England’s Midfield Malady

September 12, 2012 in International

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They had one job.

Granted, the bittersweet nature of Wimbledon, the euphoria of the Olympics and Paralympics, Lewis Hamilton still setting the pace in F1, and, as recently as two days ago, the ghost of Fred Perry being banished as the first British winner of a Grand Slam in a million years took centre stage were always going to be tough acts to follow.

However, the English football team had already contributed by not overly embarrassing themselves at Euro 2012 and somehow elbowing their way to the status of (empirical) third best football team in the world. All they had to do to extend the Bumper Summer of Sport into an Indian one was to produce a solid (not even spectacular) performance against opposition they had met and bested as recently as three months ago.

After last night, I hereby announce that Autumn has arrived.

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Three new faces in the England team but do they deserve it?

September 11, 2012 in International

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Yesterday, Roy Hodgson announced that Raheem Sterling (17), Adam Lallana (24) and Jake Livermore (22) had been added to the England squad to face Ukraine today. Yes, it is good that three young players have been added to the squad, but it does raise questions about whether they deserve their places or not.

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Who is England’s Most Lethal Goalscorer?

September 6, 2012 in International

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Ah, the international break, the bane of Premier League lovers everywhere ( “three weeks into the season? What is this bullsh..”), and the moment when the variant tribes of English football come together to get behind a national team that is destined to ingloriously beat Moldova 2-1. Rather than think about that, I’ve decided to conduct and investigation into who was the most lethal goalscorer ever to wear the England shirt. Now this isn’t about simply who scored the most goals, but rather who has the highest strike rate. That’s to ask…whose minutes on the pitch to goals scored ratio stands as the best?

A couple of ground rules. You have to have scored 20 goals in an England shirt (because otherwise we’d have a list full of one game one goal types) and you have to have scored them post-War, because I deem goals scored before then too easy, mostly because I hate old people. Let’s do this.

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England and the long way to Brazil

September 5, 2012 in International

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The dust had just about settled on this summer’s two international footballing tournaments when the real action got back under way. The Barclays Premier League once again started in ferocious style, with two 5-0 drubbings in the first week, to Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson’s ten billionth great escape against Southampton in the weekend just gone. This start has left many a fan’s mouth watering at the prospect of the next set of games. Liverpool are in chaos, as are QPR and Spurs, while both Manchester clubs have failed to emulate their amazing starts from last year. Chelsea, Swansea and West Brom have all got off to brilliant starts under new management, and Fulham, Everton, Sunderland and West Ham’s new signing have all started brightly. Wigan have dumbfounded everyone by not losing their first three matches, while Arsenal have also confused by keeping three clean sheets in a row. It has been fantastic.

The only problem is that the upcoming international break leaves us on a cliffhanger.

Now this is okay for a soap opera, and granted, football is compared to one often enough, but this week’s international fixtures feel more like someone has spliced a Mickey Mouse cartoon into the middle of the epic blockbuster you were just watching: WHAT THE HELL?!

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What do Theo Walcott, Aaron Lennon and AVB have in common?

August 30, 2012 in Features, Premier League

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It is always a great feeling when someone tells you that you have great potential. It gives you a confidence boost and you can’t help but dream of what lies ahead if you fulfil that potential. Footballers and managers work under the same principle, but just like in real life, not all of us reach our potential (I never got that B in maths); two footballers and one coach have come under the spotlight in recent days and all three share the same problem. They haven’t fulfilled their potential.

Back in 2006, two promising young wingers were surprise inclusions in Sven Goran Eriksson’s World Cup squad. A 17-year old Theo Walcott and a 19-year old Aaron Lennon. Both were touted to be England’s future wide options, with David Beckham getting on a bit and Steven Gerrard being wasted on the left. Small, lightning quick, and good with the ball at their feet, you couldn’t help but imagine them jinking past some of the world’s best defenders in years to come. Sadly, that dream has not turned into a reality.

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