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Relaxed... but not THAT relaxed

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Phil McNulty | 20:44 UK time, Monday, 5 September 2011

Fabio Capello's new relaxed manner does not extend to the golf course or throw-ins, but the man known in Italy as "The Iron Sergeant" for his hardline approach is showing a willingness to bend after last year's sorry summer in South Africa.

If England's team displayed a changing face during the impressive 3-0 win against Bulgaria on Friday, then the players also detect a shift in the demeanour of arch-disciplinarian Capello as they close in on a place at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

Capello's guard as the hard taskmaster has not dropped completely, though, as the squad discovered when a flash of that volcanic temper erupted behind closed doors at a deserted Wembley on Monday during preparations for Tuesday's qualifier against Wales.

The catalyst for Capello's fury was a failure to obey orders over a throw-in. A minor detail to many - but bordering on insubordination to the Italian as it was a fault clearly pointed out at Sunday's team briefing to discuss the few flaws which were on show in Sofia.

It also challenges those who insist Capello no longer cares about England's cause and is only locked in a loveless marriage with the Football Association because neither had the cash or the inclination to call it a day after the 2010 World Cup.

England manager Fabio CapelloFabio Capello will be desperate for England to do much better in Ukraine and Poland. Photo: Getty

He is on target to get the opportunity to put that right at another major tournament - and there is a sense that he has learned the lessons of what went wrong inside the now infamous "Camp Capello" at Rustenburg's Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus.

Capello admits, ironically as he moves towards the end of his time in charge, there is now a greater level of understanding between coach and players - and even about the football culture in the country where he now plies his trade.

He said: "They understand now that I am not the ogre."

They also understand, however, that Capello is not a man to be underestimated when his attention to detail is not shared by England's squad.

England captain John Terry explained: "I think he is more relaxed in and around the camp and in the hotel as well. He lets us play golf and even gets involved himself. On the training field he's still very much on the ball and even at Wembley he lost it a little bit because he wanted us to do something a bit better than we did.

"But in and around the training camp he's learned the English way a little bit and brought that in, which is a credit to him. He can be relaxed but when we are on the football pitch he wants it right and that's how it should be. I think he's learned from South Africa. We had really brief discussions about that, and we can all learn from that."

Capello's squad have so far avoided a collision with their coach on the golf course, with Terry revealing: "Thankfully none of the players have ever played with him. I think he's off 16 but him and Ray Clemence always have a ding-dong afterwards, always moaning at each other."

And Capello is more than happy to have a similar confrontation with his players if they show they are unable or unwilling to carry out his instructions.

Terry added: "We had a meeting on Sunday night and spoke about throw-ins and then on Monday it happened again and he stopped it. He wants us to play back and play out. He can't understand why the English mentality is always to throw it down the line.

"It sounds like a small thing to us but the attention to detail is incredible and when you see him react like that you realise how meticulous he is."

Capello's explanation was brutally simple. "We had a meeting on Sunday and they made the same mistake. Why have we got a meeting when this happens?

"We spoke about the mistakes. We did a lot of really good things against Bulgaria but on Sunday we prepared the highlights about the mistakes to improve. They understand me more than before. My style is also the same but probably I understand something more about the players and where I am living."

It remains to be seen whether this altered approach is any more successful than in South Africa, but there is at least a freshness around the squad and a renewed sense of purpose about Capello that has replaced the staleness that surrounded England last June.

And Capello's golf? "I try. Disaster."

England must hope his efforts are rewarded with greater success between now and the end of his time in charge next summer.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Yup, about that time of the year when England shakes off the crushing disappointment of it previous failures and optimism splutters into existence. This time it HAS to be different, right?

  • Comment number 2.

    Wales should be a walkover for England

  • Comment number 3.

    ^ He's got a point you know....

  • Comment number 4.

    its all very well saying its hunky dory now but it makes a mockery of the decision to hire him in the first place, what about all the fans (me included) who shelled out thousands to watch england last summer in South Africa and have to put up with 'oh well this is his learning curve'...well its an expensive one and should have been sacked straight after.

    Can't afford (literally) to use a world cup to 'get used to' a country's way of thinking. It's just not acceptable, regardless of how well we are doing now.

  • Comment number 5.

    for all the positives about picking younger players and dropping Lampard I can't help but feel it will be same old come the Euro's. He will probably make Lamps captain!

    Still we should be relatively comfortable against Wales and qualify with ease. Just like the World Cup...

  • Comment number 6.

    My god, it's so true, it's actually happening again. I was so sure we would not whip ourselves into a frenzy of expectation again this time. But here we go. Seems a half decent performance against a terrible Bulgaria is all it took. No doubt England will be second favourites to win behind Spain come June, the sports journos will talk of how Rooney and Wilshere will end all those years of pain....and no doubt we'll scrape out of our group and fall to Germany in the QF's after a meek performance.

    Just stop it guys, just stop it! It only adds to the pain when we go out.

  • Comment number 7.

    We had a meeting on Sunday night and spoke about throw-ins and then on Monday it happened again and he stopped it. He wants us to play back and play out.

    - Well, I certainly have to agree there. We punt (or throw) the ball down the pitch fat too often compared to the top teams in the world. KEEP THE BALL!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    All those ahead of me in the comments section - grow up and realize that this is a positive sign. No-one has declared us favorites for Euro 2012. No-one has said that the Bulgaria side was particularly impressive. You yourselves have made that up so you can then have a good whine about it. England football fans: they certainly are the World Champions of self pity, no-one else even comes close!

  • Comment number 9.

    Keeping the ball is NOT an insignificant point either, by the way. It's the principle that the best teams in the world play the game by.

  • Comment number 10.

    to shakySpursforthecup
    It's more pessimism for the inevitable frenzy that will eventually follow.
    I do sound pretty whiny though I'll give you that!

  • Comment number 11.

    The fresh days of the autumn are usually nice for Team England.

    It's the tired legs and bitter battles of the Premiership that always get us in the end though. If all World Cups were held at this time of the year we'd likely have done better over the past couple decades!

    But you can't expect players to be at each others' throats for such rich prizes month after month, then all chummy and working as a well disciplined team the next. The cricket team didn't rise up to their current heights without a hard war with the county situation, and I don't think England's national side is in a position to do anything close as much in challenging the Premiership's importance and tight grip.

  • Comment number 12.

    Another blog getting excited about how good England look. When England perform poorly at the Euros then Phil should be put in the stocks and forced to read his recent blogs raving about England over and over again until he (and all other journalists) learn their lesson about hyping England up.

