Reid On... International Action
Blues legend shares his opinion in exclusive column.
I was at the England game last night and I thought we were terrific. We passed the ball well and Jack Wilshere was absolutely outstanding.
I played against Brazil in 1987 and we only managed to draw - Gary Lineker scored for us but Shilts dropped one for their equaliser - so it was nice to finally beat them and get what was a thoroughly deserved victory.
Roy Hodgson was able to bring on the likes of Frank Lampard and James Milner in the second half which shows the strength in depth of the team at the moment. It was a touch disappointing not to see Leon Osman get another chance because he has been terrific this season but he certainly deserved to be in that squad.
David Moyes will be hoping all his international stars now report back fit and well for the weekend game against Manchester United.
When I was managing, I used to keep my fingers crossed that none of my players got injured, but I’ll always remember a time when I was at Sunderland. I had Stefan Schwarz, who was a Swedish international and a really good player for us, but he got a bad Achilles injury when he went away with his country.
As manager, you are always nervous and looking to see how players get on while they are on international duty.
THE LEIGHTON BAINES/ASHLEY COLE DEBATE RUMBLES ON
England are blessed to have two outstanding players of such quality. Ashley Cole might just possibly be the better defender but I think Leighton Baines offers more going forward.
There’s scope to argue that both of them could play in the same team. I’m a great admirer of Danny Welbeck but I just don’t think it suited him to play on the left-hand side of midfield, so that might be something that Roy Hodgson will look at. But I think it’s good that two quality players are vying for one position because they know that they have to be at their best to get into the side.
Throughout my career I was lucky to play alongside many great left-backs but if I was to pick the best I would say Tony Dunne who won the European Cup in 1968 with Manchester United. I played with him when I first broke into the Bolton Wanderers side – he was an outstanding full-back.
KEEP VICTOR FIT
It was good to see Nikica Jelavic notch for Croatia on Wednesday and that might give him a bit of confidence. I remember back to the Southampton game where he had that chance late on but he just could not slot it in - it’s been like that for him recently but hopefully now he will get a big boost.
In that match at St Mary’s last month, I thought Victor Anichebe came on and looked really strong and sharp. His goal against Aston Villa at the weekend was terrific; he used all his power and strength before turning and putting away a really good finish.
In a way, Victor reminds me of Cyrille Regis with all his attributes. He is a big, strong boy who can back into defenders and when he gallops he has got some real pace. He has always had that potential so hopefully now he can stay on that pitch and score a lot of goals.
ATTACK AT OLD TRAFFORD
When I was preparing my teams to face Manchester United the first thing I hoped for was that we got a lot of luck! They have always been a strong side, so when you go to Old Trafford you have to make sure you play well and aren’t intimidated.
Manchester United’s strength at this moment is going forward. Obviously Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are quality strikers and you have to try and keep them quiet but if things aren’t going for them, Sir Alex Ferguson can bring on Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck.
I do, however, think you can get at United at the back. I don’t think Sir Alex has been too happy with the way they have defended this season, but there is so much firepower that they have simply been scoring more goals than their opponents. That’s why they are nine points clear and are favourites to be champions again.
EYES ON THE PRIZE
I’ve been involved in cup runs and have got to Wembley, and I always used to take it one tie at a time. I know it’s an old cliché but that’s the way you have to do it.
There’ll be a bit of excitement amongst Evertonians now who are thinking what might happen if we can get past Oldham and then land a home draw in the quarter-finals, but it won’t be easy at Boundary Park.
Oldham’s league form has been indifferent and that was why Paul Dickov decided to call it a day after their 3-1 defeat at Walsall at the weekend, but certainly in the FA Cup they have been really positive.
Their centre-forward Matt Smith is a big, strong boy and he caused Liverpool all sorts of problems. You have got to keep an eye on him, but I would certainly expect Everton to get through to the next round.