Football

England fail to convince despite unbeaten season

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With the end of the international season arriving, Roy Hodgson and the England squad hold their heads high after an impressive run of games, remaining undefeated in their qualifying group and gaining a new found confidence they’ll hope to carry with them to France in 2016.

However, many England fans still remain unimpressed by the recent performances given the unconvincing nature of their wins, against teams which are considered fairly ‘mediocre’ in the world of European football.

These weak performances come as a worry to England fans across the country and have left many football pundits scratching their heads as to why Roy’s boys have been looking so unsteady in recent weeks.

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With young talent bursting onto the scene in the form of PFA Young Player of the Year Harry Kane and recently dubbed £50 million Raheem Sterling, the future should look bright for the Three Lions.

If that wasn’t enough, England also have skipper Wayne Rooney leading the charge who, after recently passing 100 caps, looks almost certain to become his country's all-time top goal scorer. Yet despite all this, England have looked shaky in recent games, putting in sketchy performances and only scraping narrow victories against far lesser opponents.

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The blame for these unconvincing performances is being placed on the shoulders of England’s young back four who have shown their inexperience and looked vulnerable in recent games.

Their recent performance at the Stozice Stadium in Slovenia highlighted the extent of the team’s defensive weakness. A lapse in communication between two of England’s more experienced defenders, Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill, gave Slovenia the lead just before half time and against the run of play.

A moment of lackadaisical defending from Kieran Gibbs almost lost England the points in the second half as Slovenia capitalised on a defensive error equalising in the 85th minute, only to have their celebrations cut short by a late winner from star striker Wayne Rooney with his 48th goal for England.

Two other stupendous strikes from Jack Wilshere made it 2-3, giving England the win, many felt they deserved after an otherwise strong performance.

To most fans however, this seemed like a hollow victory despite the three points as England had struggled against a team which failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and are currently ranked 48th in the world.

This also isn’t the first time in recent past that England have struggled against second rate opponents after going a goal down in the reverse fixture against Slovenia at Wembley in November, and pulling up short in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin as Ireland held them to a 0-0 draw.

These are obviously not the performances England fans would’ve hoped to see a year before the European finals, and the thought of facing far tougher adversaries such as Holland and current World Champions Germany has left many fans with the feeling of dread for what awaits them in France 2016.

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