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Monday, June 28, 2010

African Post Mortem

Whimpers instead of roars, as yet again the Three Lions succumbed tamely in the face of what appeared, on paper to be an inferior opponent. Instead of Sven or Steve, it was Fabio's turn to stand forlornly on the touchline, as the best footballers of our nation played like a bunch of Sunday Leaguers, who had drunk far too much the night before, and staggered around as if in the grip of an almighty hangover. Que sera, sera. But where do we go from here? As I have intimated all ready, we could be coached by the Son of God, the one and only Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord, and I still suspect our defence would play as if burdened with lead boots. And all this, over the last eight years at least, while we have been blessed with the greatest crop of players since the late 1960's. Now I am old enough to remember when we were the perennial under dogs at major tournaments, and to be fair we usually exited at about the same stage of World Cups/European Championships, but apart from Germany in 1988, it was always with spirit and rank bad luck that our hopes dashed. So where did it all go wrong?

My theory is that there are probably too many good players in our side. Think about it. Stevie G is the main man at Liverpool. Wazza carries Man United, at the moment, almost alone. And the current Premier League champions have based their team of the last decade around John Terry and Frank Lampard. Add to this mix the considerable egos of the Cole boys, Ashley and Joe, and you have a team that to my mind, and eyes, is staffed by players who can't but help play for themselves. How many times over the last few weeks have we seen one go for glory instead of playing the obvious pass? Or bomb forward, jettisoning any defensive responsibility? A lot, is the unfortunate answer. And yesterday afternoon, we were found out by a team that was well coached, had a game plan, and played for each other. To be quite brutal, we were given a lesson in how to play at this level, in a game of this importance. One word of caution to the Krauts mind. It was only nine years ago since we did the same to you, and look what we won. Just wait till all your bright young things start to make astronomical amounts of money, sign for big clubs, and start to believe all the things that their hanger-ons tell them about how great they are. My suspicion is that this could their one and only shot before avarice and hubris take a grip of these young men.

But that is for our Teutonic cousins too worry about, not us. Our problems seem to be a bit deeper, as apart from Rooney, and possibly Milner and Glen Johnson, our current starting XI is starting to look more than a little long in the tooth. John Terry looked way out of his depth against the younger mobile German forward line (Klose excepted) and after his fling with a team mates bird, his outburst against the management and general loathsomeness, needs to thanked for his service and put out to pasture. The Gerrard/Lapard question needs answering. And the solution is simple. Frank you are 31, and let's be honest, never looked like you do in a Chelsea shirt for us, so thanks, you've been a right laugh, and good bye. That is unless good old Stevie G finally fesses up, that he doesn't much care for England any more and does a Paul Scholes. Who could blame him? The best central midfielder we have had since Bryan Robson, and three succesive managers play him out on the left. James, Barry, Heskey, Defoe, King, Carrager, Wright-Phillips. Come in. Your time is up.

So that leaves Rooney. How can a man who shreds the best defences in European club football and was the second highest goal scorer in qualification throughout the Continent, become Barry Conlon? He just didn't seem to enjoy one second of the tournament, and was a passenger in every game. He is a massive talent, and we should start by building a team to his strengths, as he provides our best hope over the next four years. Surround him with young hungry players, who actually want to pull on that shirt and play for each other. Let's take a chance on the next Euro's by picking a squad that may fail, but should peak in time for Brazil in 2014. With players such as Adam Johnson, Jack's Rodwell and Wilkshire, Joe Hart, Michael Dawson and Theo Walcott. If you could convince Gerrard too hang around, we might actually be able too look forward at last, instead of just regurgitating the same formation, players and most importantly results that we have suffered through since that night in Munich nine years ago. And the first person to say we need to recall Michael Owen gets a poke in the eye.

As for Fabio, the jury is out. He must shoulder a portion of the blame, but this squad is, for the most part, the same one that did for his predecessors. My gut instinct is that he is not the man for the job. After seeing his side fail so miserably, I can't believe he would want to tarnish his legacy with yet more failure, and would bottle out of taking the tough decisions needed to rebuild not only this teams reputation, but it's fragile confidence as well. So, nice work if you can get it, here is a big massive wodge of cash, and off you go. As for his successor, I am not convinced by Harry Redknapp, whose wheeler dealer image is appealing, but I fear he would err on the side of caution, and stick too the core of the side which has let us down time and again. No I would like to see Roy Hodgson take the job on. He has managed big club and all the egos that go with it at Inter Milan, but more importantly has also got tournament experience, having taken Switzerland too the world cup last 16 in 1994, and qualified them for the Euros two years later. Apart from these two, I wouldn't touch an Englishmen with a ten foot barge pole. And for anyone who thinks Beck's is the man for the job, poke yourself in the eye.

So, those are my views on what went wrong, and how, hopefully it can be rectified. I may well be talking out of my hat, but as the cliche goes, "It's a game of opinions" and those are mine. But let's not be too down beat. It could always be worse. You could be Italian or French.......

I am hoping for a Argentina-Holland final with the Argies lifting the trophy. I know I should hate the cheating little git, but I am a sucker for a scoundrel, and Diego may well be the biggest one on the face of the planet.


Anonymous said...

Maradona is a cheat and a twat Bri, I can't forget what he did to us in '86, for this reason I hope they lose to the Germans, then for the Germans to lose to Spain making a Spain v Holland Final! I can't think of anything worse than Maradona being a World Cup winning coach when he shouldn't have even won it as a player!! Also that knob Blatter has come out saying that South American football is better as 4 out of 8 teams originate from there, so for that reason a Spain v Holland final would shove that statement right up his fat arse! Aaaand breeeeathhhh!!!! Dead Eye!!

european bri said...

We shall have to agree to disagree concerning Diego, but I shall join you in hoping for a Spain v Holland final, as I fully back your "Blatter is a knob" stance. A greedy lawyer, turned dictator whose grasp of the game is pitiful. Watch him make sure Russia get the 2018 finals, which will have nothing to do with crossing of palms with silver, of course.