With the Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere being the only England player that seemed to be trying to win the game against Republic of Ireland yesterday, it was no surprise that the match was a drab and unexciting game that leaves England still waiting for a win over the men in green.
But as much as the players were poor, I blame the manager. As reported by the Daily Star today, Roy Hodgson has called on the under fire and under performing Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling to develop a thicker skin after he was booed and jeered by the Irish fans.
Whether that affected his game or not is unclear but what is clear is that Hodgson put him in that position when he should have known better. Sterling has been playing well below his best for some time now and so I was surprised to see his name in the starting line up and even more surprised that the boss did not sub him at the earliest opportunity, perhaps halftime.
It seems an even stranger decision when you consider that he could have played the Arsenal striker Theo Walcott instead, a player that is much fresher after hardly playing during the season and coming off the back of four goals in two games. Yes Roy, top managerial skills to go instead for a player that is under huge pressure and is struggling for form and then suggest that he needs a thicker skin (or maybe he just needs a better manager.)
As well as Sterling, Hodgson started Lallana and Henderson from Liverpool and they produced about the same as their team mate, just what you would expect after a disappointing season at club level. At least it was a meaningless friendly I suppose but they now face a qualifier that needs to be won, so will Hodgson see sense and play the Arsenal striker? He better!