Whenever a Harry Redknapp team does well I start to worry. I start to worry that the team is about to go out of business or that someone might declare him the best manager they have ever worked under, but most of all I worry that it is only a matter of time before he starts being linked with the non-vacant role of England manager. I, though, like so many other people with anti-Redknapp agendas, might have been unfair in judging him so harshly.
As Tottenham completed their neutralisation of AC Milan tonight, I set about worrying for England as I always do, but the sickening notion that he’d done a good job wouldn’t go away even after I’d torn off my ear in protest. AC Milan are quite a good team, I kept thinking. How could Redknapp beat them with his seemingly slightly less good team?
Inescapably, Redknapp is doing something right at Tottenham; something worth looking into. I always enjoy dismissing ‘Arry’s managerial achievements as the result of tens of millions of pounds worth of random combinations of players juggled to eventual form something like a team. I’ve always thought of his approach as too hit and miss and too reliant on top-class individuals for it to be taken entirely seriously. With Tottenham though, there is a sense that consistency has finally been achieved (their average league position is 4th), and what’s more, a sense that, albeit with a strong set of individual talents at his disposal, Redknapp has managed to form a team greater than the sum of its parts.
These are easy assertions to make, but they’re also uncharacteristically easy to substantiate:
1. Milan’s starting XI – if Ibrahimovic’s considerable price tag is included – cost far more than Tottenham’s and yet it was Redknapp’s team who dominated the game: notionally worse players outplayed their notional betters. Redknapp: the motivator.
2. Tottenham’s spending has been vast, but Redknapp has built a team from those individuals: his midfield of Modric, Huddlestone, Van der Vaart, Lennon and Bale somehow works well. Redknapp: the man with a plan.
3. I suppose there are things I should put here also.
It’s not just that Redknapp appears to be doing a good job at Tottenham though; it’s the nature of the job he is doing which tempts me to see him as a reasonable candidate for the job of next England manager:
1. He has proved himself capable of moulding a team from players who look incompatible.
2. That first point again
I mean, don’t take this as anything more than internet bla, but I’m coming around to the idea that he wouldn’t be awful. In writing this – in such a bloggy style – I have lowered myself to the position of ‘Second Hamster’ (which is, you will find, a reference to nothing in particular.)
As some of you may know, I am a Bolton fan. At the very end of the transfer window, we were lucky enough to pick up a certain Daniel Sturridge on loan. In the three games since joining Bolton, he’s shown why Coyle was interested, scoring in each of them. He’s now scored as many for Bolton as he had in his previous 31 Premiership appearances. He’s already received the plaudits of multiple teammates. As my Bolton Offside coblogger put it, he’s started for us like multiple houses on fire. However this pace is obviously unsustainable, which makes the question: how far will his form drop?
Sturridge has proven he can score goals, quite good ones at that. He also has a good work rate, popping up all over the pitch, which was especially on show against Everton. But even in this good form I’m wary of getting too excited about him. He found himself on his back more often than John Terry’s mistress(es), which was frankly quite embarrassing for the team and the fans. He and new teammate Johan Elmander got in a tiff on the pitch, and while I don’t know who was at fault, it’s unusual for this team to argue on the pitch, and it’s not good that it began when he arrived. He’s only 21 and clearly has a bit of growing up to do.
Sturridge does show a lot of promise, I’m certainly not arguing with what he’s done for Bolton so far, but all this talk him being the “future of England” is premature. Three games does not a career make. His goal ratio is phenomenal, but not something he can keep up. His game is good, but there is certainly work to do. He needs to prove his ability for longer than two weeks to earn an England call up. For now, I just hope he keeps doing his thing for Bolton.
Break my heart foir I must hold my tongue! Shakespeare was English, but his greatest story was of a Danish Prince. So when England take on Denmark it seems reasonable to filter the game report through (mis)quotes from that play. Right?
Frailty Thy Name is England!
