He's Not The Messiah...

By London_Duncan Last edited 153 months ago
He's Not The Messiah...

...he's a very speedy boy. But that's about it for now. 22,500 England fans plus one England manager finally got to see Arsenal's Theo Walcott play last night in England's B international at Reading and the wonderful news was that the 17 year-old forward didn't do anything terribly wrong and, unlike the excruciatingly unlucky third choice goalkeeper Robert Green, didn't get hurt, so Theomania can continue to take the pressure away from the players who actually matter for at least another week in the build up to the world cup, something which suits other England new boys like Tottenham's Aaron Lennon just fine.

Aaron expressed his gratitude with a man of the match performance in the 2-1 defeat to Belarus, a one man show that had the Eastern European defenders terrified every time Owen Hargreaves shuffled the ball down the wing to him. Londonist was not at all surprised as we first saw a 15 year-old Lennon have this effect on Italian Under 17 defenders just before the last world cup and have followed his career closely ever since. He needs a bit more composure in his final delivery, but his pace, balance and close control is breathtaking. He had the beating of the original Belarus left back so comprehensively that that defender was their only substitution at half time. The replacement later received his marching orders for first clotheslining and then scything down Lennon in full flight. Better still Lennon took repeated hacks durably and without the least sign of retaliation, potentially handy qualities for the understudy to David Beckham.

Spurs team mate Michael Carrick (pictured) came into this game with much more of a fanfare, a genuine contender for the holding midfield role. Unfortunately he continued the dismal form he has shown whenever Londonist has seen him play, giving the ball away needlessly more often than he used it effectively. The odd defence splitting pass looked pretty but Roque Santa Cruz, Dwight Yorke and Freddie Ljungberg will bury at the first time of asking the kind of careless passes he donated last night.

It was great to see Ashley Cole almost back to his dynamic self though Arsenal defensive colleague Sol Campbell, while not doing anything wrong, only hinted at his former dominating presence at the heart of England's rearguard. Tottenham's Jermaine Jenas was alert enough to react to Michael Owen's header off the bar to score England's only goal, but was otherwise somewhat anonymous apart from one powerful break down the centre which ended in him being fouled just outside the box.

Substitutes Joe Cole of Chelsea and Jermain Defoe of Spurs made an interesting contrast. Defoe appeared desperate to score in the belief that it might even yet land him a seat on the plane while Cole looked a bit miffed to be the only senior midfielder not deemed above a "B" team run out. Tottenham centre half Michael Dawson wasn't quite quick enough to catch the guy who scored the visitors' winner but he did at least have a powerful set piece header well saved.

Let's see how many of these lads feature for the seniors next Tuesday in Manchester.

Last Updated 26 May 2006