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Is this the poor man's Eriksson?

International football
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Steve McClaren's rapid-fire soundbites failed to disguise the latest damning evidence that England may just have appointed a poor man's Sven-Goran Eriksson to direct their Euro 2008 fortunes.

Indeed, McClaren's reign is threatening to make the Swede's tenure resemble the most thrilling roller-coaster ride of goals, excitement and emotion in international football history.

McClaren is right to underscore England's missed chances and squandered superiority, but this was a dreadful display and one in keeping with what he has produced since succeeding Eriksson.

The coach talked big before the qualifier in Tel Aviv. He had laid the law down to his senior stars - it was, he stated endlessly, time to deliver.

Well, if those experienced players had been cattle-prodded into action by McClaren's harsh words, they could have fooled a watching, despairing nation.

And as for delivering... well England's furious fans inside the Ramat Gan stadium let them know what they thought they had delivered at the final whistle.

Steven Gerrard was an exception, sacrificing himself in the cause of McClaren's inability to simply play him in his best position.

Is it so difficult for an England coach to simply place arguably the world's finest central midfield player in central midfield?

Apparently it is. Mystifying.

In bursts, Aaron Lennon's pace also posed a threat.

But the rest was the same uninspired, lifeless fare that has been McClaren's stock in trade since he became a compromise appointment following the FA's failed flirtation with "Big Phil" Scolari.

Defensively England were relatively untested, in midfield they remain enigmatic, and up front Wayne Rooney was dreadful.

Rooney is a massive, talent, but in Tel Aviv England got the chippy, argumentative, ineffective version that has been witnessed too often on the international stage in recent times.

Israel massed their ranks behind the ball, confident they could keep an England side whose goals have dried up at bay.

And so it proved, with Andrew Johnson working tirelessly but still failing to open his England account.

Another of McClaren's favourite buzz-words is "passion" - so once again it says little for his inspirational qualities that this was singularly absent in Tel Aviv.

McClaren's job is not in danger. It cannot be after such a short period in charge.

But an uninspired appointment is producing uninspired performances and uninspiring results. The FA is reaping what it sowed so hastily before the World Cup.

Victory against Andorra is a must, and even an England team that has forgotten how to score should have their memory jogged in Barcelona.

Anything else is unthinkable, particularly for McClaren.

England's mythical status as a so-called world-class team was ruthlessly exposed in Germany and the hangover has continued into Euro 2008.

So far, they have been abysmal in this campaign, and Russia and Croatia have not been slow to steal a march.

And, on the evidence of Tel Aviv, time is running out for McClaren to prove he is not simply an inferior continuation of the Eriksson regime.

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comment by arwsto (U2047939)

posted Mar 28, 2007

Italy won the world cup by playing as a team.
Greece won Euro 2004 by playing as a team.
The problem with England is that we hype up individuals rather than concentrate on teamplay. Alf Ramsay famously told Jack Charlton when he picked him that he, "didn't always pick the best players" but he did pick the best players for the team.
So if it is best for the team to leave out a "star" player then that is what a good manager should do.
Alex Ferguson's success has always been based on doing things that are best for the team. If that means getting rid of Paul Ince or Roy Keane or Van Nistelrooy or anybody else he considers is upsetting the team ethic then he will do it.
Unfortunately, I don't think Maclaren has the strength or vision to do that.

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comment by sanioo (U7927847)

posted Mar 28, 2007

nah nah, all u lot are having a go at steve McClaren but he is only doing his job! we r meant 2 b one of the best teams in the world so we need a gud managere agread? well why cnt the FA afford 1 then, they refused 2 pay a GUD manger what he wanted so we had 2 settle for McClaren, he isnt doin the best of jobs but the FA wont get anyone that wants a bit more money! we also need a manager who has balls, being able 2 drop thier big name players like LAMPARD!! he needs 2 b dropped in the midfield and play hargreaves and gerrard in the middle! we r all blaming McClaren but what about the FA who got him because thats all they were willing to pay!! if anything they are to balme, were a world class team we need a GUD manager, and he might cost a bit but he will get us results!!

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posted Mar 28, 2007

you think we are good??

we only think that cos the sea of foreigners in our league make our players look good.

If we played all english players in our club teams we would not even qualify for the European Competitions. Thats how bad we ACTUALLY are.

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posted Mar 28, 2007

he hasnt done anything wrong apart from not win...but yet he hasnt done anything right either, so i thikn he should have til the end of the campaign and then get coleman!!

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posted Mar 28, 2007

After 40+ years of watching fooball and cricket at all levels from pub side to England it has become incresingly obvious that whilst other nations have improved we have been stagnatory. Cricket learned early on that if you allow a host of foreign players to appear in your best teams then the international side will underperform because our youngsters do not get the opportunity to progress.Many of our smaller "league" teams include playrs from many different nations and this cannot be to the benefit of the national side.At least at cricket we can compete at the highest international level even if we do not achieve the results which we would like on occasion.this multi nation argument is only 1 aspect of the malaise which stains the England soccer performances and i would have to agree with others who argue that Stave mcLaren may not be getting the best team together rather than assembling the best players. It has been obvious for some time that we are either not playing Lampard/Gerrard in their correct positions or they cannot play together in the same team.unfortunately against a minnow like Andorra we are unlikely toobserve the difference even though Lampard is now out of the side. we all want england to do well and we all have our opinions on selections / managers but we all want the best for our team - it is just a pity the first opposition in every match is our own press!!

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posted Mar 28, 2007

How about this:
GK: James/Foster
RWB: Ashley cole
LWB:Micah Richards/Shorey
CMF: Sidwell
CMF: Gerrard/ Barton
RMF: Lennon/ Little
LMF: Bentley
CF: Walcott/ Lita
CF: Rooney

Its better to be brave and go out trying than it is to limp out. Lennon is always dangerous and was our best player at the world cup when he was given the chance and Little could be a devastating substitute and a great crosser of the ball. Bentley has been playing brilliantly recently and can cross it. TBH the england defence is always strong as long as ferdinand isnt hoofing it mindlessly up the pitch all the time. as long as Rooney can get decent service from midfield like he was getting in 2002 hes still a class act, Lita and Walcott have speed and can score goals and I think would be better suited alongside Rooney. Sidwell has been brilliant for reading this season and is quality at simply playing attacking passes up the pitch.
Lets just try something new please.

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posted Mar 28, 2007

haven't you learned by now that the powers that be will never have the guts to try out players like sidwell from a team like reading, no matter how wonderfully they have performed this season. If Lampard was fit he'd be starting, no matter how many times he has underperformed when it mattered. bentley is a nice idea and worth trying out in a game like this, because the guy is class. but why change the goalkeeper? seriously, why? his last ten competitive games have seen him keep eight clean sheets.

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posted Mar 28, 2007

Why did England get rid of Sven? He was no Ramsey but some of England's best years were under this manager. England went out in the Qtrs of the World Cup. How much more were English fans expecting from a good but second tier national team? The players are drowning in unrealistic expectations and look lost in their England colors. Give them some room (to fail and succeed) and they will at least play to their capability or better.

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posted Mar 29, 2007

Lets hope England don't get carried away just because they won three nil. Remember it was only Andorra, a fourth rate team who held third rate England for the whole of the first half. At least England played better(slightly) without that over-rated Lampard, but were still poor. Poor manager, no tactical skill, and no new ideas. Playing 4 4 2 is old hat, they have all worked us out.

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posted Dec 30, 2009

he was terrible <laugh>

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