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Same old England as Allardyce flops on the big stage

The manager may have changed but it was still the same old England who struggled to overcome the ten men on Slovakia.

New boss Sam Allardyce went into his first match in charge of the Three Lions looking for a passionate display - and to be fair it isn’t really passion that the England sides of recent have been lacking; it’s quality. Especially in the final third.

It was only two months ago that Slovakia held England to a 0-0 draw in the Euro’s which all but condemned manager at the time, Roy Hodgson, to departure.

Of course England may well have gone on to beat Iceland - but a draw and win in the opening two group games didn’t have the vultures circling - whereas a much changed starting XI and failure to score against weak opposition was the beginning of the end, and for Big Sam, the match seemed to take on a familiar feel.

There was lots of huffing and puffing but no end product until Adam Lallana scored a 95th minute winner.

Whilst England created chances and should have seen the game off earlier - a win is a win; but again, England usually come out of the qualifying stages looking like world beaters, so it is obviously too early to make any judgements on the squad or the manager.

The main disappointment is that Allardyce had an opportunity to give the likes of Drinkwater and Antonio an opportunity to stake a claim for a regular place, but instead opted for Henderson and Walcott.

Perhaps experience is what he wanted; but it looks more like a severe lack of bravery on his part.

Try as he does, Henderson is no Steven Gerrard and it begs the question how he makes it into the squad. Walcott on the other hand has been a bit part player at his club for a long time now. He was willing to get in behind, but that is nothing Antonio or even Marcus Rashford wouldn’t have done.

There is a long road to the next major tournament, and you’d have to assume that over half of the players who started against Slovakia will not be in the starting XI when the World Cup comes around in 2018.

That can only be a good thing if you ask me.

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