By Chris Wright
Whereas it’s easy to dismiss them as being futile exhibitions of nothing in particular, international friendlies do serve a purpose – they provide a platform for experimentation in a competitive (if not by name) atmosphere, and afford national managers the stage to tinker with the personnel at their disposal with the safety net of being assured that the outcome will be completely non-decisive.
It’s basically ‘dry-humping’ in a footballing sense – a chance to hone your technique without…well, ‘blowing your beans’, so to speak.
Basically, what I’m getting at here is that England’s 2-1 friendly win over Denmark in Copenhagen last night shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Denmark were decent (especially young Christian Eriksen, Ajax’s Bergkamp-backed starlet), but England…were better. I mean actually, intrinsically better!
Darren Bent celebrates after scoring England’s equaliser
When Daniel Agger nodded the Danes in front with just seven minutes on the clock, England immediately rallied – honest to God, rallied – as a temporarily blinded Theo Walcott bungled past Simon Poulsen’s retina-centric challenge to lay one on a plate for Darren Bent to equalise just three minutes later.
Bar a couple of inept slips from the ever-inept Glen Johnson, England then set about playing with the kind of urgency and contained aggression that has been missing for months (nay, years), whilst still retaining some semblance of prowess and ability.
It took until deep