England 1 Denmark 0: Three talking points as Sturridge strikes
England 1 Denmark 0: Three talking points as Daniel Sturridge fires the Three Lions to victory at Wembley
Even the most optimistic England fans will have their doubts over whether England can reach the latter stages in Brazil, but if one man can fire the Three Lions to World Cup glory it is Daniel Sturridge. The front-man can’t stop scoring and has already notched up 18 Premier League goals and five assists this season for Liverpool. He is one part of ‘SAS’ – possibly the deadliest strike duo on the European stage – and he has shown he can transfer club form to international duty. As long as he receives service, the 24-year-old will produce the goods and with Steven Gerrard in the side, there is already an understanding from midfield to attack. Throughout tonight’s game he looked lively and would have scored before half-time but for a fine save from Kasper Schmeichel. But the Merseyside hitman persisted as he does and got his just rewards. If Roy Hodgson puts his faith in the player, as Brendan Rodgers has done, then he is sure to also get his just rewards come June.
Should we be worried?
England fans may be worried after tonight’s result – and they should be. Denmark are certainly no pushover on the international scene but they are not world-class standard. In less than 100 days the Three Lions will kick off their World Cup campaign, beginning their battle to progress from the group of Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica. It was a victory but one that was far from convincing. The tempo of the side was flat in the first-half and despite improving, Denmark could have taken the lead. Against top-class opposition there will be no time to get into the match and the team will be punished as we have previously saw year after year. The likes of Luis Suarez and Mario Balotelli are sure to offer more firepower than the Danes did tonight – a team who had defender Daniel Agger as their top-scorer during World Cup qualifying. But Hodgson will know more than anyone that improvements need to be made to ensure his men can fight against the top sides, the only thing fans can do is to wait. The stars are certainly there but Hodgson has the difficult task of ensuring they can play together – something which countless England managers over the last couple of decades have failed with.
Luke Shaw to Brazil?
After being introduced at half-time, the Southampton defender seemed as though he was playing on the turf at St Mary’s rather than Wembley. The 18-year-old was unfazed by the pressure of receiving his first full international cap and though not heavily involved, he certainly held his own. Shortly after coming on, the left-back won the ball in his own corner and moments later he was bombing forward to get onto a Raheem Sterling pass before delivering a telling ball towards Daniel Sturridge. It could have so easily been an assist on another day but this is a sign for all England fans of what they can expect possibly this summer and for years to come. Team-mate Adam Lallana has claimed that the youngster is as good as £80m man Gareth Bale but whether or not Shaw takes a seat on the flight to Brazil will be down to one man – Roy Hodgson. Tonight’s audition will show Hodgson that the player can no doubt handle the added burden of wearing the England strip but he will do well to oust Ashley Cole. The Chelsea full-back has 106 international caps and with Leighton Baines establishing himself as first choice, Hodgson must decide whether to go with youth or experience.