Saturday evening’s Nations League clash between Hungary and England did not go to plan for quite a few reasons, and in the aftermath of the game there are plenty of topics up for discussion.
A behind closed doors game as a supposed punishment from UEFA for abhorrent racism and homophobia still saw a large number of fans in attendance, making a complete mockery of UEFA’s continued toothless response to such issues – who then rather predictably, summarily booed the England players when taking a knee.
And the less said about the performance from the England players and the tactics employed by Gareth ‘Five At The Back When We Should Attack’ Southgate, is probably for the better. The STSbet offers their own predictions on the next season by setting up the odds on the following games.
There were a couple of positives from a West Ham point of view though. Declan Rice was largely his normally assured self in midfield, but Jarrod Bowen did himself absolutely no harm at all in what was his maiden international debut.
It has been a phenomenal rise for the 25-year-old former non-league player. Whilst it was not a great game for England, he was more involved than Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, having more touches of the ball, more shots at goal and even more shots on target.
He will have been determined to impress, despite the nerves he would have undoubtedly felt, and he did just that, being the player who at least threatened their goal more than anyone else despite his lack of experience at international level.
That came as no surprise to Hammers fans though as we know after being rejected as a youngster by clubs like Aston Villa and Cardiff City, he started attracting eyes as a 17-year-old playing for local side Hereford United. Hull City took a punt on him back in 2014 and with faith shown in him and he has not looked back.
His near six year spell at the KC Stadium saw him make 117 professional starting appearances, with a further 14 appearances from the substitutes bench and in that time he clocked up 54 goals and tempted us into paying £18million for his services.
Following his arrival, he has not disappointed with 27 goals coming in 87 starts and 17 substitute showings.
A great return and a fantastic rise from Football Conference level, so it is not a great surprise that he ultimately followed Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy and Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings in coming from that level of the pyramid before reaching our national squad .
Speaking ahead of his expected debut, Bowen reflected on just how far he had come in what is such a relatively short period of time.
He said: “England seemed a million miles away then. At the time I was playing Conference football for my local team and that was it. Obviously you have dreams but you don’t expect a kid from Hereford to get a move to Hull City [Premier League at the time] in the first place, it was just me playing for my local team week-in, week-out in the Conference.
“Sometimes I sit back and look at where I have come from, especially now I am in the England camp, and without sounding big-headed, I have to take my hat off for where I have come from to get to where I am now.”
Sometimes in life you are allowed to be big headed, and international experience will only serve to improve his performances for us as we continue to battle the so called big boys in the upper reaches of the Premier League table under manager David Moyes.
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