Blues pair play in England win over France

by | 17/11/2015  74 Comments  [Jump to last]

John Stones holds off Andre-Pierre Gignac in the first half at Wembley (Clive Rose/Getty Images)
John Stones and Ross Barkley were both named in Roy Hodgson's starting XI as England bounced back from their defeat in Spain with a 2-0 win over France at Wembley Stadium this evening.

While Barkley played 73 minutes of the 2-0 friendly defeat to Spain in Alicante last week, Stones was an unused substitute but the 21-year-old defender got another chance to stake his claim for a regular first-team role this evening in a game that promised to be an emotional one following the tragic events in Paris last Friday.

Wembley's arch was lit up in the French tricolour and supporters of all allegiances were encouraged to sing La Marseillaise in tribute to the 129 people who lost their lives in the horrific terrorist attacks that rocked the French capital during France's friendly with Germany.

While there have been suggestions in the media that Hodgson plans on using Stones in the makeshift right back role which he so often fulfilled for his country and U20 and U21 level, he was deployed in his more customary central defensive role this evening.

Exhibiting his usually composed demeanour in the early going, Stones shut down one France attack in superb fashion but was fortunate not to be punished when he was caught in possession inside France's half after striding out of defence trying to mount an attack for the home side a few minutes later. France countered quickly but were closed down as England smothered the chance.

The Blues' defender was largely untroubled for the remainder of the half while teammate Barkley had a tidy first 45 minutes. It was another young Lion in the form of Tottenham's Dele Alli who illuminated the contest, however, with an excellent strike from distance that took the merest of deflections off Laurent Koscielny before flying past Hugo Lloris into the top corner five minutes before the break.

And it was an ex-Everton player who doubled England's lead two minutes into the second half, Wayne Rooney volleying home Raheem Sterling's left-wing cross.

Barkley's understated performance came to an end 12 minutes from the end when he was replaced by Jonjoe Shelvey.

Stones, meanwhile, extended the number of minutes in which England have been goalless with him on the field to 404 by helping maintain the clean sheet at the back alongside Gary Cahill.  

Reader Comments (74)

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Jamie Crowley
1 Posted 17/11/2015 at 19:05:46
This game has significance well beyond "a game".

I hope for a safe event, and I see this game as an opportunity to show the world that free people will not be bullied into a cowering existence.

I hope everyone plays hard and plays the game for a much bigger purpose; defiant that radical terrorists will not define us.

Brian Williams
2 Posted 17/11/2015 at 19:07:37
I hope it's sung louder, and with more passion than ever before by everyone in the stadium. In fact I'd love to see our players join the French line up shoulder to shoulder French, English, French, English and so on.....
Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 17/11/2015 at 19:13:32
Get the French national anthem on U tube from the film Casablanca, it is a very vibrant and moving piece of music.

Although Casablanca was a propaganda film, it was very good in my opinion and La Marseillaise is avery stirring few minutes in the film.

