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Youngsters give heart to old guard

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Phil McNulty | 19:24 UK time, Thursday, 1 September 2011


Storm clouds were banking up on the hills behind the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia - but Fabio Capello adopted a brighter outlook as England trained ahead of Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier in Bulgaria.

Manchester United's Chris Smalling drew noises of appreciation from his England colleagues for a flamboyant piece of footwork, while Old Trafford team-mate Phil Jones was barking out orders in a manner that belied his 19 years.

Capello spent Thursday giving serious consideration to playing both of Sir Alex Ferguson's young pair against Bulgaria as England seek to establish a firm foundation to take them towards Poland and the Ukraine next summer, although Bolton's Gary Cahill may yet gain consolation for missing out on a move to either Spurs or Arsenal by winning a fourth cap.


England's visit here has hardly grabbed the undivided attention of Sofia's population. Only 15,000 are expected to file into a stadium with a capacity of nearly 44,000, but the new young talent emerging into Capello's ranks has captured the imagination of 4,000 visiting supporters expected to file into the Bulgarian capital.

Smalling and Jones (second and third from left) helped a youthful Manchester United side win the Community Shield. Photo: Getty

Tickets have been available for purchase at local petrol stations but there has been a shortage of takers as England face a Bulgaria team in reduced circumstances, with former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus continuing to prove players can struggle to take their greatness into coaching, while Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov is now part of his national team's past.

Capello's future is limited to the conclusion of Euro 2012, but he is at least seeing the discovery of precious raw materials in the shape of Smalling and Jones, as well the brilliant but absent Jack Wilshere of Arsenal. United's Tom Cleverley could also make his debut in the next two games, while team-mate Danny Welbeck would also have been included were it not for his injury.

Smalling and Jones have impressed coaches and colleagues alike since joing England’s squad this week. Smalling was used as right-back in training and Jones has been captain John Terry’s defensive partner in two behind-closed doors sessions, but the Italian may decide using both in such a vital match runs too much of a risk.


Terry makes no secret of his admiration for Jones, having been alerted to his potential when he made his Blackburn debut against Chelsea in March last year - revealing an immediate desire among his colleagues to see Jones eventually arrive at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United won the battle for his signature in a £16m deal in the summer, but Terry's respect for Jones has only increased after working with him at close quarters with England.

He said: "He's really impressed me. He made his debut for Blackburn Rovers against us against Didier Drogba. He was outstanding. The lads were talking after the game and were eager for Chelsea to go and sign him even back then. He went on to play a lot more games and establish himself.

"He's very quick. He's good in the air, very comfortable on the ball left and right foot. I've had the opportunity to play with him in training a couple of times and he reads it very well. He's got all the attributes he needs to be a very good England player I'm sure.

"From what I've seen of him, even playing at Manchester United for such a short time, he looks like he's come on in leaps and bounds from where he was last year. He's the one that really sticks out in our position and he's one I'm looking over my shoulder at because clearly he wants a place in the England side whether that is at the expense of myself or somebody else. He's very hungry for that."

And Capello, not known for dispensing praise without lengthy consideration, turned his attention to Smalling, who has impressed at right-back and could take advantage of the absence of injured Glen Johnson.

He said: "Smalling he really surprised me when he played against Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley. The first 30 minutes was so-so but after that improved, improved, improved, improved.

"Smalling has played really well, really good and with a lot of confidence. He can play for England."

The exposed old Sofia stadium is not the hostile bowl of days gone by, but England will still face a test and Capello knows defeat will make his and his team's life highly uncomfortable.

And yet the young bloods, led by Jones, Smalling and Wilshere, put Terry and Capello at their ease as they spoke in a Sofia Hotel on Thursday night.

As England trained, a group of youngsters were inside and outside the stadium wearing Manchester United shirts, no doubt in honour of Berbatov. The words of Capello and Terry suggest they may have new Old Trafford heroes to celebrate when memories of their revered fellow countryman fade.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Capello has got to man up and drop Terry, he is an appalling man and footballer. Lets just experiment with youth, ahead of tried and tested failures, such as Terry and Lampard. Jones to play centre back with Cahill, build a youthful, enthusiastic platform from the back leading up to the Euro's. A youthful team will go in with no added pressure that usually comes with England at major tournaments, although there will naturally be some hype generated by our media. Look at what Man United have done, Ferguson gambled on Welbeck, Cleverley, Jones etc and look at the resulsts he is experiencing. Jones is a future United and England captain and needs big games at big tournaments now. Capello must pick him and Smalling, with Cahill. Aslo I know he is not that young but surely Joey Barton deserves an England call up, nobody else can cross it like him and he brings out the best in a certain Andy Carrol, who is redundant at Liverpool as he has nobody with the set piece prowess of Barton. Barton over Barry and Lampard any day of the week. Lampard and Barry are wet blankets, too afraid to speak the truth, Barton would bring a bit of passion and fire to the dressing room and team, which we so sorely missed at the world cup.

  • Comment number 2.

    Same group of players (minus Wilshere [injury prone] and Carroll [who is a fat 1 season wonder]) couldn't even get out of the group stages in the Under 21s last Summer. So they ain't that good!

    They lost to the Czech Republic U21s!!!

  • Comment number 3.

    I would like to add my agreement with jeansey123 in that terry has been one of the worst captains this country has ever had. Completely disingenuous in everything he says, him and `fat Frank` are the past. I have always despised Terry and he has only been captain because of the media bigotry against Ferdinand. They all love Man Utd players when they are wanted by a failing England, but they will soon be back to their biased anti United ways as soon as the Euros are over.

  • Comment number 4.

    Phil Jones is just horrible. A really horrible player with an arrogant streak. He'll be caught out soon in a United game when he loses the ball on one of his pointless runs.

    Smalling looks a great prospect.

    Cleverly looks decent, but there is absolutely nothing special about him.

  • Comment number 5.

    Its an age old question do you go with youth or experience? and when do you make the changes? Its only been a year and a bit since Englands no show in SA when Capello went down the experience route and it failed badly and with hindsight it appears clear that there wasn't enough youth in that side. But was there even youth available at the time? maybe 1 or 2 were unlucky, but it seems now is very much the time the new generation is coming through and they all need to be given a chance and i hope its the older players in the squad who really have to fight for there place. They say staying at the top is harder than getting there. This hasn't been true in the England camp for a long time, lets hope that period is over.

  • Comment number 6.

    Jones got skinned a couple of times against Arsenal, was saved by de Gea both times. Smalling is a poor man's Rio. He got embarrassed by Carlton Cole last year. Cleverly is nothing special. Walker is weak defensively. Welbeck will never be prolific.

    Compare these kids to the likes of Alcantara, Busquets, Martinez etc. and we'll still be miles behind Spain!

  • Comment number 7.

    The fact is this: WE ARE NOT GOING TO WIN EURO 2012

    Do the youth of today have a better chance of winning Euro 2016 then the current squad do of winning Euro 2012: Definitely.

    I think Capello needs to stop playing the old guys and just build a team of youngsters that can compete in the future. Out go Lampard, Gerrard, Terry etc, the players that were never good enough to win us some stuff, but somehow are the world beaters at club level.

    In come players like Jones, Wilshere, Lansbury, Oxocube and Delfouneso, to name a few, and England can build a good side.

    In short: Give up on winning trophies in the forseeable future, and build the foundations for a new, trophy winning team.

  • Comment number 8.

    to number 6...Smalling a poor mans Rio? Not bad after just one season at United. Rio has been one of the best centre backs in the world for many years.

  • Comment number 9.

    Of course we're miles behind Spain.

    This is England.

    The national team is the most depressing thing about the game. There is nothing to be positive about. We're a team full of stale failures. Bordering on has-beens. The prospects don't look great either. Lampard will be 34 next summer and there's a realistic chance he'll be playing in the Euros. We must have somebody better.

    Gareth Barry is one of the most horrendous players to have ever played for England on a regular basis, and there has been some utter bilge to wear the three lions.

    Wayne Rooney does not reproduce his United form for England and to be fair, who can blame him when he's playing with vastly inferior players.

    Gerrard has been out for six months and there remains question marks over every other attacking player. One who looks like he could be a player, Adam Johnson, is having his career stunted by being stock-piled at City.

    The whole thing is so grim. It's take a whole weekend out of the football season, which is what we actually want to watch, not this failed repeat of an experiment that Capello does not seem to be able to grasp the results of.

    Let's get one thing straight, we have been utterly dismal under Capello. He has not done anything positive for this national team going into the future. He's actually changed nothing. He seems a wretched man manager, weak on selection and tactically backwards. A great manager he once was but he is no good to England.

    I've no doubt that the next manager whether that be Hodgson or Redknapp, will be equally as ineffective.

    International football used to be the height of the game. The very pinnacle. Now it's an irritating sideshow, well marginalised by the fact it isn't very entertaining and sporns only negativity, and delusional hype. England will probably make Euro 2012, but Lord when we get there, we will be so unbelievably disappointing. Come to think of it, the expectations are likely to be so low, that I doubt we could even be disappointing.


  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    The peformances of these players against players of the same age from different countries in Under 21 tournaments and the like, quite clearly show that even this lot will not come close to making an impact on the international stage proper.

    Its about time this country realised that if these players were of a high ilk, then the Titans of Europe would be picking them up, or at least expressing interest - Ozil to Real Madrid is a fine example. The fact that these clubs dont show any interest just highlights the sheer lack of technical ability that English players have compared to other nations across the globe.

    On the plus side, they will probably make more money than the rest in the overpriced Premier League, but as for international success - Forget it.

  • Comment number 12.

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

  • Comment number 13.

    There is no cause for optimism for England. Zero.

    The reason? The English public, press and fans have no idea of their nations importance. Suggestions of optimism always relate to destroying everyone else and winning a trophy; optimism to others countries (with far more international pedigree) might relate to having a good run in a competition, playing positive football or exceeding the standards set in recent tournaments.

    England have never looked even close to winning a major international tournament since they won one over 40 years ago. Yet every time an english player or two have one or two decent games theres talk of how they're going to almost single handedly make the difference against every other team.

    It's interesting that in the run up to every tournament the Dutch fans and press hope that the team will play their own brand of football and get as far in the tournament as their capabilities allow. The German media and fans generally expect their team to perform very poorly usually not expecting much beyond the last 16 or Quarters. Yet England fans always expect their team to simply beat everyone and anything short of that is considered abject failure; despite their pedigree being considerably worse than the Germans and the Dutch.

    It's all about attitude. The attitude of the country needs to change, which isn't going to happen, meaning that so much pressure is going to be shovelled onto inexperienced players at such a young age that everything will turn out the way it always does. Blind optimism for 2 years then the first game of the tournament begins and we realise that there are actually other countries in the world who have better players, better managers, better facilities, better attitudes annd who are simply better prepared mentally and physically to play for their country. Instead of trying to improve all of those things in the two years running up to a tournament, England will say it's ok we've got Phil Jones he'll make all the difference; just like Rooney before him, Owen before him, Shearer before him, Gascoigne before him etc etc. Yet none of them did make a big enough difference. Banking on one, two or even three individuals doesn't work, never has done and never will.

    If the optimism you are referring to Phil is in relation to England perhaps being optimistic and aiming for a Quarter Final and a good performace or two at the Euro's then that's spot on, if it's any more than that, have the last 45 years taught us nothing?

  • Comment number 14.

    Um searso, which foreign clubs could afford a youngster from a top ten prem club? Spain are financially screwes and the last english based player to go to spain was kevin prince boateng to brescia then loaned to ac milan? Poor euro countrie habe no money. I wil agree however once there, bar utd, we dont have the ability to TRAIN winners

  • Comment number 15.

    I think Fabio should mix both young talent with experience players just like how Germany did for the World cup 2011. With the likes of Muller and Ozil came up through to the national team after playing in the euro under 21 competition a year before and look how well they have done. Germany certainly have a talented team and they were unlucky losing in both euro 2008 and world cup 2011 to Spain. i will back Germany to win the euro 2012 as i do not think lighting will strike three times. As for our England team, Fabio needs to sort out the team before the competition to stand any chance of beating Germany or Spain to win euro 2012

  • Comment number 16.

    Davewalnut7m do u only read the sun? Cause thats where it comes from. Broaden ur horizons

  • Comment number 17.

    Kopkimg spot on. We have the talent, look at what is coming thru at anfield. We just need to make a team out of it

  • Comment number 18.


    Sahin went for 10 Million Euros
    Ozil went for 15 Million Euros

    Why are English youngsters, who are not as good, so overpriced? Im referring mainly to the likes of Jones, Henderson, not Carroll to Liverpool, as that was just a total embarassment.

  • Comment number 19.

    I very much hope that the likes of Lampard, Barry and co don't get near the England team. We've got some good players coming through at the moment, Joe Hart has made the number 1 jersey his (admittedly from a seeming lack of competition), Jones' and Smalling's emergence has been terrific (yes, I'm a United fan). Wilshire has shown that he deserves to be in the England side but it's the rest of the midfield which worries me some. Young's form for United and England should definitely mean he starts but who else? Johnson probably won't get the game time he needs this year at MCFC so will he play for England? I can't remember the last time Gerrard played a game. Parker will hopefully play but who knows? Milner's done an alright job for England but he looks far too sluggish for pace. Lampard is 33 and has never really produced for England, and just don't get me started on Barry. When you compare our midfield to those of Spain, Holland etc is it any wonder we haven't challenged for trophies?

  • Comment number 20.

    At 00:01 2nd Sep 2011, General_Searso wrote:
    Its about time this country realised that if these players were of a high ilk, then the Titans of Europe would be picking them up, or at least expressing interest


    Players in question mentioned in this article: Jones, Smalling, Wilshere, Welbeck and Cleverley.

    I agree, lets hope a big club like Manchester United or Arsenal picks them up. Oh wait...

  • Comment number 21.

    At 00:01 2nd Sep 2011, General_Searso wrote:
    Its about time this country realised that if these players were of a high ilk, then the Titans of Europe would be picking them up, or at least expressing interest


    Players in question mentioned in this article: Jones, Smalling, Wilshere, Welbeck and Cleverley.

    I agree, lets hope a big club like Manchester United or Arsenal picks them up. Oh wait...


    Lets look at the "Golden Generation" of English Talent

    J. Cole

    Not one of these "world class" players has ever come close to being brought by anyone outside of England.


  • Comment number 22.

    Look, this will likely be our team for 2016, bar the arrival of some epic youngsters (which will probably happen).





    That looks decent enough to get to a few semi finals, to be honest. And that team is based off the top of my head, there'll be lots more competition. Rooney will be 31, so might not be there.

    But spain have better players :) Anyone heard of Iker Muniain, search him on youtube, he looks terrifying.

  • Comment number 23.

    @1 & 3. Standard reactions there, I agree that Lampard is beyond his best (and his best has never been good enough let's be honest) and should be dropped from the England team, but Terry is still a class player, and is a class England captain. You need a leader on the pitch, and Jones and Cahill aren't that. As for media bigotry of Ferdinand? Yeah, right... Cos Terry is portrayed as a saint by the media, and the media must have just thought up the derogatory stories about Rio. CB partnership should be Cahill and Terry, with Jones on the bench for the future starting line up in a couple of years to replace Terry. Cleverly is nothing special and Smalling looks like a useful player to be CB and RB.

  • Comment number 24.

    Ok set urself general u may not believe this but where did both players go? The mighty, real. If utd had put a 40mill bid for ozil then he still would have wanted to go to real, so it wouldnt have mattered. The FACT is foriegn clubs dont sign young english players because bar the spanish govt (real) and moratti there IS NOMONEY. I would love english youngsters to go abroad but 10k week in england or 2k in spain (and not knowing if u will get paid) or 2k in itlay and loaned out to 15 clubs as its the most corrupt league in the world (ask anyone who aint a juve fan or better is a torino fan) doesnt compare. At all. Howeber the general coaching setup in both countries i will admit is far superior to england

  • Comment number 25.


    Nope, never read the sun. I do, however, read both Dutch and German press.

    Perhaps it's just a case of the negative view being the most accurate one.

  • Comment number 26.

    In fairness, the likes of Terry, Ferdinand, Gerrard and Rooney could all have played for a major team abroad. Ferdinand and Rooney both got snapped up by Manchester United who you can't deny are among the biggest clubs in Europe, whilst Terry and Gerrard have played their whole careers at the clubs that they came through as a youngster.

  • Comment number 27.

    And why has no-one bought the english stars? Simple really, because we won't learn foreign languages, it's a fact. In france, Germany etc they all learn english and others from a young age, but can you imagine Rooney speaking French?

  • Comment number 28.

    At 00:20 2nd Sep 2011, General_Searso wrote:
    Not one of these "world class" players has ever come close to being brought by anyone outside of England.



    They were already playing at a very high level, at some of the biggest clubs in one of the best leagues in the world. They're not like Brazilian players who have to leave the country to test themselves at the highest club level.

    It's true not many English players leave the English game, but do you really think it's because they're not wanted? If any of those players (bar Joe Cole maybe) at their peak were available on a free and were desperate to leave England do think Real Madrid or Barcelona wouldn't be interested?

    You could make the same argument for players in other leagues too. Why haven't Xavi or Puyol left Spain? Why doesn't Schweinsteiger leave Germany? The fact they play for more successful nations is irrelevant in my opinion.

  • Comment number 29.

    At 00:25 2nd Sep 2011, DaveWalnut wrote:


    Nope, never read the sun. I do, however, read both Dutch and German press.

    Perhaps it's just a case of the negative view being the most accurate one.


    I always find the German press remarkably pessimistic about their chances at any tournament - the team seems to have perfected the art of underpromising and overdelivering - an attitude that England could certainly benefit from.

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm sorry but I don't agree with Jeanesy123. If you are calling Terry an appalling man, then what about Barton, potentially the worst behaved English footballer. The man has been sent to jail, and has had fights with numerous team-mates. Every time you play Barton you run the risk of him getting sent off.

    Furthermore you say: "Andy Carrol, who is redundant at Liverpool as he has nobody with the set piece prowess of Barton". What about Charlie Adam? Does he not have enough set piece prowess for you...

    I'd like to see Smalling playing on the right, with Terry and Jones as centre-backs. Terry will give that bit of experience that is needed when playing Jones in my opinion

  • Comment number 31.


    I sincerely believe its because they are not wanted. Whilst you highlight the key players from Spain not leaving at the moment from Barca- that is entirely logical, afterall they are Barcelona youth players, and have never moved clubs.

    But as you are aware, key players from other international sides, do move around Europe - Think Klinnsmann, Matthaus, Ziege, Overmars, RVN, Kluivert, Bergkamp, Stam, Most of the French 98 and 00 squad, vast numbers of Italians over the years.

    The fact is that these players are in demand, and have been for decades - whilst the Premier League can currently use the money excuse as the reason for retaining talent, this is certainly not true for the last 40 years, where England has exported scant talent, and that which has gone, has invaribly failed.

    The reason for this, is that generally, man for man, English players are significantly poorer, and cannot culturally assimilate as well as other global players.

  • Comment number 32.

    "22. At 00:24 2nd Sep 2011, SamuraisShadow wrote:
    Look, this will likely be our team for 2016, bar the arrival of some epic youngsters (which will probably happen).





    That looks decent enough to get to a few semi finals, to be honest. And that team is based off the top of my head, there'll be lots more competition. Rooney will be 31, so might not be there.

    But spain have better players :) Anyone heard of Iker Muniain, search him on youtube, he looks terrifying."


    Kind of agree with this, but Walker looks far better than Naughton. Walcott through the middle should definitely be tried, if not by Capello then by Wenger. Interesting that you choose to leave out players such as Young, A. Johnson, Welbeck, and Sturridge. Also interesting that you (and most other people to be fair) suggest 4-4-2 when what worked for England most recently was 4-3-3. Don't agree with the youtube diagnosis though, I mean youtube could make anyone look good at football. Well ok, nearly anyone.

  • Comment number 33.

    At 00:27 2nd Sep 2011, SamuraisShadow wrote:

    And why has no-one bought the english stars? Simple really, because we won't learn foreign languages, it's a fact. In france, Germany etc they all learn english and others from a young age, but can you imagine Rooney speaking French?


    An excellent point. Other European clubs know that the majority of English players would make no real attempt to learn the local language and would expect everyone to speak English with them.

  • Comment number 34.

    What I don't agree with is that team would make the semis regularly. It's far too soon to tell what the future holds for many of these players' development. Sorry for the double post as well.

  • Comment number 35.

    Seeing as the Germany Team in 2016 will be more or less the same, but with some players reaching the peak of their powers, and seeing as we saw last time just how far behind England is in player development, i think England should look at a Semi-final berth as a massive over achievement, and a bigger one than the semi final berth in 1990.

  • Comment number 36.

    At 00:35 2nd Sep 2011, General_Searso wrote:

    The reason for this, is that generally, man for man, English players are significantly poorer, and cannot culturally assimilate as well as other global players.


    Can't argue with that man. But for me there are good players and the big clubs do want them (going back to the original point) and I don't think culture or talent is an issue for these ones. But there is also a well documented lack of talent in general compared to other nations, no doubt. Hopefully the recent disasters at international level for England will help get things changing.

    I'm off anyway, nice arguing with you.

  • Comment number 37.

    Before people talk about a run of semi finals in the near future; remember that England have only ever reached 3 semi finals of major competitions, and 2 of those were in England.

    One semi final in the next 20 years will be a realistic and consistent achievement for England in my opinion.

  • Comment number 38.

    SamuraisShadow & DaveWalnut
    So a European club won't buy an English player becasue they don't think they'll bother learning the local language?! There are plenty who did, Joe Jordan, Ray Wilkins. The real reasons are probably more to do with the players not wanting to take a pay cut, probably being overlooked for their national team, and the player just not wanting to move.

    Good article Phil, apart from all the "filing in" by fans.

  • Comment number 39.

    22 Walcott upfront?!?! Are you having a joke? The only reason the press haven't hounded him out of Arsenal a la Denilson, Bendtner et al is because he's English. Only good on the counter attack on the wing. Playing striker, never.

  • Comment number 40.

    i cant say im surprised by the over zealous negativity i see regarding the England national team and their future prospects..
    In this country, everyone loves to be a cynic and it seems like most people seem to take some perverse pleasure in writing ourselves off and being generally miserable and defeatist about the whole thing.

    Tim Henman in the tennis was the archaetypal British loser and the public would love building him up and lambast him for being a choker and saying that he was never good enuf blah blah blah.. For me, he was a good player who out of the world population of over 6 billion managed to rank 4th at one point..He was hardly a terrible player!

    In cricket, watching England number 1 test side has only coincided with reports of how awful the rest of the cricketing nations have become.

    The whole world now loves and plays football. England are still only one of a handful of nations to have ever won the darn World Cup and we should be grateful for what we have achieved. In recent years, this is the tourney record.

    96...Semis. Great tournament.
    98...Played well, 10 man fought galantly against Argentina, disallowed Campbell goal..only lost on pens
    00..Poor..out in group stages...Keegan was worst England manager of all time
    02..Beat much fancied Argentina..reached quarters and succumbed to flukey Ronaldinho goal
    04... Looked like one of best teams there...only lost on pens
    06... Only lost on pens again
    08... Were poor not to qualify
    10..Good qualification..played nervously in group..Lampard goal that never was could have changed things...Germany scored 3+4 with England throwing themselves forward to get bk into it.

    Yes, England could have done better but its only been a disaster in relation to extremely high expectation..If Greece can win Euro 2004, then England can potentially win any tournament going!!

    The new fad is for eeveryone to copy spain/barecelona..I remember in 2000, there were so many reports saying how England should replicate the great French academies that were producing World Class talent..Well look at France now! People in football are so fickle!

    Come on England, believe in urselves,,uve got as much chance as anyone else out there!

  • Comment number 41.

    I think if our country ever wants to win anything at International level, the FA should start working on some form of central contracts for key England players.

    Massive step but it could pay off.

    And at least England would stop playing like they've never met each other before.

  • Comment number 42.

    Triple post time (Unless someone butts in)! For me the reason why the best english players - the Gerrards, the Lampards, the Rooneys etc. - don't move is because they already play for big European clubs. Schweinsteiger, one of the best midfielders in the world for example, is unlikely to ever leave Bayern Munich because they are a huge european club and because he has a long term association with the club. In the same way the best english players are unlikely to leave abroad because they already play for huge clubs in europe and feel that they are going to be able to achieve what they want there. As such, unless there is a fall out at the club a big name player is unlikely to move away, English or not. When was the last time a REALLY huge player of any nationality moved from one european giant to another? Ronaldo? Sneijder? Why move when you are happy, winning trophies, and making money where you are?

  • Comment number 43.

    The England team in 2016 will be:


    Walker - Tomkins - Cahill - Bertrand

    Wilshere - Jones - Barkley

    Sadlier - Lee - Rooney

  • Comment number 44.

    "When was the last time a REALLY huge player of any nationality moved from one european giant to another?"

    In the last 20 years, countless.

  • Comment number 45.


    So England only have a worse record than Germany, Brazil, France, Holland, Argentina, Spain and Italy because they're unlucky?

    Everyone nation has a bad tournament now and again. The difference between England and every other footballing nation is that when others have a bad tournament they go back home and have an investigation and overhaul of the whole international scene. The FA say they'll change stuff but never, ever, ever do.

  • Comment number 46.

    I still believe the English National team is overrated. All their players are a lil bit above average or meerly just average.

    The Man U trio are good upcoming guys but cant be compared to the established stars of the golden generation which couldnt cut it with the big boys.

    Can u actually compare these players with what the Germans are producing - Ozil, Gotze, Bender, Schurle but to mention a few or the Spaniards - Thiago, Pedro, Borjan, Busquests talkless of the Argentines and the Brazilians.

    Gimme a break.

  • Comment number 47.

    thanks dave, u mention 7 countries there with better records than England..Out of nearly 200 countries in the world, I dont think its much of a disgrace that these countries have done better...

    Right now, i definitely wouldnt fancy Italy or France over England..
    Regarding Spain, until very recently, they were the perennial underachievers with a vastly worse record than England..Who knows what tomorrow brings..

    Regarding England's recent record..its a shame that Lampard and Gerrard could never bring the best out of each other..What i thought was the biggest crime was that so many ppl including Capello were convinced that a hugely mediocre player like Gareth Barry was the player who could hold it all together in the middle of the park..astonishingly bad judgement in my opinion..

    As long as England have a nucleus of players who are top players at top clubs, I see no reason why we cant be successful. I do believe though that it would take the right kind of manager to create this success. Capello is not that man and should have been sacked after the world cup.

    Still, I dont see the harm in remaining an optimist...It doesnt hurt any more when losing if you are hopeful to begin with...losing is losing..i just wish we wouldnt have such a defeatist attitude with constantly sharpened knives towards anyone involved with the squad...Gary Neville was right about England being a waste of the sense that it is a thankless task being an England player..

  • Comment number 48.

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

  • Comment number 49.

    I personally think it's quite exciting that Englands future could largely depend on one or two top teams, you have they advantage of them playing together week in week out.

    With regards to English players going abroad, I completely agree and it is a cultural thing. In other European countries and even in South America, English is taught at a young age making most players bi-lingual, in our country a foriegn language only starts to be taught into secondary school and by then it's probably too late for the less academically inclined.

