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What next for England?

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Phil McNulty | 15:17 UK time, Tuesday, 29 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Rustenburg

England's World Cup squad went their separate ways after returning from the South Africa debacle - with many wondering if they will ever get the chance to repair the damage inflicted on their reputations.

Fabio Capello will discover within weeks if he will take charge of the friendly against Hungary at Wembley in August, but the uncertainty does not only apply to England's Italian coach.

As England landed at Heathrow to a torrent of deserved criticism, speculation about Capello's future was accompanied by debate about who will survive the savage cuts that will surely come after the last 16 exit against Germany.

The cry for England's youth to be given its chance is inevitable and understandable - but is there enough around to effect the radical changes so obviously needed after the brutal exposure of Capello's team by the youthful, energetic and gifted Germans in Bloemfontein?

swp_blog.jpg Wright-Phillips made an appearance in three of England's four games, but failed to shine (Photo: Getty)

Capello gave a hint to his future thinking and who might now be allowed to bring fresh blood to this stale and ageing England squad, that looked jaded in a desperate World Cup campaign.

Whether Capello gets the opportunity to implement the changes remains to be seen, but the usual young suspects will be named whoever is England coach when they next play.

Capello namechecked Arsenal duo Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere, as well as Manchester City's Adam Johnson, who he may privately regret not taking to South Africa in the aftermath of poor performances from Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

He extended the age limit by also talking up the talents of Gabriel Agbonlahor, Owen Hargreaves and Bobby Zamora. The names were not received with a huge outbreak of national fervour and excitement as they left Capello's lips.

So who is in danger of being tossed into the England wilderness and who might get the chance to impress against Hungary?

England's pool of talent is not so deep that a large cross can be placed through the names of the majority of the squad that did their country such a disservice in South Africa.

Joe Hart will now be handed the opportunity to stake his claim to be England's number one goalkeeper. David James was one of the few players to survive with his good name intact from South Africa, but at almost 40 he does not represent the future.

James' time is surely up and he should go, along with West Ham United's Robert Green, whose entire career may now be defined by his mistake that gave Clint Dempsey a goal for the United States in England's opening game in Rustenburg.

Hart should play against Hungary, and Ben Foster must hope he will be able to revive his England career after quitting Manchester United for Birmingham.

Glen Johnson should survive because of a lack of serious rivals, while Gibbs may get the chance to demonstrate he is the natural successor to Ashley Cole. The youngster was hugely impressive at Arsenal until his season was curtailed by injury.

England's central defence was horribly exposed by Germany, and the time has come to also see who might finally replace the time-served central defensive partnership of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand.

They will survive when the next England era begins, but both look vulnerable now, while Matthew Upson was out of his depth against Germany, Ledley King's injury record will count against him and Liverpool's Jamie Carragher has returned to his interrupted international retirement.

Michael Dawson, 26 and still without a cap, was a spectator after replacing the injured Ferdinand in South Africa, and while Bolton Wanderers' Gary Cahill has been in England squads before, he is totally unproven at this elite level.

Everton's coveted teenager Jack Rodwell is another who is now likely to graduate from England's Under-21 team. He may eventually fill a place in central defence, but for now midfield looks his likely destination.

wilshereblog.jpgWilshere showed flashes of his talent while on loan from Arsenal at Bolton last season (Photo: Getty)

In midfield, Michael Carrick's England future will be in jeopardy, while the same should apply to Wright-Phillips after his poor World Cup.

Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard will continue to occupy places in England's midfield, although at 30 and 32 respectively they cannot be counted on for 2014. The same applies to Gareth Barry, so there are holes to be filled.

James Milner did not have a major impact out here, but showed enough to suggest he may adapt eventually, either in a wide position in a central position. Out wide, England will feel they have options, with Theo Walcott still having time to come good, Ashley Young developing at Aston Villa and Manchester City's Johnson arguably the most interesting option of all.

Tall with an ability to play on either flank, he made great strides after moving to Eastlands from Middlesbrough in January, and should get his chance against the Magyars.

Arsenal youngster Wilshere is regarded as one for the future, but is clearly nowhere near the finished article, and this season's internationals may come too soon for him.

Wayne Rooney will be 28 by the time the next World Cup comes around, but he should still be England's main striker. Emile Heskey must finally be jettisoned, while Peter Crouch will wonder if he will ever get the chance to play regularly for his country.

Agbonlahor has a chance to press home his claims, but again there are question marks over whether he is international class.

England's Under-17 team that won the European Championship recently is spearheaded by Ipswich Town youngster Connor Wickham, and hopes are high in the international set up that he will develop into an outstanding player.

The fall-out from South Africa will cover England for months, and with qualifiers for Euro 2012 on the horizon, there is no time to lose. It underlines the scale of the task awaiting either Capello or his eventual successor.


STAY: Hart, G.Johnson, A. Cole, Terry, Dawson, Ferdinand, Lennon, Gerrard, Lampard, Barry, Milner, Rooney, Defoe, Crouch.

GO: Green, Upson, Carragher, Wright-Phillips, Heskey, Carrick.

IN DANGER: James, J. Cole, Warnock.

CONTENDERS: Gibbs, Cahill, Wilshere, A. Johnson, Agbonlahor, Rodwell, Walcott, Wickham.

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Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Cant say as I disagree with a lot of the points you've made (unusually).

    However I dont think Ferdinand warrants a place in the side. Whilst not advocating wholesale blood letting, I do think that now is the time for some radical rethinks and I would start with Cahill and Dawson with Hart in goal as the first look at a new defensive unit.
    Barry I'm afraid showed that despite the hype he is not genuinely international class and I wouldnt complain if he was left out.

    But I digress. The point I really want to make is that the younger players should be given their chance but not for one game only as sometimes it takes a while to find your feet at such a rarified level. Lets have the likes of Walcott (et al) in the team and play him for at least 5 games. This will give us a better clue as to who really is suited and who is not.

    Will Capello be flexible enough to make these changes? I dont know...Talk is cheap.

  • Comment number 2.

    That lineup of "contenders" alone tells the whole story.

  • Comment number 3.

    Come on Phil! Your colleague has done a blog that puts this one to shame. Lampard did nothing this tournament and has to be dropped.

    England starting 11 has to be picked on fitness and form. Our u 21's would have done better than what we've just seen the senior team do.

    Starting 11 for next friendly might aswell be - hart, cole, Johnson, dawson, jagielka, a Johnson, Walcott, Hargeaves, rodwell, gerrard and Rooney.

    Doesn't really matter either way, until we take proper steps toasted change at grass roots level.

  • Comment number 4.

    It's not about the players or the formation they play in.

    To be honest I sat here for a moment thinking about it and then realised that I really have no inspiration in me to decide who should stay or go.

  • Comment number 5.

    Im surprised you never gave Phil Jagielka a mention. I think that Dawson, Cahill and Jagielka should be in the next England squad against Hungary instead of Rio (injury problems), King (injury problems), Carragher (back in to retirement) and Upson (not good enough).

    As for midfield I think Huddlestone should be given another chance. He may have looked a bit lost against Japan but I think he will get better.

    I think that Milner will be better off in central midfield like he is used at Villa, then on the wing and use Adam Johnson on the wing

  • Comment number 6.

    Lampard and Gerrard. Both highly-overrated and hopeless when wearing England shirts. And I don't mean just at this last fiasco. Get rid of both of them now and forever. I don't care if we've no-one better. I'm sick of watching these two display their inadequacies. England can do without them.

  • Comment number 7.

    I totally support the idea of giving youth a chance. It is no coincidence that the under 21s have had a very successful few years at tournaments and been a nat's wing from winning. It may mean another unsuccessful couple of tournaments while they mature in a team, but it is a sacrifice that may pay off. It is not like this 'golden generation' has anything left in them to do any better.

    Maybe we should adopt the Welsh approach and have a Craig Bellamy figure with bags of experience and a role model to others captaining a team of youngsters who are definitely improving game by game and may give England a run for their money in the qualifiers.

    The question is, who from this 'Golden Generation' is a role model and achieved enough to lead the youth?

  • Comment number 8.

    As posted elsewhere:

    Although Capello has indeed made a few mistakes in this tournament, it's quite hypocritical of the media to call for his resignation.

    Had England gone out because Capello had selected younger players or played with different modules, you'd be all asking for his head blaming the very reasons you now advocate.

    You media folks, as you know it all, explain why you did not see this coming and did not realise beforehand how deeply rooted the issue is in the English football system.