Stephen Brown
4 Posted 17/11/2015 at 19:16:26
Brian #2 I was saying that to a mate in work today! That would be a great image!
Paul Andrews
6 Posted 17/11/2015 at 19:26:45
A time to show solidarity.
Helen Mallon
7 Posted 17/11/2015 at 19:48:59
I just hope they don't get hurt...
Gary Reeves
8 Posted 17/11/2015 at 20:19:43
Don't think there's much chance of Barkley getting hurt Helen. I'm closer to the tackles on my sofa.
Harold Matthews
9 Posted 17/11/2015 at 20:58:29
I complained about Alli coming on and looking woeful against Spain but he certainly made up for it tonight with that wonderful goal.
Jimmy Salt
10 Posted 17/11/2015 at 21:10:42
Ross looking tentative wembley crowd urging him to shoot, don't they know it's the Everton way.
And by the way sterling really doesn't like passing to Ross does he.
Ian Cowhig
11 Posted 17/11/2015 at 21:13:53
Anyone noticing Sterling and the fact he doesn't pass to Barkley. Especially when it would have been a good chance for Barkley to score.
Tony Hill
12 Posted 17/11/2015 at 21:15:47
Sterling's consistent refusal to pass to Barkley is becoming an embarrassment. England are playing well though. Rooney looks sharp.
Ian Cowhig
13 Posted 17/11/2015 at 21:23:51
The Sterling not passing to Barkley is so obvious. Yet I bet none of the summarisers / commentators will say anything. Embarrassing.
Sam Hoare
14 Posted 17/11/2015 at 21:32:03
Butland is quality. Why on Earth did we not buy him for a fairly affordable £3m a year or two ago?!
Stephen Brown
15 Posted 17/11/2015 at 21:34:03
Ross looks like he's carrying too much weight to me?!
Mike Oates
16 Posted 17/11/2015 at 21:36:26
We need to see more Ross, he's hiding again, he should be demanding the ball...
Tony Hill
17 Posted 17/11/2015 at 21:41:43
I thought Ross worked harder than usual and played quite effectively in a rather uncharacteristic way. But when it came to the sharper end of things and when I hoped his natural talent would show through, it fizzled out. Pity.
Tony McNulty
18 Posted 17/11/2015 at 21:43:20
Glad to see Ross not injured. Has been replaced by that guy who used to sing, "Come on Barbie, let's go party."
John Hughes
19 Posted 17/11/2015 at 21:45:28
Stephen - I know what you mean. In the modern game we have become used to to players resembling whippets. Ross seems to carry a lot of weight in the upper body area and I've wondered if this has an effect on his mobility at this level; he does seems to be laboured at times. I'm hardly qualified to comment - just a layman's observation.
Ian Cowhig
20 Posted 17/11/2015 at 21:47:39
Frustrating night for Ross there. He seemed to only get the ball in tight situations. Have to say he is culpable in this. He wants the ball that much, that he goes towards the ball all the time, even when the space isn't there for him to do anything other than get crowded out. He needs to become more positionally aware and find space to receive the ball. Like he did on the edge of the box when Sterling didn't pass to him again (Sorry had to get that in)
James Stewart
21 Posted 17/11/2015 at 21:51:28
Butland is the best keeper around at present, so much so you would even back him in one on ones. I would take him over any other keeper all day long.
Ian Cowhig
22 Posted 17/11/2015 at 21:51:38
Stones was excellent tonight. Just class in everything he did.
Eugene Ruane
23 Posted 17/11/2015 at 21:52:06
'He's never seen a blind alley he didn't fancy'

I heard or read that about Sterling during the World Cup finals in Brazil and imo, never a truer word.

He's like that dead tricky, greedy kid in the playground who no one can get the ball off but who just seems to go round in circles.

Barkley should be more animated about the shit service.

He should be expressing sentiments along the lines 'GIVE US THAT FUCKIN' BALL GREEDY ARSE!!'

Let Sterling (and the crowd/media) know that he's a sefish twat who plays for himself.

Brian Williams
24 Posted 17/11/2015 at 22:02:54
Glad others have noticed that Sterling, who was poor on the whole, just won't pass to Barkley, who was poor too, when he's in some really good positions.
I'm starting to worry a little bit about Ross that he sometimea doesn't seem to knkw what to do or where he should be.

Eddie Dunn
25 Posted 17/11/2015 at 22:34:47
So greedy twat Sterling won't give the ball to greedy twat Barkley! well now Ross knows how his Everton team-mates feel!
Nick Entwistle
26 Posted 17/11/2015 at 22:41:07
Barkley irrelevant tonight, but Stones was his consummate self. Not a bad game for a friendly. Perhaps that given the circumstances the players were not rolling around and trying to con the ref. When this happens the game naturally becomes more competitive. If only it was stamped out in the Prem.
Peter Murray
27 Posted 17/11/2015 at 22:43:38
Dave Abrahams (#3),

Casablanca was not (nationalist) propaganda. It was political in the global sense. The renowned historian, Eric Hobsbawm, labelled it one of the great anti-fascist films.

Given the events in Paris, the analysis and themes in that film seem more relevant than ever.

Anthony Dwyer
28 Posted 17/11/2015 at 23:35:04
Good to see both Ross and Stones played there part in one of England's best footballing performances in a while.

It was not purely down to the result, I can honestly say we played some decent stuff. They kept the ball down and tried to play decent stuff.

Well done, lads.
Si Cooper
29 Posted 17/11/2015 at 23:56:39
"Barkley was irrelevant."

The lad just can't win! I am going to stop commenting on Barkley on here (after this) as I obviously see something different to what others are seeing. So, IMO, he has been central to the way England are set-up to play against the likes of Spain and France (and Lithuania). He drops deep and shows for the ball because that is part of his role; to draw the focus of the opposition defensive midfielders and so create more space for the attackers and wide men.

Tonight he made himself room to manoeuvre with a drop of his shoulder umpteen times and carried the ball forward when required. Not everything came off but he didn't lose possession in dangerous areas of the pitch, and the vast majority of his team-mates obviously have faith in him.

He has matured enough to realise that he doesn't have to produce a killer ball all the time and he was really unlucky not to get played in when he made multiple intelligent and energetic supporting runs. He is not carrying weight but has a mesomorphic body type. It is likely he is still a year or two away from his peak strength and speed and then probably won't lose much until well into his thirties, injuries permitting.

