It’s Not Rob Green! Try Looking Further Up.

June 13, 2010

You won’t see a lot of sympathy for Rob Green, maybe rightly so. However, as a person who also plays in goal, I can certainly appreciate how the man is feeling right now. Although my mistakes weren’t committed in full view of an audience of millions, committing them in front of my daughter made me feel terrible. Goalkeeping is famously an unrewarding position with little chance of glory being given and every chance of shame being heaped upon you. Hopefully, Green will rebuild and feature again for England, good luck.

Let’s be honest, this was always going to be a tough match, the Americans are disciplined, athletic and they have some quality players on their team. Clint Dempsey is no mug and Oguchi Onweyu currently plays for AC Milan. Team USA are ranked 14th in the world, only 6 places behind England and are the highest ranked CONCACAF team in the world. A victory would have been a good result for England and not an entirely unexpected one for the US.

All this aside, let’s not forget England’s relatively poor performance and the selection nightmare Capello now has to contend with.  With the withdrawal of Rio Ferdinand and the seemingly endless injuries that Ledley King carries, England’s back line looks seriously short of pace and Carragher found himself exposed mercilessly exposed by the speedy Altidore. While Ashley Cole played impeccably and Glen Johnson had a decent game along the flanks, the middle looks like it could well be England’s weak spot.

The midfield seemed to miss the steadying influence of Gareth Barry with both Gerrard and Lampard trying to carry out the holding role. While Gerrard, of course, scored early on, he seemed strangely subdued as the match wore on. As far as Lampard is concerned, the fact it took him an hour to get a shot on probably tells you all you need to know about his game. The less said about Milner, the better, but maybe Capello was wrong to pick him in the first place as we are informed that he spent a good part of the last week laid up with a virus.

And so to my favourite topic of conversation, Emile Heskey, England’s bizarrely non-scoring striker. Actually, apart from his missing a gilt edged opportunity, Heskey didn’t play too badly, but enough is enough surely? In selecting him over Bent, Capello broke one of his rules in that in order to play for England you have to be fit and on form. How must Darren Bent have felt as he watched Heskey spoon his shot straight at Howard? Actually, he probably felt the same that I, Capello and nearly everybody else in the country must have felt, absolutely unsurprised. Heskey has been quoted as 350-1 to take the Golden Boot by some bookmakers. With all due respect to Heskey and Capello, what serious team can take a striker with such long odds against them?

This wasn’t a terminal result for England, and I still expect England to win their group relatively easily, but England can’t compete if they continue to play crocks and players who plainly aren’t good enough

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