  • Comment number 13.

    #4, Spot on.

    Wasn't Capello hired to get things right FIRST TIME AROUND?
    That's some salary he's on, when an 'expert' admits it was an apprenticeship.. AT A WORLD CUP!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    Ehm, could someone please tell me what this blog is saying, there must be a problem with my ability to grasp what its about. just sounds like you are narrating several conversations, i don't even know where your own input in all of this is. Man ........

  • Comment number 15.

    I'm not normally one to have a go at Phil for his journalism, but...

    "Capello admits, ironically as he moves towards the end of his time in charge, there is now a greater level of understanding between coach and players"

    Where's the irony?

  • Comment number 16.

    England were not even good against Bulgaria, I don't know where the praise is coming from. I haven't seen a fluent good performance from England in years.

    Unlike some I don't think the players are substandard (some are, most not though), but what I do observe is fear. There is such a hesitancy in the way England play it's unbelievable, players hanging onto the ball half a second longer than they need to, hoofing the ball blindly when closed down.

    The reason? To a certain extent, the media, they love to tear down a player if he makes a mistake. The other reason is the fans, English football is very tribal, and I love it, but it doesn't have a place in the England team.

    I'm a United fan, always have been, always will be. But I support the national team wholeheartedly. I don't care that Gerrard is from Liverpool, Lampard from Chelsea, Barry from City or Wilshere from Arsenal, if they wear the England shirt I support them. Too many fans don't share my view.

    I just feel for England to come back, the fans should be behind the players 100% whoever they play for and whatever mistakes they make.

  • Comment number 17.

    People are confused as to why Phil constantly hypes up England's chances. Hmm, there's a tough one. Perhaps because he's a journalist, and his job is to write stories like this? Wouldn't attract as much attention if he wrote: 'England look average, and will probably scrape through their group and go out in the QF's'. I implore people to think before they write.

  • Comment number 18.

    I can't believe what I'm reading here. There was no problem when we were qualifying for the world cup, we done that with ease. So, there was absolutely nothing wrong with Capellos relationship with the players or understanding of each others way. The bottom line is that the players were either knackered (but so should the other European players), we couldn't handle the pressure and expectation or we just simply weren't good enough!!!
    I personally wasn't getting excited about our chances at the world cup although as the tournament started and the press started bogging the boys up I couldn't help but get sucked in, only for my original thoughts to come true which annoyed me even more. I can say the same for 2012 too. I'm not expecting much but will probably get sucked into all the hysteria and hope and end the summer grumpy again. We just don't have the technical ability for these competitions and we're a long way from it. Misunderstanding between manager and players? Rubbish!!!

  • Comment number 19.

    I meant bigging up, not bogging up. Darn auto correct.
    By the way, I normally like Phils stories but Fabios excuses here just irritated me...

  • Comment number 20.

    English football fans. Sigh.

    The last world cup showed how truly lacking in talent the England team has been for... ever.

    He is now giving youngsters a chance instead of sticking with the old guard who used to be the "won'r get you sacked" approach - except now they have failed so badly... they would get you sacked unless you have a better idea.

    And, to be honest, he does have a better idea. The England team in the past have been made up of the work horse element of successful teams - the flair players have always come from other countries. So he has introduced what talent he can from the younger generation and doing the best he can.

    Give the man a break - he doesn't have that much to work with.

  • Comment number 21.

    Why play Barry and Parker?when you have cleverley. Even the Everton new boi is more creative than both of them

  • Comment number 22.

    Stuz359 @ 16

    Agree with you completely (I'm a Chelsea supporter by the way).

    I think the players feel much more pressure when playing for England. If a player makes a mistake, the media labels him as a national disgrace and the fans (mostly the ones of rival clubs) get on the bandwagon. This has been the case for Lampard, Gerrard, Terry, Rooney, Barry, Cole and almost everyone.

    If a player is to recover from ban form or from a poor display, you need to give him confidence. At club level, all the supporters always get behind the team and the player (well most of the time at least), so the players feel more comfortable. Rooney's improved form can be seen as the latest example. Would all the England fans have backed him like the United fans?

    England media and most of the fans are like Indian cricket fans. If the players do well, they are the best in the world. No one can touch them an so on. But if they do a small mistake, they all should retire from football and so on.

    The players are not that bad. Yes they are not the most technically gifted lot in the world, but still they play good football when they are confident and not under a lot of unnecessary pressure. If all the England supporters get behind all the players irrespective of their clubs (highly unlikely) and if the media guys are not so fickle (even more unlikely), I guess the team would do a lot better.

  • Comment number 23.

    Does anyone else think that Capello looks like a Bo Selecta mask?

    With regards to his management style though, I still have mixed feelings. Clearly a genius at club level (albeit not in England), I remain to be convinced of his international abilities. Hailed as a hero, I think he was ushered in to the job without too much thought, with the FA hoping that simply choosing a big name would be enough to win back the fans and the prestige of the national team. I have no problem with our national team coach not being English, but next time I would like to see the appointment of someone with at least a modicum of international experience and pedigree. Someone with a bit of tournament experience too, a department in which England continually disappoint. That's ultimately what it's all about, right? Hiddink would get my vote, but he wouldn't touch that job with a 10ft pole.

  • Comment number 24.

    Capello has made some progress with the team and personally. But we still don't measure up to the Germans, they worked hard on becoming a passing team. Does he even know what a passing game is? His Italian old school tactics won't work against a strong team, just as they failed in South Africa. I hope Im wrong but there it is.

  • Comment number 25.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 26.

    post man Pat...post man Pat....

    so he's gone from being a steve mclaren to a jose mourinho after beating bulgaria?! and people say the england manager's job is difficult!

  • Comment number 27.

    Am not a British nor English, but love the game. Love the English passion. Why so many English fans who support their clubs, even when they in big trouble like Arsenal when Manchester United sluaghter their defence and ripped them appart, altghough their fans were so amazing. I hope England fans can cheer their team, and the MEDIA also. Media is the real thing to blame to the whole failure. Please find always positive things for the players instead the whole negative. I remember how they've destroyed Rooney last term, luckily he afterwards came to become even better.
    I hope Mr. Capello will give the youth geneteration a chance. Because they gain so much energy to their teams.
    I don't care who will be on the pitch, I'll always cheer England players when they pull the Three Lions shirt.

  • Comment number 28.

