Wow. Where to start? Over 24 hours later and my heart has just about stopped pounding after what was an exhilarating second half performance from England. This game really took me through the mill. From the media driven hype beforehand to that very familiar sense of heartache by half time, and then to adulation courtesy of a frantic second half of which none other than Daniel Sturridge and Sir Jamie Vardy produced the goods needed to send England away with 3 points and one foot in the last 16 of the tournament.
It started off in an all too familiar fashion in the first half with England lacking any real creativity, Kane/Sterling looking just as ineffective as they did against Russia and the sense that this game was not going to be the comfortable victory England had hoped for.
It didn’t take long for the game to take a real nose dive either after Joe Hart well and truly fu*ked up on a Gareth Bale 35 yard free kick. To be audacious enough to even attempt a shot from there is just mental, and Bale deserves all the plaudits he gets, but Joe Hart shouldn’t be beaten from there even if it's Thor’s Hammer coming at him.
By half time I think every English person in the country was screaming for Roy to throw caution to the wind and bring on at least Jamie Vardy, preferably Sturridge or Rashford too. Thankfully, Roy didn’t disappoint and for the entire 45 minutes the game turned into the Alamo.
If we take anything away from this game, it has to be this: England's best players are aggressive attacking players, and we need to let them loose in order to play our best football. Vardy has been lethal all season for Leicester, Sturridge is the best technical player we have, and Rashford (as much as it pains me to say this) is the best young England player I have seen in a long time.They all need to play a big part in this Euro campaign, and there is no excuse to be playing an out of form Sterling instead of any of them.
Harry Kane hasn’t been good either, but his time will come. He’s a truly classy player, who I am sure we will see again at these Euros, but he needs to sit the next one out and have a think about why it’s not going right for him at the moment.
Outside the strikers, it was another very solid game for Clyne, Walker and Lallana as well, and as dangerous as it may seem, Roy really needs to relish the fact England's best chance of winning this tournament is letting attacking youth run wild.
Now that we can put this Home Nations affair behind us, England need to come into the next game and set down a marker. We have dealt with the first game nerves and proved that we have a good mentality, passion and skill in the second. Now we need to show that we aren’t just here for a quarter-final place.
England have the potential to beat any of these three. This is the moat attacking youthful squad we have had in my lifetime and if we can set a real marker down against Slovakia, I’m pretty sure none of the big 3 will really want to face us anytime soon.
Man of the Match – There were lots of good performances in the second half, but over the course of the 90 minutes I would give it to Kyle Walker. He had a hand in most of England's good attacks down the channels and only seems to be growing as this tournament goes on.