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    Ah the joys of choice. Whoever the manager is for the Hungary game (I'd prefer Hodgson but.....) just think how much easier it will be for them as opposed to Laurent Blanc here in France. News filtering out from the camp that the players strike was far from unanimous as previously stated. Several of the younger players were bullied by the more senior ones. Thierry Henry felt "left out" as nobody wanted to hear his opinions. The "English" contingent apparently being arrogant and totaly dis-respectful to the coach. The back room staff hating some of the players for their arrogance and lack of willingness to listen. The Sports ministers (both the "deputy", Rama Yade, and the boss, Roselyne Bachelot) getting involved. The president of the federation proving exactly just what a bungling amateur he is/was. Now Sarkozy is involved (now ther's a surprise!) and the beady eye of Sepp (how can I ruin football this week) Blatter is cast on the whole of French football. (New football president says that the French league will bring in goal line technology, there's a thought, Blatter will have kittens!)

    Seriously, I don't think England have that much to worry about against that lot!

    France's friendly in August will be very interesting. Watch this space.

  • Comment number 11.

    Taken as read that talent is a pre-requisite to be even considered as a contender for an International call-up my concern is that England seemed horribly exposed in terms of real pace throughout the team. The sight of the likes of Terry, Barry and Johnson seeming sprinting with weighted boots will live in my memory for years to come.
    They are all fit and they are all highly skilled but maybe that just simply isn't enough in the modern game. I am old enough to have enjoyed our performances in Italia 90 and the England team that eventually evolved was rich in pace everywhere most notably at the back.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think you are all too generous in the players you think should be kept. I would agree that some of them need to be retained pro temps (during a transition stage) until younger players have settled in but Lampard, Gerrard, Ferdinand and Terry are not the future and should be jettisoned within 18 months. We have to have a decent programme of international games as well as upcoming qualifying tournaments in order to provide a competitive environment for young players and emerging talent. Until the FA and Premier league sort out the mess which denies acces to regualr matches for British born players then we have to step up access to regular playing through the national team.
    As early as 1996 the FA identified the outgoing players as our best chance of winning a wolrd cup in 2010, sadly they do not have an opinion of whose coming through and identifiable NOW of winning in 2018 (2014 will be a challenging opportunity to benchmark progress only). SO COME ON FA/PREMIER LEAGUE, IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO STAND UP AND BE COUNTED. IT'S YOUR COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TO PUT THE SYSTEMS, STRUCTURES AND PROCESSES IN PLACE TO TURN THIS DEBACLE AROUND FROM GRASS ROOTS UPWARDS.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm surprised everyone has forgotten about Micah Richards at right back. He's preformed pretty well every time he's played for England and I was surprised he didn't even make Capellos initial 30 as unlike Glen Johnson he's not a liability defensivly.

    England performed horribly during the world cup but that doesn't suddenly make them all terrible players, all teams go through poor spells including Chelsea last season who still won the title. I do feel a change of manager is needed though unless Capello is ready to stop being stubborn.

    No matter how much they try and cover it up it became obvious that the players have a problem with how Capello is running things after John terrys press conference. And there is now shying away from how tactially inept Cappello seemed during the campaign, pretty much everyone was calling out for a change in the system as 442 was just not reasonable with the players he picked for the squad and the majority of his substituions were unbeliebable.

    A new manager or Capelloa with a new attitude and a new more flexible system with a few changes to personel is all I feel is really needed to head into the Euros and then things can be re-evaluated for the next world cup.

    Providing everyone is fit I'd look at a system of 4-3-3 dropping back into a 4-5-1 when not in possesion with a line up of.

    GK Joe Hart
    LB Ashley Cole
    lCB John Terry
    RCB Rio Ferdinand
    RB Michah Richars
    DCM Owen Hargreaves
    CM Steven Gerrard
    ACM Frank Lampard
    LAM Adam Johnson/Ashley Young (interchangable during the game)
    RAM Ashley Young/Adam Johnson (interchangable during the game)
    CF Wayne Rooney

  • Comment number 14.

    Poor blog phil - It's the media doing a U-turn trying to get more mileage out of a dead and boring story.

    We need central defenders who can play a bit not just hoof it up the field - which we dont have so what we need are centrall midfielders who can come and get the ball - not like Barry who just passes sideways or backwards!! Wingers who can fly dow the wing - lets not play gerrard on the left because he's our best midfielder so he can play out of position. And lastly and most importantly build the team around Rooney - Capello suffocted Rooney putting him next to incompetent strikers who did not pass to him (incl. Defoe - 4 passes to rooney during the slovenia game)

    New team 4-3-2-1


    Johnson, Dawson, Smalling, A.cole

    Huddelstone, Gerrard, Rodwell

    A. Johnsoon Walcott

  • Comment number 15.

    Many people are talking about international class, but how many England Players are truly international class? There are others who are crying foul over the number of youngsters that are graduating to the senior leagues. I think the problem is that England does not export players and hence their play is only one dimensional, they ca only play the English way and when that fails they cannot change to another style.

    Club football is big business and the clubs will buy players who they feel will keep the business going. If the youngsters cannot make it within England why not export them to other leagues like the French, Dutch and Turkish leagues. England needs players playing in other leagues to be able to cope with other countries.

    Also there is a need for skill development at an early age, and by skill I do not refer to running your heart out but dribbling, passing and ball controlling. England needs to add this to their players at a young age to support the heart that they have.

  • Comment number 16.

    I agree entirely with your sentiments Phil but I fear we will have to wait longer than the next generation of English youth for a better set of players to develop and come on.

    The England U17 U18 and schoolboys teams have all looked very good recently and hopefully these youngsters after the fall out from this world cup will be allowed to develop their technical and tactical skills further and give us hope going towards a later tournament like the 2016 Euros or the 2018 World Cup.

    The only player who impressed me this season from the ones you mentioned was Kieran Gibbs, but he only got a chance to do that because Wenger was not in a position to buy or loan in another top quality left back when Clichy was injured himself.

    The near future does not look very bright for England but there are signs that further down the road we may have some better talent so let us hope the FA puts in a system to help develop that talent properly.

  • Comment number 17.

    Greens career defining moment, seems to be one because you want it to be. This is easily your fourth or fifth blog where you have rub salt in the wound. Did you punch you when you were little? What is your problem with Robert Green? Can you name 4 goal keepers who haven't had smiliar issues in this world cup? If you can't that would make green in the top 10 in the world.

  • Comment number 18.

    Next England Team / Squad should be:


    G. Johnson, M Dawson, M, Richards, A, Cole
    G, Barry, J, Rodwell
    A, Lennon, S, Gerrard, A, Johnson

    Foster (GK), Bent, Young, Milner, Sturridge, Wiltshire, Crouch, Defoe, Walcott, Cahill, Warnock, Huddlestone, Jagielka

  • Comment number 19.

    Phil - I would actually be interested in your views on which members of the FA and the Premiership administration should stay and those that should go.

    In my view the lack of basic ability within the administration is an even greater than any on field shortcomings.

    Why will no BBC journalist write about that?

  • Comment number 20.

    Phil would be interested to know how long you and the media in general will give any new team and its manager to develop? Here in Italy they are also talking about rebuilding their team but their expectations of getting a top class team go well beyond Euro 2012.

  • Comment number 21.

    I aggree with a lot of the comments, but cannot aggree with keeping Johnson in the team I have seen cart horses run faster then him, Rooney was a not worth his place altho he had no support he had done nothing in the last few games to be included, Heskey say no more. I feel sory for all the fans that paid a lot of money to see that team play, and thay had every right to boo them off after the game. My opinion for what its worth is that the wrong players were selected, why pick players that were unfit in the first place. Let youth have a chance, I ber that Walcott was glad in a way not to have been picked after seeing that display, at least he still has his repution intact

  • Comment number 22.

    PHIL! Your answers are here:

    And YOURE supposed to be the Chief football writer for the BBC?!

  • Comment number 23.

    Barry, Gerrard, Terry? no way Jose.

    People talk about a fresh start then just change the odd player around who didn't even play at the world cup anyway?

    ridiculous to even suggest the players above should play for England again when they yet again choke on the biggest stage. I don't care what Capellos regime was like it doesn't excuse every single player who started against Algeria not being able to pass 10 yards.

    There are so many young players who have been missed out in this article and given the chance would certainly develop and become better players. You only need to look at Aston Villa to see there is great potential out there, but they need to be thrown in early doors so they are comfortable with the big stage TOGETHER when the time comes.

    Ashley Young, Fabian Delph, Gabby Agbonlahor, Nathan Delfouneso.

    Every clubs fans will be able to point the media in the direction of players they believe should be given a chance at international level.

    Germany haven't been the great side since 1990, they were lucky to win euro '96, they were exceedingly poor in '98 and '00. They were the same in 2002 and have started to come through since then with developing players at international level.

    It goes to show that experience doesn't really count for a lot at international level given the fact a very young German side absolutely destroyed a very very experienced England. So to say we need Gerrard, Lampard, Terry & Barry to move forward isn't really the case is it!

  • Comment number 24.

