We seem to have so many players that appear world class in the England team yet we haven’t won anything since 1966. Why is that?
The reason is not hard to see even though it may be uncomfortable for us to admit.
When games come up that really matter – like the Portugal game during the world cup, or the recent game against Croatia in the European championship – the stage seems just too big for the players and they fold like shrinking violets.
I would suggest we don’t call players like Gerrard, Lampard, Ferdinand, Terry or others “world class” until they deliver on the big stage – preferably for England – and they haven’t done that yet.
Great players produce great performances when it really matters. Our lot seem to shrivel up like it’s all too much for them when things get tough.
Just look at the way the England players approached the penalty shoot-out against Portugal in the world cup. Most of them seemed like they were going to an execution. It was interesting that Owen Hargreaves was the only player who converted from the spot and was our best player throughout.
The fact that he has played his football in Germany since he was 16 years old tells it all. When was the last time Germany missed a penalty kick when it mattered?
It was embarrassing being here in the US during the world cup. After almost every game I was asked what was wrong with England and why were they playing so so defensively. Every other team in the tournament played all-out attacking football.
England were the only team who didn’t go out from the start and play as though their lives depended on it. They were timid and defensive and even the wins they got did not look good.
To defend like they did against Paraguay in the second half was ridiculous.
Maybe the tactics were dictated too much by Erikkson and it is unfair to criticize the players. But the truth is they didn’t show the courage or guts when it really mattered and that’s why we didn’t win.
Another example of the English way of things is how the new England manager McClaren was selected. His management career with Middlebrough hardly set the football world alight.
The truth is he was picked because he was the choice that least upset the most number of people. Heaven forbid if we selected somebody who would upset the apple cart – and may even win something. No, it was much more important to select somebody who wouldn’t upset people and was an “acceptable” choice.
If we are to be successful soon it is important that McClaren be sacked.
It’s not at all clear that any England coach right now has what it takes to manage the England team to success – so the selection of McClaren was a terrible choice.
We should have selected the best coach available – whatever his nationality.
I suggest the English players take a good hard look at themselves in their gold-rimmed mirrors and admit they let themselves and the country down over the summer.
Then go out and show the courage of a Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton or Gordon Banks (just three good examples) if they want to be remembered as anything other than ordinary players who achieved very little in the England shirt.
That’s what it is going to take for England to be successful again.