Jake gets fired up about football

It’s been a strange summer for us football fans hasn’t it? I didn’t know whether to reflect on the World Cup with frustration and disappointment, as England seemed to slide inevitably towards international obscurity, or just marvel at the wonderful goals, plucky performance and shock results as the tournament unfolded.
I guess in some ways England’s exit made it an easier tournament to enjoy. The anxiety and knotted stomach I associate with watching the country I love gave way to a more relaxed, ‘impartial observer’ experience and even with games finishing at 1am, the entertainment was easily enough to keep me wide awake.  Trying to clean my teeth and get in bed without waking my wife and getting told off was a very different challenge.
As for Roy’s Boys, I do see reasons to be cheerful. Our biggest issue is that we had no world-class player in his prime. The twilight of one potentially golden generation, whilst the ability of Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Ross Barkley is for us to watch, debate, and hopefully enjoy for many years to come.
However, if national struggles, but international brilliance has served one purpose, it seems to have got people fired-up for the start of the new Premier League season.
The lads who were part of the England squad are, I’m sure, keen to forget Brazil and prove that, on a domestic level at least, they can be world class.  Especially Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw who both know that performing for the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United brings far greater scrutiny and expectation than they’re used to.

And for those that entertained us from foreign shores, we get to welcome a few new faces.  For the loss of Luis Suarez from our domestic game, we say 'hi' to Alexis Sanchez, adding potency to Arsenal’s attack, Wenger will hope. Diego Costa failed to have a shot on target in Brazil but has shown at Atletico Madrid that he can impact games and score goals.  And what about the young, exciting Divok Origi who displaced Romelu Lukaku in the Belgian national side in Brazil, joining Liverpool?

Then there are those who either didn’t make their nations squads due to form, fitness or age. Ander Herrera at Manchester United, Fernando at Manchester’s other club and young Mario Pasalic joins a re-shaped Chelsea team.