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England Under Achieving

Welcome to the first of many blogs to come (hopefully). I struggled to come up with an interesting first topic although there was plenty of topics to talk about like Gareth Bale’s possible departure from English football or the return of ‘the special one’. I support on of the top six teams (12/13 season) in the premier league and if you don’t know me I am not about to reveal my team as it could lead to unnecessary comments over bias etc. So I took on a topic that everyone will be able to understand and agree with: England’s (national team) under achievement and why it has to change.

I get depressed when I watch England and it is not something I say lightly. Even before the match starts and the England team line up it hurts to see that only one third of them will be singing the national anthem and those who are do not even know the full thing. I sat down after watching Fabio Capello leave as England manager and thought: maybe things will be different under Redknapp. However one thing led to another and we put Roy Hodgeson in charge who, despite his critics, is a good manager. How wrong I was. Everyone can go on about a new manager bringing in his own system but if the players are half arsed, not commited or cannot even string te passes together then there is no hope for us.

What baffles me is the choice of players we use. Joe Hart in net has been below par this season for Manchester City where as Ben Foster at West Brom has been nothing short of brilliant. Phill Jones has had a brilliant season at centre back, especially in the second Manchester Derby where as Jagielka is in the team because of his ‘wealth of experience’. I wonder if that experience is from winning trophies or playing in the Champions league/ Europa league frequently. Gary Cahill is an excelent centre back and is fully committed to the cause, as is Glen Johnson and Leighton Baines. Micah Richards is a world class defender and would surely have been in the squad but he fell foul of injury and has not fully recovered.  Ashley Cole is getting on and seems to play like every international is a training game, not a professional match.

The use of James Milner and Gareth Barry make me want to scream in frustration. They give their all unlike others but they simply are not good enough. Lampard, Cleverly and Wilshere are our midfield. Without those three we are lost. Carrick has had a good season for Manchester United but his performances for England have been nothing but dreadful over recent weeks as have Steven Gerrard’s.  Our wingers have been injured this season. Walcott shows burning desire to play (upfront) but is effective on the wing and Oxalade-Chamberlain is a work in progress and he could be useful if Stuart Pearce would stop crying over him being promoted to the senior England squad. Ashley Young has always played well for England however he, like Micah Richards, has had a season plighted with injury. Our striker send me crazy even more. While Defoe is a good player he is just not good enough to play for England any more, however clinical he may be. Wayne Rooney has suffered this season and this showed against Brazil when he jogged around the pitch, scoring a deflected goal which sent many England fans into wild applause (admittedly this included myself). Danny Welbeck has had a productive season playing wide on the wing and his future looks bright even though he has not scored many goals this season his worth ethic has been exceptional. Daniel Sturridge has also had a good first season for Liverpool and Andy Carroll has played well for West Ham.

My main point is that England are an ageing squad. We depend on remnants of ‘Golden Age’ that have failed so miserably in the past. We have effective young players in the Premier League and if they learn to work together in a familiar team with a good manager who is willing to change  from rigid formations like 4-4-2 to more fluid ones like 4-1-2-3 or 4-2-3-1.

England could have a young squad capable of winning the World Cup or European Championship if they looked to the future and played a young team, keeping the experienced members there for experience and guidance for big game.

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