Tag Archives: England

Young Lions Impressing

(Pic – Evening Standard)

After a disappointing summer for the England Under 21 side, they have started qualification for the next European Championships in fine style. Expectations were high heading into this summer’s tournament however they failed to live up to the hype and crashed out at the group stage. Focus has now turned to the next tournament, regular forwards Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Dominic Solanke have been overlooked whilst Tammy Abraham and James Maddison have moved to the senior squad. Their replacements are impressing every bit as much with Eddie Nketiah scoring an impressive hat trick in the 5-1 win against Austria, who had won all of their previous qualifiers.

Who is ready for the senior squad?

Callum Hudson-Odoi – Impressed against Austria scoring two stunning goals, sweeping in a volley and curling home a fabulous second following a fine solo run. Callum is sure to be brought back into the senior squad once he has more games at Chelsea under his belt following his injury lay off.

Phil Foden – Has the undoubted talent to be a full England International, however at this point in his career getting game time is the most important thing. If he remains out of the picture at Manchester City then getting games at England Under 21 level is vital for his development. The question remains should he go on loan for game time or remain at City and learn from the many talented players and coaches there? That is open to debate.

As for anyone else that should make the step up, is there is anyone? Who isn’t a big advocate for giving players time to grow at this level and not rushing them into the senior squad? It is better if they gained experience this way than being brought into the senior squad and sat on the bench. There are a number of players; Tammy Abraham, James Maddison, etc, who are playing well enough for their clubs to earn full international recognition. However, it is still difficult for them to get game time for the senior side due to the form of that side.

The best thing for these players is to balance their time between both squads, pick games in which they will get minutes for the senior side, against lesser sides and give them time with the Under 21’s.

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England win but football loses

Its not often you come away from a tough away game with a 6-0 win and feel sad and disillusioned with the game. But for many last night, the sad scenes in the stands in Sofia overshadowed what was a very good England performance and threw the game into disrepute. 

There had been much speculation about the behaviour of the Bulgarian fans, after a number of incidents in recent years highlighted the large racist undertone within their fan base, and England captain Harry Kane had spoke of leading his teammates off the field if there was any sniff of racially motivated chanting or jeers.

From the get go England’s black stars were booed every time they touched the ball, attackers Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford as well as debutant centre back Tyrone Mings. But it wasn’t until the 28th minute play was put on hold with discussions taking place on the sideline, and a stadium announcement being made over the speakers warning fans the game would be stopped if this behaviour carried on.

However, this did not stop the chants, the boo’s and the abhorrent monkey noises being made, and the game was then stopped again in the 43rd minute, this time with Southgate talking with the referee before the game was again restarted.

Further racist incidents continued into the second half, caught on pitch-side microphones, but play was not stopped for a third time, which would have been crucial as UEFA’s three step racism protocol states if a match is stopped for a third time the match must be abandoned.

Further footage shows fans doing Nazi salutes and one fan holding up a “no respect” jumper. Debate has been rife over the best course of action in a situation such as this, is it best to walk from the pitch refusing to stand for this kind of abuse? Or is it best to play on and not let the racists win? England chose the latter last night, and with Rashford and Sterling both scoring, as well as Ross Barkley who’s grandfather is Nigerian, well and truly silenced the racist scum in the stands.

If this was not bad enough, Bulgaria’s own manager Krasimir Balakov seemingly defended his fans post match, claiming he did not hear any racist chants towards the England players and actually blamed the England fans for unacceptable behaviour. When the man at the top is seemingly just as bad as the racists in the stands, it is concerning for all involved and something UEFA must take a serious look at.

With all of the focus being firmly set on what happened off the pitch, it is important to remember just what the England players achieved in representing their country in such difficult circumstances, standing up to racism and doing our country proud in the process.

Can England Qualify Against Bulgaria?

Tonight sees England play Bulgaria in a game that should England win, will see them qualify for the Euro 2020 finals.

Now it also sees a scenario similar to the game England played on Friday against the Czech Republic. Win, and England go through.

In total England have met Bulgaria 9 times and have an excellent record against them.

Since the 0-0 draw in their first meeting in June 1962, they have met a further eight times. England have won 5, the most recent of which was 2010, when a 4-0 result was the outcome, thanks in part to a Jermain Defoe hat trick.

In between times. there have been 3 draws and its in two of those draws that Bulgaria have scored their only goals, 2 in total against England.

England’s goal scoring average against Bulgaria over the 9 games is 2, so going on that statistic alone, tonights game should represent a comfortable enough platform on which to secure qualification.

That said, it will prove interesting tonight, because Bulgaria, employ a variation of the 3 5 2 system that England used to play and appear to find diffculties playing against, by playing a 5 3 2 formation, so in theory have 5 defenders and rely on the counter attack.