    My hopes are:
    Firstly, replace the bumbling and indecisive FA with an accountable fit for purpose organisation - much easier said than done.
    Firstly, serious surgery to the greedy circus known as the Premier League whose selfish aims are bleeding English football dry.
    Firstly, return football to sport (it has strayed too far into celebrity).

    My expectations are that nothing much will change (ok the FA will promise to pull its socks up) and that the UK plc will continue to drift down the international league table of economic and financial yardsticks, and that England FC will do similarly ie down FIFA's rankings.

    An Italian pensioner is not the person to be sitting towards the top of English football's pyramid if long term re-building of English football from so-called grassroots upward is the goal.

  • Comment number 25.

    Drop Lampard, Barry, Terry and Barry. Simple, they're ineffective, and picked purely based on reputation.

    There are plenty of other players out there. You question their international quality. Well, I witnessed New Zealand play better than us with a bunch of part timers. And the German team didn't have a huge number of big names, but collectively they performed very well.

    Our biggest problem is finding a strong central partnership, because Lampard + Barry is a woeful combination.

  • Comment number 26.

    On the performances in the world cup I don't see how you can justify keeping Terry not only was his football suspect, but his pschology, his team bonding skills, his intelligence, and his ego. Terry is a danger to the squad.

  • Comment number 27.

    I suggest everyone read Matt Slater's blog on this same subject - a much more thorough and thoughtful analysis.

    Doesn't this piece show that the press are part of the problem - hysterical and as unable to understand the issues as some members of the fa

  • Comment number 28.

    Anyone over the age of 28 should be removed from the "Stay" list.

    I am not saying they should never be near the England team again, but they should not be considered starters, unless we have serious injury problems.

    The team should be made up of players from the U21 (and others who appear over the next 2 / 4 years) and players who will not be 30 + come Euro2012.

    Sure we may not do well, but take away the "We will win EVERYTHING" pressure, understand that they are being given experience and build a team instead of having 11 players playing for "Team Gerrard", "Team Rooney" etc etc...

    Concentrate on youth and support the team, if they fail aslong as they have given their best, give them a pat on the back and say "There is always next time"

    I know it wont happen, in two years time the bulk of the team that has failed over the past decade will still be there and we will have all the hype again, and when they fail we will have all the over dramatic press again.

  • Comment number 29.

    Everyone`s fed up, but just to tap in some words, you need a core to build the team upon. I would only keep a max of 4 of existing bunch. Gerrard-Lampard-Rooney-A.Cole and then bring in the youngsters.

  • Comment number 30.

    As far as I am concerned, Lampard, Gerrard, Barry, Ferdinand, Heskey, Upson... they ALL have to go, and we need to develop the youth players. We also need to start playing less like the lumbering giant that relies on brute strength and long balls. We need to look at the way teams in Europe and South America play... pass, move, pass, move...

    Finally, by the time 2014 rolls around, 48 years would have past... time to stop harping on about old glories...

  • Comment number 31.

    Regardless of who is England manager we need to go with youth, but we also need to start coaching our players football instead of the kick it forward and hope for the best all out attack, its ancient, predicble and not modern.

    For me gerrard,lampard,Terry,a cole,J cole,Heskey,James,Barry,Crouch,ferdinand

    They have all had their time and chances and most of them are top players but just not up to it at all anymore.

    The real problem and we all know this its been said for years now our FA need to bring in a set up of limited foriegen players to say 8 in each squad, maybe even have a cap in prem to 30 max apperances for every player and also bring in a 2 week Xmas break.

    I dont care who is England manager simple truth is we do have good players some world class but they get burnt out with 50 plus games per season wearing them down as they get older, it has to change and NOW.

    I live in the usa and had to watch the USA gloat about how bad England played, how we have no World class players, we are an average team with average players ! ( alexi lalas ( who is anti England for sure). But to be honest he has a point from what we all sore in 4 games.

    I also think we need to entice some of our younger players to plat abroad to learn a diffrent approach to the game, Think about it how many Young players or in facr are there any players playing abroad ? NO !.

    The answer to that is simple the reason being is this there just are not any that intrest the foriegn clubs, the few that we have are at the big clubs in prem.

    The sooner all the obvious problems are addressed the sooner we can watch a England team who can out play top nations such as Germany, right now we will never challenge for anything with this old set up, Change now then maybe by 2018 we might see somthing to be proud of.Leave it a few more years then 2022 !

    I Bleed with our FA to take action NOW,And as for Chris Waddle well said my man well said.

    England FA wake the .... up will you.

  • Comment number 32.

    There certainly is the question to be asked as to why Lennon, SWP and heskey were ever in the squad, Walcott, Johnstone and Bent could and should have been there instead.
    The problem of playing Gerrard and lampard together, they want to play the same position and do not get back enough to defend. With a slow CB pairing and the RB good at attacking but poor at defending, midfield players who could defend with pace in front of the back four were crucial and Barry could not and did not do a Hargeaves. There is also the problem of 4-4-2 when other sides play more in midfield, why did we not try Ronney up front on his own with say Gerrard behind him? it seems so obvious but we did not go with this.
    Of course the EPL dominates English football and the number of games and the number of overseas players does not help the national side to suceed.
    I personally would keep Capello and move on into retirement or into the wilderness many of the present squad and start pushing other players even outside the EPL, there are some quick CBs for instance and try bringing on youth for a change.

  • Comment number 33.

    Well, the first thing I'd do if I were T. Brooking would be to call up S. McLaren and ask if he'd be interested in taking one or two of our promising youngsters at Wolfsburg. Good enough to play there, not good enough yet to play for Man Utd.

    Ditto with Tony Adams and a couple of young defenders in the back of beyond, out of the limelight. Only for a couple of years, but learn on the back of a hardened old pro who knew what defending was all about. And who'll play them.

    Ditto S. Coppell at Bristol City. Ditto Simon Grayson at Leeds.

  • Comment number 34.

    The problem is that same old excuse, the players are out of position?? WHY??? why not play players in the correct position, is that not logical.

  • Comment number 35.

    so basically you think we should keep the starting 11 except james. dont be silly!

  • Comment number 36.

    As has been pointed out a number of times the biggest problem with the England national team is the non-existance of any form of investment in grassroots. This is purely down to the vast amount of money in the Premier league with teams like Man City and Arsenal flooding their teams with forign imports.

    We had the same problem in Scotland 7 or 8 years ago, the big clubs were buying players left right and centre and total ignoring their OBLIGATION to nurture the British players of tomorrow. This resulted in the national team noise diving (under the stewardship of a forign coach, with a great repuatation).

    Fortunately, all the money total disappeared from the Scottish leagues and with the exception of Celtic and Hearts all the teams in the SPL are made up of good british players. If you look at the starting 11 at Rangers, Hibs or Dundee United last season you will see what I mean. This hasn't yet resulted in sucsess on the international stage but it will. (I'm not talking about winning anything, qualifying for something and not getting embaressed whilst there would be our world cup.)

    The only problem is the English Premier League isn't going to fail anytime soon. And the young players that are mentioned so far are good, but not as good as the players that made up the 2010 squad and it doesn't solve the underlying problem.

  • Comment number 37.

    Premier League teams have too much money!! And the club supporters are just too demanding for results to give English youngsters a chance.

    Look at Özil, no-one in England had ever heard of him, he plays a couple of good games and on all the blogs the 'fans' are discussing that their team should buy him.

    The Germans never made a big deal of losing their captain and star Ballack, they just got on with it and played their second best (who turned out to be maybe even better). What did Capello do? He played an old, slow veteran. Why not the youngster? Too risky?

    Tells you all. Youth gets no chance in PL-teams and no chance in national team. Blame the money?

  • Comment number 38.

    Jagielka must be the number one choice alongside Terry, how Dawson beat him to the call up for this world cup is a joke. He would have done a much better job against Germany than Upson, who is shocking if we're all being honest...

  • Comment number 39.

    I see no point in persisting with any of the older members of the squad. Clearly it wasn't working with them for a reason, why would that change now. They've had 10 years to get it right and they have failed. Only the younger members of the squad should stay.


    should be brought in.

    I can see Victor Moses and Daniel Sturridge being involved if they continue to progress. We do have some potentially very good players coming through in the 17-19 age group they just need to be given a chance at their clubs.

  • Comment number 40.

    I think the 'to stay' list is a bit generous. The real issue that struck me throughout this world cup was the lack of team ethic. Possibly a wholesale overhaul to younger players, if only for the next squad or two would get past this. It would also give one or two players a kick up the jacksee to try and replicate club form, and not be such a prima-donna.

    I would say that the defence needs a near total overhaul. Players need to get used to playing together to develop understanding. Terry and Ferdinand are devisive figures, and, frankly, not half the players they once were. In Cahill, Dawson, Shawcross, Richards, Onohua, and Jagielka we have the potential for a decent pairing.

