Arsenal and England: Three Gunners for the Three Lions

Joseph MillardCorrespondent IAugust 12, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Kieran Gibbs of England runs with the ball during the International Friendly match between England and Hungary at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Good morning, just a quick update from me before I head off to work this morning. Last night saw the much-maligned international friendlies take place. To the best of my knowledge, Arsenal's players came through without injuries, which is the most important thing.

I watched the England game last night and witnessed the international debuts of Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere. Theo Walcott also returned to the England team and made a very good contribution indeed.

Walcott looked sharp and was in behind the Hungary defence on a few occasions and produced a few decent balls into the penalty area, one of which should have resulted in an opening goal for England but the abysmal finish of Adam Johnson stopped that from coming to pass.

Gibbs came on for Ashley Cole at half-time, and I'm glad to say he put Cole's contribution well and truly in the shade with some excellent positive play. He was a menace to the Hungarian defence and was unlucky not to make a more direct contribution to the scoreline with an assist or two.

To cap off a good night for Arsenal's England internationals, Jack Wilshere came on for the last 10 minutes to make his international debut at the age of 18 and complete a very impressive preseason.

Before we move on from the England game, I just want to mention England's fans. I can't remember when I've encountered a more pathetic assembly of football supporters. I know the media did their best to bait them into booing their team before the game but that doesn't mean the fans had to oblige them.

In fairness, to begin with it didn't look like the fans were going to dish out any stick to their players but when England fell behind and until Gerrard equalised, the Wembley crowd seemed to communally throw what can only be described as a child's temper tantrum.

When a team goes 1-0 down to a goal that probably shouldn't have stood, the last thing they need is their fans turning on them in a fit of self indulgent whinging. Steven Gerrard claimed England's fans were "the best in the world" before the game, and whilst I can understand his reasons for doing so, I've long been of the opinion that England are a long, long way down the list when it comes to the best supporters.

Now that Arsenal have players back in the England squad and look like having them for some time to come, I'm sure we can look forward to England's fans abusing our club's lads whenever something doesn't go their way. I won't be listening to the whining of England's overgrown infant fans when that happens.

Moving on from that, but staying with one of Arsenal's English players, Jack Wilshere is very confident in the partnership he and Emmanuel Frimpong have formed in the centre of midfield. The pair seem likely to start at Anfield on Sunday and will face a stern examination of their abilities if that happens.

Wilshere is right to see it as a strength that he and Frimpong have played together since they were 11 or so, that kind of familiarity could be invaluable going forward and in the short term it will certainly help them face the task against Liverpool as a unit.

I have a lot of faith in the pair of them, I do wonder though if the Liverpool game might be a bit soon for such a big test. If the injury situation is as substantial as is being suggested in the media, though, we have little choice but to find out.

Whatever happens, they'll give their best and nobody can ask more of them than that. They're not completely overmatched and I think any Liverpool player who thinks either of them are a soft touch is likely to get more than he bargained for.

On the ever-worrying goalkeeper front, I think we can safely say that any new signing will not be in place for the Liverpool game, which means Arsenal go to Anfield with what they have, whether that be Almunia or Fabianski. Before you despair too much remember Arsenal managed to win there last season with Almunia in the sticks. One of those goalkeepers playing does not automatically equal defeat.

Talk that Mark Schwarzer had handed in an official transfer request at Fulham to facilitate a move to Arsenal has proved wide of the mark. I know Schwarzer is not the signing a lot of fans want but I still think he'd steady the ship in that position a bit, which is badly needed. Perhaps once the Liverpool game is gone the situation can be given a bit more attention.

Anyway, that's it from me this morning. I shall return tomorrow at a slightly healthier hour. Have a good day.


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