Wilshere on Fire as England Edges Past Slovenia
England continued their surge for Euro 2016 qualification when they visited Slovenia on a good day to play the beautiful game. Many English fans raised their concerns on Roy Hodgson’s decision to play Phil Jones over Nathaniel Clyne in the right back position. Arsenal had two of its favorite sons, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere, in the starting lineup.
England should have had the lead when the 50m man, Raheem Sterling, was clean through on goal but his effort fizzled over the bar. Sterling fired another effort just wide off the mark after receiving a neat pass from Wayne Rooney. Fabian Delph used a step-over to shimmy past his marker before feeding Rooney but the captain’s effort was blocked by Samir Handanovic in goal. Against the run of play, Slovenia got the breakthrough when Milivoje Novakovic latched onto Josip Ilicic’s sumptuous pass and slotted the ball home. That also turned out to be the last meaningful highlight of the first 45 minutes, as England went into the break behind their hosts.
At the start of the second half, Hodgson took out Jones and brought on Adam Lallana. England continued to probe and they got the goal their play deserved through Wilshere. After receiving a loose ball from Sterling, Lallana ran into a crowd of bodies and the Slovenian defenders did their bit to get the ball out to safety but up stepped Wilshere with a thunderbolt that rifled its way to the top corner.
England had the chance to make it two when Andros Townsend raced through the byline and executed a neat cut-back for Rooney but the Manchester United forward launched the ball into orbit. Shortly afterwards, Rooney received the ball from Sterling and fired an effort that clipped the post but the offside flag spared Slovenia’s blushes. Lallana continued to make a good impact since his introduction and he was involved in England’s second goal. The Liverpool man found Wilshere with a clever flick and the Arsenal maestro picked his spot and blasted a piledriver that went past the hapless Handanovic that was rooted to the spot.
Hodgson brought on Theo Walcott with 11 minutes to spare as he replaced a Townsend that didn’t really impact the game liked he would have wanted to. With six minutes just left on the clock, Slovenia thought that they had done enough to share the spoils when Nejc Pecnik headed in a lofted ball. However, England was to have the last laugh when Jordan Henderson and Walcott hit Slovenia on the break and when the Arsenal speedster found Rooney, the England captain fired a clinical effort that broke Slovenian hearts.
Wilshere deservedly got the Man of the Match award and it was the fourth time he was receiving that accolade in six qualifying fixtures. Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck has two. A lot would be expected of the lad next season but I’m sure he’d be very happy that he scored two vital goals for his country to maintain their 100 percent record in the qualifiers.
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