  • Comment number 50.

    Firstly, as Gary Neville said, and it's something when I'm backing him up, why would you want to play for your country when you've got some of the vilest characters, like who've already commented on this blog, claiming to be supporting their national team while at the same time shouting the most disgusting abuse at their own players because the players play for rival clubs? The most depressing thing is, some of these people are "adults". Proud to be English? Proud of the good things about our country, but it's an embarrassing question to have to answer when these meatheads are so prevalent. David Cameron, "Come on Down...You know those riots we had the other week?.....You could do worse than administer a bit of zero tolerance to some of our support. A lot of our society's problems would be solved in one sweep."

    Getting back to the football, I think Fabio Capello has been a huge let down. I had a lot of faith in him, but after a good beginning, it appears to have gone pear-shaped. With his contract finishing next year, I can't help feeling he's going through the motions, and like Eriksson before him, he is letting the media save him a lot of time and work by choosing his squads for him. I've got no complaints about the selection of Jones, Smalling, Cleverley, Young, A. Johnson, etc, but we aren't we paying the England manager because we thought he was to be able to see through club smokescreens, and identify talent regardless of who a player played for? For example, Ashley Young is now flavour of the month, but is he really a different player from the one that was at Villa only a few months ago?

    I saw the U-21s last night and was pleasantly surprised by who we were able to play, despite injuries and graduation to the senior team. My concern is with the coaching side of things. While we must make sure we keep on board the too rare commitment to England of people like Stuart Pearce, with the departure of Capello next year, Stuart will be working with whoever the new English manager will be. I'm looking at the PL and counting the English coaches. 5 1/2! There's been a lot of talk about the dearth of young English players, but it seems to me we're overlooking the coaching side of things.When Cleverley et al walk out onto the pitch in an England shirt, it won't be after a talk from Ferguson.

  • Comment number 51.

    At 00:24 2nd Sep 2011, SamuraisShadow

    Finally! Someone who's heard of Iker Munian. Looks an absolute CLASS player. Only 18, or 19 can't remember, he's gonna be ace!

    Oh and I agree that its a good thing that so many of englands future team plays together. Hopefully by 2014 they will know each other well enough to reach the semis. Example, Barca players grew up with each other which means that they are better than an expensively assembled Real Madrid. A lot of 'fans' forget that team chemistry has a huge effect on team performance. If the current Dortmund team stay together for a few years (though Sahins gone) they could rival Barca in my opinion. Luckily for England, the same could be said about Man Utd ;)

  • Comment number 52.

    It's no surprise that Cleverley and Jones get their first call ups almost immediately after they appear in the United first team. I'm sure if Titus Bramble was signed by United, Capello would turn to him simply on the basis of who he plays for. Cleverley played okay for Wigan last year, and nobody seemed to take notice, because he wasn't breathtaking by any means. However, after a couple of decent games for United, he's suddenly the answer to our midfield problems? Give me a break.

  • Comment number 53.

    "Let's get one thing straight, we have been utterly dismal under Capello. He has not done anything positive for this national team going into the future. He's actually changed nothing. He seems a wretched man manager, weak on selection and tactically backwards. A great manager he once was but he is no good to England".

    I live outside the UK so was fortunately spared all the usual red-topped rags' nonsense during the build up to last year's World Cup. Bits and pieces gleaned from other sources all indicated Capello's main aim was to change our 100 mph, headless chicken approach to a patient, slow-tempo, possession based style. (Boring Italian style maybe, but dull 1-0 wins are certainly better than drab, clueless 0-0 draws).

    However during our games I saw none of this. Short sideways passes across the back line followed by a long, hopeful punt forward time after time. Did we even string more than 10 passes together in any match?

    Possible conclusions;

    - Capello failed in his mission statement and therefore should not have been rewarded with a new contract after the abject failure (never mind BEFORE the tournament started),

    - The press lied/undermined/hyped beyond reason (take your pick),

    - The players wouldn't or couldn't adapt to his system.

    Regardless, if the talent is not there, even the best (and highest paid) managers in the world will continue to fail with England. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

  • Comment number 54.

    You can't ignore Jones and Smallings recent performances which have been outstanding, get them in the starting 11!

  • Comment number 55.

    This is a problem that may take England at least 30 years to fix and I dont think my comment will be read by very mant so I'll just point out the main problems:
    - The media
    - Terrible youth systems
    - Our footballers do not understandwhat it means to be wearing an England shirt
    - Scouting in this country is very poor and the big, strong and fast kids are always favourites over the more technical ones.
    - Spoilt brat teenagers who are driving 4 by 4 cars for having no creative football minds and not understanding the beauty and having passion for the sport
    - Facilities in communties are costly and prevent a large amount of the younger generation playing as often as they could as it can cost over £70 for one hour on a small pitch. No idea where a group of 13-14 year olds will get that sot of money everyday or every other day... and route one football is still being played as we haven't taught our youth any better.

    I give up the list is endless and nothing will change any time soon so we can forget winning anything. I dont blame the footballers of the team as theyre victims too and I certainly dont blame Capello because whether it was him or anyone else we wouldn't have won that world cup. You cant bring in a new manager and expect him to click his fingers and bring home the most prestigious trophy in the world of sport

  • Comment number 56.

    At 02:17 2nd Sep 2011, Peter Trueman
    It's no surprise that Cleverley and Jones get their first call ups almost immediately after they appear in the United first team. I'm sure if Titus Bramble was signed by United, Capello would turn to him simply on the basis of who he plays for. Cleverley played okay for Wigan last year, and nobody seemed to take notice, because he wasn't breathtaking by any means. However, after a couple of decent games for United, he's suddenly the answer to our midfield problems? Give me a break.


    You definitely have a point there BUT I think it's like this:

    A player of cleverly's type is only good when he is the only 'smart' player in a team, like at wigan. a box to box player with good tecnique, a solid number 8. NOT a number 10 gamechanger a la Sneijder/Messi. However, put that solid, good number 8 in a team with other clever and more attacking players who are on the same page as him, then he could be great. That's why he wasn't sensational at Wigan, because his team mates weren't on the same page as him. As soon as he started with Man Utd, he instantly clicked with players like Rooney and Anderson. For England, he will have wilshere instead of Anderson which is even better as wilshere is slightly more defensive than ando, and so the perfect partner for cleverley. Look at Xavi, regarded as good when playing with Deco et al, but regarded as great when playing with iniesta, messi etc.

    What I'm basically trying to say is that with the likes of Wilshere, rooney, maybe mceachran, around him, Cleverley good become a top player for England. That's why he is (deservedly) being hyped up right now.

  • Comment number 57.

    could* my mistake.

    Also, where are the British asians in english football? I play with a lot of them and they're very techincal players, skill is number 1 for them. I've been told by some coach that me and my cousin could be quite good if we were given the chance and trust me, there are a hell of a lot better asians out there than me!

  • Comment number 58.

    TO SamuraiShadow, General_Searso and ocfctilidie. maybe you guys should be become england manager since you seem to know so much. Hmm. lets see. if you applied would you get hired? answer = NO.

