England substitutes: Don’t despair just yet

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Watching the TV broadcast of Englands much – heralded ‘changed formation’ struggle against Switzerland and overcome finally after two hours of football plus five brilliant penalties, one of the lasting memories was of the occasional shot taken of England’s substitutes, alternatively warming up and bench sitting.

The frustration and occasional disappointment was clear on Anthony Gordon’s face seemingly throughout. Who can blame him after coming on in the 89th minute in just one game: Others have fared less well if such a thing were possible with zero minutes, including Aaron Ramsdale, Adam Wharton and Joe Gomez being unused squad players thus far.

Our own Jarrod Bowen has at least been involved in meaningful football, having come on as a substitute in the game against Serbia and made an immediate impact by setting up Harry Kane with a lovely piece of wing play and a cross which England’s leading goalscorer should have buried.

From the expressions on some of the substitutes faces yesterday, it is very clear that it’s tough staying motivated and 100% ready in every game in case the Manager calls on you.

Our own  club folklore should offer each of England’s squad players – especially Bowen – an element of solace and a reminder that opportunity may yet come knocking.

Our 1966 first choice strikers were Jimmy Greaves and Roger Hunt with Hammers’ Geoff Hurst only breaking into the side a few months before and taken by coach Alf Ramsey very much as a ‘squad’ player. Only in the last of the group games did Greaves suffer a gashed leg which lead to Hurst unexpectedly getting his first outing in the quarter final: He grabbed the opportunity and scored against Argentina and laid on a goal for Charlton in the semi final. Such was his impact that Ramsey chose him against a fit again Greaves for the final and the rest is history.

Having sat and watched Saka and later Foden limping away from tackles against Switzerland, I would have been tempted to send Jarrod a WhatsApp if I had his number – wishing nobody ill of course but reminding him that fate can yet play a part in the games remaining and if he is ready, sharp and ‘on fire’ as we know him, national legend status could yet materialise out of thin air.

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Like everyone else, lifelong WHU fan and season ticket holder in old BMU stand at Upton Park from 2003. Billy Bonds these days with my adult son and impatiently waiting for my Grandson to be old enough to initiate him before his mum grabs him for Man U. All opinions are my own very biased ones.


  • John simmonds says:

    Personally and selfishly I hope he just carries on being sub.
    He’s having a nice little 5* break
    OK He’s training every day..then just sitting on the bench. He’s getting a break from the kids keeping him up which gives him a month’s good kip and rest. Then his fortnights break afterwards. And all with little or no Chance of injuries. Hopefully he’ll.come back fully fit and raring to go. We just have to hope all the tapping up that goes on
    with international duty doesn’t affect him.

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