    Remember - the best team is not necessarily the best players.

  • Comment number 41.

    Agbonlahor, Fabian delph, Ashley young, wilshire, Rodwell, cahill, Walcott, Rooney, conor wickham, shawcross..... They are the future, get them in now and you will see a hungry England team whose qualities will be shown when they 'gel'

  • Comment number 42.

    Morning for the last time from lucabiason. I actually support the idea of Capello staying.

    I think he had a serious wobble in the last couple of months and made mistakes, but I am not sure who could come in and do a better job and I hope Capello learns from his errors.

    Just a purely personal opinion (like them all I suppose) but I think Capello should stay.

  • Comment number 43.

    I think we need to re-think the way we referee games in this country, and bring it more in line with he rest of the world. ie High feet, any slightest touch on the goalkeeper, leaning into defenders etc.
    Not only do our players have to adjust slightly when we play internationally, which brings doubt, especially into the heads of defenders, but more importantly our players would then learn to beat an opponent with PACE and skill rather than strength.
    How often do you hear about a youngster, "he's a good player but he needs to grow a bit more" What, like Messi?!
    In the game against Germany it was very noticable how much faster the Germans were. All the goals could have been stopped if the defender had been quicker. Strength, and his lack of pace, might be the reasons why Rooney is so good in the Prem League but offers little against the top teams Internationally.
    We might not like it, when the slightest contact brings a foul, but if we want England to perform better then I think thats the reason. Tougher refereeing will make teams and players adjust.

  • Comment number 44.

    LETS PANIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry but I don't see the need for a massive overhaul at all. England's problems are far more stemmed from tactical ineptness in this world cup than any sense of aging players.

    Just look at the ages of the top players, only David James (39) and David Beckham (35) are obviously too old to go any farther. Carragher (32), Upson (31) and Heskey (32) should also make way because of a combination of age/lack of quality.

    Lampard (32), Ferdinand (31), Gerrard (30) and Terry (29) will all probably have the media calling them too old but all of them are perfectly capable of getting to Euro 2012 and still being more or less in their prime, indeed only Lampard at 36 will definately be too old for 2014, though I suspect that injuries will play a major part in whether the others can make it that far. The point is that there is no need to jettison them frmo the squad just yet.

    Take the five names mentioned as too old and add Shaun Wright-Phillips to them as not good enough and Ledley King for never being fit and that's seven out. Then we can look at the options left to see who can we bring in.

    GK: Joe Hart should have been given the chance to become #1 last season, the irony if it is he will likely be first choice in September but will ultimately fal behing Shay Given at club level, he badly needs another loan spell to remain in the shirt. Ben Foster will almost certainly come back into the frame as he will be getting regular action at Birmingham. The third can be a tossup between Green and Robinson.

    FB: Cole and Johnson pick themselves, there are just no altrnatives out there for eaither player. Warnock, Baines and Brown will be the other squad names but are all poor replacements.

    CB: Terry and Ferdinand stay for me, when both fit they are the best pairing. Dawson, Shawcross, Turner and Cahill are the best bets below them and should all be given early chances to impress.

    DM: Hargreaves has to be written off for the time being I'm afraid so that leaves us with Barry, who when fit is good enough to do the role, Carrick who badly needs to improve and Parker who deserves a chance to show whether he can play at this level.

    CM/AM: Gerrard, Lampard, Milner, Cole. Nothing wrong with those four names at all.

    WG: Lennon is young enough to continue, Walcott probabaly will come back. Johnson needs to be given a chance and Ashley Young should also be brought back in if for no other reason than balance.

    ST: Rooney obviously with Crouch, Defoe, Bent and Agbonlahor providing backup.

    That is not a bad squad at all, certainly capable of far better than they have shown thus far. I have deliberately left out Rodwell, he is 19, give the lad a chance to develop before putting stupid amounts of pressure on him.

  • Comment number 45.

    re 42: Relief to hear you say that. However just a point, I get you are English, but you are the Chief Football writer, and there is a world cup on, There were two matches yesterday, the second another controversial decsion and very poor ref. The quarter finals are set, there is no footie for two days, and there are 4 blogs about England the team and Capello and nothing about the competition in progress... Any chance of some insights about Ref's Brazil Spain etc;?

  • Comment number 46.

    The list is indeed poorly researched, add these: Micah Richards 22, Phil Jagielka 28, Chris Smalling 20, Tom Huddlestone 23, Jermaine Jenas 27, Michael Johnson 22, Carlton Cole 26. Most of which have time to develop and I only spent about 10 minutes to find these and all the ones mentioned by Phil. Connor Wickham is 17, 6 foot 3 already and has scored 9 goals in 13 games for the under-17s, however his record for Ipswich is not that good but was Rooneys in senior football at that age?

  • Comment number 47.

    If Ryan Bertrand, who could was excellent for us, gets a season and impress in the Premiership he could be a left sided defensive option. However, he has a lot of traffic in front of him: Gibbs, Ashley Cole, Mattock.

    Rodwell could play in the position occupied my Rafael Marquez for Mexico ie a Defender just ahead of the defense - picking up players like Ozil. If he were joined by another Central Midfielder you could implement a 4-2-3-1 which would allow Gerrard/Wilshire and Rooney to play to their best positions.

    I Dont agree with playing the Old Guard but thats whats probably going to happen in parts anyway. Milner is young and is a good option with Adam Johnson and Ashley Young. Watcott proably needs a season to get back into it.

    Another option up front would be Newcastles Carroll. A player who again did very well in the Championship (A good low pressure testing ground)

    We will need another Centre Back (perhaps two?) as Terry seems unable to work with Capello, Ferdinand too old and injury prone - Its a pity that Cahill's development has not taken off. If you are to play Gibbs/Cole/Bertrand you will need a Defensive Right Back - One that stays back and minds after the shop whilst the other wing back gets forward.

  • Comment number 48.

    Sadly a very bland short fix analysis of the deep trouble our game is in. This problem will take many years to rectify.

  • Comment number 49.

    Englands problems would be solved quite easily

    1. 18 teams in the Premier League
    2. Winter Break maybe after Christmas to protect the Boxing Day games
    3. Minimum amount of English players in the Premiership teams
    4. Technically based acadamies run centrally rather than by clubs with a common ethos on how England should play football

    We have the population, finances, facilities all we need is a proper structure and a common semse approach. We need to get away from the Premier league being the be all and end all. Put more emphasis and national pride into developing top class players rather than marketing a league full of foreigners that just happens to be played in England.

    England have never been a top class international team, we narrowly won the tournament we hosted, and we are regular qualifiers, But we are very much second tier nation. To make that step up and join the likes of Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina & I think we can now include Spain we need to make fundamental changes.

  • Comment number 50.

    There are two completely separate issues here, they are complimentary and should not be confused. They need to be dealt with separately.

    Firstly, we are not producing enough good young players, we simply do not have the system in place. The reason is that the FA is badly managed and largely incompetent and the Premier League do not give a monkeys about the England team. Read Matt Slaters blog for more details.

    Secondly we need to get the best from the England team now, with the players we have available. The current crop pretty much all have to go, they may well be the best CLUB players we have but they are poor at INTERNATIONAL football, which is virtually a different game.

    None of our supposedly top players have EVER put in a top performance in a international match of consequence since Rooney's efforts in 2004. A few decent results sure enough, but when the going got tough, the "Golden Generation" went missing, yes even the overhyped heroes Terry, Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney all failed when the chips were down. (Cue the usual excuses from their easily impressed fans and pundits)

    No the (relatively) short form answer is to look at our (mostly) younger players and see which of them have the kind of game that could suit international football AND PLAY THEM.

    Not experienced enough? That's why they need to be played! Not playing for a 'top' side? That did Gerrard, Rooney and the rest a lot of good did it not! Not always that effective in the Premier League? Doesn't matter, we are asking them to play international, not club football!

    I could go on but by know you get the drift. You simply have to get away from the hopelessly flawed logic that the BEST CLUB PLAYERS make the best INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS, it ain't so!

  • Comment number 51.

    I agree mostly with your points. I do think that John Terry must go though. At points in the Germany game it looked as if running with the ball in a straight line was a challenge for him.

    I recently saw a headline in the Sun, referring to the england team - "You have let your country down"

    I feel this is very unfair indeed. In fact I believe it is the Sun who has let england down.

    I seem to remember them printing many headlines on how England were world beaters


    Was the title i believe in one edition. They hype the whole thing up beyong reality then they turn poisonously against the players when they dont do well! Disgusting!

    I personally think that England did underperform as they are a QF team potentially.

  • Comment number 52.


    I usually enjoy your blogs (even when others are quick to jump down your throat with abuse) and I enjoyed and agreed with most of this one but then got to this part:

    STAY: Hart, G.Johnson, A. Cole, Terry, Dawson, Ferdinand, Lennon, Gerrard, Lampard, Barry, Milner, Rooney, Defoe, Crouch.

