CLUB AND COUNTRY
It’s been a while since Chelsea has had a player to feature regularly in the England squad, as we all know, Soxie aside, Dave Beasant was the last Blue to pull on the 3 Lions in a friendly in ’89, and Sven seems to have made it pretty clear that Graeme doesn’t feature in his plans. Perhaps rightly: after all, Soxie has had a great two seasons for us since his last performance in an England shirt. England’s loss has certainly been our gain.
And now, our cup runneth over. Not just one, but a brace of Blues who look likely to form part of the national set-up for the foreseeable future. This puts a whole new complexion on watching England. In many ways, our national team put us through the same mill that Chelsea do: in the games that count, we get the result more often than not (although this season our Cup runs weren’t as good as we’ve come to expect) but we do believe in making it difficult for ourselves en route And now I have Frank to worry about as well! It’s like watching your brother play… you seem to concentrate a bit more on him than anyone else, you’re willing him to play the right pass, steal the ball, pounce on a goal. God forbid he might be outshined by someone from Leeds (no danger of that last night).
Fortunately for my nerves, Frank turned in about the only decent first-half performance in the team, Gerrard aside, then really stepped it up for the second. True, he has a tendency to charge forward which did leave Ashley Cole looking a little isolated on the left (and, let’s be fair, defence is not the strongest part of Cole’s game) but the two linked up well in the second. And let’s not even mention his first England goal. I haven’t yet got around to cleaning up the beer which, in a fit of disgust, was thrown at the television. But despite playing out of position he did his best to infect the team with the zest and enthusiasm we know so well from the Bridge. Here’s hoping he gives Sven some lost sleep when it comes to selecting his midfield for the next qualifier.