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It's Lampard or Gerrard

Robbo Robson | 11:16 UK time, Monday, 13 October 2008

Fabio asked the fans dead nicely to be patient and polite at Wembley on Saturday and by half-time the stadium was full of supporters jabbing rusty nails into the palm of their hands like Michael Caine in the Ipcress File - just to stifle the desire to moan their bleeding heads off.

The Blue Bell was the same. In fact we had a Golden Moan competition, much like the Golden Goal but you won free booze for the week if you held the correct ticket for the timing of the first outpouring of bile.

There were also five quid on-the-spot fines for the use of any expletives in tandem with the words 'prima donna', 'Calamity James' and 'They can't play together, for *@!"*@ sake!'. After half an hour I was £30 down.

Frankly I thought it was one of England's worst halves of football in a long time. Capello wants to get rid of the fear in his players... and for 45 minutes they played with all the freedom and ease of a bunch of gazelles on Big Cat Diary. Alistair Darling's eyebrows looked more relaxed and tidy.

No-one on the pitch seemed to be quite sure of what he was doing apart from Heskey. Yes I am a two-faced low-life when it comes to Emile. When McClaren recalled him there was only one bloke in our pub who thought it was a good idea and, perhaps significantly, he was Scottish.

But he's been worth it every time. He knows his job and he gets on with it. He's probably the most selfless player on the pitch and in a team full of blokes with crappity telly programmes and grasping missuses on the go, it's exactly what's required.

Any road that's getting on for 300 words without actually writing in capital letters so here it is... LAMPARD AND GERRARD CANNOT START FOR ENGLAND IN THE SAME TEAM!
This is fact now. OK? Not speculation, not guesswork. Fact. In future the dilemma will become known as the Stank Gerpard Conundrum...

If you believe they can play together, then you probably believe the following:
1. That Katie Price Jordan (whatever she calls herself) has been a valuable role model to womankind.
2. That leaving a bunch of cash-hungry tossers in charge of the world's banks is a good way to guarantee you'll have a nice pension when you retire.

The Frank 'n' Steve debate is over. They are as compatible as steak and custard, Fergie and Wenger, Boyd and Burley, Geri Halliwell and music of any kind.

Capello proved himself a sensible coach by pulling Barry off at half-time 'cos he was being so rubbish he couldn't have passed a pensioner on his push-bike let alone a football, and putting on another wide man.

This did leave, however, the two replicants in the middle of the park and meant that even the plucky Kazakhstanis looked dangerous on the counter 'cos the back four were at their mercy. Fortunately Kazakhstan were, ultimately, a bit crap.

Then again, you can't really argue with 5-1! What more do we want, really?

Well I want to know why Theo turned from world-beater into a cute little glove puppet in one game, why Rooney isn't just left to play behind Heskey, 'cos that works, why David James looks about as coordinated as a Stade Francais rugby shirt, why Shaun Wright-Phillips displays no awareness of other players whatsoever and why no-one had the nous to work out after 10 minutes that corners and free-kicks would lead to a flipping hatful.

Of course the second-worst moment of the night came with the Cole-hole dug by the left-back. Cashley's suicidal give-away looked like he was dinking next-door's football back over the fence - although that kind of conjures up a picture of the Coles living in the middle of a terrace, which is unlikely. You probably need a rocket-launcher to get a ball from Cheryl's conservatory into next-door's garden.

But the worst moment of the night was what followed. I mean I've done stupid things on a football field meself. I once back-heeled the ball back to our keeper without realising the pillock had gone down with cramp and we lost 2-1. I told him he shouldn't have given me a shout, but he explained that 'Arggggggggghhhhhh, me leg!!!!' doesn't necessarily translate into 'Keeper!'

Any road at least I didn't have 500 unsympathetic dimwits booing me for the next 10 minutes - and it wouldn't have helped if they had. Simon Cowell couldn't have made me feel any worse about meself.

Cashley's not my favourite bloke either but for God's sake, people. There's a difference between a good old moan and outright bloody ignorance - even if there was a touch of pantomime about it.

Any road, it's Belarus next. It's another sort of bit of ex-Russia, isn't it? I can't keep up, me. I hope (although I'm not convinced) Capello will resist the Stank Gerpard conundrum and we'll have a team that reads:

James, Brown, Ferdinand, Upson, Bridge, Walcott, Gerrard/Lampard, Barry, SWP, Rooney Heskey.

I'd prefer Woodgate to Upson. And I'd go for Gerrard. But as long as it's not both I don't give a monkey's. And England to claim a 2-0 victory, 'cos for a team to win that well while playing that badly on Saturday suggests Fab must be on to something.


  • 1. At 12:22pm on 13 Oct 2008, Hookers_armpit wrote:

    We miss Hargreaves.

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  • 2. At 12:33pm on 13 Oct 2008, 30STMLCFC wrote:

    Any road..whats with the repetitive use of that expression.

    Never seen it used so mny times in my life!

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  • 3. At 12:34pm on 13 Oct 2008, aggersforcaptain wrote:

    True we do miss Hargreaves but the biggest worry over our starting line-up was that the whole system was changed tyo accomodate Gerrard. It had nothing to with Cole being injured. This threw the whole balance of the team out and isolated Rooney. Once the team was changed at half time we were better but without Barry the opposition ran thriough us too many times for comfort. Stevie G is a good player but we should have stuck with the same formation as in Croatia with Lamps and Barry deserving to stay together. Oh yes and Golden Balls shouldn't be able top creep up on Bobby Moore's record caps with silly little 10 minute cameos. What is the point when younger players could get those 10 mins to sample the atmosphere of an international.

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  • 4. At 12:40pm on 13 Oct 2008, Peter Holt wrote:

    At last. I heard a commentator actually say the words "He's given it away - AGAIN !!" about Stevie G. As this is the actual truth about Stevie G, masked by the odd 40 yard ball that is fantastic, then Capello must drop him in favour of Lamps if he believes that we need to adopt a controlled, passing, possession game (Which we do if we ever want to win anything)

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  • 5. At 12:43pm on 13 Oct 2008, sandcastlejim wrote:

    Gerard starts - make him captain.
    Lampard on bench - good sub to bring on for last 30. simple.

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  • 6. At 12:43pm on 13 Oct 2008, Steve_Northampton wrote:

    It's not that either Gerrard or Lampard is the issue, it's the pair of them. Never mind them being incompatible together, neither ever plays even close to the standard they play for their respective clubs. This was most visible when Beckham made his fleeting appearance and suddenly the ball got passed accurately.

    Drop them both for half a dozen games. Let's see what the other midfielders can do. If we're no better without the pair of them, let one trickle back (probably Gerrard) on probation.

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  • 7. At 12:46pm on 13 Oct 2008, Woodley Blue wrote:

    Who cares its only England and international football. Compared to the top leagues in Europe, international football is no better standard than league 2.

    This is where the majority of the fans come from and why the booing occured. You do not see premier league fans at Wembley for England games, because what we watch week in, week out, in my case at Stamford Bridge, is of a way better standard than the dross served up England.

    Always hpe England lose, so my players get a rest during the summer tournamonts.

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  • 8. At 12:46pm on 13 Oct 2008, sandcastlejim wrote:

    also Upson and SWP are not international footballers. Woodgate is vastly superior to Upson, and SWP is nowhere near as good as Young in that left-sided position. there...give me the job!

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  • 9. At 12:48pm on 13 Oct 2008, Estesark wrote:

    Of the two, I would play Gerrard, because I believe that Barry is the best "holding midfielder" available to England at the moment (in the absence of Hargreaves and King), and because he plays better with Gerrard than with Lampard.

    Rooney really has to play up front, too.

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  • 10. At 12:50pm on 13 Oct 2008, cryin' white tears wrote:

    Cole deserved to be booed. And pick Gerrard rather than Lampard. There are a few top payers out for the moment and their replacements don't have the same dependability or skill. But surely still good enough to beat Belarus.

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  • 11. At 1:01pm on 13 Oct 2008, Williamsbach wrote:

    If your team's right, Robbo, I presume James, Brown will get on Up(son) and take it to the Bridge....

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  • 12. At 1:03pm on 13 Oct 2008, sandcastlejim wrote:

    liking it alpineboyo...good touch.

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  • 13. At 1:03pm on 13 Oct 2008, Quados wrote:

    It's gonna have to be Lampard - and as a Boro Fan it hurts to give any Chelsea player any sort of compliment - but he's been outstanding this year.

    And it's gotta be Young Left and Walcott Right with Barry / Hargreaves / King fighting it out to see who can remain fit. I'd probably plum for Barry at the moment - he seems to enjoy it and genuinely tries to get involved.

    Rooney and Crouch up front for me (though Heskey's doing well) and we can stick whoever across the back four - let's be honest - the opposition isn't interested in attacking England - just interested in making them look stupid (well done Ashley.)

    It'll be interesting if Owen gets his full fitness going and Joe Cole comes back in. Not to mention the rise and rise of David Wheater and Adam Johnston!!!

    Up the Boro!

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  • 14. At 1:04pm on 13 Oct 2008, dirk_1978 wrote:

    But Barry was actually very good in the first half. One stray pass and that constitutes not being able to pass a ball?

    I think the problem with playing Gerrard and Lampard together is that they actually don't seem to like each other very much. There's no chemistry, no fluidity. Neither seems to know what the other is going to do and neither really seems interested in anything else but themselves.

    I think Barry providing backup to either one is a must. He's able to keep possession and has very good positional sense. Hargreaves isn't really in the same league for passing.

    The debate really is, which player out of the 2 do we think Barry plays better with? In my opinion Lampard is the better player but Gerrard and Barry seem to have the better understanding.

    On an unrelated note, where was Ashley Young? (apart from in Capello's thoughts after the game) The game was crying out for a left sided foil to Walcott who could get chalk on his boots and get some quality crosses in. The scoreline flatters to deceive that there are still quite a few issues that need sorting out, not least Capello doing an impression of McClaren and picking players on name.

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  • 15. At 1:06pm on 13 Oct 2008, tenzone86 wrote:

    They can play in the middle together in a 4-4-2, Cappello would have to ask Gerrard to stay deep, and play with dicipline, as he did in the Goodison derby, but why not? The problem is when they both try to play in the hole at the expense of an extra wide player, which might work on pro-evo, but in real life they just seem to get in each others way... Personally I'd prefer Barry-Gerrard in the middle as I dont think Lamps gives enough to the team when he's not on top form (which is more often than not, although he is playing well at the moment).

    Thought England played well the other night, but its a shame Wembley cant wait for more than 45 mins for a goal. The way to beat teams like the Kaz is to be patient, wear them down, and then stick the goals away in the second half, this is how most big victories come. You cant realistically expect England to be 2 or 3 up at half time against every weaker team, unless your expecting them to win by 8 or 10 every time.

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  • 16. At 1:08pm on 13 Oct 2008, EuroPaddy wrote:

    After clicking on the Stad Francais link, you can forget the Gerrard and Lampard debate.

    I mean, thats just disturbing...

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  • 17. At 1:09pm on 13 Oct 2008, ChelskiScott wrote:

    swp is terrible!

    didnt see him pass all game, he has one option and that is to try and go round the left of the defender to put it on his right foot. did it work at all, even once? no.

    how long does it take before young is given a chance?

    drop him for anyone else.

    apart from downing.

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  • 18. At 1:11pm on 13 Oct 2008, Brandyrecovery wrote:

    Alpineboyo - excellent!

    England's starting line-up & formation was a decent team on paper, and the performance wasn't bad but they needed to test the keeper more.

    Personally, I was hoping he'd pick Gerrard left midfield and play 4-4-2 with Rooney up front.

    That could have happened, England might still have been 0-0 at halftime and everyone would moan "Gerrard's not a wide midfielder", etc, etc.

    Also, I believed (like Chris Waddle) that Walcott should maybe have been "rested" for SWP - or even Ashley Young - is it was inevitable that he was gonna try too hard. Would've been harsh to drop him after a hat-trick, but that was always a bit of a one-off. He still worries the opposition defense, so I'd start him more, away from home.

    We need to get a bit less meladramatic and just enjoy the games.

    I'm not gonna rise to the bait of WUM's like Woodley Blue who can continue to care only about "his" Chelsea players...funny thing is, I'm sure they consider you to be "their" supporter Woodley! Mug.

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  • 19. At 1:16pm on 13 Oct 2008, foxtrot_charlie wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 20. At 1:16pm on 13 Oct 2008, skinnyolly wrote:

    I find this article hard to read, I expressly disagree with many of robbos statements.

    particularly: worst half of football in a long time,

    I disagree, because although england did not score, they at least kept the ball well at times, instead of punting the ball up field after two passes and losing possession.
    I was never in any doubt that england would score as they were creating chances. The shots werent on target, but in another game they might have been, and might have lead to a couple of goals.

    My feeling is: that keeping the ball is the way forward, and Capello seems to be stamping out the long ball approach which can only be a good thing.

    The Lampard and Gerrard solution, should be about 'can they cant they play together' but who is playing best for their team at the time.

    And at the moment I would choose Lampard over Gerrard. Lampard was at the heart of everything that England did well against Croatia, and I thought it was such ashame that his 'goal' did not count as it finished a great move.

    Gerrard was injured yes, but I feel the manner in which he/ his manager pulled him out showed complete disrespect for the England team and Capello. I think maybe he also has Carraghers 'I would prefer to play for liverpool' feeling.

    And the team played well without him.

    I think England are moving in the right direction, and hopefully can start to put together the right results more regularly.

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  • 21. At 1:17pm on 13 Oct 2008, Robbie wrote:

    The Croatian result was historic, and so was the performance. Lampard and Barry were instrumental in that result. Gerrard needs to sit on the bench. The team lost all shape trying to fit him in instead of a wide man on the left.
    Lets face it, Gerrard hoofs the ball about for Liverpool, as many passes go astray as find the target, and he simply isn't good enough for International football.

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  • 22. At 1:19pm on 13 Oct 2008, skinnyolly wrote:

    edit: The Lampard and Gerrard solution, should'nt be about

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  • 23. At 1:21pm on 13 Oct 2008, Barry Humphrey wrote:

    I think we're all being a bit hasty - let's give it a couple more years of mediocrity

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  • 24. At 1:25pm on 13 Oct 2008, theohiohammer wrote:

    Way to throw a blast at Christianity into your ramblings. Always nice to see a football columnist taking on world religion. Just the man for the job. As for the Gerrard/Frank duo, we've known it wouldn't work for two years. All of us have. It doesn't take a rocket scientist of your calibre to see that.

    However, unless Fabio learns how to gnaw on these boys in the dressing room and get under their skin when they're rubbish, our hopes of a World Cup title run are as misdirected as ever. These lads need someone to basically come out and say, "Cole, you're pathetic today. Frank, Stevie you look rediculous so one of you has to sit. Barry, what do you call what you were doing out there first half because it wasn't football?!"

    5-1 is a great scoreline but you come out flat and unfocused against the big boys and you're down 2 or 3 goals at half. They need a wake up call 5 minutes before game time apparently.

