I fear the worst for England at Euro 2012

Wayne Rooney sees red after kicking Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic
Wayne Rooney sees red after kicking Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic

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Unbeaten but utterly unconvincing, England will be at the European Championships next summer.

But the good news ends there.

The fact is that England came through a very soft qualification group in which they still managed to draw at home to Montenegro and Switzerland and scrape past Wales at Wembley.

Plus, the defence looked like it was about to dissolve when put under pressure in Montenegro.

You have to seriously fear for what might happen when England face the likes of Spain, Germany, Holland and a revitalised France and Italy next summer.

Remember when Fabio Capello’s team were handed a more searching test against France last season?

They lost 2-1 and were outplayed.

Next month’s friendly against world champions Spain will give an indication of whether England have a hope in hell at the Euros.

By the time of the finals, Steven Gerrard and Jack Wilshere should both be restored to England’s midfield.

But after the madness of his red mist and card in Montenegro, Wayne Rooney will miss the start of the tournament.

He can have no complaints, even if he does end up with a three-match ban – after viciously lashing out.

Rooney and big tournaments just do not seem to gel.

Injured at Euro ’04, sent off in the 2006 World Cup, failing to qualify for Euro ’08, and listless and distracted by personal demons in South Africa last year.

At his best, Rooney’s class gives England an outside chance.

But last Friday’s events offered confirmation that the fuse is likely to blow at any time.

Elsewhere, has that much changed since the appalling effort in South Africa?

Joe Hart has established himself as a fine keeper, while the dynamic Ashley Young (crazily left out by Capello a couple of games ago) has at last filled the problem position on the left flank. But there is still no top-class right-back, and it was a mistake for Capello to play young Phil Jones out of position there last Friday.

Jones is a future England captain, but he ain’t a right-back.

Jones is a better centre-back than Gary Cahill and should go straight in there now.

The enigmatic Theo Walcott veers between menacing and anonymous.

Ditto Stewart Downing.

Neither should the essentially-ordinary Gareth Barry continue to be an England player.

The Manchester City midfielder and Scott Parker vanished in the second half last Friday.

Who plays up front, presuming Capello goes with a 4-2-3-1 formation for the finals?

Darren Bent, honestly, does not look like an international player.

But he has scored four times in his past five appearances (all away) and does know where the back of the net is.

He should probably get the nod on that basis.

I am afraid I would not even have Andy Carroll in the squad, unless as a desperate battering-ram sub in the last 10 minutes.

His touch is poor and technique unrefined.

Daniel Sturridge, athletic and with an eye for goal, would be a far better pick – and Capello should be taking note of the dramatic improvement in Gabriel Agbonlahor this season.

Please let no-one talk up the chances of this England team.

No bunting and daft ‘we can win it’ predictions.

Barring a massive improvement in the next few months, we won’t.

Most fans would settle for a few performances which offered promise for a better future.