While Wales will be playing their biggest match ever next Wednesday against Portugal, the supposedly best Home Nation, England were embarrassed and red-faced as they crashed out to Iceland last Monday. Why do we not perform in big tournaments?
There are many theories about why England do not perform in major tournaments. Firstly there’s grass roots football. In England many people say the standard of coaching is not high enough and that England internationals don’t all come from top quality Premier League academies. However, this is not the problem. Alan Shearer and the rest of the BBC team highlighted the fact, during half time of the Germany-Italy game last night, that Wales team has come from many different academies across the country like England’s. The actual problem with grass roots football is that it is too competitive. In other countries like Italy and Spain, they train their kids to play their country’s style (something we don’t have) rather than concentrating on winning the league each year and not developing skills. To change this, the FA need to step in and make leagues less competitive while still keeping a nature of competition about it.
The next problem is a manager. I am going to name the last 4 England managers. Sven Goran Erickson, Steve McLaren, Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson. Not exactly inspiring choices. With all the money at their fingertips they should try and be hiring a Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola. Many people believe that we should get a manager who is experienced but for me you have to be looking at an Eddie Howe type manager. I would like to see Alan Shearer take the job but I think that you can’t hire him just because he has said a few good things on Match of the Day and if Shearer wants the job he needs to coach another club first. The manager has to be young though otherwise England campaigns will be much like the ones of the last 16 years. Wales hired a young manager and look where they are.
The final one of the big problems is identity. England need a style of play and stick to it. Against Iceland no one knew how we were playing and what do when we went 2-1 down. You cannot choose a squad and then choose a way to play after that because otherwise we’ll have the same situation as we did in Euro 2016. Playing long balls to Sterling. If we give ourselves an identity now, then our kids will grow up playing that way.
Going forward I think that there are a few players we should not play in Russia 2018. Raheem Sterling was incredibly bad in the Euros as was Wilshire. Also Joe Hart needs a break from England to regain form. However, Wayne Rooney should remain our captain as a midfielder. The United man was our best player this tournament despite his poor performance in the final game and his experience and skill will help us in the future. Also, bring in a defender who can actually defend! Has Roy heard of Ryan Shawcross???