I think the lad is still developing nicely and hasn't run out of time yet to end up as a truly outstanding player. I remember there were plenty who thought Seamus Coleman would never make the grade when there were those who saw enough in his early days with us.
Bill Gall
30 Posted 18/11/2015 at 00:23:10
I thought Barkley played well tonight ,he was always making himself available, moving the ball to a teammate, "and that was more than some of the other players were doing" and played a little deeper than he did against Spain. To me Rooney made the difference by constantly shouting and instructing the younger players were and who to mark.

Under the circumstances the game was played in, a number of the players were not really putting a 100% in it, and I don't believe criticism of any player is really needed.

Congratulations to the organizers, crowd and players for the show of solidarity for such tragic circumstances, were a football game was just secondary.

Jim Bennings
33 Posted 18/11/2015 at 07:56:16
John Stones and Ross Barkley.

Stones = fully living up to the hype and media coverage of being a 40-million-pound player with graceful movement and looks experienced beyond his years.

Barkley = is he even as good as he was two seasons ago? Has he really progressed like expected? Does he do enough when he's on the ball, or even enough to get in the game?

At least Delle Alli put in a few crunching tackles, do we ever see Barkley do that?

Ray Roche
34 Posted 18/11/2015 at 08:06:04
To read your post you'd think that Barkley was rubbish. He wasn't. He put in a good shift, was always available, although that won't be appreciated until idiots like Sterling pass to him when he's in space, and had quite a good game.

Of course, all the papers will be full of Delli Alli, a man who got his first cap after three Premier League games and who wouldn't be at Wembley even as a spectator if he played for Sunderland or West Brom. OK, he had a decent game, scored a good goal, but the fact remains, he's a very lucky boy to get a look in.

Les Martin
35 Posted 18/11/2015 at 08:18:42
Some surprising statements about Ross. He was excellent in the first half. Did he waste a pass?

As for Stones, he was class and just enhanced his growing reputation, proud to be Blue on both counts last night.
Jim Bennings
36 Posted 18/11/2015 at 09:05:25

He put a shift in but so does your average midfielder in the Premier League like Charlie Adam, Glen Whelan and Jason Puncheon, but they are not lauded anywhere near as much as Barkley.

I'm not saying he's a bad player I'm just underwhelmed by him at present but hey, Barkley could hit a truly fantastic run of form soon and prove us all wrong who knows?

I just don't think as a player he's really that much further progressed in the last 2 years.

Nick Entwistle
37 Posted 18/11/2015 at 09:23:36
Si, not saying Barkley had a stinker... there were others running the game and in comparison he was - there.

One thing that got me excited was when Rooney turned the French defender inside out with a body swerve and sent a shot narrowly over. For just a glimpse, it was Rooney of 10 years ago.

Keith Monaghan
38 Posted 18/11/2015 at 09:39:49

I agree with you almost totally re our Ross, except I think he's gone backwards in last 2 years. I thought he was really good in Roberto's first season, but has been very poor since apart from rare flashes of excellence.

I only saw the last half-hour and highlights last night, but noticed the Sterling thing (not for the first time)... but then, remember Ross having 2 players ahead of him and either side against Lithuania, and failing the easy passes to either of them - and managing to lose the ball! We have seen this sort of thing plenty of times when he plays for us. To be fair, he did seem to work harder last night, but that should happen every game, not just on rare occasions.

Like you I'm sure, I want him to be a really good player for us on a consistent basis; sadly, I see no reason to believe it will happen. Please prove me wrong, Ross!

Paul Cherrington
39 Posted 18/11/2015 at 10:07:26
I can't believe that Barkley is getting criticism. He played really well last night, both on and off the ball. When we didn't have possession he worked hard to do his bit and get in position to keep the team shape. This was nice to see as it's something he has not done sometimes in an Everton shirt.

When he did have it, he passed when he needed to or ran with it when it was on - I thought that showed his decision-making is improving which is good. I also thought he was one of the best in posession in terms of not giving it away and showing for teammates.

Compare that to someone like the aforementioned Sterling who is a greedy player who loses possession a lot and hogs the ball and I think he did well.

Good point about Sterling never passing to Ross too – I noticed this a long time ago. The manager should have nipped that in the bud before now. Can you imagine the last minute of the World Cup Final with Ross on the penalty spot with an open goal but Sterling refuses to pass to him and we miss out on the winning goal? It could happen and Mrs Doubtfire in the dugout needs to sort it. It surprises me that someone like Rooney hasn't had a word with Sterling by now, but then little Raheem is obviously a favourite

Colin Glassar
40 Posted 18/11/2015 at 10:11:22
Si 28, Barkley won three tackles and two headers which is something that I haven't seen him do before. His passing was crisp and accurate and he was always positive, especially in the first half.

