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Youthful England give Capello grounds for optimism

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Phil McNulty | 07:42 UK time, Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Fabio Capello flies back to Italy to join his newly extended family accompanied by an impressive body of work in 2011 and quiet satisfaction that England are building momentum ahead of Euro 2012.

England followed up victory against World Cup holders Spain by securing a first win against Sweden since 1968 with their 2,000th goal to end the calendar year unbeaten with six wins from nine games.

Capello was stone-faced and unmoved when presented with this list of achievements, waving a hand dismissively and grunting: "Statistics."

Statistics indeed, but not bad ones for a team that looked at their lowest ebb after the embarrassment of a World Cup exit against youthful and vibrant Germany in Bloemfontein last year.

And while few can seriously suggest Europe's top teams live in fear at the prospect of facing England in Poland and Ukraine next summer, Capello can at least allow himself a measure of optimism.

Frank Lampard, Joe Hart, Scott Parker and Phil Jones

Younger stars, like Joe Hart and Phil Jones, have established themselves alongside older heads. Photo: Getty

He will now finally begin belated celebrations with his son and new daughter-in-law after missing their wedding to oversee England's triumph against Spain - and he may also toast some new young members of his footballing family.

The phrase "Golden Generation" was reduced to one of the most laughable in England's football lexicon by the deeds of this so-called group in tournaments stretching from Japan in 2002 to South Africa in 2010 throughout the last decade.

It means whenever there is evidence of a new young breed of England footballer, the default position must always be caution. The days of getting carried away have gone, even among the most optimistic of Capello's followers.

But in the last two games, as well as the last 12 months, there is an increasing sense that England's old guard is now being replaced, or will be replaced very soon, by a fresh look to the Italian's squad.

And Capello did let the mask slip for a moment as he reflected on the emergence of Manchester United's Phil Jones, Everton youngster Jack Rodwell and Kyle Walker of Tottenham, who all excelled against Sweden to press their claims for a spot in the Euro 2012 squad.

He summed up his pleasure as he said: "During these games I looked for something new and found it. I've found it in Rodwell, Walker and Jones. These three are interesting. They are really good technically, really good physically and all three players are fast. This is important in modern football."

They are part of England's changing football face, with Manchester City's Joe Hart the established keeper, Jack Wilshere an almost certain starter if he is fit next summer, Scott Parker now considered first-choice midfield anchorman by Capello and Manchester United's Ashley Young a rapidly maturing international.

The Italian also has United's Chris Smalling and Danny Welbeck pushing for places while Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge also won his first cap against Sweden - then we come to the trio he was so keen to highlight at Wembley on Tuesday.

Jones, barring injury, can pack his bags for Poland and Ukraine. He will be part of England's central defence in the long term but Capello examined his midfield versatility against Spain and Sweden and was delighted with the results.

Against Sweden he played Jones in the role Parker has made his own, and he did it to such effect that Capello will be satisfied he can be used in an emergency as well as being utilised at right-back and as a central defender.

Everton's Rodwell has only recently registered on Capello's radar. After one game at Wembley not so long ago, he reacted to the mention of his name as if he was not actually aware of his existence. Those days have gone.

Rodwell's impressive turn against Sweden, one presentable missed chance apart, demonstrated his development as a midfielder. He can play a holding role when required but is also showing an increasing ability to find promising attacking positions.

It was often felt Rodwell did not make life uncomfortable enough for opponents and was more style than substance. Under greater urging from club manager David Moyes, he is now becoming the player his admirers insisted he would become.

Capello was guarded about Rodwell's 2012 prospects as midfield is an overcrowded area with Steven Gerrard and Wilshere out injured and Parker and Gareth Barry also vying for places - but the 20-year-old has time to build on the impression he has made on Capello.

Euro 2012 may yet come too soon for Rodwell, but he is coming with a real run and may make a convincing case for inclusion.

Empty seats at Wembley

Despite empty seats at Wembley last night, England fans should find much to enjoy about their team. Photo: Getty

Tottenham's Walker has a real opportunity at right-back, especially if Capello mystifyingly continues to turn a blind eye to the performances of Manchester City's Micah Richards.

Liverpool's Glen Johnson still appears to be Capello's first choice but remains unconvincing. Walker, like Rodwell, must do battle with other contenders such as Smalling and Jones. And it would be remiss of Capello not to seriously consider Richards again if he continues his current prime form.

Fulham's Bobby Zamora was another presented with an opportunity against Sweden, namely the chance to push ahead of Liverpool's Andy Carroll. It is debatable whether he did enough to make that leap, although he worked hard and Capello is a confirmed admirer.

England's win against Spain was met with some sneering from those who regard themselves as purists and Sweden did not offer the sternest of tests, indeed the most passionate Scandinavian offerings on show at Wembley came from an ABBA tribute band outside the stadium and veteran act Roxette plying their trade at the nearby Arena.

These games, however, will be of real service to Capello. He may have been fooled into thinking all was well when England qualified so impressively for South Africa and was consequently tempted to more or less leave well alone with his squad.

Capello does not appear to be making the same mistake as he formulates his plans for Euro 2012. New players are being introduced and experimentation may even be the order of the day before the squad is finalised.

Wembley itself saw vast open spaces in a crowd of 48,876, the lowest since the stadium was rebuilt. It made for a low-key atmosphere.

John Terry returned as captain after missing the win against Spain. The man who is the subject of a Metropolitan Police investigation into claims he racially abused QPR's Anton Ferdinand in the recent west London derby was not universally acclaimed when his name was announced before kick-off, but once the action began he strolled through untroubled.

And yet even the captain cannot be sure of his place following outstanding displays by Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott against Spain, which is exactly how Capello wants it.

England cannot be talked up as a potentially major power at Euro 2012 on the back of beating Spain and Sweden but the emergence of fresh, fearless and energetic young players means Capello has had a good few days. And a satisfactory year.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Watching second half highlights last night it was amazing to hear the ITV commentators wriggle out of the blindingly obvious comparison of Scott Carson and David Seaman, when he fended off a lob from exactly the same range and angle as Ronaldinho's 2002 free-kick. Why would they be so shy about mentioning it?

  • Comment number 2.

    Good to see Capello is giving some players a well deserved shot at the England shirt. Lets just hope he doesn't bottle it and opt for the same old players who failed in SA. And this time actually pick players who are on form.

    ....looking forward to seeing Soul_patch squirm to find excuses for our win this week. Especially since we were going to lose 3-0...apparently.

    Spain meanwhile were lucky to escape a defeat to the mighty Costa Rica.

  • Comment number 3.

    "Fulham's Bobby Zamora was another presented with an opportunity against Sweden, namely the chance to push ahead of Liverpool's Andy Carroll. It is debatable whether he did enough to make that leap, although he worked hard and Capello is a confirmed admirer.