    4.At 23:26 5th Sep 2011, SeanPF wrote:
    its all very well saying its hunky dory now but it makes a mockery of the decision to hire him in the first place, what about all the fans (me included) who shelled out thousands to watch england last summer in South Africa
    ============================================================

    Should have saved your money and gone to watch a fit and proper England Team v Aussies last winter instead.

  • Comment number 29.

    Why all the negativity? We beat Bulgaria (OK it's only Bulgaria but we still beat them) cant do anymore than that...

    He was asked to get rid of the "old guard" and mix youth with experience...He did that Also!

    At least wait until we lose to have a moan about it! With "fans" like you lot I would DREAD putting on the England shirt! We're not the best and I think we all know that so why cant we just actually get behind them anyway? If it's that bad dont watch it and leave it to the real fans!

    (having said that man above who went to SA...ouch!)

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    A good Euro performance will be QF, I'd be delighted with SF, and F would be out of my wildest dreams. As long as when the Euros come around we aren't discussing why England are likely winners then we can all get behind the team. It's when the media slate our best players that everyone gets edgy and we don't perform. COME ON ENGLAND!

  • Comment number 32.

    30. At 08:47 6th Sep 2011, Reccy - I fit into a bra comfortably wrote:
    -------------------------------

    I'd take a look at your own literacy skills before commenting on others if I were you

  • Comment number 33.

    Team vs wales, not the best od depth due to injurys, but would have alot more options when a full squad is available (Wiltshire, Welbeck, Richards etc)

    ------ GK ------
    Hart
    ----- DR ----- ----- DC ----- ----- DC ------ ----- DL-----
    Smalling Terry Jones/Cahill Cole

    ----- MC ----- ----- MC -----
    Parker Cleverley

    ----- AMR ----- ------ AMC ----- ----- AML -----
    Young Rooney Downing

    ----- ST -----
    Walcott/Defoe

  • Comment number 34.

    32.
    At 08:58 6th Sep 2011, swindonbluearmy wrote:

    Im not paid to write drivel and copy others work. So no i dont need to kid. :)

  • Comment number 35.

    32.
    At 08:58 6th Sep 2011, swindonbluearmy wrote:

    I'll let you do that for me kid.. Cheers :)

  • Comment number 36.

    as poor as the super eagles(Nigerian national team) is presently,they will defeat the Bulgarian on that night, so why the noise... mtschhheeeewwwwwwwwww

  • Comment number 37.

    34. At 09:06 6th Sep 2011, Reccy - I fit into a bra comfortably wrote:

    .........................................

    Super :-p

  • Comment number 38.

    Could the mood be better because Gerrard is not around?


    Ahem.

  • Comment number 39.

    Agreed with some about the relevance / direction of this article. I skimmed until the "They understand now that I am not the ogre" part.

    Does this mean that when he subs (e.g.) Rooney, we'll see him give him a warm cuddle as he trudges off?

    We if so, England are a shoe in for Euro 2012......

  • Comment number 40.

    One of the reasons we performed so badly at the last world cup is one of the main focus' of the blog (there isn't enough content to call it an article, it basically just McNulty saying "Hey look I get to talk to England players and the manager") - Terry.

    Not just him but the whole pyrite generation who think that they are undroppable, would any other country hand Terry the captaincy after attempting to instigate a coup at a World Cup?

    For some reason a lot has been made of Capello dropping Lampard for one match (although now surpise surprise Capello is saying how vital he is) when actually very little has changed. Terry, Lampard, Gerrard, Ferdinand etc... all need to be replaced and never seen from in an England strip. Yet for all this trying youth out I bet the team lining up at the Euros will include all of those players who have performed so badly at international level for the last 10 years.

  • Comment number 41.

    "Wales should be easy for England", "Expecting a 6-0 win", "Rooney will score hatrick"
    BLAH BLAH BLAH, ETC.
    Ok, as a Dutch team supporter, I'm still wondering how we got 1st in the FIFA World rankings(But Im happy with us getting no:1 spot) but also how ENGLAND GOT 2 PLACES HIGHER(ABOVE URUGUAY AND BRAZIL, TEAMS WHO WOULD BEAT THEM EASILY) TO 4TH!
    That's shocking. Ghana deserve to be higher than England, so do Italy(who have rebuilded their team after their shocking WC2010) and Uruguay(Copa America champions for a record 15th time) and many more teams.
    Seriously I expected England to be on the 2nd pot/tier!

  • Comment number 42.

    I don't agree that Terry et al need to be completely purged from the squad. I was never a fan of Gerrard and Lampard playing together as they never clicked in my eyes but surely having these players available from the bench has got to be a benefit? People are saying that they have never performed for England (at least for a while) but how much is this to do with being forced into a system because they are the big names rather than being the best fit for the system?

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing time after time and expecting different results. I give you the England football team!

    So we have beaten Bulgaria 3-0 in a qualifying game. Similar to how we went away and beat Croatia 4-1 before the last World Cup?

    The thing is that England have a huge reluctance to change the footballing philosophy. Long balls, brute strength, and physical attributes have always been favored over flair and technical ability. What this leads to is an England team who can be stronger, more organised and faster than mediocre teams, but as soon as they meet a decent team with technical ability they will inevitably lose.

    The hype will build up by the start of the Euro's and you will see 3-4 England performances full of running around, determination and long ball, but with little technique and flair. The first decent team we play will beat us and that will be that.

    Some pundits will bemoan the lack of technical ability (but this will be forgotten after the first weekend of the Premier league!) Others will blame the coach, the FA will promise a root and branch examination, players will write autobiographies for a cash in on their own mediocrity!

    Then the Premier league will start and everyone will cheer as soon as two lumps thunder into a 50/50 on the half way line. The crowds will urge the players to lob it into the box, the media/fans will be blind to the fact that any flair, skill, technique or intelligence will 99% of the time origin from a foreign player.

    It will repeat and repeat and repeat again until the whole footballing philosophy in the country changes.

  • Comment number 45.

    Can someone tell me how on earth we are ranked 4th in the world. Surely at the last tournament of any note ie the world cup just 15mths ago, we didnt make it to the QFs let alone the semis. Is it not those 4 who are the top 4?
    Who have we beaten since then exactly. Not Spain, not France, not Brazil or Germany or Holland so how come we are ranked 4th? Whilst we still retain this unrealistic ranking fans still think we're actually quite good and the hype begins. Have a look in August's Four Four Two mag and see how many UEFA coaches we have in this country compared to Germany/Spain-its frightening.

  • Comment number 46.

    It's all a question of perception really isn't it. I think Capello should be judged on what the team does, and last summer there were some glaring issues that should have been dealt with differently.

