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Capello and Barwick suffer as England struggle

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Phil McNulty | 00:42 UK time, Thursday, 21 August 2008


English football suffered an uncomfortable night as a muddled display from Fabio Capello's side was played out against the backdrop of high-level political intrigue in Soho Square.

Capello's England had barely embarked on what was a hugely worrying performance against the Czech Republic before leaks sprung around Wembley that Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick was leaving his post.

Confirmation swiftly came that Barwick was indeed on his way as part of what might be politely termed a "re-structure", this time instigated by Lord Triesman, the FA's first independent chairman.

This was a huge distraction to the action taking place on the field - but not big enough to disguise worrying evidence that the brave new era under Italian coach Capello is struggling in its infancy.

England were technically and tactically inferior to the Czechs, who were denied a deserved win by Joe Cole's injury-time equaliser.

This was meant to be the night when England delivered a statement of intent that they were fit for purpose with World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Croatia coming in September. Not so.

England had occasional spells of possession and urgency in the first half, but as Great Britain celebrates a golden Games in Beijing, there was nothing in the way of a silver lining here for Capello.

In a match that was meant to provide answers ahead of key World Cup qualifiers, we were left with only questions.

Who will form England's attack? How will the midfield line up? How worrying is it that England have no serious alternative to the erratic David James in goal?

Wayne Rooney gave another of those "all things to all men" displays where he pops up everywhere and ends up achieving nothing.

It has been forgotten that when Rooney emerged at Everton, he played as a striker who occasionally dropped deep - now he drops deep and occasional plays as a striker.

Rooney needs a big game for England. And for Capello's sake he needs it in Zagreb on 10 September.

He also needs a partner up front. For all Capello's apparent aversion to Michael Owen, the Newcastle man, when fit, still remains England's best bet for that vital goal.

Sadly, there is no guarantee Owen will be healthy, and Jermain Defoe continues to be a poor impersonation at international level, despite his potency in the Premier League.

Gerrard runs at the Czech Republic defence

The midfield was a mess, outmanoeuvred by the Czechs and showing little to suggest a cohesive, settled unit is about to form.

Capello caused general bafflement in his post-match press conference when he brushed off suggestions - allegations might be a better word - that Steven Gerrard played on the left side of midfield.

He gave an explanation smothered in tactical phrasing and gestures, but it flew over most heads.

Sorry, Fabio, he looked like he was playing on the left to me - and looked like he was enjoying it as much as he would enjoy nailing his hand to a coffee table.

Gerrard is a central midfield player. This is where he should play, and to deploy him anywhere else is a criminal waste of a world-class talent. He must be restored there for the qualifiers.

David Beckham still offers England's best set-piece threat, but it is questionable whether he provides much else. It would be a risk to play him in the heat of battle in Zagreb - but the brutal truth is that his quality delivery is one of the few straws England can currently clutch at.

Capello said the game allowed him to see faults in his side, especially a susceptibility to a counter-attack - but that is just one of many worries facing him as the real business of his reign starts.

While all this was happening, honeyed statements were being prepared behind the scenes dealing with Barwick's departure on 31 December.

Barwick, who will have been in the post almost four years, has been increasingly sidelined under Triesman's new regime and has now been pruned himself as the much-touted "root and branch" revolution continues at the FA.

The former television executive was a popular and personable figure with a wide range of contacts within the game, but once Triesman starting flexing his muscle and building his own power base, his days were quickly numbered.

It has been a tenure of highs and lows for Barwick, who has a genuine love of the game as a lifelong and fanatical Liverpool fan.

He took the brunt of the blame for the very public bungling of the approach for Luiz Felipe Scolari ahead of Sven-Goran Eriksson's departure as England manager in 2006.

When Scolari, who was Portugal coach at the time, withdrew from the running, Barwick fatally compromised by backing the choice of Eriksson's assistant Steve McClaren, drawing ridicule for passing him off as the man who was the FA's first choice for the job.

McClaren was out of his depth and his failure to take England to Euro 2008 drove at the heart of Barwick's credibility.

Barwick poses for the photographers with new England coach Capello

Barwick regained kudos when he made good on his promise to deliver a coach of world repute in Capello - although the jeers directed towards the Italian at Wembley on Wednesday suggested that particular honeymoon is now over.

He also oversaw the opening of the new Wembley and concluded lucrative sponsorship and television deals.

Barwick also helped push through the plans for the National Football Centre at Burton, a project he believes will prove crucial to the future success of the game in this country.

He may have had his failures, but he also had his successes, and it would be unfair in the extreme not to underscore them as he prepares to leave the FA.

Slowly but surely, however, Barwick has found himself sidelined as Triesman sweeps through Soho Square, and now joins Adam Crozier and Mark Palios as former FA chief executives.

It all made for little harmony on or off the pitch at Wembley - an uncomfortable night for Fabio Capello and a fateful one for the man who appointed him.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I'm not going to bark on about the game, tacitcs, or who plays what position. Every man and his dog has a valid opinion about that...

    I do however hope that getting rid of Barwick will change certain things. I'm a firm believer that those that be in the FA have a huge responsibility to us the supporters. They have the power and influnce to change things. Make English football better and something to be proud of again. How much do these 'suits' really care about the football or are they just happy to be making huge amounts of cash. Barwick is a man who I'm sure can run a good business and hold a meeting, however what were his credentials in regards to football? What experience does he have? Has he ever paid to watch a game before? Has he ever stood in the terrace and cried, sung, cheered his team till has voice had gone?

    We need someone who can really understand football from grass roots level to the international scene and not someone who is in it to make the best profit. The average supporter is getting very sick of the money being thrown around the game with wages, coporate and sponsorship. We just want to see the pride back in the national team....and some common sense.

  • Comment number 2.

    Is it really that complicated?

    Gerrard and Lampard together doesn't work.

    Do we have to wait until one of them retires until managers stop trying to make it work.

    It's not like we are short of quality players in that position to replace them, as Barry, Hargreaves and (not as much) Carrick have proved.

  • Comment number 3.

    Barwick's departure was long overdue. You only found 3 "good" points from 10 years, 4 at the highest level - but in fact these were probably some of the lowest points - New Wembley - very late and massively over budget - Burton - why so long?

    Worst of all for me is the supposed "lucrative" TV sponsorship deal which has taken the national game away from the fans by putting it on a foreign subscription channel. Absolutely disgusting. I for one, and I know I am not alone - refuse to pay more money just for Setanta.

    ALL national games MUST be on free to air TV. No problem with it being on Setanta, but it must be free to view and not subscription only.

    McClaren's appointment and subsequent debacle also rests firmly on Barwick's shoulders. An honourable man would have left - however Barwick obviously just waited for his inevitable mahoosive pay off.

    Good bye and good riddance.

  • Comment number 4.

    RealWurstBoy, you have taken the words right out of my text box.

  • Comment number 5.

    the problem with england is that the team is picked by a manager. over the years england have had many managers and only one has ever won anything - sir alf ramsey 1966 world cup. and that was with home advantage and a dose of good luck.

    back in the late 19th century and early 20th century england were the finest national team in the world. their were some embarassing defeats to scotland but no team beyond these shores could get close to us. not argentina, not germany, not holland, spain or italy. not even brazil.

    and who was the manager? there was no manager. the team was picked by committee.

    if england ever want to be a major force in world football again we need to bring back the old boys network. let a committee of old duffers who have never played professionally pick the team. it worked in the past - it could work again.

  • Comment number 6.

    Pabloblogs, that strategy clearly does not work for your cricket team, and is so out dated, it is frankly, stupid to even suggest it.

    I believe that it is now time that England face the fact that, just maybe, you arent as good as you seem to think you are. The players are all praised to the highest in the EPL, by the media, how then (when the players arent good enough at the top level) seem to think the problem is outside the first 11.

    In Cappelo, you have one of the greatest managers in the game at the moment. Lets face it, all the managers since 1966 cant be doing the same thing wrong. Perhaps its time to rethink just where England should stand on the world stage.

    The fact of the matter is, the press build the English fans into a frenzy, where they cant see their own downfall is caused by the players on the pitch not being a good enough level. The problem is not the manager or the backroom staff, its the exceptionally high expectations that are set apon your team.

    And as for the TV subscription problem, sure that brings the game back to the fans, but how exactly do you think youth projects and such are funded?

    If England were to step back and realise just how OTT there thinking is, they would not be so upset everytime they fail to be another top nation.

  • Comment number 7.

    Same rubbish, dis-interested England, players aren't bothered about playing for their country anymore.
    Can we not just put in players that have pride and not just big sponsorship deals???
    Barwick, him and his pay off will be on a beach somewhere nice and warm very soon I suspect.
    Why do people get big pay-offs for being sacked, means they'll never walk away.