I've been saying for a while now, there are certain English players who won't pass the ball to him or Bainesy for that matter. The most common culprits are usually sterling and Wilshere who seem determined never to give them the ball!

As for the criticism Ross receives on here well it's not worth trying to defend him anymore. There's a small vocal cabal who will criticise him for everything; he's overweight, he won't tackle, track back, he's too quiet, he has a shite haircut, his shirt is too tight etc...... They will come back with "oh, we only want him to succeed". Do they fuck. They don't like him, don't rate him and don't accept him but won't say it out loud.

Once the likes of useless, lazy fuckers like Ross and Lukaku move onto other clubs and start pulling in the trophies, awards and medals then it will be a case of "the club has no ambition selling our best players". In other words, you just can't win with some people and it's not worth trying.

Jim Bennings
41 Posted 18/11/2015 at 10:11:36
That's it really Keith!

As you say, we all want him to become a really good player for us and in many ways it's probably done Barkley more harm than good all the hype he received 2 years ago because it's built up such a burden of expectancy from the fans that over the last year he just hasn't lived up to.

He's young is Barkley but then so is Stones, so is Deulofeu but Stones already looks like Maldini, he should over the years playing centre half grow even stronger, Deulofeu has matured alot more this season and has started taking on more responsibility. Even with Lukaku the penny seems to have finally dropped this season.

Barkley however seems to have stagnated slightly.

I've said it before, he has got a good shot on him at times but he isn't a great passer of forward balls yet, he doesn't head a ball or make enough of a nuisance of himself like Tim Cahill used to and he can't tackle.

If we can get the best out of him then it's trying to coax quicker more decisive shots from him and a better array of forward balls when in threatening area's.
I really want to see him stay at Everton and I want to see him become an even better player than he was in Martinez's first season.

But like you say, I won't hold my breath on it.

Ohh and for the record, I truly don't rate Sterling, another frustrating "down blind alleys" kind of player.

Jim Bennings
42 Posted 18/11/2015 at 10:35:59
Calm down, Colin lad!

I want Barkley to stay at Everton for 10 years mate, likewise Lukaku if it means they are performing brilliantly and fair play to Lukaku this season he's much better.

People though are entitled to opinions and just because Barkley won a few headers last night doesn't mean it's now made him the ultimate midfielder, he still lacks in too many areas but I'm happy to see him hopefully improve this season and next, question is if he still hasn't really progressed further by this time next year how long should we give in your opinion before we have to accept that he's just become another Rodwell?

I hope he does get better I really do, he's got the shot on him so the platform is there to score more, it's just getting better at other sides that are important.

Paul Commons
43 Posted 18/11/2015 at 10:44:59
As was to be expected, the 'London Boys' are hailed as the heroes of this England performance. Just as predictable is further debate about the merits or otherwise of Ross Barkley – although opinion on the lad seems just as divided on here as it is in 'the nationals'.

Stones generally gets a good press but that may more to do with the likelihood that he will eventually become a 'Chelsea darling'. What's the betting Smalling/ Cahill will be preferred when the serious stuff starts if our lad hasn't moved by then?

Interesting to hear that Woy was without at least seven of his 'first picks' last night. Oh how we missed the likes of Milner, Carrick, Wilshere and Sturridge. They might even have managed to pull off a draw!

England, urgh!

Steavey Buckley
45 Posted 18/11/2015 at 11:10:26
Can't afford another debacle when players came back from international duty half asleep and were resoundingly beaten by Man Utd 3-0. Aston Villa by all accounts have been seriously preparing for Saturday's game for a match with fresh legs to help save their season.
Jim Bennings
46 Posted 18/11/2015 at 11:20:10

I agree, the Villa game on Saturday will be a different game than it would have been about 3 week's ago!

Apparently Remi Garde has had them very well drilled and organized defensively and well, a point and clean sheet against Manchester City will be a shot in the arm.

I get the feeling it will be a totally different game to the Sunderland match, patience may be required in abundance on Saturday, I think we'll be coming up against a team looking to consolidate a draw.

Colin Glassar
47 Posted 18/11/2015 at 11:21:19
I know YOU do Jim but there are others who rip him apart, week after week, and won't give him any credit. I've said he frustrates me enormously as I wish he'd recognise how good he is and start taking the games by the scruff of the neck and start imposing himself. He's got everything in his locker he just needs to start believing in himself.
Adam Carey
48 Posted 18/11/2015 at 11:30:42
I'll be honest in saying I only watched the first half (then switched over to Karl Pilkington).

