Two Minute Warning
“Roy Hodgson can’t get rid of England’s old guard”
Just as everybody was settling back into the weekly football rhythms of the Premier League, England and their international football have come along to complicate matters. Is there anything Roy Hodgson can do to pique the nation’s interest after his team’s disappointing Euro 2012 exit at the hands of Italy? Making them play in suspenders might just do it, but that’s probably a bit left-field for the pragmatic boss. The Life’s a Pitch gang takes a look at what we can expect from Hodgson’s men in the matches against Moldova and Ukraine.
The country might be crying out for emerging talent to be given a chance to strut their stuff, but the Sunday Mirror’s David Walker says Hodgson can’t afford to chip the deadwood out of the side just yet. “He can’t kick out the old guard because there are no young guys ready to be in the England midfield. England are paying the price for the outstanding young foreign players coming in [to the Premier League].” But, on a bright note, “Jack Wilshere would be a big boost” if he ever returns.
Painting a silver lining around the ageing Three Lions cloud, Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror believes Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are “more capable of playing together than at any time in their careers as they get older because both are more aware of their limitations”. Having said that, he adds: “Gerrard will definitely play, but I suspect Hodgson will play Carrick with him.” So it looks like more bench time for Frank.
Ian Ridley of the Mail On Sunday refuses to lighten proceedings with a spot of optimism. “Hodgson is in the job because the talent supply is limited. He’s caught in a transitional stage at the end of the Terry, Ferdinand, Lampard and Gerrard empire.” This is a time for England to “get the job done” and qualify before starting to blood youngsters. Don’t expect an open-topped bus parade through London any time soon then.
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the play button in the image above.
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Watch England live on BT Vision:
Moldova v England, 7.30pm, 7 September, ITV1
England v Ukraine, 7.30pm, 11 September, ITV1
Don’t have BT Vision? Find out how to get it