Sunday, 27 May 2012
FOLLOWING LAST NIGHT'S ENGLAND GAME IN OSLO - I BELIEVE THIS REPORT BY MY GOOD FRIEND BARRIE HARDING SUMS THE SITUATION UP PRETTY WELL.
The most disappointing part of the game with Norway last night was the post match interview with Hodgson. Seems he has already had the obligatory operation to give him one-eyed vision with the rose-tint added as an extra. And who's the moron who thought the dark blue/light blue second strip would look nice....?
Listening to him I must have been watching a completely different game. He seemed to think our number 9 had a good game while I watched Carroll jumping aimlessly at high balls while not once directing a header towards one of our players.
Halfway through the first half the idiot commentator was almost purring with delight as our boys in (various shades of) blue stroked the ball back and forth, back and forth across the pitch - but going nowhere. This metronomic but otherwise pointless passing movement was only interrupted once Gerrard decided he wanted to test, yet again, how far he could kick a ball and how aimlessly. He succeeded in this several times. He then felt he needed to demonstrate to Hodgson - almost in front of him - how easy it is to injure an opponent. Now Gerrard is almost as bad as Scholes at tackling fairly; and last night, if any further proof was needed, he showed that yet again. Even though it was a "friendly" match he should have received a caution at best and, in anything other than a friendly, he'd have been sent off.
Downing: what a muppet! Andy Townsend, who must have had the same eye operation as Hodgson, said he had talent but lacked confidence. Well, he's been picked consistently for England recently as well as Liverpool so don't think it's a confidence issue. It's am over-estimation of talent issue.
Ashley Young - made the space well but, then again, playing against Hangeland - and I've seen milk turn faster, scuffed his shot and it bobbled, almost apologetically, into the corner of the net. Other than that, nothing!
"Phil Jones" muttered Townsend breathlessly "what an athlete"..... Yes, but pity he doesn't have any ball control to go with it.
And don't get me started on Milner. What's the point of playing him? Can someone please let me know as I'm baffled as to what his role is other than running up and down the wing and occasionally getting in the way of the ball.
Every time the ball went towards Rob Green I had to close my eyes. Towards the end of the match when we were under severe pressure - and remember we were playing NORWAY and still struggled to cope - I was behind the sofa whimpering with fear. Maybe the FA should provide Hodgson with a sofa to hide behind instead of those silly looking Recaro seats.....
The studio panel pretty much got it right. They tried to be polite - even Roy Keane - but must have thought to themselves "Bloody Hell, England are in deep shit if this is the best they can do against a third rate team"
It must have been bad, even Adrian Chiles noticed.
Seriously, I know that Hodgson has only had a few days with the players. They've had a full season, but then again, so have the Norwegian team. England have at least three separate teams of similar quality players to choose from, so it's specific team selection and tactics that will win games. Norway are a big team and in Hangeland they have one of the biggest. Hodgson was his manager at one time so he knows what he can do/not do. Selecting Carroll to play directly against him was the most obvious selection error. The only goal - pay attention at the back there Hodgson - was when Young turned Hangeland yet Hodgson kept Carroll on the pitch and England continued with the same unsuccessful tactic of hitting long balls forward. That, to me, is the most worrying sign of all. Hodgson was made manager - ahead of 'Arry - because he supposedly had international experience and superior tactical ability.
England need to get to the Euro semi's otherwise Hodgson will be under big pressure. And he doesn't seem to me to be a person who copes well with pressure. He seems a very decent sort of guy who can work well when not much is expected of him. In that case, taking the England job was as big a mistake for him as it would have been for 'Arry. Both, unfortunately, too old without the necessary international experience either as a player or a manager at club or country level. So, if Hodgson either falls on his sword or gets tripped up and someone obligingly shoves a sword under his falling body, then please, FA, look for a manager who has the right blend of youth and international experience. You missed the opportunity last time by being led around by the nose by the media reflections of public opinion - and still managed to alienate that opinion by choosing someone else.
What a farce