Beer is expensive. Well not crazy expensive, but having lived near and around London most of my life I didn’t know beer could be an affordable beverage until I moved to the northern wildlands – which helped with university life. Now there are slight regional variations, such as pub in London being much more likely to be serving up some Camden brewed pale-ale (like this, which is pretty good), whilst a pub in North Yorkshire will be more likely to offer up a local amber-ale or something, which vary in quality but are cheap so this has my seal of approval. Continue reading
Fan of the Timesplitters series? Did that trailer leave you deeply unsatisfied? Are you curious what this mysterious Timesplitters Rewind is exactly? Well you are in the right place, today I will look into the information we have regarding Timesplitters Rewind and piece together what exactly we can expect. Continue reading
Fallout New Vegas i.e. the best Fallout has a lot of quests in it, absolutely loads, not just quests but great quests. For me, there’s soo many great quests in this game that narrowing a list down to 5 is hard. Any excuse to play the game again though is welcome and thus the list was formed, so here are the top 5 quests in Fallout New Vegas. Continue reading
Fallout 4 is a decent game, not or personally nowhere near the quality of Fallout New Vegas, its still a game that will eat away the hours as you wander the ruins of Boston looking for enemies to kill and quests to complete. Although most quests follow a similar formula of “go here, kill guy, go back”. There are some exceptions and some truly memorable stories. So I’ll be looking at 5 of the best quests in Fallout 4.
The Secret Of Cabot House
Boston is in complete ruin, even in cities where people live the destruction is evident and then theres Cabot house. A place completely untouched by the war. Inside it seems as though there hasn’t even been a nuclear war, but the mystery goes even further than why Jack Cabot’s house looks nice. When you first speak to him he goes on about aliens and and ancient civilisations and your tasked with retrieving a serum that has been stolen outside a facility he uses called Parsons state insane asylum. Simple enough, the next quest involves tracking down he’s sister. The mystery deepens when you find her and she’s old enough to be his mother. She can tell you the real purpose of the which is halting the ageing process. Upon returning to Jack you hear that the asylum is under attack and you go with him to the asylum. On the way he’ll tell you everything about his father discovering an ancient city and artifact in Arabia. How it changed him and that the mysterious serum that stops ageing is basically his fathers blood. Also on the way Jack will start fights with everything including legendary enemies, the forged as well as a deathclaw. Watching the entire story and mystery unfold is really cool and it culminates in choice to either save Lorenzo (Jacks Father) or kill him to stop him from getting out. Saving him nets you a lifetime supply of the mysterious serum, which is good for some characters. Killing him will end up getting you a unique gamma gun, which is ok I guess.There aren’t too many quest in the game with actual choices but this still a very interesting one.
Cambridge Polymer Labs
This is the first quest on the list and one of two that can be completed in multiple ways, although theres no major choice at the end having a choice on how to complete the quest is something Fallout 4 lacks. Both ways are interesting enough but only one snags you a cool piece of power armor. As for the story well its starts with you getting locked in a part of the facility and being told that your not allowed to leave until an experiment is complete. To complete the experiment the basically has to find the right chemicals and put them in the right places. Thats one way at least, you can ignore this and escape without doing the experiment. Once you find a Doctors terminal you can access an emergency override, then its just a case of fighting your way out. Like I said however doing the experiment gets you a unique piece of power armor called the Piezonucleic power armor. Once the experiment is finished you are allowed to leave and are taken to the directors office. Unfortunately he’s a ghoul and attacks you, once he’s dealt with your given money and theres a skill maganize in his office as well. Theres some interesting entries in his terminal that explains why you were locked in until the experiment was complete.
