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Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
And so the recovery continues. Fabio Capello's patient, paternal treatment of the blundering failures who shamed the nation last year is, little by little, beginning to pay off. He hasn't asked them to play in strange formations, he hasn't made sweeping changes, he hasn't even announced a permanent captain. It's his demand for composure on the ball that seems to be making the difference. Baby-step by baby-step, performances are slowly approaching a level of competence that might just be enough to secure qualification for the 2010 World Cup. The United States have qualified for the last five and are not the minnows they once were. For England to beat them so comfortably, even in a friendly international, is encouragement enough for a broken-hearted nation. The Three Lions are on the mend.

It was somehow fitting that it was John Terry who opened the scoring. He recovers so quickly from physical injuries that it's no surprise to see him bouncing back from mental trauma at full speed as well. This was his first game as Capello's captain and it brought the same reward as his first for McClaren; a well-taken headed goal. The Chelsea skipper moved smartly across the penalty area, no slips this time, and pounced on David Beckham's laser-guided set-piece. At the other end of the pitch, alongside the always-excellent Rio Ferdinand, he held the Americans at bay without breaking sweat.

End of season friendlies are not known for raising the blood pressure and sadly this was no exception. The Americans seemed to have arrived with the intention of stopping England from playing, but they did it to the detriment of their own game. David James will not have had many simpler nights than this. With Spain and Argentina still to come in the next ten days, this was probably the easiest of Bob Bradley's summer friendlies, so his team's inability to create sustained pressure will be a major concern for him. Eddie Johnson's squandered chance after the break was their only serious effort on goal and by the end they were chasing England's shadows as their hosts played keep-ball.

After toying with a lone striker against Switzerland and France, Capello opted for a simple 4-4-2 here with Wayne Rooney and Jermaine Defoe in tandem up front. Defoe had more than enough chances to prove to Capello that he was worthy of a starting place, but his inability to make them count will cost him dearly. Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard floundered on the left-wing and, while Rooney was typically industrious, it all seemed a bit stale and lifeless. The introduction of Gareth Barry as a deep-lying partner to the superb Owen Hargreaves allowed Gerrard the freedom to roam in the second half and it paid immediate dividends when Gareth Barry poked an inviting ball through for him to slot into the bottom corner. With speculation linking Barry with a move to Anfield, Liverpool fans will have taken note at the obvious chemistry.

Straight-forward victories in games so dull that they are forgotten as soon as the television powers down are no barometers of future success. However, there were signs here of growing confidence and professionalism. A willingness to play a short pass instead of a long punt. A desire to keep possession. Johan Cruyff once said that he loved playing English teams because if you lost the ball, they would soon give it back to you. Capello has quickly sought to address this nasty habit and his hopes of success depend upon, not a of personnel, but a change of mentality. With all of that in mind, this was still not a result to celebrate. For England fans though, it was reason to smile.
 

OldBlueLady

Junior Blues Coordinator⭐
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
47,895
Location
Benfleet
And proves we're right about the necessity of still keeping Beckham involved eh Slip? Didn't see much of it, but what I did see looked much more encouraging.
 

sufcintheprem

This is a modified caption
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
10,185
Location
Putney
Owen Hargreaves would be the ideal captain, if only he was actually English.

Hargreaves is composed, industrious and has an excellent attitude. Additionally, his performance against Portugal when all others had given up hope was outstanding and almost enough to win the tie. However, I don't think making him captain would get any more out of him in the way, for example, it turned a good international right midfielder in to a match-dominating presence with Beckham.

My choice would still be Ferdinand. The hype surrounding Terry is embarassing - he's a good player and scored an exceptionally good header last night but he seems the kind of player who is brave because he tells everyone he is and over time everyone including him believe it. Ferdinand, assuming Ashley Cole's improvement in the last 2 months doesn't continue at the same rate for the next 6, is England's best defender and has composure in abundunce.

Making Ferdinand captain should help us finally move on from frantic attacking football to a time where we can control the tempo of a game allowing us to utilise our rapid attacking ability rather than be beaten with it.
 

Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
That's a good point about Ashley Cole, he was shocking six months ago but he seems to have turned it around now.

If only Rio hadn't organised that party. I just can't accept that the best choice for the armband is a man who thought that refusing to allow player's wives to go to their Christmas party and getting his lackeys to trawl the streets of Manchester for hundreds of gormless fitties, was a good idea. How could that not end in disaster?! I think you're right, we do need to control the tempo of games and Ferdinand is in his best form since 2002, but he's just so ****ing stupid.

That said, discounting Becks*, who else is there? No-one.


* - While me and OBL are in agreement about his skills, I think we may also be in agreement that he is getting slower and slower with every game, bless him.
 

EastStandBlue

Life President
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
15,477
Think you're being a tad harsh on Rio there Slip...

He's led United admirably this season, been the defensive rock thats got the club both the Premiership title and the Champions League trophy and, with Vidic, formed certainly one of the best defensive partnerships i've ever seen.

The past 3 years have gone by with not much controversy surrounding Ferdinand at all, he's been given this tag by the press as this Party Boy which was substantiated at the time, but he's settled down now and I can't remember the last scandal he's been at the heart of.

Ferdinand said it wasn't him solely responsible for the Christmas "Rape Party" and, I think for the first time, I actually believe him... Him settling down with his wife and having Children seems to have grounded him.

I'd certainly rather he get the armband over the Spitting, Apathetic, Nasty piece of work Terry any day. Then again, I'd rather Beckham get it over the pair of them... But I doubt he'd take it after McClaren treated him so poorly.
 

Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
Even being partly responsible for such an absolute shambles should be damnation enough. Rape allegations aside, if he wasn't smart enough to figure out that scooping up the region's pert-breasted morons for souless fingering from his knuckle-dragging team-mates was a truly awful idea then I'm not sure I want him leading the line. He might do something equally daft like forgetting to breathe or publicly messing his pants. It's a minefield, ESB, an absolute diplomatic minefield.
 

SUFC_Al

Metal Monday Dude
Joined
Feb 26, 2004
Messages
7,901
Location
In Britain's best town to retire to!
Mind you, the revelation that Darren Bent is one of the 20 highest paid footballers on the planet can't have hurt Modric's negotiations either. Payslip parity may be a more logical explanation for his decision to slum it in North London.

:O

If proof was ever needed just how crazy top-flight football has got in this country, that sentence says it all.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
10,113
Location
Wixams
I'd certainly rather he get the armband over the Spitting, Apathetic, Nasty piece of work Terry any day. Then again, I'd rather Beckham get it over the pair of them... But I doubt he'd take it after McClaren treated him so poorly.

I am sure he would love it back
 
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