  • Comment number 59.

    @11 comment 11 are you saying only spanish teams are european titants and if english players aren't bought by them that they are worthless. what about chelsea. manchester utd. and liverpool and arsenal. they don't count as titans of europe. i agree on the fact that barcelona has dominated europe. but 2005 liverpool won the CL, 2006 arsenal reached the final. 2007 liverpool reached the final. 2008 it was an ALL english final between chelsea vs man utd. have you ever seen an all spanish final cuz i certainly haven't 2009 man utd reached the final 2010 none and 2011 man utd reached the final. the fact that you don't mention these teams in your titans of europe is ignorance. and that just becuz spanish teams don't want to buy english teams is just senseless talk. think before you comment.

  • Comment number 60.

    2nd last line. *** English players

  • Comment number 61.


    Were you not alive in 1996? England came within a Gazza stretch of making the final.

  • Comment number 62.

    English players not going abroad has nothing at all to do with their talent. McMananman went abroad, was he the star English player at that moment? I very much doubt it.
    Maldini, Baresi, Baggio, Del Piero, Totti; none of these ever left Italy. Were they/are they poor players?
    In fact, very few star players from Spain, Italy or England leave to play abroad.
    We are over hyping these young players again, it's what the press does, but they do look like talented players. What's the problem with talking them up? For years we complained about the top clubs not having any good, young English players in the team; now we have Jones, Smalling, Cleverley, Rooney and Wellbeck at Man United, Wilshere, Wallcott, Chamberlain, Fimpong and Gibbs at Arsenal, Kelly, Spearing, Henderson and Carroll at Liverpool, McEachran at Chelsea, and Richards, Hart, and Johnson at City, as well as the likes of Rodwell at Everton and Albrighton at Villa.
    It's not a crime to be optimistic and hope that these guys can produce the goods at international level you know.

  • Comment number 63.

    England, like the Holland's, Portugal's and probably in future Russia's of this world should see quarter finals as a par tournament. A semi is good, a final great and once in a blue moon may get a tournament win that the whole nation can (rightly) go mad for. Anything more is pure delusion, having such a good national league doesn't help I'm sure. The fans are used to the countries clubs doing well whilst playing good football.

  • Comment number 64.

    @General Searso

    'vast numbers of Italians over the years.'

    I think you will find this to be untrue. Go back to 1990 and I think the entire Italian Squad played in Italy. Why do you think that was? Because Italy had the world's richest league. Italians who move abroad have trouble getting in to their national side. The English don't go abroad for a number of reasons.

    One is money. Why move from your family when you can get paid more to stay at home?

    Another is the language barrier. This is not completely because the English are lazy. Non English speakers pick up English easier because they are exposed to it from a variety of sources. Once you are atuned to using another language learning another doesn't seem daunting. The only place an English youngster is exposed to a foreign language is in a school text book.

    Then there is the standard of football. Unless a player moves to one of the top European clubs, where there are limited places available, why leave even a low standard premier league club? Outside Europes elite there isn't much to inspire.

    So you can get the highest wage, live near your family and friends, speak your own language, play the football you have grown up with


    Get paid the same, live away from family and friends, have to learn a new language and a new style of football just so England might possibly give a slightly better showing depending on who the manager is. But of course by doing so you might put yourself out of the managers thoughts.

    This is essentially why England don't do well. The national team is not the most important thing.

  • Comment number 65.

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

  • Comment number 66.

    The Only reason English Players dont move is because they dont need to, and They Play for United, Chelsea, City, Liverpool and Arsenal, just like how Barcelona players dont move, Madrid Spanish players dont leave Spain, only Valencia Players move because Valencia is never going to win anything and are in crisis. De Gea moved cos he couldnt get to Madrid or Barca and the rest are championship sides

  • Comment number 67.

    Take off the blinkers lads, just because you support united doesnt mean Lampard and Terry have been anything short of world class - Ill respect Xavi and Iniestas opinion over someone in a forum anyday. And just because you support Chelsea doesnt mean that Smalling, Jones and Cleverly arent future greats of the game - time will tell but theyve mad a great start.

  • Comment number 68.

    I've long held the belief that we should build a team at U21 level like the Germans did prior to last years world cup, like the Spanish and Uruguay have been doing and the French did with their academy prior to their sucess.

    Use the age groups better to develop a team within a team and put these succesful components together.

    I think that Players should be kept in there age groups and not promoted until old enough, including from U21 to Full. Let them gain championship experience keep the pressure off them and ease them into the Full squad not expecting miracles. Then continue by keeping an extended full squad consistent (30) and dip outside of this into the younger groups to give them experience as backup if needed due to injury. Not bringing people into the squad who may never get a chance or only giving someone a handful of caps and expecting them to be world beaters. How often in recent times as a main player of the England team gone down injured before a tournament and then its panic stations on who to replace them with.

    For too long the England team has been a group of individuals rather than a team.

  • Comment number 69.

    Remarks regarding the Manchester United players and performances for the U21's forget that Stuart Pearce is not good enough as manager whereas at United the players have the best manager there is. If Cleverley has been picked by Sir Alex then that is good enough for me. Ashley Young and Phil Jones have shown further improvement at United because they are now playing for a world class team.

    Pick the young players because they are better and have a great team spirit.

  • Comment number 70.

    Our problem is and always has been old guard vested interest whether that is in the board room at the FA or on the pitch with influential players past their sell by date.
    After 1966 the Germans rebuilt the whole structure of German football so they would never have to be humiliated again by the likes of England. They produced a footballing system that made for a winning national side and as another commenter said they have a press who actually underplays the national sides strength and promise.
    England just do not have a system that manages to harness our footballing talent in a successful way, from the moment Ramsey was hastily removed, Brian Clough not employed or Terry Venables pushed out we have slid slowly into the ever deepening
    mire. Bobby Robson perhaps being an exception.
    A wealth of individual talent arose in spite of the FA, but at a time when greed ignorance and arrogance have been magnified in the game; they have been managed by a series of lower league types and foreign managers who had great pedigrees but
    a paucity of knowledge of the english game.
    After the recent world cup debacle on the pitch in SA and in the bid for the world cup to be hosted here we need to do a Germany, and change things in our footballing system root and branch, but we are incapable.

  • Comment number 71.

    The question here is 'Is Capello bothered only about his record with the team until Euro 2012' or is he really interested in the future of the team? If it is the former, which unfortunately is what I suspect, then expect the likes of Smalling, Jones and Cleverly getting cameos at best. But I believe it's time for the old guard to be phased out slowly but surely. Terry hasn't looked comfortable in recent games (as Grant Holt showed) and Jones should start with Cahill. Micah Richards should start at RB even though Smalling has been a revelation. But its the centre midfield in which the likes of Lampard should not be played.

    England didn't qualify for Euro 2008 even though they played all the seniors, but its ok if they don't qualify if they use youngsters for the qualifiers. Atleast the youngsters will get invaluable international experience.