Hole In The Wall
This quest is set in vault 81, usually vaults in fallout are filled with nothing but tragic events and stories. So its a surprise when you first find vault 81 and everyone is still alive, not only that but when you explore it everything seems fine, no sinister experiment going on here. All there is to do is help some of the residents out by giving them fertiliser or tools, tell stories of your adventures to school children and donate blood to the doctor for no well explained reason. Its only when you leave the vault and come back that the evil vault tec rear their ugly face. A little boy is in the medical bay, he was been bitten by a mole rat while exploring a secret part of vault and is now ill. You are tasked with exploring the secret part of the vault to find a cure. This part of vault is run down and filled with enemy turrets and mole rats and if the mole rats bite you, you will also be infected with the disease which could result in a permanent loss of 10 HP. The true purpose of the vault was to infect people with diseases and then try to cure them hoping that eventually man would be able to resist all disease. Once at the end of the secret part of the vault you find a robot who has developed a cure but theres only one left. This results in a choice to keep the cure for yourself and let the child die or to give the child the cure and have permanently 10 less HP. I think I know what most people would do in that situation especially considering that 10 HP isn’t that much, but overall a fun quest with a nice moral choice at the end.
The Great Hunt
The only quest on this list from a DLC, that DLC being far harbour, comes The Great Hunt. Its also one of the shortest quests in the game, not only that but you don’t really do much either. For this quest its the story and the character that make it fantastic, especially if you take the time to talk to her as well find out something about her. That character being The Mariner, she has lived on the harbour all her life and is in charge of keeping the towns defence’s up. You can do quests for her which help with just that, if just do her quests and don’t talk to her The Great Hunt is still… well… great. If you do you can find out that she’s dying and with some emotional support from you she dedicates her remaining time to make sure the people of the harbour are safe after she dies. Then comes The Great Hunt, she tells you a story of a giant sea monster with glowing red eyes thats been preying on ships, its called The Red Death and its killed plenty of people and she wants to go on one last adventure to kill it to make the sea safe. Of course you agree to help and you sail off in your boats to find this creature. You spot the red glow on an island and sail towards it, only to find a mirelurk the size of a chicken, with glowing red eyes of course. The Mariner isn’t very happy and you find it hilarious, now you can either tell Mariner to lie to the town and tell them it was a great hunt and you destroyed the monster, or tell the truth. The outcome doesn’t really have any direct effect on the player. If you didn’t talk to Mariner and find out she’s dying then its just a funny quest but if you did it can turn out kind of sad. If she tells the truth everyone finds it pretty damn funny, and she’ll remark to you how this is what she’s going to be remembered for. If she lies to the town then she is regarded as a hero but believes the rest of her life to be harder for lying. In the end though she regards you as true friend, a funny, interesting, sad story that makes you think.
Last Voyage Of The USS Constitution
Boy oh boy there’s a lot to this quest, exploration, high verticality combat, choice, awesome set piece and skill check. Yes! fucking skill checks, the only skill check in the entire game before Far Harbour. To be more specific I guess its a special requirement but we’ll get to it later. Upon finding the USS constitution you are invited on board by a robot and discover that the whole place is run by robots. The robot in charge is Ironsides and he will task you with fixing broken things on the ship. You are then attacked by scavengers while your on top of the ship, you get to fire the massive cannons on the side so thats cool. Its also cool that if you have Intelligence 9 you can fix most of the problems on the ship, why its the only stat check in the base game I don’t know. You do have to leave the ship to get some replacement parts, each area bringing combat with it. One of the pieces you need is in the hands of the scavengers who attacked earlier. You can actually side with the scavengers but unfortunately even if you do side with them they will betray you at the end. Working with Ironside is the way to go as it gets you the unique weapon known as the Broadsider which is a portable cannon basically, its pretty damn good. Now the reason the robots want to fix the ship is to launch themselves into the sea. Im sure most people who have played this game will know what happens if you don’t just go watch it, its good. A quest with plenty going on, a decent story and great ending make it easily the best quest in the base game.
To be honest most main series Pokemon games are pretty good, even a few of the spin off titles are highly regarded. Putting the games in order from least best to best could be completely pointless, but then everyone loves a good list nowadays, so lets get on with it.
