Sunsport columnist says the high standards of the Premier League make the plight of the national team seen even worse
THERE is one way the England players can silence the boo boys that follow them and that is by playing a darn site better than on Friday night.
Harry Kane has hit back at the supporters who showed their dissatisfaction with yet another under-par performance but people boo because they do not like what they are seeing.
If you pay good money to go to a show or a concert you don’t still cheer and applaud at the end based on the belief that everyone has given their best even if what you have seen is rubbish.
And it was pretty average in Malta on Friday with the three late goals putting a sheen on things.
Up until that point there was a huge sense of deja-vu.
How many times have we had to pick over the bones of another England performance that has left us wondering what the way forward is?
We have the most exciting league in the world but put together the best English players from it and it all becomes very dull all of a sudden.
We simply haven’t got great players.
But still you should be able to do the basics — control the ball better, make better decisions when you are on it, play with a higher tempo.
The fact that the pitch was slow was being held up as an excuse in some quarters.
Do me a favour! It was slow for Malta too, just kick it a bit harder and you will overcome that.
The players might be sat wondering ahead of tonight’s game against Slovakia why they are getting so much stick on the back of a 4-0 win.
But that is what comes with the territory with England.
The eyes of the nation are on you when you pull on the Three Lions shirt.
With no Premier League football on, everyone’s attention turns to you.
It is perhaps because the Premier League has become so exciting that the expectations are so high for our international football.
People want their fix of exciting games and, unfortunately, the England team cannot provide us with that.
To be fair, the nature of the qualifying groups does not provide the competition to get us on the edge of our seats.
I WAS proud to be part of a wonderful occasion at Loftus Road to raise funds for the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Credit to Les Ferdinand, Marcus Mumford and QPR for putting together such a special event. There was a great crowd and atmos-phere at the stadium.
A special mention for the ‘Special One’ too. Jose Mourinho’s representatives rang up the organisers on Thursday night asking how he could be part of it.
He was brilliant coming on as a late replacement in goal and made a couple of saves as well.
It was a great example of how this sport can be such a force for good at times of great sadness and tragedy.
From the moment the names have been drawn out in recent years we know we are going to qualify.
It’s what comes next that is the major problem.
It is going to take something special at the next World Cup to put behind us that awful performance against Iceland in the last Euros and indeed our performance in Brazil before that.
The defeat to Iceland was as damning an indictment of where our national team is as I can remember.
A night when the players and manager froze.
I don’t believe it was down to a pure lack of ability but a mental problem.
That as much as anything is something that needs to be addressed.
How do we shake off the shackles that so often seem to constrict players, who simply cannot transfer their performances for their clubs on to the international stage?
I get that there is pressure. I felt it as well. But you have got to be bigger than that.
You can’t hide behind that, you must thrive on it.
The best players are paid the really big bucks to take the massive weight of that pressure on their shoulders and still perform.
Tonight at Wembley provides another opportunity to show they can do just that.
It seems inconceivable that we should lose this game and put our qualification for Russia next summer in jeopardy.
Nothing, however, is a given with England any more. The Iceland game proved that.
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