As many have said John looked a class above last night. I was so happy that Glenn Hoddle, who in my opinion is the only commentator worth listening to, commented that John's play was all you could ask for from a central defender and the reason he lost the ball in midfield was because our forwards weren't moving to make themselves available to him. He can't make it all the way up the pitch!

As for Ross, tidy without being great. He always plays within himself for England. Roy clearly wants him to be more defensive than he is comfortable with, but he can't be expected to pull off a magical pass all the time. Also, happy to see the reaction of the England bench when Sterling went greedy and passed the ball wide (my Nan could have shot it truer!), instead of playing in one of the three players in better positions, Ross being the best placed. The sooner our England manager puts Raheem in his place the better.

Dave Abrahams
49 Posted 18/11/2015 at 11:37:07
Peter (26) fair enough I'll take your word for it, about Casablanca, it was a great film and story with a cast of great actors and quite a few great songs which have stood the test of time. Thanks for your take on the film.
Tony Abrahams
50 Posted 18/11/2015 at 11:44:04
Thought Barkley was decent but as Nick 33 says, he was just there. Maybe it's because we want so much more from the kid, but performances like last night should help his development.

How anyone can say he has gone backwards is beyond me, but it is all about opinions. Can anyone ever tell me if they have ever saw Ross, play 2 good games on the spin? I can't, but maybe when he gets more consistency, into his game, he might then get the confidence to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

Some people say he is thick, others say he hasn't got a good football brain. Again it's opinions, but I just wish Barkley had as much belief in himself, as his Everton manager as got in him.

Adam Carey
51 Posted 18/11/2015 at 12:06:03
What are we expecting of Ross? He's 21, and if he isn't taking a game by the scruff, waltzing past opponents, scoring 30 yarders or putting the ball on a six-pence for team-mates he seems to get battered by everyone. I'm old enough to have watched Gazza play, and he didn't run every game. Nor Hoddle, Beardsley, Beckham, Scholes, Gerrard...

The fact Martinez speaks so highly, Hoddle rates him, and Hodgson played him at 20 says that those in the know think he has talent. I hope he develops into the player we all hope he can be, but let's not destroy his confidence because WE have built him into a world-beater by the time he was 18.

Paul Commons
52 Posted 18/11/2015 at 12:47:46
Developing into yet another thread about Barkley whose talent has become quite the most controversial subject throughout Evertonia.

In reality, the lad now occupies the automatic midfield place which was for many years the sole province of Leon Osman. Is Ross better at 22 than his predecessor was at that age? Definitely so because by then the young Ossie had not made the breakthrough and was still trundling around on loan gigs.

Does Ross presently contribute as much to the cause as Ossie did at his peak? To that I must say definitely NO for although they are so different physically, they both play the attacking midfielder role which requires nous and persistence well beyond that which the younger man seems capable of. But I do think time is on his side? Yes, but another year should do it or ...........

Trevor Peers
53 Posted 18/11/2015 at 12:55:05
That's the key with Ross, expectation, let's accept him, as a good Premier League player, certainly good enough for the Blues. And end all this talk of him being one of Europe's elite midfielders. The pressure would then be off him and he could enjoy his football.

I think he would benefit if we had a good left winger he could blend with; that's for Roberto to sort out.

Adam Carey
54 Posted 18/11/2015 at 13:13:56
Paul, (#46). Sorry, I moved the thread to Ross from England.

Back to the game. It was good to see us take the game to France, which is the only way if we hope to get anything from Euro 2016. Though clearly (and understandably), the French player's heads were elsewhere. The Spain game showed we can't play counter-attacking football against the best.

As for Gibbs at left-back, Leighton can't come back quick enough. Will be nice to see three Everton lads in the first team.

Tony Dove
55 Posted 18/11/2015 at 13:57:29
It is difficult to understand the stick which some of our supporters give to Ross Barkley. He got a very good write-up in the national press and had an excellent game, as well as working hard up and down the pitch.

I would love to see him try the unexpected all the time but he obviously now knows that won't wash with Woy. Apart from Rooney he was the only outfield player always looking for a pass. The rest never looked up when they got the ball.

Maybe the expectation is just too high at present but I wouldn't swop him with anyone else in the premiership in that position. When he gets the balance right between doing the simple stuff, and attempting those things beyond the contemplation of most, he will be some player.

Fran Mitchell
56 Posted 18/11/2015 at 14:15:11
Ross is a good player, and still very young. Centre midfielders of his style rarely realize full potential until 27/28 as much of the game is about knowledge, experience and vision which cannot be taught.

We expect too much too soon from the lad. If he doesn't score/assist or do some sublime skill, he's below par. That is unfair. The key for him now is to reduce his errors (he is doing) and improve his final ball (he is also doing this).

