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England look to put World Cup behind them

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Paul Fletcher | 07:18 UK time, Wednesday, 11 August 2010

England coach Fabio Capello has apologised twice now for his team's miserable World Cup campaign, while captain Steven Gerrard has said he would probably boo the national side if he was a spectator at Wembley on Wednesday for the friendly against Hungary.

It is fair to say both men are expecting a hostile reaction from fans following England's disastrous South African campaign, which culminated in the humiliating 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Germany in Bloemfontein on 27 June. Some England supporters I know certainly plan to attend the game to register their dismay with the national side.

Wembley is unlikely to be anywhere near full for the game against Hungary - despite the Football Association's best attempts to get people through the turnstiles by cutting ticket prices - because of the fractured relationship between the fans and the players.

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A review of England's World Cup campaign

Gerrard himself conceded during Tuesday's media session that playing for England is a tricky proposition at the moment but hopes to put things right swiftly. "We have to show how sorry we are by doing it on the pitch," said the Liverpool midfielder, one of 10 players from Capello's 23-man World Cup squad set to feature against the Hungarians.

It will be interesting to see what sort of reception Capello himself receives at Wembley. The Italian has listed several reasons why he thinks England underperformed in South Africa but his own role has been the subject of some intense criticism, too.

Personally, I think it is impossible to establish with any degree of certainty whether the failure lies more with Capello or his players.

Maybe England just aren't good enough. After failing to qualify for Euro 2008 under Steve McClaren and suffering elimination at the quarter-final stage of the three previous major finals under Sven-Goran Eriksson, supporters could be forgiven for wondering if their country will ever seriously threaten to win an international tournament again.

Wednesday's match is unlikely to provide any firm answers on that score but Gerrard has expressed his hope that, if nothing else, it marks the start of a revival. "Hopefully we can regroup, move forward together and turn things around," he stated.

England begin their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign against Bulgaria in 23 days and Capello needs to breathe some life into a tired outfit, bereft of the verve and fearlessness that was a feature of the youthful German side that knocked them out of the World Cup.

The selection of rising stars Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs, plus the recall of Adam Johnson and Theo Walcott, may help. Wilshere, in particular, is regarded as an exceptional talent, although the 18-year-old midfielder has yet to establish himself in the Arsenal first team, spending the second half of last season on loan at Bolton.

It would be unwise to expect too much from Wilshere but Capello is obviously banking on an injection of fresh faces to help lift the gloom over England.

England fans show their disappointment after the defeat against GermanyEngland need to repair the damaged relationship with their supporters

I suspect it will take more than a few cameos from the likes of Wilshere or Gibbs to placate supporters and bring the belief flooding back but the match against Hungary may at least provide some closure after a dismal few weeks for the national side.

I'll be at Wembley to cover the game but I'm keen to find out what you, the fans, would like or expect to see from England. Should Wilshere play from the start? What tactics should Capello employ? Do the players deserve to be booed? Does this game mean anything? And what have England got to do to convince you they have learned the lessons from South Africa? Whatever your thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

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  • Comment number 1.

    i think it is important to give the new guys not just wilshere a good run in this game after all the match does not matter much. this will help their growth to playing more important matches. the players deserve to be booed but considering that they are expecting it, i would suggest we cheer them instead.

  • Comment number 2.

    Do you think these will only be "cameos" by these players or do you think it is long term planning of getting a team together, playing together for the future?
    I don't get the idea that journos say "we have to do long term re-building" then in the next sentence say "we have to qualify for EURO 2012". I want FC to say that 2012 is a write off (if we qualify, great) but that we are working towards future success. Start the squad together and try keep it together for 4 years.

  • Comment number 3.

    We'll win this but nothing much will change apart from the odd appearance from fresh players served up to appease the fans. The win will see a dis-jointed and fragmented England display much the same as in the World Cup. Tomorrow will be the same old story albeit hidden behind a 3 or 4 goal win which is to be expected in a game with no pressure, facing a team of Hungary's quality.

  • Comment number 4.

    both are to blame. the players don't want it enough, are wrapped up to much in themslves and capellos stubbornness and relectuAnce to adapt. it needs a good manager to pull a team together not an authoritarian who clearly beliEves he is above the man management role.
    gerrards conf was just the same old spin, let people down, take it like men, absolutely devastated bla bla bla, who are they trying to kid.
    a good team isn't about the star names, this gen has failed the terry, rio, Barry, lampard & gerrard. not even a handful of quality performances yet capello persists with trying to wring something out of them. The man hasn't what it takes to manage englad, clearly doesn't have the respect of the players, if he's not gone in sixmonths I'll be surprised but then again anything is possible with our farcical FA. the England team needs a complete overhaul. to suggest this is a change is a joke, the players who have been dumped weren't hardly played any minutes in the world cup and have been given no real chance in the England shirt yet the flops of cole Terry gerrard lampard Barry etc who have time and time let us down are still there.
    I reckon they all think we are mugs

  • Comment number 5.

    It appears that England's hopes are already starting to be placed on the shoulders of Wilshire. Let's not forget he's only played a handful of games. It's the same as what happened with Gazza, Rooney and Beckham. Even the BBC are guilty of posting a get to know Jack Wilshire.

    Let's get a team this time round rather than individuals. We still have some very good players and if Capello manages to get the balance right, we still have a good chance at Euro 2012.

  • Comment number 6.

    The truth is that Gerrard and Lampard are still two of the best midfielders in the country, whether they are good enough for England to win major tournaments is another thing but I dont think its a big problem having those two around.

    Rio, Terry, Barry, King are either too injury prone or have been found not to be good enough and there is some genuine competition in all of there positions, and therein lies the reason why Lampard and Gerrard still get picked because there is no genuine competition in there position, maybe Wilshere in a year or two. We are lacking in good young central midfielders and fowards.

  • Comment number 7.

    "flops of Cole, Terry, Gerrard, Lampard Barry etc' - It's a bit much to call them flops really. We do need to remember that the same basic squad came through what was probably the best qualifying performance I have ever seen. They just didn't do it in the finals.

    I watched most games in the WC and it seemed to me that most of the players that play in the EPL did not perform that well (whatever country they played for).

    Watching these players they just seemed tired and worn out.

    I hope Fabio gives some of the new boys a run out nonetheless as he has to plan for the team that will take the field in two years time for the Euros.

    More importantly I think is making sure that the U17's and U19's and the U21's are brought through and the players given the chance to play some top flight football.

  • Comment number 8.


    are u kidding me. our group was made up of nothing teams in the quals. we had a very laclustre Croatia, the rest were part timers.

    what has gerrard and lampard achieved for England. nothing, how many good performances have u witnessed against opposition of a similar footing?

    They have never and will never play well in the same England team

    the displays they put in are limp, devoid of creativity they play together vey disfuntionally.

  • Comment number 9.

    1. "The selection of rising stars Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs..."
    If there's one thing the English media would not shy away from is, that before a player's quality and talent has been proved consistently and on a big stage, they are labelled "stars". No wonder English players play under so much of needless pressure from the media.

    2. @ Jedra "flops of Cole, Terry, Gerrard, Lampard Barry etc' - It's a bit much to call them flops really. We do need to remember that the same basic squad came through what was probably the best qualifying performance I have ever seen. They just didn't do it in the finals."

    They ARE flops, as they failed to beat the stalwarts of world football- USA, Algeria, Slovenia (patch win, and the media and the team has blown up their egos and chances out of proportions, after beating the smallest nation in the world cup) and failed YET AGAIN against a decent quality opposition on the big stage. I wonder why it has taken so many years to see that clearly players like Lampard, Gerrard are just not performing for England. And talking about the qualifying performance, a big footballing nation like England is/was expected to go through a relatively easy qualifying group. There qualifying successes came against mediocre oppositions, and suddenly England were the favourites to lift the World Cup?

    3. Finally, after seeing the "matter of fact" reactions of German players, coaches and fans after they got out of their qualifying campaign, after they got out of their group stage in the world cup in to the knockout round and even after they beat England to proceed to quarter finals, you could see that these were/are the basic minimum requirements expected of such a big footballing nation. Nothing was (and should) hyped up about their chances (or how they were such a world beating team). England media, players and fans should learn a humble lesson in humility there.

  • Comment number 10.

    I dont expect, and I am English and an England supporter.

  • Comment number 11.

    and as for he claims that England or prem stars were tired Is a load trash. messi played nearly 70 games lash season, as did most of the Spanish 11. to suggest that a winter break would of benefited is also laughable, a 3 week break 6 months before the world cup followed by 30 league and cup games, any recovery would of been well worn through after that period. not all prem players were a flop, just those carryin injuries like Torres and van persie.

