Any person who watched England over the summer could see something was seriously wrong. The team that was sent to France was full of talent, from the Premier league’s top two scorers in Kane and Vardy, to the young player of the year in Dele Ali. Finally it looked from an outward perspective as if maybe, just maybe England finally had a team to fear. However what happened next is something that will go down in history as another typical England moment, and a team full of superstars, most on luxurious wages, were deservedly sent on the next flight home by Iceland, a team with the lowest population to choose from in Euro history.
No one can deny that England have a huge wealth of talent to pick from. Players such as Marcus Rashford and Ross Barkley failed to make the squad for the most recent trip to Slovakia for instance, and the team that went to the France had Premier League winners littered throughout. However they didn’t perform again and because of that Hodgson, a man who seemed to have no idea how to motivate his squad, lost his job and yet again the mentality of the squad was blamed for the embarrassment.
Which is why it seems to me, that Allerdyce could have got it wrong early days. His starting 11 against Slovakia was filled with the players who let their country down in France, and his Captain (Rooney) in many sense bizarrely, is the same man who simply hasn’t enough at either leading or motivating the team since he was given the responsibility. Now there’s no denying “Big” Sam’s first starting XI against Slovakia had talent throughout, but surely if these players lack the mentality for success with England, it would be prudent to give other players a chance to prove themselves? No disrespect intended to Slovakia but the talent in there squad is incomparable to the English talent in the Premier League and beyond, and there are players that are not getting the chance to prove their worth, such as the passionate Mark Noble who constantly proves his worth at West Ham, or Jesse Lingard, the talented and exiting United winger. Both of these players, and many more would be more than competent for England and it would get rid of any sort of complacency from the regular Three Lion players. More than anything it would be sending out a message from Allerdyce, that players cannot rest on their laurels, which could be critical for English success.
The performance in Slovakia was yet again uninspired and poor, and for 94 minutes looked like it was going to finish 0-0 before Lallana scored a scrappy goal to win it for England. However my point was epitomized by Eric Dier, who after the game stated that the Euro wounds had “Not fully healed.” To be playing for your national team when not you’re not mentally in the right state will not cause success and personally it already seems to be that Big Sam could be falling into the same trap as his predecessors which is trying not to rock the boat too much, which everyone can see needs a big shake. From my perspective it seems that the current batch of England players simply do not have the confidence to run at players or try anything remotely creative when these same players do creative things at club level week after week. The simple inescapable fact is when playing for England there is fear, and this fear sees players become hesitant and make poor mistakes. Sam Allerdyce however has not seemed to address this in his first game in charge.
Of course though however its not a make or break on his regime, England did beat Slovakia and Sam may have ideas unbeknownst to us regarding tactics and the players he has been using. However as mentioned earlier changing it up here and there and experimenting would be something good to see, and it will be interesting in the upcoming game at home to Malta to see what is done. In my opinion it has to be hoped that behind the scenes Allerdyce has been mixing things up, as he will know for England to have success a lot of change is required. Malta with no disrespect intended are the sort of team England should have zero problem with, so with that in mind, it will be interesting to see if Allerdyce does decide to do what personally I feel he should of done against Slovakia and send out a message that he is not afraid to drop the people who are not performing.