    What exactly has Carroll done to be ranked so highly ?

  • Comment number 4.

    Yet another disjointed, messy performance against poor opposition from a team who's coach is from a bygone era in both in tactics and man-management.

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    "Jones, barring injury, can pack his bags for Poland and Ukraine. He will be part of England's central defence in the long term but Capello examined his midfield versatility against Spain and Sweden and was delighted with the results."

    Way to single out and hype up another English Player, possibly starting a media-pressure on individual in the England Camp - it's proved so successful in the past hasn't it Phil...!? Sheesh!!

    Waiting until now to comment on BOTH games I feel helps put everything into perspective for the England SQUAD! It is encouraging to see that we do appear to be gaining some depth within the squad and, with hungry youngsters trying to prove themselves against the Old Guard who know that the end is coming for them. This can only help towards players actually fighting for their place (we hope!)

    Over the 2 games, I feel Capello did pick pretty much the right tactics for each game, containing Spain well, exploiting their weaknesses and, with some elements of luck (which we all need) got a good result.
    Last night, England played differently due to different formation, players and styles, and the possible emergence of some tactical flexibility is pleasing to see too. I felt we were more pressing (for the majority of the game) and only became more flat towards the last 20 minutes when Rodwell was removed and England started to slow the pace down a bit.

    Over the 2 games, I have been impressed by Phil Jones and Jack Rodwell, along with Kyle Walker who was excellent last night and I felt helped Walcott out with some nice link-up play between them.

    I feel the term "Professional Team" is good to sum-up the 2 matches. The England SQUAD appear to have gelled a little more, seemly Capello has got his tactic correct and while not necessarily playing the most exciting football for some people, England conducted themselves very well over both games, working as a team and for each other, including the manager.

    It is to early to start naming final squads and who are definite starts seeing as the tournament is about 8-9 months away, but I feel these matches will have helped Capello gain a better understanding of the potential squad we can take to Poland-Ukraine, and there is a thin sliver of hope for the future of English football. I am just disappointed by the exclusion of the excellent and in-form Micah Richards (as many have previously blogged).

    I still think there is a lot of work, time and effort required from all those involved, but I feel that, as long as we keep our feet on the ground and remain sensible, we can feel positive about the England SQUAD and should get behind them without being overly critical or with over-the-top praise and expectations. With that a decent run to the Quarter-Finals in the Euro's is achievable, realistic and a good successful basis to work towards the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

  • Comment number 7.

    I think the England squad has a bit of depth finally and reckon we could do well in the Euros, my squad would be

    Hart, Carson, Foster
    Terry, Cahill, Lescott, Jagielka, Cole,, Baines, Walker, Richards
    Barry, Parker, Wilshere, Gerrard, Rodwell, Walcott, Young, Milner
    Rooney, Bent Welbeck, Sturridge

  • Comment number 8.

    Team for Euro 2012 -


    Anyone interested in seeing how they get on against Germany, Portugal etcetera?

    I am - it is an exciting prospect. If we had a proven goalscorer in there, I think this team could go quite well - I think - maybe - perhaps???????

  • Comment number 9.

    I thought Sweden were disappointing and England were rarely tested but, as you can only play against what's in front of you, England achieved their victory. You might argue that Sweden only played as well as England let them.

    It was encouraging to see some good wing play from England and see a large number of chances fashioned but it must be of slight concern that none of those chances were really taken, England's goal coming from good pressure but ultimately a fortunate deflection. England (or, England's strikers) MUST develop the ability to punish a poor opposition. Their lack of that clinical touch led to some chances for Sweden, who improved in the second half, to equalise in the latter stages.

    On another note, Phil, I do feel that your comment on Ibrahimovic in your match report was a bit of a cheap shot. You have mentioned before that you have never seen him have a good game on the big stage but I wonder what you were expecting of him during the game? He was frequently isolated and unsupported, reduced to playing short balls from a deeper position (which is part of his game) but then missing the running from Toivonen (who ended up replacing him) and the equally poor Källström. I fail to see how ANY player could have lived up to any sort of reputation whilst trying to lead the line for a team generally dominated in both territory and possession.

    Don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to say that Ibrahimovic had a good game but the whole Swedish team was poor. This may be down to England's well marshalled and disciplined approach or down to other factors but it was a bit cheap to pick this player for direct criticism when others were just as liable.

  • Comment number 10.

    nice win for England, quite boring but i think compared to the EPL international football is relatively boring, mayb thats where england have always gone wrong, trying to play EPL football at international level, which is much slower paced and tentative .. anyway if we can now grind out results and establish some youngsters we might just be onto somthing

    only time will tell, but im quite happy hows things are going, doubtful we will win anything but i gave up on that quite awhile ago lol

  • Comment number 11.

    I think Phil is spot on with his summing-up of England's performances over the last few days. Nobody gave us a chance against Spain and we ended up beating them. We hadn't beaten Sweden for 43 years and we beat them. I appreciate neither performance is going to strike fear into the top nations watching these matches, but I still feel there are signs of fresh green shoots developing on the withered branches of what was left of England's once mighty oak tree. We mustn't get carried away by these results, but we can embrace the positives and hopefully, if everybody is fit and available, it could make for an interesting few weeks next summer (even without Rooney!), as long as we don't bottle it again on the big stage ...

  • Comment number 12.

    Another shocking blog phil, but much to be expected though.

    England were not exactly on fire, Downing had a good game and Walker was pretty decent. Jones was out of position, again. (having met the lad at Balckburn, he's not a massive fan of the midfielder role)

    Terry needs to retire. He's ok at EPL level, just far too old now and need to get Cahil and Jones/Smalling bedded in (Smalling is injured i know)
    Zamora needs to concentrate on his club, truely one of the worst players in an England shirt (has he even scored for England yet lol)

    Euro 12 should be:

    LB - Cole/Baines
    CB - Cahill/Lescott/Smalling/Jones
    RB - Richards/Walker
    DMC - Parker
    MC - Wilshire/Rodwell/Milner/Cleverly
    Wingers - Johnson/Wallcott/Sturridge/Downing
    SC - Rooney/Welbeck

    Make whatever formation you please, but Barry, Terry, Glen Johnson, Lampard, Gerrard need to past the buck and move on..

  • Comment number 13.

    This is all very well phil and i entirely agree there are grounds for optimism. And yet...who would bet against Capello ditching these youngsters at Euro 2012 and putting out a team containing Ferdinand, Terry, A.Cole, Barry, Lampard, Gerrard. In my view these players should be dropped now with possibly a fully fit Gerrard, Cole and rooney the only exceptions. However Rodwell is undoubtedly the new Gerrard-a box to box MF with brilliant touch and distribution, Jones, lescott, Jagielka or Smalling should be our Central defence (what Gary Cahill is doing anywhere near an England set up i dont know-how many have Bolton conceded this season?). Capello needs to banish the squad of any defeatism or complacency so to keep the same players who have served England so poorly since 2002 would be suicide. If barry or Lampard play in Euro 2012 then prepare yrselves for another hiding from the likes of Germany, france or Holland.

