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Thread: The World of Football Management - Chapter 5 - Pride of England

  1. #76
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    England Return to Wembley

    There were no signs of pressure on Mark Henderson as he took to the stands to witness the England U21's take on Austria U21's. The England manager had been subjected to a media frenzy after the 3:2 defeat in Belarus but insisted that the outcome would have been different had Fraser Forster not been sent off in the first half.

    Two changes had been made by Bryan Robson with Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling coming into the side for Mark Francis and Patrick Roberts. Sterling lined up on the right in place of Roberts and Will Hughes was moved to the left wing with Alli lining up in the middle.

    Sterling and Alli already have 37 caps between them but had been selected at this level and expected to run riot against their Austria counterparts. However, Man City's Sinan Bytyqi gave Austria an early lead and Valentin Grubeck made it 2:0 after 28 minutes.

    The England team had more chances throughout the game but only Cauley Woodrow had found the target without scoring and the team trailed by two goals at the interval.

    Full-backs Darnell Furlong (who had been booked) and Patrick Brough were withdrawn from the action shortly into the second half with Leon Lucas and Luke Shaw coming on in their place and a goal was found two minutes later with Jordan Rossiter hitting a fierce shot into the net from a Will Hughes cross.

    Patrick Roberts entered the pitch for Sterling in the final 14 minutes but was unable to help England find an equaliser as Austria shut up shop for the remainder of the game to win 2:1. By the time the whistle was heard, England had 11 chances but just 3 on target. Austria had 3 chances, all on target in the entire game but Lewis Ward had conceded twice.


    The following evening at Wembley saw Jack Butland replace the suspended Fraser Forster despite conceding three goals in Belarus. The bruised shin sustained in the same game saw Danny Drinkwater miss out along, joining Scott Dann who had broken his toe. Drinkwater's place in the side went to Fabian Delph whilst Ashley Young was moved from the left wing to replace Marc Albrighton to make way for Saido Berahino to make his debut on the left wing.

    Meanwhile, Ryan Shawcross continued as England captain despite a poor performance in Belarus. Prior to the match conference, Henderson insisted that he had faith in his policy and that the Belarus result was simply a case of being unlucky given the red card for Forster.

    He certainly appeared relaxed in the dugout and even more so when Harry Kane found the net after 25 minutes, following up on a parried Berahino shot from Lindner.

    However, after Nathaniel Clyne and Jay Rodriguez had both been booked, the latter giving away a free-kick outside the box, it allowed Junuzovic to cross for Aleksandr Dragovic to head beyond Jack Butland.

    It had been Austria's first attempt on goal and matters were made worse when it was 2:0 after 59 minutes with their second attempt goal and another header. Weimann swung in a corner and Harnik was on hand to head it in. The circumstances were almost identical to the U21's win the evening beforehand!

    As time began ticking away, Henderson was up on the touchline shouting instructions. Clyne and Rodriguez were both withdrawn along with Ashley Young who all made way for Kyle Walker, Marc Albrighton and Danny Welbeck. They may not have made a direct impact but they certainly seemed to help calm things down on the pitch.

    12 minutes from time, Lee Cattermole was pushed by Dragovic to win a corner from 20 yards out. Aaron Cresswell fancied it and showed his set piece prowess with a finely taken shot to level matters.

    The game was then won in the 89th minute with a long ball being nodded on by Danny Welbeck. Dragovic made a hash of an intended clearance and Kane was on hand to nip the ball away from the defender and hand England the lead with moments to go.

    It was by no means a clear victory but with Austria again having only 3 chances and just 2 on target, it really should have been.

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    A heavy defeat and a scrappy win, both against mediocre opposition. Will you now accept that it is time to resign ?

    Another pathetic performance from Butland. I expect he will keep his place only because he is a Stoke player.

    If you didn't fine Clyne for that display then you should be sacked.


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    BELGIUM FRIENDLY AWAITS, 7 UNCAPPED PLAYERS SELECTED


    Four weeks after the 3-2 win over Austria, I was requested to put together a 26 man squad to take on Belgium in a friendly.

    It some ways, it was good timing for me after the shock of defeat in Belarus in between victories over Slovenia and Austria. We'd easily been the better team in all three matches but had lacked conviction at the back. Several pundits had criticised my squad selections for those games, insisting that my faith in Stoke City duo Jack Butland and Ryan Shawcross had been misplaced and also accusing me of overlooking the likes of Joe Hart and Chris Smalling who had the experience needed to provide stability at the back.

    I rejected such claims, of course. I knew it'd be tough to win certain people over in terms of my selection policy but I was sticking to my guns. What had I said after being appointed? That anyone who plays well enough will be given a chance to impress on the international stage. Some people were very quick to overlook the poor performances put in by those who represented the nation in the past few tournaments.