    His reappointment BEFORE the world cup was another cock up by the FA, and an expensive one at that but then they are quite good at spending other people's money.

    For a long time I was part of the 'jury is out' brigade with Capello and was reserving judgement until I saw what came out of it. Overall, I can't say as I've been that impressed at all and an anecdote about a throw in, compared to the issue of the length of time he has been on a learning curve and the issue with his language skills, is just small beer really.

    As illogical as it sounds, I'd give thought to hopefully finishing the qualifying successfully and then finding a different manager to actually lead the team into the finals themselves.

    p.s. ignoring for a moment whether Terry should have gone public with his grievances last summer, is the test of time proving that he was actually right?

  • Comment number 47.

    #44 JamTay1

    Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing time after time and expecting different results.

    It will repeat and repeat and repeat again until the whole footballing philosophy in the country changes.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I agree with much of what you say. I just hope that the link I see in the first and last paragraphs of your post are intentional. :-)

  • Comment number 48.

    To put things in perspective, Germany, Holland and Spain are yet to drop a point in qualification. England remain unbeaten but had two home draws.

    That says that they are not in the top 3 qualifying performances at present.

    Quarter final or semi final form.

    Doesn't mean better can't happen.

    Just puts things in perspective.

  • Comment number 49.

    Phil, how did you land this gig at BBC? Your blogs are so predictable and lack any kind of insight whatsoever. I mean, what does this blog even tell you? That Capello is rubbish at Golf?! Shocking...

  • Comment number 50.

    They always use the excuse "fear of failure" but if you fear failing then you fail anyway. Fear of success anybody?

  • Comment number 51.

    #50 Terry Toil

    'Fear is your only god'.

  • Comment number 52.

    That any journo is still using John Terry as gospel is stunning. Phil I haven't criticised you in a long time, but I would like to point out it seems that your article is supporting a lack of discipline rather than an improved discipline on the playing field. Professional football is not a game. Discipline, which the English as a Nation were once so famous for, is essential to success. If I was speaking to a professional who was unable to follow a simple order or request to move to a certain point on the field I would be livid too. Footballers are not children they are grown men, and throwing tantrums and swanning around is just not acceptable. When will you address the real issues that the failure at the world cup for England is down to one reason and it's rarely the manager. Your idols are lazy insubordinates who think they know better than some foreign manager. They expect him to become more English, instead of making an effort themselves to fit into a new mindset that might actually win them something.... sorry for the rant, but it's infuriating. I wish I was on their money.

  • Comment number 53.

    Not sure what kind if blog some posters were expecting the night before England play Wales. But I guess some people just like a good moan.

    Going off some comments I think one or two posters are a couple of chillies short of a good vindaloo!!

    The bottom line- you get behind your national team.
    End of.

    We are top of the group. All but qualified.
    We have a more then half decent team that, with a little support, could do really well. Some people don't realise how lucky we are.
    Think of the nations who cant score a goal let alone win away from home or qualify for the euros or world cup.

    Moving on, hope FabioC conituniues with this new team/tactics.
    Some good young players coming through.
    For long term success though, I've always argued-

    Crap the league cup for prem teams.
    Introduce a winter break.
    Crap FA cup replays.

    Then english players will be AS fit as, if not fitter, than other nations when we play them in tournaments.

  • Comment number 54.

    19. At 01:12 6th Sep 2011, JayK wrote:
    I meant bigging up, not bogging up. Darn auto correct.
    By the way, I normally like Phils stories but Fabios excuses here just irritated me...
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Naw I think bogging up was quite accurate in fact.

  • Comment number 55.

    41. Krish-The-Dude_CFC wrote:

    Ok, as a Dutch team supporter, I'm still wondering how we got 1st in the FIFA World rankings(But Im happy with us getting no:1 spot) but also how ENGLAND GOT 2 PLACES HIGHER(ABOVE URUGUAY AND BRAZIL, TEAMS WHO WOULD BEAT THEM EASILY) TO 4TH!
    ---------------
    Ok, I know it's a troll :) but it doesn't suprise me that you don't understand the ranking system, while it's not actually rocket science, I think you have to have an interest in it

  • Comment number 56.

    The blame for England's World Cup debacle is clear. John Terry and his supporters were trying to undermine Capello all along.
    Now Capello is grovelling at the feet of Terry and co.
    Pathetic.
    Sack Capello for failing, and get rid of Terry once and for all. Capello was right to try and bring some discipline to the team but now he's given up in the face of Terry and, most likely, Lumpard.

  • Comment number 57.

    #53 Zeemo

    Surely we're allowed an opinion and to present some constructive criticism?

    In terms of your arguments for long term success:-

    1) Premier league teams either don't take the Carling Cup seriously or play their younger players anyway. Don't see how that affects the England team.

    2) Not convinced by the fatigue issue or the benefits of a winter break. Players in other countries/leagues play as many games as the players in the England team. Also, if you have a winter break then presumably you would then have possible fixture congestion in the season halves either side of that break?

    3) FA Replays are fun and I think fans enjoy them.

  • Comment number 58.

    Is there a slight chance that maybe Capello and the F.A may come to an agreement that he stays until the next world cup if next summer goes well?? Interesting!!!

  • Comment number 59.

    The first think Capello needs to do is get rid of the old uncoachable guard who have had their international approach moulded by a succession of weak coaches and useless media hype. He should start using the youngsters and mould them with his own philosophy. Then he will really start to get results.

    Anyway it was nice to see he started Smalling and not Jones, who in my opinion is not yet ready, despite 90% of the posters advocating the exact reverse. There is a coach who understands football.

  • Comment number 60.

    #The first think -> the first thing :)

  • Comment number 61.

    fatClyde @ 56

    Capello was right to try and bring some discipline to the team but now he's given up in the face of Terry and, most likely, Lumpard.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Is that the same "Lumpard" who was dropped from the starting XI ?

  • Comment number 62.

    "41. At 09:35 6th Sep 2011, Krish-The-Dude_CFC wrote:
    "Wales should be easy for England", "Expecting a 6-0 win", "Rooney will score hatrick"
    BLAH BLAH BLAH, ETC.
    Ok, as a Dutch team supporter, I'm still wondering how we got 1st in the FIFA World rankings(But Im happy with us getting no:1 spot) but also how ENGLAND GOT 2 PLACES HIGHER(ABOVE URUGUAY AND BRAZIL, TEAMS WHO WOULD BEAT THEM EASILY) TO 4TH!
    That's shocking. Ghana deserve to be higher than England, so do Italy(who have rebuilded their team after their shocking WC2010) and Uruguay(Copa America champions for a record 15th time) and many more teams.
    Seriously I expected England to be on the 2nd pot/tier!"

