England’s Euro 2012 opening game against France was far from the disaster many people expected, yet not exactly the sort of performance to suddenly make you believe “football’s coming home.”
On the whole it was a professional, solid showing, that although hardly inspiring was still pleasing especially considering the absence of Wayne Rooney. Although there will be critics who claim, with some justification, ‘you should never be happy with a draw when you’ve taken the lead’ a draw against one of the tournament favourites, who are unbeaten in 20 games is pretty impressive.
When it comes to individual performances there were several ‘decent’ displays in the England side, without too many stand-out ones. Scott Parker and Joleon Lescott who grabbed a goal were arguably two of the better performers but there was only one contender for Man of the Match.
Danny Welbeck showed England fans, exactly why he’s so popular with so many Reds and it isn’t just his superb spirit level perfect afro. Holding the ball up, linking up well with others and his usual liveliness, Welbeck gave a great account of himself, despite a relative lack of service. It may sound harsh but the Mancunian hit man also suffered from a somewhat rare mediocre England performance from Ashley Young, who more often than not just didn’t seem at the races, despite a great ball for Milner to squander.
With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner, not really providing the sort of service a striker needs, it was no surprise that despite his great touches and ball play, Welbeck failed to muster one shot on goal. Normally you would criticise a striker for not taking his chances, but when he’s not even given any it’s a bit difficult to blame him. An early knock, was shrugged off and although it was obvious towards the end of the game, he was tiring and was replaced by Theo Walcott, Welbeck can be more than happy with his efforts.
Welbeck well and truly ended the somewhat pointless debate as to who should start out of him and Andy Carroll for the England side, and my only hope is that Roy Hodgson gives the Longsight-born striker the chance to not only play against Sweden but also partner Wayne Rooney when he returns for the Ukraine.