Sun & Moon
The most recent games in the series for me are least interesting, despite the changes to the formula. No longer are there gyms and badges, now you need to complete trials and defeat totem Pokemon and earn Z items. Grand trials are the closest thing to gym battles of which there are 4. Personally the trials and totems just aren’t fun, the SOS mechanic is annoying. For those who haven’t played the SOS mechanic is where a wild Pokemon calls for another Pokemon to help them in battle which automatically turns into a 2v1 battle. Every totem Pokemon does it and so can randoms in the wild, which makes trying to catch wild Pokemon somewhat tedious when they constantly call for help, meaning you have knock one thing out before you catch another.
Not helping is how easy it all is, when combined with how much the game holds your hand. I didn’t actually play Sun or Moon I was dragged through it while the game pretty much played its self. When you hit a Pokemon with a super effective move for the first time it will register that, so when you face that Pokemon again with a move of the same type it will so up that its super effective.
This is so stupid, why is this a thing, now instead of learning and remembering or you know being aware of what Pokemon’s weaknesses are the game will give you that after you battle something once. So instead of thinking when battle you just spam the move thats marked super effective. To be fair I haven’t finished it maybe it gets better but all of this combined makes for ultimately a boring game and for me thats exactly what it is.
Diamond, Pearl & Platinum
I don’t have a lot to say about this one…
Im serious, I only played it through once and my main memory is how fucking annoying the defog HM was. I wouldn’t say it was boring though there are cool Pokemon to use as well as cool trainers, Cynthia am I right? That whole champion battle was awesome but overall the game didn’t hold my attention. The distortion world was cool though, shame about the legendary Poke’s in this game though and how they were lame, Giratina was alright.
Thats it…sorry to fans of this game but it was nowhere near the best but not bad overall.
Black & White
This game is… well, standard. A lot interesting ideas were in this game but for some reason it all feels so generic. That could be in part down to the story, which just doesn’t go far enough. It asks an interesting question about its own world, Are Pokemon just slaves? Unfortunately not only doesn’t it really answer the question it goes in the complete opposite direction. The question being just a front for the generic evil doer to use Pokemon in his own interests of power. Maybe if the demographic was a bit older we would have got a story that made you think and answer that question. The story is still decent enough but perhaps it could have been more morally grey.
It terms of cool features it adds triple battles which were kind of neat, seasonal changes which meant that you could catch different Pokemon in summer, spring, winter and autumn. Again its kind of neat, critical capture meaning by catching Poke’s it would become easier to catch more Poke’s which is pretty cool. Some “ok” additions but nothing ultimately to write home about. Speaking of Pokemon the new ones for this generation weren’t too interesting, many pointing the finger at the ice cream and pile of garbage Pokemon, Vanillite and Garboder respectively. I personally like these Poke’s but overall for the generation again its a bit standard. Just look at Reshiram and Zekrom if you don’t get what I mean.
Ruby, Sapphire & Emerald (Plus remakes)
Ive completed the original Ruby quite a few times, which is weird considering how much I don’t like it. Obviously I like it on some level because I’ve finished it a number times and also its not bottom on this list, so what do I like about this generation. The new bike was cool, you know the one you could do tricks on for some reason. The music for the elite 4 battles and the champion battle is great. New Poke-balls that make it easier to catch Pokemon in certain conditions is a welcome feature. A weather system that added different conditions in battles was also cool adding a bit more strategy to battles. Abilities where introduced in these games giving another layer to battles. Double battles debuted and there pretty cool, I like a bit more about the games than I thought I did but when I talk about these games I still have a negative view on them.
Hoenn is my least favourite region, its so annoying to navigate making you back track through areas you’ve been through to get to gyms. To using the 2nd worst HM ever to progress forward, fucking rock smash. Adding more HM’s which are water based meaning a HM slave is necessary, fucking waterfall and dive. Poor Zigzagoon only exists to be your HM slave if only Black and White made that point, it’d be above this on the list. Theres too many forgettable Pokemon, cooler ones like Flygon, Breloom, Metagross and personal favourite Shedinja are few and far between. The remakes had a chance to change some of the annoyances from the originals, like getting rid of rock smash and flash but didn’t. The remakes also imply that games without mega evolution take place a different universe and to that I say “Fuck you”!
Bases were neat and Pokemon contests where actually surprising enjoyable, I give this game so much shit, some of it is harsh, however it is another solid entry into the franchise.
