Not All Doom & Gloom

We’ve all read the criticisms levelled at Roy Hodgson and his side after their quarter final penalty shootout defeat to the Italians; lack of goals, were dominated in possession, too defensive etc. the list seems endless.

Enough of the negativity, we should be focusing on the positives and looking forward.

First things first, Hodgson set up his team to not concede, seen as a negative but something I believe is a foundation to build upon. If a team doesn’t concede at one end it only takes one goal at the other end to win the game.

Despite a calamitous 10 minutes against Sweden, conceding 2 goals, England’s defence looked pretty sturdy throughout the tournament. Joleon Lescott and John Terry looked as reliable as any English defensive partnership of recent times.

Hodgson raised eyebrows and sparked controversy before his side had even taken to field, his decision to leave out Rio Ferdinand for ‘footballing reasons’ hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. Many see Ferdinand’s omission as a way of keeping harmony within the squad, the relationship between John Terry and Ferdinand was reported as non-existent as Terry awaits a court case for allegedly racially abusing Rio’s brother Anton.

‘Footballing reasons’ may have been a cover up, even if it was Hodgson weathered the media storm and stood by his decision. Out in Poland and Ukraine the squad looked unified and determined to prove their doubters wrong.

For once England entered a tournament without the weight of a nation’s expectation on their shoulders.

Roy formation, the usual and very English, 4-4-2 came in for a bit of a battering. While Europe’s top sides were opting for 4-1-3-2 or 4-3-2-1 even 4-6-0 the England boss stuck with what he knows best. England’s ageing midfield of Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard were constantly overrun but played with pride, something Hodgson clearly instilled in the players.

For the first time I saw a whole line-up singing the national anthem, a clear sign Roy wants the players to show heart and pride in playing for England and wearing the 3 lions.

England’s wide men, Ashley Young and James Milner, rarely posed a threat going forward but worked tirelessly in their own half. Hodgson clearly wants the players to show a ‘never say die’ attitude about their business.

We can look and say England weren’t good enough, that is probably true, but why don’t we acknowledge that Roy and his staff worked wonders with the little time they had.

At the end of the day, penalties just aren’t our thing.

Sam Jewell

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