116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Saturday, April 29, 2006

It Ain't Over, England

How shocking was that? Here we were, on 116th street, watching Chelsea turn Manchester United into the 2006 version of Michael Spinks, when Wayne Rooney (who had been committed to fouling Chelsea players right to the very finish), went down in obvious agony. My first thoughts, along with everyone in the world who watched this game, were something along the lines of well, I guess England won't be winning the World Cup this year... Now Rooney is out six weeks with a broken foot, and England is screwed.
Is that an absolute guarantee though? Is Rooney really the key to England's success, the way so many writers and commentators suggest? England might not be able to withstand the losses of both Rooney and Michael Owen (who, incidentally, also came up limp, again, today), but after watching Joe Cole's magnificent goal this afternoon and overall play this season, it has become obvious that Rooney is not England's only creative influence. In fact, the Rooney injury may serve to be blessing in disguise for England. The adjustments that Sven-Goran Eriksson will have to make to overcome his absence may shake up the status quo of England's 4-4-2 formation, which may not fit the talents of England's best players anyway. Now, Steven Gerrard's superior skill, Michael Carrick's ball-winning and Frank Lampard's umm... well... presence (?) may be used in ways by which they don't simply serve to complement Rooney, England's golden boy.
England certainly has depth issues at striker, but perhaps adjusting the midfield formation (perhaps Carrick in front of the back four, Gerrard in the middle, Cole and David Beckham on the wings and Lampard behind a lone striker?) could overcome this issue. Maybe this could be Jermaine Defoe's chance to show his stuff, or maybe they turn to James Beattie (a Favorite Player of 116th Street) for help. All I'm trying to say, England fans, is this: don't despair, all hope is not lost (at least not until you see Peter Crouch getting a start for the Three Lions).


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