Thursday, 2 April 2009
Where was Upson?
So where was Upson last night? I'm not talking about the original selection, I am not myopic enough to think that he will get into the England side ahead of Terry and Ferdinand, but why didn't he come on when Ferdinand went off injured? After playing in 6 of the last 7 games, without letting the side down, why wasn't he the first man that Capello turned to when Rio went for an early bath? Jagielka? Really? This was the guy who gave away possession for the first Spain goal and who looked the more uncertain of the centre backs all game. Protecting a slender one goal lead as we were, I was shocked to see the fourth choice coming on ahead of the third. What was Capello up to?
Of course, apologists for Fabio will point to the fact that we did not surrender the lead and so the decision was vindicated, but the ex Shafting United man did give away two free kicks in his short time on the pitch, and the only way that Ukraine were going to score was from a set play, so he can hardly have been described as having a stormer! What was going on? I hope Upson didn't express displeasure when left out, so blotting his copy book. I don't think Fabio takes too kindly to players questioning his decisions.
And what about the rest? Well talk about from the sublime to the ridiculous! We looked fantastic on Saturday but from kick off, we showed Ukraine far too much respect - we almost looked scared and I can't work out why. James was awful and Cole was even worse. Terry scored that crucial goal but, at the back, seemed to struggle when challenging for the ball in the air. Is his back playing him up? Johnson didn't have a good game either and the Ukraine goal came from a rebound off his body. Barry collected his yellow far too early and might have been sent off by a more fussy referee whilst Lennon looked what he is, a speed merchant whose brain can't keep up with his feet. And I'm sorry but Lampard and Gerrard seemed to be on different wavelengths again. Even Beckham looked subdued, although inevitably it was from his cross that we scored the winner. Crouch took his goal well but didn't convince me - although his scoring record for England is sensational, averaging very close to one goal every two games. Carlton Cole critics take note, Heskey doesn't score as many as Crouch but England look so much better when Emile plays. Which brings us to Rooney. He stood out like the real jewel, the true World Class player but Rooney is Rooney - in a World Cup he might see red for THAT challenge, even though he connected with the ball first. Lampard and Gerrard both looked away wincing, fearing the worst.
We will still win the World Cup but only if we can keep Rooney fit and on the pitch. Argentina won it once with an ordinary team supporting Maradonna; we have a good team supporting Rooney so are actually stronger. We still have Defoe, Cole and Walcott to come into this squad and Hargreaves might recover to take Barry's place at some point. Left back and goalkeeper are the big headaches, that and Rooney's fitness, both physical and mental!