Midsummer musings

Andy Munro talks about England in the World Cup and Blues’ pre-season.

First of all, let’s get England out of the way. Reaching the semi-finals was a very creditable performance from a young bunch of lads who can only get better (and need to).

Gareth Southgate’s done an excellent job, bringing some respect and empathy back to the discredited England set-up. However, let’s not forget that we were knocked out by a nation with a population less than a tenth of our own, and Southgate was maybe a bit too loyal in his team selection and use of subs. Rose for Young, Loftus Cheek for Ali, Rashford for Sterling and Vardy for Kane spring to mind as solutions not used either enough or in a timely fashion.

Down the line, and looking to the future you would hope that Delph, Dier, Young and Jones are replaced in the squad by young and emerging talents. My final thought is that if we had played with the tempo we did against Tunisia in other matches, football might have finally come home

And now down to the Blues. The team started their friendlies inauspiciously, with a narrow one-nil defeat against a Russian Premier League side and a draw against a fourth division team from Germany. Admittedly, our opposition were more advanced in their fitness preparation but watching the match on Blues TV, we looked desperately short up front. Even with Isaac Vassell set to return another forward is a must, never mind a keeper. On the latter note, our young rookie Connall Trueman did himself no harm between the sticks.

Perhaps we’ll be able to make a better assessment when Blues play somebody at the same stage of fitness levels, namely when Chris Hughton and his Brighton boys come to town in a fortnight’s time.