Overall taking that out of context, Bulgaria are bottom of the group and have only two points. Confidence will not be high for them, and should England start the same they did against the Czechs by scoring early, and maintaining throughout the game, then England have a good chance of recording their highest score against them.

Where did England Go Wrong?

On Friday night in the Czech Republic, England faced the possibility of winning against the Czech’s and qualifying for Euro 2020.

Top of the group and unbeaten in this campaign so far, it all looked very rosy for England.

With a strong line up, in Gareth Southgate’s now preferred 4 3 3 formation, with debut’s for the Chelsea pairing of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, against the less fancied Czechs. lining up in a 3 5 2 formation. Everything looked like it would go England’s way.

The opening exchanges went well for England, with strong attacking football, which saw Raheem Sterling win a penalty in the 5th Minute, swiftly converted by Harry Kane.

We expected the performance to increase and a comfortable victory to follow, ensuring qualification.

However, the penalty seemed to not only galvanise the Czechs, but it was almost like a bee had stung them on the backside.

They woke up and raised their game significantly, helped by the formation they were playing, 3 5 2. They piled pressure on England, going close a couple of times. These were wake up calls for England, but they quickly pulled level and deservedly so, just 4 minutes later.

The only surprise was that it took that long for them to equalise…

From that point on for the entire match, England laboured and toiled much harder than they needed to.

So,

What went wrong for England

To get the answer to this, you only have to look back to the last Premier League Weekend, when Wolves travelled to the Etihad Satdium, home of Manchester City and beat them in their own back yard 2-0.

But what has that result got to do with England losing in Czech Republic?

At face value, nothing, but upon closer inspection, quite a lot.

You see, just as in the Czech Republic, Wolves employed their favoured, tried and tested 3 5 2 formation, against Man City’s 4 3 3 and came away with the right result.

Now on paper it shouldn’t matter which formation you play, the result should be a positive one, if you have a good game plan.

England had a game plan, it is a tried and tested one, but, when pitched against a team playing 3 5 2, then it can prove significantly difficult to penetrate, because in a 3 5 2 formation, the opposition will have numbers over, if the players do their jobs correctly.

The Czechs executed their jobs perfectly, faster, pressed better, had players over and England were left frustrated and arguing amongst themselves, because they couldn’t create the space they required to break through and so drew blanks every time.

It will be interesting to see how Engand fare against Bulgaria this evening in their next qualifier, because they commonly line up in a 3-5-2 formation as well. What will Southgate have to do to overcome them, and secure qualifying?

If England can raise their game and also eliminate the poor decision making and passive play they employed against the Czechs, then they will come away with a good result and qualification will be assured.

Too many times, through poor decision making did England let the Czechs in.

Tonights match should be an interesting one…

Tweet us your thoughts on tonight’s game @247FootballUK

Three players who should’ve been included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad

England manager Gareth Southgate announced his latest squad for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers away to the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. The main talking points will be the omission of Tottenham’s Dele Alli and United’s Jesse Lingard as well as the continued omission of right back Kyle Walker. But which players can count themselves unlucky to not be involved?

James Tarkowski- The Burnley centre back may be another victim of not playing for a “trendy” club as the in form defender has been overlooked once again by Southgate. Tarkowski has been a large factor in why Burnley boast one of the better defensive records in the division and his own personal stats make for good reading, as in terms of aerial duel success rate he sits third in the league with 76.9%, and interceptions per 90 minutes he sits second with 8.85. Despite competition for places at the heart of England’s defence, the 26 year old is playing the best football of his career right now and is unfortunate to miss out.

 

Aaron Cresswell- The left back looks to have finally regained his starting spot in the Hammers back four and looks back to his best in the early stages of this season. A brilliant display against United was capped off by a spectacular free-kick goal to double his sides lead, and this was followed up with another goal in West Ham’s 2-2 draw with Bournemouth a week later. Meaning after only three Premier League appearances so far he has already matched his best ever goals tally at West Ham. Add to this the poor form of fellow left back Danny Rose, who has endured a tough start to the season, Cresswell can count himself unlucky to not be adding to his three caps.

 

Todd Cantwell- The Norwich winger has been a complete surprise package this season, linking up brilliantly with striker Teemu Pukki and chipping in with important goals and assists from the left flank. The 21 year old has adapted to Premier League life seamlessly, and has already made more goal contributions (4) in seven games this term than he managed in the whole of last season (3). And when you consider he has notched goals against the likes of Chelsea and the champions Manchester City, this further supports his case. Had he been playing for a top six club, Cantwell would have more than likely been in the 25 man squad, but if he continues this fine form Southgate cannot ignore him for much longer.