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  • 25. At 1:27pm on 13 Oct 2008, J-b08KOPITE wrote:

    i think it doesn't work having lampard gerrard and rooney!!! probably any two would work but the three like to occupy very similar positions. . .

    i say bring through the youth, richards should have been the one to replace terry at CB, maybe give reo-cocker a try?!? milner young and agbonlahor too. . Villa have a good english spine

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  • 26. At 1:27pm on 13 Oct 2008, tone1947 wrote:

    I think it has to be Lampard with Barry. I know its only one game but against Croatia both were excellent. Also FL has been playing well at Chelsea albeit alongside Ballack. Meanwhile SG has yet to fully capture the linked form with Torres from last season, possibly as he is playing deeper because of Keane and Riera - still Liverpool are second.
    Should Beckham come on? Only to please my wife, but then he made 2 goals
    5-1 is better than 3-1
    Finally, a win is a win, and stop booing and start supporting

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  • 27. At 1:28pm on 13 Oct 2008, brewtal wrote:

    Im suprised the Villa duo of Young and Agbonlahor haven't been promoted from the U21's yet, especially the former.

    Gerrard should be picked ahead of Lampard due to his ability to dictate a game and his work ethic.

    Crouch might be an option instead of Heskey,bearing in mind his scoring record for England and form of late although I agree that Emile is doing a good job.

    Glad Cashley Cole is injured, he is lucky there is no good left backs challenging him for the left sided birth tho cos since he joined Chelsea has been average.

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  • 28. At 1:30pm on 13 Oct 2008, Ichi_1 wrote:

    "Gerard starts - make him captain.
    Lampard on bench - good sub to bring on for last 30. simple."


    Ive said it so many times before. Gerrard IS NOT international quality. He launches the ball at least 20 times a game and 19 times it either goes out of play or to an opposition player. We cannot have this at international level. Gerrard for club is fantastic but it has to be Lampard for England.

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  • 29. At 1:31pm on 13 Oct 2008, Itsabigcon wrote:

    What a waste of the licence fee. Its not even funny. I'm conviced Robbo is not one person.

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  • 30. At 1:33pm on 13 Oct 2008, Ninety6 wrote:

    I agree furiousb...
    Except I think Gerrard is a great player when properly motivated, a spell on the bench might help with that.

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  • 31. At 1:34pm on 13 Oct 2008, EuroPaddy wrote:

    Not bad Robbo - it took until post 29 before someone mentioned the license fee!

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  • 32. At 1:36pm on 13 Oct 2008, I wish Chelski had made it to the CL final, just to see JT cry again! wrote:

    Surprised it took Capello so long to bring Becks on. As soon as the set plays started flying in he should have been on for one of the Stank Gerpard conundrum.

    Gerrard to start on Wednesday, pity Cole is out but Bridge will do fine. I am dreading the team sheet though on Wednesday, there are not too many contenders for the LHS - Please not Downing, PLEASE!

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  • 33. At 1:41pm on 13 Oct 2008, Parish87 wrote:

    What's all this "Pick Lampard - he's been fantastic this season!!!" talk?

    Both Liverpool and Chelsea have the same number of points - Gerrard has been excellent too. His two games in the Champions League have been fantastic, he won us the game against Middlesbrough and he was superb against Everton and City (in the second half).

    Rewind to last year and Russia at Wembley. England winning two qualifyers in a row and on the march to Euro 2008, Gerrard and Barry looking the biz, new fresh midfield.

    Lamps comes back, England crash out and suddenly it's Gerrard's place in doubt?

    Only in England.

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  • 34. At 1:41pm on 13 Oct 2008, sensi_soccer wrote:

    whoever doesnt think Gerrard is world class are probably blind.

    whether or not he can fit into a team with Lampard is, of course, open to debate ..

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  • 35. At 1:41pm on 13 Oct 2008, red as tomatoes wrote:

    woodgate is vastly superior? thats why the defence he marshals is leaking like a mud roof. please, preconceived notions has been the folly of previous england coaches and piles of all knowing pundits. capello has yet to make a mistake managing this team. he was right for ignoring owen, right to keep beckham, even heskey . i guess doing the exact opposite to what is expected from "you" guys are getting results.

    weather he starts upson, Gerrard or ray clemence, this team will win. thats what he does. till theres reason to doubt him just sit quietly, cheer when we score and be ready to accept an away draw is not a bad thing. why would anyone think woodgate is better when he has NEVER been associated with anything successful throughout his whole career. let go of preconceived notions

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  • 36. At 1:42pm on 13 Oct 2008, expat-thailand wrote:

    Love to watch Gerrard play football for Liverpool, where he dominates the midfield and the whole team plays off him and his moves. There in lies the problem.

    Liverpool have built a team around him and thats how he has learnt to play for the last five or six years. This doesn't translate the play for the national side where each player must complement the team.

    Lampard plays a different role in Chelsea where he's in a more diverse team structure and so whilst not performing at his best for England he has more chance to play his natural game and will ultimately give better performances.

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  • 37. At 1:45pm on 13 Oct 2008, Alex wrote:

    you're an idiot

    Gerrard an Lampard dont play well together.

    Prefer Gerrard as a player and leader, but Lamps is having his best season for quite a while.

    Should be Barry as holding and Lampard goign forward. if they can produce good performaces then keep them there.

    Abonglahor and rooney might work... Although i rate Heskey as does his job extremely well for England, we ahve a few years before world cup sow e might as well try to bring in something new and develop it.

    Can't see Heskey beigna round for the WC.

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  • 38. At 1:45pm on 13 Oct 2008, warriormarkl wrote:

    Whens Dean Aston fit? How bout dropping heskey for him!! At least he knows where the goal is.

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  • 39. At 1:47pm on 13 Oct 2008, John Lee wrote:

    England won, we are 3 points and 4 goals better off. That was the main thing, Robbo, like all journalists, is irrelevant. We can improve - we can always improve ... but we won - and we still moan.

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  • 40. At 1:47pm on 13 Oct 2008, Parish87 wrote:

    And all these people backing Lampard, I assume, didn't see the argument winning stats of Gerrard/Lampard in the England team?

    Go and find them, England win astonishingly more games with Gerrard than Lampard, and that is a fact.

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  • 41. At 1:49pm on 13 Oct 2008, dotecfc wrote:

    cant believe you english. you win 5-1, moan about everything, boo youre own players, and you're upset because you've got two of the best midfielders in the world.

    BOO HOO!

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  • 42. At 1:51pm on 13 Oct 2008, awSwindonForTheTitle wrote:

    We do not miss Hargreaves. He is not international quality. Well he is, just not good enough to make the English team better. Go back to Euro 2004 against Portugal. He came on as a substitute in extra time. He picked the ball up on the left, passed two players and then tripped on the ball!

    He was not the best player at the last world cup, Joe Cole was. If he was (as most people think), then that shows just how bad we actually were. Carrick should be the holding midfielder and should be partnered by the man in form, whoever that may be at the time of asking. At the moment, it is Lampard and should continue to be until Gerrard is playing better than him.

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  • 43. At 1:51pm on 13 Oct 2008, siatpt wrote:

    liverpool have not been dominating teams like chelsea have - no doubt about it lampard is in better form.

    plus he played against croatia

    you dont change a winning team

    do we never learn!

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  • 44. At 1:52pm on 13 Oct 2008, fair teh middlin wrote:

    This season, it's got to be Lampard.

    Gerrard has had his chance with England, and like so many players who have been stars in the Liverpool team, hasn't cut it at the international level.

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  • 45. At 1:52pm on 13 Oct 2008, hendero wrote:

    I don't think Cole got booed just because of the back pass. If Rio or Brown or Upson had been the culprit, would the reaction have been the same? Doubtful. Cashley is easily in the top 10 most disliked players in the Premiership, and this was an excuse for fans to tell him what they think about some of his antics, on and off the pitch, over the past few years.

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  • 46. At 1:52pm on 13 Oct 2008, BobRCFC wrote:

    Gerrard instead of Lampard.
    Especially after seeing these facts on Sky Sports:
    Frank Lampard has 64 caps for England and 36 of those have been winning appearances at a rate of 56 per cent, while Gerrard's 68 England caps have brought 44 victories at a rate of 64.7 per cent.
    Lampard could easily come on with half an hour to go and change the game in an instance. Whereas can Gerrard do that? How often has he come on from the bench and scored the winner for Liverpool? Not often, or ever.

    With Barry holding, Hargreaves instead of him when he's back.
    Cole and Walcott either side, with Rooney and any one of 3 or 4 partnering him, probably Heskey is best option.
    At the back Ferdinand and Terry with Cole and Richards (or Brown) at either side. I think that would be your strongest team. And as for a keeper, may aswell put me in ;) haha.

    And just to add, you English 'fans' are a disgrace. Booing Cole was horrible, fair enough if it was for cheating on Cheryl (why, oh, why Coley?!) but because of one mistake, thats terrible.
    Look how us Scots reacted to Iwelumo (think that's how to spell it!) after his horror miss on Saturday afternoon. That's supporting your country.

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  • 47. At 1:56pm on 13 Oct 2008, sensi_soccer wrote:

    what Gerrard has and that what Lampard lacks, i think, is a bit of flair. The ability to dig teams out of jail from nothing is something SG does every season, consistantly.

    again tho, we won the match comfortabley in the end. sometimes you have to be patient, any football supporter and player knows this. our oppenents didnt play too bad in patches, gotta give them a bit of credit for holding england off for as long as they did. the team as a whole was slow to start, wont be like that in every game we play.

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  • 48. At 1:57pm on 13 Oct 2008, rockliffesbabies wrote:

    Dear sport blog editor.

    Are you actually going to give any reason or analysis as to why Gerrard and Lampard can't play together in the same team? Or is it just as I as suspect an article full of hot air? You know, style and sounds bites and funny lines over content?


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  • 49. At 1:58pm on 13 Oct 2008, reecesmith13 wrote:

    i beleive that when Joe Cole is injured, we have no alternative on the left than too call up Matthew Etherington of West Ham, i feel he can feel this void, he can attack the ball at pace and assists great. As a Aston villa fan i feel thay Ashley Young should continue his trade at U21 for now until he becomes that much maturer to develop in to a world class player which he potentially is.
    i hope people agree. thanks

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  • 50. At 2:00pm on 13 Oct 2008, cpeskett wrote:

    Gerrard's ability to "dictate a game" basically amounts to him wanting free rein to run all over the pitch getting in other players' way and making huge sweeping passes where a short pass would be every bit as effective.

    Take off the blinkers and realize that Gerrard is not that great. He is inspirational and motivational, but ultimately, selfish and ineffective on the international stage. At least Frank Lampard, when not hindered by Gerrard's "dictating the game", sticks to the job he was given. I felt Lampard played fairly well given the handcuffing Stevie G placed on him. The only reason Gerrard/Barry works well is that Barry ends up doing most of the important work, covering up for Gerrard's lack of discipline.

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  • 51. At 2:01pm on 13 Oct 2008, Frodo_MUFC wrote:

    Rooney has his best game for England in ages playing, surprise surprise, in his best position. Obviously the way to follow that up was to cart him out wide again to allow Gerrard back in the team so him and Lampard could get in each other's way again. Good call Fabio

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  • 52. At 2:02pm on 13 Oct 2008, tone1947 wrote:

    Capello has to pick the best team not the best 11 players. He had to bring back SG into this match on Sat because of his previous injury. Now is the time to make THE big decision

    And as non-english fans have commented, 3 games 3 wins, not a bad start!!!!

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  • 53. At 2:03pm on 13 Oct 2008, Chrisx1965 wrote:

    ''Capello proved himself a sensible coach by pulling Barry off at half-time''


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  • 54. At 2:07pm on 13 Oct 2008, My Brazilname is "Seiano". wrote:

    I would have Barry ang Gerard down the middle, as it helps keep an even field, with Barry being left footed and Gerard right footed and Barry playing more defensive. We need to get a natural left winger though, because as good as Joe is, when he is injured, or out played in a game, this could make a whole load of differance.

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  • 55. At 2:08pm on 13 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    To put a smile back on his face, do you think Cheryl pulled Ashley off at full time?

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  • 56. At 2:10pm on 13 Oct 2008, Presto West End wrote:

    If this result proves anything, (and I'm not sure it does) its that England don't play very well against average teams.

    I wouldn't read anything into that game for the next. Manchester United/Chelsea/Arsenal don't always play brilliantly from one game to the next and they are allowed much more continuity than England.

    That said, its hard to argue against the calls for Young. I do like a team with pace on both flanks. The other winger then has the speed to burst into the box and become a second or third striker.

    However, this would mean we would need a more defensive central midfield. My choice on that basis would be Barry and Lampard. This is partially because Gerrard would be a better alternative to bring on if we needed a breakthrough.

    (It would be interesting to see when Gerrard and Lampard generally score their goals. My feeling is Gerrard gets more late goals than Lampard, i.e. is more of a "clutch" player).

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  • 57. At 2:12pm on 13 Oct 2008, alexmaxdawes wrote:

    As a chelsea fan I was very disapointed that gerrard decided aginst playing for us. We instead turned to Ballack. He was another player who was the jewel in the crown for a then formidable Munich team and was used to being the main man much as SG is at Liverpool. Ballack was not thought to be able to play along side Lampard because he demanded the ball all the time, scored plenty of goals in the box and generally dictated play. Sound familiar? Why is it then that Lampard and Ballack form fantastic partnership? It took a while for Ballack to learn that he needed to fit into the Chelsea mould, which is what Stevie G would have done and both he and Frank Lampard need to do for england. The one thing that they both need is a holding midfielder as they have at club level in Mikel and Mascerano (sorry about the spelling). If England 'can only play one formation' (which premier team only plays 4-4-2 nowadays?) then only one should play. Whether it be Lamps or SG is down to form and form alone.

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  • 58. At 2:13pm on 13 Oct 2008, IanH wrote:

    Religion jibes, Robbo?


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  • 59. At 2:15pm on 13 Oct 2008, el-nickpcr-io wrote:


    Tempting to ask mate, but if Chelsea are so much better than England, how come Lampard is one of Chelsea's best players but rubbish for England?

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  • 60. At 2:15pm on 13 Oct 2008, ChelskiScott wrote:

    Matthew Etherington? Seriously?

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  • 61. At 2:15pm on 13 Oct 2008, Parish87 wrote:

    Greg: You're a tool!

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  • 62. At 2:16pm on 13 Oct 2008, bell22 wrote:

    I was at the game on Saturday and the booing of Ashley Cole was a joke. A lot of people don’t like the guy – so what, that doesn’t warrant booing him for a mistake. It made me ashamed to be honest, and it seems we are set on self destruction. We’re never happy unless we have something/someone to moan about. Ashley Cole has been in great form for Chelsea this season and deserves his place. Lampard, Cole, Crouch, these players have all been booed by our own fans over the last few years. I don’t know any other country which would do this and all these players want to do is go out there and play for their country.

