Venables savours a feast of talent

After the B international, the England coach has an even longer list of in-form strikers. Guy Hodgson reports

Terry Venables is like a cat faced with several bowls of cream. He knows he wants one of them, maybe two, but which? The England coach has a team's worth of strikers, all of whom have supporters, and short of playing them all someone is going to b e disappointed.

Tuesday's 2-0 victory in the B international against the Republic of Ireland at Anfield hardly helped clear the picture. Andy Cole scored in his first match under Venables and had an air of menace every time he touched the ball, while Nick Barmby and Robbie Fowler also looked sharp - albeit against a tiring Republic of Ireland defence. Only Chris Sutton failed to show his club form, and even then the Blackburn player had a integral part in Cole's goal.

Given that Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley, Les Ferdinand, Ian Wright, Stan Collymore, Teddy Sheringham and Matt Le Tissier are also around, the queue to make the front two places in the senior team is beginning to resemble the Saturday evening scramble for lottery tickets. Not that Venables looked like the man next in line as the Camelot computer called time.

"Everybody wants to play," he said. "They want to be involved and it is my job to select the right people. You can have seven players on a par but you can only pick three or four in any squad and it's going to come down to my preference. If there is a big difference between the form of players it makes my selection easier, but if they are all fighting at it the decision becomes harder. It's a problem I'm happy to have."

Indeed, Venables had reason to be content across a broad spectrum. Sol Campbell moved forward from his normal position in the back four to look Savile Row measured for the role of midfield anchor, while Tim Sherwood had a commanding match in the centre of the pitch. The wingers, Ruel Fox and Jason Wilcox, too, barely put a foot wrong.

"They all played well," Venables said. "It was very encouraging. You can get hit with lack of form or injuries and it's nice to know you can call upon people you know are ready. It's difficult that jump, mixing with fresh faces, trying to form a rapport with people you don't play with week-in week-out. You have got to have a special personality."

Looking forward to the European Championship finals in 18 months' time, he said: "I am not far away. I'm very happy."

Indeed, just about the only thing to take the edge off a valuable exercise was an attendance of 7,431, which would have been fewer still if there had been different opponents. The Irish anthem was sung by the majority of the crowd while "God Save The Queen" was played out to near silence. The contrast could hardly have been starker than with the record attendance of 25,000 at Newcastle for the Under-21 international last month.

St James' Park has not had too many big matches played on it since the Seventies, and Liverpool's home match two days previously and the imminence of Christmas were not designed to push the numbers up. But the overwhelming impression was that the public failed to tap Venables' enthusiasm for the fixture.

Put B after England and, in some parts of the country, the response is going to be "so what".

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam