Why did Roy Hodgson only make one substitution against Montenegro?

Ashley Young for Tom Cleverley was the only intervention from Hodgson as his opposite number out-manoeuvered him.

A lot was made before the game between England and Montenegro about the comments of the home side's coach Branko Brnovic.

He had suggested England were ‘running scared’ in their Group and after the performance on Tuesday night it pains me to say he might of just had a point.

After the first 15 minutes I sat there with a quiet optimism for the rest of the game. I felt England just needed a second goal to run away with a fixture they looked dominant in. The star players of their opposition Vucinic and Jovetic were peripheral figures to say the least while their goalkeeper looked about as composed as a giraffe on ice.

But England did that all so common thing they always do when 1-0 up; they thought the game was won already.

Montenegro’s coach made a drastic tactical switch at half-time. Dejan Damjanovic was brought on and they went to a more attacking 4-3-3 formation; from that point on they ran England ragged and Damjanovic scored the winner.

Which brings me to the most irritating and worrying fact from the Podgorica disappointment; why on earth didn’t Roy Hodgson make more than his one substitution?

For 15 minutes Montenegro piled on the pressure and the likes of Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck and Michael Carrick were no longer effective.

In the end he simply introduced Ashley Young; possibly one of the country’s most over-rated players into the action to deliver a few abysmal crosses.

Hodgson seemed happy with a draw after the equaliser. Since when do England go to one of the world’s smallest nations and hope for nothing more than a point?

It just typified the atmosphere in the England camp for the last ten seasons. I do not buy into the nonsense argument that the players are not good enough. They are absolutely good enough but have a serious mental block which seems to tell them playing football for England is synonymous with failure.

Gerrard has to stop playing the Hollywood pass all the time, Welbeck needs to just pull the trigger, Ashley Cole needs to realise his place in the England team is not a given and Wayne Rooney needs to realise a football match is 90 minutes and that he is our front-line striker.

But on top of all this our manager needs to not freeze when the going gets tough.

Running scared?

No; just scared stiff.

images: © nicksarebi, © nicksarebi

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