  • Comment number 72.

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

  • Comment number 73.

    To be fair to Capello has the highest Win Ratio of ALL England managers with 64.9%. Better than that of Sir Alf with 61.1% and Ron Greenwood with 60.0% (Glenn Hoddle 60.7%). So, to have a Win Ratio that high with an inferior selection of players I think FC has done quite well. However I agree with the lack of performances in major tournaments is unforgivable! So what to do.......? I'd go with youth in the side, give them a chance of qualifying as they will be the players required for the future tournaments, they need to experience the big games or the tough games so when it comes to challenging matches in competitions they should be 'ready'.

  • Comment number 74.

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

  • Comment number 75.

    14.At 00:10 2nd Sep 2011, ocfctillidie wrote:
    Um searso, which foreign clubs could afford a youngster from a top ten prem club? Spain are financially screwes and the last english based player to go to spain was kevin prince boateng to brescia then loaned to ac milan? Poor euro countrie habe no money. I wil agree however once there, bar utd, we dont have the ability to TRAIN winners


    Sorry I don't understand this. Can any one translate it for me, preferably into English.

  • Comment number 76.

    Cappelo has to stop taking players from the "top 6 teams". Scott parker went to SPURS cuz of him.
    This is what i think capello should start building for Euros:
    Subs: Fielding, Smalling, Terry, Sinclair, Henderson, Downing, Welbeck

  • Comment number 77.

    #47 pezzerman

    It isn't a disgrace at all that these teams have done better than England, I'd suggest it is to be expected. England are a Last 16/Quarter Final team, lets be optimistic about them reaching the quarters at the next tourno, that would be a massive achievement for them.

    I would still tip Italy and France over England and also Portugal. I'd probably also tip Russia, Turkey and Uruguay to beat England especially in a tournament situation. Spain changed their whole approach to international football and built it around the ethos of Barca. England don't ever change anything, they just hope that somehow (usually focussing desperately on one or two slightly overrated individuals) everything will change; it's not good enough and shows a lack of respect for the opposition.

    I can see lots of reasons why England having a good nucleus of players at top clubs isn't enough to expect international success, the main one being history. England have almost always had the players you describe yet their record is a million miles away from a team like Germany, who interestingly probably don't have the best individuals but play as a team.

    England should always be optimistic, but there are lots of possibilities between not qualifying for a tournament and winning it. England should come up with a realistic objective, I would suggest aiming for the Quarters while playing some positive football, and lets be optimistic about achieving that.

  • Comment number 78.

    oh no a Blog about Englands hopes on the International stage with a new group of wonder boys.

    And how often have we had to read and hear all the tripe and hype.

    Winning One World Cup is about as good as your going to get despite the feeble and futile attempts to window dress Englands collective failure under various managers, with various players, superstars and egos.

    One word sums it all up for me;


  • Comment number 79.

    Three games and Phil Jones is a great player..!!!! and 2 at Old Trafford...

  • Comment number 80.

    At 03:34 2nd Sep 2011, Verzino wrote:
    Were you not alive in 1996? England came within a Gazza stretch of making the final.


    I was and I was gutted for them, it was their chance to reach a final for the first time in 30 years and will probably be their last for at least another 30 years. Although I wasn't alive in 1966, the most controversial incident in football happened in the final, but England fans don't seem to mention that when they list all of the injustices against them.

    Things tend to balance themselves out over time and I reckon records over a period of 50 or so years reflect the true quality of a team.

    England have reached 3 semis in their history, Germany 16, Italy 10, France 7 and Holland 8. England are not in the same league as other nations when it comes to international competition, so lets stop comparing them with these other nations and be realistic in expectation.

    I know England have won a major competition, fantastic, but so have Greece; not really a sign of prowess. However consistent success over time is and England just don't measure up to any of the hype or expectations.

  • Comment number 81.

    4TH? 4TH? 4TH
    URUGUAY 5TH?????????

  • Comment number 82.

    I love it, I assume most of the negativity on here is from England who will be watching the games....and when we lose slag them off for being rubbish! I've never known such a bunch of miserable pessimistic fans in all my life...ok we may not win but we're not the best team so we have no right too...We're still English and should still get behind our team! Look at the Scott's and the Irish, they still turn out and support their team and they probably wont even qualify (ROI might).

    As for the Youngsters..IMO they have to play, whats the point in having a "new generation" if we're just going to take them along to training and not play them...look at Man U/Man C... If they can get in those teams and win regularly and sit on top of the PL they can cut it at international level...GIVE THEM A CHANCE!

    Stop your whining and get behind the team...if they don't win it they don't win it! If you cant cope with not being the best then migrate to Spain SIMPLES!

  • Comment number 83.

    I do have a question for Phil;

    You and others have spent the last six years telling the world that Arsene Wenger and Arsenal have not won a " trophy in 6 years "

    Are you able to explain with any clarity the reason/s why it is that despite having

    The Best Players in the World
    The Best Stadiums in the World
    The Best Managers in the World
    The Best League in the World

    Blah Blah Blah Blah...................

    England have not won a " trophy " for 45 years? yes thats,

    45 YEARS!

  • Comment number 84.

    @83 Because we DONT have the best players in the world (not even close) Do we have the best managers in the world? no i don't think so (some excellent one's yes) The best league? yes filled by foreign players....and best stadiums - Yes easily but If I brought a Ferrari doesn't mean I could whip Alonso in a race!

  • Comment number 85.

    So much rage here. It's sad that people who I am sure just want England to do well and who love their national team are so embittered that they feel compelled to hurl abuse at young men (some under 20 years old don't forget) because they're not as technically gifted as Lionel Messi or Andres Iniesta who would both be exceptional players in any period in footballing history.

    I think the recent humblings of Manchester United by Barcelona have shown something we've all secretly known for a long time; the days of barnstorming full-throttle English football being able to compete on the European and International stages are over. For the last 30 or so years, England have only had one problem, which is getting their star players to perform as a team. Until the emergence of Spain as the dominant force in world football, I don't believe there has been a time when England were significantly worse, player for player, than any other national side. Players like Terry, Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Parker, Hargreaves, Gazza, Rooney, Young, Neville, Gerrard and so on have always had the potential to make potent teams who could compete. The blame for the fact this has never happened lies solely with the FA and their choice of management teams, ridiculous friendlies, poor preparation and their subservience to the Premier League and to Sky.

    What we need now are 20-25 young players, playing at a high level every week, who are fit, motivated, comfortable on the ball and who have time to grow together. I believe that players like Lampard, Terry, Ferdinand and Barry have been great servants of the English game, but I believe that the younger players at the top teams have been brought into the game the right way and have no ties to the disappointments of the past. I'd like to see more bravery from Capello and the FA and while any England squad for 2012 should include Terry, Lampard and Gerrard, I don't know that I'd start any of them ahead of Jones, Henderson or Cleverley.

