Sturridge Is England's Most Exciting Player and Why Roy Has It Easy with Poland
Ex-England manager Glenn Hoddle has signed on to write a weekly column for Bleacher Report UK. Learn more out about Glenn's exciting new website venture, Zapsportz, here.
It was hard to fault Roy Hodgson's tactics after England's 4-1 win against Montenegro at Wembley on Friday night.
Hodgson has been watching Andros Townsend at Spurs, and these scouting missions you make as England manager really do pay off. He was there when West Ham beat Tottenham 3-0 at White Hart Lane, but Townsend's outing for Spurs that day showed him the winger was on fire.
England's Townsend-inspired win against Montenegro was an accomplished performance. England didn't get the early goal that would have opened up the game, but they were in total control once they got the breakthrough early in the second half.
Townsend played without fear and with real freedom of expression. He was tearing down the line and going for it—even in spells when England were huffing and puffing a bit.
He's still behind Daniel Sturridge as England's most exciting player at the moment, however. Sturridge makes some mistakes, but he can turn a game around. He produced a moment of magic by the touchline that opened up Montenegro and eventually led to Wayne Rooney's goal. If it had been a Brazilian, we would have all been waxing lyrical.
It was also great to see some depth to England's squad. We had Michael Carrick and Jack Wilshere—players of proven quality—to come off the bench.
The problem, however, is that English football needs 16 Wilsheres or Ross Barkleys to be coming through, not just the odd one or two. This is the big issue I am looking forward to addressing with Greg Dyke’s FA commission, as it is so vitally important for the future of our entire game.
There was only one blemish to England's win on Friday, and that was the needless booking picked up by Kyle Walker. You could tell by Hodgson's reaction he was far from pleased with that. England have Phil Jones or Chris Smalling to step in there, and Jones will be the favourite.
And so it all comes down to Poland again in Tuesday's qualifier. I predicted England would win both of these games, and I'm sticking to it. Poland will put up a fight and have nothing to lose, but a couple of early goals at Wembley and they'll cave.
When I was England manager, we went to Italy needing a draw in the final game to qualify for the World Cup in 1998. I had to keep it from the players that Italy hadn't lost in their last 17 games!
Ironically, Hodgson, then Blackburn Rovers manager, acted as an interpreter for me out there in Rome.
I had it tough, away from home in such a daunting place against a major footballing power, but Hodgson has been given two home games to finish with. Whoever did the fixtures needs a pat on the back from Hodgson. Whoever did mine...
*Zapsportz.com is an exciting new website where Glenn Hoddle reveals how kids from all over the world can enter the X-Factor-style Zapstarz, the former England manager's search for a new generation of footballing talent.
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