Well to be fair, we’ve had at least a couple of weeks of proper football before they threw a dull international break in there, didn’t we?
I mean, imagine how the Italians must feel – one match and then the clubs take ten days off again. That’s normally what it’s like in the Premier League.
And for what? Let’s be honest – Scotland, Wales and Ireland aren’t going to qualify even for a massively increased Euro 2020 so what is the point of them even turning out?
And England, bar that awful campaign under Shteeve McLaren, always qualify – it’s the actual tournaments that kill us.
You know the impact the UEFA Nations League had when I’d actually prefer to watch that tournament than see England stick four past Bulgaria.
Granted, I am being massively inconsistent here. Only 18 months ago I was moaning about how England used to stick seven past Turkey at Wembley in the last 80s, and how we seem to struggle against lesser nations nowadays.
Gareth Southgate does seem to have changed that as Bulgaria were seen off with minimal effort – as Roy Keane was quick to point out at half-time.
For a column that likes to mock the mockable, England were just a bit too efficient for my liking. A hat-trick from Harry Kane? Of course there was, it’s September and he was at Wembley. A goal from Raheem Sterling from half-a-yard? Yep, he doesn’t miss those any more.
We even got to see Frank Lampard’s Mason Mount make his England debut and, no doubt, he’ll be in and around the England squad for a while to come.
Declan Rice showed that even without being any good in possession he is still a serious upgrade on Eric Dier – after all, Rice is there to win the ball back and if no Bulgarian is in the England defensive midfield area who can he win it off?
All in all, it was job done heading into Tuesday’s top-of-the-table clash against Kosovo which is being played in Southampton – no, I don’t know why either.
Scotland managed to lose, as usual. They led Russia, but that wasn’t on now, was it? It took a late own-goal to ensure that the Scots remain on track not to ever qualify for a major tournament again.
As for the Welsh, I think we can all agree that this might be Ryan Giggs’ first and last effort at management. Wales weren’t very good in their 2-1 win on Friday night and Giggs already looks lost – imagine how lost he will look when Gareth Bale gets injured again.
Ireland, somehow, drew with a very good Swiss side in Dublin – this is an Ireland side managed by Mick McCarthy of the 1990s, playing football as if it is the 1990s. Still, a point is a point.
Watford made a peak Watford move – Javi Gracia is no more at Vicarage Road, paying the price for taking the club to an FA Cup Final last season and only having one point on the board so far.
Watford fans, although a little surprised and disappointed as they’d grown to like Gracia, were allowed at least 30 minutes to wonder who Watford’s owners had up their sleeve. Watford normally have a plan, something different – and, to be fair, it normally works.
Therefore, going back to Quique Sanchez Flores is a bit of a surprise.
Still, they didn’t move quick enough to bring in Diego Maradona. He was available up until Friday night but was appointed manager of Gimnasia in Argentina. Maradona in a gymnasium? I’m not convinced.