    England flatte to deceive, and have down for some time, they will pull the odd performance out the bag but misfit the time under pressure it's crash and burn, 20 years since a decent performance in tournament or are people going to say it's just bad luck.we've had a succession of wrong managers and tried to make teams based on big names rather than a team who play as a team

  • Comment number 12.

    England expects? You're having a laugh surely? England expects just about nothing from the football team, I don't know a single fan who even cares about the game.

    The facts are simple. Even if we qualify for the euros winning all our games what will be the difference from the world cup? The press will simply say "we've been here before" and if we only just scrape through then the knives will be out saying "we are getting worse"

    The fact is I don't know anyone who thought before the world cup that England were good enough to make the semi finals (like the media thought), why? For the reason you mentioned! The same group of players failed to qualify for the last Euro's and weren't good enough for better than 1/4 finals at the previous 3 tourneys. Now you are not sure if it was the manager or player? Well Capello wasn't in charge for the other "failures" was he?

    No he wasn't, so the common failure factor can't be him, then what is it? You don't have to look far to give it a name! The PLAYERS! They have failed time and time and time again. They may well be our best, they may be awesome domestically, but they are simply not good enough on the world stage.

    And it's not just this group either. I was checking before the world cup and it had been 20 years since the last time we scored more than 6 goals in a World cup, and going back before Italia '90 even longer.

    Now how are we going to win if we can't score at least 1 goal a game? There are 7 games so the maths is easy. England players have bottled it on the world stage for decades, it's time we set our expectation at a low level and accept that their is some mental block, and that until we get round it it won't matter who manages the team.

    The media could do a lot to help this by cutting the hype, they won't though, becuase the "build 'em up, knock 'em down" model is what the media thrives on.

  • Comment number 13.

    why should the players say "sorry" to the england fans ??
    The football they play is a reflection on the football culture of england.
    a culture that puts premium on strength, physical bravery and power, and disregards technique and footballing intelligence.
    The england football fans are as much a part of that culture as the players.
    When teams in england try and play patient football from the back, many fans will boo and try and encourage their team to "get the ball up early".
    The players and england's style of play are just that culture in practice.

  • Comment number 14.

    It seem to me that England simply arn't good enough and havn't been for years.

    We will do the same as we always do when a new fresh faced England player comes along like Wilshire.

    We did it with Owen, Rooney, Terry, Gerrard even the likes of David Bentley!

    We big these players up so much into thinking they will one day lift the world cup for us and when it doesn't happen we wonder why.

    We have a habbit of bigging players up far too much to early in their careers into believing that they are world beaters and it's simply not working.

    We are now re-building again for the future with players that we are again building up to be the next big thing.

  • Comment number 15.

    I think the fact everyone should realize now is that it takes time and patience to build up a team with fresh talent, and mould them to operate under a particular style of play. It has to be a long term project starting at grassroots. It took Spanish 10 years and German around 6 years to get where they are right now. And a lot of players in those teams are still work in progress.
    It's good to see that there are younger players being introduced (or being brought back) in to the English squad but this would be a short term fix (if it is a fix!).

  • Comment number 16.

    Yawn, oh thank you Gerrard for yet more words of wisdom. Do us all a favour an retire from the national team. Nothing will change with England whilst Capello is still in place and the FA stop being more concerned over their money than the success of the national side.

    Capello chucking in a couple of youngsters in a friendly is not only too little to late with regards to the world cup just gone it is also a half hearted attempt to really makes changes and win back the fans.

    We need an overhaul, it doesn't take a genius, most of us on 606 know what needs doing yet a man being paid 6m a year can't grasp it. We need to be fielding a fresh young team capable of working together now and building momentum for 2012 and then 2014. We have plenty of young talent coming through seeing as our U21, U19 and U17 all have done better in tournaments than our ageing squad that has nothing but be a let down.

    If Capello really wants to start building a team to win things we should be fielding a team like this tonight:

    Johnson Jagielka Dawson Gibbs
    -------Rodwell Huddlestone

    With the rest of squad including:


  • Comment number 17.

    A good balanced blog Paul. Yourself and Tim Vickery set the standard of football blogs that I wish some others would follow!

    English fans are as much to blame. When Capello first took over, England played a friendly at Wembley and England passed it around, looking comfortable on the ball, but not going anywhere. The crowd started booing!!

    England need to start playing a comfortable short passing game. Pass and move, pass and move. It may take several games to get comfortable doing this, which may result in some 'boring' 1-0 wins, draws or even defeats. So long as the style develops and the system develops, it will be worth suffering some short term defeats.

    This isn't going to happen though as if England lose a couple of friendlies and a qualifier, the media will call for blood and Capello will be sacked!

  • Comment number 18.

    Without trying to wind you all up, I think there are a number of factors but mainly the Hype. Since 66 most followers of the sport who are in contact with football in England have been completely browned off at the launch of each competition about how the English bang on about winning it. The perform badly and they same hype comes out next time. It seems only now , faced with the logic that the manager is not actually bad, so he can't be blamed, that some are willing to accept that Engerland are not actually one of the better sides in the world. However I think there is another issue, it's the face that the money in the game now allows footballers to become secure in life early and their value systems are different. European education is much different to that of English or Irish Education systems. Self belief and a solid value system are usually installed early. It's why for example many see Ronaldo as arrogant. Others would see him as fully justified to bang on about how good he is, well because he is. So, Hype, Mentality and Education. Without changing these 3 things, I think English football fans are in for a depressing future. This is football not rocket science, even the best Managers are not necessarily the most intelligent people on the planet.

  • Comment number 19.

    What is the point in spending money to go and boo a team? Just don't waste your money and stay home, that would be the best way of showing your anger at the pathetic showing at the World Cup, an empty stadium.

    Oh, Paul, the most astute part of your blog was when you said 'we are just not good enough'.

  • Comment number 20.

    The simple facts are that the players are not all 'world class' as claimed by many and that the manager made a number of selection and tactical mistakes in the World Cup. The fact that the good players cannot even reproduce their club form for England adds to this.

    This game means nothing, but a loss would be disastrous for Capello and the FA. They need a confident win and a good performance from most players.

    England also need a new captain and preferably one who is not injury prone and who is not 30 plus. Personally I think we need a new manager who knows which players to pick and doesn't just speak to Arsene Wenger for his only English players.

  • Comment number 21.

    BBC1 Tonight 8PM
    Celebrity MasterChef
    Series 5, Episode 10
    The four best celebrity cooks remain and face three mammoth tasks.

    Sounds good to me!

  • Comment number 22.

    I believe Capello needs to drop all the so called stars above 28 yrs old. They were world cup flops and now is the time to mould the new generation into England Stars. Gerard, Lampard, Rio (tho he didn't play in the WC), Terry, Barry and even Rooney (2 WC and not a single goal for someone considered as a great- he's bloody useless) need to be dropped and not thought of for England. It is time to let the young lions take the helm and i don't think they can be any worse than what we saw in the world cup.

  • Comment number 23.

    Paul, I'm disappointed, I normally enjoy your blogs more than this.

    I fear your BBC colleagues have been living off this subject for far too long and I expected better from you. Although that being said it was a much better balanced article than most of the others and I wouldn’t be criticizing if it hadn’t have been for your colleagues. If you had to write about the match tonight I would have rather have read a piece on the uncapped players and how they have reached this stage - without building them up as stars.

    The problem with the national team is that England need to build for the future, however the media will not let this happen. The title of this blog on the front page (I am not sure you had any input into this) is "England Expects". No sensible England fan is putting any emphasis on this game. The only real thing we will learn from it is whether Fabio has realised his mistakes. I fear he will start 4-4-2, replacing Heskey with Zamora and having Frank and Stevie in the same team, which would show that he has learned nothing. Hopefully I am proved wrong.

  • Comment number 24.

    Same squad, three Managers, hmmm, lets get another Manager...simple!!

  • Comment number 25.

    I wonder just how much of a "team" England is. From the press coverage, there was a lot of console game playing, i-pod listening and the like going on. Compare and contrast with Germany and the team outings so ridiculed in the press.

    Seems the only time the England players talked to each other was to have a whinge in the bar. Even then they didn't seem to get the message clear enough for JT to understand.

    11 prima donnas, however good, will never form a team if they spend their spare time ignoring each other in favour of "solitary pursuits"

    Just ask France.

  • Comment number 26.

    African England
    by ClarenceSquare (U8098124) 10 August 2010

    The England Coach and Captain seem totally bewildered at the reasons for the team's under-performance. Surely, in the huge back-up squad there is someone whose knowledge of sports psychology and the English language is enough to instill confidence, motivation, determination?

  • Comment number 27.

