Rooney sets the record straight
We all knew it was going to happen, but now it finally has, it is time to accept that Wayne Rooney will go down as an England legend. People question whether he deserves to be alongside the likes of Charlton, Lineker, Greaves and Shearer, but being the leading scorer for one of the world’s biggest football nations is no mean feat.
You can suffix all these points with ‘but it was against San Marino’, but you can only beat what is in front of you, and Rooney deserves credit for how he took his goal, even if no one has any idea why the penalty was given. His powers may be on the wane but in years to come people will still talk about Wazza as one of the best, and for that we must salute the England skipper.
Vardy offers Hodgson an option
Jamie Vardy, England number nine. Sounds a bit weird that doesn’t it? Well, the Leicester man was handed the famous shirt at the Stadio Olimpico by Roy Hodgson and was a nuisance from the left, his pace proving a real asset as he got in behind time-and-time again.
He won’t be many people’s cup of tea, thanks to both his on the pitch and off the pitch conduct, but he does offer something very different to this England setup. Vardy’s tenacity and terrier-like workrate is an absolute nightmare to play against. At international level players are used to having time on the ball but he will simply not allow centre-backs that luxury and he’s an interesting option to have in the locker.
Jonjo can be Jack’s replacement
The Swansea midfielder has enjoyed a superb season so far in the top-flight and he rightly got his chance as the deep-lying playmaker against San Marino. The former Liverpool man had a lot of the play to make, as you would expect, but he used the ball well and he must be a dream for the likes of Jamie Vardy to play with, such is his vision.
Shelvey has come a long way from that mouthy youngster who unleashed a barrage at Sir Alex Ferguson. He now looks more at peace, both on and off the pitch, and with Jack Wilshere a walking injury, this is Shelvey’s opportunity to make that midfield berth his own ahead of Euro 2016. This was a good start, he sprayed some expert passes around the pitch and laid on a great assist for Harry Kane, but he needs to play against better opposition.
Concentration is not Stones’ strong point
The Everton centre-back has been rightly praised for how he has kept his head amidst all the speculation surrounding him this summer. However, he had very little to do here and still looked a little shaky when asked to defend and when on the ball.
The 20-year-old gave the ball away on numerous occasions and against better sides he would have been punished. It may seem a little harsh, but if Chelsea are going to shell out £40m on him then he needs to learn to concentrate when he is left dormant for long periods.
The pitch was a b…ad one
People say that professional footballers should be able to play on any surface. Nevertheless, the pitch at the Stadio Olimpico was pretty horrendous. At times the ball was changing direction on the roll and both sets of players did well to put together any sort of pass.
England still tried to play their stuff despite the conditions, with Shelvey particularly instrumental in keeping the side ticking over. To say it was a leveller would be silly but Hodgson and his players will happy they won’t have to play on something that poor in the near future.