At this stage of previous tournaments England players have often managed everything from minor but inglorious drinking incidents right up to attempted coups on the manager. The fans have rarely fared much better. At this tournament there has yet to be orange WAGs lording it round [insert name of city], ‘scandals’, boorish behaviour by the squad, no inadvisable curfew breaking, no noticeable or serious violence by the fans, no defeats, no player coups … The list goes on.
Aside from the heinous inferred/implied/suggested contradiction of his manager by Stevie ‘G’ that England might have been a little defensive against France, this England squad is letting the tabloids down with its’ collective ability to do nothing wrong and has even added a little flourish of good fortune. This is quite remarkable.
Now, we may well be trudging back to Blighty come Sunday evening anyway but this does make a bit of a refreshing change in a tournament where it is other teams’ fans who have been fined (if you can call tuppence a fine) for saying naughty things, chucking firey stuff about and rampaging through the streets in nationalistic fervour.
There’s something almost likeable about the last few weeks of Team England. EBJT has shut his cakehole, Ashley Cole hasn’t demanded more dollar, Stevie G has emerged from the shadow of our expectation, the Ox has spoken clearly and concisely into camera, Glen Johnson has kept his kleptomania in check, Andy Carroll has managed to stay off the sauce and Wayne Rooney didn’t steal his new hair, he PAID for it! As a friend of mine noted on Twitter, this England is currently eroding the years of steadfast indifference I had towards them.
Thank god some footballers/coaches are still flashing their pants, offering out journalists to man fights, going on overnight pilgrimages and diving about like dolphins. Of course, we don’t want our footballers to always be these dull, hollow, automated media machines but it makes a pleasant change that, for once, they are just getting on with playing football to the best of their ability. And also James Milner, who is at least trying.
Image to follow …