    Spot on mate. It is a mystery. Luckily we have trophies to realign the rankings ;)

  • Comment number 63.

    #56 While I agree with getting rid of Terry, I think Capello is just trying to manipulate his leadership skills to find some unity in the dressing room. Terry will be dropped at some point in the not too distant future but not until a replacement team emerges that no longer has Terry as their focal point.

  • Comment number 64.

    I think what went wrong last summer is that despite being locked away in "Camp Capello", the players still produced the same rubbish football they produced four years earlier. But at least from their point of view they were able to party and help their WAGs flog their latest perfume/skin cream/album/cheap bit of tat.

    The media got annoyed because the WAGs sideshow helped sell copies of their papers and helped advertise related TV shows such as WAGs boutique. With England playing rubbish, but with no sideshows or any hints of scandal, they were left with just moaning about how bad we played at football, which only fills a small part of the paper/section of the TV news.

  • Comment number 65.

    Firstly i dont think people are getting carried away just yet. Their is a difference between saying we're going to win the Euro's and saying it was a good performance with a few promising youngsters, which is so far all I've really heard.

    One of the main problems I reckon is the pressure from the media if a player makes a mistake. Our best performance in recent years was in Euro 96 when got to semi's, but since then the press has always looked for a villain. It started with Beckham in France '98, yes he made a mistake but the way he was villified was way over the top and was all whipped up by the media!

    Is it any wonder why the players never bring there club form to the england set up if they know the consequences of slipping up?

  • Comment number 66.

    57: I do see your point and in a way the FA do as well. I think the main focus and priority is the club game. FA cup replays are tradition etc and the fans enjoy them. We all look forward to Boxing Day games don't we. All they do is to improve the domestic game but I think this does come at a cost to the England team. Why do better England performances come in qualifying games; some will be better quality teams encountered and extra pressure but surely you'll agree that will the Premiership being played at a million miles an hour most of the players will turn up not as fit as their counterparts. This can even be seen with other teams premiership players. Look at the stand outs at the last world cup and not too many will be from the Premiership.

    I wish sometimes that the FA would take more note from the cricket and rugby teams wh do put more importance on the international scene.

  • Comment number 67.

    For me i will be glad when the Premiership is back, just when it was starting to crank up a bit aswell.

    So England beat Bulgaria away, it was a fine performance but only because we used new players and it worked. Was we the finished article, not by any means. But the best thing we take from it is that we won 3-0 a respectable score line and we used a new formation and the team was younger. This is what everyone cried out for, we got it and it worked ON THE NIGHT.

    Yes of course we was not that clinical for 90 mins and yes of course according to some football fans we should have passed the ball round like Barca and scored over head kicks because we are England and they are Bulgaria.......

    But we have shown that we have potential and we do have a great chance of developing a very good competitive team in the tournaments.

    Fabio should be relaxed, why shouldn't he, he is beating low rated teams and is almost guaranteed qualification and no offence to Wales but they are not really much cop. No bellamy or Vaughn and you get Jamie Redknapp and others saying its good for England. How can it be good for England, if we beat weak sides it gives us a false sense of power on the pitch. We need tough games, we need Wales to have Bellamy and Wales to put out their strongest teams to test our boys in a competitive match, especially if the squad is younger with practically no real international experience.

    Soon we will have qualified and then their is nothing to play for competively and does Fabio really know who is strongest team is?

    At this point England are still in transition, we may do well in the Euros with the enthusiam of the younger players wanting to improve and impress, and there is always a outside chance that we can nick it.... But we should never be under any illusions that England are only an outside chance at the moment to win anything.

  • Comment number 68.

    Last time Phil wrote a decent informative and/or insightful blog that wasn't just a rehash of the state the obvious?

    Anyone?

  • Comment number 69.

    #64 MagicDarkShadow - haha.

  • Comment number 70.

    England don't have to have a team of 11 totally world class players. We just need the technical nouse to be able to adapt our game and our passage of play when a game dictates it. Look at Greece winning the euros! They were not world class in ANY position on the pitch but they played as a unit.

    Give England a break, we DO have some very talented youth players coming through, as do Belgium, they could be a major force for the next world cup.

    In addition the important thing to remember is there is only ONE MAJOR TOURNAMENT to play for every TWO YEARS, that's it. Pretty tough call to want to win it every time you enter. ALL teams have peaks and troughs when they have a COMPLETE squad of quality. I think Belgium will be hard to beat in the coming years with the group of quality youth players they have coming through, they may peak at the right time but what have they won in the past??? It all boils down to having a great squad during a TWO MONTH period every two years - you have to be lucky to have a squad FREE OF INJURIES too and have a group of players who are ALL at the TOP OF THEIR GAME at EXACTLY THE RIGHT TIME!!

  • Comment number 71.

    The FA are making the same mistake as many Premier Leque clubs in paying the manager too much in the hope that they deliver. Rather than paying the next one £6 million a year - it should be a third of that plus the promise of ten million, plus knighthood, holiday home in the Cotswolds etc when they actually win something.

  • Comment number 72.

    Not to get the usual partisan band-wagon, I think Capello is an all right bloke, more disappointed in the poor development of his English than anything, which I think is a bigger deal in his management than his tactics. I also think John Terry doesn't come across well from the quotes attributed to him; he's captain, not general. And Phil The Big McNulty still patching in the content of his articles.

  • Comment number 73.

    #65 mrgreyhead

    One of the main problems I reckon is the pressure from the media if a player makes a mistake. Our best performance in recent years was in Euro 96 when got to semi's, but since then the press has always looked for a villain. It started with Beckham in France '98, yes he made a mistake but the way he was villified was way over the top and was all whipped up by the media!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It is because there are too many in the popular press and too many knuckleheads among the fans who look for too simplistic an answer in the same way that they like the simplistic nature of 'kick and rush let's all be gung ho' football.

    There seems to be a genuine lack of understanding of subtleties. How many times do we hear the expression 'overpaid prima donnas' with regards to footballers when in truth, I think that the salary is very little to do with their performances.

    #66 darksmog

    I wish sometimes that the FA would take more note from the cricket and rugby teams wh do put more importance on the international scene.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yes, but look at how comparatively few people follow the domestic games in those sports. It's only really the international scene that seems to be followed with any passion or commitment.

  • Comment number 74.

