Where do you start?
I actually tipped Germany to beat us much to the disgust of most my mates. After seeing our opening 3 games i don't think it was even a hard pick to make. I had been saying long be the world cup started that we are simply not good enough. How the bookies manage to make us one of the favourites for every major competition is astonishing given our record.
Shiner is right, we use the term "world class" far too easily. His discription of John Terry hurt me a bit because it was a bit too close to home
. But spot on none the less. I would say we have some good players, but "world class"?
The writing was on the wall before a ball was even kicked for me. Who remembers the media reaction to Gareth Barry's ankle injury? Our world cup chances were thown into doubt when Barry got injured. Even Capello come out and stressed how important he was to the team. Really? Gareth Barry? Gareth Barry is a neat and tidy player who sits in, holds his shape and attempts to keep things ticking over. Players like him should be ten a penny IMO. It's not like he is Gazza or Hoddle for christ sake. This is a player who has zero pace, can not go past a player, does not score goals etc. We were acting like we had just lost our Lionel Messi. What other top national in the competition would be threating abt losing Barry?
When the competition starts my fears are quickly confirmed. You can talk abt the team set up and formations all day long but when sides like ALGERIA look more comfortable in posession than we do, you know you have problems.
Capello is not blameless in it all. But for people to hold him soley responsible is a joke. Yes, i am baffled by the inclusion of Heskey. Yes, i am bewildered by the rigid 4-4-2 formation when every other top club team and nation side play 4-5-1 that quickly reverts to 4-5-3. However, when are we going to realise the players are just not that good? No matter what formation he picks it does not change the fact that our players could not perform the BASICS!! Throughout the competition our players displayed a lack of a good touch, poor technique, an inability to pass the ball and retain posession. We had no guile or imagination and not ONE player who had the ability to go past a player. What's our game come to when we do not have one player in our national side that can throw a step over and go past a player. Someone who has the confidence or ability to attempt the unexpected, a drag back, a cute flick in the final 3rd etc. Capello can't coach 30 year old players to do those things. Which means we have to go back to the start. Change the way we develop our kids!!!
How many of you have watched a kids game recently down your local park or attended a 5 aside tournerment? I will guarantee you will hear the same commands coming from the touchline. Play it easy, don't take too many touches, don't lose it there etc etc. We are talking abt kids here of ages 8,9,10 etc. Surely we should encourage them to express themselves? Why not encourage them to look to beat the man instead of taking the easy option and passing it sideways? Why not encourage them to try the audacious flick or drag over? Instead of clearing their lines when under pressure, can we not see if they can play out of trouble? I am no coach but i feel we need to change our way of thinking in this country. Do you honestly think the likes of Messi, Ronaldo, Robinho etc were told to keep things easy, look for the simple pass, don't try anything to fancy etc? How do we ever expect to produce talents like that if our kids cannot play without fear? So when we were watching the game against Germany is it any wonder that we have 11 players on the pitch who can only play the ball backwards and sideways in a predictable fashion?
I read a very good article from Dennis Bergkamp years ago. He spoke about his development in Holland as a player. He mentioned how growing up he never knew what position he was going to play. Ajax didn't believe in "labelling" players. They just looked to develop ball skills, touch, technique etc. He spoke abt playing in all kinds of positions. Right back, sweeper, centre forward, wide. He said the idea was to develop players who were comfortable on the ball in any area on the pitch. He asked a question, why shouldn't a Centre Back have the ability to go by a player? Why should a Centre Back not have the ability to retain the ball just like any other player on the pitch? The message was simple, develop the players technique etc first and the position will come naturally as he matures.
Now i look at that in contrast to when i was a kid. The second i walked through the door at my local club there was only one position i was going to play. I startd at CB and i have stayed there my intire life. "he's a big boy, at the back you go son"
. I swear at 15 my Brighton Boys team did not have a player under 6 foot tall. A lot of which were finished playing by the end of youth football because others had caught them up physically and they could no longer bully their way through.
Canavarro has been mentioned on this thread. On the slide now but has been a WORLD CLASS CB and won just abt everything there is in the game. Standing at abt 5 foot 8, how long do you think it would have taken for him to be dismissed as a CB in this country?
I'm off work today incase you can't tell