Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Thoughts on England

(For a full match report of the 4-0 win over Greece, see BBC)

First off, I'm really sorry for Ashton. He's a player I rate very highly, and I'd have been happy if Liverpool had signed him from Norwich (or, better yet, Crewe for £3m) rather than chasing Kuyt or Klose. I wish him a speedy recovery from his broken ankle, and hope he'll make his debut soon.

One player who did finally make a long overdue debut, after injury problems of his own, was Chris Kirkland - netting his father a tidy sum in the process (old story here). I think Chris' Liverpool days are effectively over, with Reina, Carson and Martin looking to dominate the Liverpool goal for years to come, but he's a good 'keeper and I'd like to see him do well - and recoup some of our £6m outlay.

On the subject of goalkeepers, I was slightly disappointed Carson lost out to Man Utd/Watford's Ben Foster, after it had been the other way round for the World Cup - but maybe it was better for Carson to play the U21 match than be un-used with the senior team, so it's a mixed message I guess. Hopefully his loan to Charlton will see him pick up some Premiership experience - which he needs if he's to develop.

As for the rest of the match, Gerrard unsurprisingly coped well at right midfield. I think, despite Pennant's arrival, he'll still have a place there for Liverpool this season (accommodating Alonso and Sissoko in midfield). In fact, though I'd long been saying we needed to drop Beckham or Lampard to get the best out of Stevie, I was expecting a fight between Lennon, SWP and maybe Pennant to fill Beckham's boots. As it was, I thought the midfield blend worked very well together.

I was also particularly pleased for Crouch to notch two more, I wish his England goal-scoring form would come to Liverpool - though a good player, he's hardly been so prolific in the red of Liverpool.

In the night's other big match, a Liverpool XI beat Lincoln 2-1.


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