    The first 45 minutes was awful, we didn’t play well. So how is booing going to help? The guy next to me actually tried to start a chant a few minutes before half time ‘7 minutes til the booing starts’.. Its almost as if he was happy and couldn’t wait to boo. Thankfully nobody else picked up on it

    Also cant understand the critisisms of Heskey! The guy put himself about all game and didn’t stop running. I am nowhere near his biggest fan, but credit where it is due.

    As for the Lampard and Gerrard debate, well Gerrard surely must admit that Saturday was not his day. His passing was terrible. Always trying for the spectacular long pass when there was no need (although a lot of players were guilty of this), but I didn’t think Lampard played too badly, and at least got two assists. I thought the delivery was non existent – not a surprise - when Rooney is shunted out to the wing, and Walcott doesn’t have a great cross on him either, but when we were putting decent service in then we were creating chances/scoring. The Gerrard/Lampard problem came from the system which didn’t work. I would agree you cant play both AND Barry in the middle, but I believe people are too quick to jump on the debate when one has a bad game

    P.S The guy who claimed to be a Chelsea fan and said he hopes England lose so ‘his players’ can get a rest is not a ‘typical Chelsea fan’ as someone pointed out. Just one idiots view – don’t brand us all because of it

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  • 63. At 2:17pm on 13 Oct 2008, Kíllìnghölmê_Clᥠ(aka Charlie Cheesecake) wrote:

    Shaun Wright-Phillips on the left?
    Are you mad?

    I'd prefer a left winger on the left wing. SWP might as well be Long John Silver playing on his wrong'un.

    Oh wait a minute, that would be Stewart Downing wouldnt it.
    How about Gerrard on the left then?

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  • 64. At 2:19pm on 13 Oct 2008, Two_Footed_Challenge wrote:

    If this result proves anything, (and I'm not sure it does) its that England don't play very well against average teams.

    I wouldn't read anything into that game for the next. Manchester United/Chelsea/Arsenal don't always play brilliantly from one game to the next and they are allowed much more continuity than England.


    Couldnt agree more. Yes we werent playing brilliantly and it took a while for the goals to come, but in the end it is 3 points - 3 wins out of 3 games and that is all we need at the moment - get the points on the board and qualify.

    Personally I wouldnt have a problem with England to continue winning in the same vein - even if it isnt always pretty. I think there are a lot of things to be positive about.

    However - Gerrard and Lampard cant play together in the same midfield. End of.

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  • 65. At 2:20pm on 13 Oct 2008, alexmaxdawes wrote:

    59. At 2:15pm on 13 Oct 2008, el-nickpcr-io wrote:

    Tempting to ask mate, but if Chelsea are so much better than England, how come Lampard is one of Chelsea's best players but rubbish for England?

    I agree that he can have his off days as can SG, but this is down to the system and their willingness to play within it. As I said, both he and SG need to buy into the system and work hard to make it successful. Someone mentioned it earlier that maybe they don't get on. This could be a reason.

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  • 66. At 2:22pm on 13 Oct 2008, skanko21 wrote:

    Once Lampard hits about 33 in a few years that will give the manager an excuse not to play him at last!

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  • 67. At 2:27pm on 13 Oct 2008, Willz25 wrote:

    How many times can you use "any road"???!!!

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  • 68. At 2:27pm on 13 Oct 2008, DJL WOLF wrote:

    Why Theo turned from a world beater to a puppet glove?

    A typical ridiculous comment from someone who clearly doesn't know much about football.

    You expect him to score a hatrick every game do you?

    Theo's 19, he's going to play well and he's going to be quiet at times - just like every player in the world. Give him a break.

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  • 69. At 2:34pm on 13 Oct 2008, The Binocular wrote:

    Ballack and Lampard can play together, so Gerrard and Lampard can play together

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  • 70. At 2:39pm on 13 Oct 2008, Shetland James wrote:

    Loving the atheism Robbo!

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  • 71. At 2:42pm on 13 Oct 2008, HunKs wrote:

    There really is quite a lot of naiveté around these columns including, I'm afraid, Robbo!!

    I had already explained to a panicking friend after 10-15 minutes that the score was going to be around 5 - 0 with a halftime score of 1 or 2 nil!!

    It was obvious that Kz had been fired up and were going to lift their game from the off.... England had 'em running around like blue-house - the ref didn't offer too much protection either!!

    In the second half - anyone with half-a-brain (seems to be lacking on this forum) could deduce that the opposition legs had gone - and it was only a matter of time! Maybe/possible/slight indications were the Kz CRAMP sufferers!

    As for , aggersforcaptain - his obvious dislike of the only player who never failed to put the ball on a sixpence is unfortunate! Becks' delivery was spot-on from the moment that he got on the pitch - and he made the last few goals! Duh!! Or didn't you actually notice that?? No I'm no Becks fan or MU fan, but credit where it's due - He seems to be the ONLY English player who can consistently find the target - and if that means 10 to 15 mins then they're well spent!!

    There does seem to be a lot of Liverpool supporters on this forum - If you are objective - then you must admit that Stevie G. had a stinker, and holds no justification in being selected over Lump-O-Lard - who wasn't outstanding, but at least his passes hit the target most times!!


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  • 72. At 2:43pm on 13 Oct 2008, xabi-main-man wrote:

    Like virtually every LFC supporter I know, I long ago gave up on England. None of the managers since Alf Ramsey has had the bottle to make difficult decisions, this current Gerrard/Lampard situation being the latest in a long line of trying to placate a media sycophantic to MU, Arsenal and Chelsea. There are some good young players out there, notably Agbonlahor and Young at Villa who will not get a chance until they sign for one of the big 3. As for the stupid number of caps a very over rated and long past his sell by date Beckham is managing to accumulate, it's an insult to some of the trully great players of the past.
    I'm afraid I simply view each England International as an oppurunity for Stevie G to pick up an injury which will adversley affect LFC. Viva Espana, at least they stand a chance of winning a trophy unlike a very poor England side.

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  • 73. At 2:48pm on 13 Oct 2008, scottydog50 wrote:

    Yer right Robbo.
    At this time you would have to have Lampard in the team on form, with Gerrard on the bench.

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  • 74. At 2:48pm on 13 Oct 2008, lightother wrote:

    gerrard gets away with murder in the prem with those long range passes!! (where you get it back within 2 passes) international level you need to keep the ball to dictate tempo and cotrol! he's what my dad calls a 'fan's player'!! keep fat frank and pray Hargreaves comes back!

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  • 75. At 2:49pm on 13 Oct 2008, scragscragscrag wrote:

    Did we win or did we lose ? Listening to all the comments you would think that England had lost the game. This is perhaps why the England team never play well or put the effort in that they do for there club. At their clubs the players are supported, for England even when they win, are top of the group and have a far superior goal difference than the other teams they still get criticised and moaned at. Get off their backs until they actually lose. As for the Gerrard Lampard debate, second half played together in the middle and we won the half 5-1, the only shot of note was due to a horrible back pass that nobody could do anything about. Again to be booed for making a mistake really fills you with confidence. If you all kept off the players backs then maybe they would put a bit more effort in than they currently do. All in all though drop Gerrard, so he can be rested for Liverpool, and play Lampard into the ground so he does not play so well for Chelsea. Also big difference between England players and Liverpool players, at Liverpool if Gerrard is in space he gets given the ball, for England they pass to someone else who is marked. All in all though footballers play better with confidence and with all the press and everyone putting them down even when they win how are they ever going to get confidence ?? Come on England Great result on the back of the Croatian game and hope you win well on Wednesday.

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  • 76. At 2:51pm on 13 Oct 2008, TuncayHushHushI2I wrote:

    Robbo - you are a Leg-end even if you support the 'Boro !!!!

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  • 77. At 2:53pm on 13 Oct 2008, lightother wrote:

    well said hunks

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  • 78. At 2:54pm on 13 Oct 2008, gamhard wrote:

    I am quite sure the Platypus can take care of itself. They commonly thrive in habitats that are harsh, altered, polluted and unforgiving. Perhaps in much the same way as the Engand squad are now thriving in somewhat unfamiliar surroundings. What surroundings? Stadium, manager and tactics, for starters.

    Neither monotreme or English team should be subjected to the treatment from tyranical glory hunters and tall poppies they recieve.

    How long would you give a league squad to develop? How many games? How many games have Gerrard and Lampard played together, in total, let alone back to back? Very few. Why not get behind the team, back them and celebrate them. Commiserate them when they lose and cheer with them when they win. Surely thats all the would ever ask.

    I know that every player in the England squad earns a truck load more money than most people could ever poke a stick at. Do you honestly not believe however, that each and every one of them would turn their back on much of that wealth for a single, brief moment of world cup glory? Glory is exactly why they have become professional footballers.

    Just like the platypus, the English football team may or may not be around forever. I'd love for them both to be. I'll get vocal for both. I won't boo either of them.

    My love and support is unconditional. I guess we know that yours is not.

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  • 79. At 2:57pm on 13 Oct 2008, lightother wrote:

    a lot of Liverpool fans!! you should be on here 30 seconds after every game they play!!! ilovstevegee from slough??

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  • 80. At 2:59pm on 13 Oct 2008, copemaguire wrote:

    didn't england win 5-1?

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  • 81. At 2:59pm on 13 Oct 2008, tone1947 wrote:

    All of us commentators
    Lets try the KISS approach
    Are we going in the right direction? - 3 games 3 wins
    Simply YES or NO

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  • 82. At 3:02pm on 13 Oct 2008, Excumbrian wrote:

    Gerrard -- very talented but he was rubbish against Boratstan. Bench.
    Lampard -- limited but knows what he can and can't do. Start.
    Barry -- hasn't done much wrong in an England shirt. Start.
    A Cole -- conveniently injured. Good decision.
    Heskey -- played well holding the ball up and annoying defenders but seriously needs to sharpen up in front of goal. Start.
    Bridge -- is he REALLY the next best choice at left back? Oh dear.
    SWP -- couldn't cross the street, never mind the ball.
    Beckham -- did what he always does. Look forward to another 30 min. of perfect passing in the second half.

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  • 83. At 3:03pm on 13 Oct 2008, welltaken wrote:

    Why are so many observers sympathising with Ashley Cole.
    He deserved the derision, and it was not because of his mistake. That was merely the proverbial 'catalyst' for an outpouring of rancour towards a 'man' who represents everything which is sick about the world of football.
    After his 'infamous' remarks about swerving his car off the road upon hearing the news that Arsenal would only be paying him 65000 per week, he disengaged himself from public affection.
    Alan Green was defending Cole vigorously on 606 on Saturday night, and and challenging the 'idiots' who booed Cole to phone in and explain themselves!
    He went on to remark how Cole would have every reason to walk away from the national side if he were to put up with this continual abuse.
    Well so what! Let him walk away!
    Football is no longer just a sport, it's a global instituation which sets an example to entire societies and communities around the planet.
    Footballers need to show integrity and character. All Ashley Cole needs to do is apologise to the nation for his ill conceived remarks. He ought to be less vitriolic in his reaction to referees also.
    I have lived in Cambodia for the last year and I am involved with a professional football side in the provinces. The players earn 10 US dollars per month. This year, after exisiting for nine months as a team, they will finally receive their first football boots.
    All these overplayed 'stars' in the premiership need a reality check - and to understand that £million salaries should be accompanied with decent and honorourable character.
    I speak not just about AshleyCole either...but remember, Cole was not booed for his mistake, he was booed because the nation is ****ed off at the general deification of celebrity footballers who do not give a damn about the fans!

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  • 84. At 3:09pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    Excumbrain,would Beckhams "perfect passing" include the fact that he gives the ball away statistically more than any other england player?Numbskull.

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  • 85. At 3:10pm on 13 Oct 2008, gamhard wrote:

    Son, with whom and how would you have played the England Squad? Why aren't you the manager anyway? With all of your wisdom, I don't get it. It's an easy job for both manager and players, right? Please, I beg you, show us all how it's done.
    You are, after all, an expert. Or is it an ex-spurt.

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  • 86. At 3:10pm on 13 Oct 2008, scoringiseasy wrote:

    So the consensus is that they can't play together, well can someone let the powers that be know that as they seem to be blind to that fact. Beckham must not get anymore caps, and they should only be handed out if someone plays for more than 30 mins. As for Ashley Cole, pay me what he gets paid and will happily let you Boo me every time a touch the ball, I think the paying public are entitled to boo if they want but if the plaayers want to stop it they should give a bit more effort and then maybe the booing would go away.

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  • 87. At 3:11pm on 13 Oct 2008, Kapnag wrote:

    How do people not understand this yet? You don't show up and stick 5 past national sides in the first 15 minutes any more.

    Just because their country is hard to spell, doesn't mean they are unable to play football.

    Opinions like these are so ignorant

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  • 88. At 3:14pm on 13 Oct 2008, redforever wrote:

    I've sadi this about Stevie g for years, and I am a Liverpool fan. he does not play in a traditional position on the field. he has caused liverpool managers a problem for years, despite being our best player. he isnt a defensive midfielder, but he really mixes it up when he is on his game. He isnt a right midfielder, but he can cross and drive up the line, and get into the box on the end of things. He isnt an attacking central midfielder, as he likes to wander across the pitch and can leave the midfield exposed, and if you play with two strikers, thats just too many players committed when playing at the highest level.
    Its a conundrum, and I advocated selling him to Chelsea a few years ago, simply to resolve this at Anfield.
    Lets face it, Lampard plays a perfectly simple role in the midfield, and his distribution, while it lacks the occasional magic defense splitter, is much better than Stevies. In fact I think it is because Lampard is trying to live up to what Gerrard occasionally does that he doesnt play as well for England as he does Chelsea.
    Brown Ferdinand Woodgate Bridge
    SWP Barry Lampard Young
    Walcott Heskey

    No room for the other enigma Rooney eother..

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  • 89. At 3:15pm on 13 Oct 2008, fallsheroes wrote:

    "I once back-heeled the ball back to our keeper without realising the pillock had gone down with cramp and we lost 2-1."

    LOL only a bbc "journalist" could do something so jester-like.

    Another well thought, analytical piece of writing on Englands failing. The problem was, everything was too simple and through the middle. This is why gerrard is crap in an england shirt. At scumpool...i mean liverpool...he just passes it forward to torres and they score, the wingers are their just for the fun of it.

    Now lampard plays in a team where (now) the full backs get marauding forward so he actually passes to the wings. If capello wants england to play wide football and not through the middle, he drops gerrard and plays lampard barry against belarus. If he wants a player to get in rooneys way in supporting and supplying Heskey, he plays gerrard.


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  • 90. At 3:17pm on 13 Oct 2008, poppyAstonvanilla wrote:

    Gerrard is overated and needs to learn some disipline. When I read him whinging on about not being played in his favourite position as often as he liked it really pushed my dislike of him up a level. I help out at a primary school and the kids are more mature than that during P.E!
    I would start with Barry and Lampard, both of whom are in great form for their clubs at the moment. Gerrard is playing well for Liverpool but I always get the feeling that he is indulged at Liverpool in a way that players at other clubs aren't. Until he learns some humility he doesn't deserve to start.
    Capello is cleverer than to be drawn into this old chestnut and hopefully he will make the right decision.

