Telegraph Sports Notebook - my belief in England is coming back

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

As everyone continues to digest the events in Kiev last night, there is one word that continually comes up for me – character.

Those who choose to be cynical over England will probably never be for turning.

But even the biggest cynic must have been impressed with the character Roy Hodgson’s team showed to come back from 2-1 down to record a rare victory over Sweden.

True, their defending at set-pieces was shocking and it so nearly saw them lose or draw a game that looked like being a cruise after Andy Carroll’s bullet header had put them in front.

Far too often in the past we have seen England teams give up when the situation looks hopeless. Thankfully that wasn’t the case last night.

Hodgson, who it should be remembered is still very much a novice as far as this job is concerned, threw the dice and put Theo Walcott into the action. What a good decision!

Walcott has continually been a target for criticism, not least from his own club’s fans, but there is nothing better than seeing words rammed down throats and he did that in style last night.

His goal was an excellent strike and the run and cross for Danny Welbeck’s world-class finish was a perfect example of skill and pace being used in tandem.

The England players looked interested and there finally seemed to be a desire to win, something that hasn’t always been there in the past.

It has to be said that this group isn’t the most technically gifted and there are clearly teams in the competition that have superior ability.

But England look like they will get through their group and if that does happen then I (as I said before the tournament) believe we can look at it as some sort of success.

Of course, it would be ideal to win the group and avoid Spain in the last eight but Roy’s boys are beginning to roar and I am not so sure anyone would fancy taking them on at the moment, especially with the trump card in Wayne Rooney now ready to return.

My belief in the England team is coming back. Let’s just hope they deliver against hosts Ukraine on Tuesday.

And if they do, well, anything can happen from there...