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Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Terry - and soon!

By Derek 'Robbo' Robson
The Tees mouth

Frank Lampard volleys in winner against Poland

Our outspoken columnist praises England - for once - but calls for JohnTerry to be made England captain.

Hello Robbo.

Hello son!

Well you sound very chipper all of a sudden!

Yes, there's dark clouds across England but I can see a little ray of sunshine poking out of them.

So can I - that was a good performance against Poland.

It was - they had one shot all game and scored from it, which was a bit disappointing. But apart from that it was marvellous. Everyone seemed to know what they were doing for once - it's a miracle!

What a transformation inside four days.

Well without getting too biblical, the scales to appear to have fallen from Sven's eyes. He seems to have been reading what I've been saying and picking a team to fit that.

Now he's got to start making the decisions managers have to make rather than trying to keep everybody happy. He's got to decide what system he wants to play and pick the right players for that.

Ledley King makes a tackle
Ledley was deadly against Poland

I thought Ledley King in front of the back four was marvellous. I would have gone for Parker but fair play to Sven, he went for the Tottenham lad and it paid off.

He produced some nice tackles, kept it simple and basically looked like a bigger Makelele - which is also the name for a Scouse banjo incidentally. I don't know if you knew that?

No I didn't! Talking of Scousers, what about Steven Gerrard? He missed out through injury, but will he get his place back? Maybe you're right, Robbo - maybe he and Lampard can't play in the same team.

They can't - not if they both want to do what they're good at. Well I suppose Gerrard could play the King role, but why make him do that? Why not stick him on the bench and if Frankie's not doing anything, bring him on for half an hour.

He'd be terrific coming off the bench. Let's have two great players for the same position - most nations aren't able to say that.

And what about Beckham? He wasn't playing either and I thought Shaun Wright-Phillips did very well in his place.

Wright-Phillips is extraordinary. I sometimes watch him and I think "I bet he's got a hat with a bell on it and a little fishing rod at home".

He's such a diminutive fella but he scares the living daylights out of the opposition. And with the best will in the world Becks can't do that.

Becks seems to play the game with a walking stick at the moment. Don't get me wrong, he's still a star - and once again you've got two great players for the same position doing different things, so we shouldn't worry too much.

JohnTerry
Hands up who wants to be captain

The thing is, though, Beckham shouldn't be captain now. It was nice for a while, trusting him to be a grown-up with all the responsibility - and he's done all right at it - but now let's give it so someone who should be captain - John Terry.

Give the job to the man with the spiky haircut, Sven!

Yes, biggest cheer of the night when Michael Owen handed Terry the armband.

Well Owen shouldn't be captain either. You shouldn't have a centre forward as captain. What are you going to say as a striker to rally the troops - "Can you pass it to me a bit more?" or "Can I score another goal please?" - because that's all he should be interested in.

Maybe that's why he missed out on a hat-trick, although it was a great first goal.

Yes, he told Gary Lineker he "Cruyffed" it in. That's a good phrase - I didn't realise it was a verb. But Owen looked lively for the first time in about two years.

Then there's the young, hairy, foul-mouthed god who ran the show.

Absolutely. It was a close run thing between him and King for man of the match but I think Rooney just nudged it for me.

And me. Even when some of the passes weren't quite coming off, you were amazed that he'd even thought of them.

He's like Gascoigne. He's got all those attributes, plus a bit more and hopefully he's got enough people around him to protect him. If he stays fit we'll go a fair way in the World Cup.

Kaka, Roberto Carlos and Ronaldinho
It's just like watching England

I don't think we'll win it though - let's not get carried away, Christopher, I can hear you getting excited. At least the temperatures will be all right for us...I hope. Mind you, it'd be just our luck to get a bloody heatwave in Germany.

We'd have to do a lot to beat Brazil whatever. We'd have to hope somebody else beat them and opened the door for us.

Yes. Still quite positive for you, though! We're going to have people writing in saying: "Hang on a minute, Robbo's changed his tune - he's been slagging the England team off for ages."

Well if anyone says that to me, I'll say: "I'll tell you why I've been slagging them off - because they've been crap." They've been absolute garbage since the summer break but they were much better against Poland.

And why were they better? Because they've finally got a shape that suits the players. Well, until Sven goes and takes off Wright-Phillips and brings on Crouch - what was all that about? His substitutions are still very strange.

I don't think Crouch was suited to the pace they were playing at.

No, if it was American football you'd be able to bring on Crouch every time you got a free kick, then he'd go and sit back down again. But then it's not fair to compare a great game to one played by imbeciles.

Well according to Sepp Blatter, some of our lot are imbeciles as well - reading between the lines after his recent comments on money and greed in the game.

Sepp Blatter
But does Sepp agree with Robbo?

Well I don't agree with Sepp Blatter on most things, but on this occasion he was absolutely right. Some of our players are half-educated and greedy and it's about time somebody said it.

It's getting to the stage now where the players are bleeding the game dry. When a Premiership player can earn more in a week than a Championship player earns in a year, we really have gone absolutely bananas.

So well done, Blatter. I hope he's retiring soon because if he keeps talking sense like that he'll get hired for another term and I don't think I could stand that.

I think I get it!

Can I say one more thing on the subject of football?

Course you can, Robbo.

Well I've got a mate who listens to Radio 4 - God knows why, it's just a load of people talking.

Anyway, he said they've done this survey about women watching football and apparently they know more about the game and the tactics than men think they do - and maybe even more than men full stop.

And where do the most informed women football fans live? Middlesbrough! I knew I was getting through to them.

And would you include Mrs Robbo in that list?

Mrs Robbo
Will Robbo be outsmarted by his wife?

Well there's only so many salt cellars and sauce jars you can use to try and explain the offside rule, but I've kept going.

Would you like the idea that women knew more than you about football?

No, they don't know more than me. They might know what I know - after months and years of persistence on my part. But I'm very proud of our lasses.

And let's face it, they've got to have something going for them.

On a windswept night in Stockton High Street, if they can hold down a conversation about football at least they've got a chance.

OK, nice speaking to you Robbo - and well done England.

Yes, well done England - about time too. Let's hope they keep it up for the Argentina friendly - as if there's such a thing!

Ha Ha! Speak soon.

Ta-ta, son.





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"I expect him to have a hat with a bell on"



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