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England – Slovakia Preview: Pleat on The European Parliament, Gerrard on The Left

A friendly against some generic Eastern European country will make for a pretty underwhelming Saturday evening. Slovakia, as with Slovenia, Estonia, Belarus and the rest of them, never has contributed anything to football, and probably never will. No-one can name a famous Slovakian player, they will all have rubbish haircuts and are basically the international equivalent of Bolton or someone. It’s likely to be tedious and eminently forgettable – yet is probably a smart choice on the part of the FA bigwigs, given that next week the players all have to make diplomatic noises about the qualifier against Ukraine.Actually, Slovakia might be half-decent, having once been part of a country with healthy footballing pedigree – Czechoslovakia (still part of them in fact, within the strange alternate universe that is David Pleat’s head, where there exists “the republic of Czechoslovakia”. Get that man his own seat in the European Parliament, and watch as history is rewritten.) However, it’s a long-shot. Slovakia might be have some talent, but the likelihood is that this will quickly descend into the archetypal big-boys-vs-lower-league fare.

Personally I quite hope that the game remains nil-nil well after the first half hour, and into the second half. If Slovakia stick eleven men behind the ball, and play the role of untalented spoilers an Rooney-baiters, they will provide a useful test of England’s patience and creativity. By contrast a couple of early goals would draw out the Slovaks, create space and lead to a rout – we would learn nothing. A long barren stalemate will at least give England the experience of breaking down stubborn opponents. With England cruising atop the group, the only potential obstacle to World Cup qualification is likely to be rubbish Eastern Europeans slamming the ball to halfway and inviting us to go again.

Mind you, failure to score an early goal against Absurdistan would probably have the Wembley crowd laying eggs and bottling one another. It’s probably just a minority, but I can honesty say I’ve never heard such a shamefully abusive and impatient bunch. Nevertheless, at the risk of enraging the Neanderthalic Massive, I’m hoping for a dour, goalless start to the game.

Gerrard On The Left 

Injury to the fantastic Joe Cole has again provided a handy escape route from the Lampard-Gerrard problem. Gerrard is fist-clenchingly annoying, but I can’t deny that he’s been awesome in that role behind the striker(s) this season. It seems a right waste to shunt him out left, even though our own wonderful Luka has demonstrated that this need not be a hindrance to a creative genius.

I hope that once Cole is fit again he assumes the left-hand berth, and Gerrard replaces Lamps as the attacking central midfielder. Cole has consistently been excellent for England on the left, provides balance and width, despite being right-footed, and is the only player capable of dribbling past his man.

Lampard is no mug, but just is not as good as Gerrard. If it comes to a straight choice between the two, I hope Capello opts for the scouser (as he think he has previously done on occasion). Lampard would certainly be an excellent player to have coming off the bench.

As mentioned, I’m hardly pushing to be secretary of the Steve Gerrard Fan Cub. Top player, but like that other squeaking irritant, Jamie Carragher, he seems far more concerned about his club than country. Like Carragher, I imagine he would have little hesitation in chucking in the international game if it dawned on him that he did not have a divine right to a place in the starting XI. Presumably he changes light-bulbs by holding them and waiting for the world to revolve around him. And, on top of everything else, he always bangs home the pressure pens for his club (vs Man Utd and Real) but messed up in the quarter-final shoot-out at the World Cup. Still haven’t forgiven him for that.

So hopefully we’ll learn a few things before the glut of second-half substitutions. Great opportunity for Lennon to stake his claim. One-Trick Downing will presumably continue the crime of the century by adding a further England cap to his collection in the second half. Yet another pretender will try on the gloves. Win, lose or draw, no-one will remember this once we’re at South Africa next year.

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10 replies on “England – Slovakia Preview: Pleat on The European Parliament, Gerrard on The Left”

You cockmuncher, Gerrard ‘fist clenchingly annoying’ not to us reds son. More like a fist clenching legend. U simply r a cockmuncher

Possibly one of the most ignorant pieces of writing i’ve ever seen. I’ve heard chavs with more intelligence.

If you can’t name a Slovak player then you know absolutely nothing about football. Have you even seen their results? They are a decent, albeit not brilliant side, they demolished the Welsh a season or so back and have had good results against the likes of Italy who i think won some international cup thingy fairly recently.

Oh, and to put you out of your misery…. Martin Skyrtel for one.

Very poor. You have a clear dearth of knowledge of Eastern European football, nearly as great as Pleat’s lack of political understanding, but your disrespect is what is most galling. Disappointing.

cracking read and spot on!!

If Gerrard cared as much for England he wouldnt be consistently injured for friendlies.

Maybe hes more interested in being spanish like the rest of the Liverpool team?



hang about.. it’s a spurs blog. what else is he going to say? and why should a liverpool fan care?

i don’t read liverpool blogs and talk about stuff i don’t know about. go do likewise.

reply to bemused….first off Martin who, who the fuck is martin skyrtel is he in Liverpools reserves or something, and to all you scousers Gerrald loves your club so much he nearly went to Chelski, its all about the money and don’t be fooled its anything else.

Some very good points here. I agree especially with the observation about Joe Cole. The England team has always missed him when he’s injured (as does Chelsea) and he always delivers for England. This is more than can be said for Gerrard, who has rarely done well for England, and yet somehow it’s always about him. I hope you’re right and that Joe returns to his place in the starting 11. Curious that Capello seems so keen on Downing; a travesty if he gets a place before Joe Cole.

gotta say bemused, did’nt know that skyrtel does play in your reserve’s…….just watching him now, good isn’t he.

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