Will Jones writes about football. When he's not doing that he's a  filmmaker  and occasional stand-up comedian.  Jones is an Arsenal fan. It's his cross, he bears it.

Will Jones writes about football. When he's not doing that he's a filmmaker and occasional stand-up comedian.

Jones is an Arsenal fan. It's his cross, he bears it.

Will Almond is also a Will, and also writes about football. What a world.  Almond is a Leeds fan, so he's just cross - largely down to years of boardroom ineptitude.

Will Almond is also a Will, and also writes about football. What a world.

Almond is a Leeds fan, so he's just cross - largely down to years of boardroom ineptitude.

England vs Belgium player ratings…sort of

England vs Belgium player ratings…sort of

Jordan Pickford

Remember the hope? Yeah, it’s gone. It’s in a bin on the Old Kent Road, just near the McDonalds. Gone. On a gap-year in Cambodia. Gone. 

Or, has it been pulled out of the bin? Has hope got a tropical disease and come back early? Has Pickford made his one mistake for the tournament? Can you feel it? It starts at your feet and slowly rises. It’s water cascading upwards from an inverted jungle waterfall. It’s flooding back through you. Hope. A quarter-final with Switzerland or Sweden? The hope. Let that one in on purpose did you Jordan? Good lad. The hope… Let it kill you.

 

Phil Jones

Gave the ball away. Pulls faces. Generally reminds us of an England we’re trying really hard to forget and move on from. Sorry, Phil, but no matter how grotesquely you contort it, your face just doesn’t fit in this team.

 

John Stones

Looked decent but then came off at half time and sat with a flannel on his shin. Didn’t look too perturbed though, so assume he’s fine for Colombia. 

 

Gary Cahill

Went about his business in the manner you’d expect of the most senior member of the squad with a short back and sides. Reacted well to clear the ball off the line after it squirmed out from under Pickford. 

 

Trent Alexander-Arnold

We’re a little bit in love with TAA and what a season it’s been for him. Broke into and established himself in the Liverpool first XI, started in a Champions League final, and is now playing for England at a World Cup. He’s 19. Ahh, it’s magic stuff Jeff.

 

Danny Rose

Looked sharp and driven going forward. Then Belgium scored a goal that he really should have done more to prevent and that is why I received a text from Will Almond, of this parish and arch Ashley Young enthusiast, reminding me I’ve been campaigning for Rose to start every match. Cheers, Danny.

 

Eric Dier

We started this piece with ten names. Who’d we forgotten? We thought for a moment, but our minds drifted off…The ball trapped ‘neath a boot somewhere in the centre circle. The crowd relax. The midfield maestro looks up, radiating calm, and spots a run. He rolls the ball out and pings it over the defence. Sure…it goes out for a throw in. But England do feel so much more inspired with Jordan Henderson on the pitch.

Sorry, where were we? Yes, Dier. Uninspiring, forgettable and not really adding anything to the midfield. Sorry.

 

Fabian Delph

Shows feistiness, desire, bite and is generally tidy on the ball. He’s a really, really good squad option for England. He is underrated and unappreciated by many, but he can play an important role in this tournament. Clearly, Delph’s trip back to Elland Road last month has affected him deeply. He’s now much more, for want of a better phrase, ‘in yer ear’ as a player than he ever displayed under Pep. 

 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Was perhaps a surprise inclusion in Gareth’s 23 when first announced. He’ll be coming home a superstar though. Yes, sometimes the end product is lacking, but his frankly f**king brilliant way of bulldozing through opponents is unique amongst this group of players. We love it. It’s majestic. Dele Alli’s starting place under threat? It should be. 

 

Marcus Rashford

Oh, Marcus. Yeah, Courtois got a fingernail on it. Was going wide anyway though wasn’t it, mate... 

 

Jamie Vardy

The threat that his pace provides on the counter attack has shown everyone that England have a plan B (even if we did miss Harry ‘Golden Boot’ Kane’s aerial threat last night). Other nations should take note, because Jamie Vardy’s having a party…or will be soon. 

And when the party is done, Vardy and the rest of the squad will be coming home. But wait, what’s that they’ve got with them? It’s just luggage, surely? No. No…it can’t be. Oh.

IT’S ONLY BLOODY FOOTBALL.

 

As ever, we’re not rating the subs so roll on Colombia.

Last 16 Previews: World Cup 2018

Last 16 Previews: World Cup 2018

Someone give Big Sam a big hug

Someone give Big Sam a big hug