Ian Wright and Roy Keane disagreed over England’s sloppy goal conceded against Poland on Wednesday, with the Arsenal legend claiming Nick Pope was at fault for the equaliser while Keane insisted that John Stones got ‘bored’.
Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions faced their sternest test this international break as they welcomed Poland to Wembley in what was billed as a crucial fixture in England’s World Cup qualifying campaign.
Although Paulo Sousa’s side were without talisman Robert Lewandowski, the World No 19-ranked side came out firing in the second half following a confident first half display from England.
Roy Keane (L) and Ian Wright (R) have disagreed over England’s goal conceded against Poland
John Stones gave the ball away in a dangerous position, allowing Jakub Moder to equalise
The Poles pressed from the front and their pressure paid off, with Stones giving the ball away in front of goal after receiving it from Burnley stopper Pope, with Brighton star Jakub Moder pouncing to level the scores.
Stones, who has enjoyed a fine season with Premier League leaders Manchester City, was left red-faced after the goal, but Wright opined that it was Pope that was at fault for what he deemed a ‘poor’ pass.
‘What we saw there, I’m quite pleased with Pope getting his chances but what we saw with the way he passed that ball to John Stones, obviously John Stones is going to get the blame for it, there wasn’t a lot going on, for me it wasn’t a pass that he should have made,’ Wright said on ITV Sport.
However, Wright claimed that Nick Pope’s (L) ‘poor’ initial pass was the reason for the mistake
‘He passed it in a way that he had to deal with it. It was a poor decision for the goalkeeper to give him the ball in the first place. So I feel for him because he has had a great season and now people are going to judge him following that.’
Keane, however, disagreed with the thoughts of his fellow pundit, insisting that Stones is prone to becoming ‘bored’ at times in defence.
‘There was obviously parts of the game they were disappointed with. John Stones, some defenders do get bored and I think he may have that in his make up,’ Keane said.
‘I’m going to disagree with Wrighty, I don’t think it was the keeper’s fault tonight.
Keane disagreed, arguing that Stones is prone to becoming ‘bored’ with the ball at his feet
The City star atoned for his part in the goal, setting up Harry Maguire for a late winning goal
‘Okay, he didn’t give him a great ball but Stones is used to playing out from the back with Man City. Lack of concentration, Stones got bored. That’s why they gave away the goal. I wouldn’t blame the goalkeeper for that.’
Meanwhile, Ashley Cole was left on the fence over the equalising goal, adding that both players could have played the situation differently.
‘From minute one of that second half Poland were on the front foot,’ he said. ‘For me Pope should be playing that a bit harder, Stones has to go towards the ball and give himself time and from there it’s about the decision making.’
Stones atoned for his part in the goal in the latter stages of the game, heading a corner back towards Harry Maguire who fired England ahead to secure all three points.
Southgate praised Stones’ ‘composure’ to respond with a crucial contribution for the winner.
‘Obviously to concede a goal like we did can hit the team but we stuck at it, we recovered our composure and got the winner,’ the England boss said.
Wednesday’s win extends England’s perfect record in their World Cup qualifying campaign
‘He’s managed to compose himself for the rest of the game and had a part in the winning goal. You can fold in those moments but he responded well. He has had a really good season, he made a mistake tonight he knows that but he composed himself in the game.’
Wednesday night’s win extends England’s perfect record this qualifying campaign as Southgate sets his sights on the fast-approaching Euros tournament, set to take place in just 72 days.
‘At the end of the day they got the job done. Gareth’s job is to win football matches and I will give them credit for finding a way to win,’ Keane added.
‘Credit tonight to England, they have learnt how to win football matches. Looking at that group, England are already in the World Cup, keep that momentum up now.
‘I don’t think you can over analyse it. I think the players England have got, four at the back gives them foundation to win football matches.’