  • Comment number 8.

    To be honest I prefer England leaving crappy performances for the friendlies rather than the other way round.

    I'm sure Capello knows what he's doing and will take the right decisions where it matters.

    It is also a fact that the Czeck Rep team is one of the best around. I thought that they got eliminated out of the recent Euro due to a crazy 10 minute spell also due to some bad luck with ball striking post on one side and with an unlikely mistake from P Ceck on the other. Playing against them would have always been difficult, but I'm also sure that a considerable amount of useful data has been collected.

    England midfield requires some fighter/s who can break attacks...someone who works very hard for the need not be a world class Lampard or Gerrard. Owen Hargreaves could be the player who best fits that decription although I' sure one may find a couple of alternatives. So yes, although it sounds like a big waste, to achieve balance it's looking more likely that leaving either Lampard or Gerrard warming the bench seems to be the best option.
    I think that the absense of a naturally defensive midfield player is one of the reasons why England suffer on counter attacks as Capello pointed out.

    I think we will see a revolution after playing against Croatia. At the moment, that game is too close and of course one needs to rely on experience, but I think we will see a change of personnel shorly afterwards.

  • Comment number 9.


    as I mentioned above, I have no problem with it being on Setanta, I do however have a big problem with the obligatory subscription. It should be free to air - it's ok to be exclusive to Setanta (or whoever wins the bidding rights), so they can fund it through advertising - but it shold be a condition that it be made available free of charge to all (with a satellite dish).

    All national games without exception should be free for all supporters of the national team.

    Commercial games (Premiership etc) need to be subscription to fund the nancy boys obscene wages. But not the national team's games.

  • Comment number 10.

    I noticed that the game wasn’t on the BBC so I decided to go and watch it at the local pub.
    While watching the game I was informed that the qualifiers would be exclusively live on Setanta. I simply made me sick.

    I live in Holland so I’m not “allowed” to get an subscription to for example sky or setanta. So basically I’m forced to go and watch the games in a pub.

    About the game…well don’t get me started. Why do we even bother watching these poor performances?

    Beckham en Lampard simply have to be dropped from the squad.

    It may sound strange but Joe Cole more or less played as a central midfielder yesterday and that made me think that perhaps a central midfield partnership between Joe Cole and Stephan Gerrard might work.

    This would make the following line up:

    Goel: James (Who else can we put there???)
    Defence: Brown, Terry, Ferdinand, A.Cole
    Midfield: Bentley, J.cole, Gerrard. Downing
    Attack: Heskey or Owen and Rooney.

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm not going to comment on England's performance, or the departure of Barwick. I just wanted to point out to dirtyfunkymonkey, seeing as the article clearly didn't state it strong enough, that Barwick is widely known as a football man and avidly supports Liverpool.

    Not saying that made him any better for his job. I'm just irritated that Phil makes this clear in his article, and then the very first post starts asking whether Barwick has any real interest in football.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hilarious Stuff Phil. This was the guy who when appointed you told us he had a poor grasp of English and now he is so adept at speaking the language, that none of the hacks have the ability to actually understand what he is talking about....great.....Face it, England as a football team are mediocre they have been for 10 years and will be for another one or two at least. Not even Capello can make a silk purse out of a sows ear, but he might spin straw into gold if you give him time....
    Sorry was that too intellectual for you?

  • Comment number 13.

    basically what it comes down to is this
    1. english players are to concerned about money, girls and fast cars!
    2. there has been no pride in wearing the england shirt for a number of years now not just since mcClown
    3. investment investment investmen
    4. the big people upstairs (as lots of other people have already stated like) are only in it for money and dont actually care about the people who travel all other the country to support their country.

    so basically that is my views like, i have have read everyone else's and agree with alot of what people have said. just one more thing though terry as captain? really?? people all over the world already think english are thugs so making the terry as captain really doesnt help that, we may as well just made joey barton the captain and had done with it. great article thanks.

  • Comment number 14.

    As is often mentioned - the manager can do little about the game once the players cross the line.

    The real measure of Capello will be what he does about the poor performance.

  • Comment number 15.

    Does anyone have a view as to whether the English players are just not good enough. Yes they have a number of world class players but they are often in the same or similar positions and there is not enough strength in depth. Their technical ability at this level is perhaps not good enough and I have not been able to shake the feeling that many of the players don't really enjoy playing for England, even though when they are asked they all say they love it.

    As for Brian Barwick i agree with most things that have been written above but lets wait and see who is appointed before getting too happy, given the FA's history it could be out of the frying pan and into the fire.

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm sorry, landing a top coach at the cost of 4/5/6m a year (Ive lost count) doesnt strike me as an achievement.

    Barwick represents everything that is wrong in the game: he throws money at situations he doesnt understand. During his tenure the FA must have forked out in the region of 20m to 3 England managers.

    Muppet. Class A muppet.

  • Comment number 17.

    Steven Gerrard is not world class, Mr McNulty.

    I stated my opinion on Gerrard on your previous blog. You describe him as a world class talent but how many great games has he had for England?

    France sometimes played Zinedine Zidane on the left, and he had no problems influencing games. Zidane was world class, Gerrard isn't.

    Brazil and Barcelona have played Ronaldinho on the left, and he has no problem influencing games from there.

    You criticism of Capello for allegedly positioning Gerrard on the left highlights the main shortcoming of England's players, although I don't think you intended it that way. England's players are tactically and technically deficient.

    Gerrard is a midfielder. Why can't he sometimes play on the left? oh, might it be because he's one footed and has no tactical discipline?

    Gerrard looks fantastic when he has Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso behind him and he can play the ball forward to Fernando Torres.

    Also the criticism of Rooney's position shows that journalists like you can't understand that role, played by the No.10s of world football like Totti at World Cup 2006 and Fabregas at Euro 2008. It's just a pity that Rooney himself doesn't understand the role, and thinks he has to run around like a headless chicken to prove his 'passion and commitment'

  • Comment number 18.

    The only thing in this feature i take offence at the words World Class to describe Steven Gerrard. A man who refuses to keep ball at international level and scores once in a blue moon... Sorry Liverpool fans as he is a class act in the prem, but never, never , never ,never is a world class player, he's been living on his early career rep, as is Lampard... England has no world class players... Full stop exclamation mark... Compare Spain's squad with Englands.. Xavi Hernandez is World Class as is that Torres... They have technique that leaves English players on their backside on the pitch!!!! England cant qualify for a European Championship, and Gerrard is World Class... Please explain how and why Gerrrard is world class, or for that matter any English player. Is it any wonder us fans bang on about how many world class players we have when we're led down the path of believing the EPL's own hype and by Sycophantic hacks who watch from a corporate box?!

  • Comment number 19.

    For me post match comments by Harry Rednap hit the nail on the head. He said that there is so much pressure on these players to perform and having had a string of bad results, as soon as things start to look like they're not going your way your confidence starts to wane.

    Put yourself in the players shoes, you’re praised and pampered, earn a lot of money and fans adore you and news papers write glorious headlines about you when you perform for your club. Then why would you put yourself through the torture of turning up for your country to perform as they have been doing on purpose? So that they can be slated on international level by all involved. Who would put themselves through that if they didn’t care? I know me for one would stay away if I didn’t care.
    For me the issue isn’t that they don’t care, it’s that they care too much and when things start to go wrong it’s like, uh oh, here we go again.

    We need some young blood, if we look at the other teams, who’d heard of the players who were outstanding before Euro 2008. But they were hungry, didn’t have any expectations and therefore no pressure to perform.

    I’ve completely lost the excitement of watching England play. I remember looking forward to watching England play. People can argue about where they rank on the world stage, but when the three lions roared, it was amazing to behold, the one off performances against Germany, Denmark, Holland in the past have shown we can do it. Now I get a nervous feeling prior to every match. If I’m sitting at home in front of my telly getting that feeling without any pressure I can only imagine how the players are feeling. Granted they do this for a living but you’re playing for your country and if it really matters to you, I’m sure they’re feeling something.

    Why not pick a better team as apposed to the best players in those positions. As far as managers go, Gus Hiddink for me is the man at an international level and if England ever want a British man, then Martin O’Neil is the man. How can someone appoint McLaren over him, I’m at a total loss. You only have to listen to him talk when he’s analysing a game to realise his acumen. Look at what he’s now done with Aston Villa.

    Having said that Fabio Cappello is an outstanding coach. He has won everywhere he has been. I turned Roma around and under him Milan were unbelievable, thrashing Barcelona 4-0 in the final. I’m sure given the time to turn it around this guy can do it. We have to be patient.

  • Comment number 20.

    Rooney has evolved into a support act for Ronaldo at Man Utd, he is ineffective in the England team. Gerrard has not put in a good performance for Liverpool for at least 6 months, let alone England. Lampard never performs for England, he went missing again last night.

    I can't remember the last time I saw a standout performance from any England player other than David Beckham. As a team they have no flair and no confidence.

    The current squad simply doesn't work. The players are the highest paid, highest profile in the premier league. They are picked on merit but they cannot deliver as a team when they pull on the England shirt.

    I would rather see different players for every England game, even players from the championship, than the mediocre performances our superstar millionaires continue to deliver.

  • Comment number 21.

    Rebecca Adlington earns £12,000 a year and has to rely on handouts from her Mum and Dad.
    I think John terry and the boys need to start pulling their fingers out and earning their wages ... and when they see Ms Adlington on that open top bus with her 2 gold medals, they should feel ashamed that they can't put that much commitment into competing for their country.

    Team England hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • Comment number 22.

    My 2 cents on the England performance:

    I believe Capello when he claims the players lined up in a 4-3-2-1 formation. What was clear was how tactically naive these players, namely the midfield, were.

    The 3 (Barry, Lampard and Beckham) chased the ball, leaving holes at the back. There was no defined holding player. There was no spacial awareness. I dont necessarily blame Capello for this - playing 3 across the middle is a straight forward concept. Indeed Barry does it at Villa, and Lampard did it under Mourinho.

    Rooney and Gerrard clearly had free roles off Defoe, but in doing so they dropped too deep. In theory the idea is a good one, but only in front of a functioning midfield and behind a capable centre forward. Defoe is a decent striker, but cannot lead the line as in this situation.

    Once again players seemed lost and confused. Either the manager is not explaining their roles clearly enough, or English players are not capable of filling positions that arent natural to a 4-4-2.

  • Comment number 23.

    Said it yesterday and going to say it again today

    Same old england team as ever

    Same old results as ever!

    end of!

  • Comment number 24.

    Phil, you make the assumption that Wayne Rooney should be a guaranteed starter for England.

    Since Euro 2004, I can't remember a single performance where he's actually justified his selection. Sure, he's a great player for Man United, but he (just about) fits into their system with his insistence on dropping 40 yards to collect the ball. It just doesn't work for England.

    Capello has fallen into the same trap that pretty much every England manager has fallen into. He is trying to pick England's best 11 players (although I'd even doubt his judgement on that right now - Brown ahead of Richards?!) rather than picking the best players to fit the system he wants the team to play.

    Everyone has been saying for the best part of 4 years (if not longer) that Gerrard and Lampard cannot play together in the same midfield. Given that Gerrard has still put in a number of decent performances for England whereas Lampard has been pretty much anonymous (last night, I actually didn't realise he was playing until the commentator mistakenly thought he had committed the foul that led to Jankulovski's goal), so the obvious move is to put Gerrard in his best position, which is in the middle, alongside either Barry or Hargreaves.

    We seem to be perennially struggling for a left winger, but we have a player already in the team who has played there on numerous occasions for his club side - step forward Gareth Barry. Why try to mould Joe Cole into a left-winger (who's so one-footed it makes the job as the opponent's right-back an easy one) when we've got a ready-made player with proven international performances behind him already in the team?

    Unfortunately, the media pretty much pick the team these days, hence Lampard and Rooney continuing to be picked despite barely any decent England performances from either of them in the last 4 years. Quite how John Terry got the captaincy ahead of Ferdinand is beyond me, if Woodgate was fit I wouldn't even have Terry in the team, let alone wearing the armband. The fact that he got turned in the penalty area by Milan Baros to score his first goal in 20-odd games shows that Terry is just too slow at international level. It's all well and good doing it in the Premier League which is very reactionary, but international level is much more intelligent than that, and he's simply not up to the task, in my opinion.

  • Comment number 25.

    i would like say that Kenilworth88 has hit the nail on the head there like. her is a young girl so committed to a cause! all she cares about is winning and reppin' for her country! the amount of effort and work she has put in is fantastic and she deserves everything she gets! then you look at the likes of the england squad, lazy, lazy players who sometimes look like they would rather be anywhere else then on the field in front of thousands reppin' for their country! its a disgrace to be honest they should all sit down and have at look at themselfs! they do not deserve the money there are on!!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    The problem with England last night and in recent times are so obvious but there is a light at the end of the tunnel/

    When (and i suspect soon) the so called 'golden generation' is phased out, we have an U21 side that is achieving great things at that level.

    The team needs to be changed personnel wise more than anything. John Terry is the best defender in the premiership but one of the worst at international level. The fact he cannot pass the ball on the ground out of defence is embarrassing.

    Wes Brown (and i am a Man Utd fan) is nowhere near an international class fullback. He is only just the best right back at Old Trafford, but comapre his perfomances to that of Evra and he's not in the same class.

    Brown and Terry spend significantly less time defending for their clubs, but for England with the current midfield set up they are exposed more.

    Cole and Ferinand are good enough to stay in the side along with David James.

    The Midfield situaion is a bit of a joke to be honest. I watched the Brazil v Argentina olympic match and if there was one standout player for me it was Mascherano. Always there to get the ball and drive the team on. This is not a role for Barry, Gerrard, Lampard, Beckham, Carrick, etc. The only man who England have available is Hargreaves (who never seems to be fit.)

    I was impressed with Scolari's formation against pompey and see no reason why England do not adopt the same system. This will allow Lampard and Gerrard to play together.

    Finally, its time to face facts about Rooney! He's not the world class 'Maradonna' that we all crave. A tireless worker yes, but a game breaker he is not. He is no longer a reconiseable goalscorer for club or country.

    Capello is an intelligent man but the last time i checked he wasn't Jesus and miracles were not on his impresseive CV.

    I refuse to even talk about the FA bigwigs because as Craig Johnston (former liverpool star) stated a while ago, how any of these guys didn't resign after the McLaren affair i don't know. There was not one person in any club, pub, supermarket or nursery school who thought he was the right man, however the most powerful men in English football couldn't see that!

  • Comment number 27.

    Banging on about Gerrard being world class again?

    When will an England manager find the cojones to do what's required and jettison both Gerrard and Lampard from the team? neither has performed worth a carrot for England throughout their careers.

    Barry, Hargreaves, Carrick, Huddlestone, O'Hara, Michael Johnson and Jenas should all be given a shot, Lampard and Gerrard have had the best part of 3 and a bit competitions to get it right and have never looked close, yet they are always first on the squad list to placate journalists like McNulty who consider Gerrard in particular, undroppable.

    Maybe the 7 players above aren't world class but I fail to see how they could be any worse than watching Gerrard and Lampard fail to perform for England again, at the very least they might keep posession of the football, which is something England have signally failed to do for the best part of 10 years.

    Dump Gerrard and Lampard and England will improve, managing an international side is about picking the best team, not as various England managers have persisted in doing, picking the "best" 11 individuals and hoping they can play together, on the evidence so far, they almost certainly can't.

  • Comment number 28.

    I agree with most of the above comments, England have very few players to choose from who even remotely resemble world class players. I hate to dig up an old can of worms but it is down to the fact that there aren't enough English players playing in the Prem. I know quotas are being introduced but I don't think they go far enough. As for Capello, give him chance to try to mould this present motley crew into something resembling a national team. We are too quick in this country to blame and ditch the managers at this level, to turn the proverbial sows ear into a silk purse takes months, not weeks.

  • Comment number 29.

    England are a poor side now. They nned a reality check.

    So of them should move on and let others player come into the side.

    Heskey it too old and not good enough.
    Owen is too old now, so to suggest that he should come back is ridiculous.

    Beckham, he has been great but move over now David.

    Rooney does have to play up front. When he was at Everton he was an exciting player. Man Utd have held his development back.

    It needs new and young talent.
    The current squad will not get us to the World Cup.

    The under 21s played better.
    Micah Richards should be in the main team.

  • Comment number 30.

    Steven Gerrard is England's one world-class player. We should build the team around him.
    Despite this, you could probably count on one hand the times he has been given his favoured position of central midfield, with a holding player/s behind him and given the liscence to run the game, as he does and has done so brilliantly for Liverpool over the last 4/5 years.

    He has been played wide left, wide right, supporting striker, lone striker and holding mid-field. All of which detract from his natural game.

    On the other hand we have Frank Lampard. Played game in game out (when fit) in a central position, given freedom to do what he wants. (World Cup 2006, started every game, didn't even have a shot on target) In response to this, what he does is absolutley nothing. The guy is nowhere near an international footballer. As a club player he is great, if i were a Chelsea fan i would adore him, but i'm not, i'm a England fan and this bloke is ruining any chance Gerrard, or England have of becoming a force on the international stage.

    Just because he plays for Chelsea dosen't mean we have to put him in the England team.

    Get Frank out before its too late.

  • Comment number 31.

    The problem with picking the England team with the 'top' guys from the Premier League is that they all lack motication. They prefer celebrity, fast cars and WAGS, so after alliegence to their clubs (and their wagepackets) they really don't care enough. Life is already as good as it can get.

    We've tried this plan for way too long and it just doesn't work. We end up throwing ever bigger sums of money to solve the same problems in the same way.

    If it hasn't worked for the past 44 years, why would we think it'ssuddenly going to start working now.

    It's time for something bolder!

    Pick the team from the Championship with players under 25. These are the guys who are still aiming for the big money contracts and are seriously motivated to play well and win.

    And I expect that a 'team' of Championship players would be far better than 11 one man teams of Premier League players.

    Comments please....

  • Comment number 32.

    we should pick players from the championship, they would perform better

  • Comment number 33.

    I could have watched the match free last night but I chose not to. Why? Because although I have been a football fan for over 40 years, I'm sick of the game. Too much money swirling around, too much hype about so called "world class" players, too much advertising/sponsorship, too little talent, too little attention to those who, when times are tough, prop up the game - the fans.
    The FA and the EPL with Sky and Setanta and the Government Sports Minister need to look at the example of the Olympic team, in particular at cycling. The game needs to use its own money to take the structure apart, examine it and rebuild with a target of winning the World Cup in 6 years time. I don't think we have a cat in hell's chance in 2010 even though many seem to think we have to just turn up to win.
    Here's one suggestion: stop paying players to pay for their country. The pride that comes from representing your country - look at the Olympic team for an example - will return, even if we have to start by picking players from lower divisions.

  • Comment number 34.

    subterranean makes the most valid point i think. Gerrard is utterly and totally overhyped.

    Tactically inept, inflexible and frankly, a sulker when not played as an attacking midfielder. Zidane and Ronaldinho are wo examples of great attacking midfielders, genuinely world class.

    Gerrard cannot touch these guys. Great engine, decent tackler, brilliant striker of the ball from range BUT an awful first touch which goes unnoticed, no left foot, positionally and tactically incompetent and a terrible short passing game mean he is NOT world class.

    On form only Joe Cole and Rooney have the technically ability...this is why Cole can go a job on the left of midfield and Gerrard cant...Rooney needs to be told to stop dropping back and running around like a loon looking for the ball

  • Comment number 35.

    To Subterranean and Jonesstrikesback: I don't think i've heard anything so ridiculous for a long time! To suggest Steven Gerrard is not a world class player is just plain ludicrous. He would be straight in the midfield of ANY club in the whole world bar none - which to me suggests his world class credentials on its own. Coupled with the performances he puts in for Liverpool for probably 90% of the games he plays in along with his two heroic performances in the finals of 2005/2006 and it is proof enough of his quality.

    Very often he is one of the best players in England games and the reason he is not as consistant is his constant reshuffling in the team. with regard to the comments earlier: (Zidane started on the left with a licence to go wherever he liked - due to protection from vieira and makelele/petit - which Gerrard does not get with England when no defensive midfielder plays - Ronaldinho didn't have to defend and played virtually in a three up front with Etoo and Messi) He can be subdued in England games as he does not get the quality of passing that he does at Liverpool and has to go chasing - we cant string two passes together at the moment!

    Chelsea have tried to sign him, Ferguson said he would buy him but he would never come and Arsenal cant afford him, along with Real Madrid/Barca/Inter's constant comments every summer they want to buy him, doesn't suggest the qualities of an average player to me.

    The fact you defend Rooney (who hasn't played well for England since 2004 Euros) leads me to believe your probably Man Utd fan who probably thinks Wes Brown deserves his role in the England team ;)

  • Comment number 36.

    I hope, god i hope, that if you fail to achieve what you expect that you hold your hands up and admit that the english team is nowhere near as good as what you think and the players are not at the standard you believe.

    No one, not phill mcnulty nor my mum, will tell me cappello doesnt knwo what hes doing. if it all fals apart again, the players must take the blame and most must be chopped.

    Personally, terry needs booted, hes inept. he charges about and looks great and full of passion......but abilty is really what you need. lampard needs dumped to, gerrard in a zidane type role, barry behind him with instructions to switch play as qucikly as possible as its all very predictable. You never see england create 2 v 1 sitautions in the final third, yet this is one of the holy grails in in the final 3rd.

    Also, a central striker......not rooney, id put him right wing with cole left. Crouch as a target man maybe.

    but again....cappello is the man. He knows the gaem better than any englishmen alive. The players are the ones who clearyl havent a clue

  • Comment number 37.

    Being a Premiership player is like knowing that you're going to win the lottery EVERY WEEK for the next five years.

    Lottery winners might be renowned for saying 'The money won't change me' but of course it does.

    How many really go back to work with the same enthusiasm as before.

    How could they? It's just human nature.

    So WHY do we expect premiership players to play well for their country when it really doen't matter - and the legacy of being an England Player is not winning anything anyway.

    Heck even I could lose in an England shirt - and for far less money!

    Then we have the England 'TEAM'

    It's not ateam when the players all come from other rival teams for a couple of days a month. It's more of a convention.

    It only becomes a team when the they are all together, post-season, for extended periods, living in each other's pockets.

  • Comment number 38.

    The biggest danger for English football is apathy. Is anyone really surprised by the poor performances anymore?
    How Beckham, Lampard, Defoe, James and Terry get anywhere near the starting line up is beyond me, and going by the posts today beyond most people.
    I for one no longer care about the football team anymore, I'll be watching the rugby team instead. The rugby team may not be the best in the world, but at least you know they actually give a **** about the national shirt.
    English football - a national disgrace.

  • Comment number 39.

    Same old stories, blame every one but not yourself, why can’t we start to believe that English footballers are not as good as English media propagandise?
    Look at the other sports in this year Olympic where there were no media exaggeration about them and start to believe the worst enemy of English footballers is the high expectation that force us to believe a bunch of very ordinary players as world class players.
    A large majority of so called world class English footballer will not be selected in any other European national teams.

  • Comment number 40.

    Why do people need to complicate this any further than is necessary? England's poor performances can be isolated right down to the central midfield - i.e. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

    These 2 players together simply do not work. England managers should stop pandering to Lampard and leave him on the subs bench, pairing Lampard with somebody like Hargreaves, Barry or Carrick. This would give Gerrard, who is undoubtedly England's best player (and I'm a United fan) more freedom to play how he plays best - instead of stifling him as is the case when he plays with Lampard.

    You just have to look at the last Euro qualifiers - England played better when Lampard was out of the squad (due to injury) and Gerrard was paired with either Barry (who was a revelation) or Hargreaves.

    I remember back to the last World Cup when commentators during it, and Chelsea fans after it, kept going on about Lampard having had more shots at goal than anyone else in the contest - what a pity his scoring rate was 0%!

    Frank's a good player, but Gerrard is the best in England and players such as those others already mentioned have the game the fits in well with Gerrard's.

    Do what needs to be done, Fabio Capello, and drop Lampard from the starting 11.

  • Comment number 41.

    I meant 'pairing Gerrard with 'those players'' in the second para above - not Lampard.

  • Comment number 42.

    Some really excellent observations, although I must correct the poster who suggested Brian Barwick's reign lasted 10 years.

    I know I am in trouble every time I mention Gerrard (am I a Liverpool or Everton fan I ask myself?) but he is world class.

    If Liverpool put him up for sale this afternoon they would be knocked down in the rush to Anfield's door.

    This rush would include every top club in European football - have no doubts on that score.

    I agree it will take Capello time to reshape English football, but he has some serious problems to solve.

    Interesting thoughts on whether Rooney should actually be in the team.

    The point is made, but if he was left out (and I do not believe he should be), then who would be the alternative?

    I watch Rooney now and it seems some of the natural excitement and unpredictability that was so apparent when he first came on the scene has gone, hopefully temporarily.

    I would not leave him out - I would tell him he is a striker and stick to being one. By all means drop deep, but not as much as he does now.

    In Capello's defence, I do not think England have been as good as they thought they were for years and this is a legacy he is currently having to deal with.

    I have been to major tournaments where foreign journalists were laughing at England's exit because of the confidence they demonstrated - before being knocked out.

    Maybe it is time to finally show some modesty and humility about England's lack of success.