He's a good player, simple as that. Don't have a go at him because you expect him to be Zidane cerca '98, that's your doing, not his,

James Fletcher
57 Posted 18/11/2015 at 15:10:42
I bemused by all the plaudits that Ali is getting for his goal, it took a sizeable deflection and even then only just crept inside the post, if I'm honest if it hadn't deflected it looked like it was going wide? Not sure why everyone thought it was good. In real time it looked like a great strike, in slow mo replays it had a massive amount of help on it's way.
Harold Matthews
58 Posted 18/11/2015 at 15:25:38
I thought our two boys played okay without being particularly brilliant. Stones, by his own admission, is still learning the role and Barkley linked people up from his centre midfield position where Wilshere is probably his only serious challenger. Many people like Ross to operate in this area of the pitch but I prefer him further forward and so does Martinez.
Jon Withey
59 Posted 18/11/2015 at 15:53:45
Love Barkley, Stones, Galloway, Deulofeu, Lukaku - good young players who will surely be good older players one day, if not better. Hopefully there is a champion or two amongst them – and at Everton too.

I think it's great that I can rattle off five names to be proud of:

Add in McCarthy, Funes Mori and Besic. Round off with Coleman, Jagielka, Baines, Mirallas and Kone – it's not a bad squad.

Personally I've got time for Naismith, Barry, Lennon and Howard. And it would be great if we could get more from Oviedo, Pienaar, Gibson and Osman too this season - good luck if they move on instead.

I'm not sure we'll see McGeady or Hibbert on the pitch again.

Jay Wood
60 Posted 18/11/2015 at 16:14:53
Gotta say James @ 51 I'm a little bemused at your description of Ali's excellent goal last night.

I haven't seen much of the lad before last night and in his cameo appearances for England as sub in previous games, I was questioning what is this lad with so few PL games behind him doing in the set up?

Ten minutes before he scored that opinion was further reinforced when his 1st touch with a clear run on goal in the French penalty area blew a great scoring opportunity.

But then ... his goal. I enjoyed as much his crunching tackle that first won the ball in midfield which Rooney picked up. It's so rare these days to see a good honest full-blooded tackle that doesn't get followed by a referee's whistle, even less so in European competition or internationals.

The lad, not content with that, quickly picks himself up and offers himself to Rooney who feeds him. He attacks the French backline, quickly sees the shooting opportunity and puts his foot through a beauty of a shot.

Any deflection you mention was minimal and the ball was NOT heading wide. Nor did it 'creep' inside the post. It cannoned into the top corner with ample room. The rapidity of the shoot was key, leaving as top a keeper as Lloris with no chance of saving it.

Thereafter, he grow more and more into the match and I concur completely with Glen Hoddle awarding him the MOTM award.

As for our boys, Stones was at his silky best and if anything, his ball-playing centre half skills are in advance of many of his team mates who don't anticipate or offer themselves when he brings the ball out of defence, rather than playing the Terry-Welly.

Ross was quietly efficient with some glimmers of magic. The fact Roy has started him in both internationals suggests he is close to nailing down a regular starting spot.

He'll do for me.

Mike Oates
61 Posted 18/11/2015 at 16:25:32
Just spent the day with 30 golfers, the majority of which are also football crazy, mostly Brighton, Portsmouth, Southampton, West Ham, Spurs, Chelsea and even 2 Newcastle fans (we all live on South Coast).

View on last night's game for Everton players: Stones – best centre half in country by a mile, Barkley – needs a bloody good shaking to get him worked up, so much more in him than we see. Alli will get Barkley's place as he delivers more!

30 independent views, no bias, just what the rest see, not through our own blinkered blue glasses.

How did we let Dier go!!!

Ray Roche
62 Posted 18/11/2015 at 17:00:29
Jim Bennings (#32),

Sorry mate, but to compare Barkley with Adams, Puncheon and Whelan? Really? Barkley is a real talent when played in the right position and given the right service. I sometimes wonder if Sterling and Wilshere etc., see Barkley as a threat, hence the tendency to ignore some of the excellent runs he makes....

Jay (#54),

Alli is getting the same rave reviews that Barkley got when he first came into the London FC set up..sorry, Engerlund set up. I am aware that he had a decent game last night, but to pick him after three Premier starts? Is that all it takes to get a cap these days? Three good games and you're in? It'll be interesting to see how he fares in the coming Internationals, he's at a London club so he's in the right place.

Gary Reeves
63 Posted 18/11/2015 at 17:23:47
Watched the game last night. Couldn't help but notice a player who was caught in possession on several occasions, and gave the ball away easily on others. He didn't particularly light up the pitch in the final third and doesn't work hard enough in the midfield.

