Jack Wilshere: If there was a hint of complacency, it will be gone now… England will see off Wales & win World Cup group
THREE LIONS supporters are disappointed we could not produce the football and the goal-fest that we did against Iran.
But I said that USA would give us problems, so it wasn’t a huge surprise that we came back down to Earth.
In our opening World Cup game we got on the front foot, really took it to the opposition.
We weren’t allowed to do that this time.
The USA have a bit more about them, so we were right to treat them with respect — but I also thought we were too slow in the opening 45 minutes.
It was ponderous at the back at times, with Harry Maguire and John Stones passing to each other, trying to draw the US players out.
I think England expected them to press higher up the pitch, which would have helped us to get behind them and find some pockets to work in.
Instead the Americans stayed back and it confused us. We’ve got so used to pressing in the Premier League, it’s unusual when a team backs off.
There was some good work involving Kieran Trippier and Bukayo Saka early on down the flank.
And a nice move when Jude Bellingham found Saka to set up Harry Kane for our best chance of the half, which was deflected wide.
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But those bright lights were few and far between and we ended up playing too narrow. I was crying out for us to get some width into our game.
Christian Pulisic gave us a nasty shock too with that strike that hit the crossbar — he is always capable of pulling off something like that.
I could sense the country calling for a sub like Phil Foden or Jack Grealish to come on and try to open them up — but I didn’t feel at half-time that it was cause for panic.
I thought if we could get the ball to Saka more often, then things would happen for us.
Gareth had to make changes midway through the second half though, when he took off Raheem Sterling and Bellingham for Grealish and Jordan Henderson. That seemed like a decent call — and Grealish stretched the play.
Also, Henderson frees up the front three because he’s more of a sitter than Jude.
Marcus Rashford came on for Saka as the manager tried everything to get that goal — but it was not enough to change the result.
Even so, we could have won it right at the end with that Kane header.
I don’t want to be getting on their case too much. We can’t expect every performance to be brilliant and it could even have done us a favour — if there was even a hint of complacency, there won’t be now.
We still have four points and I’m confident we’ll go through as group winners by beating Wales, who lost to an Iran team which was maybe better than we all thought.
I feel for Wales but they just weren’t in it. They looked dead on their feet by the end — and Iran were worthy winners.