International friendlies – especially those involving England – are never the most sparkling of affairs. But Tuesday’s game with Ghana is actually one that could be more entertaining than most, mainly due to the huge 21,000 away support that will provide the usually dour Wembley with some atmosphere.
It is frustrating then that the press have once again towed a negative line in the build-up to the game. Just like the string of England managers before him Fabio Capello can seemingly do no right and his decision to send five players home has resulted in a barrage of criticism by assorted journalists.
Some things don’t change eh?
Though actually in this case I think they have. Not with the ‘glass half empty’ scribes peddling their scripts of doom, but the supporters who see through the frankly desperate attempts to make headlines and boost dwindling newspaper sales.
The ‘England manager is clueless’ line is on that has been used for 40 years and we now see through it.
He can’t win. Friendlies are seen as a useless, time wasting exercise when he plays his strongest team yet when Capello looks to experiment, as he has done this week, he is accused of ‘cheapening’ the contest.
One journo even said this was an England team stripped ‘down to the bone’. What? Only five players were let go and one of those, Michael Dawson, is a relative newcomer to the international set-up.
You a far more likely to watch a better game with younger, more in-experienced players anyway as they are desperate to impress, rather than Rooney and co playing within themselves for 45 minutes under instructions from their club bosses so they don’t get injured.
Don’t get me wrong this England team and their coach still have glaring weaknesses but the supporters no longer need the press to point them out for them.
Instead they need to actually report and analyse on what is there rather than pursue yet another England manager witch-hunt before the weary paying public abandon their publications completely.