  • Comment number 43.

    i really dont care about Brian Barwick's departure. its probablky a good thing as the FA is overloaded with men in suits. i actually thought he was the boss and didnt realise there was a chairman above him. Which reminds me what does Trevor Brooking do ?

    as for england. yet another groundhog night. watching them play you would never guess there was a new manager at the helm. this side could have been put out by Sven or Mcclaren - it was praxcticaly an identikit team comprised of a lot of players who have failed to perform and deliver at the highest level.

    a few key points. lampard and gerrard replicate each other in midfield and do not compliment each other. rooney should play in the role bobby charlton used to, supported by one or possibly two good fast "inside forwards" who can also play wide ( bentley and cole maybe) + a good supporting striker ( not heskey please)

    as for beckham. well i think he has had enough caps and it is time to say thank you and good bye.

    the crucial question for the FA and barwicks successor ( not that we need one) is where is the young talent that is going to win us the next world cup.

    as for the tv rights. well i agree that the national game should be on the national channel that is fuinded by license payers, but unfortunately the BBC's has a very poor atttitude to covering sport. they do not bother to bid for cricket rights and prefer to invest money in fringe channels rather that developing a decent and dedicated Sports channel. The irony is that BBC sports coverage is generally the best and like carlsberg , if they did sports channels it would probably be the best, but alas they dont

  • Comment number 44.

    Why is Gerrard constantly being excused at international level? It is utter rubbish to continuously make up stories about how he gets isolated on the wings. Many times, he picked up the ball centrally last night.

    He simply isn't as good as he is made out

    What an arrogant blog to suggest the writer knows more than Capello, a proven winner and extremely succesful coach

  • Comment number 45.

    Those empty corporate seats on full display once again during the game pretty much sum up the current FA cronies running the game.

  • Comment number 46.

    i just think the players we have simply are not as good as we think they are !

    fine we have gerrard, lampard, rooney but they are surrounded by a bunch of foreigners that are far better....

    look at the front line no one is that good or playing at the top of european football bar rooney !

    midlfield lampard and gerrard are the only ones within the midfield playing week in week out but are not the top players in there team anymore..

    defence is the only thing i think we have ! but we have a dodgey keeper and every team has to have a world class keeper...

    the reason the premier league is "the best league in the world" is because of the foreign influx not english players....

    how many of that squad actaully are the best in thier team ? prob none...

    thinks its time we faced it that we are now a nation that on there day can be good but overall are now on par with likes of croatia, czechs, and way behind spain etc.....

    we just dont have the players anymore...

  • Comment number 47.

    The Olympics has really put English football into perspective for me. The achievements of those such as Adlington, Ohuruogu, Danvers and Hoy (although I know that the latter is Scottish), the way they carry themselves, and the sheer determination and gritty pride they display at competing at an international level whilst earning a mere fraction of what these pampered, media-built husks of footballing 'sportsmen' do puts english football to shame. The consistent, tired and unimaginative selections and tactics DO NOT WORK! Lampard has got to be the most overrated player I have ever seen. I think Terry was perhaps the wrong choice for captain and that Rio should have got the armband, but above all else England need to play to their strengths. Where was a full start for Downing on the left where he belongs? Why do we have an ageing 'talisman' on the right with little pace and waning ball skills. Beckham is no Figo by any stretch of the imagination and must be let go. If England are to persist with a 4-4-2 formation then we need wide midfielders with pace. Gerrard needs to have the attacking team built around him if we want to get anything out of him: a striker or two in front of him and a defensive midfielder behind at the very least. He has the ability to play the role that Fabregas undertook for Spain, but at the moment that is not the game that England are playing. Then again, a good many of the players look tired, jaded, less confident and lacking ability. At least if the players/tactics were shuffled around then we might be able to avoid this stifling converatism that is threatening to ruin our national football.

  • Comment number 48.

    McLaren dropped Lampard and immediately things looked up. Fans became heartened that we were moving in the right direction. SM got a break from everybody. Then when it mattered against Croatia he bottled it and put Lampard back in with Gerrard. Result? Same old same old even Grannie McNulty knows doesn'r work.

    So Capello dropped Lampard. Hooray! He learned from McLaren's mistake. Oh, wait a minute, he hasn't.

  • Comment number 49.








    Subs - Robinson, Woodgate, Bridge, Brown, Lampard, A.Young, Crouch/Owen (if fit)

  • Comment number 50.

    Kapnag, Gerrard is world class - that cannot be denied - the best English player by a LONG STRETCH - to say otherwise is absolute crud. I'm a United fan, and so have no loyalty to Liverpool or Gerrard - but the man is leaps and bounds above everyone else and can be an inspiration through his ability to turn games (the sensational comeback from 3-0 down in the Champ League final being the most notable example). However, in the current setup, he is stifled.

    Although I don't agree with 95% of what McNulty says - everyone is entitled to an opinion - and his job is to induce discussion on the subject.

  • Comment number 51.

    Doctro Blue Banana everything you listed is the same for every national team. Why should it be an excuse for England?

    As for the shouts to get becks into retirement - althought I agree in principle he's the only person to have a decent game under Capello.

    Finally for the comments regading putting out a all championship 11, please, please do I need a good laugh.

    I do agree though that there needs to be a bit of a shuffle and guys like lampard need to spend more time getting piles on the bench and less time playing like a pile of -----on the pitch.

  • Comment number 52.

    we are just rubbish and over rated, what makes everyone think we have the players that are better than the like of spain etc now ???

    what have we shown since euro 96 that we deserve to be at the top !!

    think we have to face it that we are way way over rated

    what players in that squad would walk into any other top national team i would almost say they all have a gerrard and rooney !!

  • Comment number 53.


    that's a diamond - remember the fun we had with that? I'd go for Barry-Gerrard in the middle, with young on the left, and any choice of bentley/lennon/cole, otherwise fine - although remember Richards is just back from injury and wes brown is a fine right back

  • Comment number 54.

    Like everybody else I am upset and in a way angry about last nighs performance.
    I think the time has come now for someone to step forward and take a ruthless and radical approach by not including players who are the big money earners that obviously view England internationals as an inconveinience to their high flying social life. This is never more evident at the weekend when we saw Frank Lampard reel down the pitch kissing the Chelsea badge to the delight of the fans as a testiment to the love he has for the club. Nothing to do with a 34m 5 year deal. It sickened me to see that on TV. lets get one thing straight, the Lampard and Gerrard combination is never going to work, so lets not try compromising other players' talent by attempting to fit them both in. The time has come where, personally, I would not include James/Ferdinand/A,Cole/Lampard/Heskey in the next friendlies. Lets do something completely radical and go for what might be seen as lesser English players in the eyes of the public, but with steel and the hunger required to compete on this new era at international level. Instead of those players, my radical team would read: Hart/G,Neville/Terry/Carragher/Bridge/Gerrard/J,Bullard/J,Cole/D,Bentley/Rooney/Ashton. Subs: Carson/Lescott/Woodgate/Defoe/Beckham/Owen/Agbonlahor.
    What do all these players have in common? A raw doggedness to beat most teams. You cant rely on skill from a player to see you through. It is transparently obvious that the high earners do not necessarily conclude to a team winning mentality. But by employing players in the mould of Bullard that do the thrive on consistantly doing the basics of football right.
    Comments please?

  • Comment number 55.

    Can I just say watching and reading about England makes me so glad I am from Northern Ireland. I just can't see why England fans create such a fuss about their team. As Northern Ireland fans we go into every game whole-heartedly thinking we can win, although if it doesn't happen(particularly against the bigger teams) we're not exactly shocked. England fans should have the same attitude as records speak for themselves. England have been poor over over the last ten years, they haven't underachieved, they are not that good. Why the FA seem to think England can win a world cup confuses me. It's not like they have challenged since the Bobby Robson era. Yes, England have a good squad but can someone please tell me why every manager picks the players then fits a formation around them when it should clearly be the other way around. Gerrard is world class in the middle, on the left he feels understandably out of position and can someone tell me why young and abgonlahor don't start every game? I mean I'm a man u fan but these guys are good. Fellow bloggers I ask you this..As croatian defenders, who would you rather play against agbonlahor or heskey?

  • Comment number 56.

    It was once decided that Paul Gascoigne and Matt Letissier could never work. Why is it that even people who have no clue about football are informed well enough by now to question the Lampard and Gerrard pairing - COME ON NOW IT'S BEEN ONGOING FOR 10YEARS.
    If i was was in a job i can't stand i would have left it
    If i did a course that wasn't for me i would have changed it
    If i'd purchased something that didn't work i'd have returned it
    ....And it wouldn't have taken 10 years.
    And it's not like either player has to miss out, 45mins each and see who's better. End of.
    Enjoyed this article.

