Something From The Weekend: Jack Wilshere's England; England's bowlers; Neil Lennon

The Good, the Bad and the Odd


The Good

Jack Wilshere's England

When did England last dominate possession like that? After being made to look like dumb animals in the last year by Hungary, Japan, Mexico and Montenegro, they finally played like a proper team on Saturday. Passing, movement, combinations – it was as if England had suddenly shed themselves of a century-long commitment to witless kick and rush. Or perhaps it was just to do with shedding Gareth Barry. With Jack Wilshere – who is brisker, sharper and braver than Barry – in the team, England had instinctive match-sense in midfield for the first time since the era of Paul Scholes. Wilshere tackles like Scholes and he passes and moves like him, too. Barry has a fight to get back into this team.

The Bad

England's bowlers

No James Anderson, no Stuart Broad, no imagination, no penetration no guile. England's attack against Sri Lanka on Saturday was as sharp as Inzamam-ul-Haq turning for a second run and about as lively, too. After months on the road injuries and fatigue are to be expected but when James Tredwell is in the team and Jade Dernbach is on the fringe then events have clearly departed from the plan. Seeing Tredwell, Luke Wright and Ravi Bopara bowl at Upal Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan was the most acute portrait of futility since Waiting for Godot. It was reminiscent of the 2006 flaying Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuriya gave to Liam Plunkett, Jamie Dalrymple and Alex Loudon, who were all probably close to a call-up last week.

The Odd

Neil Lennon

The Celtic manager's one-man diplomatic mission continued on Saturday. His team were playing a friendly for charity against Athletic Bilbao, a club with whom Celtic have much in common, in terms of being a champion of regional identity. The game was to raise money for youth football in Bilbao. But, despite the fraternal setting, Lennon could not quite conduct himself in the spirit of the occasion. After just 33 minutes of the tie, a free-kick decision went against him and Lennon's complaints were such that he was banished to the stands. Childish behaviour in Old Firm games may be the point of the exercise, but in a charity friendly it is discordant. Even by Lennon's standards.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Recruitment Genius: PA

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...

Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - London - £43,000

£35000 - £43000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior IT Support Analyst...

Recruitment Genius: Technical SEO Specialist

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness