A relaxed and friendly Wembley welcomed a talented Belgium team and ten thousand of their magnificent supporters. After 36 minutes Ashley Young put Danny Welbeck through for a classy chipped finish and England played out the rest of the game for an effective 1-0 win. Hodgson said he was pleased with the “defensive shape”.
It was not an entertaining display. Parker and Gerrard both worked hard in the midfield defensive hub and Cahill and Terry and then Lescott looked solid. Rooney got almost 30 minutes and looked like he needed it. Oxlade-Chamberlain got some international experience. It was all worthy and dull.
Winning a friendly at Wembley means nothing but losing, or drawing a game like this would have dented confidence. A job well done sees England now preparing for their game against France with competence, if nothing else, in place.
The Premiership is an international league drawing the players in the world to top 20 English Football clubs. The England players play against the best in the world every week. The uber talent of the big Spanish, Italian and German have a lot of soft games.
Hodgson has loads of options with players who have all made the grade in the toughest league of all.
If England can get points on the board early in the group stages, if they can get their noses ahead against France their position will strengthen immeasurably. If England can show real quality up front there are no worries.
The German press are happily enjoying the apparent struggles of the England team. From here it looks like something is taking shape.
Building from the back there is an emerging platform for all the young talent to shine going forward.
It will be great to see how this lot perform when the heat is on and when the intensity of the tournament comes alive. Parker is in the habit of conceding free kicks in his own half and a an injured keeper and one sent off would leave the England back four in front if a 19 year old between the sticks. Losing an injury prone Steven Gerrard at any point would be tough.
But its looking good.
Come On England – Winning the Euros in 2012