England were defensively really poor, especially in the first half. Highlighted by the fact the Danes could have been 2 up within about 3 minutes, they also hit the post, and opened the scoring. England’s passing at the back was terrible, and if we didn’t have the ball, we looked lost, with the exception of Ashley Cole, who looked good as usual.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Frank Lampard led the team out (for the first time) and struck up a good partnership in the centre of midfield. Which lets be honest, is something that we haven’t always been able to say about him. This partnership was with Jack Wilshire, and the two looked controlling (When England had the ball) dictating the play through the centre. Wilshire actually completed more passes, and made more tackles than anyone else in the first half.
Alas Poor Wilshire! I knew him, erm, Horatio.
Wilshire got subbed at half time after he got kicked towards the end of the first half. Mind you, Lampard and Rooney also went off. One from each club. And Fabio says he absolutely does not have arrangements with the Prem’s managers.
Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t
After half time, England looked better, more controlling. I can only remember one decent Danish effort in the second 45. This made the game less exciting, but showed that Fabio possibly knows what he’s doing. Scott Parker probably made the difference, in all honesty, as he can tackle, and track back.
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
Our best players, however, were James Milner and Theo Walcott, who confused the Danish defence, the commentary team, and us in the liveblog by switching wings every five minutes, as if they were Johan Cruyff and Johnny Rep. Walcott created the equalising goal, after some good work to get past the defender, a good cross, and a tap-in for Bent.
Something is rotten in the State of Denmark
Denmark’s best player was Christian Eriksen which is a bit too close to a former England manager for comfort isn’t it? What rotten mind games are these? Seriously though, the guy is only 18 and he pulled our defence apart. A Prem move would be nice.
2-1 or not 2-1, that is the question.
And England answered, with a deserved second goal. A friendly win, and what have we learned? England are good on the ball, but horrible without it. Wales next month in a qualifier. Hopefully we’ll be a bit more full of confidence from this win that we have been since that horrible game against France.
O horrible, O horrible, most horrible!
The game was on ITV. I hope this is the only post in the history of the world to be tagged with Laurence Olivier and Ashley Cole.
If you want a great night, don’t join us (myself – Ethan – and myself – Ethan) here at 7:30pm GMT, but if you want a rubbish night, do. Or something like that.
This fixture will inevitably bring back memories of the last time we paid a visit to Denmark. England swaggered into that match and came out of it humiliated. This time, we have an England team with considerably less confidence. To contrast our recent poor form, Denmark has been doing well having, a record of W-2 D-2 L-1 since going out of the World Cup before the Round of 16 last summer. While they were not very successful in the World Cup, they showed they can play some decent football.
You can play 5-minute fantasy rounds during the Denmark v. England match with our Picklive fantasy game
There are some very recognizable names in this Danish squad, the most obvious being Arsenal’s Nicklas Bendtner, although Anders Lindegaard, Lars Jacobsen, Daniel Agger, and Christian Poulsen all also play in the Premiership. Bendtner will be the one to watch, because in spite of often finding himself on the bench, he can prove quite dangerous.
Meanwhile, his teammate Jack Wilshere looks to be starting for England after Capello said “In the last two months, he has improved a lot with his confidence” about the young player. He will probably feature a little deeper in the midfield, after Wenger endorsed him in that position. Capello has been given a bit of a selection headache, having to alter his squad after four players (Steven Gerrard. Ben Foster, Peter Crouch and Gabriel Agbonlahor) withdrew due to fitness and personal reasons. This means that Rob Green and Carlton Cole find themselves included after all. It also means that Frank Lampard will be wearing the armband for the first time. Darren Bent is expected to join Rooney up front.
I’m not overly optimistic about this match. After sailing through qualifiers for the World Cup, England has looked a bit of a mess. Something, some confidence and connections between the players, has gone. This is our last friendly before Euro qualifiers start up again, so let’s hope we find it again.
Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow during the match for a liveblog with Ethan and hopefully myself!
Goalkeepers: Ben Foster (Birmingham) [withdrawn], Robert Green (West Ham), Joe Hart (Man City), David Stockdale (Fulham)
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Bolton), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Joleon Lescott (Man City), John Terry (Chelsea), Kyle Walker (Aston Villa)
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Man City), Stewart Downing (Aston Villa), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) [withdrawn], Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Man City), Scott Parker (West Ham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Ashley Young (Aston Villa)
Forwards: Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) [withdrawn], Darren Bent (Aston Villa), Carlton Cole (West Ham), Peter Crouch (Tottenham) [withdrawn], Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Football, is not coming home. The 2018 World Cup will be held in Russia.