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  • 91. At 3:17pm on 13 Oct 2008, bangramonkey wrote:

    The reason Gerrard doesn't play as well for England as he does for Liverpool is simply that he is ALWAYS played out of his position with England.

    Lampard is in great form at the moment (as is Stevie G) but for me the Barry/Gerrad partnership works much better than Barry/Lampard.

    Pity McClaren forced Carragher into International retirement... perfect cover for Terry/Ferdinand when they're injured.

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  • 92. At 3:18pm on 13 Oct 2008, Nbriars wrote:

    In all the articles I have read I am surprised that no one has mentioned that in the second half most of the balls aimed at Walcott were at head height. One of the main culprits was Gerrard.

    With Walcotts pace the better balls would have been played on the ground for him to run with, as he was looking dangerous with the ball at his feet.

    With regard to the main debate nothing really needs to be added. the last 3 England managers have tried playing Lampard and Gerrard together and proven they can not work. Lets hope this was the final chance.

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  • 93. At 3:22pm on 13 Oct 2008, Liverpooljam87 wrote:

    The problem with the Gerrard/ Lampard situation is this; when they play together, one of them has to occasionally sit back and do some running and digging for the side, also known as defending. Lampard doesn't like to do this for club or country and it is therefore left to Gerrard.

    This then stifles Gerrard's game because he cannot control the midfield as he does for Liverpool because he's doing the dirty work that Frank won't do. I think Lampard, on his day and when the team around him are performing, is a good individual with plenty to offer.

    Croatia is a prime example. He played well, really well. But who else played well?


    Rooney ran the show and Walcott was out of this world that night, Barry did a great job snuffing out Modric and Co and the defence looked after itself. It was the perfect opportunity for Lampard and in fairness, he took it.

    But some people easily forget how impressed we were when Barry and Gerrard played together in the midfield. There looked to be a genuine connection, a spark. And that was what prompted Rafa Benitez into wanting to buy Barry in the first place.

    Gerrard doesn't need everyone else around him in order to play well, he's shown that time and time again for Liverpool. He just need the freedom that Lampard so often gets for England, but so rarely produces.

    I read an article in one of the papers at the weekend which stated the facts and figures; England are more successful when Gerrard is playing. Fact.

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  • 94. At 3:22pm on 13 Oct 2008, Two_Footed_Challenge wrote:

    No room for the other enigma Rooney eother..
    Im sorry, but Rooney has to play - but only in the position behind Heskey. I dont think it is any coincidence that Rooney has shown what he can do when he is played in his best position - behind a player like Heskey - who, although he may not score, ensures the players around him get the space so they can.

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  • 95. At 3:22pm on 13 Oct 2008, jayred wrote:

    To be frank, I'd play Gerrard. He may not have been at his best of late on the international stage, but if Lampard is anything to go by he should have around 4 years to try to return to form.

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  • 96. At 3:25pm on 13 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:


    'All in all though drop Gerrard, so he can be rested for Liverpool, and play Lampard into the ground so he does not play so well for Chelsea.'
    Wishful thinking my friend. During the time Lampard played 164 consecutive league games for Chelsea, he was Chelsea and England's best player and was awarded as such.

    It seems that the more you play Lampard, the better he performs.

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  • 97. At 3:28pm on 13 Oct 2008, midnightl33boy wrote:

    This is specifically to WillParishLFC.

    Yes the stats do support the fact that England have achieved better results than when England have played with Lampard in the center. However, the reason why this should be rubbished is because if you actually cared to look properly at these'stats' then you would have seen that in ALMOST ALL the games where Lampard has played centrally Gerrard has played another role in the team!!

    It's obvious that the two cant play - everybody knows it. But when is the last time that Gerrard dominated a game for England as he does when he plays for LFC (in the games where Lampard did not play in the three 3 - 0's who was the best player.....not Gerrard if thats what you're thinking but Barry!).

    Then we get to Lampard who totally dominated the midfield against the Croats and against a team that has never lost at home!! Surely this can show you that although, undoubtedly Gerrard is class for LFC he never really performs for England - well he did play well against Andooooooora!!

    Give Lampard and Barry another crack WITHOUT Gerrard in the team ANYWHERE and see how this turns out! then if these two fail then bring on the man. England WONT lose but nevertheless if a performance is what us 'supporters' crave then stick with the same team that wiped the floor with the UNBEATEN team from Croatia.

    One more thing why dont we use these important but unthreatening games against weaker opposition to experiment with formations such as the 3-5-2 or something slightly more attacking playing with wingers who can cross well as wing backs (young/ downing ect.) instead of defenders - afterall as i said we WONT lose, we may draw but lose......NO!

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  • 98. At 3:28pm on 13 Oct 2008, bannedgunner wrote:

    Both Gerrard and Lampard should play.
    England fans need to be patient. I have spoken to many Scottish fellows and they agree with me.

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  • 99. At 3:33pm on 13 Oct 2008, flyingbluebird wrote:

    Robbo, I am a regular reader of your blogs and enjoy your writing and the majority of the latest edition was quite good but I was shocked at this:-

    '3. That a fat beardy man sat in the sky for six days and built the world around us and put mankind in the centre. (If he did he must have been out on the razz one night that week or how do you explain the duck-billed platypus, the tapeworm and Andrew Lloyd Webber?)'

    To have a go at Creationists like this is quite hurtful to me as I would consider, along with millions of other people, any conclusion other than a Creator completely ridiculous due to the beauty and complexity of our Universe and the experiences we have had with this Creator!

    Hope all is well and all the best.

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  • 100. At 3:37pm on 13 Oct 2008, abba699 wrote:

    Lampard is rubbish, yes i agree he is playing better than rubbish for chelsea at moment but he is not great. Gerrard is ten times the player lampard is. Playing gerrard on the left side is like putting John Terry as left back . Gerrard needs to play in the center of a 4-4-2.

    I agree with missing Hargreaves

    Rooney got to start behind a front man. Wasted out wide

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  • 101. At 3:39pm on 13 Oct 2008, villapark01 wrote:

    What are you on about. Gareth Barry never put a foot wrong. Gerrard was absolutely rubbish, and he should have been taken off at half time. It was not the decision to take Barry off at half time, that made England win 5-1. Because, Gerrard deteriated further in the second Half.

    Barry plays a attacking midfield role for Villa, and has loads more football ability than Gerrard. The balance of the team is right, when Lampard and Cole play with Barry.

    Watch the game again, and you will see how good Barry was, playing in his, obviously told by Cappello, role. His control and passing were superb.

    Also, all these so called world class players - it took the introduction of the superb David Beckham, to show the team how to pass, cross and strike a ball. Beckham has been the best England player for the past 10 years. He was the best and most influential player for Man Utd, and not the that French poser - and I am a Aston Villa fan.

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  • 102. At 3:43pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    villapark01,your ignorance is extraordinary.You sum it up by admitting youre not a united fan-but you know absolutely nothing about football either.I know many united fans pal-REAL united fans of the old school and though they like Beckham,they saw him as their 4th best midfielder from 4,way,WAY behind their true leader Keane and their true Technician Scholes.I so hope youre a juvenile as footballing ignorance like yours almost beggers belief you complete clown.

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  • 103. At 3:46pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    Beckham was englands WORST player every single time we faced opposition of weight whether Brazil in 2002,portugal or France in 2004 or Sweden and Portugal in 2006.No player in history has gone missing to the degree he has.Saturday was Beckhams level.A knackered and beaten bunch of 3rd world part-timers who had long since run up the white flag.Start Beckham against anything remotely strong and like we saw against both France and the Czechs recently,this is a player well,well out his depth and totally unable to hurt major nations as was proved throughout his underwhelming career despite the farcical hype.

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  • 104. At 3:46pm on 13 Oct 2008, Pleydell wrote:

    Lampard set up 3 of the goals. Lmapard was the centre of everything against croatia. speaks for itself really.

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  • 105. At 3:50pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    i think what tires people about the plastics who worsdhip Beckham is none of them have said a bean about Browns delivery to Rooney for the 3rd goal but had that been Beckham then wed never have heard the end of it and theyd be claiming that justified the man-childs inclusion till at least 2014 or soemthing,its cringeworthy the outrageous ignorance of the Beckham "soccerball" set.

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  • 106. At 3:51pm on 13 Oct 2008, Red_Sam_ThisYearHonest! wrote:

    What's Capello doing, pulling off players at half-time?

    Whatever happened to a slice of orange and a cup of tea?

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  • 107. At 3:54pm on 13 Oct 2008, Imagine Reason wrote:

    Robbo, write this column in America and get your head chewed off by creationists in five minutes. I love the BBC!

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  • 108. At 3:55pm on 13 Oct 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:


    To have a go at Creationists like this is quite hurtful to me as I would consider, along with millions of other people, any conclusion other than a Creator completely ridiculous due to the beauty and complexity of our Universe and the experiences we have had with this Creator!

    Hope all is well and all the best.
    Assuming I am right in stating that creationists also believe in fate, surely what will be will be with the England team and therefore there is little point discussing what God's will will be.

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  • 109. At 4:05pm on 13 Oct 2008, ScientificGooner wrote:

    Gerrard did not play well on Saturday. He repeatedly gave the ball away and created nothing.

    He doesn't look like the player that pulls on a liverpool shirt every week. There were at least 5 times where he should have had a crack at goal from 20-25 yards but instead hit a hopeless chip over to Rooney on the left wing.... it was unbelievable.

    Frank in turn looked out of sorts trying not to get in Gerrard's way and in the end he didn't know whether he was coming or going.

    Ashley... yes it was stupid but we've all done a stupid pass like that at one time. No need to boo him!

    Upson shouldn't play in Belarus, he looks very nervous.

    Thank god for Heskey giving a good performance!

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  • 110. At 4:05pm on 13 Oct 2008, Kapnag wrote:

    5TournamentFloplegend , in response to post 102, Beckham was one of the finest midfielders in the country at the time. United walked to 3 titles in a row on the back of that midfield

    The nation weren't collectively praying on their sun pullout centre pages for Beckham's broken foot to heal for nothing...

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  • 111. At 4:06pm on 13 Oct 2008, boyrent wrote:

    Robbo, you've never been in a pub. Why are your references never off the wall? They're all too dull; acknowledging current hot topics with an analogous quip is mediocrity of the highest order.


    I keep reading your blogs, more because I’m bored at work, rather than being a fan. I’m only being this horrible because it’s your job, so you deserve it.

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  • 112. At 4:07pm on 13 Oct 2008, Mentalborofan4eva wrote:

    The easy option would put Barry left back back. BUT one word 'BALANCE'. We must not pick a team with the best individuals, but the best TEAM. I think Capello would do this:





    I wouldn't agree with this side. If we are to be a top top side, we need players on the bench that can make an impact ie Defoe. Before he used to come on with a point to prove. However, now he is a regular at Pompey scoring goals and enjoying himself - as you saw in the weekend.

    Capello made a BIG mistake on Saturday when changing the whole balance of the team just to put in Gerrard. I am a massive fan of Gerrard, but we shouldn't have played him on Saturday. As good as he is, we don't need him to beat Kasakhstan. He should have brought him on with 25 minutes to go. Dropping him would have a)proved no player is invincible b)if a player comes in the side and plays well, he'll keep his place and c) give Gerrard the kick up the backside he needs.

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  • 113. At 4:08pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    thats right Kapnag,those like you who read the Sun obviously really know what youre talking about.Thank the Lord he did recover in time eh as he was just a HERO at world cup 2002 wasnt he?Was it the way every cross he atttempted floated 5 miles over the bar that did it for you?Was it the way he disappeared without trace in the quarter v Brazil that did it?Or was it the way he jumped out of a tackle to cost us a lead sinclair and owen had earnt us that made "becks" a true "legend" of football for you?Do tell pal...

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  • 114. At 4:08pm on 13 Oct 2008, Torres' right peg wrote:

    Gerrard wasn't great, but Lampard didn't do anything at all.

    We need Gerrard to play without Lampard, preferably with Barry a DM, then watch the goals fly in!

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  • 115. At 4:14pm on 13 Oct 2008, Lucky_C wrote:

    It's been obvious for a long time that Lampard and Gerrard can't play together - to think otherwise is wishful thinking.

    Lampard seems to be playing well for England at the moment (a rare occurance, but a welcome one), whilst Gerrard (or Stevie G to give him his nauseatingly chummy name) is currently rubbish. Drop him.

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  • 116. At 4:19pm on 13 Oct 2008, shergarlives wrote:

    Well, the way I see it is this...

    everyone said Lampard and Ballack couldn't play together. That now seems to be a load of tosh!

    Perhaps that's because they both use their brains when they play, whereas Gerrard plays with his heart rather than his head.

    Don't get me wrong, Gerrard is capable of brilliance - even, some times, for England - and Liverpool have proved on many occasions that they're not the same without him.

    But England have another player who plays with his heart (Rooney) and I'm not sure if having two of that type of player is a luxury that can be afforded at intenational level.

    At the moment Lampard's form is too good for him to be left out of any match for which he is fit.

    In internationals, I'd rather have thinking players than instinctive ones - particularly in central midfield and especially against the better countries.

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  • 117. At 4:19pm on 13 Oct 2008, Kapnag wrote:

    5TournamentFloplegend, you can revise history if you want. Beckham was a fantastic midfielder, he gets a lot of unjustified stick, but he's always back to write off the critics

    Average footballers do not play at the top and win as much as he did

    Widely acclaimed as one of the best crossers of a football in Europe (still is, hence his selection by Capello), to suggest otherwise is blind lunacy

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  • 118. At 4:21pm on 13 Oct 2008, Carlth wrote:

    Do anyone other than Liverpool fans think that Gerrard should play ahead of Lampard?

    I wonder if Gareth Barry has any say in who he wants to play with. Given Gerrard's persistent overtures during the summer about how wonderful if would be to have Barry next to him at Liverpool, I was beginning to think that the courtship seemed a little, well, "unnatural"!

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  • 119. At 4:22pm on 13 Oct 2008, gwydionx wrote:

    In my opinion the pairing of Gerrard and Lampshade in mid can work but will be useless against topflight teams. If we have to play both due to the lack of good players I suggest that Lamps should play off a single striker and allow Gerrard to control mid. Lamps is good up front but is terrible coming back if he ever does.
    Cole! everyone makes the odd mistake but why is everyone pointing the finger at Cole? who's job was it to mark the scorer I think you will find that he was the main culprit as usual. Useless Ferdinand. Beck Carry to come back and play him with Terry then we will have a confident midfield who will be able to play.

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  • 120. At 4:28pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    Kpanag,my "criticism" was the Beckham was a hopelessly overrated nomad when measured against the truly heavyweight players of this generation or any other and that that would be proven everytime he tested his pretentions to "greatness" in the majors.Sir,by hitting a few "crosses" against part-time players and non-league standrad teams does not and never will prove this critic "wrong".The true judgements for players with his level of hype and fame are the heavyweight era defining ones and each and every time he reached them he came up waell.well short.The sight of him blubbing his eyes out like a little boy out his depth at his final world cup vindicated the judgment of me and other true scholars of the game for eternity.Just what planet do you and your like inhabit to believe a few 15 minute cameos against 3rdworldistan will ever change that judgement of football history on the most pointlessly overhyped nomad in recent sporting years?