    @ darksmog


    I wish sometimes that the FA would take more note from the cricket and rugby teams wh do put more importance on the international scene.
    .....................................................................................................................

    I think this has to do more with commercial issues and branding and obviously making money.

    There is not so much interest in domestic leagues of Cricket and Rugby internationally, so to create more revenue for the each respective sport the only way is in international competitions.

    Football on the other hand is the total reverse. The Premiership and Champions league are the bread winners in football, so Clubs have more power than the national team.

    Why do you think the top clubs are protected and kept in the top 4, it is basically about commercial rights and marketing, does this mean football corrupt, a very good question perhaps it is perhaps not, but the top clubs will always get the best players (unless your team is managed by Wenger). If Stoke won the Prem, then it would be hard to compete in the CL or maintain it year in year out. Next year west brom wins, if this happens it would weaken our league. It certainly is a sad state of affairs and denys true fair play as business ruthlessness and greed for money has destroyed the game, but at least it is still competitive and we see some exciting games. Iam lucky to support Birmingham City, as we dont expect to much, so i can be a neutral when it comes to the top four and CL and just watch things on the pitch from a football prospective and the quality of the games i think is getting better year by year.

    England have not been doing enough on the pitch and its even hard to say we belong in the same seeding as Brazil, Spain, Germany. Italy are suffering also France and i would expect Spain to be number one for a long time, or as long as Barca still remain unbeatable.

  • Comment number 75.

    53. At 10:11 6th Sep 2011, Zeemo wrote:


    Scrap the league cup for prem teams.
    Introduce a winter break.
    Scrap FA cup replays.

    Then english players will be AS fit as, if not fitter, than other nations when we play them in tournaments.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not this tired (excuse the pun) old excuse again.

    Spain, Italy and France all play 38-game league seasons.

    How many games in the League Cup do England internationals play ? Hardly any.

    The winter break in most major European leagues is only about 3-weeks, which hardly makes too much of a difference to a player's fitness. Guess what the top clubs do on their winter breaks ? They swan off to places like the Canary Islands to play friendlies, or play a money-spinning match in Arabia.

    Again, FA Cup replays aren't that common for the top clubs, and some of the other domestic cup competitions - such as Spain - are automatically played over two legs.

    Also relevant to the ''England players are too tired'' myth is to see the depths of the squads which the top clubs have at their proposal. If any of the top English players are in need of a rest, there is always a capable understudy which their manager can use.

    Also, most Premier League players are foreign, yet the purported energy-sapping season doesn't seem to harm them too much at major competitions.

    I don't know how you would think that scrapping a few games would make England players actually fitter than others. England as a terrible attitude to sporting fitness.

    The general attitude is that players are ''unlucky'' to get injured, or that injuries are a justifiable excuse to explain a poor performance is absurd.

    Physical fitness and staying injury-free is an important attribute for any footballer, but as long as people in England keep thinking that injuries are ''unlucky'', then England players will persist in running around the field like headless chickens.

    Dropping energy and fitness levels are unavoidable occurrence in sport, so the best way to deal with it is to manage and limit the negative effects which they'll have on a player's performance.

    The number one step in helping to combat levels of fitness dropping is to keep possession of the ball!

    If you can only string two or three passes together, then you're bound to be exerting needless effort by constantly needing to win it back, rather than spending half the game at a near walking pace while your team holds on to the ball.

  • Comment number 76.

    @57 Mr BlueBurns

    Yes of course. But that part of my post was directed at the ones who do not constuctively criticise but just make comments along the lines of 'Whats the point'
    or 'we will only lose in the QFs anyway' and my favourite 'it was only.....'!!

    'Only Bulgaria'!!
    Not lost a competitive match under Mathauss.
    Away from home. 3 points. Clean sheet.

    I'm glad you knew I meant 'scrap'

    1- League cup-Teams end up going full strength from the QFs onwards anyway.

    2- winter break- stats have shown that EPL players pick up more injuries than there European counterparts post Xmas/new year with some experts citing the lack of a winter break as a possible reason. European leagues don't have a problem with fixtures ao don't see why the EPL can't come up with a solution.
    (I was also going to suggest cutting the prem to 18 teams but that won't happen in a millions years!)

    3-FA cup replays- less games equals fitter England players for tournaments.
    They've been scrapped for the final and semis.

  • Comment number 77.

    which the top clubs have at their proposal.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Disposal. ;)

  • Comment number 78.

    75: Fair enough but one of the comments which is passed by most detractors of the 'English style' is that its played as kick and rush football, blood and guts challenges and 'throwing it into the mix'. Throw in that we don't get a winter break and in general our weather doesn't benefit us in the way that warmer climates of Spain/Italy even Germany do then it all adds up.

    You say that this only seems to affect English players rather than English based players so who do you think performed well at the last world cup who played in England?

  • Comment number 79.

    The trouble is that the BBC website and the newspapers are papering over the cracks. What I saw on Friday was one of the worst 3-0 performances I've ever seen, not only were Bulgaria terrible, but so were England, atrocious even. I think the best string of passes we got was about 3 and then it would have been knocked out of play by Barry's awful touch. The only player that showed quality was Rooney. Unfortunately he kept coming for the ball and there was no one to pass to as he was playing up front on his own. All in all, I thought it was an awful performance, and I'm all for optimism, but when optimism is apparent. Somehow England have made it to 4th in the world, but we get plumped against some god awful in qualification and still play some terrible football, and if we ever make it to a final of a major competition, it would be a miracle.

    Against Wales earlier on this year the press begun to relieve the pressure on Capello, yet we only won 2-0 against a team that I think the local sunday league team could beat about 5-0. National pride has been more than over taken by club support and will be for a long time come in my opinion and I'd much rather see my club (Liverpool) do well over England, which I honestly couldn't give a shit about.

  • Comment number 80.

    You say that this only seems to affect English players rather than English based players so who do you think performed well at the last world cup who played in England?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dirk Kuyt? yes, he's not a very technical player but the complaints about the England players was that "oh they're too tired!" yet Kuyt managed to play a full premier league season, and ran the furthest in the world cup. Excuses are the essence of the England football team

  • Comment number 81.

    #76 Zeemo

    @57 Mr BlueBurns

    Yes of course. But that part of my post was directed at the ones who do not constuctively criticise but just make comments along the lines of 'Whats the point'
    or 'we will only lose in the QFs anyway' and my favourite 'it was only.....'!!

    'Only Bulgaria'!!
    Not lost a competitive match under Mathauss.
    Away from home. 3 points. Clean sheet.

