"You're always debating changes, talking with your staff but at 1-0 we weren't 100 per cent convinced there was a change we could make to make a vast difference to what was going on.”
These were the words of England manager Roy Hodgson to reporters after England limped to a 1-1 draw against group leaders Montenegro.
Roy Hodgson’s job is to pick and manage a squad of players that will take them to Brazil in 2014. Yesterday evening England drew 1-1 away to a Montenegro side that many felt England should be defeating.
Many England fans will have felt it is their ‘divine right’ to have done so and that a country with just a population of an estimated 630,000 should be brushed aside easily. Wrong.
The problem with England is that they believe they are better than they actually are, it relates back to the belief that ‘as we created the game, we should be the best’ attitude held in the 1950’s. A belief that eventually was eventually quashed by defeats to USA and humiliations at the hands of Ferenc Puskas and the Hungarians.
Fast forward to today’s squad and it has a distinct look of a team trying its hardest to cling on to the ‘Golden Generation’ of the early 2000’s. The lack of depth was evident yesterday evening as England struggled as the game progressed.
It was obvious that England needed to make a change to try to thwart the Montenegrin threat led by Stevan Jovetic and Mirko Vucinic. When the change eventually happened, (Ashley Young on for Tom Cleverley), England had already conceded and the game finished 1-1.
Now, Hodgson after the game said he didn’t have the players on the bench he felt could impact the game, that’s some insult to the players he left on the bench, surely the introduction of defensive midfielder Scott Parker would have helped to stem the attack of the Montenegrins?
The ITV punditry team rightly pointed out post game that there is a distinct lack of goals in the England team, Wayne Rooney apart, from that starting eleven there are no proven goal scorers - Frank Lampard and Jermaine Defoe were left on the bench for the entire 90 minutes.
Hodgson has looked to fast track youngsters Raheem Sterling and Wilfred Zaha in to the side. However, these two are not ready to play regularly at international level and it is hard to spot any other youngsters coming through. Players such as Lewis Holtby and Aaron Hunt would have been welcomed additions to the England squad but perhaps a lack of scouting made us miss out on those opportunities. They are both full German internationals now; Hunt however, made it clear he only ever wanted to play for Germany.
What Hodgson said about not having the players on the bench is a true statement; England does not have the class, ability or players to win an international trophy. It looks like it could be a bleak few years to be an England fan as failure in international competitions, being that they even qualify, is almost certain. There seems to be so many international teams ahead of England and so-called smaller countries like Montenegro are vastly improving.
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