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  • 121. At 4:28pm on 13 Oct 2008, Parish87 wrote:

    Lets face it, Lampard plays a perfectly simple role in the midfield, and his distribution, while it lacks the occasional magic defense splitter, is much better than Stevies.


    In the away game against Croatia, Lampard played the ball forward a total of ONE TIME.

    He played the ball FORWARD (towards the goal) ONCE. The rest of his passes were sideways and backwards. He is just fortunate that England won this game, because it certainly wasn't because of him.

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  • 122. At 4:30pm on 13 Oct 2008, Ian wrote:

    What is said about good teams is that when they play badly, they still win. Another thing that is said is that you can only beat what is put in front of you; so let's stop complaining until england actually lose a game. Sure, I'd like to see them play football like arsenal do, but I'd rather see them win the scrappy 1-0s.

    That also justifies my thoughts on having owen in the team! I would also play beckham, as he played very well in his cameo on saturday. I was surprised to see gerrard on until the end, as he was very anonymous in the second half and really did nothing of note. I would leave both gerrard and lampard out and play beckham in central midfield but allow him to wonder to the flanks to use his crossing abilities, which, I think we can all agree, made us look a lot more dangerous as a team the other day.

    I do feel we miss hargreaves, as barry just isn't as good. We also need a good right back and a goalie (no shocks there). It's also a shame that carragher is inclined as he is because the central defence looks frail w/out terry or ferdinand, as shown by upson on saturday and it would be nice to have him on the bench.

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  • 123. At 4:33pm on 13 Oct 2008, reecesmith13 wrote:

    i beleive Matty Etherington is the key to supply those balls from the left in Joe Coles Absence, i also believe that Gerrard and Lampard play well together and it wont be long till they seriously click.

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  • 124. At 4:33pm on 13 Oct 2008, mattronnie wrote:

    Robbo, you have started a good debate as ever with some choice words to fire everybody into a response, so fair play!
    I don't know football well enough to comment on the SG/FL debate, but I do understand sport as a whole. I feel as though it is no bad thing having one of them on the bench (super subs like Robben are commonplace in other teams) but there are too many people who have played Champ manager, whether reporter or fan, thinking they know better.
    The Scots have it right. Support the team no matter what the result and how useless they all are. They will never be world beaters but they always do as well as can be expected from them and pull off good results like against France last year.
    England has lost the ability to support as a nation, we have the most brutal media in the world, and despite there large pay packages, it is a huge pressure trying to please us!
    You guys know who you are, pipe down and play your role... that is someone who is not a manager, who does not have experience, who CAN benefit the England side by supporting in a positive manner!

    Oh and I'd have A.Young in there any day as the best dead ball kicker in the prem since Becks.

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  • 125. At 4:35pm on 13 Oct 2008, cfcbarry wrote:

    Lampard plays on recent form and results. Yes Gerrard is a good player, but we finally found something that really worked in Zagreb, and now we want to change it? It's about England and the result, rather than Stevie.

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  • 126. At 4:35pm on 13 Oct 2008, We Won Back to Back Championships 04/05-05/06 wrote:

    How can anyone really say Gerard was better than Lampard after Saturdays Game? Lampard was all over the park chasing every ball. Even allowing for an ITV Commentator his name was mentioned repeatedly during play. Gerard by comparison was hardly mentioned and as in many games was invisible during the game. Check the stats, Lamps gives every effort Gerard doesnt, I would keep him on the bench [ back at the airport!]

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  • 127. At 4:36pm on 13 Oct 2008, EducatedDuck wrote:

    What's all this "Pick Lampard - he's been fantastic this season!!!" talk?

    Rewind to last year and Russia at Wembley. England winning two qualifyers in a row and on the march to Euro 2008, Gerrard and Barry looking the biz, new fresh midfield.

    Lamps comes back, England crash out and suddenly it's Gerrard's place in doubt?


    Did you actually watch this game (It was Croatia we were playing)? If we'd taken Gerrard off for Hargreaves we would have been fine. Gerrard gave the ball away over and over and over again. His passing is constantly poor. It was in the first half on Saturday. It's not that he can't pass either but that he wants to play the killer ball all the time.

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  • 128. At 4:37pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    ianbittiner,you just want to make me commit suicide,your lack of basic knowledge beggers belief.It astounds me that cr$p like you brought to this game by Beckhams fame dare to think you know the first thing about it.Heres a tip pal,When Beckham finally tittters off into the sunset with his millions but no real achievement at this level to ever speak off,do us real football men a favour and climb on the funeral pire with him,thanks ever so much.

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  • 129. At 4:38pm on 13 Oct 2008, LFCfanStevieD wrote:

    For once, an England manager needs to play Gerrard in his actual position. It's all well and good saying Lamps and Stevie G can't play together, but Gerrard is playing the defensive role out of the two, and he is not as comfortable with that as he is with his favourite postition, which is roaming forward with the ball, just behind the strikers. You put Gerrard in his favourite position (which is where Lampard currently plays) and you're more likely to get close to the form he displays for his club. If you compare the two, they are both similar passers and shooters. In my opinion Gerrard is possibly a better passer and Lamps a slightly better shooter, but there's not much in it. If you add tackling, running, heading, enthusiasm, passion, dribbling and long passing then Gerrard is clearly the better midfielder and it should be no contest who gets the nod.

    Give Gerrard a go in midfield in his favourite position, and try Lampard in the defensive role and I bet Lampard will not cope with that role as well as Stevie G does. Better yet, play Gerrard in the attacking role and have a defensive minded player (I'd go for Hargreaves, but also Barry?) sat behind him and surely the central midfield will operate so much better.

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  • 130. At 4:39pm on 13 Oct 2008, Parish87 wrote:

    At 3:28pm on 13 Oct 2008, midnightl33boy wrote:

    This is specifically to WillParishLFC.

    Yes the stats do support the fact that England have achieved better results than when England have played with Lampard in the center. However, the reason why this should be rubbished is because if you actually cared to look properly at these'stats' then you would have seen that in ALMOST ALL the games where Lampard has played centrally Gerrard has played another role in the team!!


    Erm... Exactly.

    Go and check how many times England have won with Gerrard AND Lampard in the team in central midfield.

    Then, go and check how the win % with just Gerrard in the team.

    Then go and check the win % with just Lampard.

    And finally, go and check the win % with Lampard in the team, but with Gerrard somewhere else other than CM.

    You'll find that every single one of these stats supports Gerrard. I wish I had the numbers to hand because I was absolutely staggered by the difference in favour of Stevie.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike Frank, he's just not Steven Gerrard.

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  • 131. At 4:40pm on 13 Oct 2008, Lineandlength wrote:

    Gerrard ahead of Lampard due to vision and craft that has been sadly lacking from the England team for a good while.

    Why's everyone defending Ashley Cole? He's been rubbish for ages and he's paid £150000 a week to do better. It's like a contractor building a house with no doors or windows and everyone dying when there's a fire. Would the builder not get a couple of boos then?

    Hargreaves is rubbish. No idea why Man U bought him. In midfield I'd go with Barry and Gerrard or Carrick and Lampard. That's how you get the best out of the team.

    Heskey. Does being selfless mean "incompetent"? He may hold the ball up or pass it occaisionally, but what has he actually done that attains anything? No goals, no brilliant assists, 3 offsides in the 1st half... am I the only one who thinks an international STRIKER should be doing a bit more?

    My team:
    James; Brown, Ferdinand, Upson (Terry), Bridge; Walcott, Gerrard, Barry, SWP (J.Cole); Rooney; Crouch (Owen).

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  • 132. At 4:42pm on 13 Oct 2008, Kapnag wrote:

    5TournamentFloplegend, what on earth was that rant about? You're completely incapable of talking rationally about Beckham it seems

    A recent example of his effectiveness as a substitute is the game against Croatia at Wembley, where he came on, provided genuine threat from the right and set up the equaliser.

    Whilst he may not be one of the games legends, he was still an excellent midfielder, and proven again on Saturday that he can be very useful for 10 minute cameo's

    So who are these "heavyweights" you're talking about?

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  • 133. At 4:44pm on 13 Oct 2008, michaba03m wrote:

    robbo robson....first of all, what a stupid name, second of all...ur an absolute idiot.
    if this comment gets deleted, then this article should be as well, as it is far more offensive and I will be complaining about you.

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  • 134. At 4:45pm on 13 Oct 2008, LFCfanStevieD wrote:

    At 4:35pm on 13 Oct 2008, We Won Back to Back Championships 04/05-05/06 wrote:
    How can anyone really say Gerard was better than Lampard after Saturdays Game? Lampard was all over the park chasing every ball. Even allowing for an ITV Commentator his name was mentioned repeatedly during play. Gerard by comparison was hardly mentioned and as in many games was invisible during the game. Check the stats, Lamps gives every effort Gerard doesnt, I would keep him on the bench [ back at the airport!]

    How many times in the first half did Lampard take a free kick or corner that never even cleared the first man?? Why does this always happen with Lampard for England? Pressure? Yes Gerrard also gave the ball away at times, they both did. But who supplied the cross for the first goal?

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  • 135. At 4:45pm on 13 Oct 2008, Parish87 wrote:

    32. At 4:42pm on 13 Oct 2008, Kapnag wrote:

    Whilst he may not be one of the games legends, he was still an excellent midfielder.


    David Beckham NOT one of the games legends. Ask almost anyone who doesn't follow football religiously to name one player and he'll be the first name on lips. Ask any American to name a footy player even, he'll be the only name!

    Beckham will be remembered a long time before some of the all time greats, he's a football legend.

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  • 136. At 4:46pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    heavyweights Kapnag?How about France,Holland,Brazil,Italy,Portugal twice,all the teams he looked like a little boy lost against?Beckham presented croatia with their winning goal that sent us out,how typical that you elect to let that pass your memory bank.He was a ridiculously limited player hyped well,well above his station who got found out time and time again but still lives of the ignorance of the post-euro96 set who will never understand their adherence to him as a player fully represents their ignorance on this ancient game.

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  • 137. At 4:47pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    David Beckham NOT one of the games legends. Ask almost anyone who doesn't follow football religiously to name one player and he'll be the first name on lips. Ask any American to name a footy player even, he'll be the only name!
    you said it all you laughable ignoramus.You know nothing about my sport and its history-get out of it.

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  • 138. At 4:49pm on 13 Oct 2008, The Unused Substitute wrote:

    And I'd go for Gerrard.


    You fail Robbo. Oh, how you fail.

    Did you think our 4-1 victory in Zagreb without Gerrard was just a coincidence? Gerrard lacks the intelligence and discipline to cut it in the England side. How many times did Gerrard give the ball away in the final third on Saturday? An awful lot.

    You pick the players that benefit the team more, and Lampard certainly benefits the team more than Gerrard. Not to mention that, on form, Lampard is the better player. He was better than Gerrard on Saturday, albeit marginally. Yet, he was still better.

    I've seen so many of your articles Robbo, and it's clear that you truly dislike Lampard. Just accept it - Gerrard needs to be dropped, with Lampard and Barry occupying the midfield.

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  • 139. At 4:50pm on 13 Oct 2008, Kapnag wrote:

    WillParishLFC, in that context you are correct.

    But the games greats I see as people who have made the abnormal appear normal, usually only a handful of players per generation are up to this (sadly, nowadays their heads are turned by parties and that lifestyle long before their retirement)

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  • 140. At 4:53pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    scholes was the finest midfielder of the past 10 years yet because he wasnt a wannabee look at me man-child like Beckham he got shunned.Thats the sort of ruinous sh^te the plastic Beckham brigade have brought upon the england team -and theyre still at it to this day,its a farce.

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  • 141. At 4:54pm on 13 Oct 2008, Parish87 wrote:

    137. At 4:47pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    David Beckham NOT one of the games legends. Ask almost anyone who doesn't follow football religiously to name one player and he'll be the first name on lips. Ask any American to name a footy player even, he'll be the only name!
    you said it all you laughable ignoramus.You know nothing about my sport and its history-get out of it.


    You're right, I guess you get to be the only player non-hardcore fans know by being a pub-standard player.

    Not being a vital part in a historic treble winning side or anything mind..

    You clearly know nothing, and when you have a Liverpool fan bringing up United winning the treble to win an argument you should really just give up and go back to being the sort of person that probably gets wound up at the referee in under 11's games (Someone who knows no better).

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  • 142. At 4:56pm on 13 Oct 2008, reecesmith13 wrote:

    i feel we should recall scholesy to the team although he has said he wont return he would be great along side either lampard or gerrard and will flourish with walcott and etherington (we should really give him a go on the left in J.Coles absence) on the wings.

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  • 143. At 4:58pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    WillparishLFC its the fact you cant even see how much of a prat you made of yourself by your statement that gets me.Ask a general member of the public who dont understand the art of music who their favourite artists is and more would say cliff richard and jhames Blunt than Bob Dylan.Dont you see that having people whi no knowledge of an art and its history say they think Beckham is the player they "like most" instantly vindicates scholars of the game who know how ridiculously limited the guy is?You really dont get it,i mean you really dont,its frightening.

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  • 144. At 4:59pm on 13 Oct 2008, ironfist007 wrote:

    Personally, I think that the Gerrard and Lampard partnership could work well if our National team could play 4-3-3 or 4-5-1. But our team can only play 4-4-2 and if we carry on like that we may never win anything. And as for Gerrard being a versatile player, when has he ever adapted to another formation thats not 4-4-2? At Liverpool, he can play on the right, left, middle or off the striker, but has anyone noticed that it only works when it is a 4-4-2? Don't get me wrong, I am a Man Utd fan but I believe Gerrard is our (England's) best player and its not just him, the whole team can't adapt to another formation, which is worrying.

    Having said that, does anyone else believe that having Carrick in the centre with either Gerrard or Lampard would be more creative and we would also keep the ball more? I am not trying to suggest he should play just because he is a Man Utd player, but I feel that Barry and Hargreaves, whilst good holding players, lack that little bit of creativity, while Carrick passes the ball well and rarely makes a mistake. At least he should be in the squad? Based on his form last season, I am surprised he wasn't even picked at all last year.

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  • 145. At 4:59pm on 13 Oct 2008, Parish87 wrote:

    I'm not sure Scholesy is the brilliant player is once was. He's still very good, but I don't think he has the legs to play for club AND country anymore.

    Which probably justifies his reason to retire really, so that he could still be very good at this age.

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  • 146. At 5:00pm on 13 Oct 2008, Kapnag wrote:

    136. At 4:46pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    heavyweights Kapnag?How about France,Holland,Brazil,Italy,Portugal twice,all the teams he looked like a little boy lost against?Beckham presented croatia with their winning goal that sent us out,how typical that you elect to let that pass your memory bank.He was a ridiculously limited player hyped well,well above his station who got found out time and time again but still lives of the ignorance of the post-euro96 set who will never understand their adherence to him as a player fully represents their ignorance on this ancient game.