X & Y
The first Pokemon game on the 3DS I would say was a success, apart from the bug that could corrupt your save file all was well. This article however is written by me, Shaun not the other guy so naturally there will be some amount of complaining.
The games are too easy, getting the EXP share early on meant for the most part some Pokemon in your team do not need to battle to level up. Your team can stay somewhat close in levels and only battle when they need to. All I’ve done there is confirm that you don’t need to grind, grinding in reality isn’t hard it just takes time which provides the illusion of difficulty. Still you can just blitz through the game theres not too much challenge. The game even gives you strong Poke’s for no reason, after your starter Pokemon you are given an OG starter, Lucario and Lapras. You also have the opportunity of catching a Snorlax who can be pretty tough. Also at release you could download a Torchic with the unique ability speed boost. You are given an incredible strong team by the game, like me most of you probably ignored the gifts and continued on but still the options are there.
Other then those nearly implausible and ramble-ly complaints theres are pros otherwise it wouldn’t be this high on the list. Mega evolution is great, cool designs, some Pokemon become even more powerful and finding the mega stones was always nice. All of this was true for this game but then the ruby and sapphire remakes pulled that different universe bullshit. EV training is very easy in this game making the late game Battle Maison thing quite enjoyable. Horde battles where you battle 5 Poke’s at once is fun as well as good source for EV training. Rideable Poke’s was ok, a bit slow but neat while it lasted.
Black & White 2
3rd place, the bronze medal, its quite surprising even to me that these games sit here on the list. The version I had was white 2 and I played it a lot going as far as to earn the shiny Dratini after beating the end game white forest. As well as catching the shiny Haxorus after seeing all the Pokemon in the Unova dex. This game really did just feel like an adventure. New features like an achievement type thing where you earn medals for doing certain things was cool. The Pokemon world tournament was also a really cool concept and adding more content to game that was already filled with things to do. Theres a tonne of legendaries in this game to catch, something that I enjoyed more in this game than any other. It felt like your own quest instead of a quest or a journey being laid out for you.
I like the fact that you can catch some really cool Poke’s quite early, like Magnezone, Magmar, Electabuzz and Volcarona just to name a few, by that I mean catch the first evolutions and train them up. I really like this game but of course there is a problem with it. It can be too easy, the gym aides give advice and a healing item in every gym which is for me being a series veteran at this point was a bit insulting. I know how to do Pokemons gym aide man.
That is actually the only problem I have with these games, I’m sure there are many out there that wouldn’t have this in their top 3 but I digress. Congratulations Black and White 2 you’ve earn the bronze medal.
Red, Blue and Yellow (Plus Remakes)
These games are classics, the ones that started it all, some of you thought or think this was going to or should be first. Especially some of the older folks, I’m sure a few of you young-ins haven’t even played these old school games. If you haven’t you need to play them, nostalgia may be part of this but all can agree that these games are truly incredible, some of the best games ever made.
I don’t want to go over the same things that have been said about these games over the years, so I’m just going to mention a couple of things that I personally want to talk about. A lot the coolest Poke’s come from this generation but then I’m sure a lot us know that but still It needed to be said. The player and rival theme that is in all the games is the closest to perfection in this game. The one thing I would have liked to see is actually being allowed to lose, only to your rival of course. It would make it more of a rivalry, and also give sense to all the trash he talks despite being beaten several times.
The games is also sufficiently difficult its not too hard and its not too easy, theres not much grinding that needs to be done but of course you still need to do some. There are a few interesting gym battles, looking at Sabrina and to a lesser extent Koga. Unfortunately the last gym battle against Giovanna was a bit of let down but hey, the rest of game is awesome. For a game I regard highly I don’t have a lot to say about it that hasn’t already been said, it comes first on many a Pokemon game list so I think I’ll leave it here. 2nd place and the silver medal goes to Pokemon Red/Blue.
