The senior side may have lost 2 successive home games for the first time since 1977, but there was a glimmer of hope for the future of English Football.
At Wembley, England fans were reminded of just how much will need to be done for England to be in with a good chance of progressing to the knockout stages in Rio next summer, with this match highlighting the lack of quality options. This was in comparison to a German side that managed to rest Ozil, Klose along with a host of other big names, and still look far superior with their flawless passing and an organised structure, epitomised by the defensive leader Mertesacker, something that we are crucially missing.
Metersacker rose above Smalling to head Germany’s winner just before half-time and Germany never looked back. Partnered by Jerome Boateng at the back, Mertesacker was everything that England needed. And as if to rub it in, Germany were able to replace these quality players with substitutions who were more than adequate. I’m not so sure the same could be said for England. It wasn’t all bad, with promising performances from Lallana, Townsend and Joe Hart, who have all reinforced their places in contention for the squad next summer, but confidence will be low going into the final friendly against Denmark.
However, at a sold out Greenhous Meadow in Shrewsbury, the under-21 side hit San Marino for nine in what was an impressive display as they showed that they can be clinical in front of goal; isn’t that something that the senior side are missing? Opta statistics stated that England “failed to have a shot on target in a home game for the first time since losing 1-0 to Scotland in November 1999”. A worrying statistic to say the least.
With football players and pundits taking to social media to reflect on last night’s football action, Joey Barton was as outspoken as ever, calling for next year’s World Cup to be used as “a building block for the future”, and who can really disagree? With our chances of winning a trophy next summer looking extremely slim, surely fans would rather watch a young and exciting England team enjoying themselves with attacking football, with new exciting players being tried out in the hope of benefitting in the long term? As unlikely as this now appears, with only one game to go before the provisional squad is made, it is likely that many England fans would rather see some risks being taken, than watch performances similar to those against Chile and Germany.
James Ward-Prowse, Tom Ince and Will Hughes impressed for the Under-21’s last night, all grabbing goals in the rout, with Ravel Morisson and Wilfried Zaha also looking promising prospects for the attacking future of the national team. They might make mistakes early on, but with the future of English football at stake, it could be a wise move to start including them sooner rather than later.