Throw in a couple of dodgy corners and free-kicks and the (completely infuriating) habit of shuffling to the player with the ball and then returning it back 5 yards to where it's just came! Apart from that, all good! I won't name him but it's becoming a fortnightly event for me.
Jim Bennings
64 Posted 18/11/2015 at 17:31:08

Ask any Stoke fan about how much Charlie Adam contributes to their side, puts a shift in every week can strike a mean ball .

Puncheon has been outstanding for Palace for 2 year's, quick energetic and again a big source of creativity for his team.

Barkley is a big talent but when does a talent stop being a talent and then like Jack Rodwell, he becomes a unfulfilled player?

There are guys out there both younger and older than Barkley who are less lauded but are doing as much if not more than him at present.

Jay Wood
65 Posted 18/11/2015 at 17:43:18
Ray @56

Like you – and as I mentioned in my post – I question Ali's rapid elevation to the England side.

That wasn't the crux of my post. My post offered an alternative view point of his goal that another poster was rather dismissive of.

Personally, I still enjoy international football and am happy when our own players represent their national sides. I do not have the same disdain for 'Engerlund' or subscribe to it being a London-centric set up as you apparently believe.

Mike Powell
66 Posted 18/11/2015 at 18:00:44
I thought Ross had a decent game and it would have been an even better game if Sterling had passed to him now and again. To mention Adam and Puncheon in the same breath as Barkley is a joke – they couldn't lace his boots.
Ray Roche
67 Posted 18/11/2015 at 18:14:40

Jim, would you swap Barkley for any one of the players you mention.


Alli had a decent game and scored a good goal. Whether or not he sets the world on fire in the future is something we'll have to wait for, but I still believe that some players at London clubs get a cap to help sell tickets.

Remember when England played , I think, Japan at Goodison and Unsworth got his one and only cap......? Bums on seats.

Trevor Peers
68 Posted 18/11/2015 at 18:30:11
Ray you're not suggesting Unsworth was a special talent as well are you?

It's unfair to label players with these phrases, playing for England doesn't require any special talent these days., Internationally were very much run of the mill and so are most of our players.

Jay Wood
69 Posted 18/11/2015 at 18:40:08
Ray @62

So based on your own logic (using the Unsworth example of 20 years ago), the FA are not London-centric but hand out caps for commercial/financial reasons to 'put bums on seats?'

Of course, your example of Ali being fast tracked so young with so few PL games also ignores the fact that Ross himself was called up and first played for England aged 20 with less than 20 PL games to his name.

Or John Stones debuting for England at 19 with barely 20 PL games under his belt.

What did their selection, from 'unfashionable northern based Everton,' have to do with putting 'bums on seats' at Wembley?

Maybe, just maybe, certain players are tracked early in their careers and promoted to the senior side early on talent alone. That is not to say all will flourish, but ... it is a possible alternative view to your more cynical one.

Ray Roche
70 Posted 18/11/2015 at 18:40:55
Trevor, no mate, I'm suggesting Unsworth got his one and only cap when England played at Goodison so that it might encourage some Everton fans to attend the game.
Stephen Brown
71 Posted 18/11/2015 at 19:11:36
Ray (#65), are you sure that game was at Goodison? I seem to remember it being at Wembley.
Paul Commons
73 Posted 18/11/2015 at 19:46:15
With less than 30% of Premier League players now qualified for England, we can have few complaints about Everton lads being overlooked.

We had the chance to tie up Dier and rejected it and Alli was available at the time we took Galloway from MK Dons.

But for all the tributes, what's the betting that last night's midfield will never appear as an England unit again?

Ray Roche
74 Posted 18/11/2015 at 22:44:10
Jay, so Barkley and Stones had almost seven times the Premier League experience of Alli before getting a cap. At the time I actually considered Barkley's promotion to have arrived too soon. In this country the press seem to build people (or players) up so that they can knock them down and that may well happen with Barkley. It has on these pages. I have nothing against Alli, I just think that, despite one good England performance last night, he is lucky to have been capped and in my opinion he would not have been playing if he was a Sunderland or WBA player.

Showing promise doesn't warrant an International call up. Be honest, do you think that three decent Premier League games entitles a player to an England cap? (If that was the case James Vaughan, Cadamarteri etc would have been capped.)

Incidentally 'unfashionable northern based Everton,' are your words not mine. As for being cynical, after going to Goodison since 1959 I'm entitled to be.

Stephen, yes, you're right, I apologise, It was Japan v Brazil. My memory has failed me on that one!

Keith Monaghan
75 Posted 18/11/2015 at 22:45:33
Gary @ 59.

That's exactly the same player I see! I just don't understand how some of our fans are so blinkered as not to see how he performs. A fully fit Steven Pienaar for instance would easily out-perform him.