    I'm sorry but that lot right there is basically the core team going back to Sven's and McLaren's days and you'd be happy keeping them for even longer? If we really are gonna try to revamp the team, bring in some youthful prospects that will actually give it their all for England then for me at least four of those names should be ommited. Terry (no pace, found out), Ferdinand (out of form, always injured), Lampard (always ineffective for England and Barry (Found out) should all be gone. Gerrard was a possible fith for me but I'd give him a couple more games playing behind Rooney in his preferred posistion to see if he can reproduce his club form for England.

    There's no point holding on to these old tired, not interested players that aren't gonna be there for the next world cup anyway. BIrng in the youngsters now, get them acustomed to playing at the highest level, get them working together as a TEAM and use the Euro's as their first experience of playing in a tournament together. I've heard so many people in the press saying we are struggling for young talent but I can see no point keeping on so much deadwood.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think Micah Richards would be a contender for Center back if he got played there more often. I think he played there a couple of times for city last season and seemed alright.

  • Comment number 54.

    Being a Norwich supporter i feel obliged to stick up for Robert Green. There are so many people writing him off but the fact is he has only really made one big mistake (and I admit this was a BIG mistake that had nothing to do with the ball moving, just simple loss of concentration)But to write him off for that one error is grossly unfair. All the Greatest keepers have made huge mistakes, Peter Shilton made a costly one which conributed to us not qualifying for a world cup against Poland i think (bit before my time so i may be mistaken)But my point is give the guy a break,Joe Hart deserves his chance now but Green is still one of our best keepers, for now, so he can not be written off yet. I think the main thing lacking in his game is confidence, and that is the single most important part of any keeper. I have seen his confidence drain steadily over the last few years, generally playing behind a struggling poor defence which he did in the last year for Norwich and consistently for West Ham,no matter how good you are, if the team is poor this has a negative effect on your own confidence, and I dont think capello helped by not naming a NUMBER 1 main keeper so every game had additional pressure.Robert Green has the self belief and determination to come back stronger, just like he did in 2002 when he began the season by conceding a goal which the striker had sneaked behind him and headed it out of his hand and passed into a empty net, similar to gary crosby/andy dibble from the late 1980's, but he went on to become the best keeper in the league and Norwich won the 1st Division championship and promotion to premier league (with a little help from Peter crouch incidentally who we had on loan) But to cut a long story short which i appreciate i should do at the beginning rather then at the end of a long story, GIVE HIM A BREAK and SUPPORT HIM. Even with that mistake he still looked more secure then Casillas has for Spain during the whole tournament and he is supposedly one of the best in the world

  • Comment number 55.

    "Michael Dawson, 26 and still without a cap, was a spectator after replacing the injured Ferdinand in South Africa, and while Bolton Wanderers' Gary Cahill has been in England squads before, he is totally unproven at this elite level."

    If you only ever pick players with international experience, what do you get? A jaded team with an average age over 29. You know how we will find out if Cahill, Agbonlahor, Wilshere, Rodwell etc are 'good enough'? By playing them regularly.

    There's a chance here to give young players international experience so that, come 2012 and 2014, we have a team with experience and time on their side. Every game that Gerrard plays, or Terry plays, or Wright Phillips plays is a game less for Huddlestone or Cahill or Johnson.

    Then what happens when 2012 rolls around and it's time to select the team? "We can't pick Gary Cahill he has no international experience!". We'll pick Upson because he's played England games before.

    The England team seems to be picked on a match-by-match basis. No forward planning, no allowance for the future. And look where it gets you.

  • Comment number 56.

    There certainly is the question to be asked as to why Lennon, SWP and heskey were ever in the squad, Walcott, Johnstone and Bent could and should have been there instead.


    The reason Lennon was in the squad ahead of either Johnson or Walcott is because he had a better season. He had a very disappointing World Cup mainly because he didn't do what got him into the squad. For Spurs he stays wide and takes players on. For England he stopped, passed backwards and cut in-field.

    None of that changes the fact though that he scored more goals and got more assists than Walcott and Johnson. Walcott had one good game as a sub against Barca, but other than that did very little. Johnson had a decent six months in the Premier League, but wasn't exactly pulling up any trees.

    And that sums up the problem with English football - too many people swallow the hype. A large number of England fans base their opinions on nothing more than five minutes of highlights on Match of the Day. If anyone seriously thinks Walcott or Johnson did more last season than Lennon I'm struggling to see what they've based it on.

  • Comment number 57.

    I'd have a longer list to "go", with Terry at the front of it. Also, there are a couple of players, notably Lampard, who should drop from "automatic choice" to "squad member".

    Realistically there are two years from now to the next competition, assuming we qualify. A few more players are going to come forward from existing teams, and there may be some changes as to which teams are successful. As an example, Scott Carson, easily discarded and written off by the press so they could push forward their own favourites, is coming up with West Brom, and unlike Green and James has not spent the last season picking the ball up out of his own net.

    As another example, Jermaine Beckford may be a massive success at Everton next season (or may just disappear). He's not a Joe Cole in terms of skill (nor is he an Emile Heskey) but has pace and can finish, and he's just 26.

    And Capello should stick to what I had thought were his basic principles:
    - you shouldn't pick players who don't play regularly for their club teams
    - you shouldn't pick players who are injured, or who have only just come off the long term injury list
    - you shouldn't have players in the squad who think they are bigger than the team (step forward John Terry)
    - you can't build a system round the availability of a single player

  • Comment number 58.

    Having read your piece...I have to question your sources and its/their credibility.

    For the most, however, I agree. Youth has to replace the ageing lot and they will provide a much better England team.

    I disagree with whom you say may or will stay on with England = an absolute cert that Lampard should never play for us again, evidence I hear you asking = his overall general play has been more than just questionable and as for his dis-allowed goal well I feel sorry for him but that will not keep his international career intact!

    I am confident of Englands youth but I do understand that TIME has to be taken with them and NOT RUSHED!

  • Comment number 59.

    There we go again,what about Ashley Young, surely you cant mention Agbonlahor without Young, Phil? And you miss to mention Darren Bent? I'm sorry but something must be really wrong here, Crouch & Defoe are no where as lethal in fornt of Goal as Darren Bent, and surely a system has to be put in place to get our best strikers performing. One thing we the fans have learnt in th this wc is that games are won by teams having control of the ball, so having a player like Crouch would be as a second option for hoofing the ball up in the air. Phil, you were one of the very outspoken oppnent of Hesky in the team, and you still go for Crouch who only offers the same strategy? C'mon we need a team who will be good at quality ball pocession and confidently taking people on, and not players like Crouch who will still have us play 4-4-2, which you Phil have in recent days hounded Capello for. You dont sound like a genuine England fan who seeks the best change for England in an objective manner. Your criticisms spell beggers belief right from your stance on Beckham (who we all know would have been one player to have real passion if he were not injured in this wc).
    Capello should still be the manager, Bobby Robson who took us to our last semi final had 8 years on the job, and there was absolutely nothing to write home about his 1st 4years, which Capello has surpassed in his 1st 2years. We currently do not have an English manager who will do a better job. We must admit once and for all, that with our current team are not technically gifted players who can hold up play. Yes they are hard working especially with their clubs, but the international game is different. I hope to see Cappello get youngsters into the team who will have the freedom to express themselves on the picth whilst they listen to his technical advice. I would also like to see Becham as part of the technical team as regular as possible, and possibly a change for Stuart Pearce with someone like "little Sam", to give the players who play for the U21 a break from him

  • Comment number 60.

    Maybe we should adopt the Welsh approach and have a Craig Bellamy figure with bags of experience and a role model to others captaining a team of youngsters who are definitely improving game by game and may give England a run for their money in the qualifiers.
    Clearly you don't watch the Welsh team.

    Wales went down that route because Toshack kept arguing with the older players, so he jettisoned then for kids who would be lapdogs for him. Wales as a result have one of their worst teams for decades.

    At present Wales have precisely four players of any decent quality in Bellamy, Collins, Bale and Ramsey. Other than that it's relying on the likes of Hennessey, Simon Davies, Joe Ledley and a bunch of other champinship players. If you seriously think they can challenge England you are severely deluded.

    Do you really now think that is a good model to follow?

  • Comment number 61.

    If everyone was fit this is the 23 man squad I reckon Capello would choose for Hungary:


    G Johnson
    A Cole

    A Johnson


    People expecting Capello to change anything massively from the team that qualified for the World Cup are mistaken. Capello clearly doesn't blame the quality of the players for the World Cup exit, but their conditioning, which will be more or less equal whichever player is selected.

    My reason for leaving James out is that he will most likely be playing Championship football next season, which I imagine Capello won't be too keen on; it has nothing to do with his age.

