England put an end to the World Cup opener curse after Harry Kane’s stoppage time winner ensured England started the tournament with a victory, with Tunisia looking more than likely to take their share of the points in Volgograd.
After a promising opening 20 minutes, England’s shortcomings in front of goal were punished as Tunisia were awarded a penalty – using VAR – and Ferjani Sassi equalised from the spot, heaping pressure on Gareth Southgate’s outfit to score a second.
But creativity was scarce from the Three Lions, in what was a stressful and frustrating half to watch for the nation.
And Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson has come under fire for his performance in the heart of the midfield, with many believing that Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere would have been more creative and imaginative in central midfield, if he wasn’t omitted from international duties this earlier this summer.
Henderson frequently opted for possession over creativity and was guilty of taking too many touches in the midfield yesterday, particularly in the second half and the speed of play was directly affected as a result.
Here’s the Twitter reaction:
Playing teams like Tunisia, you need a player like Jack Wilshere who can unlock defences. I’d rather a half fit Wilshere over Henderson in there.
— Scott Johnson (@KingSMJ23) June 18, 2018
Am I missing something with Henderson though? Pundits praising him to the hilt but he did nothing for me. Wilshere and Shelvey would have done a better job for me.
— J.Steel.WHU (@BecontreeHammer) June 18, 2018
Relying on Lingard and Jordan Henderson to be the creative sparks when you have Jack Wilshere at home ????
— MILTON † (@Andy_Milton) June 18, 2018
Thoughts at 90:
England are dreadful
Jack Wilshere would’ve made tonight so much easier
Alli should’ve been subbed off at half time
Henderson can’t make a forward pass
Tunisia did very well
— The Real Miloš Penn(g) (@paperclipknight) June 18, 2018
Imagine jack wilshere playing balls forward into that front four instead of Jordan Henderson
— Steven Waters (@stevenwaters16) June 18, 2018
Jack Wilshere would’ve added a lot in this toothless midfield led by Henderson & co.
— Awalla. (@TheIDDI___) June 18, 2018
Wilshere would walk into this team, Henderson is so poor forever going side to side or backwards
— Abas Nawaz (@Abas_182) June 18, 2018
I still don’t get how Wilshere didn’t make it onto the plane??Bit of creativity,Henderson is awful
— RD1 (@Rossa_010) June 18, 2018
Henderson not positive enough, we someone like… You a Jack Wilshere type of player…@TheOfficialFNG ?
— Tom (@Tom97HD) June 18, 2018
Every time Henderson dithers on the ball I think of Jack Wilshere and how he should be playing!
— stephen sneller (@steviesnells) June 18, 2018
By no means did the 28-year-old have an awful game, but his choice of pass was often safe and as a result England lacked impetus and drive in the second-half, until the additions of Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added a spark in the final third.
Gareth Southgate will often opt for control in central midfield against tougher opposition – with Belgium on the horizon – but against the likes of Tunisia and Panama, the side can afford to take more risks and be more inventive, and the decision to leave Wilshere at home is already being questioned after just one game.