England

So that’s it then! No more checking through endless channels to see which is showing the game. No more checking social media disgraces Twitter and Facebook to read the views on the match. Life, as we have become accustomed to it, is over.

Well, for two weeks anyway!

Stubborn old man can stash his blazer and his grey jumper and, in exchange, can dig out the long quilt coat he has been trying to make fashionable for years. You know the one, when he puts the hood up he looks remarkably like the Grim Reaper.

Pep and José can look forward to a continuation of the Manchester rain but, after the break, it will be a few degrees colder.

Antonio Conte will be two weeks nearer to a return to the land of the Cornetto, pasta and opera, from whence he came.

Jürgen Klopp will have spent the entire fortnight training his defence on how to do anything but defend, assuming they haven’t all been called up for their international squads. Now that would be something! Imagine the Liverpool team with international defenders, they may even be quite good but, as it won’t happen, we’ll probably never know!

Mauricio Pochettino and Dastardly Daniel Levy will have discussed the players’ contracts and agreed that they are very well rewarded and anybody who doesn’t toe the company line will be sold for far more than they are worth. So no change there then!

Yes, it’s international yawn time again. How time flies! It only seems like about a month since the last one!

Gawpy Gareth has selected a squad made up of players who can’t get into their club team, (which he said was going to be a minimum requirement the last time he uttered forth on the subject), players who are playing out of position at their club and players who are just not good enough. So it has the look of a normal England squad.

Fabian Delph is currently deemed not good enough for Manchester City in his natural position however, as cover for injured left backs, he is playing well. Cue England call-up!

Jesse Lingard and Chris Smalling, quite rightly, are not regulars in the Manchester United team so naturally they are called up for England.

Harry MaGuire is there because he got a transfer to Leicester City, (and is playing very well, in fairness).

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain couldn’t get into the Arsenal team on a regular basis and, when he did, he was played out of position so he moved to Liverpool where he can’t get into the team on a regular basis and, when he does, he is played out of position. Cue England call-up!

Another Liverpool player who can’t get a game regularly is Daniel Sturridge. Problem solved Dan! England will give you a game. What do they know about football in Liverpool? It’s not as though they have had any success, is it?

Who else? Oh yes, Aaron Cresswell who plays for that very successful West Ham team. You know the ones, conceded 13 goals in their first seven games. So he should be pretty solid at the back.

The problem for us poor souls who will be starved of the Premier League for the next fortnight is that, in order to maintain a measure of consistency in our viewing habits, we will watch England beat Lithuania and draw with Slovenia because there is nothing else to watch.

We will then complain that, after all these years winning nothing, it’s about time we could put a decent team together. If Denmark could do it and Portugal could do it, why can’t we? Even Spain should not be beyond comparison. It may be a bigger country but the population is almost identical to that of Britain, which as far as football is concerned, is England. We wouldn’t pick Scottish, Irish or Welsh players even if we could anyway. And all that. And on and on.

Then, just before memories of that draw against Slovenia send us all completely doolally, the Premier League will return, like a knight in shining armour, to rescue us from the abyss into which the international yawn has thrown us and we will rise, as if nothing has happened, and continue with our football viewing until the next time we can have a moan about something.

Fortunately, the next excuse to complain about below-average footballers representing their country isn’t until………..November.

So that’s just a month before we do it all again.

England squad to face Slovenia and Lithuania: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Jack Butland (Stoke City), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United), Jermain Defoe (AFC Bournemouth), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (West Ham United, on loan from Manchester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Michael Keane (Everton), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Jake Livermore (West Bromwich Albion), Harry Maguire (Leicester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), John Stones (Manchester City), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).

Goalkeepers are in green, just in case you are a Martian.

Update: Phil Jones and Fabian Delph have withdrawn from the squad having picked up injuries just by mixing with the other players. They will return to their clubs and try to get fit enough to sit on the bench! Harry Winks of Tottenham is that good that he will replace both of them, despite being yet another player who can’t get in his club team!

 

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