It takes a lot to get the pundits in ITV’s studio purring over an England performance, but the sight of former manager Glen Hoddle eulogising about the Three Lions win over Scotland, means Roy Hodgson is definitely doing something right.
Hoddle may have misjudged a few of his past statements, but he was spot on when labelling England as ‘excellent’ in beating Scotland 3-1 north of the border, their sixth straight win since World Cup capitulation.
Although only a friendly, no one inside Celtic Park was under any illusion that the oldest international fixture of all will ever be played in the manner that the mantle implies.
What was so impressive about Hodgson’s side was that they never allowed themselves to be drawn into a battle, preferring to stay patient, organised and, forcing the Scots into surrendering possession in key areas with relentless pressing in packs.
Crucially, with the ball they broke with intent and once Arsenal duo Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had combined in majestic fashion to open the scoring near to half-time, they never looked like being beaten.
The performance was an extension of the uber-efficient start Hodgson’s men have made to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, where they sit pretty as a picture on 12 points from four games to the loss of a single goal.
Naturally, with a trail of false dawns shadowing the England football team into every major tournament despite seemingly serene progress in qualifying, caution is always advised.
However, there is something about the refreshing attitude and spirit of this new side that promises something different, with Wayne Rooney – the only relic of the golden generation left – looking as invigorated as he ever has in a white shirt.
If you are getting the feel-good vibe you could back England to win Euro 2016 at 12/1, before it disappears.
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