Steve McClaren was always going to need a big performance, against European Champions Greece, last night. Not just because it was his first game in charge, but after the very public dropping of David Beckham the team needed to show that they could put the disappointment of a poor World Cup behind them and make a new start under the McClaren and Terry Venables partnership.
England are always expected to win every competition they enter (at least back home they are) and the fact that there is only the 1966 World Cup in the trophy cabinet leads to a lot of disappointed fans. In fairness we were probably never going to win it again this year, but we have arguably the best squad of players we’ve had for many years, and therefore probably the best chance to have done it!
Gerrard and Lampard have been the talk of the back pages now for several months – we can’t play them both together – or at least we didn’t think we could! In last nights game, at Old Trafford, McClaren moved Stevie G out to the right hand side to take the position vacated by Beckham. At first glance it seems to have worked. Gerrard was able to push forward and put in some of his delightful, trademarked crosses and the presence of a revitalised Owen Hargreaves allowed Lampard to get forward more thanราคาบอลสเต็ป ufabet ever. Although it had been expected that Beckhams departure would have seen Wright-Phillips or Lennon out on the right, we now know that we have options other than Beckham. On the left too we saw Downing in for Joe Cole and we know that Ashley Cole or Bridge can always push on from left-back, whilst Richardsons appearance as a second half sub let us all know that the left side of midfield might not be such a problem after all.
Peter Crouch proved once again that he is possibly the first name on the team sheet these days. Rooney, Owen, Defoe, Ashton or Bent are all great players to have in the squad, but with the possible exception of Rooney, they can’t bring to the game what Crouch does. His movement, aerial prowess and holding up of the ball are the perfect foil to our talented range of midfielders and as his game continues to improve with Champions League and International experience, Crouch will get even better.