Friend or Defoe?

There is a Jermain sized headache appearing for gaffer Gareth after veteran poachers Wembley opener.

Thank god that’s over, International football is such a drag isn’t it but don’t worry the Premier League returns in a matter of days.

We dug a win out over some European minnows and played our part in another dull friendly which doubled up as Lukas Podolski’s over the top testimonial (the gladiator music was a bit much wasn’t it…) but we will come on to that, let’s start with the positives.

Gareth Southgate is fitting into international football pretty naturally so far, he did initially have a kind of teaching assistant deputising feel to start with but now he’s gone fully fledged Geography lecturer on us with his ‘do it yourself’ hair cut and brown shoe combo.

There’s a video doing the rounds which is from Gareth’s playing career where he states he only drinks water in the week but will have a few beers at the weekend… suddenly Wayne Rooney’s omission makes sense.

I’m giving him a bit of a hard time already and oddly enough I’m pretty impressed with what he has done so far… I know, what’s happening, England and positive in the same sentence, I’ve not heard that since they started drug testing Sunday morning “footballers”.

We have to remember that Germany are a class above, we are brilliantly deluded in this country into thinking our footballing elite are on a par with the best in the planet… no chance.

We know our place, we know our potential and we have to build on that so pessimistically looking at a game against the world champions ‘B’ team was a pretty even affair, bloody dull, but even.

So positives to be had from Dortmund on Wednesday night? I thought our new shape was encouraging and gave us a fresh, enthusiastic approach to the game. We see it deployed week in, week out by Antonio Conte at the Bridge and it’s been excellent to watch. A solid, disciplined base with captain Cahill leading and debutant Michael Keane slotting into like an old glove.

The most demanding role is the wing-back/wide midfielder roles but with players like Danny Rose, Kyle Walker, Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Bertrand as options there, we have the quality to play with this shape.

It also allows our attacking players, where we’re probably most gifted, to get on the ball more, drift into areas they can’t on a more rigid formation and be more expansive. Playing this way with the form Dele Alli and Adam Lallana are in is certainly very encouraging and Southgate has to be applauded for acknowledging this early doors.

Then we get to the negative side. England letting us down In someway shape or form on the international stage is about as predictable as Gordon Ramsay’s swear jar being full.

Let’s quickly breeze over this because it’s been covered by proper publications and I don’t want to give the idiots any more time then they’ve already stolen but there were some unsavoury sights midweek that brought shame, once again, on our footballing brand.

The lack of respect, the chanting and the despicable behaviour by some of the England fans in Dortmund on Wednesday night was deplorable. We have some of the greatest fans on the planet who travel coast to coast to see our boys play and then we have some morons who continuously embarrass us by representing the country in completely the wrong way. I don’t know how you can pinpoint this issue and completely abolish it from the game but it needs to happen, and fast.

Now onto Lukas Podolski. What a career, what a character and what a left foot. The boy has got a wand of a left peg and, as he has his entire career, dealt a sledgehammer of a strike right into the postage stamp to decide the game on the night. Congrats Lukas, you’ve represented your country well.

Niceties aside, was that really the gladiator music they played when he got subbed off? Is this where football is heading?

It would be funny if we now had players with their own theme tunes as they were introduced or substituted tho, Wayne Rooney would have Smashmouth (because of the Shrek reference, harsh I know), Dele would have Sandi Thom ‘I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker’ (that video of him singing it is still a belter) and Raheem Sterling would probably have Jessie J ‘Price Tag’ (One for you Liverpool fans out there). If you have any suggestions for more footballer theme tunes feel free to tweet me them @_ItsJJ.

I just hope next time we get an invite to a retirement party they lay on some sausage rolls because that, a 90’s cheese disco and an old, former employee cracking his trousers down for a funny photocopying prank are the only things that could have saved another instalment of ITV’s dullest midweek internationals.

Sometimes I think the only way I could care less about switching it on would be if Harry Hill started to commentate like You’ve Been Framed, that’d tip me over the edge.

It may not have been a blockbuster of a game but it was mildly encouraging in patches so ahead of the Lithuania game, surely, we were oozing confidence.

Foolishly, once again, I had a flutter on England to win 4-0 and Dele first goalscorer… That’ll teach me to be ambitious.

We got the result, that’s the main thing.

Only two things to pick out from the game worth mentioning, really, Jermain Defoe being the headline.

What a wonderful player he is. Without doubt jumping straight to the top of the pile as my favourite international moment was little Bradley Lowery leading England out alongside his best mate Jermain Defoe.

A beautiful moment, a wonderful gesture from captain Joe Hart too.

Defoe did what Defoe does and now Gareth has a bit of a headache.

He will be 36-years-old when the next international tournament rolls around, will that be asking a bit much from him to contribute? Not for me, if he’s scoring, get him on the plane.

Age is but a number, I mean, don’t give Bobby Charlton the nod because his goal scoring is probably on top of him now (somewhere his hair has never been) but as long as they are playing top-flight football and performing at that level weekly why would their age concern us?

The other thing was Jamie Vardy taking the opportunity to launch his new range of guyliner, which will be on sale from all Bargain Booze outlets. Opening day offer of a free pen with every crate of WKD purchased, use the code ‘Get Banged’ for a further 10% off.

One step closer to qualification, that’s probably the bottom line and the only thing we can really learn from the past weeks football is Russell Crowe is just a poor mans Lukas Podolski.

Just a quick side note too, I’m sure you will echo this, best wishes to Seamus Coleman who suffered a hideous double leg break in Ireland’s draw with Wales on Friday night. A brilliant captain for his country, a dependable full-back for his club and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Thanks for reading,

Take it easy.




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