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Thursday, 8 September 2011

The England National Team - One year on from South Africa and still the same problems

I was sat there in the stadium in Cape Town in June 2010 at the World Cup and watched in horror at the horrendous performance of the English National team against lowly Algeria. It was a 0 vs 0 draw that lacked absolutely everything from the England team. No passion, no creativity, no leadership and no inspiration. The England fan's clearly showed their displeasure afterwards and rightly so after so many spent so much money to get out there. I met a group of 5 guys who each spent over £10,000 to be there, and to suffer in watching that shocking game was the biggest waste of money I have ever known. A year later, has it improved that much?

The performances in South Africa couldn't get any worse, and it also made the management shake things up and start bringing through younger players to the team who want to be playing for their country. This is the major problem for the National team. Players in England see the importance of the premier league and Champions League as being streets ahead of International football. It is very frustrating to see this and it is no excuse what so ever and is quite simply down to the mentalities of the players and the manager. The players have no excuse, as other nations around the World such as Spain, Germany and Holland all have players playing in the top leagues in the world and the Champions League and still produce startling performances for their countries. The manager though, being Italian, has not got that underlying passion from the heart for a country that he is not from. This is a major problem for me and the return of an English Coach in charge of the team is essential.

The one thing Capello has shown since taking charge of England is how to qualify comfortably for major tournaments. The team away from home, away from the pressure of the home crowd and the set up of the team has been very encouraging. The media always praises England away from home, as do the fan's. It is at home where the problems occur. Capello, renowned for being defensive and keeping things tight at the back, shows too much of an emphasis at home. The players seem to feel under pressure to deliver in front of a big crowd at Wembley and never seem to be at their fluent best. Also the defensive set up of the opposition causes a lot of problems for the England team to try and break through. But this for me is an emphasis on how short we are in the squad of creative players, who can create chances at an instant.

England are ranked 4Th in the world. I had to rub my eyes a few times and take a moment to read it properly again when I saw the latest FIFA world rankings. England are a long way from this in truth, and big improvements are needed if we are going to compete at the top end of the major competitions again. There are still a lot of concerns surrounding our National team that need to be overcome. We do not want to hear excuses after excuses coming out, especially from Fabio Capello, who continually passes the blame for anything that goes wrong.

The fan's just want the answers, and not on a piece of paper or spoken in an interview, but on the pitch. We want to see the passion back and the players fighting for the true meaning of those Three Lions on their Shirt. We want the blood, the tears, the heart, the cries, just like we did around back in Terry Butcher's days.

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