The European Championships in Denmark showed us very few things we didn’t know already.
Footballers in England shirts as a collective are not very good, Stuart Pearce is tactically naive and lacks man management skills, Danny Welbeck knows how to score goals and Jack Wilshere’s absence gave everyone the excuse they needed.
One thing the tournament helped showcase as the talents of two of the season’s biggest signings Phil Jones and Jordan Henderson. Don’t get me wrong I know three games in an under 21 tournament doesn’t; prove anything really but it’s at least a small opportunity to see what both players are made of.
Phil Jones had a good tournament, even being handed the captain’s armband for the Czech Republic game. Although, I’ve erred on the side of caution when it comes to heaping praise upon the former Blackburn Rovers man, there’s no doubt he looks like a promising signing and alongside Chris Smalling could form the backbone of United’s defence for years to come- not to mention England’s.
Jordan Henderson was long rumoured to be coming to Old Trafford and this was a move I’ve always been against. I’ve previously described Henderson as a poor man’s Michael Carrick, someone who can pick out the odd simple pass and loose ball but unlike United’s number 16 lacks any real ability to impose himself on games.
Carrick may be something of an unsung hero, but for me Henderson’s simply an unable one.
Watching Henderson for Sunderland, I’d been left positively unimpressed. Ever since the United rumours started I’d kept an eye on him and other than a well taken goal against West Ham, plus a brace against Wigan, I’d yet to see Henderson really influence a game.
The European Championships was no different as Henderson was a complete non entity throughout Such was his anonymity that by the time of the third and final game with England desperately needing a win to stay in the competition it was the £20 million man who made way for Henri Lansbury just after an hour.
Henderson is only 21 and will no doubt get better but with over £50 million spent on both him and Andy Carroll you can’t help but wonder whether Liverpool have massively overspent on two players who may need a little time to become title challenging players- if they ever reach that standard at all.
Jones will be given plenty of time at United to get accustomed to the club, the manager and the team’s style of play. Despite what some may claim, I still expect Jones to play only around a third of all United’s games, if that. From what I’ve seen of him Jones looks the real deal and as long as he keeps his focus there’s every reason to get excited.
Henderson may well turn out to be a great midfielder, but from what I’ve seen, I think it’s already 1-0 to Sir Alex Ferguson in the transfer stakes.