    At the time of selecting the squad to face Belgium, the Premiership campaign was now into double figures and I made it clear that only those who had played at least 10 times so far this season would be considered for selection...


    Fraser Forster
    Southampton - 28 - 6/0 - GK
    Overall, Forster has conceded 17 in 13 games with Southampton currently 10th in the Premiership and into the 4th Round of the League Cup. Just 4 of those games yielded clean sheets for Forster but he has the highest average rating in the league out of all of the goalkeepers to feature so far. He blotted his copybook with the red card against Belarus but remains highly rated in the camp.

    Jack Butland
    Stoke - 23 - 6/0 - GK
    After Forster's red card, Butland was handed the chance to impress but struggled as he conceded 5 in his 141 minutes on the pitch. He has a record of 10 conceded in 10 starts for Stoke with an average of 7.40 keeping his place in the squad. Stoke are 11th in the league but were recently defeated by Forster's Southampton in the 3rd Round of the League Cup.

    Karl Darlow
    Bournemouth - 26 - 0/0 - GK
    Following Newcastle's relegation from the Premiership last season, Darlow made a 1.2M switch to Bournemouth who were also relegated. He's established himself as the number one immediately, starting 16 times and conceding just 13 goals. Bournemouth had a slow start to the season, surprisingly being beaten on penalties by Coventry in the 1st Round of the League but their fortunes have recently improved to climb to 3rd in the Championship.

    Notes: Ben Foster was involved in my first squad but has started just 5 times with Anders Lindegaard the current number one at West Brom. David Stockdale was in the squad last time out and has continued his good work with Norwich but has been replaced by Darlow.



    John Stones
    Everton - 22 - 17/0 - DRC
    Although Everton failed to beat Napoli in the Inter-Toto Cup Final to secure UEFA Cup football, they are impressing in the league, being just two points from the top of the league table in 4th place. John Stones is seen as the most highly rated defender in the country but didn't feature for England in their last two games despite being in the side that kept a clean sheet against Slovenia. Everton have been knocked out of the League Cup 3rd Round by Watford with Stones currently possessing an average rating of 7.21.

    Nathaniel Clyne
    Chelsea - 25 - 19/0 - DR
    The 4.1M switch from Liverpool to Chelsea in the Summer seems to be doing Nathaniel Clyne the world of good. The right-back now has 12 starts for the Londoners although they have lost 3 of their first 11 games to currently lie 5th in the table. There will be no glory for Chelsea in the League Cup this season after a surprise 3:1 defeat to Portsmouth where Clyne featured for 90 minutes and was booked. Despite that and a lack of European football, Clyne currently has an average rating of 7.58 and has also notched two assists.

    Kyle Walker
    Tottenham - 26 - 21/0 - DR
    Kyle Walker currently tops the defenders average rating list in the Premiership with an impressive 8.00 from 9 starts. He has also played 5 times in the Champions League where Spurs are currently bottom of their group which features Real Madrid, PSV and Sporting and they have no chance of making it through to Phase 2. In the League Cup, Spurs were knocked out straight away when entering the 3rd Round but being beaten by Newcastle 3:1. Despite Walker's efforts in the league, Spurs are 7th but do have two games in hand.

    Carl Jenkinson
    Everton - 24 - 1/0 - DR
    Carl Jenkinson keeps his spot in the squad despite having competition from Clyne and Walker. The 24 year old has yet to feature for me but his 2.5M move to Everton from Arsenal has resulted in rave reviews with a goal, an assist and two man of the match awards in 18 appearances already this season.

    Ryan Shawcross
    Stoke - 29 - 8/0 - DC
    Seen as a stalwart at Stoke with an average rating of 7.18 at the Britannia, Shawcross has played 11 games for the 11th placed club but hasn't quite transferred that form over to the international stage with 6.67 in 3 games. Nevertheless, he manages to keep his place largely down to injuries.

    Aaron Cresswell
    West Ham - 26 - 2/1 - DL
    Drafted into the squad as a late replacement for an injured Leighton Baines, I handed Aaron Cresswell his first international cap in the defeat to Belarus where he impressed despite the result. He then shone once more with a well taken free-kick which levelled the game against Austria. He has certainly thrived in the international set-up which is more than I can say for West Ham who currently sit 15th in the league and were knocked out by Oldham in the League Cup 2nd Round! You do wonder if Slaven Bilic's job is under threat but Cresswell remains one of their best players with an assist in 12 starts so far for the Hammers.

    Chris Cohen
    Nottm Forest - 29 - 0/0 - D/MLC
    Some may see Chris Cohen as more of a midfielder but he has the ability to play at the back and that's earned him a first ever call-up to compete with Ben Gibson. He's had an impressive start to the season with 8 assists and a goal in 17 starts which have also come in the Championship with Forest being 14th. They also endured a League Cup exit as Bristol Rovers won 3:2 in the 2nd Round.

    Alfie Mawson
    Burnley - 22 - 0/0 - DC
    A surprise name in the squad, I made a calculated decision to include two natural left-footed centre-backs in the squad and Ben Gibson was the first name to spring to mind. Unfortunately, he twisted his ankle soon after naming my squad and his spot went to 22 year old Alfie Mawson at Burnley. Mawson is a 875K signing for Burnley this season and has hit the ground running in the Championship where he has an average rating of 7.35 in 17 starts, a massive improvement on the 7.02 that he achieved for Barnsley last season in League One!

    Jack Robinson
    Leeds - 23 - 0/0 - DL
    A late addition to the squad to replace an injured Billy Jones who had been called up for the first time, Jack Robinson made a big money 3.7M move from QPR to Leeds last season and after 22 appearances, he has built on that with 13 more starts this year and an average rating of 7.15. Leeds are struggling in the Championship though, being 21st and were knocked out of the League Cup in the 2nd Round by Chelsea.

    Notes: Eric Dier, Ryan Bertrand and Michael Mancienne have yet to recover from aforementioned injuries. Chris Smalling made a return but hasn't played enough games to be considered for selection while Danny Rose has met that criteria but hasn't impressed enough. The injury curse has also struck Leighton Baines and Jon Flanagan who have been called up in the past. Joel Ward and Phil Jones have lost their place after failing to play enough games whilst Scott Dann has been left out in favour of a left footed centre-half.


    Theo Walcott
    Arsenal - 27 - 51/9 - FRLC
    After losing in the Community Shield, Arsenal suffered a shock League Cup exit in the 3rd Round to Oldham but are going strong elsewhere, being 2nd a point behind Man City and have already qualified with one game remaining in their Champions League group which also features Atletico Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk and Sparta Prague. Despite that, Theo Walcott has just 2 assists and no goals to speak of in 17 appearances but has been called up for a third consecutive time although he has yet to appear for me.

    Danny Welbeck
    Arsenal - 25 - 37/15 - FRLC
    With 10 appearances so far for Arsenal, Danny Welbeck only just makes the criteria to be called into the squad and will be hoping to build on his 1 goal in 2 caps for me. At Arsenal, he has 1 goal and 2 assists in the 10 games he has featured but will certainly need to keep that going to remain in the squad.

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    Arsenal - 23 - 28/5 - AMRLC
    After losing his spot in the squad last time out due to a lack of form, Oxlade-Chamberlain finds himself recalled after a series of improved performances, two goals and an assist which gives him an average rating of 7.17.

    Tom Ince
    Derby - 24 - 1/0 - AMRL
    Tom Ince was named in my first squad and subsequently handed his first cap from the bench against Slovenia only to then be left out in the next squad. This time, he finds himself back in the squad after helping to improve Derby's fortunes in the Premiership where they have moved up to 16th. In 11 starts, he now has a goal and two assists.

    Fabian Delph
    Man City - 26 - 10/1 - MC
    Named in a third consecutive squad, Fabian Delph is doing well at Man City who currently top the table. Were it not for fitness concerns in Belarus, Delph may also have had a 100% appearance record for me as well. An average rating of 7.17 from 12 appearances is the result of Delph's season so far where Man City are through to the 4th Round of the League Cup after beating Norwich 3:2 and will take on Liverpool. The Community Shield winners also have one game left in their Champions League group to secure qualification to Phase 2, they currently lie 2nd behind Inter in a group that also contains Monaco and Steaua.

    Saido Berahino
    West Brom - 23 - 1/0 - FLC
    Called up for the first time last time out, Saido Berahino earned his first cap against Austria and didn't do anything wrong, keeping his spot in the side as he continued his work at West Brom. The Baggies are currently in a lofty 8th spot with Berahino on 3 goals so far in the Premiership from 11 starts. He has also scored twice in Europe as West Brom reached the 2nd Round of the UEFA Cup where they hold a 2:0 advantage over Astana. Sadly, there was no such luck in the League Cup as Bristol Rovers followed up the aforementioned defeat of Nottm Forest by also beating West Brom in the 3rd Round.

    Marc Albrighton
    Leicester - 26 - 2/1 - AMRL
    A surprise inclusion in the squad last time out, Albrighton returned to Leicester with his first two England caps and a goal to underline his contribution to the cause. Since then, his form has tailed a little bit for Leicester but he just about keeps his place in the team. 13th in the table and through to the 4th Round of the League Cup after beating Rochdale 5:1, Leicester are also enjoying their European adventure as they lie 2nd behind Barcelona in their Champions League group with Olympiacos and Anderlecht 3rd and 4th. Albrighton himself has 14 starts so far this season with 1 goal and 3 assists to speak of.

    Jonjo Shelvey
    Galatasaray - 24 - 6/0 - MC
    With Jordan Henderson and Danny Drinkwater both failing to impress at the moment, a search begun to find someone to compete with Fabian Delph in the heart of midfield. It was called off when we found Jonjo Shelvey in Turkey where he made a 3.9M move from Newcastle last season. Shelvey has featured in 13 games for Galatasaray, scoring twice and managing an assist while also making an appearance in their Champions League qualifier against FC Kobenhavn but losing 3:1 on aggregate.

    Conor Coady
    Brighton - 23 - 0/0 - DMC
    With Lee Cattermole losing form and Ashley Westwood failing to kick on from a bright start to the season, the net was cast wide and far to try and find two combative defensive midfielders to replace them. It resulted in 23 year old Conor Coady being added to the squad after a fine start to life at Brighton following a 725K move from Wolves. Brighton had been promoted last season which made it a step up for Coady but despite being 20th with just one win, Coady is clearly one of their best players with 2 goals and an assist from 11 starts in all competitions with Brighton being beaten by Rochdale in the League Cup 2nd Round.

    Nick Powell
    Hull - 22 - 0/0 - AMRC
    Nick Powell left Man Utd this season, joining Hull on a permanent basis for 575K after a successful loan spell last year. Hull are 2nd in the Championship and Powell is running riot, scoring 6 and also creating 5 in 14 appearances to date. Hull's good run also extends to the League Cup where they'll face Southampton in the 4th Round after beating Preston, Doncaster and Reading.

    David Jones
    Burnley - 31 - 0/0 - DMC
    The inclusion of Burnley's veteran midfielder David Jones will highlight the struggle to find defensive midfield options who are enjoying regular action and are also in good form. Jones, who is also eligible for Wales, is called up on the back of 17 starts with an average rating of 7.24 which has seen 3 goals and 3 assists for Burnley who are 16th in the Championship and were knocked out of the League Cup in the first hurdle by Leyton Orient.

    Notes: Wayne Rooney has recovered from injury but just misses out on the criteria to be called up and the rule also sees both Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Ashley Westwood lose their place for the first time. Jordan Henderson, Ross Barkley, Danny Drinkwater, Jack Rodwell and Lee Cattermole have played enough games but are not performing well enough.


    Harry Kane
    Tottenham - 23 - 21/12 - SC
    Still seen as England's most lethal finisher, Harry Kane now has 3 in 3 for me and easily keeps his place in the squad after chalking up 8 in 15 so far for Spurs. 7 of those have come in the Premiership but just one in six in the Champions League.

    Charlie Austin
    Southampton - 27 - 1/0 - SC
    Charlie Austin was added to the squad last time out for the first time but hasn't made an appearance. He keeps his spot after recently scoring in two games in a row which puts him on 5 in 12 for the season. Only 3 have come in the Premiership as he struck twice in the League Cup where Southampton will play Hull in the 4th Round.

    Benik Afobe
    Bournemouth - 23 - 1/1 - SC
    Called up for the first time, Benik Afobe got a debut goal when coming on in the defeat to Belarus although he didn't feature in the next one against Austria. The Bournemouth striker is in hot form for Bournemouth in the Championship and has 11 goals in 16 starts already but is only 3rd in the goalscoring charts.

    Notes: Daniel Sturridge is still out injured and Jamie Vardy hasn't featured in enough games to be considered for selection.

    After finalising the 26 man squad, I made it clear that this was definitely an experimental selection. Given that this was my first opportunity to manage a friendly as the England manager, I was going to try out a different tack to the selection process and was certainly looking forwards to seeing the result.

    Meanwhile, Bryan Robson announced his own Under 21 squad as follows:

    Jack Rose (GK - Tranmere), Tom Hadler (GK - Crawley), Lewis Ward (GK - Harrow Borough), Calum Chambers (DRC - Arsenal), Jake Cooper (DC - Hull), Darnell Furlong (DR - QPR), Chris Sutherland (DR - Scunthorpe), Harrison McGahey (DC - Sheff Utd), Josh Clarke (D/AMR - Doncaster), Jonny Connor (D/DML - Reading), Fraser Colmer (DRL - Torquay), Spencer Hamilton (DC - Corby), Raheem Sterling (AM/FRLC - Man City), Dele Alli (AMC - Tottenham), Harrison Reed (MC - Newcastle), Ademola Lookman (FLC - Charlton), Aaron Tshibola (MC - Colchester), Mark Francis (AM/FL - Lincoln), Jermaine Anderson (DMC - Peterborough), Jamie Allen (MC - Rochdale), Will Randall (AMRL - Chester), Emmanuel Osadebe (DMC - Gillingham), Shaquille Hunter (AMR - Mangotsfield), Alfie Crooks (SC - Luton), Dave Moli (SC - Stevenage), Marcel Barrington (SC - Farnborough).

    You can certainly tell that there is a lack of top flight quality in the Under 21 squad now as the likes of Luke Shaw, Will Hughes and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have been left out as they haven't earned enough minutes for their clubs. With Raheem Sterling set to turn 22 in December, he'll be another player that they can no longer count on in the near future.
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  7. #79
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    Very good update there Mark on selection policy which will shut the moaners up

    Question - if Stones is seen as best CB in Counry how come he's not featured in past few games for you?

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    Harrow Borough, Corby, Mangotsfield and Farnborough.

    Henderson has lost his marbles. Call the men in white coats and sack him now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Very good update there Mark on selection policy which will shut the moaners up

    Question - if Stones is seen as best CB in Counry how come he's not featured in past few games for you?
    Thought it'd be handy to provide more statistics on how the season is going

    Stones is the highest valued defender in the country but I've been selecting the XI based on the best average ratings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    Harrow Borough, Corby, Mangotsfield and Farnborough.

    Henderson has lost his marbles. Call the men in white coats and sack him now.
    Are you sure about that? It's Bryan Robson's squad for the U21's, not mine
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    Nice roundup and explanation Good to see some new faces being given their chance

    How do you decide between players in different leagues? I guess a Conference player with a string of 9s and 10s isn't going to displace a Premier League player with 7s and 8s, but how do you compare Premiership and Championship, say?

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    No comparison really, I stick with the most valued players and work my way through the list.
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    9 DEBUTS AT UNDER 21 LEVEL


    Bryan Robson named 9 players in the England Under 21 squad for the first time with only Ademola Lookman and Mark Francis having played before at this level.

    The fixture came just two days after Premier league action which left Raheem Sterling confined to the bench and Calum Chambers out of the squad altogether due to a lack of fitness. Aaron Tshibola and Lewis Ward joined Chambers in the stands while Robson also named Jake Cooper, Darnell Furlong and Jermaine Anderson despite only playing two days previously as well.

    Charlton's Ademola Lookman, playing behind the lone striker, was the most 'senior' player on the pitch as the player playing at the highest level in the team. Charlton were currently 5th in the Championship with Lookman scoring 4 in 14 appearances. He has yet to score for the England Under 21's though having only made two appearances from the bench.

    Belgium meanwhile, had the likes of David Henen, Andreas Pereira and Youri Tielemans in their starting eleven which suggests that this would be a tough test for the Under 21's.


    Belgium did indeed start brightly with a few chances to start with but England were not without chances themselves before taking the lead with a Harrison McGahey header in the 39th minute. The 21 year old centre-back looks like a hot prospect, matching last season's 12 appearances already for Sheffield United who are 7th in League One. He was assisted by Rochdale's (8th in League One) Jamie Allen, who has come through the ranks at Spotland and has 92 appearances to his name already at the age of 21.

    Allen soon tired after the break and found himself replaced by Harrison Reed, who left Southampton this season in a 4M switch to Newcastle where he has scored 4 goals in 14 appearances for the Toon Army who are top of the Championship.

    Further changes saw Peterborough's Jermaine Anderson and QPR's Darnell Furlong replace Gillingham's Emmanuel Osadebe and Doncaster's Josh Clarke.

    Before that though, England made it 2:0 through electric right winger Shaquille Hunter who now plays at Mangotsfield having started his career with Bristol Rovers.

    Belgium had been expected to win this friendly but the England team matched them in terms of chances and went even further in terms of determination and the will to win. Hull's Jack Rose, on loan at Tranmere, was superb in the sticks and there was also an impressive appearance on the left wing for Mark Francis who had provided the assist for Hunter. Hunter, owned by MK Dons and on loan at Lincoln, picked up the Man of the Match award in his 2nd appearance for the team, continuing his good work with 3 goals and 7 assists in 11 starts for Lincoln in the Conference.




    ROBINSON, COHEN AND JONES HANDED FIRST CAPS


    There had been heated debates by England supporters after uncapped Chris Cohen, Alfie Mawson, Jack Robinson, Karl Darlow, Nick Powell, Conor Coady and David Jones had been called into the England squad for the friendly against Belgium. Some claimed that Mark Henderson was going too far in giving players a chance to shine on the national stage while others felt that it was refreshing to see players being rewarded for their good form domestically.

