Roy and the boys did us proud on Tuesday night, in an attacking display that was more typical of a ‘Super Sunday’ Premier League clash than a England qualifier, but wasn’t it refreshing?
The shackles of defensive caution seemed to be left in Kiev’s Olympic Stadium, as England produced two passionate and energetic performances displaying a promise that has been lacking from the national side for years.
The emergence of an inspiring crop of youngsters, with true potential to compete on the world stage, is uplifting. Hodgson’s inclusion of Andros Townsend (obviously after he had read my tweets) injected a fearless vigor into the team (and most importantly for my fantasy football team a player brimming with confidence). Add to the equation Wilshere, Barkley and Morrison, together with an on form Hart, Baines’ left foot, a revitalized Rooney and Captain Fantastic the disappointment of the previous two tournaments will become a distant memory.
I’m under no illusion that come July 13th 2014 the likelihood of Steven Gerrard lifting the Jules Rimet is slim. For me there are still big question marks over our current centre-half pairing who will struggle to compete with the world’s best. But at least we can go to Brazil in the knowledge that the future isn’t as bleak as we had thought and we can play entertaining and attacking football.
In celebration of a memorable International week, I thought it was only right that The Football Gene paid homage to the siblings that have played at the very highest level.
The players who enabled their parents to join the exclusive club of having more than one son making his way in the professional game, or even the ones in the super exclusive club of having more than one son representing their country. As for Mr and Mrs Charlton I’m not sure there is a club exclusive enough for them!
I have scrutinised the record books, searched the four corners of Google and investigated family trees to select an all-time England sibling team. Obviously the sports woman that I am, rules need to be in place:
– All starting 11 must have been capped at senior international level
– Both/all siblings must be included within the squad
– Maximum squad of 19 (one set of siblings has three brothers)
So with 638 caps and 125 goals between them, the all-time England top goalscorer, two world cup winners and two knights it isn’t a bad looking XI:
GK: Rio Ferdinand
LB: Phil Neville
CB: Jack Charlton
CB: John Terry
RB: Gary Neville
LW: Charles Bambridge
CM: Sir Bobby Charlton
CM: Glenn Hoddle
RW: Shaun Wright Phillips
CF: Wayne Rooney
CF: Sir Charles Clegg
Anton Ferdinand, Paul Terry, Bradley Wright Phillips, Carl Hoddle, Arthur Bambridge, Ernest Bambridge, John Rooney and Sir William Clegg.
1. Rio Ferdinand
Not the obvious choice granted, but finding footballing brothers, one of which is a goalkeeper is harder than it sounds. Luckily enough I was at that ridiculous game at Old Trafford in 2008 when Rio took the gloves. He did concede but it was a penalty so I’m confident he can be my sweeper (in goalkeeper gloves).
2. Gary Neville
The best right-back I’ve seen represent his country. He’s passionate, knowledgeable and now an England coach – picked himself.
5. Jack Charlton
World cup winner – need I say more.
6. John Terry
A ‘proper’ centre-half, who in his prime would make most England teams.
3. Phil Neville
A versatile, athletic professional with a great attitude (the Romania game is almost forgiven).
7. Shaun Wright-Phillips
One of the trickier positions to fill but I settled with SWP due to his 6 goals in 36 games at international level. On his day a tricky and direct winger.
4. Glenn Hoddle
One of the most gifted English footballers of his generation. With the England managers job under his belt, a fantastic choice in any midfield.
8. Bobby Charlton
World Cup winner, centurion, England’s all-time leading goal scorer and a knighthood for his contribution to football – a true legend.
11. Charles Bambridge
One of England’s first ever attacking stars and he was also from the only family that has had three brothers represent their country.
9. Sir Charles Clegg
Sir Charles and his brother were the first brothers who represented England. He also played in ‘the first international’ in 1872 and was the first footballing knight – not bad credentials.
10. Wayne Rooney
One of the best forwards this country has produced. He’s now England’s all time leading World Cup goalscorer, and has the potential to overtake Sir Bobby’s record and collect his golden cap.
A bench generally filled with the lesser known brothers, but nevertheless definite owners of The Football Gene.
Let me know what you think of my team and get thinking of the best overseas siblings.
One of my future blogs will be focused on selecting a World Sibling XI to face my England team. Any suggestions will be great really received and investigated ready for the final squad selection.
Now all that’s left to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the weekend’s football – We are going to Brazil!