    "English fans are as much to blame. When Capello first took over, England played a friendly at Wembley and England passed it around, looking comfortable on the ball, but not going anywhere. The crowd started booing!!"

    Nail, head, hit.

  • Comment number 28.

    We need to retain a degree of perspective here. The English players are simply not good enough and have not been good enough for many years. The lack of formalised expansive skills-based training for kids and youths and an early, lazy overreliance on 11-a-side matches on full size pitches leaves our young players systematically short-changed, both psychologically and technically. They thus lack confidence to express themselves and are ill-equipped to cope with pressure - "witless" and "fearful" were two of the abiding criticisms this summer, and they are well-founded.

  • Comment number 29.

    I've posted this in another forum along with an original point by another poster that i agree with...

    comment by who_dat (U14335504)
    posted 14 Hours Ago

    Capello is paid £6m a year for this?

    Let me understand this.
    He takes 3 keepers to the WC and plays Green in the first match. At that point, does that make Green England's number 1?
    Green makes an horrendous mistake, is dropped and James comes in for the remaining games.

    Now, for a friendly, Capello goes ott with his squad, listening too much to the media?
    He picks 3 keepers, Green is not among them.
    One retires, one withdraws, so he picks another 2.
    One (I don't think) has even played in his club's first team, but no Green again.
    So does that make Green, at best, England's number 6?
    One mistake and you're history?
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not particularly a Green fan, but I can't understand the logic of all this.

    Spot on

    I'm a shrewsbury fan and was there when joe hart made his league debut away at morecombe. I want him to do well and become england's number one keeper obviously. However, even in that game v morecombe Joe made a mistake which led to a goal - if he does that for England like Green did will he also be dropped and placed below 5 other keepers in the next squad selection?!

    I don't blame Robinson for retiring, he should have gone to the world cup on form last season, but was overlooked and overlooked again by Capello due to one mistake (which was actually neville's fault), then he's seen his replacements thrown to the scrapheap like he was a couple of years before.

    It's a farcial thing.

    I'm also struggling to see a large number of the other reasons behind this squad selection. The only striker who scored and looked good and who even topped the 'Capello index' ratings hasn't been picked, and neither has his club mate who was hardly used despite the fact that another first choice striker retired.

    I also don't see why when several of the world cup squad have retired, and a few more are injured why so few of the 6 who went to Austria and who just failed to make the squad haven't been called up - theres no Baines, Parker or Huddlestone, despite no one playing any competitive games in between. And likewise I don't see how Theo Walcott, Adam Johnson and Ashley Young are suddenly good enough to replace Lennon and SWP in the squad without playing games, when they were decided as not being good enough before.

    The other point is that since King's not been picked as the media claim he's past it and Ferdinand's still injured (yet again demonstrating he's more injury prone than King), Upson's gone too why don't we go the whole hog and drop Terry, a player who: was awful in the world cup (Green was dropped on the basis of one mistake, Terry made countless more), a player who late last season upset half the squad with the whole Bridgegate (perhaps' thats the moment everything went wrong?!) and also who spoke out of place and criticised the manager in that press conference.

  • Comment number 30.

    Watching England is like decorating a room, time after time you get excited about this 'new dawn' but as soon as it starts you just want it to end so you can do something else.

    And its the same old players again and again. I have absolute faith in our ability to beat Hungary tonight and im sure we'll do a good job and look clean and tidy but the lumbering dinosaurs remain in the team, is this thier reward for a fine world cup?

    Its all well and good the manager saying that the players who performed so badly at the world cup need to face the fans, but i know how much england 'stars' get paid for friendly games and ill tell you this, i would put up with some booing and name calling for a couple of hours for about 1/1000th of it and go home a happy man.

    This is the best time the FA have ever had to just say 'Stop.' change the fundimental system of the game, remove international wages, tell certain players 'thanks but no thanks' and rejuvinate the whole system but once again they have done nothing, they've sat on thier hands and wasted money on rubbish and its got to stop right now and if they cant do it, sack them all, no pensions, no pay offs, you were rubbish so leave.

    I really did think we would see big changes in the squad for this game with new faces and players really keen on trying to make an impression, but instead, save for two or three really good prospects it was like looking at the cast of a carry-on film

    Terry - axe
    Lampard - axe
    Gerrard - axe
    cole - axe
    other cole - axe
    barry - axe
    ferdinand - axe

    Just get rid of them, they are stale and finished. Bring in some new young players, i dont care if they are not good enough, they wont be right now but the thought of the above players (and many more) strolling around the park well into thier mid 30s in Brazil in 2014 makes me want to throw myself off a bridge

  • Comment number 31.

    I think Capelleo must go. Too many mistakes made, and
    look at the list of errors he made …tells he has poor judgement:

    1) Picks Green as No1
    2) Fails to have Robinson in World Cup Squad
    3) Brings slow Carragher out of retirement for World Cup
    4) Desperately trys to get 35 year old Paul Scholes out of retirement
    5) Fails to pick Walcott for World Cup Squad
    6) Does not start with Joe Cole at all in World Cup
    7) Sticks rigid to 4-4-2 formation all the time in World Cup
    8) Brings on Heskey when we are losing to Germany!
    9) Not one half decent performance in World Cup games against poor opposition
    10) Leaves Joe Cole out of next squad!

  • Comment number 32.

    England fans should NEVER boo their team BEFORE or DURING a game especially if debutants are in the side as it's totally unproductive and just puts pressure on no matter what we say are 'spoilt pampered' players which are clearly not able to handle it. When has booing a team ever improved their performance anyway? (I think fear of expectation is an England player's biggest handicap, encouragement is what's needed during a game - feed their massive ego's)...booing afterwards is perfectly acceptable if the performance is totally dire ;)

    The new boys and new tactics should ofcourse be implemented from the start or what's the point of calling up new guys up and sticking with the tried and failed regulars?

    Fans want the team to show total commitment and that they actually give a damn about pulling on a national shirt instead of sauntering around with no passion or worries their places aren't under threat like Lampard. Put in a few decent tackles and actually run about a bit. Yes it's a friendly but reputations can be made or lost - don't always trade off your club-level performances.

    The worse thing would be to hear Rooney or Lampard being booed and then either scoring a hatrick and cupping their hands mockingly to the supporters as if it now meant SPIRIT, DIGNITY and CHARACTER and fans will respond in kind. It's all anyone can ask and even in defeat people would have little complaint.

  • Comment number 33.

    "Maybe England just aren't good enough"

    Wotcher mean, *maybe*? The average English player simply doesn't have the same ball skills that, say, the average Dutch or Spanish player has. I've heard it said that it's because English kids are encouraged more to win matches than to develop ball skills - I dunno, but whatever the case, they simply aren't technically as good.

    There are plenty of countries who used to be good once but are now average ... the rest of the world passed them by. England is even meeting one of them today.

    England is tomorrow's Hungary.

    Besides, what will beating small fry outside a tournament prove? (Not that I think Hungary is incapable of beating England - I rather hope they do, actually.)

  • Comment number 34.

    Its acombination of so many aspects of the game the fans not liking the style of play as its slow and can be seen as boring

    1.any one see spain in the world cup - THE MOST BORING GAMES IVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE!!! yet they won the cup it goes to show you keep the ball knock it around and you will create chances rather than the long ball plus the back 2 puyol and pique the centre mid xavi & ineseta all play domesticly together.

    2. We have far to many individual players in the squad rather than team players. i agree bring some new fresh faces in. let the indivuals sit on the bench.

    3. we need more player that play together that mix well e.g defoe/crouch rooney/owen Richards/Onouha and also play the 2 players that arnt the same like gerrard and lampard both do the same thing. we need hargreaves back fit and on for to do the dirty work of making the takles that lampard and gerrard and barry wont do. poss maybe hargreaves if hes fit and got games with carrick again if hes fit and playing well these mix of player will be able to work better togeather

  • Comment number 35.

    I wish more young England players would play outside England. Hopefully that will happen once the English Football Finance bubble bursts (the Sugardaddy Model of Football Finance really is no different from a Pyramid scheme), but...

    ... but even then, Englishmen are terrified of learning other languages and will thus never move abroad. What fraction of English Premiership players speak a second language? Bet it's smaller than the number of Italian Serie A players or Spanish La Liga players who do so.

  • Comment number 36.

    A ridiculous decision by Capello to include the likes of Gibbs, Wilshere and leave out Rodwell.

    The likes of Lampard, Terry, Gerrard etc have had Euro 2004, WC 2006 and WC 2010 to prove their worth. They have never done so, and that was during their collective peak. The time is now to move on, to re-jig and to bring through a new generation of England player.