    Once again, another incoherant rant from a person incapable of sensible debate

    Why are you comparing Beckham to entire nations?? I thought we were discussing players. And since when did he play a competitive game against Holland? Are you saying he is not up to the top level of football? 6 league titles, 1 spanish league title and a champions league suggest otherwise

    As for blaming him for Croatia's goal, that is fantastic! He clears it up to the half way line with the England defence all still in position, but nope, apparently this is his fault!

    Pointless going on any further with this

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  • 147. At 5:01pm on 13 Oct 2008, Parish87 wrote:

    At 4:58pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    WillparishLFC its the fact you cant even see how much of a prat you made of yourself by your statement that gets me.Ask a general member of the public who dont understand the art of music who their favourite artists is and more would say cliff richard and jhames Blunt than Bob Dylan.Dont you see that having people whi no knowledge of an art and its history say they think Beckham is the player they "like most" instantly vindicates scholars of the game who know how ridiculously limited the guy is?You really dont get it,i mean you really dont,its frightening.


    Like I said, you don't become well known all over the world for being a nobody. You don't have to be the best ever to be a legend of a sport.

    It's something your brain really can't grasp, isn't it?

    When you learn to spell and use correct punctuation and grammar we may be able to continue this inane conversation. Until then, go and learn what you're talking about.

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  • 148. At 5:06pm on 13 Oct 2008, Ian wrote:

    ianbittiner,you just want to make me commit suicide,your lack of basic knowledge beggers belief.It astounds me that cr$p like you brought to this game by Beckhams fame dare to think you know the first thing about it.Heres a tip pal,When Beckham finally tittters off into the sunset with his millions but no real achievement at this level to ever speak off,do us real football men a favour and climb on the funeral pire with him,thanks ever so much.



    Were we or were we not more effective with beckham on the field on saturday? Your blatant hate of beckham has stopped anything you say from carrying any weight. Find me some facts, figures or anything else to back up your argument and to prove you know the slightest bit about football, and then perhaps we can have a grown up conversation, ok poppet?

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  • 149. At 5:07pm on 13 Oct 2008, ironfist007 wrote:

    By the way, my starting line-up when all players are fully fit and available would be as follows:

    James, Richards, Ferinand, Terry, A. Cole, Walcott, Carrick, Gerrard, J. Cole, Rooney, Owen

    Although I feel with James in goal, whilst he is good he is not reliable, we can't win anything. Lets hope that Carson and Foster develop into good keepers!!!

    However, for the Belarus game, its pretty obvious that Gerrard and Lampard should not play together and we should stick to
    4-4-2. I would pick Lampard on current form and Stick swp on the right and Walcott on the left (like Arsenal sometimes do) and if it doesn't work they can switch back again.

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  • 150. At 5:12pm on 13 Oct 2008, dirk_1978 wrote:

    For the left hand side we need someone who can run past people, someone who can cross, someone who can take dead balls. Preferably the premiership player of the month... Nah I can't think of anyone either.

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  • 151. At 5:13pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    ianbittiner,you claimed england should start Beckham in a "central role" from now on,that just about discredits anything you will ever say in any facet of your life till the day you die pal.

    willparish,paris hilton and anna kournikova were just aswell known in their fields as david beckham is-you still dont get it do you?

    kapnag,gary neviile,a good player,has more premiership titles,fa cups and TWICE beckhams champions legues titles,does that make him a "great" player?Beckham instigated real madriids 4 poorest years in history when he arrived,thats factual sir.By heavyweight i meant heavyweight nations.Beckham,more than any other player,was found to be so out his deoth when facing this standard of foe it wasnt,so SO easily contained by defenders who knew how to contain one trick pony boy players like him across so many years and tournaments,not once did he ever impact a major like the great players who get anywhere near the chances he had always have.

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  • 152. At 5:17pm on 13 Oct 2008, Presto West End wrote:

    Ooo Crikey Robbo,

    Not content with reviving the oldest argument in Football, you've also re-started the oldest argument in theology.

    If God does exist, I'd like to think that he wasn't booing Ashley Cole.

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  • 153. At 5:18pm on 13 Oct 2008, Kapnag wrote:

    Gary Neville was England's best right back until his injuries. He's won more titles than Beckham because he didn't leave United. It's pretty hard for Beckham to win more titles when he doesn't play in the country, but never mind that I guess...

    Beckham also made an extremely telling contribution to the successful Madrid title run-in. He left for LA 3 years too early, he is still good enough to be playing at the top, but his fitness will not be tested in LA.

    It's "fact" is it?? All beckhams fault? I like how "opinions" are always treated as "fact" whenever someone is struggling to come up with anything constructive

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  • 154. At 5:20pm on 13 Oct 2008, Ian wrote:


    Actually I said give him room to drift to the wings, something that the pace of walcott on the right would allow. As for him never playing again, several international managers have chosen him over the years, including the phenomenally successful fabio capello. The one "international" manager you have to back your "drop beckham" argument is the wonderful steve mcclaren. And even he brought him back when it all went to pot without him. Really says a lot about your theory, eh?

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  • 155. At 5:22pm on 13 Oct 2008, Cheesymunky wrote:

    The comment about dropping Lampard and Gerrard and seing what happens.

    Ye, drop 2 of the worlds best footballers who are on decent form and see what happens....

    Just asking for trouble.

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  • 156. At 5:28pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    ianbittiner,"drifting" aimlessly and causing us to lose shape is exactly the sort of ruinous cra( beckham gave to us for so long.Beckham was charged with his level of hype of proving he was capable of hurting the very best and it mine and others contention that he was nowhere of a standard or constitution as a player or man to achieve this-we were VINDICATED over 5 tournaments of no real impact whatsoever.He was simply woeful at madrid where the biggest side in europe were european no hopers during his time there-he affected them for the poorer-all the facts suggest this.Read one of the games finest scholars view on Beckhams "pursuit" of englands genuine legends of the past and tell me you can disagree with any of it.

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  • 157. At 5:38pm on 13 Oct 2008, Ian wrote:

    I'm sorry if the word drifted confused you somewhat, I meant have him there to hit passes round midfield, and to support walcott on the right, then using his crossing. It is futile arguing with you any further and neither of us will convince the other, so I'm off to do other things. Later dude.

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  • 158. At 5:41pm on 13 Oct 2008, doyles_left_foot wrote:

    good except for the dig at christianity. if you did that for any other religion especially islam in this age you could be done for religious hatred. fair enough take the micky out of us as people and the way we act but not what believe because what people believe is very precious to them whether you agree with it or not

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  • 159. At 5:43pm on 13 Oct 2008, holygrailofsoccer wrote:

    Euro 2004 was a good showing for England. Even if they didn't go past Portugal.

    Gerrard and Lampard played in those games if I remember and held their own against France - except for Gerrard's back pass to Henry.

    Capello is addressing the problem. The team needs to regain its confidence which dissipated after too much overconfidence. Kind of like a hang over.

    I am from Nigeria and I know we had similar problems in the past. We tend to believe we are the best and then after we are beating we think our players aren't good enough.

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  • 160. At 5:43pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    id love to know where all this "crossing" was in the 106 games he had every opportunity to prove he could hurt big sides from open play.Non-existant i think is the word.Inabittiner,you are simply deluded.Whenever Beckhams been started whether v France or v Czechs his limitations have been so obvious.He doesnt have the legs to overcome fit opponents even if he could.Its typical of the outrageously child-like ignorance of his legion of fans that a late game free no strings attached spell against a tired and beaten non-league standard defence at home now brings them here and elsewhere demanding their hero start at this level.It would be funny if it wasnt so sad and truly tragic.

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  • 161. At 5:44pm on 13 Oct 2008, ChrisM62 wrote:

    The team line ups and if Steve/Frank can/can't play together are opinions...however most people seem to think you either play Steve or Frank. Play Frank now; he's on form and did well against Croatia. Steve on the bench; bring him on with 30 mins to go if necessary.It has to be 4 - 4 - 2. Our top 20 players know no other way. Let Stuart Pearce try other formations. As long as no drastic failures FC must pick the same team (as far as possible) for continuity and then, hopefully, the confidence will come back.

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  • 162. At 5:47pm on 13 Oct 2008, Sam Whiting wrote:

    First off, it was a good result, and I feel the second half proved that we need to be playing 4-4-2, with Rooney playing up front. I still think Owen is our best goal scorer, and is worth at least a place on the bench.

    Obviously the central three didn't work, especially as Rooney was on the left, and when we went to 4-4-2 neither Gerrard or Lampard looked 100% comfortable playing with each other. I think they COULD play together, however, Capello would have to pick one attacking midfielder and one holding midfielder, and the two would have to stick to their roles. Personally I would pick Lampard and Barry, but if I thought Gerrard was a better holding midfielder than Barry I could play Gerrard there. It wouldn't be Gerrard's best position, but that is an option.

    I think Ashley Young needs a call-up to the squad. With Joe Cole able to play either wing, Joe Cole and one of Walcott/Young could play, with the other on the bench. Fabio said Walcott needs to be nurtured, so with this rotation he wouldn't have to start every game.

    I think Downing is getting some unwarranted stick, just because of his association with McClaren. Two years ago he was rightfully ahead of Young et al in the left wing pecking order, so when Joe Cole was injured Downing was the correct replacement. However he struggled and his club links with McClaren didn't help him, however he's not a bad player. Not sure if he's international class, but we could do a lot worse.

    I think goalkeeper and right-back are our trouble positions at the moment. Maybe Manuel Almunia can provide a stop gap between James and a return to form of Paul Robinson, or a coming of age of a Carson/Hart. I'm not sure if Capello rates Neville, but I've never really rated Wes Brown. Micah Richards is coming up, but I don't think he's ready to regularly start for England yet, and he's naturally a centre-back anyway.

    Almunia; Neville, Ferdinand, Terry, Cole; Walcott, Lampard, Barry, Cole; Rooney, Heskey.
    Subs: Carson, Richards, Bridge, Beckham, Gerrard, Young, Owen.

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  • 163. At 5:48pm on 13 Oct 2008, The Law wrote:

    This is of no relevance but I recall going to the Cambridge Union a few months guess where Abi Titmuss of all people was arguing with Edwina Currie about whether Jordan was a modern femminist icon.

    Currie of course won the argument in the end but I was rather surprised by the elegance and sophisticated Titmuss provided to suggest Jordan was an icon for womanhood. Edwina just finger wagged.

    Good article anyway!

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  • 164. At 5:48pm on 13 Oct 2008, The Law wrote:

    why did i say guess instead of ago?

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  • 165. At 5:56pm on 13 Oct 2008, GeneralOfTheToonArmy wrote:

    What England fans want? if it's just goals and not the performance then yes have Michael Owen on his current form in the side, but then shut up and stop complaining about performances and stop booing the side... because if goals is all you want then you've had nine in two...!!

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  • 166. At 6:07pm on 13 Oct 2008, gingerheadman16 wrote:

    If England want a creative midfield that can keep possesion and play a good passing game the play Carrick and Lampard in the middle. If England want a midfield with a bit of bite, play a running game with energy play Hargreaves and Gerrard. Different Midfields for different matches.

    The only way that Gerrard can be accommodated is if you play him behind the striker like Rafa does at Pool, but this would mean either dropping Rooney or sticking him on the left wing, which would not help England.

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  • 167. At 6:16pm on 13 Oct 2008, michaba03m wrote:

    deary deary me....robbo's utter ignorance and naivete shines through once again. Congratulations, I do not know how on earth you do it! No wonder the BBC don't give you a proper place on the website, you aren't even a proper journalist--- i miserly blogger as it were....and not a very good one at that unfortunately!!
    Not only that, but you even - somehow- manage to bring the existence of God into an article about two football players!!!
    How very dare is utterly nescient of you to dispell the existence of God as if it goes without saying...for goodness sake you are a football blogger, i dare say you have any knowledge or wisdom whatsoever when it comes to philosophical/theological issues such as these. I advise therefore, that you keep your fingers safely in your pockets instead of typing another word on the topic. Even those of us who are agnostics or even atheists recognise that the idea of a supreme Being requires a huge amount of thought and a lot of faith either side of the argument.

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  • 168. At 6:19pm on 13 Oct 2008, SirScholes wrote:

    166. At 6:07pm on 13 Oct 2008, gingerheadman16 wrote:
    If England want a creative midfield that can keep possesion and play a good passing game the play Carrick and Lampard in the middle. If England want a midfield with a bit of bite, play a running game with energy play Hargreaves and Gerrard. Different Midfields for different matches.

    The only way that Gerrard can be accommodated is if you play him behind the striker like Rafa does at Pool, but this would mean either dropping Rooney or sticking him on the left wing, which would not help England.


    I agree, of course you can mix up these combos (Hargreaves/Lampard, Carrick/Gerrard) for balance. Barry also of course.

    But why Robbo you pick Gerrard over Lampard......based on what! Surely only your secret love for him. Lampard, whilst not outstanding was at least useful, Gerrard looked lost the whole game apart from one good long ball to Walcott (of which he tried at least 3, yes maybe he was instructed to). The first half system accomadated Gerrard and played Rooney out of position, so how can you condone playing Gerrard when you say yourself the first half 'was one of England's worst in a long time' and also say 'Rooney behind Heskey works'. What is obvious from the last 2 games: Play Rooney in his best position, and play one of Gerrard/Lampard, and this is currently Lampard.

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  • 169. At 6:38pm on 13 Oct 2008, ControlledMagic wrote:

    What some of need to see here is that 5tournamentfloplegend has some warped and pathological hatred of David Beckham and really can't let clear fact of the man's (albeit waning) talents to get in the way of his arguments!

    Click his name and see the vitriolic bile he ejaculates at every opportunity - and don't dare contradict him in a blog!! E gad, that's tantamount to heresy when you are talking about HIS (get that!) game.

    My theory? Beckham dumped 5tournamentfloplegend's sister for Posh - now, that would be upsetting. Couple that with the point that he's named himself after Beckham, and I think you all have his number. Leave him to ranting and licking windows......

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  • 170. At 6:40pm on 13 Oct 2008, Ozzy87 wrote:

    ive been saying it for years that gerrard and lampard CANNOT play together. the fact that everyone is STILL talking about it proves this FACT.

    you MUST have a balance in the team where the best team is played NOT the best players. ie. two wingers playing on the wing (j.cole and walcott) and one dm and one am in the centre.

    both players are attacking central midfield players. you cant play both for the love of god. i am getting sick and tired of repeating this and hearing so called experts like hansen and shearer talking a load of crap about how they are intelligent enough to play together.

    the midfield at the moment should be

    cole gerrard barry walcott

    in the future i would play hargreaves instead of barry cos i dont rate barry at all.

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  • 171. At 6:45pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    what a vivid imagination you have ControlledMagic.If only "becks" had been as genuinely a creative player as you have yourself a mind then mabe he wouldnt have so spectaculary failed to do justice to a single iota of his hype/wealth accumilation as he did across 5 major tournaments and 100 plus games of the most minor impact.Who will recall a single notebale thing he achieved at this level in even 10 years time?Oh yes that greek qualifying game-his "stand out" moment from 12 years of chances when he hit the target once from 8 goes around the box.Itll probably fit into the history books alongside all those other "legendary" qualifying games we talk about today of decades gone past.We do dont we?...........

