England were an embarrassment and Roy only has a week to fix it
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on June 3, 2016
Tedious, lackluster, unimaginative, predictable. All words that can be used to describe England’s ‘win’ against Portugal. The result was irrelevant yesterday; we scraped past a 10 man Portugal side, who didn’t have their best player on the field.
The performance was flat; we didn’t manage to break Portugal down once. The highlight of the first half was Kyle Walker’s 25 yard shot that wasn’t even on target. It really was a typical Hodgson display, defensive and conservative. Reluctant to take any sort of advantage.
Rooney, Kane and Vardy were all given the opportunity to start the game. However, from where I was sitting, it seemed that Rooney had adopted a centre-forward position, forcing both Vardy and Kane wider. What a waste of both talented strikers. Vardy didn’t manage to engage in the game at all and Kane was limited to a couple of tame shots from outside the box. A huge error on Roy Hodgson’s part.
And why was Kane on set piece duty? Especially corners.
By the 80th minute, all 3 strikers had been substituted and replaced by 2 midfielders and 1 striker. After 45 minutes of being a man up Roy decided that the best approach would be to attack the game with just one out-and-out striker? That suggests to me that he was happy with the draw at that point. But fair play to Lallana and Wilshere who did not do too badly after coming off the bench.
Around the 70th minute, the Mexican waves started. Not something you want to see at a football match; it just emphasises how dull and boring the game was. And by the 75th minute people started to leave the ground. As the respectable football fan I am, I didn’t take part in either activity.
Smalling’s 86th minute header has temporarily sugar coated Roy’s problems but it is likely that England will get found out when it matters most.
On a night where positives were extremely hard to come by, there were a couple of things Hodgson can be pleased with. Firstly, our closing down and desire to win the ball back quickly was good. And secondly, Kyle Walker was superb, he has cemented his place in the team ahead of the game against Russia.
Leaving the ground, I couldn’t help but worry about what is going to happen this tournament. The first real tournament I remember was the World Cup 2006, exactly 10 years ago, and I don’t think I have to remind anyone what happened then. And ever since has just been underwhelming and disappointing.
This year we have the best squad we have had for a while. It’s better than what we had in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014. I would be gutted if we went out in the first knockout round yet again, the quarter-finals should be the bare minimum expected from Roy Hodgson; anything less is a huge failure and anything more is a huge success.
And if we do fail in this competition, I’m not sure where we go from there. Hodgson’s contract will not be renewed, perhaps Neville will take temporary charge, maybe Southgate will try and step up to the plate. He’s done a good job at U21 level.
I love international football and I desperately want to see Roy Hodgson to succeed as manager of England. I have backed Roy as the right man for the job for a few years now but my patience is running out quickly. I really do hope he proves the nation wrong this summer.