We haven’t covered the bidding process that much here at WCB, mainly because its been a bit boring, despite the English Press best efforts. I’m more dissapointed than I thought I’d be to be honest, but on the other hand, I do think Russia will be put on a good show and good for them. They are a growing football nation, and at least they have an interest and history in it.
The 2022 World Cup (which we weren’t competing to hold) will be held in Qatar. Which is pretty clearly not a very good choice at all. I mean, its tiny, you are basically going to have Millions of people descending on stadiums all lined up next to one another in the middle of the desert. God knows what the people are Qatar are going to do with all that stadia after the World Cup.
Back to England’s bid, and I’m sure the negative press had an impact on the thing, and I’m fairly sure it could have all been timed to cause less damage, rather than more to to the bid. But at the end of the day, there clearly is a whole bunch of corrupt dealings going on and we shouldn’t turn away from all that.
I’m dissapointed, but hey-ho. There’s a World Cup in Brazil to look forward to.
So, you were probably expecting a post about England’s flickering attempts to hold the 2018 World Cup? Hard Luck. That’s just some people making some speeches at the moment. So instead I give you, something suggested to me on Twitter earlier.
You’ll never look at him the same again. Let alone give you a crisp.
So, England vs France in a meaningless friendly. Where else would you want to spend it but with me, and possibly Ethan and Matilda, if they can (they probably can’t). So please don’t leave me here all alone.
So England take on France tomorrow in a friendly. In times gone by this would be a Big Test to prove ourselves against a quality opposition to keep our ambitions in check while we coasted in qualifying.
But it isn’t like that now. For a start, France have had a bad a time of it of late as we have. The song that caught our imagination during the World Cup was Dave Henson’s Gaga Parody At Least We’re Not As Bad As France afterall.
After promising to just stop picking the same XI over and over (more on that in a bit) Capello has gone all out with youth, and tomorrow will hand Gibbs, Carroll and Henderson games. He’s told fans we have to be patient with them, even if they’re a bit rubbish as they adapt to international football.
The squad is decimated with injuries (as it always is at Friendly time) with John Terry, Wayne Rooney, Glen Johnson and Jack Wilshire all not able to play.Joe Hart is a doubt with a slight injury Capello isn’t too worried about, and Phil Jagielka has the flu.
So, in this game we’ll get to see a few players who may or may not be fringe players in future England squads basically. Mind you France also seem to be in limbo with Laurent Blanc claiming that France actually have no great players. He singles out Nasri, Ribery and Malouda as the closest, and they are close enough that you wouldn’t want a makeshift England defence facing them. Oh.
Still, I can see why Fabio has picked a overly young squad to play the game. It is pretty meaningless (although I wouldn’t want to be spanked 4-0 anyway) and it can give some youngsters a chance to prove that actually they can cut it, and maybe give them a taste of football of this level, give them something to shoot for in future.
The problem Capello faces is that no-one really understands the point of friendlies (still). They clearly exist to make a bit of money, and to give international teams a bit of continuity, but you get the feeling that no-one really loves them.
And if Fabio keeps chopping and changing then he looks indecisive, and starts capping new players for the sake of it. If he sticks with the same, he’s picking the same old team.
He can’t pick a team entirely based on form – there would be no continuity, as the players wouldn’t get to know one another at international level and would play badly – he can’t pick players too badly out of form either, and just pick on reputation though, as well we know how that ends.
The other problem with picking players based on form of course is squeezing them into teh system. Capello has got to find one that really works for him with the players that he has. I’m not sure he has to date.
The game is little more than a kickabout between two once-great nations then (although come back here tomorrow and we might have a knockabout liveblog with any luck) but it will be interesting to see how some of the younger players do against a team with some pretty decent names in it. I don’t know if we’ll win, but i’ll probably settle for a good performance to be honest.
