The summer of 2018. A year of redemption. Basking in the sunshine, BBQ’s out, beers in the cooler and Moscow in clear focus.
The dark cold of Iceland, defrosted.
The dull heartache of South Africa, eased.
The penalty curse, lifted.
The hopes of a nation, repaired.
Safety in numbers begins at the back with Jordan ‘between the sticks’-ford parrying danger and jabbing our way to the final bell.
Harry ‘The Mountain’ Maguire’s concrete block burying Sweden & those who throw Stones from glass houses have been well and truly silenced by John.
Kyle’s been no Walker either, tearing up turf in his new role with sumptuous ease. A unit, strong and stable in Europe, like we were promised. this one reliable, trustworthy and more than a shade under £350million.
From rearguard to Lingard, as Lionel Jesse milly rocks his way into the XI. Dynamic, direct & despite his petite frame prowling the edge of the area for scraps to pulverise into top corners.
Deliveries? On lock. Kieran Whippier is the answer. The Bury Beckham and his pinpoint precision helped find Dele waiting in the quarters.
As for Alli, it’s been more than a fortnite he’s been impressing for. Dancing his way through bodies of outstretched legs to provide the penetration we’ve been longing for.
Every team needs reliability. Jordan Dependerson, is the nations the unsung hero. His dogged determination and lion-heart has been evident weather deputising the armband or not, his growl can be heard from touchline to touchline.
The squad is Young, hungry and courageous but Ashley brings the experience. A cultured, versatile pro with heaps of medals. Whether he adds a World Cup one to his collection or not there should be nothing but pride weighing his shoulders down.
The price of Sterling may have struggled in recent years but to us, Raheem is invaluable. Unselfish running, bursts of invention and a right-footed weapon the papers love to shoot at, we’ll have none of that criticism here.
Onto King Kane, our clinical captain. Unassuming, charming and delightfully pleasant off the field, but the second his boots grip onto the turf the monster within grows. Rocketing penalties, leading the line, nodding in late winners, he Kane, he saw, he conquered.
If it’s looking tight and you’re looking for someone to Loftus, Ruben is our guy. Causing a stir on socials for his Cheek but it’s his appearance on the field that has been breathtaking.
Everyone’s played a part so far and when we looked in Dier need of a new storyteller, Eric stepped up from 12 yards to rewrite the history book.
Now the man who put us on this journey to Rashia. The United wonderkid shed a tear in the quarters but it’s the eyes of the opposition that weep upon Marcus’ arrival.
The squad has strength in Delph and plenty of it. Fabian, Gary, Trent, Phil and both the Danny’s all Rose to the occasion with AA performances when Cahill’d upon.
We’re not there yet but when we need a party, you know the guy to go too. Jamie Vardy, the nations favourite firework. Thunderous, colourful and packs a punch.
We’ve got a worldclass stopper but you need a top draw Jack-up keeper and we have Butland, safe as houses.
There is already a Pope in Nick, but will we have a few more knights added to the realm when our heroes touchdown on home soil?
Arise Sir Gareth – the leader of lions. He’s felt the lot, turmoil, pain, there’s even a slice of Pepperoni in his past but now it’s all about that waistcoat. He’s the lad next door who offers to help repair the parting fence. The guy who’ll happily take in a parcel without digging out the contents. You’d even trust him with housesitting your manor whilst you gallivant abroad, no need to lock the doors, Gaz has morals. In addition to that trustworthy smile he’s also the man who has restored pride and passion to this wonderful country.
No longer are there three lions to sing of. That pride is now 23 strong and they all deserve to be number one! Football may have extended its gap year (or 52) and regardless of the outcome tonight and Sunday, something has already come home – the spirit of English football.