  • Comment number 62.

    For me there are several issues:
    Firstly although I think Capello should stay next time round we need an english manager or at least british we need a manager who can bring out the englishness in they players.

    The selection of the team and squad, Capello had up until the WC picked on form something he threw out the window when he picked his squad if it had been a qualifier i dont think Lennon, Heskey, Carragher, SWP, Green or Upson would have got it the squad. But because of the WC and the balance of squad he wanted he changed his philosophy this meant we ended up taken unfit, out of form players to the world cup. In regards to the selection of the team the german manager called us naive for playing Gerrard, Milner and Lampard in the midfield as he said with those 3 wanting to get forward it would leave space in behind which could be used to pull the defence around and get in behind England.

    thirdly The english game and the premiership
    The players were tired anyone who can tell me that the english game is less taxing than the german, spanish or italian leagues obviously doesnt know football, the english game ruins footballers by the time the world cup came around everyone was knackered you only have to look at the influence of fabergas and torres on the spanish team two of the best players in the world yet both out of form at the world cup. Secondly the influx of foreigners into the premiership makes it more difficult for talent to get through in the top teams how many players have come through for the top 5 or 6 teams in the last 5 years very few, this reason for this is plain and simple the top teams can't afford to take a chance on youth arsenal are the possible exception to this but how many top english players have they ever produced and david bentley, sidwell are two great examples of good players cast aside in their youth not giving the chance. We need a quota for the premiership, we need to make sure that grass roots football and academies are functioning properly and we need to make the premiership smaller and put a limit on how many games rooney and co play in a WC season. People will say that if we do this the money will go, the foreigners will leave but if we dont change the premiership they will leave anyway players like torres and fabergas want to do well on the world stage, turning up to a WC fit is a massive part of that if we do not change we will see less and less top foreigners in the premiership. On a different note as well we need more english stars playing abroad which will broaden they playing experience which will only help come WC time!

    Sorry bit of an essay
    Cheers Pete

  • Comment number 63.

    Tactics are the problem as Howard Wilkinson said.
    What is the obsession with 4-4-2? That formation is dead in the water and should be laid to rest.
    How true is the parody film 'Mike Bassett - England Manager now'. When all fails go to 4-4-2.

    The proof is in the quarter final line up. Of the teams in the quarters, how many play a 4-4-2?

    Anyone else think 4-4-2 is dead?

  • Comment number 64.

    You can be sure that France and Italy will be stronger by 2018, but England ??

    I don't think English football has the balls to grasp the nettle.

    It's not about Green or Hart, or Lampard or Gerrard, it's about rebuilding English football.

  • Comment number 65.

    The home team bias in the replies is hilarious! Notice how it is always the 'other' teams players who are to blame...

    As for the rest, suggesting that we retain the big players, ie Lampard, Gerrard, Rooney, Cole is an even bigger nonsense. Can you not get it into your head that these players are the PROBLEM not the SOLUTION!

    They are arrogant, disruptive and at the very heart of the 'culture' that is destroying the England team. The answer is not 'England's Talisman' or 'Super Stevie G', it is a TEAM.

  • Comment number 66.

    Englands Starting XI for the next world cup. In my opinion try and work most of this team in now so by the next world cup they will have played for four years and even more importantly, quite a few of them would still be around for 2018.

    Playing 4-2-3-1


    Richards/Johnson- Cahill-Shawcross-Gibbs





  • Comment number 67.

    Phil you have 9 of the starting 11 in your 'Stay' section, I think we need to be more ruthless and kick out some of the underperforming 'stars' who have demonstrated time and time again that they are not capable of performing at World level. I'd prefer to have a few years in the wilderness developing a younger team with the right mental attitude and work ethic and go for longer term glory, 2018 perhaps?

  • Comment number 68.

    Agbonlahor has a chance to press home his claims, but again there are question marks over whether he is international class.


    Who in the current England team is 'International class'?

    This is the problem, they can only get used to playing for England IF THEY ACTUALLY PLAY.

    Lampard, Terry, Gerrard, Heskey, Ferdinand have all failed at this level for three world cups now. Are they 'International class'? Its time we put some trust in players who might actually give a damn. Not just those who are Nike sponsered fame hunters.

  • Comment number 69.

    OK, fair enough, they were playing in the Championship last season and the one-eyed, exclusively Premiership coverage which the English media gives of British football may have hidden them from sight, but Steven Taylor and Andy Carroll at Newcastle will both be looking forward to next season and the opportunity to put their hands up for England duty. Whether they are good enough remains to be seen, but on last season's showing they could be - certainly Carroll can hold the ball and link play as well as Hesky while still finding the net regularly. Taylor is as strong as Terry, as good in the air and much quicker.
    We also have a young keeper by the name of Fraser Forster who is one of the understudies to Steve Harper (himself a decent shout for an England spot although maybe his age will count against him). Fraser had a fantastic season on loan at Norwich last season, and while this is no indication of England form just yet, he is 22 and should be coming into his prime by 2014. Expect him to break into the Newcastle team in the next couple of seasons, and then we can judge him properly.

  • Comment number 70.

    Why on earth keep Gerrard, Lampard, Terry and the like?

    They have failed time and time again at international level.

    Get shot of them.

    They cant cut the mustard at the level required.

    Just youngsters please.

    Let's build for the future starting NOW.

  • Comment number 71.

    Where to start with England. Perhaps playing like a team would help. Perhaps listening to your manager would help. Does anyone honestly think Capello told Terry to go rampaging up the pitch and play off the strikers so Germany could slap us on the counter attack?? Does anyone think Capelly told Upson to wander around aimlessly and show the strength of a 14 year old girl against Klose??

    I really don't think a manager who breezed through qualifying can be blamed for another set of English players bottling it under the spotlight of a media who simply want blood. The way English clubs were found wanting in Europe (Fulham aside) should have been a warning sign months ago. Come one we beat Japan with own goals and banged 3 past an inept Mexican defence in the friendlies and people thought we could win? I'm just glad there's cricket on...

  • Comment number 72.

    Just a thought here - don't doubt many will disagree, but...

    Why, of all the England players who flopped in South Africa, is Wayne Rooney still seen as undroppable? There is no doubt that he is England's most naturally talented striker, indeed our most talented player, but apart from two good games against Croatia in qualifying, when was the last time that against really good opposition he made the difference for us? I know there's been a variety of excuses for it, but has he ever been as good as he should be for England in a major tournament? In short, why not drop the guy. Just for a bit - make him realise that he isn't invincible and he actually has to earn his place, and if he knuckles down (as I don't doubt he will), then play him again. In 1966, England's most talented striker was Jimmy Greaves. But he wasn't best for the team, so Ramsey dropped him. And you know what? That seemed to work out OK.

  • Comment number 73.

    Clearly the problems with the English players is not the league that they're in but their development at an early age. We are playing catch up with other European and South American nations with regards with how we teach youngsters the game. 17 years ago when I was 8 I was playing in an under 10s 11-a-side game as there was no alternatives. Some of the pitches I played on were full size with goal frames to match. The emphasis was on winning at all costs and not on the control of the ball. A lot of that is due to our weather and our pitches being muddy about 8 months out of 12 meaning our youngsters boot the ball long.

    Contrast that with Spain who not only play 1 touch football, but their touch is so good that they can play quick sharp passes to unlock defences. Their lads will probably have learnt the game playing on gravel necessitating the need for close control.

    Now some of youngsters are playing 7-a-side football on all-weather pitches which is a step in the right direction but we are unlikely to see the fruits of this labour for at least 15 years. I think more needs to be done to get kids playing the game for fun and I think futsal would be a great place for kids to learn from an early age. The competitive nature and winning mentality can come when they are teenagers and graduate to 11-a-side.

  • Comment number 74.

    The upside of bringing a lot of fresh blood injects the England match with a LOT more excitement, the eager, the desperation, the fighting spirit, and fearless. I can't wait for it.

  • Comment number 75.

    If we're looking to the future, does Shawcross (22) deserve a mention at centre back?

  • Comment number 76.

    I definitely think its time to rebuild with no room for sentiment. We have to understand that its going to take time to blood the younger players and to get them working cohesively at senior international level. With the so called "Golden Generation" not actually having achieved anything (I don't really think getting to the qtr final stage in previous competitions is anything to shout about) then its not a massive risk to take.

    I think there is room for some current players to stay in order to help bring the youngsters through, for example, Gerrard, Ashley Cole, Lampard but really we need a clean sweep and new direction.

    The first thing I would do is make Rooney captain of the team (I know it sounds daft after the tournament he has just had!) as I believe the extra responsibility would spur him on and perhaps give him the extra lift needed to perform like he does for United.