  • Comment number 14.

    Add Young to the me post, forgot to add him..

  • Comment number 15.

    Hey curb_your_enthusiasm, wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?

    I don't expect us to win Euro 2012 at all, who would to be honest. But at least a newer generation of kids won't have the experience of failing at major tournaments before, so they will be more up for it come next summer. I'm optimistic we'll put up more of a fight next year and have some more pace in the squad.

    I agree though, why on earth is Micah Richards being ignored? Regular right back at a team top of the EPL, and had an absolute belter against Man United. Him n Kyle Walker should be the first choices, still not convinced by Glen Johnson.

  • Comment number 16.

    didnt catch the game yday but like most i hope capello sticks with the young lot during euro 2012 walker, jones, smalling,rodwell etc and doesnt revert back to the likes of johnson,ferdinand,lampard as safe picks

    for the person who "gave up" during the last wc, i guess you would be still waving your england flag if those spoilt brats had won the tournement eh. When will people like you learn its the english media who hype people like you up thinking we have a geniune chance to win a major tournement then turn on the team when they get knocked out, every interview given by a england played at the last wc never showed them shifting the blame they all admitted they werent good enough

  • Comment number 17.

    I went to the game last night and was impressed at Terry Jones and Walcott but the rest were still happy passing the ball sideways and hoping to not get caught out. Downing and Zamora were pretty poor (as was Sturridge but granted didn't have much time) and I think should have no chance if Young, Walcott, Johnson, Welbeck, Rooney, Bent are all fit. I really don't rate Glen Johnson and Lescott but they were excellent against Spain so finding the right mix at the back should be interesting.
    Can't complain too much though, beating Spain and keeping two clean sheets!
    Still hard to remain positive though, considering our usual form in competitions!

  • Comment number 18.

    Interesting read, Phil. Have a look at our take on the England situation here

  • Comment number 19.

    "Zamora needs to concentrate on his club, truely one of the worst players in an England shirt (has he even scored for England yet lol)"

    Rubbish comment. Zamora's had like... 2 caps? Hasn't even played 90 minutes. He held up the ball yesterday pretty well and certainly had more impact on the game than either Sturridge or Bent did. I know it's only one game but writing him off that quickly is ridiculous. You must hate Fulham or something otherwise you wouldn't post such nonsense.

  • Comment number 20.

    Reccy big bra..

    Zamora worse than Heskey? i think not, and give him a chance, no goal in what 2 games? wow terrible stats!! lol i do think Welbeck and Sturridge up front together could prove interesting ..

  • Comment number 21.

    I watched zero seconds of both matches but that’s enough for me to know the woefulness of England’s play. I didn’t fancy listening to commentators eulogising when England managed to string more than two passes together or control the ball in less than 3 touches.

  • Comment number 22.

    No. 5 curb your enthusiasm

    Eurgh you nasty small person! Why would you hope someone gets kicked in the teeth? You have anger issues pal.

  • Comment number 23.

    Good couple of results for England but ultimately in games where results aren't that important.

    We defended well against an uncharacteristically sloppy Spain attack on Saturday and spread the ball for the first 60 minutes last night - I can't recall a half where England have got it wide so often and got so many crosses in.

    The last half hour was typical England though - a seeming inability to pass the football and keep the ball for any length of time. This is something that we can't seem to erradicate from our game and makes me feel that we won't get out of our group at the Euro 2012.

  • Comment number 24.

    At 09:58 16th Nov 2011, tee222111 wrote:

    Reccy big bra..

    Zamora worse than Heskey? i think not, and give him a chance, no goal in what 2 games? wow terrible stats!! lol i do think Welbeck and Sturridge up front together could prove interesting ..

    Whats his "form" been liek compared to Welbecks, Bents, Sturridges? and How old is he now? 30?? Super young and on fire form for club...

  • Comment number 25.

    The one thing that has stood out to me over these two games is the lack of atacking depth we seem to have. Defensively we have looked quite solid, which is good, but we dont seem to support the front man enough. This was understandable against Spain as the tactice dictated a defensive approach. But against Sweden there were still occasions, especially in the second half, where Zamora/Bent looked isolated up top. This was even more evident when Walcott was taken off.

    And why does Gareth Barry get anywhere near the squad? Slow, poor touch, erratic passing... Lets just hope Gerrard, Parker and Wilshere stay fit, at least then Barry can book a nice holiday next summer.

    My Squad...

    GK: Hart, Foster, Robinson (If they could persuade him)

    DEF: Walker, Richards, Terry, Cahill, Lescott, Jags, Cole, Baines

    MID: Parker, Jones, Wilshere, Gerrard, Young, Walcott, Milner, Lampard

    ST: Rooney, Bent, Sturridge, Zamora

    Hart; Richards, Terry, Lescott, Cole; Parker, Wilshere; Walcott, Gerrard, Young; Bent

  • Comment number 26.

    @25 no place for wellbeck? Would deffo have him in ahead on zamora! personally I think our future front 3 should be sturridge wellbeck and rooney. All of them can switch positions with ease and help out defensively when needed with pace to burn on the break. The future I tell you!

  • Comment number 27.

    Downing was MOTM.

    Zamora is not good enough, I'd much rather see Capello give the opportunity to Sturridge, Welbeck or Carroll.

    Not sure about playing Jones in midfield either - seems to be forcing him into the side for the sake of it.

    Great perfomance however - professional and organised. Nice :o)

  • Comment number 28.

    Let's be honest and add some realism here,

    a) There's a long season to go before euro 2012
    b) What is the risk Capello goes with tried and tested team he uses and snubs the youngsters?
    c) Spain were uncharacteristically poor and can't be taking these friendlies too seriously if they draw with costa rica.

    Anyone catch any of the other results, namely Germany 3 - 0 Netherlands? Italy could be dark horses for the tournament, going along quietly.

  • Comment number 29.

    Anyone who genuinely thinks Cahill should play for England should take a good hard look at the PL table. Where are Bolton and how many have they conceded?
    He should not be anywhere near an England set up.
    My back 4 would be :
    RB: Richards(sub Walker)
    CB: Jagielka(sub Smalling)
    CB: Jones(sub Lescott)
    LB:A.Cole (sub Baines)
    My MF:
    A. Young

    Strikers are the problem. We have goalscorers from the PL but they are not international class other than Rooney (and remember Rooney has only performed well once in 3 tournaments-Euro 2004). You could go with Walcott and Rooney or Rooney and Zamora but nothing excites or scares with those combos do they?

  • Comment number 30.

