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International break this week.

Boring boring boring boring boring boring boring boring boring boring boring boring.

Just as United are getting hotter than Mila Kunis in a sauna wrapped in tin foil, and just as I was ready to see Tim Sherwood turn a new shade of green, we now have the pleasure of watching Gary Cahill et al charm their way through press conferences wearing a drab white polo with a building society logo on it, pretending that picking up three points against the mighty Lithuania on Friday is absolutely vital for momentum.

Arsene Wenger is sure to be well chuffed by the news that, prior to his side’s tussle with Liverpool this weekend, Brendan Rodgers has withdrawn Raheem Sterling from the Italy friendly next Wednesday and Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge – who is doubtful – from both games. It means that Roy Hodgson has only the New Gerrard Jordan Henderson to call upon from Liverpool with any certainty, something that will certainly please the Brodge. In case you have had much better things to do, which I sincerely hope is the case, you may have heard that the The Brodge and The Hodge do not get along, with unconfirmed reports now circling that the two no longer swap crisps in the one-for-one format in the playground.

“People may judge us on Italy rather than Lithuania but that is dangerous because apart from all the players I have lost through injury, I fear we will lose a few more,” fumed The Hodge, whilst furiously texting jokes about Steven Gerrard to Louis van Gaal under the desk. “Already there are one or two who I know won’t be able to join us against Italy because of the problems they are dealing with at the moment. I fear, on this occasion in particular, it won’t be as strong a team as maybe I would like to have put out. But the qualifier is still the priority even though, on paper, Italy are a stronger team to play than Lithuania.”

Considering England are six points clear of second-placed Slovenia, the Hodge finds himself in the unenviable position of having to convince his squad to care, and may in fact be secretly pleased that he has managed to minimise the number of Liverpool players half-arsing their way around St George’s Park, pulling out of tackles (don’t do it kids – that’s when you get injured you know) and in Sterling’s case, curling up by the touchline like a kitten and nodding off, a little like he did on Sunday against United after being farmed out to wing-back by the Brodge. All in all it’s a shame Gerrard has retired from England duty, as they could really do with him stamping his authority on the game.

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