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Did Roy Hodgson Bottle It On The Grandest Stage?

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A lot can be said about the team and how they performed last night, but at the end of the day, the blame may fall to the feet of Roy Hodgson.

Richard Heathcote

Roy Hodgson, hardly a name you would associate with attractive, top level attacking football. He had the chance to really usher in a new era with England in Brazil, but yet again we are left disappointed with several questions needing to be answered.

If Italy fail to beat Costa Rica this evening, we will begin the autopsy a little earlier than anyone had hoped or imagined. Agenda number one has to revolve around the decisions made by the England gaffer, decisions I would equate to bottling it on the biggest stage.

This morning I read countless articles about how his decision to play Rooney in the hole behind the striker was justified by the United man's performance and goal. I must have been watching a different game. Rooney scored, but he failed to connect the midfield to the attackers and apart from missing a couple of other chances he did very little. So can we please not anoint this a masterstroke, after all we're sitting here on 0 points after two games.

The affect of moving Rooney inside was for him to have a slightly better performance while isolating out best perfomer against Italy. The team was moulded with Wayne Rooney in mind, where the players should have been selected to fit the best system. It's astounding to me that people still consider Rooney a World Class player, he's not, and he's not even close. The reluctance of Hodgson to sacrifice a good talent for the sake off the overall team shows the weakness that permeates from the England set-up.

Roy Hodgson took all the good aspects against Italy and nullified them by adapting his whole team around one player. There were no bold decisions, starting with the youth of Barkley or Wilshere, dropping Rooney in favor of the dynamic Sterling. Dropping Baines to accommodate the pace and energy of Shaw. Bold decisions turn games and build momentum, unfortunately we looked clueless and didn't have a Plan B.

Did we change systems when we introduced Ross Barkley? Absolutely not. We first stuck him on the left and then on the right, and we asked him to play out of position. We gambled on the likes of Jagielka, when a little more pace would be needed next to Cahill, the central defensive pairing was one of the worst I've seen from England in my lifetime.

However at the end of the day, Roy didn't prepare them, he didn't find the system and personnel that was going to trouble Uruguay and now we sit with eyes fixated on the Italians for hope they may send us through. However if my some miracle we do find ourselves through to the knock-out stages, is that not just delaying the inevitable? I have no faith in this team, no faith in this manager and I have no faith in the FA hierarchy in general.

Numerous times I've asked friends and family members about the national team. A lot of them said they didn't really care all that much about them and it was their domestic team that warranted their support. I never understood this, how on earth could someone not be patriotic about the International game, this was our country, this was our team and this was our chance to show why this is our national game. However now I'm starting to understand.