A quick warning before I really get into this post. I am a Bolton fan, and I am inevitably biased by this. I do try to remain clear-headed when writing for England WCB, but I know that my loyalties will come out. Apologies ahead of time.
Before we start, have a look at the final squad:
Keepers: Foster (Birmingham), Hart (Man City), Green (West Ham)
Defenders: Cahill (Bolton), Gibbs (Arsenal), Jagielka (Everton), Lescott (Man City), Richards (Man City), Ferdinand (Man Utd), Smalling (Man Utd), Warnock (Aston Villa)
Midfielders: Walcott (Arsenal), Wilshere (Arsenal), A Young (Aston Villa), Gerrard (Liverpool), Barry (Man City), Johnson (Man City), Milner (Man City), Henderson (Sunderland)
Strikers: Bothroyd (Cardiff), Carroll (Newcastle), Crouch (Tottenham), C Cole (West Ham)
This is slightly different than the original squad released, however Gary Cahill, Stephen Warnock, and Carlton Cole have been called up for the injured John Terry, Ashley Cole, and Gabby Agbonlahor. I won’t lie, when I saw the original squad, I was extremely angry. I still have a difficult time seeing Capello’s logic in several choices, mostly the exclusion of Kevin Davies and Gary Cahill (although, obviously he’s now included). It’s clearly a squad focussed on the developing for the future, and I’m in support of that, but even granting him that, he went a little too far into development.
The main inclusions I have a beef with are Jay Bothroyd and Chris Smalling. This may sound like an elitist position, and I’ve already been chastised on Twitter for having it, but I stand by the fact that if you play in the Championship, you are not of international quality. If at 28, you’re still at Cardiff City, you are simply not good enough. I realise he’s in form, but being in form in a lower quality league does not necessarily translate to the international level. Now England is not exactly a high quality establishment at the moment and it is just a friendly, but I think that we should maintain some level of standards.
On that same theme, Chris Smalling may be a Manchester United player, one of the best clubs in England, but he’s had 22 minutes of game time this season. We all know that game time is irreplaceable. You can train all you like, but if you’re not put into the infinite unpredictable situations a game presents, your split second decision making will never be up to scratch.
Now, it is probably not a coincidence that the two players I chose to pick on happened to be in positions that my darlings play in, but I stand by my points. I simply can not understand Capello’s thought process in those two decisions. I may be proven wrong on Wednesday, and for the future of England I rather hope I am. The squad as a whole doesn’t look too bad, and I reckon we can give France a game with those players, but it’s decisions like Smalling and Bothroyd which makes me question Capello.
The gloves are well and truly off in the run up to Dec 2, when we’ll find out whether its England, Russian or Spain/Portugal that hosts the 2018 World Cup. While the latter bid is mired in some controversy about vote fixing, England and Russia are the leading bids, and the Russians are playing a high risk strategy to get the bid.
Earlier in the week Russia 2018 chief executive Alexei Sorokin critisised England drunken youth (I’m sure Russian youngsters are teetotallers by comparison) and the high crime of England’s capital city.
This apparently breaks FIFA rules where you aren’t allowed to criticise other bids (which seems odd, really) the English bid dithered for a few days before lodging a formal complaint. Apparently FIFA aren’t impressed with England lodging a formal complaint when someone broke the rules (I know, right?) and it could negatively affect England’s bid.
Meanwhile today, the Russians have gone all out not to reverse the situation. Where Viacheslav Koloskov (honorary president of the Russian Football Union) called England’s bid “absolutely primitive”. Which is a bit harsh.
Its obviously a bit childish and point scoring, but it will have an effect on the descion made, presumably. FIFA presumably will have to take into account what the Russians have said, but on the other hand, there is little point in them having any rules at all if they aren’t going to enforce them.
The problem with the latter comments is that because Koloskov’s position is honorary, he falls outside Fifa’s rules for commenting on other bids, so it could just be to try and get someone from England’s bid to say something bad and thus break the rules.
Who’d have thought FIFA would implement an absurd rule badly?