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  • 172. At 6:48pm on 13 Oct 2008, CHIRED4EVA wrote:

    firstly, 5touramentfloplegend... your numerous posts tell me you truly believe you know more about "our" sport, not "your" sport, than anyone else.

    Beckham doesn't get 100+ caps if he can't play at the highest standard, as he has for over 10 years at utd and real.

    although he only played 10 minutes the last game he put more "good" crosses into the box than walley walcott did the other 70, and 1 good game doesn't make him natural selection!

    As for gerrard and lampard, 2 of the finest midfielders in england, it's down to the manager to make it work, that's why he's paid!! to bloody manage!!
    he should be able to look at the pair of them and make it click, to say that they can't play together is crazy, i've never heard so much fuss made over two players that can or cannot play together!
    and one last thing...


    get out of your house (that'll be the big opening at the front) and live life you sad sad sad little man...shame.

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  • 173. At 6:52pm on 13 Oct 2008, RedFoz wrote:

    Well as we all seem to know
    Gerrard + Lampard - doesn't work.

    I thought SWP just didn't cut it at all.
    Time and again just ran straight into the opposition player, with very little end product. Doesn't look up to this level to me, and against better opposition will be a passenger.

    Ashley Young must be given his chance on the left, as on form there is no-one better this season.

    Heskey has proved more equipped to carry out his job effectively, and takes some of the running/workload off of Rooney than other options we've seen in the past.

    And to those idiots who have decided to rip into Beckham - were you even watching the match?Because indirectly or directly England looked more threatening in the last 10 minutes, once he had come on!

    It was actually nice to see a midfielder on the pitch who could pass more than 5yrds withough giving the ball away. Maybe he could give lessons to those two other baffoons from central midfield!

    He may be the wrong side of 30, but whatever attributes he brought to the game were more effective than most of the midfield had produced in the previous 80 mins.

    Surely for games like the last one, when we are struggling or need to score goals to keep goal diff up, against teams that look weak from crosses/ corners etc, Beckham has to be worth a seat on the bench for a 15/20 minute stint.

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  • 174. At 6:55pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    Beckham got over 100 cpas but achieved very very little and was always our weakest link when faced real big time opposition whether brazil in 2992,portugal and france in 2004 or sweden and portugal again in 2006 where he ended his tournament career blubbing like a little girl-with england at 0-0!just because HIS tournament was finished.An absolute farce that so many empty minds are still taken in by him,he must think its christmas everyday with some of the total brainless wallies that follow england and worship him like hes bobby charlton or something when hes not fit to lick the liks of charlton and moores boots.

    1 "good game".That was only his SECOND you total cre tin!How long did it take "becks" to score a hat trick at international level?oh yes 106 games and were still waiting,endlessly waiting.You dare criticise a young player like walcott whos made an impression the way Beckham never did yet worship the eternally vacuous beckham who needed 2 YEARS in an england shirt before producing a bean at this level?Go away you silly little man.

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  • 175. At 7:01pm on 13 Oct 2008, El Matador wrote:

    'ive been saying it for years that gerrard and lampard CANNOT play together. the fact that everyone is STILL talking about it proves this FACT.'

    How about Euro 2004 then or can't you remember that far back? We looked great and were unlucky to go out on penalties, mug.

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  • 176. At 7:03pm on 13 Oct 2008, bnzss wrote:

    Tautology or what?

    This was insightful.

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  • 177. At 7:14pm on 13 Oct 2008, Nicholas wrote:

    I booed Cole and I am glad I did and would happily defend myself on TV.

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  • 178. At 7:28pm on 13 Oct 2008, Robbo Robson wrote:

    Now then Christians, don't be too uppity. I just happen to believe that it is crazy to think God made the world in six days. But then again I go and watch Boro most weeks in the hope that they might lift a major trophy and if that's not blind faith i don't know what is.

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  • 179. At 7:31pm on 13 Oct 2008, Robbo Robson wrote:

    I think the difference between Lampard and Gerrard is that the latter has single-handed changed the course of some major games - something Lampard has not done, mainly cos Lamps has been surrounded by match-winners whereas Gerrard, until Torres's arrival, was doing most of the legwork himself. Give Gerrard the responsibility and see how he goes - if he fails you;ve got the less likely saviour on the bench.

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  • 180. At 7:34pm on 13 Oct 2008, WalshK wrote:

    All in all Lampard needs to start, he was impressive again Croatia and if we're going by our last impressive England perfromance then that means Stevie G is on the bench.

    Although the whole Stank Gerpard Conundrum could of been easily solved if Paul Scholes hadn't retired/refused to come back.

    The last two England managers didn't ask him to return to the International fold just to occupy the bench.

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  • 181. At 8:05pm on 13 Oct 2008, Excumbrian wrote:

    @ 84 tournamentflop

    Statistics are meaningless. I'd rather have Beckham do nowt and create a goal or two(which he is most certainly capable of) than have a statistically "better" (but ineffective) player. Numbskull yourself.

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  • 182. At 8:07pm on 13 Oct 2008, pimms-o-clock wrote:

    Does it really matter. They are both world class players does it matter which one starts ahead of the other. Barry has been poor lately and i thought he was the replacment. I think wright-phillips should start as he been great for City this season.

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  • 183. At 8:34pm on 13 Oct 2008, 5TournamentFloplegend wrote:

    Excumbrain,according to some he was capable of "creating" before he proved otherwise during his 12 year career where he consistently shrunk to nothing when faced with an opponent of a depth and constitution he himself never posessed.It wasnt just coincidence that he ended his tournament career sat on a bench sobbing tears of failure,it was the footballing Gods signalling the end to his utterly fraudulent standing and making their own judgement on his and his plastic fans claims to "destiny" and "greatness".I know championship players that given 10 minute free speels v beaten 3rd world sides could make themsleves look good but like Beckham,when it mattered,theyd get exposed.Time to move forward.

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  • 184. At 8:46pm on 13 Oct 2008, G_B_F_L_B wrote:

    I'm a spurs fan, and i know that gives me no right to have any opinion on football but from what i've seen of england, there are a few details that still need to be tweaked.

    I'll start from the back. David James shouldn't be No.1. He had a great season last year and deserved his place but i thought a new qualifying campaign should have meant a change of goalie. Against Croatia, James looked particularly dodgy. I know England are blessed with an abundance of goalies who would struggle to get in my sunday team (Robinson, Carson) but i feel Hart has at least deserved his chance. Hart and Foster are surely the future, and it won't be long before James makes another howler to prove me right.

    In defence, i'll start by defending a. cole. Everyone makes mistakes, and the booing was so unnecessary. That said, for me cole represents everything that is wrong with England and i personally wouldn't have him in the squad. Bridge, altho rusty, will give the team more. Ferdinand is currently the best centre half in the world and he would be my captain. His partner for the Belarus game could be anyone tho! Upson looked out of his depth, Woodgate is leading a defence thats leakier then my Gran's roof, and Micah Richards (who would be my right back- tho Wes Brown has done well) is positionally naive at centre-half. Upson probably just shaves it.

    Midfield in comparison is a haven of simplicity. Young on the left, Walcott on the right. It's clear to anyone who has ever seen England that Lampard and Gerrard can't play together so it comes down to a purely preferential choice. Lampard or Gerrard (it doesn't matter who tho i'm a Gerrard man) plays with Barry/ Hargreaves or when he's fit Carrick (who considering he is part of the heart of the double side is strangely overlooked)

    Up front Heskey and Rooney, tho i'd have Owen sat on the bench. You never know when you will need a goal and Owen has a certain something over Defoe at international level.

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  • 185. At 9:14pm on 13 Oct 2008, the swashbuckler wrote:

    Does anybody ever get sick of this debate? Honestly, it's been going on for 2-3 years now. Perhaps they CAN play together but England just aren't supposed to win every game 10-0. Hmmm? Make sense? Or do we need another 20 or so agonisingly lame Robbo articles on this subject before we figure this out?

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  • 186. At 9:23pm on 13 Oct 2008, goonerjj80 wrote:

    No reason Gerrard can't play on the right with Theo on the left and Lamps and Barry in the centre.

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  • 187. At 10:00pm on 13 Oct 2008, RonniesMate wrote:

    Gerrard cannot play International football. Despite playing in the Champions League so regularly he still thinks he's Roy of the Rovers. Apparently that happens at Anfield but it isn't the right way to play at this level. He gives the ball away too much.

    Similarly SWP will never be an International player of any merit.

    We miss Hargreaves because of his energy & the fact we are too careless with the ball. Case in point - Cole's bloomer.

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  • 188. At 10:02pm on 13 Oct 2008, dgardnermlb wrote:

    1. For one thing......All this rubbish about Gerrard plays better with Barry than Lampard is an absolute load of nonsense!!!!
    How did you come to that conclusion??
    Did you not see the Croatia game when England won 4:1?? That was lampard and Barry together and they both played pretty well against a decent side....Capello got it completely wrong starting Gerrard....All this talk about "The starting 11 is going to be about merit, who plays well who doesn't play well etc. etc." but excuse me but hasnt he just contradicted himself by putting in gerrard instead of barry??
    2. SWP not an international player?? and then you say young should be in the starting line up?? he has only played one game for england and that wasn't even 90 minutes...and he is an international player??
    3. Cole should never have got booed! no matter what he did it doesnt give england fans the right to boo him for a silly mistake...i dnt ever remember anyone booing robinson for his howler against croatia last year! its just the pathetic arsenal fans coming into the equation to get a lil bit of revenge...if i was cole i would have just walked off the pitch and told the lot of ya to stuff it!

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  • 189. At 10:19pm on 13 Oct 2008, Tubilicious wrote:

    Its sad the people let their club loyalties blind them to real player ratings. Lampard is a very good rounded midfielder who is not so keen on the defensive attributes of his role. he has always had Makalele or Mikel to cover his forays forward.
    On the other hand, Gerrard does everything well with pace and is ever so likely to add a moment of magic to the game. He is more of a game changer than Lampard ...period.

    Gerrard playing puts defences on the back foot cos you never know when he may come bursting through to hurt you unfortunately they see Frank coming and are usually able to adjust.

    I read somewhere that Gerrard just belts tha ball and prays...wellthats ironic considering how many deflected goals Frank has had over the yearsmany of which were not even threatning.

    even more annoying is the assertion by certain people that frank set up 2 goals from set peices, well Steve took a couple of inviting free and corner kicks that his teamates were unlucky not to do better with so that little nugget may not tell the true picture.
    In Conclusion, Gerrard please.

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  • 190. At 10:24pm on 13 Oct 2008, dgardnermlb wrote:

    ok how many goals has lampard scored for chelsea? and how many has gerrad scored for liverpool?
    that pretty much sums it up i think!
    and of course defenders always see frank coming!?!? thats why he scores 20 a season for the last 5 seasons or whatever it is and sets so many goals up! (so that comment is bit of a load of toot!)

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  • 191. At 10:29pm on 13 Oct 2008, antisback wrote:

    Anyone else noticed that barry isn't a Defensive Midfielder ;)

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  • 192. At 10:47pm on 13 Oct 2008, littlejklc wrote:

    Those people said Lampard played very well in the Croatia game, did they actually watch the game? I personally didn't, I cannot tell. I will be surprise if he did play well.
    I watched the Saturday game, first half, none of the English players played well, might be except Heskey.
    Clearly, Gerrard and Lampard cannot play together. This cannot be solved. But I do think Gerrard is a little bit better. At least he passed, not like Lampard, shoot far away. And it is very easy to defend against him in international level. His shots were either blocked or weak.
    The problem now is there are no Left handed side players. Bridge is horrible, it will be scary Wednesday. Just hope Berluas dont have any good players at the right.
    But I do think England wont be lost. It could be a draw which is not bad at all, or it could be a 2-1 win.

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  • 193. At 10:50pm on 13 Oct 2008, cloughieforever wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 194. At 11:38pm on 13 Oct 2008, Robbo Robson wrote:

    185 Fry:
    Lame articles! I'll show you lame. Lame is the relentless idea that the two multimillionaire darlings of the blue bit of London and the red bit of Merseyside have a right to both be in the team. It's p*ssing me off too that I have to keep repeating myself but it's cos of nanas like you who keep saying 'ooh maybe they can do the biz, fingers crossed, even though it's never really worked that well before...' One or the other.

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  • 195. At 07:26am on 14 Oct 2008, MJGzo8 wrote:

    Has anybody outside Brum heard of this Ashley Young fella?????????????????

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  • 196. At 07:36am on 14 Oct 2008, Spigz wrote:

    Good article Robbo, but can anyone explain why Walcott didn't play on the left with Beckham on the right?

    Walcott can do something with his left foot that only Wayne Bridge/Ashley Cole/Gareth Barry can also do (but only in the first 2/3rds of the pitch for those three) - kick a ball. (Yes I left Downing out for a reason ..)

    If I see another right footed player cut in from the left just so he can cross a ball with his right I'm going to go nuts.

    Let's face it, England looked dangerous as soon as Beckham standard delivery was resumed from the right hand side (forget SWP, agree with the comment that he cannot see his own team mates - bit like Ronaldo when he first got started, all tricks and no end product at all - just a forlorn look of 'oh, there you all are, sorry!').

    However, Walcott is definitely a great 'out' ball for the counter attack, so he is a great option to have on the pitch particularly in a tight game. Remember the Argentina game where Monsieur Owen shot to fame - because he terrified the Argentinians with his pace, something Walcott has in abundance (and now knows how to use it effectively).

    So you've got the best of both worlds - set piece delivery par excellence, and a scary as hell roadrunner on the other side of the pitch for the swift counter attack. If I'm not mistaken, Walcott played on the left for the U21 side quite a bit, so it's not alien territory for him either.

    And if we're going to play patient build up football, perhaps a pairing of Joe Cole and (insert defensive midfielder of choice) would be a better bet. Joe is no left winger, but he is a tricky sod capable of linking up midfield/attack very effectively - another player never played in his favourite position (club or country) - not that he moans about it like some others. Just another option to throw into midfield - it doesn't have to be Gerrard OR Lampard, it can be neither!

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  • 197. At 09:03am on 14 Oct 2008, aggersforcaptain wrote:

    Thanks No71 for recognising my obvious dislike of Beckham. Pity that you got that completely wrong. I am a massive fan of what David has done for England and there is undoubtedly still a role for him to play in the squad. My point was that the game was won when he came on and I would rather someone younger get a sniff. If we had still been struggling then try Becks who can change a game. It's all about using the squad properly. DB has run his heart out for England over the years but is reaching the end of the road. Use him when necessary but youth still needs its chance. Once he came on his delivery was good but by then the opposition was tired and we had finally cottoned on that they were crap in the air. My main point remains; the system was changed to suit Stevie G and it didn't work and unbalanced a system that must beat Croatia and boosted the confidence of the team.

