How sweet to be an idiot

FT Montenegro 2-2 England. England played brilliantly for half an hour to take a 2-0 lead, and then proceeded to play appallingly poorly for the next hour. The big headline, though, is that Wayne Rooney is still an idiot. Rooney got a straight red for getting frustrated and maliciously kicking a Montenegrin in the back of the leg. A spectacularly stupid bit of petulance, almost as bad as his crotch stomp against Portugal five years ago. It is only tempered by the fact that this time a draw was all England needed, instead of sending them out on penalties.

The result means that England are definitely in Euro 2012, but that Rooney will definitely miss at least the first match. I’m not convinced that’s a bad thing. Since the end of his purple patch in the 2010 WC qualifiers Rooney has picked up as many cards (2Y, 1R) as he has scored goals. Will he rediscover his form before next summer? Impossible to say, of course, but I am sceptical. He’s never really impressed in the summer, and his success in the WC qualifiers looked more like a Harmison-esque form of his life, as opposed to what we should expect on a consistent basis.His absence will give England at least one match (and I suspect two or three) to try out a new attacking strategy, hopefully one that’s more fluid that what we’ve seen with Rooney’s statuesque demeanour in the penalty area.

None of Rooney’s antics should take away from the fact that England played as poorly in the second half as I have ever seen them. They gave the ball away time and time again. As such, they could not create any sustained pressure and with Montenegro steadily increasing in confidence and desire (with Wales beating Switzerland) England may have been fortunate to have only conceded an equaliser. Coming on the back of the shaky 1-0 victory over Wales it means that England will be far from favourites when facing up to competent opposition in Poland next summer.

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