  • Comment number 57.

    lampard is anon. rubbish. he goes missing. get shut.

    we miss a player like scholes, who can create chances with his touch, vision, and execution. gerrard is a decent box to box man, with a good shot and high work rate. but he's not creative enough to pull things out of the bag at this level, especially when there's pressure on - which england seem to feel all the time now. scholesy has matured into a different player from the one bags loads of goals to one who picks up the ball deeper, and orcistrates the team's attack. but he loves united much more than england, and won't come back.

    until we start developing players with greater technical ability, we'll always have this debate and fustration.

    my 2p is put rooney on the left and joe cole on the right. let them swap wings, come in and confuse defences - drift into the middle off the front men - play as they do for their clubs. they also have the best technical ability in the team to but passes on. sit hargreaves to cover the back four, let gerrard rampage about. and play michael owen with someone else.

    we can always stick becs on the bench if we want to return to the way we play now, which is score only off set plays because we're clueless about how to play football!

  • Comment number 58.


    Gerrard isn't the best English player by a long stretch and he isn't world class, in world terms Xavi and Fabregas both show him the way home as central midfielders and there are others I could name, Gerrard is barely a central midfielder at all, his tackling is nothing to write home about and without an enforcer behind him he's lost, including in that European final that you're so keen on raising.

    He's tactically inept, lacking any sort of positional discipline and without a frontman with pace to burn (ie Torres) his passing is often exposed as over ambitious, for all Lampard's faults his short passing is far more reliable than Gerrard's as is frankly Carrick's.

    England's ball retention is poor, that is directly attributable to the midfield, genuine world class midfielders can take a game by the scruff of the neck and dictate a tempo, Roy Keane could do that on his own, Steven Gerrard patently cannot, the much discussed scramble for his services has almost entirely consisted of an abortive approach by Chelsea getting on for 3 years ago, rumours about Gerrard have been conspicuous by their absence this summer and last, compare and contrast that to Fabregas.

    Gerrard is a decent player but he isn't the world beater some would have you believe.

  • Comment number 59.

    I think there have been some valid points raised here, but on the cash front I disagree.

    Firstly any payment received for playing for England is forfited to a childrens charity.

    Secondly being picked for England automaticaly raises your earning potential, therefore it is farcical to say that cash demotivates them.

    I would argue and it has been the case for a long time that are best players are picked and not the best team, We must get away from reputation and if your English and play for a big club you are in mentality.

    Lampard is a joke at international level,I too only heard his name once in the match lowlights he goes missing far too much.

    As for Rooney how can you continue to play a player that has scored so few goals for England is beyond me....Oh I get it you cant drop him because he plays for Man Utd!

    Mr Capello please be a leader and make the necessary decisions drop these prima donna players and play players who are hungry or play them to their strengths.

    So what if Gerrard isn't world class because he cant play down the left side of midfield, play him where he can hrt people lets play to our strenghts 4-4-2 fast and physical and I will say this that there wont be many teams that will fancy playing us if we play like we do in the premier league (or Championship for that matter)

  • Comment number 60.

    On the subject of Barwick, I believe the build up to the appointment of Steve McClaren was his biggest mistake.

    It was regarded as an open secret within the game that Martin O'Neill was Barwick's man to succeed Sven-Goran Eriksson, but it seemed he could not carry the FA with him.

    This was the catalyst for the ill-fated and bungled pursuit of Luiz Felipe Scolari.

    Once that went wrong Barwick should have returned to the FA and stated that O'Neill must be appointed - stake his reputation on it.

    There would have been no guarantee of success, but he would have been a better option than the awful doomed compromise that was McClaren.

    I still maintain, however, that Barwick had his successes and it would be sad if his tenure was painted as a total failure. This would be a case of history being unkind to him.

  • Comment number 61.

    Does no one else understand that if you play someone else in the hole (both gerrard and lampard were constantly pushing into rooney territory).... then it forces rooney out into different positions.

    People think he justs runs about.... but he is being pushed out of position.

    Cappelo is yet another mug that has to play all the stars. good times :(

  • Comment number 62.

    England dont have the players.

    England dont have the technique.

    England dont have the bottle.

    England dont seem to have the manager.

    England dont have the right FA.

    England wont win anything until all of that changes.


  • Comment number 63.

    Won't it be a thrill for all of Britain's gold medallists to see David Beckham atop that bus in Beijing?

    (More sarcasm is available on request)

  • Comment number 64.

    It's been said a million times, but England really do need to get over themselves.

    Your team DOES NOT have a divine right to be world beaters. Did you really think you would just brush the Czechs aside - a team that actually qualified for the most recent tournament, and were unlucky to be eliminated?

    The fact is most of these teams that England come up against, and which the fans and English press seem to expect to be easily beaten, are BETTER TEAMS than England.

    The sooner you realise your team is not particularly good, the better. Unrealistic expectations will get you nowhere. England will be lucky to qualify for the next World Cup.

  • Comment number 65.

    The midfield is simple: MR Bentley, MC Gerrard and Hargreaves (or Carrick doesn't really matter) ML J Cole. It's a done deal. Tell Beckham thanks but no thanks. Lampard can sit on the bench and come on only for Gerrard so that the pair dont play in the same team ever again. Where is the problem? Why can't the management ever see it, it's so obvious? The back 4 is straight forward and pretty much picks itself. In terms of selection England's only problems are who to play in goal and who plays up front with Rooney.

  • Comment number 66.

    World class players do not become utterly ineffective if they are played in a different position.

    I'm not saying Gerrard is poor, but he is constantly excused from poor performances. It's always someone else's fault. He doesn't have the impact at international level

    This is nothing to do with who I support - this is fact.

  • Comment number 67.

    Barwick is a legend. Anyone who can appoint Steve McClaren is OK in ma book! :D

  • Comment number 68.

    the firece rivalry between clubs in England is ruining the england set up.....i bet they hate each other.......more english players need to move abroad and get a grip........

  • Comment number 69.

    Being a keen follower of the Premiership I pay a lot of attention to England games despite not being English myself (I'm Irish). My own belief is that England's problems come from a lack of discipline in their players especially in midfield. Gerrard and Lampard thrive at club level because others in midfield stick to a very rigid defensive position but nobody is doing this job for the national team. As a team they lack the discipline to keep the ball. This is especially evident when things are going wrong for them as a team and the ball keeps coming back at them. It makes me believe that either England players do not understand the game tactically or else they are unwilling to fill the roles that are required by the team.

    It often seems to happen in England games that the opposition find a weakness in the England set-up and can keep picking at it because no player recognises the problem and fills in the gap.

  • Comment number 70.

    I cannot understand this critiscism of Lampard. He made nearly all of his passes, tackled well, and was constantly calling for the ball, but where were his team mates? He didnt know, Gerrard looked good for a while but his passing was atrocious, Ferdinand ...was he playing?. Barry (18M) what the hell did he do?apart from get a yellow card and cause the free kick that led to the 2nd goal?.
    Rooney ...Gone
    Beckham...1 cross above knee height
    When you have Gerrard, Beckam, and Rooney playing in the same team you might as well throw tactics out of the window...because NONE of them will hold he position the manager wants! People want to know why can't England play to their capabilities the answer is, nobody knows where anybody is!!

  • Comment number 71.

    Everyone seems to be baffled why the English players could not produce their club forms. No one ever said that the other good players they have at their respective clubs are not English. When they play with better players, they would play better obviously. Better players draw defenders away and create more space.
    I am sure that if England had Drogba as CF, Ronaldo on right wing and even Mascherano as DM, England would have won easily.
    Gerrard, Lampard and Rooney can play so well for their clubs simply because of the good foreign players in their respective clubs.

  • Comment number 72.

    Agree with lots of the comments today - especially the Olympics analogy - and it would be nice to see both the BBC and wider media pick up on the amount of frustration out there and that we the fans do know what we're watching from time to time and do get increasingly disenchanted by the levels of performance and commitment on and off the field. Let us all now wait for that "sneaked out in the middle of the night" announcement later in the year as to what Barwick's "payoff" will be from the FA - and then wonder why fans express such anger at the prices and subscriptions they pay. One further interesting comment to add also in the Setanta debate is that anyone watching the game on there last night might have been finally pleased but also somewhat surprised to hear both commentators and panelists laying into the team quite heavily from early in the second half - well heavily for TV coverage anyway! Now wasn't one "rumour" that the BBC had lost coverage of the team because they had somehow been "too critical" in their analysis as we went ahead and collapsed in the Euro 2008 qualifiers? Or did Setanta just offer a lot of money and that was it? I wonder!!!