    The team then needs to shove 4-4-2 into the bin, we need to be able to change our style of play and formation when required and the only way to do this is by changing the mentality and turning the team into modern "forward thinking" footballers. They do it for there clubs so really it shouldn't be hard to do it for England. We also need to realise that the modern game is about pace and precision, 2 things that were seriously lacking in South Africa and the same 2 things that made us like like a pub team against a young German side.

    I would like to see the following against Hungary


    Micah Richards Michael Dawson Chris Smalling Cashley Cole

    Tom Huddlestone
    Ashley Young Adam Johnson

    Steven Gerrard
    Theo Walcott

    Wayne Rooney (C)

    With a subs bench consisting of the likes of


  • Comment number 77.

    Can't disagree but much of England's problems stem from poor, indulgent coaching coaching. Compounded by poor FA policy. And crazy unwillingness to face basic facts. Our players are not too tired there are too few of them and the ones we have just lack skill and don't play the right way.
    England have produced a handful of good performances in 30 years - NONE since the 5-1 defeat of Germany in Berlin. We have too few players to choose from, with youth struggling to develop in a Premier League which despite supposedly being the best in the world actually contains few world class players to learn from and too many very average expensive imports who still drown out our youth. Apart from Tevez which Premier League player has featured well in SA? Too many England players we produce are crazily one footed (A Cole is the worst example)and cannot pass in front (basic technique) of their teammates or pass without trying to control (basic technique). We don't play to our strengths still playing to a slow continental style most continental teams gave up 10 years ago. Everyone else is faster than us now. And why do we pass around the back so much trying to find space, then give up and pass it back to our goalie who promptly kicks it to the opposition. Our players lack basic coaching intelligence.

  • Comment number 78.

    37. At 08:51am on 30 Jun 2010, alanpatbbc wrote:
    "Look at Özil, no-one in England had ever heard of him, he plays a couple of good games and on all the blogs the 'fans' are discussing that their team should buy him."

    Maybe people who only pay attention to the Premier League and Champions League had never heard of him, but anyone with any interest in world football knew all about him. He was the star of the u21 championships last year. This always happens with sports journalism in this country.

    If it doesn't happen in the Barclays, or against a British team, it might as well have not happened. To hear the commentators go on about Diego Forlan you'd think he'd disappeared from the face of the earth once he left Man Utd 6 years ago.

    The other aspect of this is the way pundits constantly overstate the ability and importance of Premier League players for other teams. At one point on ITV Clive Tyldesley said about Fabregas "It's unthinkable to us that he could be left on the bench". Plenty of blogs and articles and pre-game analysis suggested that Fernando Torres was Spain's key man, completely ignoring David Villa.

    I enjoy the world cup analysis because a lot of the time you see pundits struggling to come to terms with their own notions being totally blown out of the water. Watching the BBC panel sit there open mouthed trying to comprehend how Rooney, who's been in awful form since March, could possibly play so badly, was very funny.

  • Comment number 79.

    Why is Carrick immediately dropped and Barry staying? Gareth Barry is a terrible holding midfielder and shouldn't even get anywhere near the England squad. I'm not saying Carrick should stay within the fold but he is a better player than Barry and at least has something to offer rather than a bit of aimless hustle and bustle.

  • Comment number 80.

    keep him on and let him prove to us all he`s the man to fix our long running problems. At least we know he`ll have to earn he`s pay check . The F.A need to apply one or two demands on him doing this, 1 . Alan Shearer or David Beckham made no 2 and Capello Must take on board there input ! 2 . Meetings with the top team manager as it`s now clear they seem to get the best out of our so called world class players ! This a problem that can be fixed but money has to spent on grass root football. It`s no point having a world class league if we can only produce a 3rd rate national team .

  • Comment number 81.

    I will never support an England team again with Terry and Lampard in again. Terry is a fly in the ointment and Lampard is 32 and looked so off the pace against Germanys youthful midfield, how would he cope against Xavi and Iniesta!?!?! it doesn't bare thinking about.

    How is keeping either in the team "building for the future".

    A Cole, Gerrard and Rooney are the ONLY players that should be kept, the rest have proven they are not good enough, end of story.

    If you cant see that Phil maybe its time you stepped aside if you dont understand your nationa people!

  • Comment number 82.

    I have just had the pleasure of watching Portugal v Spain at the Cape Town stadium. Spain are fantastic and a joy to watch - light-years ahead of the English team.
    In contrast is the English support - many more numbers and far more passion than all the other sides put together - they deserve better.

  • Comment number 83.

    Three names you didn't mention Phil - Jagielka - best reader of the game at centre back in EPL imo, Micah Richards - surely can't be any worse defensively than Johnson? Huddlestone - Hoddle-like in his passing ability, can only improve at international level if he's given the chance.
    Ferdinand & Terry should both retire from international football - they are the past.
    It's looking increasingly likely that Capello will stay. Will he tone down his stubborn streak to give these new faces a chance? We shall see. If we fail to qualify for Euro 2012 or do badly in the tournament, then 'Appy 'Arry is the only man for the job imo. We need an English (or at least British/Irish) manager. No other top nation picks foreign managers, so why do we?
    Also Phil, why do you rarely, if ever, reply to comments made? How can we have a discussion if the instigator disappears?

  • Comment number 84.

    England needs a serious overhaul. Perhaps also change the system of play as well. Get a breed of players who can hold the ball for longer, take on the opponents and can pass calmly in tight spaces. Look at the Germans, Argentina, Brazilians, Dutch, Spanish and other South American teams. Without this set of players, England will never win the world cup in the modern era.

  • Comment number 85.

    For once I actually agree with most of the points raised but I still feel that the fundamental problem for England will be the tactics and formation because of the personnel available to whoever manages them going forward.

    England are not blessed with good out and out wingers who are skilful and fast, rather they have a number of good workmanlike players who fill these positions. Similarly there is a dearth of real quality in the full backs.

    In order to counter this and provide a more solid defence and adaptable midfield I would look at the example of Argentina and go for a radical overhaul of the formation and play 3-2-4-1 with three centrebacks and a midfield four as a diamond.

    Imagine the following team: (GK) Hart, (CB's) Dawson, Terry and Cahill, (Wingbacks) A Cole, Milner, (MD)Barry, Carrick, Hargreaves, Gerrard, (ST) Rooney. All these players would be playing in their natural roles and the players are there to adapt to 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 if required

    In the midfield diamond Barry and Hargreaves on the left and right give the ball winning capability with Carrick to provide the passing that was missing in the WC. At the head of the diamond is Gerrard playing behind a lone striker in Rooney, something he craves.

    Both Milner and A Cole love to attack down the flanks and both are capable of tracking back and defending. In Rooney there is a striker who loves to play on his own with support coming from the midfield.

    As players like Rodwell, Wilshere, Walcott and Johnson get more mature they will easily fit into the system and provide even more speed in attack and strength in depth.

  • Comment number 86.

    Many of Englands weaknesses were exposed this world cup. Firstly the poor central defence. Secondly a midfield unable to control the game/influence it significantly. I don't think you can totally blame Capello for this, had Ferdinand not been injured/Hargreaves had all of his problems then these two weaknesses wouldn't have been as obvious.

    However at the same time there were many failings from the management in team selection, tactics, unwillingness to adapt and inability to make the team gel as a unit. As a result I fear that Capello is not the right person to bring around the changes necessary. Unlike most of the media I felt that this outcome was always highly likely and has come as no surprise. The main thing preventing a coach from making the necessary changes is if they don't work out immediately they will be castigated by the tabloids. What we need is patience and to build a team capable of working hard for each other.

    For what it's worth the players I would have in my starting XI for the next match would be:

    Johnson - Dawson - Ferdinand - Cole
    Hargreaves (if fit and playing)
    Gerrard (if he moves abroad) - Milner
    A Johnson - One of: Walcott/Lennon/A Young (Depending on club form)

    (4-1-2-2-1/4-3-3/4-5-1 fluid system depending on attacking/defending/situation in the game)

    Other members of the squad: Foster (if club form at B'ham warrents), M Richards (if playing), Gibbs, Cahill, Shawcross, Jagielka, Rodwell, Wiltshire, Huddlestone, Parker, D Bent, P Crouch), J Cole (if he moves abroad)

    I do feel it's necessary for some of our more experienced players to play abroad as the Premier League has only taught them to play one way, which isn't good enough, by moving abroad they may yet improve and learn to vary their play.

  • Comment number 87.

    As above, Micah Richards, Jagielka, Huddlestone, possibly Baines, Bent, Andy Carrol should be added to that list.

    Other possibilities such as Mark Noble, David Wheater, Mancienne, O'Hara, Joey Barton, Victor Moses. How I would've also loved a fit Michael Owen there. Even now, I still believe he could've got us out of jail with a vital goal against USA or Algeria.