    Personally, I would leave Gerrard in out of those mentioned, and build the squad around his and Ashley Cole's experience.

    Rodwell is a huge talent and already has experience of playing in Europe, FA Cup Final and far more premiership starts than Gibbs and Wilshere combined.

    Upon failure to qualify for USA 94, France opted to no longer pick Ginola, Papin, Cantona....supremely talented players and decided they needed a more youthful look. They promoted in time for WC 98 the likes of Henry, Trezeguet, Pires, Thuram all of whom were relatively unknown outside of france. 2 years earlier they had promoted the likes of Deschamps, Zidane, Lizarazu to more senior roles. We must follow suit.

    Hart is our number one, there is no challenge nor any dispute to this.

    RB: Johnson? CB: Cahill CB: Dawson/Jagielka LB: Cole/Baines/Gibbs

    Rodwell sitting Wilshere and Gerrard in the centre

    Young and Johnson forward and wide

    Rooney up top.

    This team excites me a lot more than the mundane, one paced laboured England side we have seen for the last 8 years.

    Walcott is simply not a good enough footballer. In Ashley Young there is the pace, combined with set piece delivery, crossing ability and the ability to score.

    Milner is vastly overrated and will never ever be a top class international footballer.

    Cattermole could be back up to a holding player as some raw aggression and energy that could be used against the more savvy teams.

    Lescott still has time to redeem himself.

  • Comment number 37.

    I think that the statement
    "one of 10 players from Capello's 23-man World Cup squad set to feature against the Hungarians"

    says it all really. Capello isn't changing the first team at all, all he has done is drop some of the fringe players, well whoopdy do!

    The England dressing room is full of cliques (especially in the main starters) and until we get rid of Lampard, Gerrard, Terry, Rio etc... that will not change. In fact I think that the starting line up in our first qualifier against Bulgaria will be exactly the same as against in the qualifiers/WC except with a new keeper and new striker, hardly revolutionary is it.

  • Comment number 38.

    I think we need to take a leaf out of Germany's book on how we go approach our national team. We need to build for the next World Cup in 4 years time. Players who are not going to feature because of age should not be picked. Players like James and Beckham. 35 year old Gerrard, Ferdinand and Lampard could still be good enough to take a place in the squad so they should not be discarded yet. I am pleased with Capello's squad, it has a nice blend of experience and fresh faced youth. As we saw from Germany at the World Cup, there is nothing wrong with a healthy amount of youth. We also need to develop a system that is ours - we don't deviate too much from it. I still can't work out who is good enough to play with Rooney up front but hopefully in 4 years time Walcott will be.

    Something needs to be done by the FA to help our national team as well - There needs to be limits on the numbers of foreign players (And I mean players who are not eligible to play for England) in Premier League starting XIs not just squads. This would help our national side in developing young players good enough to compete at international level. Imagine the speed in development of Gibbs, Walcott and Wilshere at Arsenal if this were the case? At all the big clubs there are young Enlgish players in and around the first team but when will they get a chance to prove themselves when the likes of Fabregas, Arshavin, Mascherano etc are more proven players?

  • Comment number 39.

    How on earth you can say Cole is a flop is beyond me, not great with women but worlds best left back. Sadly the Italian flop has jumped on the youth bandwagon and is giving kids a run and handing out caps like sweeties. Lets be honest will Zamora be in form in two years or even in the Premier League? Gerrard and Lampard are great players but quite simply why do they both have to play why cant one be sub?
    In the Daily Mail today it mentions Steve Harper as a choice as backup keeper, I bet that man would happily be back up and be solid if selected. The likes of Cahill, Shawcross, Catermole, agbonglahor and Walcott and Young are what we need but in a system that they understand. And please if Rooney isnt fit give him a chance rest him!!

  • Comment number 40.

    Zinho1 Good post but you also forgot.
    11. Failed to drop an underperforming Rooney. (I am sure if he sat out of the last group game he would have been on fire against Germany).
    12. Continued to persist on playing Gerrard and Lampard together despite it has never worked in 10 years.
    13. Never giving the other squad players a chance. I would of liked to have seen Crouch and Defoe together for at least one of the games especially if he was going to persist with 4-4-2. It could not have been any worse.

    At least though his mistakes were far fewer than some of the previous English managers!

  • Comment number 41.

    Why the use of the word "maybe" in your sentence, "Maybe England just aren't good enough"? The sentence reads better without it.

    They haven't been good enough for a long time and that is a situation that doesn't look likely to change any time soon. In Capello, England has a manager who's reputation and previous achievements are a matter of record. Even somebody of his stature has been brought down to earth by the sad reality that England are not world beaters.

    The much maligned SGE managed to take England to three Qtr finals, which is about as good as anyone should expect. Upon reflection, had England managed to get past Portugal in the penalty shoot-out, they could have gone on to win that tournament and must have fancied their chances against an unfancied Greece side in the final. Sadly, it wasn't to be and history will tell of an all too familiar failure.

    Personally. I do not envy Capello's current position, apart from the huge pay packet that comes with it. He has a massive problem at the back, with an ageing central defence, an unproven goalkeeper lacking cover should he prove unable to meet expectations, a midfield lacking pace and the imagination required to break down the best defences and an attack which hasn't really got a focal point. Despite all the hype, Rooney has not, thus far, proven to be the answer.

    Anyway, England fans do forgive quite quickly given positive results on the field, so for everybody's sake a comfortable 2-0 or 3-1 outing on Wednesday, without any major cock-ups, will go some way to begin the rehabilitation. Anything else would be unthinkable.

  • Comment number 42.

    My starting 11:

    GK - Hart
    LB - A Cole
    RB - G Johnson
    CB - Terry, Dawson
    LM - A Johnson
    RM - Milner
    CM - Barry, Lampard
    CF - Rooney, Gerrard

  • Comment number 43.

    Tonite's team

    Bring On
    Walcott for johnson...
    Wishere for YOung...
    Lampard for Gerrard...

    Jagielka for Terry...
    Gibbs for Cole

    you can have two attacking MF in same team... Keep either gerrard or Lampard...

  • Comment number 44.

    GK - Hart
    LB - A Cole
    RB - G Johnson
    CB - Terry, Dawson
    LM - A Johnson
    RM - Milner
    CM - Barry, Lampard
    CF - Rooney, Gerrard

    england better get used to playing a 4-5-1/4-3-3 system because 4-4-2 hasnt worked for england in tournament football for >30 yrs

  • Comment number 45.

    ".. it is impossible to establish with any degree of certainty whether failure lies more with Capello or his players.."? Come off it Paul! This is the sort of nonsense you might expect from the FA. If it is so difficult to establish, then make me manager. I won't cost £6m a year and if England are hopeless you won't be able to tell if it's me or the players!

  • Comment number 46.

    The England squad is ridiculous, everyone was shouting out for a overhaul and Capello gives in. But it was hardly an overhaul, he brought in a few young players it would seem for the sake of it. He's missed out in giving Jack Rodwell a chance to prove his worth, as he's been tipped to become the next big thing for England..this was even said before Wilshire came onto the scene. This squad should have been completely re-vamped dropped nearly everyone single player who you'd consider under preformed at the world cup. Its stupid that Capello has dropped players like Crouch and Defoe considering defoe out-scored rooney (but so did Upson) and crouch got abou 20mins playing time.

    If you look at other international squads particulary the germans there are no world class players..I'd say one actually in philip lahm. But other than that theres just a raw TEAM, in every sense of the word. theres players who have been on there international stage for years, and have proven although their not world class their internationally proven ie schweinsteiger 70 odd caps.

    my england team would be:
    Johnson-Dawson/Sharcross-Jagielka/- Cole/Gibbs
    Young Wilshire Johnson

  • Comment number 47.

    Steven Gerrard "Hails" English new comers/youngsters.
    Go on, hype them a bit more, set them up to fail.

  • Comment number 48.

    Englands problem is the same as it's been for years - nothing to do with the players not being good enough, it's about successive mangagers not having the balls to drop the big names for the sake of the team.

    Prime example being Lampard - brilliant for chelsea where he's free from defensive responsibility, in front of 2 holding midfielders, where he can roam and get involved in and around the box. He's never EVER been someone to dictate games from the middle of the park. We may as well play him at left back.

    Ergo Gerrard, with the added irony that he is actually more capable of playing the box to box role than Lampard, but is played out wide because it's a way of shoehorning them both onto the pitch.

    Now there are calls to drop both of them, which bewilders me when we've never tried dropping one and building the midfield around the other, not even tried it, not once.

    This is exactly the sort of thing I was expecting Capello to sort out.

  • Comment number 49.