    Henderson had explained that both Cohen and Mawson had been included because there was a real lack of left footed centre-backs in the game, particularly at the top level. As a result, it was no surprise to see Cohen handed his debut besides John Stones in defence while Jack Robinson and David Jones were also in the starting eleven. Of the side that started the 3:2 win over Austria, only Saido Berhaino remained on the left wing as Benik Afobe was selected ahead of Harry Kane.


    With Chris Cohen surprisingly being named as the captain, England kicked off against a Belgian side that surprisingly kept Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku on the bench but still fielded the likes of Christian Benteke, Vincent Kompany and Toby Alderweireld.

    Those feeling that Belgium would run riot against the England team that 5 players outside of the top flight feared the worse when the visitors had a chance after just 2 minutes but Benteke blazed his chance over the bar.

    But Jack Robinson soon set the tone with a heart busting run to catch up with Zakaria Bakkali and cleanly took the player out. It was a free-kick but the England supporters were up on their feet applauding the commitment of the Leeds left-back after Bakkali appeared to be way ahead of the 23 year old. Perhaps shaken by the challenge, Bakkali soon went quiet as England then dominated the remainder of the game.

    Simon Mignolet was equal to an Afobe header with Welbeck then having one of his own go wide. Kyle Walker, starting for the first time at right-back after Nathaniel Clyne had played all 3 games for Henderson, then thought he'd scored his first England goal with a long range strike but Mignolet tipped it wide. The Liverpool stopper then kept out a goal bound effort from Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, playing in the middle in this game, before Afobe had a second header which he put over the bar this time.

    England ended the half with 7 chances, 4 on target while Belgium had mustered up only that one effort in the 2nd minute which was off target.

    It was typical then that Belgium led five minutes after half-time as Robinson was turned by Marouane Fellaini who centred the ball for Benteke to power a header beyond Fraser Forster.

    A change was made soon afterwards, with Walker replaced by Clyne at right back and the game turned on its head straight after a Divock Origi header had hit the bar. David Jones, picking up the ball from midfield, turned on his heels but had been caught by a typically late Fellaini challenge. Despite it being a friendly, the referee wasn't impressed and showed Fellaini the red card. Kompany protected aggressively but there were no complaints for Marc Wilmots.

    The red card saw Thomas Vermaelen on for Origi, who'd been on the pitch for just 13 minutes. Henderson also took the opportunity to bring Ryan Shawcross on for Stones at the back. The free-kick saw Cohen put the ball into the side netting but when play was restarted, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain demonstrated his excellent dribbling skills by turning nicely on the ball when retrieving possession and working his way just outside of the penalty area before firing a wicked outside boot shot that found the net.

    The game was punctuated by changes in the next 8 minutes as Henderson gave a debut to Coady replacing Jones and also sent on Kane, Marc Albrighton, Thomas Ince and Fabian Delph. However, the game died down and both teams had to settle for a 1:1 draw which will be disappointing for Henderson given that Belgium scored with their only shot on target, a similar story to the two goals Austria had scored in the last England game.

    England now wouldn't play the next game, a return to the World Cup Qualifiers, until March in 4 months time. It'll certainly give Henderson plenty of time to consider whether the experiment of selecting a naturally left footed centre-back had worked. Chris Cohen was captain for the 90 minutes but never looked comfortable. Elsewhere, David Jones hadn't done a lot but Jack Robinson had been impressive.

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  18. #85
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    Why was Forster on the pitch ? One shot to save and he cocked it up. Henderson should be sacked for selecting him.

    The cross bar was probably man of the match for England. Will Henderson select the same cross bar for the next match, or will he be selecting the Stoke City cross bar. I think he should be sacked if he doesn't.

    England flop Cohen was way out of his depth. Why was an uncapped Championship player named as captain ? Defies belief. Resign before you are sacked.

    Are you jealous of Gordon Strachan being able to select from Griffiths, Fletcher, Naismith and Martin up front ?
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  20. #86
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    screenies are fecked Mark?

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  22. #87
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    Looks like Google Drive has finally turned off hosting
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    INTERNATIONALS RETURN AFTER 4 MONTHS


    It's been just over four months since the senior team drew 1:1 against Belgium while the under 21's recorded a 2:0 win over Belgium thanks to Harrison McGahey and Shaquille Hunter. With 10 goals and 3 wins from 4, the under 21's are impressing under the guidance of Bryan Robson but the senior side haven't quite clicked yet with just two wins from four although they have managed 9 goals across those games.

    Injuries have played a major part in Mark Henderson's reign so far and he'll be definitely without another four players after Kyle Walker, Charlie Austin, Chris Cohen and Jack Robinson have picked up injuries since being named in the last squad.