However, if he's in the team, I'll be urging him on against Villa, desperate for him to prove us wrong – but reality tells me we'll see another performance like you described.

Anthony Dwyer
76 Posted 19/11/2015 at 00:17:30
It seems crazy to me the way some Evertonians judge Ross Barkley as though he's only ever played one game. He has had a great start to the season.

He has played well for England, getting progressively better and more confident with each call up.

It seems we always have to weigh him up against other people. Yes, Ali played really well but so what. He is another good young player but again, so what.

Ross played a big part in both England games this week, was there or there about man of the match v Spain. He played a little within himself v France while still being sensible with his use of the ball.

If we want to weigh him up against another midfielder, why not use Sniederlin?? Ross totally outshined him, and he cost Man Utd £30m, and he done that without being at his best. For me, that clearly shows we have a massively talented footballer; why do we need to put him down?

Anyways, I'm a big fan of Ross, but I'm open to admitting when he's not played well, as I am about any player. He was poor most of last season, he's stepped up to the plate up to now this season, so let's get behind him.

Ross is a Blue.

Paul Cherrington
77 Posted 19/11/2015 at 10:03:21
Two points to remember about the game: for Alli's goal, Ross had made a great run into space and was showing for the ball. It wasn't the first time he made a break like that in the game so the notion of him being lazy is wrong. You could argue Alli should have passed to him – if his shot hadn't gone in, that would have been the case.

Secondly, he's clearly realised that he can't try to spend the whole game attempting to go past people and try things or Woy will rip him to shreds, as in the past. So, when it looks like he is slowing it down or taking the easy option to keep possession, remember that; he's under orders, in effect.

I actually like him in the deeper positions, certainly for England. He is actually one of the best at keeping the ball and making space to pick a pass out. None of the others have the control or the skill to do that mostly. They seem to play much better with him in that role, showing for passes and controlling the play.

Jay Wood
78 Posted 19/11/2015 at 12:35:25
Ray @ 69

For the third time in this thread, I will repeat I also question why Ali is in the England set up after so few games.

You categorically stated it showed a London bias and was designed to put bums on seats, even offering an example from 20 years ago of David Unsworth's single England cap as a means to put bums on seat at Goodison for his solitary game against Japan (only ... the game WAS played at Wembley... opps!).

I demonstrated that Barkley and Stones were also selected for England by the age of 20 with just a handful of PL games. Regardless of how many more games in the PL they had played than Ali, they were fast tracked with very little big game experience. You yourself admit you considered Barkley's promotion to have arrived too soon. So, on that point we are in agreement.

I don't disagree either that the club you play for can also work in your favour and give you a greater chance of being selected for England. From this season, there is the example of Ings. Burnley player in a relegation scrap last year, nowhere near the England side. Liverpool player this year, without a goal to his name, promoted to the England side. But you also have players at 'fringe' clubs turning out for their national sides. Shelvey, ex-Liverpool, now Swansea, regularly gets call ups to the England squad.

That said, I don't subscribe to the blanket view of some on here that you can ONLY get an international call up if you play for the Sky Darlings. I remember the pride I felt in Roberto's first season when it was noted on a couple of international breaks that in all of Europe, Everton was second only to Bayern Munich in the number of players called up to represent their national sides.

So on that score, thank you for pointing out the following are my words, not yours: "unfashionable northern based Everton."

As I typed them in the context I did, I am well aware they are my words. I deliberately chose the words I did to highlight a point I was making. That is, that in recent years we have at times provided 3-4-5 players to the England squad, which rather debunks your idea the England set up is London-centric or that only players playing for the Sky Darlings can be selected.

As for your admission of being cynical due to going to Goodison since 1959, that puts you and me in pretty much the same age bracket. Only, I'm not (entirely) cycnical about Everton or all things football or life, for that matter.

Personally, I don't think it's an 'entitlement' as you state, but rather reflects a personal state of mind.

Just my opinion, like...

Ray Roche
79 Posted 19/11/2015 at 12:50:17

We seem to be in agreement about much of the views we've posted on this thread. That the club that you play for WILL afford you a better chance of being picked for International duty, certainly in England's case, and you need only look at the average Liverpool players with more caps then they deserve for such evidence, but I still think that there is a London bias in many ways,and not just football, from the siting of the "National Stadium" to Press coverage.

On the occasions that England, full or Under-21, sides have played away from Wembley there was a tendency to include a local player to help shift sales. There was actually an article to that effect a few years ago around the time of the opening of the current Wembley Stadium. (If I get time I'll try and sniff it out, it made good reading.)

The cynical remark was tongue in cheek, I thought you may have realised that, and I've already held my hands up to a memory failure re the Japan game... and my memory failure!

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