Let me paint you a picture of the last time I watched England take on Ukraine in a football match. After an eventful trip to Amsterdam I was sitting in the bar at Amsterdam Schiphol airport with a hefty waiting time before my departing flight to London Gatwick. The England v Ukraine game was on the telly above the swanky looking bar and as I sipped on my astonishingly expensive pint of Grolsch the game got under way.
I had befriended a beautiful Scottish girl called Enid; waiting for her flight home to Aberdeen with a group of friends, many of which were highly intoxicated and boisterous fellas. She was tanned, with a strong Scottish accent, petit and well I better stop there or ill run out of space for the football.
Anyway as the game trundled along in a typically unspectacular way (you watched the game you know what I mean) one player was admittedly having a quite dyer game. Ashley Young of Manchester United could barely keep the ball under control, his defensive work was non-existent and he was fading out of the game as if at will.
It lead to a chorus of noise from the Scottish lads I had ‘befriended’ of some note, the brilliant witticisms only football fans seem capable of conjuring as they sang at the top of their voice …
‘ASHLEY YOUNG IS SCOTTISH, ASHLEY YOUNG IS SCOTTISH NA NA NA NA’
You get the gist. I thought about mentioning the fact England had qualified whilst Scotland hadn’t but they deserved their moment in the sun, it was an exquisite sight as business folk and despondent Dutchman, perturbed by their countries recent exit, watched on in bemused curiosity.
So should we be pleased we are without Ashley Young for the upcoming qualifiers?
He received a lot of criticism after the Euro’s, some of which I am keen to point out descended into putrid and inhumane racism that is as always an abhorrent and ugly act conceived by a deluded minority.
Young himself was not happy with his performances but before the competition hope was really high around the former Watford and Villa player. He was in terrific form at international level which we hoped would be pivotal for Roy Hodgson’s side.
It didn’t quite work out for him, ultimately culminating in a missed penalty that nobody felt confident he would put away. But should we cast him aside once he returns to the fold. Is his style of play becoming dated in the modern game, the incessant need to cut onto his right foot and deliver pattern breaking crosses?
Or is he a necessary asset, capable of scoring goals at vital times and delivering the perfect incisive cross to render a goalkeeper redundant from duties as an England toe, head or whatever pokes the ball home.