Four talking points from Slovakia v England as the Allardyce era begins
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | September 5, 2016
Four Slovakia v England talking points
England’s new era under Sam Allardyce and 2018 World Cup qualifying got underway with a last-gasp 1-0 win in Slovakia.
Although the game was far from attractive viewing, there was still plenty to ponder following this fortuitous win that saw the Three Lions be frustrated, with a sense of deja vu heavy in the air from when they played Slovakia at the Euros.
Our football experts have come up with four Slovakia v England talking points from the game. Read on to see what we feel this fixture has thrown up…
Big Sam keeps faith
Speculation had mounted just how much Allardyce would wield the axe on an England roster that really didn’t do itself justice with an embarrassing Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland.
As soon as Big Sam’s first Three Lions squad came out, though, the emphasis was more on continuity than change. That theme continued with him naming eight of the starting XI from the Iceland game.
Only Harry Kane, Jordan Henderson and John Stones came into the England line-up. Meanwhile, West Ham United winger Michail Antonio was the only fresh face on the roster, with Ross Barley and Jack Wilshere dropped.
Liverpool were right to sell Skrtel
Slovakia skipper Martin Skrtel has always been regarded as something of a blunt instrument and when Jurgent Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers at Anfield last autumn he wasn’t to the German gaffer’s taste.
That left Skrtel frozen out of first-team affairs, and a summer switch to Fenerbahce offered him a way out of Merseyside. Despite being his country’s captain, the performance put in by Skrtel was shocking, completely vindicating Klopp’s decision to drop and sell him.
Skrtel di giustezza su Kane. https://t.co/8QrJ5Vuub9
— delinquentweet (@delinquentweet) September 4, 2016
First getting booked for elbowing Kane in the first-half, Skrtel then stamped on the Spurs striker and was sent off for an early bath before the hour mark. When Fenerbahce face Manchester United in the Europa League group stage, Skrtel best remember Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a karate expert.
Walcott disallowed goal should’ve stood
Theo Walcott thought he’d grabbed a late winner, but a raised offside flag drew a halt to celebrations despite protests from the Arsenal attacker, England skipper Wayne Rooney and fellow sub Daniel Sturridge.
Replays showed when Sturridge passed to Walcott to fire home from a tight angle the ball came off a Slovakia defender, but the referee was unmoved by appeals.
It’s a decision from the officials that looked to have cost the Three Lions three points and Allardyce a winning start to World Cup qualifying, but the drama wasn’t done…
Lively Lallana cements spot
Many England fans were disappointed to see Adam Lallana kept his place, with the damning statistic of no goals in 26 senior caps before the Slovakia game.
The Liverpool midfielder looked to have had another disappointing day when his silky shot on the turn from the edge of the area came back off the inside of the post during a lively display.
— THE ANFIELD WRAP (@TheAnfieldWrap) September 4, 2016
Lallana finally broke his Three Lions duck at the 27th attempt in the 95th minute, deep into stoppage time. Slovakia stopper Matus Kozacik just couldn’t keep his effort out.
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