Let’s accentuate the positive with Hodgson
Iheard a radio show last week in which a commentator was suggesting that the mass media in this country want England to do well. I am convinced that is the case, even though the most talked about headlines of my time relate to ‘Turnips’.
The problem is that the job of a critic is to criticise.
Let’s imagine that we all took a common attitude to our England team. Let’s imagine that it became law that criticism must always be constructive with the emphasis on praise.
The report then of England’s win over Norway might have read like this:
England played their best football of the night in a diamond formation.
The captain won his first game and showed courage in scoring a decisive penalty.
Raheem Sterling continued to build upon his reputation as a rising star producing more exciting moments.
A win is a win and the job was done; Germany beat Brazil 7-1 and Argentina 1-0; different results but both were crucial to their objective.
Many youngsters gained valuable full international experience and did well to keep a clean sheet in the unusually empty Wembley Stadium.
The goalkeeper did what he had to do when needed.
The team will have to improve upon this showing to beat the Swiss but the signs are there that if the manager gets selection and shape right then the team can do the job.
It was a difficult night. After the World Cup and the loss of big international names, the pressures on the players and the atmosphere in the camp were inevitably going to change.
That report would not have been false. Even though it fell dramatically short of the widespread condemnations that led to the masses feeling that managerial change was needed.
Then, by counter balance, the report after the Switzerland fixture might have read:
Three points, a clean sheet and two good counter attacking goals.
A solid start and a second win to follow up the Norway result.
The players seemed comfortable in the diamond shape and adapted well when the shape was sensibly changed.
It was great to see the collective reaction of the squad when the goals were scored.
The best of this team is someway off and there are bound to be highs and lows in performance along the road to betterment but it was great to see the them take responsibility and show mental strength to do their first competitive job after the World Cup.
Let’s not get too high in victory; let’s not get too low in any defeat. Let’s face the facts and support the strategic decision to back Roy Hodgson.
Let’s enable him to succeed by encouraging him to be patient and trust in our young players. Let’s not force him on to the back foot and pressurise him into reverting to the tried and trusted by exerting constant pressure on him.
Yes it is his job to face negativity and stand strong. But I bet he would do a better job with the support of the nation.