BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Football: Internationals: England  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Teams
Statistics
FA Cup
Eng Prem
Internationals
Champions League
Uefa Cup
Eng Div 1
Eng Div 2
Eng Div 3
Eng Conf
Scot Prem
Scottish Cup
Scot Div 1
Scot Div 2
Scot Div 3
Europe
Africa
League of Wales
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 00:36 GMT
An abject England display

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson and his players deserve a measure of sympathy for the current plight - but they were still abysmal against Australia at Upton Park.

The big plus for England was Wayne Rooney and the other youngsters who came on and restored some respectability in the second half.

But England proved what we have said many times before, and that is if you start slowly, it is very difficult to pick up the tempo.

Players were going through the motions in the first half. They never got started, and in those situations you become sloppy, disorganised and start to blame each other.

I don't know why Paul Robinson wasn't playing from the start

The demands on the modern players are such that you cannot keep playing big match after big match.

The Manchester United and Arsenal contingent have an FA Cup tie on Saturday then a Champions League game to follow, and I think Sven-Goran Eriksson would have been better off not playing any of them.

In the second half, England at least had eleven players coming on who were unbelievably hungry.

But if, as happened in the first half, you tell players they are going to play for 45 minutes it is an easy get-out for them. They tend to stroll.

Some of the England players on show were some of the most committed players you will ever see, and yet they went through the motions because of the circumstances surrounding the game.

Australia have got some good players, but the time and space they were afforded at times was unbelievable.

Wayne Rooney was England's major plus, according to Alan Hansen
'What a threat the boy is' - Hansen on Rooney

If we are looking for plusses, it was so exciting to see Wayne Rooney - what a threat the boy poses for the opposition.

I saw him playing against Liverpool at Anfield earlier this season and he was blistering.

Every time he gets the ball you think something is going to happen.

I wouldn't have any qualms about putting this kid on the bench if England were playing in a big game, and if they were struggling, I would throw him on for the last 20 minutes.

Rooney would be the one of the younger brigade I would take first into the next full squad, and I thought Leeds United's Paul Robinson also did well.

I don't know why he wasn't playing from the start.

But the big question at the end of the night has to be the future of England friendlies - because as the result proved, it is a difficult position for everyone involved.

England v Australia latest

England 1-3 Australia

Comment and analysis

Have your say
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales