Sunday, 2 June 2013

Why Does The England Squad Never Win Anything?

I know many people say that we have to stop heaping pressure onto the England squad when they draw or lose matches because they are not as good as our nation and the FIFA rankings makes them out to be. However watching tonight's England V Brazil friendly, it would be understandable to say that we would struggle to qualify for the next World Cup if we play like we did in the first half. It says a lot when you have a squad of 11 Premier League quality players and your best player for 45 minutes is your goalkeeper - Joe Hart. I understand that many key players like Wilshere, Cleverely and Sturridge were ruled out as injured, so there's an argument that England were playing with a much weaker team - but is that an excuse?

Glen Johnson is at best - average.
There are players in the team that play for the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal - top quality teams playing at a competitive level, two include Champions League football, yet some looked like they were playing for a Sunday League team. How Glen Johnson gets an international call-up is beyond me, he's slow, he cannot hold his line and doesn't seem to be able to pass a ball. I know that Kyle Walker was also ruled out due to injury but if this is the second best right-back our country has to offer then we've got a problem. Another player that I was disappointed with was Michael Carrick - a Champions League winner with Man United. Yet with England he had trouble keeping hold of the ball, giving possession up on so many occasions and struggled to pick out any decent passes. He may not be an England regular but he has failed to show any real spark when playing at international standard. James Milner is another one who has failed to justify why he should have a place in the England squad, my theory being he's only there because of so many injured team-mates. The first half of tonight's game he was virtually none existent going forward and when he did get the ball, he either passed it back to Baines or lost possession - as you can tell, I'm not a fan (I actually groaned when I saw his name in the line-up).
James Milner is ineffective.

As said in many tabloids and media outlets, one of England's problems is that they aren't technically gifted enough and I think this is true to a certain extent. I'm not saying that the players should be playing like Barcelona with their tiki-taka tactics but it's so infuriating when these supposedly world class players cannot string four or five passes together and the quality is, to put it nicely, sloppy. The only way we can beat players is do a 'kick and run' down the wings, which defenders with pace can easily deal with. Our tactics in the first 20 minutes of tonight's game was for Hart to pass it out to one of his defenders, for them to pass it forward, then to be passed back to the defence (if we didn't actually lose possession), all the way back to Hart to be booted up field and Brazil to mount another attack.

Should youngsters get more opportunities?
I'm not naive and understand that England are simply not good enough to look like serious contenders to win the World Cup but I feel that the team needs to start being revolutionised. What I mean by this is to start shifting out all the dead weights and OAPs (like Defoe) in the team and start bringing in a new generation of English players. We have won nothing since 1996 and we have not looked like winning anything for a number of years so why do we insist on picking the same players and the same formation when it is not working? I reiterate the argument made by many fans in that I believe players should be picked based on their performance at club level and not whether they play for Man United or any other top club. Take Danny Welbeck for example (although he's injured now) selected to travel to Brazil although he scored a grand total of 2 goals in his 2012-13 season. How can a striker, who's job is to find the back of the net yet only scored 2, deserve an international call-up over other English strikers like Ricky Lambert - who scored more than double Welbeck's total.

I will cut them a little bit of slack in that it is the end of the season and there will be some tired legs but the quality has been the same for many years - some players just don't step up to the occasion and perform. The only player I could argue who is of true world class quality is, expectedly, Jack Wilshere and until we start producing players of similar quality we will not win anything.


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