Wednesday, June 01, 2005

American adventure

Two games in the space of four days for Jermaine Jenas in what should be the close season, and he looked increasingly comfortable in a creative role at the heart of the England midfield alongside an assured and composed Michael Carrick.

Against Colombia, England's problems were at the back, with neither Glen Johnson nor Phil Neville enjoying good games, but Michael Owen stole the show and masked the defensive frailties with a hat-trick. For his part, JJ knitted play together neatly with some crisp passing, good touches and occasional bursts into the box. Not enough to convince Sven he's worthy of a place in the same midfield as Gerrard, Lampard and Beckham, but probably sufficient to remind the Swede of his qualities.

Last season saw JJ's progress and maturation stall, which was very disappointing after the form and promise of previous seasons. Of course he's still only young, and with the departure of Hughes he's one of the only level-headed professional youngsters at the club, but he needs to start delivering more on the pitch, not least in terms of goalscoring contributions - given that he was rarely employed in a defensive role, a return of just two goals wasn't really good enough.


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