A poor excuse for a football match

Once again Sven Goran Eriksson displayed his contempt for international friendlies in Tuesday night's 2-1 victory over Serbia and Montenegro.

Although there were encouraging signs throughout the game, the endless stream of substitutes from both sides in the second half wrecked any chance of a decent game.

Eriksson can take some positives from the game.

Matthew Upson, Frank Lampard and Phil Neville can all be commended for their first half performances but the star of the first period was Steven Gerrard, who created and converted England's opening goal.

It is good news for both England and Liverpool to see Gerrard going strong at the end of a difficult season.

The second half should have been all about the introduction of Wayne Rooney but he was upstaged by his predecessor to the throne of England saviour, Joe Cole.

Almost having become the forgotten bright young thing of English football, Cole turned in a performance that will make Eriksson think twice before dropping back down to the under-21's again. His winning strike, which restored England's lead after a Serbian leveller on the stroke of half-time, capped a display full of the kind of energy which should remind us all of the pride which should be felt while wearing an England shirt.

The England crowd can be commended for their good behaviour but the acid test will come next week in the competitive match against Slovakia. I believe that Eriksson will start with the same 11 as Tuesday night, but I think Cole can count himself unlucky if he is not included.

I would like to see Cole at the head of the diamond midfield, with Scholes and Lampard behind and Gerrard anchoring.

Heskey will probably get the nod ahead of Rooney which may be a good thing considering the doubts surrounding the youngster's fitness.