The current England manager (senior coach, whatever) was hired to turn English soccer round after its embarrassing failure to qualify for the European Championships two years ago. In terms of the players he has selected for the World Cup, starting this coming weekend, he has changed most of the junior players but has kept most of the senior players. The team against Croatia was:
Scott Carson, Micah Richards, Wayne Bridge, Steven Gerrard, Joleon Lescott, Sol Campbell, Gareth Barry (Jermain Defoe, 46), Frank Lampard, Peter Crouch, Shaun Wright-Phillips (David Beckham, 46), Joe Cole (Darren Bent, 80).
Those playing for England in the World Cup this time around include: Gerrard, Defoe, Lampard, Crouch, Wright-Phillips, and Joe Cole. That’s 6 out of 11 have remained the same.
- Crouch – too tall and cant complete most passes; obvious target man for headers but never jumps because he doesn’t need to
- Gerrard v Lampard – too many leaders on the pack; should have dropped one or both 2 years ago and groomed a new captain
- Heskey – old man, already retired but no one told him, can run for 10 minutes at a time.
- Ferdinand – If you watched him on TV this last year at Manchester United you would have noticed how easily wingers were getting past him. Despite his recent history, he is past his best. I was gladdened to hear tha he is now injured and can’t play. Shame he didn’t take Heskey out at the same time.
- Goalkeeper David James is also old and makes too many mistakes.
When England failed to qualify for Europe 2 years ago, Gerrard was interviewed right after the game. The reported asked him, “So is this the most embarrassing time of your career?” Gerrard, captain of England, had to think. He waited for 20 seconds and the reported had to follow up, asking what could be more embarrassing. Gerrard said something about what might have happened before in some game for Liverpool. What? What the heck as club football got to do with it? England failed. Of course it was the most embarrassing point of his carrier. He is an embarrassment. He should be been saddened and broken. I was. He should be kept at Liverpool and 2 years ago we should have groomed a wholly new team with 25% old guys.
I hope England does well, but when we don’t, it will be obvious why. We needed real change, and we only got a half hearted attempt. We needed vision and we didn’t get it. I can’t wait to eat humble pie.