Monday, February 12, 2007
The joy and adulation over the mere fact that government ministers support a bid for the 2018 World Cup is an excellent example of just how dire the situation is in the England camp. Chancellor Gordon Brown claimed the quadrennial tournament should "return to the nation which gave football to the world". Considering that a bid doesn't have to be officially submitted until 2010, this premature act of desperation and its accompanying hyperbole reek of clumsiness.
The sad fact is that England's best chance at this moment and time to progress to the World Cup Final is to host the tournament itself, thereby receiving an automatic qualification. AC and I have echoed the sentiments of more than most England fans, that Steve McClaren is tactically diffident and what were once England's finest now simply take up space on the pitch. After their last dismal performance in Germany, AC remarked that the best thing for them to do is to retain the spine of Terry, Gerrard and Rooney and start the whole selection process all over again. Granted, I didn't think much of it since we were probably about six beers into a 6 am game, but talk about a clear perspective from afar.
McClaren's hesitant attempts at trying out new players, such as Joey Barton for ten minutes against Spain, and his aimless tactical "shake-ups" do little to impress and much to embarrass. We all know that you can't do anything right in that job, but do something for God's sake. To make matters worse, nobody on the pitch is really terrible; at times they're just barely competent, but not enough to truly miss being selected (unless you're Paul Robinson, who's strangely still between the sticks). Add that to the general lack of youth development in the country and you've got a pretty big mess.
I'm not saying anything new here, just pointing out the fact that while Gordon Brown bleats on about returning the game to its birthplace, it's not something to be excited about, but embarrassed if you're a fan of England. There's a lot of things wrong with the current state of the English FA, just as there is a dearth of fresh, young talent, but they've done it to themselves. Stop the rhetoric about English players playing with heart and integrity and show me. Stop saying the England midfield could be the best in the world just because Frank Lamps goes nuts from 25 yards out. A little less wistful arrogance and little more creativity would do nicely, especially for us here at SMiA, because you know I'm not watching the US Team.
Henry on call for 2018 as World Cup bid gathers pace [Guardian Unlimited]