Hodgson roaring for Three Lions
OK, so there shouldn’t be any surprise that England despatched Moldova 5-0 on Friday night. It was the way they did that pleased me. They were ruthless in front of goal and, apart from a couple of occasions, were rock solid at the back.
I like the way manager Roy Hodgson has come in and mixed things up a bit. Yep, there have been injuries that have forced his hand somewhat. But I’m talking about Ton Cleverly in midfield. He showed maturity beyond his years and fitted into the midfield like he had been there for years.
I liked how Cleverly filled in when he had to sit back to allow Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard to venture forward and also how he knew when he could go forward to allow the two elder statesmen to have a breather. Leighton Baines came in and fitted in well while also chipping in with a rare goal. It’s a shame for Baines that he plays in the same position as Ashley Cole or otherwise he would have a lot more caps.
It was good to see that Hodgson went for the smaller figure up front in Jermain Defoe and that shows that maybe now the mentality of the national team is starting to follow the more succesful countries. England have always been known as a spirited team and there has never really been much question about that but, at times, their football has been of a previous dark-age era.
One of the key factors, in my opinion, is the fact the they have an English manager. I have always believed that the manager of the national team should be from that country, whether that’s England or Estonia. Maybe I’m old fashioned but, to know you have an English man in charge, would make me feel that he is here for the right reasons and not just the pound signs.
I’m not knocking Fabio Capello but I’m sure a lot of his team talks got lost in translation and players ended up not knowing what was expected of them. Win, lose or draw, he would hop on a plane and probably go and spend endless days in some other country until the next international get-together.
Then, when he was sacked, he basically did it himself and walked away with a handsome sum. I feel that he disrespected some of the nation’s top talent and, to a certain extent, took the piss out of the nation and FA. Hey, I maybe completely wrong, but that’s an opinion I have.
Look over the years when England had a team that did well in competitions, each time the manager was English. The World Cup-winner, the legendary Alf Ramsay, Terry Venables and the late, great Bobby Robson. These men breathed England and created a unity in a squad that no foreigner, I believe, can do.
People may chirp up and mention Steve McLaren. That’s a fair riposte but I think that job was thrust on him at a time of complete madness at the FA. I’m sure, given time, that Hodgson will make England successful. I feel that with the emergence of young promising talent like Cleverly, Jack Rodwell and Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain, to name a few, combined with the relatively young Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart, and the experience of the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Cole and Gerrard, there is no reason why England can’t qualify at a canter for the World Cup.
Regardless of what anyone says, experience is vital and, in the four players mentioned above, they have that in abundance and also are still playing at the highest level. This could just be the start of a bright future for the Three Lions. Only time will tell.