Five Questions England vs France Raised

Does Andy Carroll really think his hair looks good? Is there anything worth watching on the other side? What are we having for tea? Just a few of the posers that crossed our mind as we watched England last night. Here's some more...
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Is Fabio Capello actually allergic to luck?

Don Fabio decided to take a gamble on the fitness of certain players and in the ensuing shit-storm that will result from Gerrard's extended absence from Liverpool, it's worth remembering that if he hadn't played him, he would have been labelled an idiot by the press. Ferdinand's freak injury, the Terry/Bridge scandal, Rooney's loss of form, If Capello just admits to having disemboweled a black cat with the shards of a broken mirror then we might all be a bit more understanding.

But he needs to take some of the blame himself. For example, after barely training all week he still thought wedging Phil Jagielka in at right back was a good idea. The result, the boy couldn't have looked less comfortable if the Wembley screens were showing a video of his parents going at it in a KFC toilet.

Can England only play a 4-4-2?

This question is older and more pointless than Gareth Southgate's hooter but given that we clawed one back within seconds of reverting to it, it'll probably come up again. 4-4-2's harder to break down and it's arguable that, given an extra slice of defensive responsibility, Ashely Young wouldn't have left Gibbs so exposed on the second goal. Make no mistake though, even when they were 4-2-3-1, England had a 5 man midfield and Nasri, Gourcuff and the youngster M'Vila played around it with consummate ease.

But not just any ice cream sandwich though, a £12million, Carlton Palmer flavour, ice cream sandwich.

Although to be honest, England did display a steady improvement throughout the second half. You can make up your own mind about whether this was more to do with France getting bored of playing keep-ball or the decision to take Gareth Barry off. That's Gareth Barry, by the way, who displayed all the versatility and cutting edge of an ice-cream sandwich. But not just any ice cream sandwich though, a £12million, Carlton Palmer flavour, ice cream sandwich.

Why do we labour under the impression that Steven Gerrard is “world-class”?

During ITV's post-match bun fight, fountain of all knowledge and metro-sexual Henry VIII, Adrian Chiles, proclaimed the Liverpool captain to be “England's man of the match tonight, as he usually is”. Ignoring the fact he struggled to get into any sort of passing rhythm, failed to get near a single Carroll flick on and his total lack of positional sensibilities and decision not to track the run of Valbuena, resulted in France's second goal.

Yes, he 'toiled away', 'got stuck in', 'showed good heart', 'had the passion' and all those other meaningless expressions that 'experts' like Stan Collymore and Robbie Savage actually think relates to events on a pitch. He didn't track his runner, and that's all that mattered. Gourcuff didn't let that happen, and if memory serves, neither did the excellent Samir Nasri.

Will the new crop of England internationals be any different to the “golden generation”?

Henderson and Gibbs were slightly disappointing last night but we shouldn't be so quick to judge, credit where it's due, they were both the victim of difficult circumstances that night. Kieran Gibbs, on his second cap, looked like a player who'd only gotten twenty minutes all season, which he was.

Jordan Henderson though, looked like a player being outrun and outnumbered by better, confident and more experienced players with only the aforementioned ice cream sandwich for support. The real acid test of England going round in circles will be if you ever hear two skin-heads in a pub who, pint of Carling in hand, start arguing over whether or not “Hendo” and Wilshere can play in the same midfield.

Is Andy Carroll the player England have been crying out for?

He drinks, he shags around, he's canny with a football, can score goals, bully defences and he's not, as yet, being payed obscene sums of money to write an autobiography and tread water at major tournaments. He might well be the most likeable English international we've had since Gazza. However, the danger of bringing Andy Carroll into the England side is that when playing with such an obvious target man, the temptation looms large to just thump it to him from the other end of the pitch and hope for the best.

Players like that need support and there were at least 5 examples in the first half of him chasing down his own headers and trying to make something out of nothing. It had been suggested that Carroll's club colleague and former landlord Kevin Nolan would have been worthy of a call up, but even from his family home in Newcastle, he was still closer to collecting a knock on than Walcott or Milner were.

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