“Well Wayne, I know you’re giving sarcasm a go, but those ‘****ing loyal fans’ are, in fact, exactly that. You see, they’ve spent their life savings on coming to watch you fail, over the course of ninety minutes, to break into a jog, much less score a goal, against a team that, let’s be honest, most people didn’t think would know which way to kick the ball. Shut up, get some sleep in the five star presidential suite that you aren’t paying for and then on Wednesday, do your job.”
For some reason I suspect Fabio isn’t saying that but he has to come up with something to shock this lifeless England team into action. If England fail to beat Slovenia (and, over the course of Friday England seemed to be the worst team in the group) then they are most likely eliminated from the World Cup.
There are a multitude of problems that need to be addressed by the man who came into this job – and, let us not forget, victory after victory – with the attitude that name didn’t matter, form and ability did. However, here are some crucial problems.
Glenn Johnson. If you include Capello, Jose Mourinho (who apparently wants to sign him for Real) and his mum, at least three people must think he is really good at football. But if he doesn’t add anything going forward against Algeria, how is he going to cope defensively against, well, anyone?
Jamie Carragher. ‘Quitter’ should never have been allowed near the team, having turned his back on his country already when he felt like he wasn’t playing as much a slow defender in a team that wasn’t quite as good as, say, Terry’s Chelsea or Ferdinand’s Man Utd. Bringing him back now, that Liverpool are rubbish and he’s ever slower, then playing him next to Johnson physically hurts me. HOW IS JAGIELKA NOT IN THIS SQUAD? I’d have played him ahead of either of them. Sod it, I’d have played him in goal.
John Terry. Not as certain as he once was, he’s our only world-class defender. Despite that, I’m not sure how he’s supposed to inspire confidence in his team-mates who, presumably, are keeping one eyes on their WAGS and laughing at his exhortations to team camaraderie.
Steven Gerrard. For Liverpool he shoots like William Tell, for England like Dick Cheney. Ridiculous that he and Lampard “can’t” play together in central midfield and that he blames under-performing on having to move to the left or the right. You get paid a fortune to kick a ball around. If you can’t do it stood five metres across from where you usually do it, you aren’t earning your money.
Aaron Lennon. Yes, Beckham-haters, that’s why we wish he was there. Is supposed to bring pace and trickery and….hasn’t. Theo Walcott’s omission is as baffling as Jagielka’s. The man scored a hatrick in Capello’s biggest game! The only thing Lennon did three times were his laces.
Wayne Rooney. See above. He was awful. In a way I hope he had a niggle because if not then I don’t know what his excuse was. The only time he looked excited was to berate the fans.
Peter Crouch. I know, I know, it’s a running joke, but shouldn’t our big target man that we swing last-ditch crosses in to…shouldn’t he keep his eyes open before headers? Shouldn’t he be able to score goals against someone better than Uzbekhistan?
David James. Just keep him there. Despite JT and Quitter’s attempts to induce cardiac arrest in an entire nation at once with dreadful backpass after sliced clearance, he was solid. Because, like Robert Green, he makes occasionally calamitous mistakes. But, unlike Green, he’s a really, really good goalkeeper.
Ashley Cole. Thanks to Terry, not only does Cashley have no competition for his position, but he also appears to be enjoying not being England’s most hated defender.
Gareth Barry. **LUDICROUS OPTIMISM ALERT**He wasn’t great, but at least he’s there. If he sharpens up a little then maybe Lampard can start to attack a little bit. Let’s hope so.
Emile Heskey. Sure, he isn’t very good at football, but I think he knows it and he did what he was asked to do. Hilarious for “the name on the shirt doesn’t matter” Capello to take him off for Defoe, not Rooney.
Defore/SWR. At least they look interested.
Joe Cole. Didn’t play. Has to. Simple as that.
The formation has to be:
James – Johnson, Upson (I know, looking good so far, right?), Terry, Cole – Wright-Phillips, Barry, Lampard, J. Cole – Gerrard – Rooney.
If Wright-Phillips has a nightmare then Gerrard goes out wide, Defoe joins Rooney up front.
It should be James – Johnson (I guess, I’d prefer Gary Neville, frankly), Jagielka, Terry, Cole – Walcott, Barry, Lampard, Gerrard, J.Cole – Rooney.
But hey, once Steve McClaren watched ‘Face/Off’ and thought “I could do that” then that team was never going to happen.
Normally I’d suggest where to watch – The Red Lion perhaps – but me, I’ll be at home. Under the covers. Nervous. Worried. My team report on the USA will follow…and honestly, it’s an awful lot more optimistic…