Pundits judge X Factor England far too Strictly

Looking the part: Ex-Blade Kyle Walker on his England debut
Looking the part: Ex-Blade Kyle Walker on his England debut
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SLOGGING it back from the wilds of Cumbria meant missing England’s win over Spain on TV.

Perhaps plenty of others missed plenty of it too. After all, a 5.15pm kick-off hardly gives you time to get back from your own game and be home in time for the start.

The FA is the game’s guardian from the youngest under 7/8s through your Sunday-morning pub team right up to the England team. Yet we have a kic- off time that forces many thousands to miss some of it - and, for plenty of those, all of it.

Unless you stop off in the pub. Which suits the brewing giants, plenty of whom have links with football!

Later kick-off then? No. ITV don’t want anything interfering with X Factor later on.

Anyway, I was delighted we beat the world champions and don’t doubt it spoiled a few agendas, not least Radio 5’s increasingly irritating Alan Green who, apart from making some typically embarrassing comments, clearly came across as frustrated that England had had the temerity to beat a superior side and, therefore, rip up his script.

It was what you might call a tactical triumph. Certainly we had an X factor about our method which was the best way of beating Xavi and his pals.

Across the years, countless teams have come to Wembley, confronted England in the same manner and then punched the air with glee after securing a draw!

I thought there would be some joy at beating the world champions.

With, of course, allowances made that it will mean very little comes the Euro 2012 Finals.

Typically we had the excuses. Spain weren’t quite at it. They took off key players etc, blah blah.

As the miles sped by, I could hear the achievement getting knocked. And very little praise.

National characteristic? Well, we don’t laud our winners too often.

Perhaps it’s this Strictly/X Factor stuff. Afraid I don’t watch either of them but on the rare occasion, I just look at how the losers, ie those voted off, are cheered to the rafters, sympathised with, fawned over, told how well they’ve done.

Meanwhile, Blades followers would have enjoyed Phil Jagielka’s part in it.

Then on Tuesday against Sweden (and not forgetting that other son of Sheffield, Gary Cahill), they probably looked proudly on at the full debut of Kyle Walker.

He has definitely put down a marker for a claim to the right-back spot and he looked so unfazed.

They forever recall Kyle’s first footballing beginning in one part of Sheffield, namely Sharrow, where Football Uniteds Racism Divides (FURD) had their base not far from the Walker home.

At one of their Streetkick mobile games, Kyle always remembers playing against snooker star John Parrott when the BBC came to film before launching the first Sport Relief appeal.

FURD’S Howard Holmes recalls the coaching sessions that were held and this all-action little kid, only seven, running everywhere, with fantastic commitment and desire.

He stood out, even though he was tiny, and coach Paul Archer took him to Sheffield United where he coached their Under-10s (and still does).

Kyle’s recall? “It played a massive part in getting me into football, particularly Paul Archer who was the coach.

“I have to thank him because if it wasn’t for that Sunday morning in a park I wouldn’t be here.”