Gold, Silver & Crystal (Plus Remakes)
The perfect sequel, or sequels I guess, is how I would describe this generation. Good new features, right amount of new Pokemon added and the best end game ever. Out of all the games in the franchise I consider these to be the closest to masterpiece status. Do I think they should be regarded as a masterpiece, well that could be an entire article on its own and honestly I’m not sure.
The introduction of 2 new Pokemon types (Dark and Steel) are integrated seamlessly, and the internal clock is such an underrated feature. I haven’t ever described a Pokemon as beautiful but when its night time in OG Gold & Silver its so damn nice to look at. Pokemon evolving into different Poke’s depending on the time of day was neat but could be frustrating as my buddy Dave would know. Some of the not so cool Poke’s from gen 1 get a new, cooler evolution (Crobat). Baby Pokemon and breeding are added, its slightly interesting and nowadays incredibly key for some.
Experience points now show at the bottom of a Pokemons HP in battle showing you how close they are to levelling up. Pokemon can now hold items giving them stat boosts or other effects like healing themselves or certain move types doing more damage, giving more strategic options. All trainers are named and some are available for rematches making grinding a little more interesting. On specific in game days events take place like the Bug Catching Contest, where you can win unique prizes. Pokemon like Lapras can only be seen in Union Cave on a Friday, of course back then it wasn’t common knowledge so running into it by accident made your play through even more unique. We all encountered our first shiny Pokemon in the Lake Of Rage, Red Gyarados is cool as hell. Even the fucking bag was awesome, items were grouped together separately making it easier to find things and navigate the bag. Some of most interesting gym battles are in this game. Whitney and her Miltank, Claire and her Kingdra are both very memorable battles. Once the Gyms and Pokemon league are defeated you can then go back to the original region and get another 8 badges and battle a stronger Pokemon league. Why hasn’t this feature of going back to an old region never been used again, it was so amazing.
I haven’t really talked about the remakes of games to much as theres not to much different than the new generation they come with but one thing I would to mention regarding the Gold & Silver remakes is being able to get the gym leader numbers and being able to have rematches with them. Of course they’d have different and higher level Poke’s, getting all 16 gym leaders in the fighting dojo in Saffron was great.
These games truly are the perfect sequels theres hardily anything bad to say about them. The one thing I can say is the rival thing isn’t as good as the original games, Blue or Gary or whatever you know him as is a far better rival than Silver. I nearly put Red and Blue first on this list because of that and how important the rival was in these games. However partly due to the games being an improvement in almost every way there is one thing that seals the deal. That is Mt Silver and the battle with PKMN Trainer Red, or yourself from the previous game.
Throughout the game there are small mentions of a boy who defeated Team Rocket 3 years ago and your (I’m) like “That was me, that was me”. This happens about 3 times, then you get to Kanto and Oak mentions that Red is on Mt Silver training but you can only go up there after beating the Pokemon League for a second time after getting the 8 Kanto badges, at least thats how I remember it. It is said that only the most skilled of trainers are allowed onto Mt Silver. This is fantastic because once you get to the top you realise that they are no other trainers on the mountain, only you and Red. The 2 best trainers in the world at this point and in reality there both you, Red of course doesn’t use the Pokemon you might have used in Red or Blue. Unless you just happened to use the exact ones he does, boy that would have been a mind fuck. This for me is the most memorable moment in the entire franchise, the battle with him is intense. I don’t really have any memories of the original battle with him, plenty in the remakes, I had many a battle with him then. The battle is so incredibly tough I remember a different buddy by the name of Antonio cheated and took 6 level 100 Arceus’s with him and still lost (hahahahahahaha).
The one thing I would have liked, again is being allowed to lose but only to Red in this final battle. Having only one shot against the best trainer in the game would have made the final battle so much more awesome, for me anyways…
Well I’ve gushed about Pokemon Gold & Silver enough now I think, I probably have more I can say about it but I think that’ll do, the Gold medal belongs to them.
Now I’m sure there are many people who disagree with my list so if you do feel free to pop yours in the comments, it would interesting to read them, thanks.
Off the back of a less than convincing friendly against Isreal, we roll into Slovenia for our first World Cup qualifying game. Being a little unsure of our quality, and rating Slovenia as a half decent team I have decided to start cautious in order to weigh up the game in the first half.