A couple of days ago, England took on Montenegro, and drew 0-0. I’m pleased we didn’t liveblog it, because it was boring. England probably should have won, and were denied a stonewall penalty, but there was a distinct lack of chances created by England, and we sort of settled for 0-0 late on.
Of course this has caused a minor outrage in the press who think England let us down again etc etc.
But the draw wasn’t really a bad result. We now sit three points behind Monty, with a game in hand and a much better goal difference. We’re still well on track to qualify out of this group.
And considering out recent struggles, we just have to focus on getting out of the group, and worrying about the implications of how we got out of the group later. Teams that win World Cups sometimes struggle out of their groups, its the way it goes. I’m not saying we’re going to win the World Cup (we’re qualifying for the Euros for a kick off) but we’re not a disgrace. Lets keep some perspective.
There were things to worry about – Gerrard went back into his shell after a couple of better performances (notably as Captain, maybe he needs the armband more that Rio) and Rooney was back to World Cup Rooney, alas.
Fabio has, certainly got some work to do. But now is not the time for Panic.
Neither Darren Bent or John Terry will play against Montenegro for England tomorrow, both have joined the England Injury List Peter Crouch will start up front with Wayne Rooney with Lescott and Rio Ferdinand (Who has regained the captaincy on his return to England duty from Steven Gerrard) in the centre of defence.
I’m okay with both. Terry’s England form over the last 12 months has been a way off his best, and Lescott has been a fine understudy. It would have been nice to see Jagielka, but he alas, is already injured.
It is great to see Rio back in the centre of defence too, after a bitty injury-plagued period. Hopefully he can put in a good reminder of what we’ve been missing in the centre of defence recently.
Up front, I feel a bit for Bent, who has been in great form for his club lately. Crouch’s record for his country however is exceptional, and hopefully he can add to that tomorrow. Rooney will be hoping to be in amongst the goals as well, coming back off an injury himself, he really needs to get some form back, and banging in a couple for England would be most welcome indeed.
Montenegro have had a good start to their qualifying run, with three 1-0 wins against the Swiss, Romania and Bulgaria and are one of the tricky games in the group, but even with injuries and question marks around the form (Rooney) and fitness (Rio) of key players, we should come through it okay. We seem to be good qualifiers under Capello, if nothing else.
They’ve played a game more than us and sit top of the group with Nine points, so a win would be a very useful indeed (as it’d put us joint top, having played a game less) and set us in good stead for the rest of quali. A draw would be far from a bad result either – three points behind Monty with a game in hand and a better goal difference, we’d still be way on track to win the group.
So, West Ham and England legened and all round FA go to boy Trevor Brooking has added to his previous comments that the next manager of England should be English by putting Steve McClaren’s name in the frame. I’m sure you don’t need reminding what happened last time Steve was England boss.
Brooking reasons that Steve has done well post Brollygate leading FC Twente to the title in Holland, and is now manager of erm, under performing Wolfsbuirg.
The full Brooking quoite
“Could Steve do the England job again? I am sure if he continues to be a success his name will be in the frame again, If you think he will be a lot more experienced this time around and he has learnt his lesson, then why not? I wouldn’t rule out anyone. I think it would be very unfair to do that.”
Wrong on so many levels I will have to explain in bulletpoint form:
*No his name won’t be in the frame again, because he’s proven he was rubbish before. HE could win all teh trophies under the sun and his name won’t be in “the frame”.
*I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want to come back, considering how successful he is now.
*He’s not that much more experienced. He’s managed in a different league sure, but his great experience is not that different from when he was made coach.
*If he’s learnt his lesson? You didn’t send him to prison, Trev, you fired him. For being rubbish.
*You wouldn’t rule out anyone? Except apparently, anyone who doesn’t hold a British passport.
*We don’t want him back. There would a massive uprising surely?
Anyway, I don’t really understand why Brooking would even mention McClaren, are we that short on English managers (And if we are, why are we so desperate to employ one?) that we have to look backwards continually?
Recent history has shown we’re more successful with a non-English manager (Sven = three QF’s, Fabio 1 second round vs Keegan = Group Stage, McClaren didn’t even qualify) so I’m not really getting the FA’s desperation to appeal to the right wing press who have the knives out for Johnny Forigener. Its about whats best for the England Team, and speculating about two years away is pretty pointless, and suggesting we give the job back to the biggest failure in the job in the last 20 years (He can share that title with Graham Taylor) is job absurd.