  • Comment number 73.

    Can anyone argue a case for any of the following players ousting the prima donas we put out for internationals after last nights lame performance?

    1) Leon Osman (everton)

    2) jimmy Bullard (Fulham)

    3) Steve Sidwell (Aston Villa)

    4) Dean Ashton (West Ham)

    5) Gabby Agbonlahor (Aston Villa)

  • Comment number 74.

    I'm in the Gerrard isn't World Class camp, in fact I don't think any of our players are, possibly Rio but no-one else. If you take Gerrard's club form alone then you can make a case for him being World Class (which is based on a handful of 25 yard strikes and a few surging runs in 2005) but I still don't think he has the all-round technical and tactical ability to be deemed World Class. Based on international form Gerrard is certainly not World Class and wouldn't walk into any of the top 8 international sides - Rio might, Ashley and Joe Cole maybe - but this is based on form from 3/4 years ago and are having a laugh.

    People saying 'we have a world class team who just need to be shown the way by a world class manager' are frankly, deluded. We are a 2nd tier team at best - we are miles behind Spain, Germany, Argentina, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Brazil, etc. The sooner we accept this and move on the sooner we will begin to see progress. I sensed a shift in the media and pundits view last night - especially from the once one-eyed jingoist 'Arry Redknapp. He alluded to it and very nearly said it - guys, we are just not that good. After years of baying to the England team how refreshing would it be for our one-eyed England pundits to just admit we're average, nothing more.

    There is a theory abound that English players in the England team are made to look much better than they are at club level by their foreign counterparts - Vidic, Carvalho, Alonso, Mascherano, Essien, Makelele, Cech, Van Der Sar, Torres, Ronaldo, Tevez, etc, etc, etc. These players provide the higher level of technical ability, the guile and the finesse that gets their teams to premiership crowns and CL finals. The more I see of England (Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool without the foreigners) the more I subsribe to this theory. If you played a game of the best foreigners in the Prem vs England I believe that England would get well and truely trounced, providing further evidence that we're just not that good.

    The solution - lord knows. But I'd start with turfing out every player who played in that woeful team last night, with the exception of our Centre Backs as there really is no other alternative, and go from there.

  • Comment number 75.

    I agree with Hex that bearing in mind England failed to qualify for the Euros that anybody we face immediately places us as underdogs. Ok.

    In Capello we have an Italian and we know of his credentials and fair enough. If Capello was brought in to inject a bit if Italian style to our play then i think AC Milan and 18months unbeaten, i think of Roberto Baggio and i also think great we can expect another dimension to Gerrard or whoever. But this is all a smoke screen.

    Italian football is all about drawing away from home and turning defeat into a draw. This in mind the 2-2 when we were buried last night is actually a good result.
    I get frustrated because the qualifiers are looming and we are no further prepared than we were under Mclown and for all the friendlies and time to reflect, we are not implementing a midfield system that works. Gerrard on the left didn't and i don't expect to see it again.

  • Comment number 76.

    England's biggest problem is that we don't have any forward players who are both creative and quick.

    In recent squads, England have picked Beckham, Gerrard, Rooney, Owen, Joe Cole, Bentley, Downing, Wright-Phillips, Heskey, Crouch, Ashton, etc, etc and not one of them has any real pace. The only regular member of the England team with real pace is Ashley Cole and although he get's forward alot he isn't really very productive. The only other squad member with any pace is Theo Walcott and although he is often picked for the squad, he never gets a game.

    This means that regardless of whether we have a few players who can create something, teams can sit back and we will never get beyond them and get into really dangerous attacking positions. Instead we cross the ball from just inside our own half and get nowhere.

    As people have pointed out, we aren't technically as good as most of our rivals for qualification so we should play like we do in the EPL. This is a good thoery, but the reason the EPL is so good is because of the pace that it is played at. It's just unfortunate for the England team the pace is provided by players from other countries. Until the team has the ability to run at pace at the opposition it will be the same old dros, regardless of who we pick.

  • Comment number 77.

    Well done Brian, you made the FA much richer. What a legacy.

    The man had a career working in the media. Ooh, he edited MOTD; that qualified him to have one of the most important jobs in British football. Oh well at least he can go back to his 1930's butchers shop.

    The FA need to wake up. The whole 'semi final in 2010' in stupid. We need to take a longer look at our football and I thought Capello would do that but after last night's game I'm not so sure.

    Most of the England fans will be happy if they think some progress is being made. Even if we lose and try new things/players. Not with a McClaren style squad and STOP PLAYING LAMPARD!!!!

    It's been said many times before, but I've watched loads of the olympics and I felt proud to be British for the first time watching sport in years. The competitors from all countries put football to shame and our boys and girls were honoured to be on that stage representing our country - something you cannot say about the vast majority of our footballers.

  • Comment number 78.

    Wasnt Barwick also responsible for arranging the NFL match at Wembely that completely ruined the pitch for Englands most important match for years against Croatia. The same game in which the roof of the most expensive football stadium failed to close.

    Forget about how useless our national team are, we seriously need to sort out the FA, a pathetic excuse for an organisation who are far more concerned with the money they can generate through advertising and TV rights than any hope of development of the game in England. The FA are a disgrace, and the sacking/resignation of Barwick is a small step in the right direction.

  • Comment number 79.

    I think the problem is that now it has become a chore to play for england and they dont relish the opportunity unless your a young player getting your first cap. There is a lot of pressure to play for england and when someone doesnt play well they get slagged off in the press, or even worse booed on the night (lampard) which i dont think helps.
    I just think that most players prefer to play for there clubs with there mates, with better players, in familier surroundings and cant really be bothered with the hassle of playing for england.

  • Comment number 80.

    Sorry Phil, you're wrong. Gerrard is not world class and never has been! But you said it yourself, clubs WOULD be queuing up to buy him if he came up for sale. I have no doubt about that, as he is a 'world class' club player. But not an international. History is soaked through with such players who were inspired for their clubs but ordinary when it came to putting on the shirt of their country. Gerrard is, and always has been (when not injured at crucial times in the past), a percentage international. At best I would say we get one good game in three out of him and that is a kind estimate.
    It would be unfair to label him an under achiever because we have so many others at international level, but his time has certainly come, as have Ferdinand's, Beckham's, Lampard's, Ashley Cole's, David James' etc etc etc.
    We should all be worried that in 2008, Emile Heskey represents a realistic option in attack. I mean, why stop there.. I'm sure Teddy and Alan would also represent a realistic alternative to the 'ordinary' options that we are currently faced with.
    Clear them all out and bring in the kids. At least they will be proud to wear the shirt, will have as much chance as the current team of qualifying for thew WC and even if they don't, will be a far more experienced unit for the tournaments thereafter..
    There's my two pence worth....

  • Comment number 81.

    I firmly believe that we expect too much from our England team. Like in most other team sports we simply aren't that good. You can bleat on about Gerrard or Rooney all you want but the fact of the matter is we aren't that good. The Czechs, like Croatia before them, showed us how to play and are far superior in technique and tactical know-how. Do you all really believe that if we dropped Lampard we would suddenly become world beaters??

    And by the way why is Ashley Young not even in the squad???

  • Comment number 82.

    Posts like the ones from 'Hex Enduction Hour' drive me up the wall.

    Why don't these people read the opinions here instead of launching into a tirade against English fans just because it suits their agenda. How many posters on this thread say England are world beaters. Not one! The issue is 'Same old Same old', and we were promised something different with Capello.

    I'm sure the fools at the FA didn't imagine they would be watching hit and hope 50 yard passes to Emile Heskey, a few weeks before WC qualifying, when they employed Capello.

  • Comment number 83.

    The simple facts are how they have been for many years in regards to England players.

    They don't honestly care.

    They get together for a few days every couple of months and play a few games that in their eyes are meaningless.

    There is no comeback on their performances, they will still get their vast weekly wage irrespective of the way they perform for England. By the time the squad assembles for the next game, a poor performance is forgotten in a haze of applause pulled from a Premier League game.

    They don't want to get injured for England and miss out on a match bonus for their club. They won't get admonished by their club manager for not performing for England. In this day and age of club vs country, they'd probably be patted on the back for not extending themselves. No club wants their player injured and missing big games.

    As long as they are earning their £100,000+ per week for turning in great performances in a league where scoring a hat-trick against a club who wins one game in a season is met in the press with comments of 'best player in the world' is all they need to hear. They will ignore any of the press regarding last nights game.

    Foreign players is not the reason for our lack of success. The lack of commitment to the cause by pretty mediocre players is the reason. The gutless, pandering and downright ignorance of England managers time and time again is the reason.