There are a few changes to tactics in there to make the shape a little more attacking whilst retaining most of its robustness. For example, John Stones is playing as a Ball Playing Defender, but Eric Dier will be playing as an Anchor to allow the Full Backs to push wide and deep. Jordan Henderson will also be allowed a more adventurous role as a box-to-box midfielder following on from his impressive performance in the last fixture.
So let’s see how they get on in sunny Ljubljana.
Ahh… not the result I was hoping for. The cautious start backfired as Slovenia scored a scrappy goal from a corner following shaky defending from Phil Jones (who I started for unknown reasons, maybe from writing the starting eleven on a pack of fags). We quickly equalised from a wildly deflected free kick from Eric Dier. I then at half time switched things up to a more controlling strategy and dominated the game, creating three clear cut chances, and missed them all. Oh well, at least Scotland lost.
A draw in Slovenia is not the end of the world, I still am fully convinced we will top the group comfortably. Next up Malta and Scotland in a minnows double header (oh god I hope I don’t fuck it up now).
As I wait the thirty-three days till we play Malta I have to wonder, what non-sense would Glenn Hoddle be saying about me? Answers on a postcard, or in the comments, you do you.
Malta at Wembley, not too much thought going into this one. Just going to look to control the game, and hopefully get some of the squad firing before the main event – Scotland away.
The team has been slightly rotated for this one with appearances for Lallana, Sturridge, Rooney, Wilshere and Rose plus Dier dropping back to play alongside Stones.
The most surprising thing about this result is that John Stones scored two. Performance was exactly as you’d expect, Malta managed a shot which was nice for them. The whole back line picking up yellows is somewhat of a concern but could maybe be put down to a lack of concentration after scoring four in the first half. We are also now top of the group. Next up, Scotland, a match John Stones has managed to pick up a suspension for.
It’s somehow seventeen Celsius in Scotland, in October, my immersion has been broken. The team for the game will be again rotated with Kane, Alli , Sterling and Shaw coming in for Sturridge, Rooney, Lallana and Rose, with Stones missing out Cahill steps in at the back. We will approach the game looking to dominate from the off, let’s get into this.
Seeing the strength of Scotland, this approach and this line-up should be sufficient as there appears to be a significant gulf in quality. Scotland are expected to line up in a similar shape and so I hope to just overpower them with our technical quality. See you after the match.
As expected, we just had too much for Scotland. Jordan Henderson scored a curler from the edge of the box in the first half, followed by a scrappy Gary Cahill goal from a corner and a neatly worked goal by Daniel Sturridge following an excellent pass from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Worth noting, Scotland at home had as many shots as Malta did against us at Wembley. Malta also earned a draw away at Slovenia… the same outcome we achieved… maybe I overestimated Slovenia…
This win leaves us joint top with Slovakia who are emerging as our main rivals for top spot in the group. Slovenia and Scotland both have only three points, quickly turning this into a two horse race.
So two wins against two minnows leaves us firmly on course. Next two games are against Lithuania and a friendly against Northern Ireland. I’ll be taking Theo to the giant’s causeway, says he’s always wanted to go, will make him right happy.
As a massive Arsenal fan I am used to crushing disappointment, but nothing could prepare me for last summer. Two disappointing draws, one fairly decent win (although in retrospect… it was just Wales…) and a defeat to Iceland that made Brexit look like a tactical move to avoid having to go back into school to face ridicule.
I am only just healing from that loss, I was in disbelief for around a week, I shouldn’t of been. Like you all I believe I could of maybe done better… except unlike you I can, and I’m going to prove it, on Football Manager.
So after 30 40 50 years of hurt, I’m here to take the reigns and lead the Three Lions to glory.
So, naturally I contacted the FA , said I bet I could bring football home, told them I had no previous dodgy dealings in football on account of having no experience, and finally, the clincher, that I am a tactical genius and I won’t quit the save till I win something (or get fired). Of course, they hired me instantly and set out their expectations.
