Saturday, 31 May 2014

England head to Miami with more to prove

So what did we learn from Peru? They're among South America's weakest teams, haven't won for a year and from time-to-time looked a bit Arthur Daley with some questionable behaviour. 

Certainly more thought should be given to our friendly opposition. England public are too football-sophisticated to be soft soaped with such poor fare laid on at Wembley.

But there was no shortage of endeavour on our side. Daniel Sturridge, with his fourth goal in eleven internationals opened up a game in need of a goal and Leighton Baines is a real weapon from set pieces. He took the corner for the other two goals scored by Cahill and Jagielka. 

Joe Hart looked assured when needed keeping Peru out in the first half. 

But while defence seemed able, a question mark hangs over Glen Johnson, again found short against pretty ordinary opposition.

Roy Hodgson likes Johnson's ability to attack but is that a price too large to pay for his defensive inadequacies?

Wayne Rooney, who flatters to deceive in major tournaments wasn't short of application and commitment, but his lack of key match fitness reduced his ability to really make a difference. 

When substituted during the second half to give Roy a look at others, it was to disguise the fact he needed to be replaced. 

He needs match fitness after injury to realise his true potential.

Adam Lallana showed touches of class and his element of surprise could reap huge dividends in Brazil. 

When Raheem Sterling came on, his direct running at Peru gave England an attacking impetus and dimension missing up till then. 

But international football is too tactical for that kind of game.

I'd love to be proved wrong but we could be found wanting at this World Cup. Italy, Uruguay look weighty opposition. By the time we face Costa Rica in the final qualifying game, will it be too late?

Yes, there'll be a spirit of adventure about new young players given a first opportunity but if we're gung ho in Brazil, we'll be mopped up and eaten for breakfast by more experienced opposition.