Ped's Close Season Musings - England
It must be official that West London's finest tactics are the white print for England's bid in Euro 2012.
Against a lively looking Belgian team shorn of its best player, England produced a performance designed to end 'visiting team - nil' rather than set the world alight with the kind of football that its leading teams play.
No wonder Roy Hodgson admits that Belgium would probably cost more on the transfer market than England.
That view was enhanced when, with Cahill heading for the exit with a double jaw fracture, he calls upon the experience, knowledge and skill of.... Martin Kelly of...you guessed it, Liverpool. No wonder furious Ferdinand is asking 'Why?'. I am not a fan of Stretford's most famous tweeter, but do you know what? I have to confess I have never heard of Kelly, but he must be the man. A no-mark from a poor team that finished eighth in the Premier League but surely he's in it for the tactics rather than an albeit ageing but experienced seasoned campaigner or even a Champion in the form of Micah Richards.
At least we see the true reason that Ferdy was hoisted out of the squad. It was nothing to do with football, but was everything to do with the master of West London Tactics, John Terry. Always a liability, seemingly always injured and always likely to tug someone's shirt and give away a penalty, but yes a must at international level.
If Europe's top keeper wasn't guarding the sticks I would sincerely be hoping England came home with 'nul points' and a huge goals against column. We can see that Joe will have to do more work per match than he has done all season behind quality defenders, and that will only be in a bid to stop England being over run. Unless of course the West London Way rushes to the fore again and they bore their and our way to an unlikely outcome.
I have said in other musings that Richards has much to offer the National Team. His tactical ability has seriously improved over the last eighteen months especially when Milner is ahead of him. If Richards twists then Milner sticks. It is not difficult.
Although not necessarily at his best at centre half he can hold down the right hand side of a back three should different tactics need to deployed and can also rampage from wide out or midfield if we need an athletic runner in a way that even Walcott cannot.
So what of Mertens in his pleas of innocence in injuring Cahill? He didn't do it on purpose? Behave! You could clearly see it in his eyes that he had weighed up the opportunity of 'doing' two England players, almost buy-on-get-one-free, as he venomously shoved Cahill into Hart. The look on his face was almost Barton-esque. And to do that to an extent that a young footballer loses his dream to play in a major international tournament is not acceptable to me.
I have long since wondered how behaviour on a football field is overlooked when identical behaviour out in public streets would command a prison sentence, and for me this is another example.
That said I don't think Cahill needed to get between player and ball, because Hart would have been out a lot sooner and would have simply got between player and ball himself to shield it out for a goal kick.
It probably grieves me to say that Welbeck took his goal well. He did add some speed to the front row and his play is not as predictable as Carroll. For me though the only two than can be said to be truly classy in the outfield department are the usual stalwarts Gerrard, the sponsor's MoTM and Cole.
Milner was functional, essentially doing his City job of discipline and hard work. Parker, Terry and Johnson were poor, the Ox looked interesting doing odd things and Young as expected spent an inordinate amount of time inspecting the grass, despite measuring an excellent ball through to his Stretford colleague to open and close the scoring.
I suspect the Euro 2012 will not be a great time for England, so for me the sooner Hart and Milner get home healthy and for a rest before next season the better.