    Decent performance but encouraging from the newer players coming into the squad. I think Zamora did his chances no harm as he's showed he's much better than the choices ahead of him at holding up the ball and linking in. It's always good to have different options.

    Also encouraged that players like Rodwell, Jones, Smalling (although not here obviously) are comfortable in multiple positions. We all know Jones is going to be a central defender but he doesn't look out of place at either right back or midfield.

  • Comment number 31.

    @27 Jones will make the squad becasue of his versatility. Got a player there who can cover 3 positions. Flexibility the future!! Also why Carroll wouldnt make squad for me too.

  • Comment number 32.


    yeah i know his form isnt amazing, Bent hasnt exactly been on fire either, and 30 isnt that old, you not a fan or Parker then as he's too old?
    anyway i aint saying Zamora is amazing or anything, just harsh to slate him after 2 games thats all, keep your bra on :P

  • Comment number 33.

    My lasat post-29...of course I forgot Parker! So its Parker with Wishire as sub.

  • Comment number 34.

    @26... think welback and sturridge are too similar tbh. with young, walcott, sturridge, milner theres more than enough wide players (wouldnt imagine welbeck would play wide in a front 3). I think Zamora provides another option if your struggling in a game ( i know we all hate long ball but if were behind wi 20 to go...).

    Its actually really difficult to choose 23 i think now... couldnt find room for smalling, downing, cleverly, rodwell

  • Comment number 35.

    corect 34... sould have said welbeck WOULD play wider in a front 3

  • Comment number 36.

    At 10:11 16th Nov 2011, tee222111 wrote:


    yeah i know his form isnt amazing, Bent hasnt exactly been on fire either, and 30 isnt that old, you not a fan or Parker then as he's too old?
    anyway i aint saying Zamora is amazing or anything, just harsh to slate him after 2 games thats all, keep your bra on :P

    Parker is old i admit, but he's been outstanding at both club and international level.

    Zamora hasn't been on fire since ever.. We have Bent, Rooney, Carroll, Welbeck, Sturridge - All these are "younger" and better than Zamora..

  • Comment number 37.

    @ 29... jones played for blackburn last season and they were shocking, does that mean he was rubbish? get a grip pal cahill is a good cb put him at man u n he'd look class

  • Comment number 38.

    @34 he played there this season for united and for sunderland last season. think with him and sturridge out wide and rooney centre you got a front three who would scare life out of defenders with their pace and desire to get in the box and have a go. it's all about inter changing and movement these days and I like look of them 3 together. Also when under cosh they all know how to get back and defend. Plenty of energy. Caroll zamora and co useless helping out at the back or in midfield. See caroll wide right against spurs this season for details.....

  • Comment number 39.


    yes i do agree actually, but as said previously Zamora does provide another option that only Carroll really does out of the other strikers, do u agree with that? i think one of those 2 should go, which tho .. i dunno, Carroll has to step his game up i think

  • Comment number 40.

    Another drab, dull performance last night, but guess what - 2 wins from 2 against the best team in the world and a bogie team who beat Holland not long ago.

    As much as I cant stand it, dull patient football is the way to win matches and therefore tournaments. Look at Spains performances at the WC - hardly invigorating - 1-0's all the way. This is where international football has gone, and as much as I was proud of how England attacked Germany at the WC - it was actually our best performance for many years, it showed how easily you can get caught out on the counter attack at International level.

    It'll get criticism, I dont like it, but this new style England, may actually have a hope of winning these Euro's?!

  • Comment number 41.

    Brazil beckons and reality sets in, our back four will have less than 100 caps between them. Scott Parker, Lampard, Terry and Cole will be spent forces by then. It's Brazil, South America, Argentina will fancy their chances, Germany will have a squad that is ready and a favourite to make the semis. Brazil in their home country and then we have Spain in a Latin country, home from home. If Joe Hart gets injured the replacement keeper will have how many caps ? Our forwards and midfield will have how many caps ? The new England manager will have how many games to get some continuity and the new England manager will have very little experience of international tournament football. Capellos SHORT TERM political choices and the extremely late appointment of a new England manager spell nothing but failure come the most competetive world cup finals ever in Brazil !

  • Comment number 42.

    @38 i know what your saying pal, its just difficult to fit everybody in and cover all angles, and i think going th euros with no plan B at all would be foolish. if only you could take a squad of 30 lol

  • Comment number 43.

    I think I owe everyone a thank you lol. Last night I made myself look a bit of an idiot. My exact words last night were "I'm looking forward to the match tomorrow". In my experience when someone says something like that on a blog you usually get a slating, and that didn't happen.

    As for the game, I was pretty impressed although I would like to have seen one more of the England chances to have gone in, especially that header from Rodwell. Phil Jones looks like "the next big thing" of English football, Kyle Walker is coming on strong and the management are at least considering alternative options in areas of the park that have previously been dominated by the "Golden Generation", even when they didn't perform.

    I'm don't think I'm getting over excited when I say that if Mr. Cappelo takes the youngsters to Euro next year and plays them, it's an exciting time for England. We won't win, but it will be their best performance at an international tournament since 2002. If Mr. Cappelo goes with the old guard for one last hurrah, I think I'll support Ireland (as is my right IMO, my mums family are from there originally).

  • Comment number 44.

    No mention of Downing Phil?

    Disappointed with that - he was at the heart of our offence and did sterling work in covering the defence.

  • Comment number 45.

    @ 41 Glad to see someone else with realism and untainted by the faint optimism the past two games have provided.
    What strikes me is the poor keepers that england have at the moment, bar hart, green is playing championship football, robinson retired, foster (ok shot stopper, poor with ball at feet etc), carson (playing in turkey so doubt capello watches him, and always risks a potential blunder). Looking at U21s it's even more scary. Ben Amos is arguably utd's 3rd choice only because Kuczack is on his way out.
    Though in terms of the youngsters, it may be a blessing they are inexperienced. They may play with more confidence, rather than fear and the weight and expectation the golden generation had.

  • Comment number 46.

    The only ones of the old guard to go should be Lampard and Ashley Cole.
    The rest leave them behind, Gerrard, Rooney, they come with too much baggage, these new players have a freshness and esprit de corps, the others are way too far up their own backsides, this is the future, have the cahonas to go with it.

  • Comment number 47.

    i dont see what capello sees in theo walcott. for me he is not good enough. he has had one good game for england. he needs to get down to white hart lane and watch aaron lennon. also dont understand how Adam Johnson does not get a go.

    my team for the euros;

    gk; hart
    rb; walker
    cb; dawson
    cb; lescott
    lb; A. cole
    rm; lennon
    dm; parker
    lm; milner
    am; wilshere
    cf; rooney (obviously after ban)

    on the bench; carson; jones; smalling; terry; baines; a. johnson; a young; barry/lampard; a. carroll; sturridge; defoe;

  • Comment number 48.