    I'm glad you knew I meant 'scrap'

    1- League cup-Teams end up going full strength from the QFs onwards anyway.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yeah, fair point, I know what you mean about the flavour of some of the comments.

    Anyway, the teams that play in the Carling Cup final presumably have foreigners and as #75 The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote, it never seems to affect them.

  • Comment number 82.

    Philip, another load of tripe, building up a bunch of Flops who were humiliated against Germany last year. Neville was quite right when he said, that he felt that playing for England was a waste of time. England have absolutley no chance until they get rid of the management and core of the side responsible for the World Cup national embarrassment. In any other country Capello and his staff would have been sacked within 48 hours of the World Cup humiliation. Fast forward a year, and idiots like you Philip are praising Capello and building up expectations, after a handful of meaningless qualifiers. Groundhog Day beckons folks, brace yourselves.

  • Comment number 83.

    lilo, He didn't exactly light the world cup up did he. Played pretty well but nor amazing scoring one goal setting up a couple. Don't think he played as much last year than he has in previous either did he? I think that too many people get caught up with black and white when it comes to this subject. Yes we could be technically better in some positions but its not the be all and end all. And as for excuses, sometimes they can be contrbuting factors and not necessarily wrong.

  • Comment number 84.

    Reading a lot of the commentary on here, it strikes me we are no different from our footballers - slow to learn, resistant to change, tending to overestimate our own knowledge and abilities.

    Sometimes I thinik we are largely confused. We constantly moan about keeping possession, playing the right way etc. yet on the grounds we urge players to get the ball forward quickly and lump it forward.

    You hear the groans if a player tries to run with the ball (especialy a defender) and complain that they 'dwell on the ball' - in the very next breath we moan that our players are not 'comfortable' on the ball. Pray, how the h*** do you get 'comfortable' with the ball if you are not allowed to 'dwell on it'. We will accept the likes of Thiago Silva doing it and even praise them for their skill but not Chris Smalling.

    And then we come to a really big issue and an often ignored one. The scourge of the ill-educated football commentator. During football matches, some commentator are so poor they make you want to switch to midosmer murders. They feel obliged to make judgements where they are not competent and sometimes appear to be stuck in the 1940's droning on about long abandoned tactics and having no awareness of what modern football demands. Worse, every routine pass or dribble by an English players is fantastic - in fact the best thing we've seen since sliced bread. And sometimes, some of these guys are so partisan it beggars belief.

    There are a few more factors damaging our football. Poor referees, hero-worshipping and fast-tracking players into the mimelight before they have had a chance to get their feet under the players.

    I read some of the criticisms of Capello and I marvel at how short-sighted and lacking in judgement people can be. There is a recurring reason why England have not won anything since 1966, conversely there is a reason why Capello has won so many trophies everywhere he coached both in Spain and Italy. How come no England manager is ever a good manager or more accurately - how come good managers suddenly become bad when they manage England?

    It seems the quickest way to destroy a sterling reputation built over many years is simply to become England manager.

  • Comment number 85.

    Hopefully Capello gets the team right for the Euro2012 next yr, just looked into the Spain squad and that is what you call a GOLDEN ERA!! They have got top class players in all section of the field who most importantly can play as a TEAM. Our England team need to better that if we are to win the competition. Not to forget the GERMANS have already qualified and the netherlands looking very sharp with their number 1 statues.

  • Comment number 86.

    In summary you largely get the kind of football success you deserve. We need to become more patient, more thoughtful and more considered in the way we approach and analyse things.

    Knee-jerk reactions and lumping insults when results go bad is a wrong approach and so far that has been OUR way

  • Comment number 87.

    Okay, nobody's explicitly saying that England are going to do really well in the Euros, but it's the hype which annoys me. Undoubtedly this will increase once more after England presumably put 4 or 5 goals past a Wales team that is frankly nothing short of embarrassing.

    A great qualifying performance in what is a very easy group would be taking 24 points from 8 games - as it is England have already dropped points in home games against Montenegro and Switzerland, both very average sides at best.

    The number of reports talking up the quality of youth and depth of the squad is astounding: granted, nobody thinks England are in the same bracket as Spain but they boast the likes of Fabregas, Torres and Mata on the bench - 3 players that would be England's star players. Yet we're meant to be impressed that they have kids like Phil Jones on the bench waiting to come in?

    This crop of youngsters are so promising they didn't even manage to win a game at the Euro U21s.

  • Comment number 88.

    England are not very good and neither is Capello. The media are in overdrive as usual as a result of beating a team several levels below even England. Its so tedious and international football is on its last legs, especially in England.

  • Comment number 89.

    Our defensive unit plays too deep for us to really retain possession with any real purpose.Top teams play a lot closer to each other at all times.We play deep because of the lack of pace Terry and Ferdinand now possess through age and injury.

    Cahill is to slow also to play in such a system.I can only see Smalling and Jones bringing that to this team.A couple of years time hopefully we might see that with someone more aggressive in charge.

  • Comment number 90.

    78. At 11:26 6th Sep 2011, darksmog wrote:
    75: Fair enough but one of the comments which is passed by most detractors of the 'English style' is that its played as kick and rush football, blood and guts challenges and 'throwing it into the mix'. Throw in that we don't get a winter break and in general our weather doesn't benefit us in the way that warmer climates of Spain/Italy even Germany do then it all adds up.

    You say that this only seems to affect English players rather than English based players so who do you think performed well at the last world cup who played in England?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    While I think that the ''Kick and rush'' criticism is a bit harsh, the general gung-ho, blood and guts nature of the English game is probably going to take more of a toll on players than in some of the slower placed leagues which focus more on ball retention and technique.

    But that is my point about the English attitude to fitness and injuries in football. To persist in a style of play which may cause more injuries and lower levels of fitness, and then complain about players being tired or injured is ridiculous!

    Football today needs high levels of physical fitness, which is why the style of play should acknowledge the impact of energy-levels sapping.

    This is what I mean about the general attitude in regards to fitness. As long as the English footballing public keep on seeing injuries and tiredness as unfortunate, rather than a manageable symptom of a style of play, then that style of play will not change.

    I would also add that I'm not sold on the idea that Premiership players are markedly more tired after a season than their European counterparts.

    Just look at how well English club teams perform at the back end of each season. There didn't appear to be any noticeable fatigue from the Manchester United players in the Champions League final.

    In regards to Premiership players who had a good World Cup; to be honest, many of the English-based players were used as squad players or were playing for teams that didn't exactly set the tournament alight. But Boateng, Dempsey, Nelsen and Kuyt all had decent tournaments.

