LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA – England’s trip to Slovenia was underwhelming to say the least, with the match finishing as a 0-0 stalemate in Ljubljana. Although the match was not one to write home about, here is what we can take away from the game:
Despite what various commentators and pundits may have said about them, Slovenia are certainly not a bad team. For the most part, they looked like the most likely team to head home with a win on Tuesday evening. Any team that has two world class ‘keepers representing them in Jan Oblak and Samir Handanovic has a chance of doing well.
But it’s not just about Oblak, Handanovic or the talents of Josip Illicic up front; Slovenia played as a team last night. It seems to be a broken record about England, but they do not. It was no wonder Slovenia should have won last night, when they play with the togetherness and resolve that the England team craves.
Another broken record that gets played every international break, but England’s play is still far too cautious and slow. We have a multitude of players such as Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard and Ross Barkley coming through the system, but never seem to give them the freedom they need.
England seem to content on passing it backwards and sideways; there is no urgency. All it takes is one player to be given that free role, someone like Alli, to ignite the team and give them that spark to create something from nothing. But for now, it seems like this cautious England style is going to linger.
Gareth Southgate looks like he has the bottle to be England manager (possibly)
England’s interim manager made a bold call last night, and dropped Captain Wayne Rooney from the starting lineup – something many fans have been wanting for a while. It was a bold move for Southgate to take in just his second game in charge.
Dropping Rooney may give some fans a glimmer of hope that England may finally get a manager with a bit of bottle. But is it too soon to tell? Obviously it may not have had the effect he desired, only coming away with a draw, but it could signal that change is on its way for England.
Tuesday’s game was one of the first time many have seen Hart play since his move to Torino. England’s number 1 kept them in the game a number of times, pulling off a string of incredible saves to keep the game level at 0-0.
His spell at Torino seems to be lifting his confidence and ability after a shaky 12 months. There was never any doubting his ability as a shot stopper, but his Italian dream may be reviving his confidence that went missing for most of last season.
England’s next game is against Scotland on Friday 11th November at Wembley Stadium.
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