    @42 I know what you mean but I prefer a different plan b to the hit and hope to the big lump up front. The dutch, spanish and germans dont ever resort to that option ( i dont think) so we should look at a different plan b in my opinion if things are not working. Dont know what that should be like!? But lets ditch the hit and hope method once and for all.

  • Comment number 49.


  • Comment number 50.

    Where's Soul Patch? I always love reading the bites he gets from so many posters in here.

  • Comment number 51.

    At 10:19 16th Nov 2011, tee222111 wrote:


    yes i do agree actually, but as said previously Zamora does provide another option that only Carroll really does out of the other strikers, do u agree with that? i think one of those 2 should go, which tho .. i dunno, Carroll has to step his game up i think

    Im just saying there are a good few better options than Zamora, even "holding" up the ball as you put it.

    At 10:20 16th Nov 2011, goonergetit wrote:

    I would be hoping that Capello manages to convince Robo to come out of retirement and be No 1, Green, Stockdale, Carson are very lacklustered, at least Robo has experiance at this level and is the next best England keeper down from Hart.

  • Comment number 52.

    Whatever Barry had to offer, Rodwell has about 10x more. I hope Capello realises this before he leaves a promising prospect behind, who could flourish on the intentional stage like Rooney when he was 18 and at the Euros.

    I'd still take some wise heads. Though it loathes me to admit this, no doubt Lampard will be on the plane over to Poland/Ukraine even though I'm of the opinion Cleverly should be given an opportunity. I think Gerrard still has something to offer and can provide a sense of assurance in times of disarray or inevitable self-implosion.

  • Comment number 53.

    Unfortunately i still get the feeling that Crapello will revert back to the team he knows best and thats
    picking gerrard, lampard, barry and milner in the same team....

  • Comment number 54.

    Why has Adam Johnson fallen off the radar? So much better on the right than walcott! Surely would have been worth giving him a runout yesterday? Walcott has had ONE good game for england against croatia. Terry is too slow against the better teams now. Richards has to get in the team, the guy is a beast!

    My team:


    Richards, Jagielka, Lescott, Cole

    A Johnson, Parker, Wilshere, Cleverly, Young


    Subs: Walker, Baines, Terry, L King (if he's fit), Gerrard, A Lennon, Rooney (to come into side after suspension - as a sub if welbeck is doing well)

    Centre backs will need a few more games to prove it wasn't a one off, but Jagielka and Lescott have always been solid together since their Everton days. No more mistakes like playing Upson against Germany!!

    Parker winning the ball and two great techinical midfielders in wilshere and cleverly - hopefully they can both get fit and have a decent run. Same with Welbeck, he has frightening pace as we saw against spain. Bent is a good finisher, but all huff and puff.

  • Comment number 55.

    We won,

    well done boys.

    I actually think your naffness is quite endearing. The majority of English supporters support domestic clubs whose players dont earn what Terry, Lamps, Stevie G, and Wazza earn. And week in week out we watch good pro's playing for Everton, Crystal Palace, Bristol City etc.

    Those select players players (the ones I named), at the top end of the English games, are miles away from the players most of us suppoert on a Saturday.

    They may be limited, but at least they are trying their best, as a supporter thats all we can really ask for.

  • Comment number 56.

    Re 54:

    I don't think Capello much likes City... Micah Richards has been in form this season. Admittedly is a little injury prone but seems to have gotten over the worst of it.

    Agree with the inclusion of Johnson though.

  • Comment number 57.

    Brazil beckons and we play Zamora against who ? In a friendly ! instead of a youngster that requires experience ! How brave are we ? Rooney behaves like a spoilt brat and instead of saying "you're on probation" or "your selection depends on your future behaviour" we send the worst possible message to our youth, and we have pundits condoning his behaviour. I sincerely hope the appeal fails and the ban gets extended because that will be a true deserved justice. We have an England captain that is now the laughing stock of international football and we all continue to suffer the Ostrich syndrome with our heads stuck firmly in the sand, it's completely laughable !

  • Comment number 58.

    Winning friendlies is irrelevant, blooding youngsters is not.

    I have said before the only way England will improve is, first places are earned on performance not reputation, second thinking must be long term.

    Who seriously believes in "competition" football terms, England can win in 2012 ?

    If we cant win in Europe, forget Brazil, but lets look at Euro 2016 ? held in France.

    That is a realistic target of doing well but it means not getting too carried away with good results and not chucking the baby out with the bathwater when results go pear shaped,for the journey as one advert puts it.

    Problem in this country we only do short term fixes, thats why we are in a B!!!!!!!y mess both economically and as a sporting nation. Look at Spain who were worse underachievers than us, did their improvement come overnight ?

    Changing that thinking is first priority

  • Comment number 59.

    Well it was not a classic, I thought the first half was refreshing.

    Second half was a bit more dogged, but when you come to major championship games you will have to dog the result out at some point and England showed in the last two games they can do it.

    It is also nice to see that today looks liek it will be an actual football doscussion page without needless idiots trying to spoil the conversation.

    Right back position - Is Kyle Walker now going to be the man with the number 2 for the long haul?

    Phil Jones - Is he a serious threat to the position of Gerrard/Wilshere based on the two wins over the past week?

    Gareth Barry - With Parker and Jones looking like the first choice pareing if Wilshere is not fit, what does this mean to Barry's England career. If Gerrard and Wilshere are both fit does he go to the Euro's?

  • Comment number 60.

    side note... zlatan ibrahimovic didnt look all that last night did he? was having a good chuckle about that whilst watching the match, then decided to have a look at his goalscoring record... my god his record is good! i mean really good! i know hes only played in poor leagues like spain (wait for it...) but hes done it everywhere hes been

  • Comment number 61.

    @59... lets hope your right about barry, hes terrible

  • Comment number 62.


    Surely England cannot justify including Johnson on the team when he cannot get enough game time at Man City.

    We have Downing who plays week in week out for Liverpool surely he will get the nod over Johnson?

    And in regards to Richards, maybe the boy is a beast as you put it. But Walker done very well last night he deserves his chance we have to now stick with him. But I would deffinately take Richards ahead of G Johnson who I think is a poor Right Back at best.

    And as a United fan I can tell you this, Cleverley has all the potential in the world. But he is not in Gerrard's league. Gerrard starts if fit. Midfield will be Parker Wilshere Gerrard. And Welbeck before Rooney??? If Rooney is fit and when he is back from suspension the lad starts. Why??? because he is by far the best England player we have!!!!

  • Comment number 63.

    How's this for an English future? 4-3-3, all 26 or under.


    Subs could include Micah Richards (defense), James Milner (midfield) and Welbeck (attack). And this team can keep playing until the worlds in 2018 - unless some new youngsters come along to have their say.

  • Comment number 64.

