Emile Heskey perhaps epitomises the recent state of the England squad. Slow, tired, unable to find goals and the butt of the majority of jokes sent from phone to phone, laptop to laptop. Many stats and figures have been passed around throughout his international career, the most relevant perhaps being that goalkeepers Rene Higuita and Jose Luis Chilavert have scored more international goals than Villas striker.
The stick he receives may well be excessive, he may have traits to his game that let other strikers play off him, but the public do not want an Emile Heskey playing up front for England. Old news you say? Heskey has retired and a ‘new age’ of English football has arrived, full of fresh prospects that the Under 21’s and Under 19’s has provided after their respective successes in Europe over the last few years.
Pundits across the board, from the nation’s journalists to would be managers all over the country cry for continental football, to play like the Spanish or the South Americans. And even after this supposed revelation, the ‘new face’ of English football is just that, an ode to Emile. Andy Carroll and Kevin Davies have both found themselves in the recent set up of the national side, and it appears that we are only going backwards.
The countries fans appear to be jumping on the Carroll bandwagon, his obvious success against the centre-half’s of the league clear for all to see. But in the European Cup, he won’t be playing against the Ryan Nelsen’s and Titus Bramble’s of the world, he will be up against Pique and Pepe and Carvalho and Vidic. All of whom are more physically and technically gifted.
If England are looking to find their way into the elite of world and European football, two types of people need to take their leave and bow out; The old fashioned centre forward, and the manager who cannot realise this.
There is no longer room for the Andy Carroll’s of this world, he and they must join the floppy disks, the CD players and the SLR cameras gathering dust. They may one day be worth something, and of course there are circumstances out there within which they can still be of use, but right now there are much easier and more efficient ways of getting things done.