Reasonable, I intend to do a lot more than just qualify but let’s see, it’s early days. Our World Cup qualifying group is fairly straightforward on paper: Slovenia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Malta and Scotland. Two decent teams in Slovenia and Slovakia, the rest should be straight forward, Lithuania could be okay, Malta a push over and Scotland… well…
Next, tactics. England’s reputation for tactics in the past has been… ropey? Seemingly lacking in identity for the longest time. It seems ever since 4-4-2 has been out of vogue we have gotten lost. I’m not going to move mountains here (yet) I’m going to go with a simple 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1. Down the line I may look to move the 4-3-3 into a 3-4-3 as per current tactical fashion thanks to Antonio Conte.
For our play style we will focus on dictating the game for the qualifiers as we should be a class above our opponents. For this we will be mainly sticking to our 4-2-3-1 shape, with a control mentality. The idea here is to keep hold of the ball, and force the other team to turn over the ball in dangerous areas. Moving the ball slightly slower may be a good idea as we look to play narrow, allowing space for our athletic full backs to bomb on in the final third, but we will play this by ear as moving the ball too slow may allow more defensive teams to hold their shape.
The squad is usually the first thing people will think about with England, I believe most of the time this is a faulty approach, particularly due to our relative mediocrity amongst the worlds top teams. Instead I think it is best to clearly define how you want the team to play, and then approach from there. If England had a player that was good enough to base our team solely around, this approach would be naive, but for now we do not (although, and this pains me to say, Alli and Kane may be those men in time).
For now we have this squad. Not too many controversial calls, Walcott is on because I am a biased man, Wilshere is on due to a lack of players I feel can play Deep Lying Playmaker in this system, Henderson will also be tried in this role, Lingard is in at inside forward on the left wing for now, although I like Sterling for this role also.
So, onto Isreal, my first game at the helm. It’s away in Isreal, never been there so will look to pick up a bit of the culture before I go, bring a gift or two, since I have fifty days to wait before the game… International management is pretty cushty all things considered.
In this long wait the world rankings have come in, we are thirteenth, one below Wales…
I’m confident we can correct that, or more likely Wales will screw it all up over the next few months. Oh, and Alexis Sanchez signed a new contract at Arsenal, which is a nice thought.
Coming up to squad selection and surprise, surprise there are injury concerns over Walcott. I’ll likely select him anyway but I hope this save can be less reflective of real life with regards to Walcott and Wilshere. Smalling will be missing out on this friendly due to a hernia, which is handy because I forgot to call up three keepers before that – Ben Foster will also be coming along as it turns out (don’t let him know we forgot about him, he’s a sensitive lad).
I have let Wayne Rooney retain the captaincy for now, with Henderson taking the vice role. Here is how we will be lining up against Isreal in Haifa baring in mind we have Slovenia away in a couple of days.
No idea about Haifa so had a quick google so I could get together some quick cultural activities for the team, there’s some nice gardens and a science museum, so something for all of us, I imagine Lallana loves a nice garden (it’s about thirty Celsius so I’ll get some sun cream in) and I can teach Wazza about Newton’s laws of motion.
That’ll all have to wait till after the game however, with the incentive of no ice cream if they lose, the lads should be up for this. Catch you after the game.
That was… mixed… a 2-1 win but hardly a convincing performance or result, a lot of players under-performing, classic England problem. The two standout performers for us this game were definitely Dele Alli and Jordan Henderson, whilst I was concerned with Jesse Lingard and John Stones.
During the match I was forced into an early change due to Sturridge picking up a head injury, bringing on Rooney. I changed him to a False 9 and Alli to a Shadow Striker which seemed to work for Alli, less so for Rooney. John Stones seemed to get caught out by long balls in behind him aimed at Hemed, whilst this may just be due to Isreal’s style of play, it may be worth keeping an eye on as Stones is firmly in my first team plans. Lingard’s lack of involvement means I am dropping him in favour of Sterling for the coming game against Slovenia.
Lessons to be learnt going into the next game, one with much more at stake. Will I be the most loved, or the most loathed man in England? Find out next time!