Why England won’t win the Euros

I wrote the exact same headline before the 2010 world cup. Except it said World Cup instead of Euros, of course.


I remember thinking when Capello was brought in, that if he couldn’t win the world cup with that squad of players then no one could.

Then I started getting a bit worried when our best goalkeeper, Joe Hart, couldn’t get in the team. On the plus side, it did make me realise I was a better manager than Fabio Capello. Which is nice.

I just hope Roy Hodgson doesn’t make the same mistakes as his predecessor and realises that he needs to make a fresh start.

Let’s rid our national team of these egotistical Premiership players who, quite frankly, are not nearly as good as they think they are.

The most encouraging England performance I have seen in many a year was our one nil victory over world and European champions, Spain.

Admittedly, any neutral, (or Spaniard), will quite rightly testify that England just put eleven men behind the ball and got a right footballing pummeling.

You don’t beat a team like Spain by playing football. They’ll annihilate you. You beat them by tactics. Or tic tacs. Whichever works best.

What I admired about the performance was that it featured quite a lot of lesser-known premiership players who played out of their skins. And, more importantly, for their shirt.

Players like: Phil Jones; Phil Jagielka; Joleon Lescott, (who was man-of-the-match by a long chalk); Scott Parker; Kyle Walker; Danny Wellbeck and Jack Rodwell.

The squad also featured the likes of: Milner; Adam Johnson; Leighton Baines; Gary Cahill and Daniel Sturridge.

Of course, some of the aforementioned players are more household names now than they were two years ago. But they’re still not dead-certs for a first team spot in the England team.

There’s been a lot of talk in the press about Hodgson trying to mend bridges between Terry and Ferdinand. Why?

Dump them. We have better centre backs in Jagielka, Lescott, Jones and Cahill. Contrary to what Terry and Rio might say to get a place in the squad, it will split the dressing room. It would be suicide to take them.

Ashley Cole may well be considered one of the best left backs in the world, but he’s a petulant, gun-toting imbecile who has the permanent expression of someone who’s just smelled something unpleasant. Get Leighton Baines in. (Who is deadly from a dead ball.) And Micah Richards has got to be the best right back in the Premiership this season.

Wayne Rooney may be the Premiership’s leading English striker, but do we want a player who is banned for the first two games and can be a temperamental liability if things aren’t going his way? Do you ever see Lionel Messi sulking like Rooney?

Most people were expecting Harry Redknapp to get the England job. And, I put Spurs’ recent dip in form down to the shambolic way in which the FA dealt with the sacking of Fabio Capello.

Of course, the media were partially responsible too. But perhaps they might not have been quite so definite in their predictions about the future England manager had the FA come out immediately and said they wouldn’t be talking to any possible replacements until the end of April.

Instead, they said nothing and let the whole circus gather momentum until it was almost plausible that Redknapp was already in charge.

This media spotlight had such a distracting and damaging effect on Spurs’ season that I wouldn’t blame them for suing the FA for loss of future revenue, should they not get into the Champions League.

Only time will tell whether Roy Hodgson was an inspired appointment. But, if I were him, I’d take a leaf out of Republic of Ireland’s Italia ’90 squad and pick a team rather than a group of individuals.

Ireland got to the quarter-finals that year by playing to their strengths. Greece won it in 2004. Did they have a squad of household names? Of course not. They played their game.

And we should play ours. We have some decent footballers but we can’t play football like Spain or Holland. We don’t have that kind of class.

But what these younger, lesser-known players have, is True Grit.

Could England win Euro 2012?

They might have a chance if Hodgson goes with the less fashionable and predictable names. After all, they have already beaten the world and European champions.

Unfortunately, I think Mr Hodgson will probably bow to public and media pressure and pick the same olds, same olds.

Take note, Roy, Capello didn’t listen to me and look what happened to him.

Here’s my team:

Attacking, isn’t it?

And here are my subs:

Okay, where’s Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney, I hear you ask. Well, they’ve had a go. And they’ve failed.

And, whilst Peter Crouch may play for unfashionable Stoke City, he has scored the goal of the season in the Premiership and continually pops them in for his country.

I haven’t included Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere because he’s out injured for the rest of the season. (Is that the case for Chelsea’s Gary Cahill?) If so, then Phil Jones would be my next choice.

And while we’re on the subject of local elections, Stuart Downing couldn’t put a cross in a ballot box let alone a penalty box. So don’t go there.

Good luck, Roy. I like the cut of your jib.

And please, media – will you stop making juvenile jokes about his speech impediment? It’s embarrassing. Do you really think so little of the English public that we think it’s funny?

Hmm, I know I’m being a bit of a ‘Tinkerman’, but I like the look of this team too.


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