Thursday, June 8, 2023

Wilshire and Young provide the only bright sparks


Having paid £55 to go to Wembley yesterday to watch the England game and queued up for over an hour to get the train out of Wembley, I feel as though I am fully justified in writing my appraisal of Fabio Capello and his team.


Firstly, I have to say that I thought the Switzerland team were excellent. They moved the ball quicker than England, they passed it with more accuracy and purpose and they constantly looked dangerous with quick and incisive counter attacks.

For a team to do that against England at Wembley we must assume that they are one of the best teams in the World let alone Europe. That is where the worries start. This is the Switzerland team that haven’t reached a World Cup quarter-final since 1954. This is the Switzerland team who have never got past the first round of the European Championships. This is the Switzerland team who have won just one of their five qualifying matches in this tournament so far. They are not a good side.


This was the first time I have been to the new Wembley and I have to say that it is a magnificent stadium that me feel very proud to be English. Unfortunately that pride disappeared very quickly after the game kicked off.

I can only assume that the next scandal to be reported by the English tabloid press is that James Milner is a love child of Fabio Capello. I can think of no other reason for him to start the game ahead of Ashley Young and for him to stay on the pitch for the full ninety minutes. I know people say that he works really hard, but so would I if I was paid £100,000 a week and that wouldn’t make me an international footballer! He was unbelievably poor.

I’m sorry to pick Milner out in what was a hugely disappointing team performance, but he did stand out as being completely out of his depth. I just had to get that off my chest.


Let’s look at the positives first. Jack Wilshire showed that he could be a mainstay of the England team for many years to come. He wasn’t at his very best but he showed some great skill, vision and awareness and remarkably for an English midfielder, he passed the ball with a fair amount of regularity to another player wearing an England shirt. He also played a huge part in both England goals and would have created the winner if Darren Bent had the same boots on that he wears when playing for his club.

Talking of people wearing the wrong boots, I think Scott Parker had put them on the wrong feet in the first half. He improved a little after the break, but boy, he hasn’t made his reputation through his range of passing!


Sorry about that, back to the positives. Ashley Young looked lively when he came on. The fact that he moved around a bit gave the ponderous Senderos some problems. It’s not rocket science is it? Young didn’t do anything earth shattering, he just moved the defenders around and got them out of position. He took his goal well as well.

I’m afraid that the positives don’t go much further. Joe Hart has escaped much criticism for the two Switzerland goals because others played a bigger part. Having said that, you don’t expect an international goalkeeper to get beaten by them do you?


Glen Johnson was given a torrid time and Leighton Baines was like a scared rabbit or a chicken with his head cut off, you can choose. John Terry seemed to take on the role of play maker but forgot that in order to make the play you have to pass the ball to a team-mate rather than the opposition. Rio Ferdinand looked tired and slow and a shadow of his former self.

Frank Lampard’s free-kick just before half-time that almost went out for a throw-in summed up his and the team performance. Theo Walcott is all about pace and being direct. He showed neither of those attributes. Darren Bent is in the team to score goals. He was presented with one good opportunity and one open goal. To miss one would have been poor, to miss both questions his ability and usefulness at this level.


Stewart Downing didn’t have much time but was still able to miss a glorious chance that meant he too could be included in my rant.

As for the manager, well I’m afraid he got the selection wrong yet again and made some poor substitutions. To see him revert to a five man midfield for the last ten minutes to try to hold on to what we had and then refer to it as a ‘good result’ afterwards made me feel very sad.

All in all I wasn’t very happy with what I got for my £55!!


Graham Fisher



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12 years ago

What is with everyone raving about Wilshere? he has looked on some occasions like he may have the making of a ‘decent’ midfielder, but his performance on Saturday was as woeful as the rest of the team, apart from one ‘good’ ball to Bent (I say good but it only got to Bent because the defender tripped over his own feet) his poor distribution and giving away of the ball was rivalled only by that of Parker. He had a good run at the box but went down very easily to ‘earn’ the penalty, probably due to his lack of… Read more »

12 years ago

Come on Matt, although I agree we should not overhype him, he clearly is our best midfielder at the moment, he’s strong and confident and playes with the maturity of a seasoned international. He didn’t go down easily for the penalty, djourou made a ridiculously stupid challenge and clearly caught both feet. And as for your ‘his lack of confidence in his ability to finish it on his left foot’ comment, have you never seen him play before? he is left footed! Look at Rooney, 10 years ago we were shouting the warning to not overhype him, look at him… Read more »

12 years ago

Bacon, you have me bang to rights about the left foot comment I was in the middle of a heated ‘discussion’ about the match with an arsenal fan who told me Wilshere doesn’t like to go onto his left foot, and I bowed to his (not so) superior knowledge of his teams players, and the penalty saying he went down easily was part of the rant with said arsenal fan, if it had been at the other end I don’t think I would have had grounds to complain. But that said I stand by most of what I said, his… Read more »

12 years ago

Haha yeah I love a good debate, and you’ve got my number on 3 points there. You’re dead right about Rooney. United of late have been playing a sort of 4-2-3-1 with Rooney dropping into that attacking midfielder role behind Hernandez, and it’s suited them both well. He does play better there, and with the lacking of creativity in Man Utd’s centre mid he could be dropped back further to play the Scholes role. Although I still disagree about Wilsheres current ability, I do feel very strongly that he should be going to the U21 championships this month. To have… Read more »

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