    The thing that makes least sence is a Manager of FC experience not knowning how to change the mentality of the players as he has stated. I do know how to change the mentality of the players, employ an English coach that can speak English fluently and knows how to motivate our over paid players.
    Lets face it, not once in 4 games at the WC did we ever look like a force to be reckoned with, we were abismal, collectively and individually. You add up what each and every one of them earnt during that campaign and tell me if any of them are worth it. Drop the lot of them, including the coach and start something new, with the young talent we have and have them playing together for years to come, ie Spain....

    I believe we have the players to do well, they just dont know how to win anything in an England shirt, maybe the players dis-like one another, maybe they wanted a different formation at the WC? Somethings we will never know, only what we see when the Nation expects which has not been enough in a tournament since 1996.

    I feel FB will be gone before 2012 because he has shown no flexibilty to his tactics and will not take on board advice even though the entire world got to see him make mistake after mistake playing 4-4-2.... We need an English Manager, end of.

  • Comment number 50.

    Tonight's game only serves one purpose, and that is to give false hope to the fans that we are actually a decent side. No doubt a few of the youngsters will have a good game, and we will inevitably win by a few goals but this won't fool me. We don't even have a difficult qualifying group for Euro 2012. No doubt we will breeze through that as well, and the cycle of hype starts all over again. As soon as we come up against a top 8 side we will beaten.

    Capello's continued reign as England manager still baffles me. Here we have a man who resided over some of the worst England performances I have ever seen. A man who resolutely refused to change a formation that clearly wasn't working. A man who played players out of position. Some of his substitutions were astonishing also. Capello will probably use his 4-4-2 formation again tonight, and the win will probably just further convince him that he is right. We will go no where with Capello in charge.

    I hope Zamora scores a couple tonight as I rate him as a good player. Wayne Rooney should not be playing tonight, but no doubt he will. One of the most over rated footballers I have ever seen.

  • Comment number 51.

    Collie21 and Peckster11, good blogs. This is the "elephant in the room". Thought for some time that the intelligence factor is ignored. Other major footballing countries have perhaps 2/3 major sports where exceptionally gifted athletes / ball payers can excel (e.g.Germany / Netherlands Football and hockey where they are highly successful in both). We have several, football, rugby, hockey, cricket. Out of these all except football would encourage youngsters to progress their education without detriment to becoming a top international player.It was unusual 30 years ago but you did see the occasional graduate coming through (Coppell, Heighway, Brooking I think) and its no coincidence that they have gone on to make a valuable contribution to the game after their playing career. The inverse snobbery in football seems to go unchallenged for fear of upsetting the average tabloid punter.

  • Comment number 52.

    Speaking purely as a Spurs fan, and thinking ahead to the lunchtime kickoff on saturday, I'm actually more than happy that Crouch and Defoe are not in the England squad. I'd like to think that our team will be a lot fresher than whatever world XI that Manchester City turn out on the day.

    As to the squad overall, Capello has been pushed into a situation where he is going to get criticised whoever he picks. I cant say it helps matters though when you call up reserve goalkeepers and someone from the championship. It's scarily reminiscent of the scene from Mike Bassett when he accidentally calls up Benson and Hedges.

  • Comment number 53.

    Booing the team at Wembley tonight would be utterly pointless. By all means any England supporter had the right to express their disappointment and anger at the woeful World Cup performances at the time of those games. But tonight is a new game and ALL the players should be given our rousing support and the chance to prove that they are better than the showing at the WC.

  • Comment number 54.

    I have been watching England for 60 years.
    With the exception of 1966 the the same malaise has affected every team that pulls on the shirt.
    These blokes need an incentive.
    The threat of the sack is enough to keep most people interested in their jobs but these posers dont really seem to care.
    For the England captain to come out and say that he would boo the England team says it all, (are his parents French?)!

  • Comment number 55.

    have been watching England for 60 years.
    With the exception of 1966 the the same malaise has affected every team that pulls on the shirt.
    These blokes need an incentive.
    The threat of the sack is enough to keep most people interested in their jobs but these posers dont really seem to care.
    For the England captain to come out and say that he would boo the England team says it all, (are his parents French?)!

    Lack of hunger is NOT england's problem...never has been.
    Its lack of technique and footballing know how ...thats the problem, and has been for >50yrs !
    checkout the hungary v england matches in the 50s ! england passed off the park by a team playing technical passing football. England playing straight line footnall.. Sound familiar ??
    Not much has changed in over 50 yrs !

  • Comment number 56.

    Having watched Liverpool play last week in the Europa League qualifier and Chelsea v's Man U at the weekend I am at a loss as to why Jole Cole has been left out and Frank Lampard is still in.

    Having said that, I wish Lampard all the best in this game and hope Joe Cole will play well for Liverpool and be a part next time.

    The world Cup is gone. Lets support the team. Just like (after a poor season last time) I will be supporting Liverpool all the way this season and will be even if this season doesn't go as planned.

    Expect little and enjoyment is way better.

    I also support Brighton. Anyone who has ever seen Withdean Stadium will know how terrible it is. The team have been a little up and down but I continue to support. After years of upset and a terrible stadium we are now playing good football and a new stadium is almost finished. We may still have an indifferent season but my support wont change.

    Feeling the highs and lows is why we keep coming back for more.

    International Football is just the same. Thats why I love it.

  • Comment number 57.

    Technique does seem to be an issue and as Spurs fan I would say that Huddlestone should have played in this friendly as he has a suberb technique you rarely see a mis-hit shot and he's left and right footed plus he could drop a pass on a penny from 60 yards away, reminds me of Glenn Hoddle just less mobile and not quite as good. But then again I can't help but be more interested in the Premier League than international football at the moment so i'm glad only dawson has been called into the squad and hopefully he'll get the England cap he deserves.

  • Comment number 58.

    Im a Man Utd Fan im not being byest at all but england need hargreaves fit and playing well his preformance when he las played was the best ive ever seen. simply for his ditermination heart and passion to win every ball to make every tackle.

    dont get me wrong hes not the best player england have but hes willing to do the dirty work of tracking back sitting in from of the deffence and making the challenges!

    England need someone like that. also need players who want to play with passion and desire

  • Comment number 59.

    Personally I think not enough has been made about our players detachment from the fans. This is surely down to amounts of money they earn and their inabilities to understand that however much you earn and however much you think of yourself right and wrong are still the same (read: Crouch / Terry / etc). As a result of this detachment they do not have the same passion and drive to succeed for their country as they do for their club as effectively it's their club that employs them. Maybe a central contract ala England Cricket team could rectify that. My overall point is that, if players of an International team do not have the decency, and the Manager of an International team does not have the respect of his players to offer the England fans that travelled half way round the world at great expense a round of appluase at the end of the humiliation against Germany then that, above all other things shows you exactle what is wrong with England footballers. I have seen Manchester Unietd get drubbed before and still the players applaud the fans, why nothing from England players. Currently I am totally dis-illusioned with Capello England, and to be honest I would be put Stuart Pearce and Alan Shearer in charge of the England team, and start afresh with new blood. Lets be honest, nothing can be worse than getting drubbed by our arch enemies and not even putting up a fight.

  • Comment number 60.

    Capello and Gerrard are playing clever here.

    They know that a bit of booing and suddenly the world will be alright again with England supporters, that is how fickle fans are.

    The problem with England is YOU, the fans

    Has Capello not been booed before, has Gerrard not been booed before. Its comes with the territory, it wont bother them.

    We will end up with the same situation as the bankers, everyone whinges, the clamour dies down, and we get back to the same old thing, bankers paid obscene bonuses, players not understanding the white shirt.

    You want to change things ?

    Well, its not booing

    Its called staying away, from tonight and future England games until the authorities begin to understand that after every major tournmanent failure, more than lip service is required to bring the patient back to life.

    The only way these guys, PL and FA, understand the market is through money. If the money is coming in, tickets, TV subs, Replica shirts 90 times a year, why would turkeys vote for Christmas. What incentive is there for those in charge to change their ways, what is the saying about stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

    You get the feeling that fans are so inbred with loyalty to the shirt, and yes I was there with that feeling for 25 years, its the highs and the lows, it is a drug but is there not a point where the drug needs to be looked at ?

  • Comment number 61.

    I'm sick of hearing people going on about Capello. He is a proven top quality manager.Full Stop. Who in that England team is a proven world class international player??? What have they won? Where have they finished in recent competitions??? People are deluded if they ever though that this English team was ever good enough to win a World Cup: Heskey? Rio? Milner? Did people seriously think that they would EVER lift the World Cup. All England needs is a dose of REALISM. Stop all the sensationalist predictions and media hype. This England team will be lucky to punch their weight on the road to the Euro's. Simply not good enough

  • Comment number 62.

