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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 21:45 GMT 22:45 UK
England embarrassing

By Terry Butcher
BBC Radio Five Live pundit

England were wretched in defeat against Northern Ireland - it is certainly one of the biggest embarrassments I have ever seen in all my years watching and playing for my country.

Sven-Goran Eriksson and his players have got to have a long, hard look at themselves after this.

They were going on about how they had been stung by criticism from all quarters and told us how they were going to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

England did not show that and the longer it went on the more belief Northern Ireland got. They had a great attitude, great pace and great fighting qualities.

But if Northern Ireland take the plaudits, and rightly so, England were wretched.

They were a rudderless ship, with no direction and as for formations - there were more formations out there than in a ballroom dancing team.

Wayne Rooney is wasted switching between the right and left hand side. He's got to play through the middle, playing to his strengths.

He came inside in the second half but didn't know what he was doing.

The whole thing was embarrassing because the team didn't appear to know what they were doing.

England and Eriksson will take a lot of stick over this, and they cannot expect anything else. They cost around 211m and the Northern Ireland team cost around 6m. It was a complete embarrassment.

Another crucial thing was that Rooney also got booked, which rules him out of the next qualifier against Austria. That could have an effect and as David Beckham said, they now owe the nation big-time.


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