    The team I'd like to see England starting is;

    Richards Smalling Jones Cole
    Wilshere Henderson
    Johnson Cleverley Young

    Also, the people talking about 2016 you are all missing Oxlade-Chamberlain and Craig Dawson who I think are both going to be knocking on the door of full England call-ups within 2 years.

  • Comment number 86.

    Can't understand this constant stream of hatred towards the England team! Yes they are far from the best in the world, but not everyone can be the best. Let's just get behind the team through good and bad.

  • Comment number 87.

    This is what i think capello should start building for Euros:

    Mickey Mouse-------------Tweety Pie----------------Bobo
    ----------------Elmer Fudd------Egghead-------------
    Gossamer--------------Bugs Bunny------------------Yosemite Sam

    Subs: Porky Pig, Pepe'Le Pew, Road Runner, Fog Horn Leghorn, Conrad Cat, Daffy Duck, Beckham

  • Comment number 88.

    More hyperbole around a cotorie of players who have achieved absolutely nothing. The are apparently 'giving heart to the old guard' who in their own time on international duty achieved diddley squat and were exposed time after time. For goodnees sake Sth Africa was only last year. The reality of what was on show is only to readily available in the memory.
    Of course in a few years time the headlines will be they are all 'world class' and their value will be £50 million+, all the while Spain will have another couple of Chamipons League titles under their belt.
    But hey, as the pundits and journalists will tell us, the people mentioned have British steel or some other quality tghat gets you nothing.

  • Comment number 89.

    so no pressure on the lads then? between them they have about 40 games in total for united and now the way the media is potraying it it seems as if they are meant to be the saviour of english football?

    one other thing, i hope smalling is not stuck out on the right for the forseable future, terrific as hes been there people shouldnt forget how good at cb he was for us last year

  • Comment number 90.

    @ocfctillidie - Brescia is in Italy. But seriously we've lots to be excited about. There's a guy at Grenada in Spain who looks exciting, one of those to graduate from Hoddle's accadamy, whilst there a number of youngsters playing at the reds who I'd expect to start making the move up sooner rather than later. This crop of youngsters might not be world beaters, but somewhere along the line we will be and I'll keep supporting them waiting for when that day come. In-ger-land!!!

  • Comment number 91.

    "Yes easily but If I brought a Ferrari doesn't mean I could whip Alonso in a race!"

    You should have more confidence in yourself!

    At just 10 stone and only 5'5 tall I would have decked with ease Tyson and Bruno

    as for Formula One what has a Game Boy strapped to a steering column and TOMTOM built into a crash helmet got to do with being the best Driver.

  • Comment number 92.

    Oh, dear. Tournament hasn't even started and off you all go again.
    The PL ceratinly has some of the best young English players, but the whole system from early age up to senior level appears to be aimed at winning at all costs, not about playing football. This always seems to culminate in an England team which plays like it's afraid to lose, rather than out to demonstrate how good it can be.
    It's a great formula for insomniacs, but not much fun if you're a football fan. Expecting one or two individuals (and I include the appointment of managers in this) to make the difference just underlines theis lack of a cohesive system of coaching and playing from grass roots up. As others have said, England will probably get to quarters, possibly semi final, unless something startling happens and they sart playing without fear.

  • Comment number 93.

    Ah come off it Phil, that is the biggest piece of drivel I've read so far this season. It's completely biased towards Manchester United.
    Is this what us fans are to expect in the future now Slur Alex has forgiven the Beeb? "The BBC are proud to annouce their love in with all things Manchester United & Sir Alex Ferguson"

    Show us some real journalism. include some facts maybe. Why not talk about the debt crisis at the club?

    All I can say is that you bottled it.


  • Comment number 94.

    I also wish Gary Neville would shut up, how is any of his ranting about England helping? especially as he's still a part of MU and some of the young guy's coming through are at he telling them not to bother and it's a waste of time!

    We wont win....who cares, I'm still English and I will still support my country regardless of whether we win or should you all!

  • Comment number 95.

    It will be interesting to see if smalling jones and cleverly can make the step up onto the international stage. Wilshere has proven that he can bridge the gap and will be the main player for the 2012 euros and beyond, i also expect to emmanual frimpong in and around the squad by the times the euros come around or even before as him and willshere have an incredible understanding having been playing together since they were 9. I am still somewhat uncertain over cleverly he did impress me when he was at wigan but is has yet to be seen whether he can perform at the highest level consistently. It will be interesting though whether capello goes with youth or experience for this next tournament, because i think that he should really be replacing the likes of ferdinand terry gerrard and lampard. The team in my opinion should be hart richards/walker smalling jones cole frimpong wilshere cleverly young lennon/walcott rooney. I would also like to add that benik afobe the arsenal striker has great potential and i wouldn't be surprised if he breaks into the arsenal team by the end of the season but definately an exciting prospect for the future, i am putting frimpong in because he has the right balance of technical ability and aggressiveness to really make the holding midfield position his own england fans watch this space we may have another wilshere moment on our hands.

  • Comment number 96.

    Come off it Phil, this is awful once again.

    Not long ago you were writing numerous blogs about how there were no good players coming through for the England team. Now suddenly because they have signed for Man United and played a couple of games they are going to be world superstars.

    I expect this sort of drivel from Capello after he said that Bent was a more complete footballer after 3 TRAINING SESSIONS with Aston Villa but I had hoped that our journalists would have a bit more clue. You also mention Cleverly and Welbeck in the article and again they were no-where near getting a call up whilst on loan at Wigan and Sunderland respectively, now they are back at Man Utd and have played 3 matches they will now be welcomed with open arms.

    So tell me why no blog like this when they were playing for the likes of Blackburn and Fulham or maybe one on the fact that you need to play for a top 6 team to even be considered? How about one on the fact that the England manager is being paid £6 million a year yet rarely leaves London? No much better we have a fluff piece like this than something that could rock the boat.

  • Comment number 97.

    93: Very unbiased indeed!

  • Comment number 98.

    Wow - it doesn't take long between embarassments at international tournaments for the superb players/potential world beating team talk to start up again. Fresh on the back of a really poor U-21 tournament.

    Young English players go for big bucks because there are so few high level ones, and you need homegrown players to meet eligibility rules for certain competitions.

    A quick search for stats shows that in the 2007 Champions League there were 100 Brazilian players to 26 English. England, with 4 teams in that year, ranked 9th on the list of nations with most Champions league players, 1 ahead of Scotland on 25 for that year....France had only 2 teams, but 64 players.

    Based on stats like that, England are probably ranked higher than they should be. They may even be over-achieving in World Cups/Euros.

  • Comment number 99.

    "Against Bias", ofcourse you are, clearly a bitter Liverpool or Man City fan, look at what Man Utd and SAF have achieved, One of the most successful English teams in England, and one of the Greatest managers of all time, so I think they deserve abit of praise and limelight every now and then!

  • Comment number 100.

    93# Seriously the facts!

    Current wave of optimism crops from united.
    United smashed Arsenal 8.2, bad team or not.
    pretty big news, pretty big facts.

    Scooby comes to mind!


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