    A player like Ashley Young for example. The best English player in the Premier League last year bar none, in most pundits and TV channels teams of the season. Has a excellent start to the season. Gets left out of the squad in favour of a player who is picked simply because of his name. Beckham is so far below Young now in performances, drive, ability and determination that it's embarrassing that he's in the squad.

    Emile Heskey, who has never ever performed in an England shirt gets picked. Lampard and Gerrard, still to perform for England like they do for their clubs for England - get picked time and time again. They NEVER perform. They WILL NEVER perform. The huge salaries they receive will not let them. Capello is not picking for the future, as every football fan wanted him to. He's just the same old worn out idea that the last two managers have been.

    Rebecca Adlington gets £8,000 a year to swim. Her goal is to win gold for her country and the adulation and riches it may bring with it. Frank Lampard gets paid £151,000 a week. That's all the adulation he requires. A piece of gold or a place in football folklore doesn't matter.

    The reason it doesn't matter? Because winning a World Cup will not change his life. Adlington winning two gold medals has changed hers forever.

  • Comment number 84.

    typical of English players really. Gerrard is asked to play behind the striker similar to his club but sulks and is incapbale of doing anything other than play in the middle where this world class star has not had a good game for England since we beat the mighty Andorra.

    The players are uselss, they have no idea how to retain possession and keep a basic shape when they don't have the ball, they have no idea how to play international football and never will. Once again we will go back to the high temp nonsence that never works against good sides.

    They go running around like morons with Rooney winning the ball back in defence then wondering where the options are, well you are the option Wayne, you are doing someones elses job but no one else is going to do yours.

    Absolute rubbish and if these players want the real reason why they can't play for country as they do for clubs. there is a clue. When at Chelsea lampard has Essien, Ballack, Deco, Makele etc to do the groundwork whilst he runs around and shoots. Gerrard has Mascareno and Alonso to do the brain work, Rooney has Ronaldo, Scholes, Giggs but for England they are left alone and look lost. Anopther clue is club football and international football is not the same.

    What we need is a playmaker to link defence to attack like Xavi for Spain. Instead we just hope to score from a deflected Lampard shot or a free kick.

    We can keep changing managers but we'll never change the mentality of our players, fans and media which continues to leave us in the dark ages. The last manager to try and get us to play the right way was Hoddle who was hounded out.

  • Comment number 85.

    Over rated and over paid is the only way I can describe these England players and until the premier league puts a cap on the number of foreign players allowed at each club then the national team is always going to suffer.

    The puropse of the premier league should in my opinion be to produce players to compete at international level and not to line the pockets of foreign imports. Until this is addressed then performances like last night and failiure to qualify for international tournaments will be the norm!!

  • Comment number 86.

    In regard to Barwick I personally feel it is good riddance.

    This is the man that preferred Steve McLaren as manager over the other shortlist of Martin O'Neill, Harry Redknapp and Sam Allardyce.

    All I can say is that Steve McLaren must have given a VERY good interview!

    Oh and Barwick was also repsonsible for the whole Scolari farce!

  • Comment number 87.

    Posts from Hex Enduction Hour are amazing. I haven't read it but references to The Fall are all too rare on the BBC soprts website!

  • Comment number 88.

    Number one this was only a friendly and means nothing in the greater scheme of things against a team who recently played together in a mjor championships so where together for weeks learning to play together, against a side not really into the new season yet physically or mentally. Its not the end of the world. Secondly lampard and gerrard can both play in midfield together but it means a change of system, we have to play the chelsea 4.5.1, with probably barry t the anchor role and gerrard and lampard bombing on playing how they do for their respective clubs, with joe cole on the left and maybe rooney out on the right as he hasnt been successful leading the line for england, and probably owen still our only potent goal threat when hes fit. We hav never performed well in friendlies so i say we need to judge cappello in competitive games and see how we improve. Nothing can be as bad as mcclaren, the only way is up!

  • Comment number 89.

    No disrespect to J Terry but for the new broom to sweep clean he should have chosen a different captain if only for the psychological aspect.

    For me it was the same old same old.

    Waste of money.

  • Comment number 90.

    newcastlecanary. Let's hope you're not next up for the England job!

  • Comment number 91.

    Barwick has been a disaster throughout - there have been zero highs. In addition to what has already been stated, I would like to add the fact that he should have waited until after the World Cup before appointing Sven's successor because he would then have had a better idea who was successful/available. He also again made the mistake of announcing Capello before contracts were signed. Then there was talk of a £4M salary. Lo and behold, £6M was eventually decided on. Capello could ask for whatever and whoever he wanted knowing full well that Barwick could not afford another Scolari cock-up. It wasn't McClaren's fault we didn't qualify for Euro 2008 - it was Barwick's - for recruiting a manager who was clearly never going to be up to the job. He should have gone at that point.

  • Comment number 92.

    Silly Phil. Gerrard is not world class. England has no world class players. Capello is doing what he can. He's trying systems that, gasp, aren't the outdated, redundant 4-4-2s.

    Maybe if the players had some humility they'd try their best at working with the manager, rather than moaning about being "out of position" and ending up counter-productive to what Capello wants us to do: play -football-.

    Interesting to see J.Cole now classify himself as a winger. Anyone remember when he classified himself as a central midfielder? Whining about how Mourinho played him wide? But wait, unlike Gerrard, Cole decided to make the best of it and now he and everyone else see him as a winger, one of the best ones we have.

    More praise on Cole please and less on "I only play one way Gerrard". Thanks.

  • Comment number 93.

    I don't know what's worse - the England game or the same old boring comments. Actually the comments are worse. Give me an England meaningless friendly any day with 11 substitutions.

    I trust Cappelo to do the job come 2010!

  • Comment number 94.

    Sorry, I've said it before and I'll say it again, over paid, over rated and over hyped. Keep changing the manager but pick the same players! Sorry but the English PLAYERS just aren't good enough. Have to laugh at all these protests about our "WORLD CLASS" players. Do me a favour, World Class players don't keep giving the ball to the opposition. How many of our World Class players would make say, the Barcelona team or Brazil's? No I have no doubt England will scrape qualification for the 2010 World Cup, behind Croatia. Come summer 2010 the Supermarkets will be full of flags of St George and other memorabilia, the bookies will have England at 7/1 or 8/1 second favourites.The public will lap it up, buy everything, flags will be flying from houses in every street. Then the world class players will go out and fail gloriously, just like they have been doing for over 40 years.

  • Comment number 95.

    No great loss
    Ta Ra

  • Comment number 96.

    Also question:

    If Deco and Ballack can work with Lampard; How can Gerrard, supposedly our best midfielder and on the same level as those two, not make it work?

    I ask this because the usual scenario is blaming Lampard, and while I'm not admonishing from anything. I do find it curious that it is automatically assumed Gerrard is perfect.

    So really, how do Deco and Ballack make it work with Lampard but Gerrard can not?

    Surely the former situation should be more difficult than the latter?

  • Comment number 97.

    England need a team that can retain the ball. Its time to drop those superstars.

    My Team


    Richards, Rio, Terry (cpt), A.Cole

    Bentley, Carrick, Hargreaves, Barry

    Ashton/Crouch, D.Bent

  • Comment number 98.

    I know it was only a friendly and you don't expect England to bust guts to win that game, but you expect to see signs that things have changed since the debacle that covered Steve McLaren's reign and where Sven had the same problems as well.

    Once again we had Gerrard and Lampard in the same side, with Gerrard being pretty ineffective and Lampard being anonymous. Beckham also cannot hack it now at international level. The only signs of improvement were when Downing and Bentley came on and England managed to get wide. I don't understand what is so difficult to get about that.

    The Czechs looked pretty comfortable actually, played very comfortable counter-attacking football and if this was a qualification game I'm sure they would have won convincingly.

  • Comment number 99.

    A lot of people are commenting on desire and the fact that these "world class" players are just not giving us value for money or are in fact just not world class at all...

    perhaps a one off change of tactic... a friendly arranged for an England XI made up of players from non premiership clubs playing against a top quality opposition, not a bi yearly tournament misser. We'd soon see if desire over quality has more merit and the current boys can see what it's like to put the 3 lions on and play with heart...

    When it comes down to it, if we're beaten and we've put our heart and soul into it then we're disappointed but can accept it. This current crop doesn't give us a chance to show that.

  • Comment number 100.

    I'm not going to have a go - I just don't think England are good enough. Not there fault - we just don't have the talent. The real to be investigated is how these players have gotten away with being paid so much. Gerrard is consistently world class, Others such as Lampard is very good but inconsistent with the execution of his talent and the rest of them are ok. Average. Mediocre.

    Analysis Over.


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