In a professional career spanning almost two decades, Simon "Smudger" Smith has played for over 67 clubs. The ultimate utility player, as his pace has diminished, he has reinvented himself time and again, from poacher to holding midfielder, centre-back to goalkeeper. Now that his website has been closed down, we have exclusive access to his column.
There's nothing quite like the World Cup qualifiers. Apart from perhaps the qualification for the Euros. I'm delighted to have them back and thoroughly enjoyed Friday night's action. Regardless of the result, I must say I was actually really impressed with the Moldovan outfit. It was a very simple design but a delightful shade of blue. Very elegant I thought.
It was an accomplished win for England and there really are reasons to be excited about the midfield. I was impressed by the emerging talent clear to see in the thrilling Gerrard-Lampard experiment. Just think how successful the team could have been if they'd tried this before. Previous England managers must be kicking themselves.
There's no better way to spend a Friday night than to see England win in style and set the tone for the season. Those retro shirts really do it for me and I think the crisp collars look very chic indeed. I was delighted to see England went napping after the break. Unfortunately so did I and only woke in time to watch the highlights.
The other story to grab headlines was the expletive and aggressive tweet from James McClean following the Republic of Ireland's dramatic win over Kazakhstan, with the press quick to jump in and criticise. I'm not defending what Jamie M said but I think we are too ready to criticise anything footballers say without giving them praise for the good stuff.
There has been no mention of McClean's perfect spelling of the tricky word 'embarrassing'. I've seen brighter men than me fall victim to an incorrect number of 'r's and 's's, so I say well done to the young Sunderland winger for getting something right. I'm sure Giovanni Trapattoni will reward him accordingly.
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