Football really should be over now. The cricket’s on at Lord’s, Wimbledon’s just round the corner, and England’s last match against the Republic of Ireland was so boring even ITV had to apologise for showing the match.
Well, if England want to be more interesting than the proverbial drying paint then they haven’t exactly gone out of their way to show it. Joe Hart said ahead of their upcoming Euro qualifier against Slovenia that their main aim was to pick up points, not to entertain.
“Ideally, we all want to play well, have 45 passes before chipping the keeper and someone do a bicycle kick, but that’s not realistic,” he said. “We are playing against opposition who have the same responsibilities to their country, the same pride. It would be nice for everyone to love what we do but we have to do a job.”
Part of you can’t help but sympathise. While their club-mates are sunning themselves after a long slog of a season, England are playing out pointless friendlies before shipping off to Slovenia knowing that Euro 2016 qualification is all but wrapped up. If they can’t show passion in an England shirt, perhaps that has more to do with the dross they have to play in rather than any lack of commitment to the cause.
Five things we learned from #ROIvEng: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
But come on, if there was ever a chance to show off your unbelievable tekkers it’s when you’re six points clear at the top of the group and your striker is just two goals from equalling the all-time international record.
Rooney’s currently on 47 England goals, trailing Bobby Charlton on 49. If he makes it 49 or 50 this Sunday, even his old teammate Paul Scholes might crack a smile.
Hmm, well maybe not.
At least this weekend is a chance to stick two fingers up to ITV’s social media manager. Slovenia have been stingy at home, not conceding in their past four competitive matches. How powerful a statement would it be if Rooney smacked a handful past them?
He should have a t-shirt made up in preparation, with ‘Who’s boring now?’ in big block letters, ready to unveil when he hits a hat trick and reaches The Big 5-0.
Not even defensive, dependable Roy Hodgson could resist a giggle at that.