Let’s ac­cen­tu­ate the pos­i­tive with Hodg­son

The Football League Paper - - GRAHAM WESTLEY -

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.

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