    Using a quote of appearing in at least 25 games this season with an average rating higher than 7.00, the England squad that will feature in Bulgaria for their 4th World Cup Qualifying group match will be:

    GOALKEEPERS
    Name - Club - Age - Caps/Goals - Position - Squad Selections
    Fraser Forster - Southampton - 28 - 7/0 - GK - 4.
    Joe Hart - Man City - 29 - 66/0 - GK - 1.
    Jack Butland - Stoke - 24 - 6/0 - GK - 4.

    The selection of Fraser Forster and Jack Butland means that they have been selected in all 4 of Henderson's squads so far. Karl Darlow though has been omitted to make way for a first appearance in the squad for Joe Hart who has recovered from a poor start to the season to help Man City establish a 7 point lead over Man Utd at the top of the Premiership table.

    DEFENDERS
    Name - Club - Age - Caps/Goals - Position - Squad Selections
    Nathaniel Clyne - Chelsea - 25 - 20/0 - DR - 4.
    Sam Byram - West Ham - 23 - 0/0 - D/AMR - 1.
    Carl Jenkinson - Everton - 25 - 1/0 - DR - 4.
    Leighton Baines - Everton - 32 - 31/1 - DL - 2.
    Joe Mattock - Colchester - 26 - 0/0 - DL - 1.
    Ben Gibson - Middlesbrough - 24 - 0/0 - DC - 2.
    Alfie Mawson - Burnley - 23 - 0/0 - DC - 2.
    John Stones - Everton - 22 - 18/0 - DRC - 4.
    Chris Smalling - Man Utd - 27 - 30/1 - DRC - 2.

    With many defenders either out of form, injured or falling short of the 30 appearances quota, there is a new look defence in town as Sam Byram and Joe Mattock appear in the squad alongside the capless Ben Gibson and Alfie Mawson.

    MIDFIELDERS
    Name - Club - Age - Caps/Goals - Position - Squad Selections
    Conor Coady - Brighton - 24 - 1/0 - DMC - 2.
    Luke Hyam - Ipswich - 25 - 0/0 - DMC - 1.
    Fabian Delph - Man City - 27 - 12/1 - MC - 3.
    Tom Carroll - Bournemouth - 24 - 0/0 - MC - 1.
    Saido Berahino - West Brom - 23 - 2/0 - FLC - 3.
    Tom Ince - Derby - 25 - 2/0 - AMRL - 3.
    Jesse Lingard - Man Utd - 24 - 0/0 - AMRLC - 1.
    Danny Welbeck - Arsenal - 26 - 38/15 - FRLC - 4.
    Marc Albrighton - Leicester - 27 - 3/1 - AMRL - 3.
    Mark Davies - Birmingham - 29 - 0/0 - AMRC - 1.
    Nick Powell - Hull - 22 - 0/0 - AMRC - 2.

    Four new uncapped faces are added to the squad with Luke Hyam, Tom Carroll, Jesse Lingard and Mark Davies included after a fine run of form of late. They'll join Nick Powell in hoping for their first England cap against Bulgaria.

    STRIKERS
    Name - Club - Age - Caps/Goals - Position - Squad Selections
    Harry Kane - Tottenham - 23 - 22/12 - SC - 4.
    Benik Afobe - Bournemouth - 24 - 2/1 - SC - 2.
    Tom Hopper - Scunthorpe - 23 - 0/0 - SC - 1.

    Afobe keeps his spot in the team after earning a surprise call up last time out and Championship side Scunthorpe's Tom Hopper is the surprise name up top this time around after reaching 19 goals for the season. An injury to Charlie Austin has cost him his place in the squad while previously selected Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy haven't played enough matches to warrant selection.



    GOALKEEPERS
    Name - Club - Age - Position - Squad Selections
    Tom Hadler - Crawley - 20 - GK - 3.
    Brendan Brown - St Ives - 20 - GK - 1.
    Kieron Wolland - Colwyn Bay - 21 - GK - 1.

    DEFENDERS
    Name - Club - Age - Position - Squad Selections
    Tobi Adebayo-Rowling - Sligo - 20 - D/MR - 1.
    Hayden White - Weston-super-Mare - 21 - DR - 1.
    Jonny Connor - Reading - 19 - D/DML - 2.
    Michael Marney - Tiverton - 18 - DL - 1.
    Spencer Hamiltom - Corby - 20 - DC - 2.
    Matthew Simmons - Ashton Utd - 17 - DLC - 1.
    Liam Slade - Plymouth - 21 - DC - 1.
    Steven Whitehouse - Southport - 20 - DC - 1.
    Christian Maghoma - Dulwich - 19 - DC - 1.

