Date:Thursday November 20 2008
I have got to admit that in the last few years I have not looked forward to England international's very much at all, but in more recent times with the growing Pompey involvement - still something that is often hard to take in - this interest has most definitely grown.
With so much 'attention', most of which is unwanted, given to Pompey in recent weeks the England game with Germany in Berlin has, if nothing else, deflected some focus away from us and given us a break! But, I must admit this was a game that I really enjoyed - and our Pompey contingent did themselves no harm at all in our 2-1 win - the first defeat Germany have suffered in Berlin for some 35-years...
I have to admit that I still have fears for David James at international level, not because I do not believe he is not up to the task - as we know from seeing him week in week out that he is - but because I know of how the media react to him, and most players in general, and I am always on edge fearing an error. To be fair to him though, as much as he might make a few 'rash decisions' and does make the odd error still, his errors are not proving costly, so are soon forgotten, whereas other keeper's errors are not! And we again saw this from a man vying for his no.1 jersey, when Scott Carson produced another howler, to be fair though with the aid of captain John Terry!
I feel for Carson, who is a decent keeper, but do not see him as much of an immediate threat to James - the biggest threat that he has to his position is Joe Hart, and injury ruled him out so his position as no.1 at this point in time remains without doubt undisputed...
He might not have scored, but to be fair he did not have any chances presented to him, but Jermain Defoe had a really good 45 minutes. Being asked to play in a different kind of role, a deeper role more off the front man Gabriel Agbonlahor, the Pompey striker did all that was asked of him. His movement and linkup with the midfield was brilliant and added another string to his bow as it proved to Fabio Capello that he is more than 'just a goalscorer' and should have cemented his place in the squad for the next game at least.
Who said Defoe was not a team player! He showed this as his role was very much that of a team player, and he did that very well as he 'defended from the front', something that will not only please his national manager, but also his club manager too!
The one draw back, the 'slight' calf injury picked up which saw him come off at half time. I am sure this was merely a precautionary measure and he will be fit for us this weekend.
Not much can be gained from around 30-45 seconds on the pitch at the death for Peter Crouch can it, although to be fair he got straight into the action and did his work defensively - another cap gained though will please him.
The thing that I felt England missed most off all against the Germans, in a very good performance I might add, was a player up front to hold the ball up - and 'two meter' Peter would have done that very well, and this seemed the ideal opportunity for Capello to have a serious look at him. He either knows exactly what he can do, or purposely went for the mobile, short men with pace up front to trouble the German?
I am a fan of the bigman but must admit that I am not convinced that Capello is convinced by him and prefers Emile Heskey as that type of player...
I save the best to last as Glen Johnson was fantastic on the night - he is a far cry from the fella that so many of us 'moaned about', myself included, when we signed him permanently from Chelski. Defensively he is such a better player to the one that we signed, and the work that he has done with those here has to be more than 'coincidental'. Without any shadow of a doubt his is now 'international class'.
He looked calm, assured and accomplished on and off the ball and cleaned things up when he needed to. Offensively he offers us much more than Wes Brown ever will, who I still cannot quite understand why he seems the first choice right back for England? Injury opened the door to Johnson and he well and truly took it!
Brown will be under considerable pressure for his place now, and with another apparent suitor Micah Richards being hampered with injuries, loss of form and oversights with former king Gary Neville advancing in years and not the player he was - not to mention the fact that he keeps picking up niggling injuries - there is every chance that Johnson might have claimed the right back position for the next England game as well, which would give him even more chance at claiming it permanently...
It is not just the Pompey contingent that can be proud with a good nights work on international duty, the whole side performed well and this is an England performance that I must enjoyed - the best one in a long time for me!
The 'superstars' that pulled out with injury were not missed at all, and this performance proved that point that 'star name players' do not always necessarily produce the best results. If you give players that are hungry to take the chance the chance to shine and more often than not they will - the hunger was most definitely there!
Chances are the 'top names' will walk straight back into the fold, although having said that Capello seems as though he is not going to be a pushover so maybe some of these might have 'cried wolf' one too many times...
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Date:Thursday November 20 2008
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