    Those going to the game just to boo and jeer at our England side including many younger and new players to the squad - are just sad and need to get a life.

    The real villains are the FA - the real problems are with the FA, English premier league and with the England manager - not with the players - they are not responsible for the FA, manager, squad selection and tactics.

    For goodness sake get a life and leave the England game to the real fans.

  • Comment number 63.


    Scott Parker, Lee Cattermole

    The players are there, especially scott parker..he puts the whole 'I pick on form theory' to shame. How he's missed out on the world cup and this squad is beyond me

  • Comment number 64.

    Fabio Capello was never going to succeed with England. The managerial qualities of a club manager over 38 games a season are totally different to the international manager who has about 6 competitive qualifying get togethers every 2 years and an extended 6 week intensive during the Euros or World Cup itself.
    The club manager coaches players tactically, works 5 days a week with a squad of 20/25 and knows intimately what motivates each player in his squad.
    On the international manager has the cream of the players, he doesn't need to coach, he only needs to assume that the players are intellingent enough to understand the tactics he wants. The international manager's main skills in motivation the prima donnas especially during the 6 weeks during the summer.
    There aren't many managers who can claim to have been successes at both club and country.
    Let's face it no matter what Steven Gerrard with all the cliches about 'bouncing back' and 'hunger to win' etc,etc,etc the frank truth is that these so called great prima donna players have let the country down dismally in 4/5 successive tournaments. Nothing Capello can do will change that. And as far as Wilshire is concerned, if Wenger doesn't see that he is ready for the Arsenal team yet then what is he doing with England. Remember the waste of Walcott in 2006 who even 4 years later has still to deliver and not a first team regular.
    What England needs is a international manager with the track record of having done it or nearly done it before at Euro or World Cup level. Take your pick, there are a few names around.

  • Comment number 65.

    Just one thing

    The expectation is not that we win things but compare

    James, Ferdinand, Terry, Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney

    Casillas, Puyol, Pique, Iniesta, Xavi and Villa

    One lot wins the World cup/Euro double.

    The other lot, glibly described as world class, barely gets out of the EASY group and fails to qualify in 2008.

    The reality is that there should not be a lot of difference but there is one subtle difference.

    Physique football for one lot, passing football dfor the other. Problem with that is that it might flourish at league level but you can match physical football, you have to have technique to match passing football. If you aint got it, you dont get the ball. One of my favourite excuses of the World Cup was James saying Algeria made it difficult for us by being defensive AND keeping the ball !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Football culture both on and off the pitch will ensure nothing will change. You have to go back to Liverpool in the 70/80's to see a crowd willing to accept patient probing passing football instead of the gungho. Result, it was our greatest period of achievement in European Cup history. How many winners ? In the 18 years of the Premier League, how many winners ?

    Without technique, you are nothing as a footballer, Spain have it, the Germans, the French, the Italians, the Dutch all have it, funny how they have won internationla trophies in the last 20 years. Us ? Yer havin a larf mate.

    Everyone remembers when Hungary beat England in the 50's when we were in the top level of football but since Puskas the Hungarians have been in the wilderness. Well, since Moore and Charlton, we too have been in the wilderness, 44 years and counting

  • Comment number 66.

    Surely you have disected the world cup enough by now?? There appears to be a lot of opinion that Terry is a 'flop'. I think we will see that he has been completely overhyped over the years when Chelsea play this season without Carvalho.

  • Comment number 67.

    Everyone singing the same old song about dropping players and even nameing them. Well everyobody forgets to mention Wayne Rooney, some even stated he was the best player in the world!!! and comparing him to Pele and Maradona; yeah right, he isn't fit to even shine their boots. In the last 2 world cup he has yet to score, but come next week he'll bang in the goals again. It is time to change most of the team; fresh blood and new outlook. They need to stop paying for them to play for England; it should be an honour. Money shouldn't even come into consideration.

  • Comment number 68.

    One of England's biggest problems is they lack a decent quality holding midfield player since Hargreaves effectively retired as well of course as lacking strength in depth all over the field.

    With this player Gerrard and Lampard could play more to the style they do at club level but even they you'd be inclined to think only one of them can play with the abandon that makes them effective so then you'd want someone who can win the ball and then someone with a good passing range. Gareth Barry who became something of a false prophet on the basis of doing very little isn't good enough to fill any of these roles. He's not agressive, mobile or disciplined enough to be a holding midfielder, lacks the ability to spray the ball around (as do all high profile English midfielders aside from Scholes) and doesn't have the creative/goalscoring output to be the attack minded player. Sadly he'll have to do tonight.

    I am shocked Capello hasn't looked to call someone in who can do the dirty work in midfield like Parker or even Muamba who does the job at U21 level and is becoming an established premiership player. Tonight he will waste 90 mins that could be used to road test these player and then inevitably watch us fail to control the midfield in the opening qualifiers.

    Tonight's team 4411
    Hart, Johnson, Dawson, Jagielka, Cole (Gibbs), Milner (Young), Barry, Gerrard (Wilshire), A Johnson, Rooney (Walcott) , Zamora

    Despite calls for Rooney to spearhead the attack alone I feel we'd benefit more from giving Zamora a chance to shine and not falling into the Lampard/Gerrard trap again. With Rio out we also need to road test the back ups so 90 mins for the two centre halves will help.

  • Comment number 69.

    England should destroy the maygars with skilled ability from terry, stevie g and lamps. 6-0 is my prediction

  • Comment number 70.

    61. At 12:13pm on 11 Aug 2010, caveman1987 wrote:
    I'm sick of hearing people going on about Capello. He is a proven top quality manager.Full Stop. Who in that England team is a proven world class international player???


    Why do you assume that people who are critical of Capello are deluded fools who believe that England players are the best in the world? I think a majority of England fans realise that we don't have the right mix of top-qulaity players to be serious contenders at major tournaments. That doesn't make Capello immune from criticism; even with my low expectations I expected more from England in SA than the pile of garbage they produced.

  • Comment number 71.

    Phenomstruck is right all the way.
    Forget about the performance and result against Hungary - it means absolutely nothing win or lose. Even if Wilshire plays a blinder and does nothing!
    Regarding qualification there is no doubt England must qualify every time. No matter who is in charge if you don't qualify you get sacked. Simply as that. Even some players should never play again for their country.
    Its getting it right during the 6 weeks in the summer is the only thing that matters. Its tough at the top - that's why players and managers get paid so much.
    Forget about all this planning for 4 years time, 8 years time. There is only one time, the next time. We all forget while we are praising up all these 'great' youngsters that in Spain, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, France they are under the very same pressures as us. There is no guarantee that Germany with all these kids they have now, will win the Euros next time and the World Cup the time after.
    The only thing that matters is that 2008 and 2010 was the time for Spain. Its no coincidence that 6/7 of their players play also for Barcelona. The players were professional and focussed to win and Del Bosque didn't have to do much as a manager.
    The question for England is what do they need to win Euros 2012.
    There is no doubt Capello will get England qualified for the Euros. However can he win the Euros? - I don't think so - normally if you don't achive first time round, second and third times round are never any better. Winning managers at Euros and World Cup normally win at their first attempt. By the way in the Euro finals you normally don't get the luxury of playing against lower class opposition such as USA and Algeria.
    On the whole looks like 2 years of hype, 'great' senior players that will want to go on forever, like Beckham and 'great' young players that will promise and promise. England needs an experienced manager that will keep whoever the squad is in 2012 a motivated, focussed and professional team for the whole 6 weeks of the tournament. No dependencies on individual so called 'world class' players.

  • Comment number 72.

    You think you guys have problems?! I'm a Scotland fan and it's since the France game we actually had something to cheer about!!

    I think the problems with Scotland and England are similar though.

    In Scotland as everyone knows, Celtic and Rangers are the only two teams who win the SPL. However, they just aren't bringing through enough good youngsters to bolster the international squad, what they do is buy good youngsters from other Scottish teams and play them on the bench behind bigger stars from foreign countries, therefore stifling the growth.

    Chelsea and Liverpool are the culprits of late for not showing any signs of bringing through young talented English youngsters. Man Utd haven't really done anything either since the likes of Becks, Scholes and Neville.

    Arsenal (who have no senior Englishmen) are surprisingly showing the most promise with English youngsters due to Wengers preference to using his own rather than buying in. The likes of Frimpong, Wiltshere, Gibbs, Simpson etc look pretty darn good.

    This is what needs to be done. It's what the Germans have done and it seems to work very well.

  • Comment number 73.

    Having said that, Capello's staying so lets get behind the team and cheer them on tonight rather then jeer !

  • Comment number 74.