    MIDFIELDERS
    Name - Club - Age - Position - Squad Selections
    Jermaine Anderson - Peterborough - 20 - DMC - 1.
    Ted Guppy - Hucknall - 17 - DMC - 1.
    Lewis Cook - Leeds - 20 - MC - 1.
    Harry Lee - Welling - 21 - MC - 1.
    Mark Beech - Halifax - 21 - AML - 1.
    Ellis Brown - Worsop - 21 - FLC - 1.
    Tom Conlon - Stevenage - 20 - AMRL - 1.
    Shquille Hunter - Mangotsfield - 21 - AMR - 2.
    Dele Alli - Tottenham - 20 - AMC - 4.
    Ademola Lookman - Charlton - 19 - FLC - 3.
    Jordan Flores - Wigan - 21 - FC - 1.

    STRIKERS
    Name - Club - Age - Caps/Goals - Position - Squad Selections
    Alfie Crooks - Luton - 21 - SC - 2.
    Marcel Barrington - Farnborough - 21 - SC - 2.
    Jerome Mellor - Lincoln - 21 - SC - 1.

    Adopting the same selection criteria has resulted in scouring the entire football pyramid in order to find players who have played enough matches for their teams as well as performing well enough. Just three players worth over 1M (Alli, Lookman, Cook) and a further five worth over 100K (Flores, Connor, Anderson, Crooks, Slade) shows that there is a severe lack of under 21 players getting action on a regular basis in the Premiership and the Football League. Is this a bad sign for the future of English football?

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  25. #89
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    just catching up with this

    IRL Swansea have signed Alfie Mawson and by all accounts is highly rated so good to see him here

    Up top looks a shade underwhelming - assuming you're playing only 1 striker though

    Can you stick a screenie up (that we can see from dropbox issiues ) of tactic and current qualifying table so can get some perspective on it

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    Eight players were handed their debuts against Bulgaria Under 21's with Dele Alli surprisingly named on the bench. Lincoln's Jerome Mellor was one of those starting, keeping Alli on the bench after a fine run of form. The team was captained by Weston-super-Mare's right back Hayden White. The three already capped at Under 21's level are Spencer Hamilton, Shaquille Hunter and Ademola Lookman. Hunter of course was the right winger who scored on his debut last time out in the 2:0 win over Belgium.


    On to the seniors, there were debuts handed to Ben Gibson, Tom Carroll and Jesse Lingard for England's qualifier which also took place in Bulgaria. Also selected for the first time under my management were Joe Hart and Leighton Baines whilst both Nathaniel Clyne and Harry Kane kept up their 100% selection record in my 5th game in charge.


    Joe Hart was picked as captain as Lingard made a debut to remember with a goal after just 10 minutes. Baines followed suit 4 minutes later but we then conceded in the 16th minute.

    The fast paced start to the game then continued with Dejan Iliev being sent off after just 27 minutes, conceding a penalty in the process! That allowed Baines to make it 3:1 from the spot but I was disappointed to see that we weren't able to inflict further damage on Bulgaria as only Kane scored in the second half.

    I did hand Birmingham's Mark Davies his debut in replacing Marc Albrighton and he did nothing wrong as we confirmed a 4:1 win that keeps us top of the qualifying table. It's certainly looking tight though as both Austria and Belarus are 3 points behind as we reach the halfway point in the qualifiers.



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  29. #91
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    "The team was captained by Weston-super-Mare's right back Hayden White"

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  31. #92
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    Just shows how little game time the young players are getting that I've dipped into the non-league!
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  32. #93
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    Nearly 1 year since the last post. What tempted you to get this ball rolling again?
    Solid win for Seniors and en route to qualification.
    Not so bright for the kids!

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  34. #94
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    Just realised it'd been a while since I updated it Got distracted with alphabet games and getting DTL/Vipers up and running this year!

    Did think about restarting it considering the update will have been from Spring '16!
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  35. #95
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    That was a blast from the past. Far too easy for the senior team
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  37. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    That was a blast from the past. Far too easy for the senior team
    May have gone very differently if the GK hadn't been sent off! Will take it though and move on to the next one
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Nearly 1 year since the last post. What tempted you to get this ball rolling again?
    Solid win for Seniors and en route to qualification.
    Not so bright for the kids!
    Almost as bad as my Sir Bobby Robson story that

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  40. #98
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    Or Kids and Grown Ups/County Championship.


    Welcome Back!

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  42. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by AMC View Post
    Almost as bad as my Sir Bobby Robson story that
    Quote Originally Posted by ebfatz View Post
    Or Kids and Grown Ups/County Championship.


    Welcome Back!
    Wish I could say this story had the same classic feeling though, nowhere near in the same leagues.

    Maybe I should have restarted after all
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    AMC

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    Just do a few updates leave it for another few months and repeat and you'll be fine

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