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  • 198. At 09:23am on 14 Oct 2008, Tubilicious wrote:

    190. At 10:24pm on 13 Oct 2008, dgardnermlb wrote:
    ok how many goals has lampard scored for chelsea? and how many has gerrad scored for liverpool?
    that pretty much sums it up i think!
    and of course defenders always see frank coming!?!? thats why he scores 20 a season for the last 5 seasons or whatever it is and sets so many goals up! (so that comment is bit of a load of toot!)

    twenty goals of which at least 25% are penalties and a further 25% deflected shots..please dont get me wrong he's a great player but not as complete as Gerrard

    Ok then, using your theory, how many goals has Lampard ccored for England and how Many has set and match, Gerrard again

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  • 199. At 09:32am on 14 Oct 2008, AKBJ_FC wrote:

    Gerrard had one of his worst games for England on Saturday, but I'd still pick him ahead of Lampard. It has always been Gerrard who has had to change his game to accomodate Lampard, maybe because he can't change his game? No wonder Stevie has failed so often to find his Liverpool form when he pulls on the England shirt, he simply has to play a more defensive role alongside Lampard. I can see what Capello was trying to do on Saturday, by playing Barry he tried to give both Lampard and Gerrard license to attack, but England looked unbalanced, and Rooney suffered by having to play on the left.
    And at last everybody is realising how good Emile Heskey is.....about time.

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  • 200. At 09:32am on 14 Oct 2008, Tubilicious wrote:

    Very correct Spigzy, it might be best NOT to play either of them depending on the opponents, I just don't like people critisizing Gerrard cos he was not part of the Croatia match and England did well. whats to say if he had played it would not have been better.
    Thank goodness its Capellos problem, its giving me a headache.

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  • 201. At 09:47am on 14 Oct 2008, Peter Holt wrote:

    Lampard and Gerrard are both fantastic Premiership players, but they are NOT World class. The teams that win the Euros or the World Cup are passing, ball retention teams, not running/shooting teams. The fact that Stevie G gives the ball away a third of the time (current Opta stats for this season show 64% pass completion) doesn't matter one iota against 90% of the Prem sides cos they'll give the ball straight back to you (most Prem sides have pass completion stats of around 70%).

    But at International level the opposition will keep the ball and eventually hurt you. The Kazakhs, aren't a high calibre side, but they could easily have scored 2 or 3 goals. We could have actually gone behind in that game.

    If our midfielders were World class, the Kazakhs wouldn't have touched the ball.

    Yet again our biggest deficiencies were passing and receiving. The defenders were often passing long because Lampard, Gerrard and Barry weren't available to receive an easy pass. Arsenal, United and Chelsea rarely go from the back line straight to the front men. They always pass through midfield. Whereas 30% of Jamie Carragher's passes are over 30 yards. You figure it out.

    World class midfielders have pass completion stats above 85%. It doesn't matter whether it's backwards, sideways or forwards. As long as you keep possession then you have a higher chance of success. (Though not a nailed on guarantee).

    The difference between Croatia at Wembley and Croatia in Zagreb was we played a possession game in Zagreb and consequently had a much higher pass completion ratio, and possession ratio and we restricted the Croatian chances.

    The irony is that people wish that Stevie G could bring his Premiership form to the International stage, but the reality is, he is doing. It's just that you don't get away with that level of profligacy with the ball at International level. Even teams as lowly as Kazakhstan.

    Until Gerrard learns to control his Premiership instincts then it's Lampard for me.

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  • 202. At 09:57am on 14 Oct 2008, Tubilicious wrote:

    From OPTA:

    Total passes and passing accuracy

    Fabregas 2318 81.06%
    Clichy 1975 83.19%
    Flamini 1710 86.55%
    Gerrard 1652 77.66%
    Butt 1630 75.03%
    Scholes 1592 89.70%
    Carrick 1585 83.22%
    Hleb 1552 82.73%
    Ferdinand 1546 84.80%
    Neville 1533 72.47%

    No Lampard on that list so I guess Stevie keeps the ball better and passes more

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  • 203. At 11:33am on 14 Oct 2008, CapertureScience wrote:

    This Lampard vs Gerrard debate has been going on for so long now it's getting extremely annoying.
    Honestly i can't wait for one of them to retire just so i don't have to hear all this crap again and again.

    But since it's been brought up for the 83256th time, i will give my opinion on it, something i don't usually bother to do.

    The problem isn't that Lampard and Gerrard are too similar, it is that they are both worried about going forward too much when they play together, and leaving the team exposed at the back, which is why we need a holding midfielder (Not barry, i don't rate him very much) to allow them to both go forward.

    If they lined up something like:







    That would allow all 4 of Lampard, Gerrard, Rooney and J.Cole to progress forward, leaving Hargreaves never venturing much beyond the halfway line, so that there is always at least 1 person back there in the middle until the other 4 manage to get back and help out defending.

    However Lampard and Gerrard to sometimes get a bit too close to each other and it gets a bit congested, not giving either of them enough space to do what they can do. That is just something they have to work on themselves in training. Get to know each other's game a little better.

    However, if the question was a straight choice between the two, i would pick Lampard at the moment, because he is in great form, and Gerrard isn't.


    On a side note:

    I've read a lot of these debates over the past few years, because i'm a member of a few football forums and it keeps coming up time and time again, and i do find it quite amusing that the same people who kept going on and on about picking players based on form and not reputation, so that Lampard should be dropped, are the exact same people who think that Gerrard should be in the team regardless of form...

    Very hypocritical, but then again i don't expect much in the way of intelligence from the majority of football fans.

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  • 204. At 11:48am on 14 Oct 2008, Peter Holt wrote:

    My OPTA stats link shows, for the current season, Stevie G 64%, Frank Lampard 93%. Have we any stats about the accuracy of OPTA stats pages ?

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  • 205. At 11:56am on 14 Oct 2008, Peter Holt wrote:


    The OPTA stats you chose were Number of Passes completed (or attempted) with their completion ratio. Frank may be just off the list with number completed, but his ratio might be higher, which is what I'd be looking for. Someone who picks his passes, not someone who launches the ball forward at the earliest possible time, no matter what the chances of successful completion might be.

    You still have to say that for a World Class midfielder, 77% (just ahead of Nicky Butt) is well down on Paul Scholes 89%. Now that's World Class.

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  • 206. At 12:13pm on 14 Oct 2008, jacksofbuxton wrote:

    the best way to accomodate gerrard and lampard is ask if they prefer red or white wine whilst watching a midfield of walcott,joe cole,hargreaves,carrick,barry,young etc etc

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  • 207. At 2:11pm on 14 Oct 2008, Presto West End wrote:

    I agree with you 5TournamentFloplegend, Beckham is a legend.

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  • 208. At 3:21pm on 14 Oct 2008, Flux Redux wrote:

    ....and on the seventh day, God booed.....

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  • 209. At 3:49pm on 14 Oct 2008, the swashbuckler wrote:

    RE: 194. Robbo:

    It's not that they have a right to be in the team, it's that they are our best two midfielders. Other combinations have been tried with no better results. I suppose Capello is a 'nana' as well for starting them together. He's only one of the most respected managers in football and has taken an England team that couldn't qualify for Euro 2008 (in one of the easiest groups) to go undefeated and sitting top of their qualifying group. We don't have the types of players to play that 'holding' role that everyone loves so much (and do we really need a holding midfielder at home against Kazakstan? - 5-1 playing 'poorly' suggests no). However, maybe we can recall Nicky Butt and leave Gerrard on the bench. The only problem with the Lampard-Gerrard combination is that they, like many other England players don't replicate their club form for England. I suspect it has a lot more to do with the enormous pressure heaped on them from the idiot fan brigade who want to be entertained with slick passing and bicycle kicks (like they're at the circus) everytime England play. When has England ever played like that? How about we just try qualifying first? Capello's got us off to the best start we've ever had in my memory.

    Also, I'm so tired of hearing clap trap nonsense like: "we paid our money so we have the right to express our opinion..." What kind of masochist pays 100 quid just to show up and boo somebody? Save your money people, stay home and boo at your TV.

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  • 210. At 4:08pm on 14 Oct 2008, Flux Redux wrote:

    " Save your money people, stay home and boo at your TV. "

    I do :)

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  • 211. At 4:13pm on 14 Oct 2008, boomshakalak wrote:

    yet another Lampard v Gerrard debate...boring.... my comment is going to be 210 or something so i doubt it will get read ... but... give Fabio a chance to impose his thoughts on Lampard and/or Gerrard and let him (not Sven or McClaren) tell them how he thinks (if at all) they should play together.

    To say "they can't play together" implies that every possible way of accomodating them both has already been explored by the 2 former managers.. not just in a positional sense but also in a strategical sense and management and motivational sense.... i for one think that i would be surprised if McClaren had explored all of the "opshionsh" (options - see what i did there?) of getting 2 of the best players (ok if just for their clubs) in European football together...

    i f capello says he believes they can play together then i believe him and will give him time to find the formula.. if he says they can't i'm sorry Robbo - but he kows more than you... and continually producing "cheap thought" articles on the subject, whilst getting the hoards excited, does nothing to actually either find a solution or encourage sensible thinking on the subject.

    I love the way that Barry is now considered an absolute "must pick" by the majority of people who 12 months ago would have probably scoffed at the thought of his inclusion.... especially when it would have to be at the expense of 1 or (maybe even 2 if you assume that that Barry is in for Hargreaves and on top of that Lampard and Gerrard can't play together) of Gerrard, Lampard and Hargreaves (who incidentally are Englands player of the years for the last 4 years - Lampard twice)

    I'd love for you to sit down with Fabio over a coffee and compare your thoughts on picking/building a successful side.... you may even be able to get him to crack a smile as he laughs your ideas out of his office....

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  • 212. At 5:21pm on 14 Oct 2008, Robbo Robson wrote:

    I agree with all of you who reckon this debate is getting tiring. People who argue that a holding midfielder can free Lampard and Gerrard further up the park... well that's been tried. I seem to remember David Healy putting a hole in that particular theory (admittedly with Becks in a ludicrous 'quarter-back' role)... the debate ends if we avoid the problem by just picking one of them. Maybe the other'll have a Boydesque hissy-fit and we'll never have to argue about this ever again.

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  • 213. At 8:16pm on 14 Oct 2008, jono1983 wrote:

    Have a go at christians?! Way to go, such a cheap ploy to try and hype your articles up more by p*ssing people off.

    Same old tiring dribble and (now) not funny jokes and anecdotes. The only thing more tiring than the Gerrard / Lampard debate is reading the same joke in every one of Robbos articles these days.

    Pick a subject people actually want to hear about now and try and write a decent article about it. Oh wait, thats why you pick the same subjects and jokes, your actually not capable of anything original

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  • 214. At 10:03pm on 14 Oct 2008, blogman99 wrote:

    i agree that gerrard and lampard cant play in the same team.
    on current form i would choose lampard, although i much prefer gerrard.
    team: james, brown, ferdinand, upson, bridge, wright-philips, lampard, barry, walcott, rooney, heskey.

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  • 215. At 11:04pm on 14 Oct 2008, Mark Walter wrote:

    "The Frank 'n' Steve debate is over. They are as compatible as steak and custard, Fergie and Wenger, Boyd and Burley, Geri Halliwell and music of any kind."

    I get the point you're making, but steak and custard actually sounds like quite an intriguing combination!

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  • 216. At 00:43am on 15 Oct 2008, Robbo Robson wrote:

    Now my replies get moderated just as much as the rest of you... but let's not confuse a bit of cheekiness about Biblical belief with the gerrard lampard debate. Belief in a divine creator is way more acceptable than a belief in a midfield in which two utter underperformers can play together successfully

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  • 217. At 4:19pm on 15 Oct 2008, dyrewolfe wrote:

    Tsk tsk Robbo...very naughty.

    Actually I have quite a few Christian friends who would find that funny (in fact I'll email them the link to the article). Shame its only the ones with no sense of humour who seem to reply.

    I'll admit I watched the first half of the Kazakhstan game with my face half-buried in a cushion (to keep from biting my nails).

    I don't know whether it was down to a midfield imbalance, the added pressure of playing at Wembley or just typical England inconsistency...but it wasn't pretty.

    The scoreline was very flattering in the end and there is clearly a lot of room for improvement.

    As to the "fans" who booed Ashley Cole, they're the kind of people who make me ashamed to call myself an England supporter. If I recall correctly, there were also rumblings of dissent at half time. If they were genuine, knowledgeable football fans, they would know better than to expect England to roll "smaller" teams over inside 45 minutes...even at Wembley.

    In many ways, supporting England is a lot like supporting the Boro ;-)

    As far as Cole was concerned, couldn't they at least make the effort to invent a witty song/chant? At least that would have showed they have some sense of humour and perspective. Booing just makes them sound like small-minded morons.

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  • 218. At 6:06pm on 15 Oct 2008, realvilla wrote:


    i personally can't remember them playing well together recently.

    in one of your previous comments you said 50% of people say they can play together and 50% say they can't.

    think you may have your stats wrong there scanning through these responses!

    the reason everyone thinks barry's a must-have in the team (yes i'm biased) is because the manager you rate so highly (capello) has played him in every game and he has easily been the most consistently good performer over all of englands matches under capello.

    what other reason do you need?

    in fact, you said so yourself, and i quote "I want to see the best players playing in the best league/teams"

    if you disrespect robbo so much why do you write such long responses to all his articles?

    granted, capello needs to try the best players together himself, but he has and it hasn't worked.

    i doubt he will gamble by changing england's formation again to accomodate them both for what he himself says is such an important game.

    personally, i'd play lampard for the first half and if we aren't winning bring stevie on.

    football is entertainment - don't disregard everyone by saying their opinion counts for nothing versus football managers. the forums would be pretty quiet if everyone agreed with you.

    you also seem to believe your opinion has some weight: "he will just found to be hopelessly lacking like Barry Ferguson and return to Rangers to beat up the local under 9's standard of football"

    how can you judge the ability of scottish strikers if you're not a football manager?


    let people say what they want, you don't have to read it!

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  • 219. At 10:40am on 16 Oct 2008, DoctorBoroLove wrote:

    There's plenty of Christians that don't believe in the literal truth of the Bible. Noah's Ark and all that mallarkey. Charles Darwin kicked that off by revealing the truth. We're all descended from monkeys and reading most of the comments here I feel he is vindicated.

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  • 220. At 2:15pm on 16 Oct 2008, lordslum wrote:

    That was not a dig at christianity, that was a dig at all religions that believe in the creation, including jews, muslims and christians. Get over your victim mentality.

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  • 221. At 9:53pm on 17 Oct 2008, pimms-o-clock wrote:

    firstly we beat belarus and that seemed to work not too bad except for a brief 20 mins. Comment 203. is the stupidest team thought of at this time. Joe cole is injured you pilack. The whole blog is about the fact that lampard and gerrard cant work together in the middle you dipstick. Rooney cant play on the wing you idiot and Heskey scoring record is about a goal every 5 games which is terrible. He is use to create assists for rooney not to finnish rooneys assists.

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