    Looking at the 2 performances together, as an England fan, overall i am filled with optimism. Yes they were low key "friendlies" but if one takes into account the number of young debutants and the missing players that i feel would start if fit or not banned (Gerrard, Rooney, Wilshire, Young) then Euro 2012 can be approached with cautious anticipation.
    My starting 11 would be :- (4-3-3) Hart, Walker, Terry (c), Jones, Cole, Parker, Wilshire, Gerrard, Walcott, Young, Welbeck (Rooney when able).

    Do i predict England will win Euro 2012?
    Having just seen the pots, with France and Ireland in pot 4 !!, I think this tournament will be a real crap shoot with any team (with the probable exception of the 2 hosts) in with a chance. My heart goes with England, my head says Germany.

  • Comment number 65.

    #8 Cougarforest2
    More like this chap?
    People have to stop leaving Ledley King out as he will walk into the team in July 2012. Capello is a massive fan of King and will select him.
    #50 mr chelsea
    "Where's soul patch?"
    That's him #5 (curb your enthusiasm) you won't come across a weaker minded individual than soul patch and his aliases in your life.

  • Comment number 66.

    62: Regarding Johnson and Downing I think it depends on the team Capello selects. I don't think either are going to be in the first team and although I think Downing is the better player I think Johnson has more impact coming from the bench.

    I really don't know why Richards isn't picked especially as he can fill in at centre back as well.

  • Comment number 67.

    So, how many 'pub standard', 'trundlers', and 'classless' comments have we amassed for thsi blog?

  • Comment number 68.

    i dont understand the abuse that zamora is getting on here, he is brilliant at holding the ball up and allowing players to run into space hes not there to score thousands of goals hes there cause he creates chances for others.

  • Comment number 69.

    @#59, I think Jones is being positioned as a squad player. He'd be an excellent cover for the central defense, where he's been excellent for United; and he's surely done enough in two wins (including Spain!) to be trusted as back-up in the midfield, as well.

    He won't supplant Gerrard/Wilshere/Parker when he doesn't even play in midfield regularly for his club. But he'll give Capello the freedom to take an extra striker or winger.

  • Comment number 70.

    Two decent performances from England, but I can't help thinking picking Zamora is almost pointless. Nothing against him as a player or person, but at his age and abilty he shouldn't be in the squad, friendly or not.

    In the Euros or World Cup are we really gonig to call on a 30+ yo Bobby Zamora, over the other attaching options we have? No. If it's deemed necessary to have a big target man, someone to hold the ball up or flick it on, then pick Carroll. I'm not saying Carroll is amazing, but he's at least as good as Zamora and 10 years younger.

    For me, any player in this team that's over 30 needs to be a) solid, with plenty of international experience and previously world class e.g. Cole or Terry, or b) playing some of the best football of their life, eclipsing most others in their position e.g. Parker. We haven't got room for someone who's ok, but not really better than any of the younger options.

    Also, it's clear to everyone that Jones is a CB (and future captain candidate), so he needs to play there. Playing him in midfield should be a last resort, when we have no other option, otherwise we're robbing him of experience at CB that will be useful when he's older.

  • Comment number 71.

    #50 mr chelsea
    "Where's soul patch?"
    That's him #5 (curb your enthusiasm) you won't come across a weaker minded individual than soul patch and his aliases in your life.

    good spot, you are on to him as well.

    Jones has to go, Johnson shouldnt be near the team. Downing had a good game finally (still not convinced though)

  • Comment number 72.

    A lot of negativity considering the results, posts 4, 5 and a few others obviously just got out on the wrong side of bed this morning.

    We should have scored more last night but rather than get excited and try to force the goals in we held our composure and didn't give them many chances (save for the volley at the final whistle!)

    The Spain result wasn't as good as it looked maybe, but you can't be upset with beating the world champions however ugly the win.

    As always we look like a very decent team, because we are. Not perfect by any stretch but top 10 in the world if not pushing for top 5 when we play well, and with the all the young players coming through have real depth... a side effect of having such a high profile home league that finally looks as if it is paying off.

    I expect we'll choke and go out in the group stages but that's down to fatigue and media pressure, both also side effects of having such a high profile home league.

    The quality is there and Capello, whether you like himor not, can guide a team to victory in major competitions... but football just isn't that easy is it?

    A few years back Spain were in exactly the same situation as us, massive quality that didn't turn up for the tournaments... they got it together and became the best team in the world

    Sadly, I can't see us pulling this off but as long as we go into these competitions with a good chance then thats all you can ask for... so back to discussing the team:

    Who else thinks Leighton Baines (ridiculous free kick aside, we know he is good at those normally) offers a much greater attacking threat than Cole on the left?

  • Comment number 73.

    uptheboro1984: I agree with your point about Phil Jones, he needs to play more at centre back if that is his main position. Having said that, I do believe that a truly class player has to be able to play in 2 or 3 positions, and Jones can do that better than any other English player at the moment. I do think that his time will come at England CB after the sumer.

    I'm actually a bigger fan of Leighton Baines than Ashley Cole. I do beleive that he is a "top 4 club" LB and should play more for England. Ashley Cole is a hell of a player, no doubt about it, but if we have to look to the future then we have to at least consider Baines as well. Cole is 30 now so he won't be able to play as often and recovering from injury will take a bit longer and has a higher chance of taking it's toll.

  • Comment number 74.

    Did someone just suggest Hargreaves?! Deary me. Even when he was still at Utd and I was hoping he'd return for us at some point, I would never have floated the idea of him going to Euro 2012. You know he's injured again at City? I doubt he'll play a single minute in the PL again.

    Someone also mentioned Downing's ever-presence in the Liverpool midfield as a basis for his inclusion over Adam Johnson. The flipside of that is that, even with all that playing time, he has yet to register a single goal or assist for his new club. Compare that with Johnson, who seems to notch a goal or assist whenever he plays.

    One underlying irony that hasn't been pointed out is that, although we've seen lots of younger players tried out, and many have impressed, our two goalscorers in the victories were Lampard and (sort of) Barry, who for many typify the 'old guard' of slow, ineffective players.

  • Comment number 75.

    My Squad for 2012 would be:

    Hart, Carson, Butland
    Richards, Walker, Smalling, Jones, Terry, Lescott, Cole
    Parker, Wilshere, Gerrard, Cleverly, Milner, Young, Johnson, Walcott
    Rooney, Bent, Welbeck, Sturridge, Zamora

    Due to our abysmal goalkeeping options we may aswell take a youngster as our third choice to gain experience. Hart is obvious No.1 and can't see anyone budging him for years to come.

    In Defence the flexibility of Jones, Smalling and Lescott allows us to just take 7 defenders with Lescott able to cover at LB should Ashley Cole get injured.

    8 Midfielders, most with good flexibility allows movement. Milner is included as he can play absolutely anywhere in the midfield and will put a good shift in. For me Adam Johnson gets the nod ahead of Downing, much more exciting/unpredictable/dangerous!!

