England’s exhibition matches against Chile and Germany over the next week can either be a chance to further crystallise the perceived starting line-up, or an opportunity to blood the fringe p
England’s exhibition matches against Chile and Germany over the next week can either be a chance to further crystallise the perceived starting line-up, or an opportunity to blood the fringe players just to give them experience of what is required at international level.
Does Roy Hodgson play Joe Hart with the same defenders that he feels will most likely be his first 11 in the World Cup thus building on their present relationship? Or does he select Celtic’s Fraser Forster for his first cap to give him a taste of international football, and the expectations that go with it?
It’s good to see that Adam Lallana has finally been selected for a squad. He deserves his chance of a cap especially now Michael Carrick has withdrawn due to injury. I’m a little disappointed that West Ham United’s Mark Noble has not yet had an opportunity. The same has been said by yours truly about Kevin Nolan over the years, a man who is, at the time of typing, joint sixth in the all-time list for goals scored by midfielders in the Premiership, tied with David Beckham and Robert Pires.
Considering England’s record at major tournaments it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to pick players based on their penalty taking skills. One of those would be Noble. And why Hodgson didn’t bring on spot kick specialist Leighton Baines in the dying seconds against Italy in Euro 2012 for the sake of the country’s shoot-out hopes I don’t know; unconventional, perhaps?
So yes, new players should be tried and tested, particularly in the positions where Hodgson feels England have weak spots. It will be intriguing to see whether he will play what he thinks is his best 11, mix it up and throw just one, two or a few players in, or play an entirely different team.
Over to you, Roy.
What I liked most about Van Persie’s performance against Arsenal
It was refreshing to see a player celebrating a goal against his old club as Robin van Persie did for Manchester United against Arsenal on Sunday. It has become the norm not to do so as if it is a sign of disrespect. Whether it’s a player that has decided to leave, or has been let go against his wishes, it’s their current team that matters, and goals are there to be celebrated.
The image of players acting like they want the ground to swallow them up after scoring against their old ‘mates’ has become a tiresome one. As long as they don’t do an ‘Emmanuel Adebayor’ and run the length of the pitch to parade themselves in front of their former supporters (as Adebayor did for Manchester City against Arsenal) then it shouldn’t be a problem looking reasonably pleased.
I know every goal counts (unless one is still playing without the aid of goal line technology), but it was more understandable in Denis Law’s case when he scored a back heel for Manchester City against his former employers, Man United, as it effectively relegated City’s neighbours in 1974.
Surely they want to win. And so what if it’s they who have scored? A win’s a win for your team and a defeat’s a defeat for the opponent. It doesn’t matter who’s on the score sheet. If a player is not happy to know that they’ve contributed to putting one past their old club then they shouldn’t be playing.