The England U21’s went to the European Championships with high hopes after they won their previous nine matches without conceding and they scored 22 goals. They also topped their qualifying group by winning seven out of the the eight games. England were certainly one of the favourites going into the tournament and they had the helping hand of being in what should have been the easier group. In group A, there was Italy, England, Norway and the hosts Israel. In Group B there was Germany, Holland, Russia and the holders Spain.
Stuart Pearce was also confident going to Israel because in 2009 he reached the final with the U21’s but lost to Germany, and in 2011 he led England to the semi final after losing to the Dutch on penalties. We also had some exciting players such as Ince, Zaha, Redmond and McEachran.
The first game of the tournament was meant to the the most difficult which was against Italy and we ended up losing 1-0. From the look of the score line, it looked like a tight game and Italy snatched it. England had a goal disallowed, on the other hand, Italy had a good penalty shout so that cancelled each other out. Italy scored the only goal of the game late on with a great free kick from Insigne. England didn’t create many chances and deserved to lose the game but they were without Rose, Lansbury, Ince and Zaha so some key players were missing.
With Norway and Israel sharing the points, England knew going into the next two games they had to win both to get to the semis. England put in another disappointing display after losing 3-1 to Norway, to make matters worse we had the likes of Zaha and Ince and failed to create many opportunities. The goal came from the spot which was converted by Craig Dawson. Some more good news for Albion fans including me, and for England fans because an Englishman knows how to score penalties.
Going into England’s final game they for fighting for pride against the hosts and fans along with the bookmakers all thought that England would have something to shout about come the end of the tournament. It was yet another appalling display from the U21’s and we ending up losing 1-0.
Another disappointing tournament for the three lions and the youngsters returned home with zero points, one goal, and no goals from open play. No excuses. I know we could have had better players like Welbeck, Chamberlain and Rodwell, but that is another discussion altogether. The simple fact is that with the quality of players we had in our squad we should have made the semi final before losing to Spain.
We should have done better in all of those games, we were one of the favourites to go all the way. If this is England’s future, which I don’t think it will be, we are in for a lot of heartbreak.
I don’t think we can blame the manager because he has done well in his previous tournaments. I think Pearce should have been offered a new deal because of his previous record.
I know this will never happen but I think the next manager should be Roy Hodgson because he is a defencive minded coach so the youngsters would learn how to defend and keep it solid. If this happens while they are still learning about the game then we would be a hard team to beat in the future. I think that Hodgson isn’t the right man to inspire the first team to try and win the World Cup.
I also think that Pearce should be the first team manager for England because he is very passionate. He would restore the pride in the English team and he would also get the fans back interested in international football. English fans would much rather see their team win the league rather than see England win the World Cup. This shows fans have lost all hope in the national side so if Pearce was appointed he would not only get the players pride restored, he would also get the fans fully behind the national side.
Back to reality and one of the favourites is Glenn Hoddle. Hoddle is a great candidate for the job because he is experienced in club football with Spurs, Wolves and Southampton. He also has experience in international management with England from 1996-99 which he was forced out of the job for non footballing reasons.
Hoddle has said he is interested in the job but only if the FA will let the best players go to the U21’s fixtures instead of be involved in the first team. Hoddle knows what it takes to manage an international side and I think he is the best realistic appointment the FA could make.
The other favourite for the job is Garteh Southgate who has managerial experience with Middlesborough. He led Boro to 12th in the Premier League in his first season in charge but got them relegated the season after. He stayed with Boro but was sacked when they were in the play off positions and were only one point from top spot.
I think that Southgate would be a good appointment because he is a young manager and he has experience in an England shirt along with Hoddle. Southgate knows the modern game well because he only retired from the game in 2006. Southgate would be my second choice of the realistic targets.
At the end of the day it is down to the FA to who they think is the best man for the job but I would recommend someone who has plenty of managerial experience or someone is young and hungry and can also relate to the players.
- 2022/23 Sky Bet EFL season: Key dates & facts
- Brazilian legend Dani Alves announces exit from Barcelona
- Manchester United keen to sign Christian Eriksen on a free transfer
- Darren Bent offers his view on Liverpool’s interest in Paul Pogba
- 2021/22 Champions League end of season awards: Best player, best manager, and more
- Premier League season review: Who ran the show in 2021/22?
- Arsenal Set For Another Champions League-less Season
- Aston Villa set to sign Phillipe Coutinho permanently
- Arsenal vs Leeds United Preview – Prediction, team news, line-ups
- Inter Closing in on Juventus Marksman Paulo Dybala