    Rooney goes without a question!!! He is our ONLY world class striker and could be the difference if we get to the Q/F and onwards. It is because of his absence in the group stages that we need to take 5 strikers. Bent is established now, whilst Sturridge and Welbeck look better with every passing week. Zamora gets the nod over Carroll for target man unless Carroll's form considerably improves. Defoe maybe hard done by but Sturridge and Welbeck are for the future.

    Ideal first XI would be :

    Richards Jones Terry Cole
    Gerrard Wilshere
    Walcott Young
    Bent/Rooney(When Back)

  • Comment number 76.

    When Germany had a poor tournament they went back and started from the ground up, even as far as to sacrifice a Euro or WC, now they have a fantastic young squad. England need to do this, sacrifice the Euros and play only players who will be in the squad in 2014 allowing time for the team to gain experience at that level and playing together

    The players who won't make it to 2014 are no use to the England squad in their continued chances, having, for the most, wasted the chances they've been given

    But none of this will happen because Capello knows he's out after 2012 so has no reason to do any of this

  • Comment number 77.

    Nice to see a healthy debate rather than trading insults with "Soul_Patch" for once...!

    Didn't see any of the matches this week so can't comment but a few questions...

    1) What is this constant thought that Andy Carroll is our only "Plan B". He is so overrated, it's not funny. There is no place in International Football for a battering ram centre forward anymore. I'd say Plan A & B would be Rooney dropping off and Wilshere / Gerrard running beyond him and a Plan B would be using the wide men wide rather than them cutting in as is the fashion these days.

    2) What now for Gerrard and Rio? Even as members of the Golden Generation, they were the class acts in an overhyped, underachieving team. I personally feel they can be replaced. Wilshere for Gerrard and Smalling for Rio.

    I feel International football is now all about tentative football and then playing on the counter attack. Possession is gold.

    In that respect if fully fit, I think our team should be the following:

    Hart (no brainer)

    Walker / Richards: Great going forward and good recovery ability as well. My only worry is positioning.
    Cole: as above but better.
    Terry: as much as I hate to say it, he's a marshall and leads the team well. Needs protection though.
    Jones / Smalling: much more ability and composure than Cahill. Seems a bit unfair on Lescott & Jagielka, but will they be around in 2014?

    Parker: great at putting out the fires. Will give the CBs the protection they need.
    Wilshere: box - to - box. Ideal replacement for Gerrard. Great creativity too. Maybe needs to start scoring more goals?

    Young / Gerrard: Gerrard is old now. Maybe he's the answer to "in-the-hole" Zidane role now his legs have gone. Young can do the job too.
    Downing: Great delivery. He's a regular for his club, A Johnson isn't.
    Young / Walcott / Lennon: Not too keen on Walcott. Maybe Plan B would be Walcott up top with Rooney "in-the-hole"

    Rooney / Welbeck: Bent is ok but can't see past Rooney. Welbeck's work rate and ability to work the channel's makes him better than Bent IMO. Needs to work on finishing.

    Feel the Euros have come too soon for Sturridge and Rodwell and guess only time will tell...

    All thoughts welcome :-)

  • Comment number 78.

    Even after some promising individual performaces and good club form can't help thinking Capello will fall into same trap as Eriksson and Mclaren and pick the names and not the form for Euro2012.



  • Comment number 79.

    Micah Richards, Smalling and Jones are excellent players but none of them are really right backs, International footbal is difficult enough without asking players to play in a position that is not their best/natural postion. The above mentioned all have the size and pace to be outstanding Centre Halfs but do not get the oppotunities at their clubs that often to play there, their times will come.

    Competion for places is hotting up and if we can get Gerrard, Wiltshire, & Young back and Rooneys ban reduced then we could suprise a few people, looking forward to the draw. I would say that once the oldies are dispenced with after Euro 2012 there will be a fresh and vibrant look to the sqaud

    The squad will include : Hart, Walker, Gibbs, Richards, Smalling, Cahill, Young, Jones, Rodwell, Wiltshire, Henderson, Carroll, Rooney, Welbeck, Sturridge, Lennon, Walcott, Oxlade Chamberlain Adam Johnson

    Needs a couple of GK`s and centre midfielders and it is good to go

  • Comment number 80.

    Do not get carried away with these results, before you know where we are the media will be hyping it up telling us all that England can beat the world. Yes Capello should bring in young players and stick with them if they play well, but I am afraid they just do not have the skill to hold the ball and pass it to feet.
    England were very lucky against Spain, a team which finds it very difficult to lift themselves for friendly games but just watch them go when it matters, in competitions. As for Sweden well not a lot to be said really is there ? Could only manage 1 own goal which I think under Capello is our 4th highest scorer.
    When England are World and European champions then we can sing and dance about it but until then they should keep their heads down not talk about how good they are and what they can do and get on with learning how to play the game, sadly I feel that we are being left behind in the skill stakes.

  • Comment number 81.

    Anyone who genuinely thinks Cahill should play for England should take a good hard look at the PL table. Where are Bolton and how many have they conceded?


    Funnily, you think this, but still think Gerrard deserves to be in the squad, after playing only 5 games this season? Liverpool fan I guess?

  • Comment number 82.

    Nice to see a healthy debate rather than trading insults with "Soul_Patch" for once...!

    well thats because hes not here....or is he?

  • Comment number 83.

    Getting carried away seems to be an English pastime. On the plus side one or two (no more than that) younger players have demonstrated that they MIGHT make international footballers. The older players,who Fabio will certainly return to next summer,are not good enough,they have demonstrated as much time and again.Spain outplayed us,Sweden were not so very far behind us and neither cared two hoots about the results.The Spaniards were going through the motions and the Swedes were experimenting with possible alternatives for Ibrahimovic and Mellberg being given a chance in the second half.Its far from all doom and gloom,we have a decent crop of kids pushing for places and behind them another decent crop in the U-21s. However,in the here and now England continue to suffer from paying too much attention to what a player has done and not enough on what he may be able to do.
    PS.Foster has stated time and again he has no interest in playing second fiddle to Hart so squad guessers need to find a third keeper Im afraid.

  • Comment number 84.

    82.At 11:10 16th Nov 2011, The_Hacienda FAC51 wrote:
    Nice to see a healthy debate rather than trading insults with "Soul_Patch" for once...!

    well thats because hes not here....or is he?

    Just goes to show we shouldn't waste our time then...! Although I won't deny finding some humour in it all!

  • Comment number 85.


    In terms of CM's: Josh Mceachran & Cleverley

  • Comment number 86.

    Re 78

    I reallly do hope that we do not go for that team - Lampard is past it Internationally and Terry got totally exposed in South Aftrica and he aint geting any quicker. As I am sorry to say is Rio, who I have always liked, and Barry who I havent, Parker has taken over and surpassed him as the ball winner for sure.