Despite Andy Carroll being widely tipped for a call up to the full England Squad after being left out of the U21s, it is in fact, Kevin Davies who has got his first proper England call up, something that will no doubt please one of my co-bloggers.
Davies had presumably given up on the idea of actually playing for England, but with Heskey retired from England duty, and injuries to Zamora and Agbonlahor, Davies joins Rooney, Crouch and Bent in the England squad to face Montenegro this week.
Other news, and Rob Green has been called back up to the squad for the first time since the World Cup, and Jack Wilshere has been promoted from the Under 21s. Full squad after the jump.
England squad for European qualifier against Montenegro on 12 October
Goalkeepers: Ben Foster (Birmingham City), Robert Green (West Ham United), Joe Hart (Manchester City)
Defenders Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), John Terry (Chelsea), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa)
Midfielders Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Joe Cole (Liverpool), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham Hotspur), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Aston Villa)
Forwards Darren Bent (Sunderland), Peter Crouch (Tottenham Hotspur), Kevin Davies (Bolton Wanderers), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Apart from the continually baffling presence of SWP, I’m pretty happy with that squad. Rio is back in the defence, which is comforting, and I’m pleased to see Adam Johnson and Jack Wilshere in the full squad.
Kevin Davies probably should have got an England call up before now to be honest. He does commit alot of fouls and all that, but in terms of a big man striker, its surprising Capello hasn’t turned to him before.
Wayne Rooney will apparently recover from his current ankle injury woes to lead the line in England’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro, according to Sir Alex Ferguson. Rooney has been training, and wants to play in United’s game tommorrow, but Fegie, taking Rooney’s form this season into account is going to spare him.
Which means he should be fine for England’s game next week, assuming Capello picks him His form, as mentioned has not been fabulous, so Capello might be tempted not to start Rooney, although we’re not exactly packed to the rafters with quality replacements (we’re already without Zamora and Defoe)
To that end Newcastle forward Andy Carroll looks like he is going to recieve his first England call up after being left out of the U21 squad . Carroll has been in form in the league, so it makes sense. Jack Wilshire has also looked pretty good for Arsenal,, but he’s in the U21 squad, so make of that what you will.
So within 24 hours of Fabio Capello confirming that after Euro 2012 he’s going to go and do his garden, potential candidates to succeed him have already started making noises. “You’ve got to take the job if you get offered it” says Harry Redknapp. “To go on the international stage would be exciting” says Sam Allardyce. “I would love to have a go” says Steve Bruce.
Roy Hodgson is of course, also in the frame, and the FA have left the door open for Martin O’Neill, by saying they’ll actually be looking for a British manager next, not an English one.
Its a bit far off to be thinking about who I want to be taking the job, and a hell of alot could change in two years – one of those guys could blow their reputation entirely, or someone else could make their name spectacularly.
But lets take a look at the candidates anyway.
Harry Redknapp would probably be a popular choice with the masses, but I do have some reservations. Sure he’s achieved alot – Turning West Ham into a really decent side, Portsmouth’s FA Cup win, putting Spurs in the Champions League and so on. But you know all his ex-clubs aren’t do that well at the minute. Surely not a coincidence. His cheeky chappy Cokernee Man O’the People schtick is kind of boring as well. I can imagine the FA talking to him and then deciding that he’d be to hard to manage or whatever.
Sam Allardyce probably suffers from the same things, he is a big personality. I’m usually all for joga bonito, although I do admire what Sam achieved with Bolton and the thing he is building at Blackburn. He would have England playing a very English type of football, but he could probably get us to over-perform.
Steve Bruce? Well, he is a bit underrated really, its not coincidence that he left Birmingham with them looking relatively safe, before taking over struggling Wigan and it was the former who went down. He turned Wigan into a solid top half of the table kind of side, and is quietly looking to do the same at Sunderland. I struggle to see him as England manager though
Roy Hodgson has international experience, having managed and his stock has risen since taking Fulham from the brink of relegation to the Europa League final.I like Hodgson, though he has had a sometimes patchy managerial career. I could get behind him being England boss though.
