Smudger Smith: England will drive Brazil nuts in 2014

The Journeyman Pro

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The Independent Football

In a professional career spanning almost two decades, Simon “Smudger” Smith has played for over 67 clubs and has reinvented himself time and again, from poacher to holding midfielder, centre-back to goalkeeper.

England took on Brazil this week in a match between the world’s historically greatest footballing nation and some lads from South America. The result was never in doubt and now the Brazilians have to face the embarrassing fact that the English are firm favourites to win the World Cup in their own backyard next year.

It really looks very positive for Rio in 2014 – that Cahill error means he’s bound to be back in the squad. Congratulations to Ashley Cole on his landmark appearance – it’s hard to believe he and I now have 100 caps between us.

It was a more disappointing night for Neymar as the regular award-winner was unable to turn it on when it truly mattered – in a Wembley friendly 16 months before the World Cup.

More troubling was the announcement of a massive match-fixing investigation. One of the allegations is that the Debrecen goalkeeper was bribed to concede two or more against Liverpool during a Champions League game. Hats off to Rafa for doing the honourable thing and shutting up shop at 1-0.

I can only hope the allegations are as unfounded as those that have dogged me throughout my career. Countless times I’ve been accused of throwing matches but I say now what I’ve always said – it’s just the way I play.

Jeff Stelling caused huge controversy by declaring that Bale is now a better player than Ronaldo. I really don’t know what all the fuss is about as Jeffster clearly has a point. Fergie identified Ronaldo’s waning powers years ago and shipped him off at the first available opportunity. He just doesn’t have what it takes to play in the best league in the world any more.

Follow me on @smudgersmithpro