    I cant understand why so many think that by promoting the U17 / U19 / U21 more rapidly than ever before we will see a better England.

    These lads (with the odd exception) have been coached in exactly the same way as their seniors and coaching in this country is pitiful.

    Look how Spain recently bossed us in the young uns Euros.They played in the same way as their senior counterparts because its all to do with coaching.

    From the age of 7 we still insist on young lads playing on pitches that are too big and that resemble ploughed fields by mid - November.

    The biggest, strongest lads get picked because they are "results" players. The lads with technique get left behind.

    I know because i coach at U8 level. I thought i could make a difference but unfortunately there are too many "Ron Managers" coaching young uns. Its really disheartening to witness. Ive heard opposition coaches instructing their players to nobble our skilful midfielder! Its laughable.

    We are years away from producing football like the Spanish do. Those that think sticking the U17/19 or 21s in a senior shirt will suddenly make us challengers are deluded.

    We cant build towards 2014 because we'll still have the same problems. We need to be building for 12/16 years down the line which means a complete overhaul from grassroots up.

    Just what is Trevor Brooking doing?

  • Comment number 75.

    The same thing that happened with Walcott is happening Wilshere--national hope at the expense of a young player.

  • Comment number 76.

    John at 65 i agree with most of your points but i watched Liverpool in the 70s and 80s without rose tinted specs and they were not exactly easy on the eye! They benefitted hugely from the back pass rule.

    You want stats? I think we first entered the European Cup as an association in the mid 50s so from then until the PL era (92 onwards) we won 8 ECs across 4 teams, thats 8 in 40 years. In 18 years of the PL we've won 3 and lost 3 finals so we've been to 2 less finals.

    Lets face it English football has always been about the hurly burly. What other nation lauds the "hard man" as much as we do?

    Like i said earlier we are years behind. By the way, in those Golden Years you refer to we failed to qualify for 2 finals, were abysmal at every Euro comp and only won one game as World champions in 70!

  • Comment number 77.

    There is a lot of passion in this blog about football. Great! I am passionate about football too! I just wish the England team shared the passion. For a start they should all stand tall and proud and sing the National Anthem before each match - this would at least make them look as though they were proud to be there. Take the obscene money out of the game and let real footballers play with their hearts.

    I believe only then will you see an improvement.

  • Comment number 78.

    And - put some money into grass roots football at junior level. It just isn't happening and there is some real home grown talent out there just waiting to be spotted!

  • Comment number 79.

    I'm thoroughly confused by Capello's squad for this game. For me the 3 players who most deserved to be dropped were Terry, Barry and Rooney. Whilst I can understand that Rooney will inevitably have a big role to play in England's future, the same cannot be said for Terry and Barry and yet all three are in the squad. Meanwhile the likes of Crouch and Joe Cole are out, having had nothing but short cameo roles in South Africa. Crouch's England record alone surely should have kept him in the squad. To suggest that Carlton Cole is better is a joke. Scott Parker and Tom Huddlestone both seem to have been completely forgotten despite both having strong claims for a place after good showing's last season. Aaron Lennon admittedly wasn't at his best in South Africa, but this was often because he simply wasn't being given the ball with the "elite" constantly choosing just to pass to each other, whilst he was also lacking match practice. Dropping him from the squad entirely seems a little extreme, for such a talented player with at least another decade ahead of him at that level. It's clear that Capello felt under pressure to make changes but didn't really want to, and as such, has decided to keep faith with the golden generation and drop everyone else. It's a bit like telling a child to hoover their room, but as they don't want to do it, they decide just to hoover the walls instead - Mum thinks they're doing the hoovering but in reality nothing useful is being done at all. I was very much in favour of retaining Capello after the World Cup, as I hoped he would be able to learn from it, but this squad has really got me thinking he may be too stubborn to do that.

  • Comment number 80.

    Now then,

    Many thanks for your thoughts so far. It is pretty obvious that there will never be a consensus on what exactly went wrong - players, coach, media, pressure, lack of technique or desire.....there is no shortage of possible options.

    I was talking to a committed England fan at a friend's barbeque the other week. He has followed the team all over the place and went to SA. He said that he wanted to go to the Hungary match so that he could very vocally voice his thoughts on the performance at the World Cup. I got the impression it would be an almost cathartic exercise for him.

  • Comment number 81.

    The World Cup embarrassment is over & the players know they were nowhere near good enough. If people want to protest they should stay at home and not waste their time going to Wembley. This is a chance to move on positively!

    As for Wilshere, Gibbs et al it is great to see these young guns in the squad. Hopefully they get a chance to impress at some point in the game. Although it is frustrating that the likes of Jo Hart were overlooked in SA now they have their chance to cement a 1st team spot. JH should have been no 1 & will be from now on.

    Let's not forget Theo's exclusion from SA either. Although he is yet to really shine he is always a great option & provides pace that England lack. I'm pleased to be an Arsenal fan right now, 3 players in the squad - who would believe it.

  • Comment number 82.

    Like Gerrard I'll hold up my hands and take responsibility for a dire England national side. The reason? Easy - given the choice of watching Bolton (my team) against Fulham or going to the world cup to watch my national team I'd pick Bolton every time. Club football has been and always will be far more important to me than any international match so I can't complain about the state of the national team can I?

  • Comment number 83.

    Trudy at miss the point. Money has got nothing to do with it.

    The Spanish players are paid an absolute fortune by their clubs.

    Money and the lack of skill are not related.

    Not singing the national anthem has nothing to do with it either!

    Anway its not a "national" anthem its a royalist anthem. Im proud to be an Englishman but yould never hear me sing that song.

    Its got nothing to do with passion either. If it was that easy to rectify we'd be world beaters in 4 years.

    The problem is we aint good enough. That is the simple truth.

    The odd Englishman in a PL side can getaway with not being as technically adept as his European/World counterparts but once you stick 11 together you've had it.

    When a PL dream team is picked of players that have been involved over the last 18 years how many would be English? Less than half.
    If you picked a La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga version i bet at lesat 3/4s would Spanis, Italian or German respectively.

    So forget passion, national anthems and obscene money, thats got nothing to do with it and its people with opinions like that that hold us back because it stops us addressing the real issues.
    We need to be honest

  • Comment number 84.

    What a useless and pointless blog. What is the author trying to tell us here? Anything? I could of wrote that in ten minutes. Which is what he probably did. My oh my.

  • Comment number 85.

    'England expects'...

    This type of thing is exactly why England fail so miserably all the time. What the hell is that? It's hardly going to inspire the players is it? It's just going to put more pressure on them!

    It should be something like 'who dares wins'.

  • Comment number 86.

    "England Expects"

    You guys just never learn do you...?

  • Comment number 87.

    Just ensure the english footballers who like their beer and ciggies get them. No problem. They were just having withdrawal symptoms in SA - normal reaction.

    Lee Camp should be the english goalkeeper and nurtured into that role now

  • Comment number 88.

    1. This has been highlighted time and again about how just 56% of the players in the EPL are English.And that, to a huge extent is the problem. The FA's "home-grown" clause is rubbish and it's still not going to change that % much.

    2. Leagues in Spain and Germany (the 2 teams who looked really good) have been setup to help the national team.That means the clubs are in harmony with the FAs of these countries about the development of young kids right through to their 1st teams, and increasing the quantity and quality of coaches oriented at developing players technically from a small age, so keeping the ball almost becomes a second nature to them.

    The pressures of playing football and more importantly winning is just as big in continental Europe (Germany, the whole country always expects a minimum semi final spot in all major tournaments, the same can be said about Spain for the last 3 years). Current crop of English players have had 6-7 years to prove their worth, and they have come up short time and again.

    This has to end at some point, and with a good long term plan at all levels (the only way to improve on field performances in the longer run) would England be counted as a top football playing nation.

  • Comment number 89.

    I saw a young lad the other day, about 17 yrs old with his dad, the lad had a T shirt on that had a number plate on the front - ENG 1966 was the mark. That says it all doesn't it? Old style classic from a former era but beyond repair, nice to own and look at if tarted up but hopeless when used and technically inferior to any modern comparison. Until a month or so ago you would have got two grand scrappage for the lot which would have been a result.

    If the management at the FA were a proper business they would have been sacked by a shareholder revolt long ago or gone skint, what a fiasco, poor team, stupid wages (Capello, FA Management and players) and a masterclass in timing - no sponsors because we'd get more once we won the WC. We all know the media hype it up, stupid songs, 1966 an all that (please no!!!! - can we drop '66!!!!!!) being told how we are going to win the WC and amazingly the FA believed it too.

  • Comment number 90.