Martin O’Neill, well he’s done good jobs everywhere he’s been, but interesting fact – he’s never been fired, he’[s quit every job he’s ever had. He just seems to get bored after a certain amount of time, and his timing in leaving Villa was frankly a bit ridiculous. I could take him as England manager though, I’m not bothered at all by the fact that he isn’t English.
So the man himself has confirmed it, whatever happens in Poland and the Ukraine, whether England get there or not, whether we win it or go out in the Quarter Finals on penalties, Capello will step down after that tournament has finished, to do his gardening.
“Absolutely. Yes, we have to qualify first of course but after that I will be too old…I want to enjoy my life as a pensioner”
So there we have it. And Capello is perfectly right to say, you know what, I’m too old for this stuff. I do kind of have mixed feelings – not least because he is a World Class Manager (South Africa aside), and the desire to have an English coach replace him didn’t end brilliantly last time around.
But in previous tournaments when a manager has announced he’s leaving the England job when the tournament ends, we have actually done quite well. See Italia 90, when Bobby Robson was being forced out of the job, which was revealed before the tournament – we made the Semi Finals and were a penalty kick away from the Final. Same story in Euro 96, where it was known Terry Venebles would be off at the end of the tournament, again just a penalty shoot out against the Germans between us and the final.
Hopefully whatever it is that makes us rally around when a manager is off, will come to the fore in Polkraine (assuming we make it, although Ethan is on the record as saying we already have) and we can make a run to the semi finals and lose to Germany. That’d be better than South Africa at least.
So that was good. Supposedly the hardest game in the group, against the team that beat the current World Champions, away, and we picked up a pretty convincing win. The Swiss had a couple of good spells that made Hart look awkward at the back, and Xherdan Shaqiri scored an absolute screamer, but for long spells we were in total control, passing the ball along the ground and actually holding on to possession.
So what was the difference between this and the World Cup? Confident wingers. With the exception of SWP, who looked even worse than usual, we looked like we had good width. James Milner still hasn’t quite gotten over the World Cup, but looked lively, Theo Walcott looked promising and vibrant for his short spell, and (A) Johnson was possibly England’s best player after he came on for Theo. Add to that the expected goodness of Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson, and we actually used all the pitch.
What was noticible was how much Johnson (G) and Ashley Cole could come inside and not have to stay doggedly to the wings because they could trust the players out wide, in a way they didn’t seem to before. I lost count of the amount of times Cole in particular could come inside, and even cropped up in the box a couple of times. It was also, of course a pass from inside that gave Darren Bent his goal.
Capello now has some calls to make – abeit some time to make them as well. Is Frank Lampard going to come back and take that Number 8 shirt again? Is it Theo or Johnson on the right for good now? And is SWP ever going to get near the England squad ever again.
Also in defence. Terry was injured, but Lescott, Dawson and Jagielka all played well enough to suggest that Terry’s England future is pretty much in doubt. I’m happier with Jagielka plus one of the other two than I am with Upson and Terry.
It’ll be interesting to see which way Capello goes. But for now, lets enjoy two wins and two good performances. It doesn’t exorcise the World Cup, but we seem to be stepping in the right direction
“It’s not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”
Harry Lime (Orson Welles in the Third Man) was wrong about the Swiss. They didn’t invent the cuckoo clock at all. Anyway, while England seems constantly at war with itself, if no-one else, today we come up against those famous neutrals (What makes a man turn neutral? Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?) in perhaps the toughest of our qualifying matches for Euro 2012.
We will be covering Live, right here from 7.45 UK Time.
Eyes are obviously going to be on Wayne Rooney. Is he going to bounce back from the current allegations about his private life, or is he going to sink under the pressure? Fingers crossed it is the former, but I can’t help feeling he’s going to heavily criticised unless he puts in a stunning performance.
Another win would complete the bouncing back from the World Cup, and strengthen the mystery of the World Cup. Fingers crossed for a big performance from the boys.