    We need to look outside the top 7 and stop thinking unless you're playing week in week out and are in form you are not good enough. I'm not saying pick those playing badly but players that play 30 times may be fresher. You only need to hit form for 3 or 5 games tohave a great tournament.

    Lampard, Klose, Podolski showed that good club form doesn't necessairly translate to good tournament form. Part of Rooney's form for UTD is helped by 2 flying wide men that support and create for him. Ashley Young, Walcott and Adam Johnson could all provide this. Whatever level you're at, no matter how good, pace can still create somthing out of nothing, like Germany's breakaway goal. All about Ozil's pace over Barry's.

    England's severe lack of pace was brutally exposed against USA & Germany though. Maybe we also need to adapt a more modern formation like 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 or even try something like 3-2-4-1. Even Spain play with 2 deep holding midfielders and Rooney's best season for UTD has come with him playing further up as opposed to deeper.

  • Comment number 88.

    If Darren Bent was at this world cup along with an Adam Johnson type I doubt we would have been so bereft of goals. Seeing as Bent scores one in 2 games and never struggles against the big defences he should be part of a Rooney - Plan A, Crouch and Bent - Plan B system.

    Your article starts out decent but you obviously haven't gone beyond the fashionable teams to look for the next generation of players.

    Lee Cattermole is 21 and has played premier league football for 5 seasons. He has the heart and soul to give the flair players a kick up the backside.

    Also, why you neglected to mention Jordan Henderson who, at only 19 year old has adapted superbly in his first season in the EPL. The lad has pace to burn but also has the ability to do a hundred things with the ball once past his man. Unlike Walcott who is a glorified sprinter.

    Maybe the England squad needs to look back to the North East for the passion supplied via Robson, Gazza, waddle et al in 1990.

  • Comment number 89.

    England must pick a tactical system suitable for winning knock out tournaments and stick with it. This is not 4-4-2. The best players in each position should be selected, rather than accommodating the best players out of position. Sir Alf Ramsey recognised these issues 45 years ago and won the World Cup. It is somewhat surprising that a coach of Capello's experience appears to have overlooked them in South Africa.

  • Comment number 90.

    Thank God a few of you are beginning to get it!

    Whatever they may achieve at club level, the current incumbents are multi-time losers in the international arena. Even worse their 'show us your medals' mentality is used to undermine those poor players, the Walcotts, Lennons, Downings etc who are unfortunate enough to be selected to make up the numbers.

    It has happened time and time again in recent years, the team plays rubbish, a scapegoat or two are chosen from the 'fringe' players and the 'superstars' all get picked for the next game.

    Upson, Heskey, Lennon are all getting the flak at the moment yet once again the 'superstars' remain relatively untouched, with a awful lot of people wanting them retained for the next campaign.

    You couldn't make it up, fortunately for me, I don't have to!

  • Comment number 91.

    Aiming for success in the 2012 Euros is all very well but our main target should be the 2014 World Cup. This gives us four years to get our act together. Two years isn't long enough. There isn't the time for kids like Wilshere, Delph etc. to fully blossom. But in four years' time they should be ready to take on the world. Providing we:

    1) sack Capello and Sir David Richards immediately
    2) retain Stuart Pearce as assistant manager (he knows the youth players)
    3) put Sir Trevor Brooking in charge of the FA (he knows everything)
    4) appoint David Beckham as manager with a four-year contract (no joke)
    5) chuck 'the kids' in at the deep end right now (Beckham's Babes)
    6) stick with them (and Beckham) despite the inevitable losing streak
    7) ignore the inevitable howls of derision from the gutter press

  • Comment number 92.


    You are half right. I disagree with your observations about Lampard.

    England's biggest mistake was making Gerrard capt. It should have gone back to Terry. The problem with Gerrard as capt meant that he couldn't be dropped. Never has Gerrard had a great game for England, let alone last season for Liverpool. Gerrard stifles Lampard, they just can't play together. Reminds me of Lampard and Ballack at Chelsea, as soon as Ballack got injured or was dropped, Lampard came alive.

    By dropping Gerrard England would then have allowed Lampard to do what he does best, and it would have given Rooney more oportunities.

    Phil - your selection of players to stay will keep you in the mess you are in. You have chosen the same players that the majority of us would have said were at fault for England's no show

  • Comment number 93.

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

  • Comment number 94.

    Further to my earlier comments (post no12) we need to look atvthis differently. It's actually pointless to start identifying players! To have a chance of competing with honour in 2018 (let's keep that as an ambitious aim) we need to be identifying a crop of young people -from aged 14 to 19 max -which will bring the range of the England squad age group in 2018 from 22 to 27 which realistically is about right for success (however it's measured).
    Alongside that you need to have fast track arrangements in place for those exceptional individuals who may have come to notice late on.
    Only by taking this kind of approach will be better placed. So although it's great for debate, it's actually pointless naming players as many have done so far!!

  • Comment number 95.

    75. At 09:43am on 30 Jun 2010, Everin_co_uk wrote:
    If we're looking to the future, does Shawcross (22) deserve a mention at centre back?
    He should have been in South Africa.....and dare I say Gary Neville....still 10 times the player Johnson a full back I would have thought tracking back, tackling, helping your central defenders would be high up in the lists of MUST DO's.....I think someone forgot to tell Johnson

  • Comment number 96.

    As an N.U.F.C supporter I am well used to following a side that has fantastic supporters but a team that never delivers.
    The toon could fix their ways a lot easier than England by not wasting their money on expensive useless signings and invest in grass roots coaching.
    However unless there is a limit on the number of foreign signings in the EPL(and is that ever going to happen?) England will always have a finite amount of talent to choose from.

    Go on Brazil!

  • Comment number 97.

    a best of championship 11, players with more hunger and determination.. would have done better at the world cup.. most teams only have one or two world class individuals.. great players don't make a great team.. england attempt to shoe horn certain individuals in at all costs.. if there hadn't been a place for lampard they would have put him in goal..
    the writing was on the wall when the squad was announced imo.. adam johnson not going was a travesty.. to be replaced by a player who he kept out of his club side.. same with heskey.. selected over a guy that keeps him out at villa (agbonlahor).. eh?.. jagielka .. one of the few pacey centre backs we have was also left out.. never mentioned.. yet hargreaves is 'disappointed' about his non selection even though he only played one minute all season..
    they've had their chance now get rid of them.. i'd only retain rooney, a. cole and hart
    there are plenty of replacements.. young, agbonlahour, huddlestone, adam johnson, jagielka, rodwell.. we always go for the not enough experience mantra.. until we have a meltdown

  • Comment number 98.

    why on earth would you advocate sticking with Terry who has shown himself to a selfish, spoilt, disruptive influence, and who is not even a good defender against quality opposition!

  • Comment number 99.

    firstly i think capello has got to go, the players obviously werent happy to be playing for him. get in a manager with PREMIERSHIP experience so that they know how to handle ENGLISH players and know how to play ENGLISH football. i would obviously want an englishman to be the next manager but as long as they had some experience managing in england i wouldnt mind too least they can speak th language.

    i can't believe people are talking about micah richards over the likes of cahill, dawson and jagielka. he has had an unspectacular last couple of seasons sometimes not even getting games whereas the others (with the exception of jagielka's injury hit season last year) play week in week out for their clubs. if glenn johnson is the best right back in the country then paul parker should get his football boots back on cause he could challenge for a call up.

    and lastly capello's biggest mistake in his squad selection - adam johnson or swp????? come on, mancini plays johnson every week, swp is a bit part player at city, surely that says something

  • Comment number 100.

    Matt Slater has it spot on - what a brilliant, brilliant article.

    We rely too much on the premier league teams to bring through young talent - the issue is the managers and chairman are too result focussed hence buying in cheaper foreign players at the ages of 26 plus.

    Adopting the french and german models of an England HQ and training centre would make massive sense and the sooner the better in time for 2018. Surely the premier league should be investing in this also to help share the burden of the costs as ultimately they will benefit from these improved players.

    There are some numpty's out there though - the idiot who called Bellamy a role model, anyone who thinks Heskey should be in the next match day squad when he hasn't even been starting for Villa, Capello why are you playing him and having Gerrard out on the left? I did have the utmost faith in Capello however I have started asking questions - I thought he was stronger than carrying on with the Heskey substitution even when we went the third goal down when that clearly was never going to get us creating two more goals. Barry simply not quick enough or competent enough at the top level - he looks ok against mediocre international teams but simply doesn't cut it against the top teams - I'd play Rodwell in there instead - the lad can pass but is also quick and strong and, unusually for an englishman, can actually use and shoot competently with either foot.

    Wilkinson had it spot on - too result focused - even the Australians at all sports don't focus on the results at a young age - they simply task their youngsters with doing one thing better everytime they play or train no matter whether they win. It's those little steps of improvement that will help rather than dad's pushing too hard for the win and kids crying because they lost.


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