    Until we win a major tournament I will never 'Expect'. The most worrying thing about the future of England is the response from Capello excusing the players for their fatigue and lack of stamina. If that is all he gleamed from the summers humiliation then we have no future under his management. I'd rather not get into tournaments than turn up and look like fools.
    I hope we win bit but it's year zero as far as expectations go

  • Comment number 91.

    Im not exactly sure what the nation expects Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibb to do. They are obviosuly ones for the future, but if we expect to produce a good young team like Germany have then it will take years of development, not simply playing two youngsters who dont play week in week out.

    Also every moans about not enough english players in the EPL. Well the players in teh England world cup teaw, were all world class players yet they still didnt perform. Will the next batch of world class yoingsters? Why should they be any different? Lampard = 30 goals for Chelsea and has been Englands most anonymous player in the last 5 years.

  • Comment number 92.

    Sacking Capello is not the answer. Improving the technique of our players and style of play in the PL is the answer. Eng cannot retain possession. It's that simple. We don't have the ball enough so can't dictate play. We lack players who can beat a man in tight areas, particularly in midfield. We lack the cute little triangles the likes of Spain play to get through defences. We see that once in a game in the PL and it's the move of the match! We don't have enough players who can keep the ball under pressure i.e. able to side step a challenge to buy another second or two to pick the next pass. We can defened pretty well generally, but we are not a strong enough force going forward against well organised teams. And most sides are well organised these days. Algeria made Eng look very poor and they had the ball much than we did.
    Technique starts at grass roots, with kids being comfortable in possession. Little kids need to have the confidence to do their stuff but we give priority to bigger kids who are strong and fast. The smaller kids (future Xavis & Iniestas) are bulldozed by the bigger kids. That is English football all over. Big guys up front who can beat players for pace and big guys in defence to try and stop them. How did Heskey get to play top flight football as a striker when he has absolutely no subtlty in front of goal? Because he is a battering ram. Look at the leagues below the PL. The quality and style of football is often dreadful. Some teams try and play football but there is still a lot of aerial guff. Even the mid to lower end of the PL offers some pretty dire quality.
    Almost all our most celebrated, skillful players in the PL era are foreign e.g. Zola, Bergkamp, Cantona, Henry. Great players with great technique. I would say Giggs has great technique and Le Tissier was a genius, but how many caps was Le Tiss given? We need to breed a new type of player. Strong and fast is not enough. It goes a long way domestically, but in international football, where the slightest contact results in a foul, we need cute skills, tight technique and clever players. We need to play closer together. Eng's midfield is often miles apart. We play side ways balls becuase we can't beat a man in central areas. Relying on out manoeuvering the opposition by movement is all well and good but agsint the really well organised sides, that just isn't enough. Guile and skill is what makes the difference at the highest level. Being able to keep the ball is just fundemental but we don't even have the players who can do that. Tactics (Capello) is one thing but technique (the players, Capello's tools) is all important.

  • Comment number 93.

    Paul - you say it's hard to establish where the blame for this 'failure' lies, but is it a failure?

    We're ranked 7th in the world, between Uruguay and Portugal, so our regular quarter-final appearances would seem just about right. We performed badly, so got knocked out in the second round. I'd say that's par for the course, given our ranking and that we underformed. You wouldn't expect a 7th seed in poor form to win Wimbledon, would you?

    You also say: "After failing to qualify for Euro 2008 under Steve McClaren and suffering elimination at the quarter-final stage of the three previous major finals under Sven-Goran Eriksson, supporters could be forgiven for wondering if their country will ever seriously threaten to win an international tournament again. "

    Apart from in 1966, and for about an hour in 1990, when have we seriously threatened to win at a major tournament?

    1966 is the exception to the rule, and the sooner everybody accepts that the better.

    And please don't anyone call me negative - I'm not, I'm realistic. I'd love as much as anyone to win the World Cup, but to do so with this current crop of players we'd have to everyone at the top of their games and hope all the other teams had a poor tournament - it would be a huge upset, akin to Everton winning the Premier League.

    We aren't bad at football, but we're not as good as a lot of other teams, therefore we're unlikely to win major honours on a regular basis. Is there any shame in that?

  • Comment number 94.

    Lots of good comments. I'd like to note a couple of things about the last time we won something, 1966.

    In that team, we had three players who were technically of the highest level, all time, in Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Gordan Banks. They were good enough to play for any team in any period.

    We also had a defined team. Everyone knew what Alf Ramsey's 'first choice' team was. He made few changes, they learned to play together and gelled as a team. (I accept that in the end, the reluctance to change probably brought a decline, but that's another topic).

    Beyond Charlton, Moore and Banks and perhaps two or three other who were clear choices. Ramsey picked players to make a balanced team with a balanced formation.
    Nobby Stiles might not have been England's best defensive mid-field player, but his presence allowed Bobby Charlton the scope to be the game winner he was. The same went for several others.

    Anyone played out of position, was in a position he could comfortably fill, not picked because everyone felt his name should be on the team sheet. The team fit together like a jig-saw puzzle. It has to be like that at international level, because the players are not together long enough to improvise a system.

  • Comment number 95.

    You need to change the England supporters you know, i dont accept this booing thoery as anything other than ignorant, the team didnt perform well at the world cup, but travelling 5-6thousand miles spending thousands of pounds to watch your team perform badly and then boo them? Unless your intent on making yourself even more miserable. So capello has dropped most of the people who failed to make an impact, and who we dont really care arent in the sqaud, and is looking to the future. Booing the team against Hungary, i fail to see the point, again youve paid your money for the ticket, gone through the hassle of getting there and back, what a waste of time. I hope the people who do go tonight are unaware of how steep the steps are at the new wembley stadium.

  • Comment number 96.

    It's a nice sop to throw out (playing some new faces) but at the end of the day, it's window dressing. The problems lie not in individual players, but in the system that has uniformly failed to prepare them to compete at the highest levels effectively.

    The problems lie in the fractured relationship of the bodies responsible to build the team. When the body that has executive control doesn't have the means, and the body that has the means has no executive control...results hardly surprise.

    The problems lie in supporters who pigeon hole everything into "helps my club," "hurts my club," "not worth worrying about" categories without regard to the possible consequences to that club, never mind the trickle down effect into things like the national team, and youth development.

    Hey, if club tops all, that is your choice, but the unseemly whinging about the logical consequences of that choice doesn't really hold much water does it?

  • Comment number 97.

    In 2010, after England's ignominious World Cup exit, the authorities promised to look into this, to give the national side greater priority, to encourage young English players, to improve the coaching, to reform the system........

    ....which was a bit of a time-warp, because....

    In 1973, after England's ignominious World Cup exit, the authorities promised to look into this, to give the national side greater priority, to encourage young English players, to improve the coaching, to reform the system........

    ......methinks we've heard all this waffle before, and nothing will really change......yawn.....

  • Comment number 98.


    in the pic, on the left ;o)

    Seperate to that, i reckon out with old, forget about tryin to win the euro's get all the youngsters trained up for Brazil 2014.....ill be there too, in my suit! ;o)


  • Comment number 99.

    I've got the impression that there will be a lot booing tonight as people are obviously still red raw and angry from the abject World Cup display..I just hope the young lads like Wilshere, Gibbs, Adam Johnson and Joe Hart escape the vitriol and get some encouragement - as they haven't done anything to deserve criticism. We don't want more bottlers and sulkers 'retiring' early now do we? didn't say if you would be booing or indeed if you thought it was necessary - no shame in admitting it if you do as even the England Captain said it was okay?

  • Comment number 100.

    I've not read all the comments on this blog (there've already been countless previous ones along the same lines), so apologies in advance if this has ben touched upon already.

    Has anyone considered that Fabio Capello picks certain players (repeatedly) because he's told to? I mean in terms of ''image rights''. Footballers are used to sell many products; beer, after shave, sports companies, etc etc. For this to be most effective, they would have to be household names. Product companies would want Lampard, Gerrard, Terry et al to be the face on their adverts, as opposed to (say) Huddlestone, A. Johnson, Dawson etc. This being the case, how much pressure do they put on the FA to have these players playing? This in turn filters down to Capello; the FA is his ''boss'', after all. If my manager told me to do a job in a certain way, and I argue that I could do it better in an alternative way, he's quite likely to say ''I hear what you're saying, but we'll do it the way I want it done.'' And I'd have to go along with it.

    Two points at the end of this; firstly, I'm just playing devil's advocate here - I'm no fan of Fabio Capello by any stretch, and am firmly in the ''replace him'' camp - I'm just putting this across as an alternative viewpoint. Secondly, all the above is pure supposition on my part, based solely on a thought I had earlier.

    Finally, good luck to England tonight - whoever ends up playing.


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