Better but still must improve

IAN RIDLEY

It was all quiet on the Oslo front, fortunately and unfortunately. The 11 Britons detained on Tuesday considered likely to inflict hooliganism were duly deported before the match, which passed peacefully with the Norwegian authorities so forewarned and forearmed that Dublin was never likely to be repeated, despite some sporadic chants of "No surrender to the IRA".

Indeed, the atmosphere inside the Ullevaal stadium, its capacity not troubled, was decidedly flat. The prospect of playing and beating England is clearly no longer a novelty.

It all mirrored England's attacking front, although a charitable view might be that their possession game subdued home fervour. But how curious it was that Les Ferdinand was not even given a place among an uninspiring quintet of substitutes.

Terry Venables, the England coach, said before the match that he wanted cover in all positions, with Teddy Sheringham deemed able to play as a leader of the line or alongside Alan Shearer. Surely, Sheringham did not hold the same terror for the Norwegians as the muscular, powerful Ferdinand, however. Surely we must begin to see an alternative to Shearer, if only as back-up should injury intervene.

It was hard to see where a goal might come from with this England selection, who have scored only 15 times between them in their 172 appearances. After Shearer, whose barren run for his country now extends to eight matches, Tony Adams was second to his five goals with four.

David Platt's place may seem under threat with Jamie Redknapp continuing to look assured, but his goals - 26 for England - look more valuable than ever. There are good games to miss; for Platt and Paul Gascoigne, whose incisive runs from midfield were sorely missed, this was one of them.

Venables had wanted to see how his defence performed in an away match when under pressure. On the few occasions that the Norwegians did stir themselves, the verdict was not especially favourable, although clearly an improvement on the disorganised Taylor team of two and a half years ago here.

The real problem, however, was further forward. In a shop devoted to England football merchandise in Oslo, they were showing a video of Gary Lineker's 48 goals for England. Perhaps Venables might show it to his next selection before the Switzerland match at Wembley next month.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...