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Another England World Cup failure

December 3, 2010 1 comment

 

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It seems that English football has had such a terrible year. An awful World Cup showing and now the humiliation of our 2018 World Cup hosting campaign.

It would appear that our standing as a nation in world football is certainly not what it used to be. The fact that we are seen as the inventors of the beautiful game and the memories of 1966 do not hold any pull with the voters.

We rolled out all of the big guns for this particular campaign. Royalty, the Prime Minister and David Beckham are national icons known the world over but all of this was not nearly enough to bring The World Cup home. Our exit at the first stage of voting really does ask the question: where do we go from here?

FIFA, from the outside, look like they are wanting to spread the World Cup hosting out to countries who have never hosted a World Cup. This has many advantages of course, all of which push England even further down the pecking order. It will bring new supporters of football to the world game. It will bring new stadia and facilities to new countries to enjoy as a legacy to the next generations.

The English bid used many great arguments which went in their favour. We have the stadia and facilities. We have the experience of holding tournaments of this size. We have a multi-cultural society and would embrace a World Cup whole heartedly. But the fact remains that the decision makers always wanted new countries to be hosts.

We could argue that the recent bribery scandal has been a major factor in the voting process. We will probably never get to the bottom of the real truth unless an independent enquiry takes place. Even if this does happen it would be covered up and watered down. FIFA are such a huge animal that they have the power to limit any such proven accusations to a minimum.

I think there is a mentality in this country to believe that we are the best at everything and that by being English we deserve more than we get. This only goes to prove, as in The World Cup, that maybe we are not as good as we were or think we are. 

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Is Capello to blame for England failure??

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

 

 

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Another occasion passes where we see England second best. This time it was the French who had our number. Although the score line looks close I believe that there was quite a large gulf between the two sides. We even finished the game stronger in the last twenty minutes or so which could delude us in to thinking that we are not that far away. For me, we were outclassed on our own turf by a country that has had more recent problems than us. Their own World Cup showing was worse than ours, they have had to discipline many of their players, have a new manager too. All the excuses are there for the French if they want them.

As always, the manager takes all of the blame almost single headedly. I think that you must look beyond the criticism that Capello receives and look at the bigger picture when we see our national team failing as it does, and maybe this is the time to be doing so. We weren’t just beaten at home to France. I think that they were comfortable for the majority of the match, in second or third gear even. They kept the ball for long spells and closed us high up the pitch. We never manage to do this often enough or well enough against the top teams in the world.

As it was a friendly I think Capello was correct to give opportunities to some of our youngsters. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t expect to win every match but not risk blooding new players when the time arises. Although nobody covered themselves in glory it would be wrong to judge the debutants on this one appearance.

For me far too much is expected of our national football team. As a nation we almost feel that it is our right to win World Cups and European Championships. I am really not sure why that is. Apart from 1966 and 1990 we have never really threatened. So why do we believe that we will now? This expectation certainly has a negative response to those that play. Body language suggests that they don’t feel completely comfortable in an England shirt.

Now we have a decreasing pool to choose from. This is only going to get smaller as the amount of foreign players here shows no signs of letting up. Even the youth teams of the top clubs are full of foreign players these days.

Technically and tactically we lack the top teams too. This is not Capellos fault, nor the current players. We need to make our youngsters more technically and tactically aware from a younger age. I have coached young players and have seen it first hand. The majority of kids just want to play a match. They are not interested in actually learning how to play. They  just want to play. For me this is where one of the biggest factors in our decline as a top footballing nation lies. I’m not blaming children for any of our failures but the mentality that surrounds playing football at an early age. We need to install a new mentality that young players want to be educated on the finer points of the game. It happens abroad. I have done it myself whilst a player at AJ Auxerre at age 16. We  had weekly tactical lessons in the classroom. I also saw it in Holland at FC Utrecht. Those players always know the weaknesses of the opposition system for example, where the spare man is and how to use him.

So how can we change it? I believe that we need ex players within the game promoting this type of mentality. That would be a start anyway.  It is such a big job that it wont be done overnight and I do not have all of the answers.

Hopefully The FA will at least do something.

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Will the young guns provide a new era for England ?

November 15, 2010 Leave a comment

 

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The recent England squad has found many of our young performers added to the squad to face France.

The inclusion of Cardiff’s Jay Bothroyd has sparked talking points from many sections. His status as a Championship player will raise eyebrows amongst many England followers.

Many will be thinking that we could be scraping the barrel with us having to delve in to the second tier of our game to produce our next batch of England stars. This maybe just a sign of things to come. The career of Bothroyd is an interesting one. Having spent his early years at Arsenal and not made the grade he has done the Championship circuit and always looked a handful at that level. With the pool of players available to Capello he has no choice but to look beyond The Premier League.

This is a result of the huge influx of foreign players to our shores from years gone by and it could become normal practice if the trends are not reversed.

I am not suggesting that Bothroyd is not worthy of a call up. He must have been watched on many occasions by the scouts in the England set up. His performances must certainly have merited this inclusion, so why not give him a go. 

I just feel a little sorry for Kevin Davies. He must be wondering what he has done wrong to be excluded from the previous squad. He only played a few minutes for England and his form since has been good, so why has he been axed, and what message does that send out ?

From the original squad list I like how the England team is evolving on paper. Carroll, Henderson and Wilshire look to be standing out in The Premier League. They could prove to have long international careers ahead of them. I also think that Kieran Gibbs is a capable understudy to Ashley Cole at left back.

The experience of Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand will provide some substance to the team so I look forward to seeing if any of the next batch can grow in to becoming our future England stars.

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