    Some of the high-profile under-performers, such as Torres, Drogba and Cristiano Ronaldo all had other explanations which could explain their poor showings. Torres has not exactly been on form for a while, Drogba broke his wrist a couple of weeks before the tournament, and Cristiano Ronaldo - due to Queiroz's tactics - quite frequently was the only Portuguese player in the opposition's half.

    You could also ask which La Liga based players had a good tournament. Not Messi, and Spain were hardly at their vintage best.

  • Comment number 91.

    #87 northbank123

    A harsh, but perhaps fair, post.

    The Euro U21's was very disappointing. But, I wonder if some of the players there had already started to believe their own hype with the transfer fees being bandied about for the likes of Henderson and Jones?

    On the subject of the youngsters, whilst some have had a couple of good games at the start of the season, I struggle to see how the likes of Cleverly and Jones get call ups for England now they are at Man U whereas they barely got a sniff when at Wigan and Blackburn. Is there much more substance to their selection other than they are now at a bigger club? Given that and what you say, what actually merits their selection at this time?

  • Comment number 92.

    You could also ask which La Liga based players had a good tournament. Not Messi, and Spain were hardly at their vintage best.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Apart from Forlan. :)

  • Comment number 93.

    northbank123

    Yes, but these new young tyro's are at Utd so the media hype and spot light will fall on them with even greater intensity than if they were elsewhere. The media will doubtless wreck them once theyve built them up after England have next been battered by a decent international team and left looking like the load of donkeys they are. Its been the same since 1966 and the media never, ever learn.

  • Comment number 94.

    And England Fans wonder why nobody outside England likes them...........arrogant doesn't come close.

    Cymru am Byth.

  • Comment number 95.

    #90 The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    My recollection is that there was talk that it was hardly a vintage world cup at all. (And that's without mentioning the vuvuzela's!)

    For all Spain's ticka tacka, they didn't exactly score many goals. Germany were very entertaining and Uruguay and Ghana were a pleasant surprise but was there much to set the world alight? It was possibly more to do with the fading of disappointing showings from France, Brazil and the Argies.

  • Comment number 96.

    I think genuine fans are entitled to get frustrated with the present national set-up and blog posts like this.

    Capello has failed to get the best out of our players when it matters. People say he's starting to wake up - but I still think his selections and tactics leave a lot to be desired.

    The blog post mentions that Capello wants us to keep the ball more effectively. Fantastic - but Parker and Barry won't deliver this on the big stage, they lack speed and passing ability.

    As a genuine fan, I'd like to see an English manager commit themselves to moulding a young team to play fast possession football over the long-term. Winning something would be a bonus.

  • Comment number 97.

    A manager good enough to win titles at Real Madrid, Milan and Roma and the Champions League is not good enough for England?

  • Comment number 98.

    Try one of these 2 things: Get behind the team and stop griping (nobody promised you anything anyway), or don't and GO AWAY.

  • Comment number 99.

    #97 Dazz

    Valid point to an extent, but, those titles were at club sides where he worked with the players every day. To that extent, he was slightly unqualified for international football hence the talk about a learning curve.

    Surely, when you pay £6m per annum you expect someone who has learnt rather than who is learning.

  • Comment number 100.

    my starting 11 for the euros.

    Hart

    Richards, smalling, jones, cole


    A Johnson, gerrard, wiltshire, parker, a young

    Rooney
    Squad

    Milner, wellbeck, downing, rio, lampard, G johnson, baines, foster, carrol, barry, walcott, cleverly, bent as the default ones

    I thnk what we lack is strikers

    Bent for me not good enough should make the sqaud though

    Defoe, not even top four class

    Rooney only world class player

    wellbeck promising but not proven

    Walcott, an emergancy sub

    A young, i preffer him as an attacking winger not a striker


    Midfeild we seem to lack two main things, firstly is someone who can hold the ball up and slow the game down and pick the right pass and break up play, barry and parker are good at this but are not world class, in the modern game we definatly need a world class holding midfeilder as a priority.

    Alot of weight is going to be put in wiltshires shoulders and he is the main flair midfielder.

    I put Gerrard in with parker and witshire, i think Gerrard can get the best out of both parker and wiltshire, and he has enough experience to support both players, telling parker what to do with the ball and telling wiltshire when to make runs forward.

    Parker is so good at breaking play up, and he does hold onto the ball, but he needs quality around him.

    I still preffer A Johnson over Walcott, yes Walcott has his moments of brilliance and he runs like the wind, but on the right seems to be his weak point. Maybe he is an out and out striker, but still he doesnt deserve to be picked ahead of Rooney. AJ has great pace also, has a great eye for goal and makes defenders panick as he gets past players much better than Walcott.

    As said before A young is better attacking from the flanks, its more of his natural position, in this formation downing is more useful than walcott.

    Defense Richards works much harder than G johnson ( but then again so do most unemployed people) smalling and Jones need to be dropped in at the deep end. Its time for Terry to go, nothing personal.... and rio just isnt fit enough anymore. Cole can still do a job on the left and looks really fit and hungry and works extremely hard.


    For me the main thing J Hart needs to work on is he distrubution of the ball, he lacks confidence but one more season and he will be much better (hopefully)

    England need to play a much flatter back for as a precaution and work on keeping shape, Richards is not that good going forward and lacks any final delivery and goals, A Johnson and him should have a good understanding from club football, smalling and Jones will have the same understanding and should not be to enthusiatic to move forward to much unless properly covered by Parker and Gerrad.

    Wilstshere should be the talisman for Young Johnson and Rooney, he passing is world class, his forward movement is a good as anyone, as we saw against Barca, and in all fairness the only 2 players taht were at the level of Barca were Rooney and Wiltshire, so we can compete and put in a fighters performance against any team in the world, maybe we won't win, but what we need is the English spirit of playing until the final whistle, if England dont win but have fought the best they can then i think every England fan can accept this.

    Rooney is just so natural in finding space and his club football expereince throughout the season with A Young could prove to be our big success at international level.

    The sqaud members should be used carefully to win games, Carrol on to hold the ball up front and be a big target and no matter what people think of him he has good feet and he batters defenses, a very useful and important player. Rio we need for experience with smalling and jones, he is a great role model. Milner also adds work rate and aggression to win the ball back and is strong on teh ball and doesnt give up and has quality also.

    If it is managed right and the players are fit and John Terry is not playing up which means not including him then we have a chance to show the world we are at least a decent footballing side who plays to win with grit determination and the some class.

 

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