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A Not So Golden Generation After All

3 February 2013 by

A Not So Golden Generation After All

So 10 years on from what was labelled as the ‘golden generation’ I look back at where it all went wrong. Many  people in football believe the inevitable hype that surrounds a young player and a talented group of players has hampered the development of what promised to be such a wonderful side and on paper you can’t argue that it wasn’t a wonderful side.

The likes of Beckham,Scholes,Lampard,Gerrard,Rooney,A.Cole,Campbell,Terry,Ferdinand,Gary Neville,Butt,Heskey,Carragher,Dyer,Hargreaves,Walcott and Michael Owen all lining up in the same team sounds only like a virtual  football managers fantasy but the fact is that this was actually the main core of our national team and was billed to be potential European and world champions and to end our 40 odd year search of a major trophy.Unfortunately throughout the period that this ‘special’ group of players played together they never quite lived up to the intense expectations piled on top of them. 2 quarter finals at world cups(Korea/Japan-2002 and Germany-2006),2 quarter finals at the European championships(Portugal-2004 and Poland/Ukraine-2012), a 2nd round at a world cup(South Africa -2010) and failure to even qualify for Euro 2008 reads very modestly and leaves a somewhat bitter taste in the mouth.
In total out of the players named they boast  60 top flight ,36 fa cup  and 11 champions league medals between them,which makes significantly better reading than that of there non existent  international achievements. So that calls for the question: where did it all go wrong?
Was it there fault?
Well the answer to that question is a mystery in all honesty.Was it the management? Well Sven Goran-Eriksson at the time he was appointed (2001) had as good a reputation as any manager going and in fact he is statistically the 4th best England manager in terms of win percentage(60%) and forgetting the comical appointment of Steve Mclaren,Fabio capello who is England most successful manager ever statistically with an impressive 67% win rate, when appointed had a CV that any avid ‘football manager’ player would be proud of and this is in real life.So it’s hard to blame the management if you refer to statistics. Some bizarre formations and odd selections by Sven (playing Scholes on wing and also playing Darius Vassell) could be argued to be a reason on why England never made it further than a quarter final under Sven’s guidance and some strange selections by capello, most famously leaving Theo Walcott out of the world cup squad in favour of Manchester City’s Shaun Wright-Phillips could  be a a reason on why England were so poor in South Africa and why Capello’s rein is not looked upon by England fans as the most successful.Some unfortunate circumstances in which he had to strip John terry of the captaincy after an affair with Wayne Bridge’s missus and also to re appoint him just 1 year later but only for him to be stripped of it this time by the fa for alleged racial abuse against anton ferdinand, subsequently the reason for Capello’s departure was unfortunate and very unhelpful.
The language barrier is often used as an excuse but isn’t valid as if it was such a problem why did England stroll through qualification so emphatically with Capello and his dodgy lingo? and when we did have a manager with perfect English,Steve Mclaren he ended up as quite simply ‘a Wally with a brolly’.
In my opinion it simply has to come down to the players and the fact that quite simply they have flattered to deceive on the international scene.For instance:
Rooney Battles with Thuram in Euro  2004
Wayne Rooney-‘The biggest talent to come from English football in many years ‘ supposedly and while whilst at club level he has a great record. The last time he played well in a competitive tournament was back at euro 2004 when he scored 4 goals in total. since then he has failed to hit the net in 3 major tournaments  and has underperformed greatly on the big stage internationally but he is not alone.
Not the same player on the international stage
Frank Lampard-A player who at club level is arguably the best midfielder in the last 10 years but on the international stage it’s a completely different story. A good euro 2004 in which he bagged 3 goals has been followed up by 0 goals in his last 2 major tournaments (world cup-2006 and 2010) not helped by the fact he was ruled out of euro 2012 but that is 0 goals in a total of 8 games for Lampard in world cups and for his impeccably high standards, that is poor to say the least.
That hat-trick against Croatia
Theo Walcott-The youngest of my inclusion of players but having made his England debut in 2006 vs Hungary at the tender age of 17 he therefore comes under the bracket of this so called ‘golden generation’
a world cup in 2006 in which he didn’t feature is unfair to judge him on but ever since that hat-trick against Croatia in Zagreb he has been fairly average to say the least, being left out of the 2010 world cup squad whilst at the time a shock, in hindsight his form at Arsenal was indifferent and his England form was poor so on merit of inclusion he didn’t deserve to make that squad. At euro 2012 with the new manager , Roy hodgson he was included in  the 23 man squad and scored a crucial goal in a win against Sweden but this is not enough for a man who 6 year prior to this goal had showed little in his young international career. Having said that at 23 he has many years on the international scene left to try and prove me wrong.
Failed to ever  live up to expectations
Emile Heskey-A player who astonishingly won 62 caps for England never repaid the faith shown in  him by his managers and for a man who demanded a £12m transfer fee from Leicester to Liverpool and was dubbed as a ‘Teenage Sensation’ has horribly underperformed and never justified his 62 caps and with a poor 7 goals in those appearances for England and 0 goals at major tournaments makes us all scratch our heads at why he picked ahead of prolific goalscorers such as,Fowler,Bent,Defoe and Peter Crouch.Only Sven and Mr Capello will know why. Another example of an international ‘Flop’
The fact that Paul Scholes retired from international football in 2004 and has since then missed out on 3 major tournaments has certainly not helped England’s case and also the fact that the likes of Joe Cole,Ledley King,Shaun Wright-Phillips,Jonathan Woodgate,Alan Smith and Kieron Dyer have failed to fulfil there potentials has again not helped England but I’m afraid that in fact i think its a case of too many ego’s and overpaid pre Madonna’s all clashing together on the international scene has been pivotal to the downfall of this ‘special generation’ and it’s a case of what might have been rather than signing the praises of our international hero’s success on the international scene which is rather sad in all honesty.Lets just hope we learn from this group of players and treat our next generation of players in the right way.

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