Monday, 6 December 2010

England's future looks bright

It hasn't been a great week for England football fans. Denied the chance to host the 2018 World Cup despite Sky Sports News getting the nation's hopes up in the days and hours leading up to the failed bid by telling us all how the "momentum" was firmly with the English bid, it seemed like Premier League fans would be keen to push any thought of the England team out of their minds over the weekend.

However, two performances from a couple of English players not yet established as crucial parts of Fabio Capello's starting line-up have handed England fans reason to be optimistic ahead of the next round of international fixtures.

Saturday afternoon saw Chelsea's plans to overcome their recent struggles and retake the lead at the top of the table undone in ruthless style by Leighton Baines, whose runs down the left wing tormented a fragile and uninspired opposition. The Chelsea betting suggested they would win, but they never looked in control.

Baines is a master at turning defence into attack and almost single-handedly pulled Everton back into the game after they slipped behind at Stamford Bridge. His break forward and pinpoint cross for Jermaine Beckford's equaliser was of the highest quality and ultimately the Everton man proved to Capello that, although Ashley Cole may be one of the best left backs in the world at the moment, there is young talent coming through. Anyone who has placed a Premier League bet on Everton will have been impressed by what they saw.

Meanwhile, at the Stadium of Light, Jordan Henderson was proving to Capello that he's more than deserving of a second chance in an England shirt after a fairly disappointing debut. Henderson's goal proved crucial to the end result but it was his general play in midfield, whether that was breaking up West Ham's possession or instigating an attack forward along with the likes of Danny Welbeck and Asamoah Gyan, that allowed the Sunderland man to prove yet again how crucial he is to his club.

Henderson will now hope that he can avoid the fate suffered by Kieron Richardson, who has excelled at club football level but has never really made an impact on the international scene. Whether Henderson is able to achieve such a difficult transformation remains to be seen but the signs are certainly good for those England fans looking forward.