    So my XI to start the Tournament will be

    Hart -
    Terry - Although I would prefer Jones


    Welbeck? (until Rooney is availaible)

  • Comment number 87.

    Nice blog Phil.

    You don't support Everton by any chance do you?

  • Comment number 88.

    England are a second rate football team & that is a fact of life

    If England met Spain in a competition they would lose 5-0. If they meet Brazil, Germany, Holland, Brazil, & Argentina it would be the same score.

    If you think England will win the Euros or world cup you a simply dillusional.

  • Comment number 89.

    Right - plenty of you have had a go at this exercise already so I'm going to take a back seat now.

    Let me have A) Your England squad for Euro 2012 B) Your team for England's first match (without Rooney of course) and then c) The England team you would pick if/when Rooney is available in Poland and Ukraine.

    The ground rule today is that we can imagine every England player Capello may consider is fit and available - so you've got a pretty free hand there.

    And of course, let me hear any other thoughts on Capello and England. The floor is yours.

  • Comment number 90.

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

  • Comment number 91.

    We need to get past the phase of continuing to use mediocre players. the downings, bent ,lescotts need to be dropped and never come back.

    EURO 2012 team.




    Rooney/welbeck for group stage

    with a bench of Green,richards,jones,rodwell,johnson,milner,walcott.

  • Comment number 92.

    90. At 11:16 16th Nov 2011, You wrote:

    That should read:

    Sweden would have got the equaliser they so richly deserved, if Wernbloom hadn't have been *incorrectly* flagged off side.

  • Comment number 93.

    65. At 10:50 16th Nov 2011, kane wrote:

    That's him #5 (curb your enthusiasm) you won't come across a weaker minded individual than soul patch and his aliases in your life.

    Oh, behave yourself!

    From the last couple of sentences in his post, that poster is clearly stating that he's an England fan.

    I do not support England. In fact, there are 207 international teams who I would support ahead of them.

    To tell you the truth, I'd support a 1930s USSR team, hand picked by Stalin, rover supporting England.

  • Comment number 94.

    Before anyone starts...


  • Comment number 95.

    yep there it is, like clockwork.

    whats it like to lose and then barely draw against 2 pub sides?

  • Comment number 96.

    Encouraging to see several youngsters come through and stake more claims, and another win.

    However, the problem I have with this is that this should have been happening a long time ago - after the World Cup. Instead the old guard remained in for a period and now the youngsters are getting the chance. The problem with this is we've only got 1 more friendly before the squad is announced - perhaps it'll be a larger squad that is trimmed in the 2 subsequent friendlies - but it just seems that there's now too many players who are in contention for spots. Excluding the goalkeepers - of which Capello seems to have alienated Robinson, Foster and Green leaving us with a guy playing in Turkey and another in the championship - there must be at least 35 players in contention. We don't seem near having the squad in place or the starting team. Does anyone seriously expect that Gerrard, Wilshere and Ferdinand won't get in the squad if they're fit??

  • Comment number 97.


    Well done England, two games two wins.

    Don't they look promising?... and that's without the so-called England world-class stars???

    Though the finishing could have been better, I like the way they stroked the ball around, and for a moment I thought I was watching the Gooners at play.

    Theo Walcott I thought was on fire last night, but why haven't they tried him as a central striker. He's quick in movement and mind, and can take on defenders and beat them, before looking to "tuck it away" in the net. He's wasted on the wings, in my opinion. Aaron Lennon should be there in the right wing, paired with Theo who should replace Rooney as central striker.

    Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained !!

  • Comment number 98.

    England is unlikely to win Euro 2012 or the world cup, we're still a few years behind other countries. There are still improvements needed technically. However, that is not the point. The point is that it seems the new generation of players see playing for England as the highlight of their career and not selling their wedding photos to Hello magazine.

    This generation needs to prove it can compete with the best (which it is starting to show). Using the 2010 world Cup as a bench mark there is a definite improvement.

    What also hasn't been mentioned is that the U21 team at last is being used develop players for the full England team which is the reason to have it. Jones, Walker and Rodwell all played in the U21 european championship in the summer.

    England will probably bore everybody in the 2012 Euros but I don't care as long as they work hard and make life difficult for the countries who are technically better.

  • Comment number 99.

    #71 Hacienda
    "Good spot you're on to him as well."
    Yeah! So the Sizzling Swedes and Sensational Spanish both Simply Slain by a Single Strike. Smashing Stuff! :)
    "Jones has to go." Agreed
    "Jonson shouldn't be near the team." Glen? Agreed.
    "Downing finally had a good game." His chance has gone I think.
    I think Capello feels Micah Richards is uncomfortable on the ball and has (like most of Englands wing backs through the years) offered no goal threat of any kind and doesn't stand out as the greatest defender even after that. I think Ashley Young has all but solved the age old left wing problem and now the right wing stands out as a bigger problem when will someone man up to the task and make the position his own. Lennon, Walcott and Johnson, you'd think the competiton between them would see them improve much quicker than has been the case.
    #74 kanchelskis legend
    I'm with you on the Hargreaves thing but I would never give up on him till it's officially too late, obviously Parker would slot straight into that position but it still looks better on paper to me with Hargreaves there.
    Also, being a Man Utd fan, don't you have to look for the 'cloud' here rather than the 'silver lining'? ;)

  • Comment number 100.

    Just on the individuals last night:
    Walker did very well - he is much better than Johnson. I am still mystified as to why Richards isnt 1st choice though! (and that from a United fan!).
    Cahill did ok, his recovery pace is a big asset, but for me he is not a starter at CB. Neither is Terry. I am so fed up of seeing him over-commit and get caught 40 yards out of position!! Against better opponents we would have been punished for that. Baines defintiely tied up the back-up LB spot. He was good last night.
    Walcott is just not a winger, and never will be, although he was ok last night. To the poster who mentioned Lennon - a headless chicken who cant beat the first man with his crosses - useless!
    Jones did ok, but he isnt a midfielder, get him in at CB now. Rodwell, again steady, but should have scored. He'll need to take those to be a regular in that position with Parker, Lampard and Wilshere around. Barry - I'm not going to re-iterate what I say all the time. Not a top class CM and never will be.
    Downing - gets his own paragraph. very impressed with him recently. He seems to improve with every cap! I thought he was absolutely useless and shouldnt be anywhere near the England squad, but he is fast becoming our standout winger after Young. Him and Young starting and regularly swapping wings is a good prospect.
    Zamora did ok, but his touch was poor. I like him and am glad he got his chance to try and prove himself, but I'm afraid all he has proven is he would not get anywhere near any other International squad in the top 30.
    I wont comment on the subs as they didnt have long enough/or decent enough service to make an impression enough for fair judgement.


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