If you’ve been enjoying the football punditry surrounding the World Cup lately, but have been craving something with a bit more no-nonsense grit, we’ve got just the thing for you.
Professional hard man Vinnie Jones has now chipped in with his thoughts on the matter, and specifically Raheem Sterling’s performance in the England team thus far in Russia.
The footballer turned actor, who played for Leeds, Chelsea and Wales among others, was speaking to talkSPORT when he raised his concerns over the Manchester City star, while heaping praise on goal-scorer Harry Maguire.
Sterling is no stranger to criticism, especially from certain facets of the press who seem to find something new to bring up about the 23-year-old forward almost weekly. Thankfully, there are still some who stick up for the player.
In England’s last match against Sweden, however, Sterling did find himself with the chance to score on more than one occasion, but did not manage to capitalise on the opportunities.
Vinnie Jones has now voiced his opinion on the situation, saying Sterling’s wasted chances in front of goal are a ‘worry’ for England ahead of their semi-final against Croatia, adding that the City player ‘would be playing for Exeter’ if it wasn’t for his rapid pace.
Speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show, the actor said:
I know there’s been a lot of criticism for Sterling.
He is getting in all the right positions, but sometimes you look at Sterling and you think, if he didn’t have that pace he’d be playing for Exeter or someone.
I’m not sure what he’s got against Exeter, but I assume he just means Sterling wouldn’t be playing for league champions City, and would be playing for a ‘lesser’ team.
It’s a bit of a worry. For me, Vardy would have scored. He would have knocked that one in over the top, he’s got a great touch. I’m a big Vardy fan, I think he would have scored a couple against Sweden.
It wasn’t all negative, though, as he was quick to praise Harry Maguire, who scored England’s first goal to put them ahead against Sweden, as well as keeper Jordan Pickford, who also performed fantastically in the match.
Maguire has been absolutely magnificent. He could have played alongside Tony Adams, he could have played in any decade really. He passes it well and every set play he’s so dangerous.
And I’m so pleased for Pickford, he’s been absolutely brilliant.
As for England’s next game, the small matter of the semi-final against Croatia, Vinnie said:
What we need now is for Dele Alli to step up. He scored the goal and got away with it [against Sweden]. Sometimes a goal covers up stuff and Dele has not played well yet.
We need a good Dele Alli to step up against Croatia, he’s going to be in there with [Croatia captain] Modric…
England play Croatia in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday, July 11 at 7pm BST.
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