Marred by fan violence, surrounded by blame, covered in elements of disappointment. Fair to say England have done it again! getting things right first time around just wouldn't be English would I! but in a game tarnished by post match trouble, there are so many positives to take from this England performance.
Outstanding individual performances.
Some players were incredibly strong, most notably Wayne Rooney, who was unlucky to be substituted, Eric Dier also played well and worked hard and put England in the lead before the late Russian equaliser. Adam Lallana caused problems in the first half being involved in multiple chances, Kyle Walker was unplayable at times in the first half, and England should've had the game killed off by the time the half time whistle went.
The problem for me.
painful to say after one game and I really hope his managerial experience shows, but Roy Hodgson struggled tonight, some of his tactical changes were wrong. Taking off Rooney, playing Raheem Sterling in a position in a set up where he struggled to create, coming more suited to the role as the game progressed. Playing and unusual formation was only the beginning of the frustrations for me. playing Lallana in a position similar to a right wing position, where granted he played well for fourty minutes and then began to fade, but through no fault of his own. No Jamie Vardy? everyone knows how slow the Russian defence is, and how well Vardy could exploit that weakness, even as an impact sub, but no. One painful thing to watch for me is hanging on at 1-0, which if even if in full control of a game is risky as it allows absolutely no room for error, but when Russia were slowly improving and causing more of a threat the later the game went on. Frustrating.
Wilshere is being blamed by some for the goal, the Wilshere who has been out all season through injury and who comes on in a position we know isn't is strongest, in a game where every battle is key. it's mad to blame him. Bringing James Milner off the bench, he can be a threatening midfielder, but stuck on the left side of midfield he can't be, he's got to adapt, crazy.
Overall the thing that is most frustrating is Hodgson's inability to build a team, a team who bond and do not play because they are the best player, but because they are the player most suited to that position for the style that manager wants to play. He got it right with Rooney, then subbed him off.
England are already in a sticky situation, but as I said in the intro, at times in that game we should've been scoring for fun, creating left right and center, and coming away with 3 points. It isn't all bad, but it's sometimes so infuriating to watch.
sorry for the rant, if we win I promise to take everything I say back, I want Hodgson to succeed, I believe he can, but he's doing his best at the moment not to reassure me. Beating Wales is a must for England