Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts

Last night, I made some rather uncharitable comments about tonight’s international friendly between England and Greece. I have been considering what I said this afternoon, especially after a couple of my co-workers admitted to being almost excited about the prospect of seeing the first match of the Steve McClaren era this afternoon. It will, to be fair, interesting to see how they play tactically, and I would have been looking forward to seeing Aaron Lennon getting (hopefully) a full ninety minutes on the right, were it not for the fact that McClaren has decided to play Gerrard there, in order to accomodate Frank Lampard and Owen Hargreaves. Sheesh. I was excited for about forty seconds. This isn’t going to be the start of some great new era. McClaren, I’m starting to realise, is just going to be Sven-Lite – nothing more, nothing less. He may or may not be less in thrall to the concept of celebrity than Eriksson was, but he’s making a clear statement of intent. Defoe up front (because Owen is injured and Rooney is suspended, presumably). Downing on the left (because Cole is injured, presumably). Terry as captain. The message is this: not a great deal is going to change. Of course, we knew this all along, and it’s a shame that Dean Ashton suffered such a nasty injury in training (one would hope that...

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