

    Knee jerk reactions are not good, if Rooney and Gerrard and other senior players have a bad patch then they shoudlnt be just thrown out, that never makes sense and will also give out the wrong message to the younger players, what people need to understand is that moral and confidence are just as important as ability.

    So far RH is keeping his team happy and they enjoy playing for England which is a breath of fresh air both for the REAL fans and the players and everyone included in the England set up.

    Of course we all want to see potential players getting there chances and they will do, and if they didnt get this time then they need to fight for their places at club level and produce.

    Rooney
    Lampard
    Gerrard
    Terry
    Cole

    All these names are the ones that people target to get kicked out and replaced asap, but they perform week in week out with good performances for years, yeah a few bad games here and their but they are in the main consistent so why drop them, madness.

    If people are unhappy with the senior team then there are other options under 21's under 17's ect.

  • Comment number 93.

    @92 shadow warrior

    I agree that Sturridge needs to be less selfish and more of a team player. Maybe because his playing time at Chelsea is limited he thinks he needs to show his skill and plays too much to the camera. Hopefully this is something he will improve.

    On the age issue i'm not suggesting drop every player over 30 but I do believe that the manager needs to think further ahead than just the next qualifying game. Otherwise I can see exactly the same thing happening at the World Cup where we are not properly prepared and are not able to step up our performances against the really good teams.

  • Comment number 94.

    The amount of nagativity of England "fans" is quite unreal.

    Yes we have to be mindful of the opposotion but the team did everything it was supposed to plus played attractive attacking football, something the "fans" again battered them for doing in the Euro's.

    I thought it was a good balance of experience and youth. The Ox and Cleverley were stand out perforers and even as a gooner I thought Defore played well.

    Id still like to see Micah Richards or Kyle Walker get a go ahead of Glenn Johnson but his forward runs were excellent on the night so no complaints there.

    Lampard and Gerrard both played very well and their drive and professinalism will have been great for the young lads.

    Defenders and keeper were not tested really but a solid performance meant they were not needed.

    The only thing that bewilders me is how Carrick gets near the England team, but if we are sitting here after Tuesdays game and thats still all I can be negative about then happy days.

  • Comment number 95.

    42 wrote .I must have been watching the wrong match. Worst England player on the pitch: Lampard. Why? Too many misplaced passes, and he didn't follow Roy's instructions. Why was Lampard so out of position for the second goal? It was the same for Chelsea against A. Madrid, Lampard was supposed to be a defensive midfielder, but spent most of his time alongside Torres. Lampard is 34, smokes and seems more interested in himself than the team (England and Chelsea). Time for him to retire before he totally undoes his "legend" status.

    ---------------
    Yes, you must been watching a rather strange match constructed in your head. Valid criticism of Lampard's second goal though, the way he received the ball deep, and laid if off to Gerrard before ghosting in to head home was appalling play.

    Back in the real world, 5 goals, 3 points, Ox, Cleverly, Baines slotting nicely into the side. Apart from 2 admittedly bad defensive lapses, Carrick passed well when coming on. Bring on Ukraine where I expect to see more conservatism, no bad thing in qualification against tougher sides.

  • Comment number 96.

    I watched the game last night with a sense of trepidation, firstly because it was on ITV and secondly because we had been so bad at the Euros. I was pleasantly surprised with Cleverly (not so with ITV). I don't support a premiership club, so have not been exposed to him before really but he seemed fairly solid.

    I think the polarization of opinion on here is rooted in style not results (we all want to see England win). I fall into the section of England fans who would rather have seen them win 1-0 last night but play clinical, penetrative, dynamic football. I have only seen this three times during the past 22 years (Holland 1996, Germany 2001 and Argentina 2005) but just seeing it once has has highlighted all the mediocrity England have thrown my way over the years.

    To hop on the Rooney bandwagon, he is a very good, sometime world class player. Sometimes for United he is genuinely unplayable, this tends to be in the sort of situation where he doesn't think the rest of the team is pulling it's weight. If this happens with England he seems to lose his cool and get sent off or booked and substituted. The same could have been said for Gerrard a few years ago, he's never looked like the world beater for England that he does for Liverpool.

    I'm pleased with the win, but don't want to be going to Rio and hearing the "we made it to the knockout stage/quarters so be happy brigade" this is not progress. Presumably Roy has been brought in to bring the team forward, so we shouldn't be happy with maintaining the status quo. I do portion a fair amount of blame at Stuart Pearce's door he's been in charge for 5 years and I can't think of anyone in that time who's made a successful transition from the under 21's to the senior team. The only player's who look like they might become England regulars bypassed the under 21's and Pearce's outdated, and inept international tactics.

  • Comment number 97.

    Meaningless result. England have always crucified the smaller teams in games like this.

  • Comment number 98.

    Moldova were so bad that there's not much we can take either way.

    Last Sunday for Man U, Cleverly got a great deal of attention from the Southampton midfield and Fergie took him off because he wasn't getting in the game. The embarrassing bit for him is that he was shown up by 17 year old James Ward-Prowse, who is currently with England U19.

    Cleverly had a very easy job with no Moldovan anywhere near him and really he should be judged against players who do close him down. Against Southampton, he didn't really look like an England class player, but since that was just one game, I'll give him a break. For an Englishman, his passing and moving is quite good.

  • Comment number 99.

    @64 Londoner in Exile Returns.

    If nothing can be taken from the game, how can you make that Milner comment? Or is it not at all based on it? You're right of course, he works hard, and is useful when laying defensively, but we need a better outlet than him on the right.
    I'm saying that if we watched an English training match we could take judgements from it, let alone a competitive qualifier. In this case, I was pleased to see a rigid 4-4-2 ousted again, most of the players in our national side are used to more flexibility and I think we're better off exploiting that.

  • Comment number 100.

    I know it's nitpicking but could everyone stop saying Rio 2014? It's being played across the whole of Brazil.

 

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