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Netherlands defeat shows FA must act quickly

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Phil McNulty | 07:08 UK time, Thursday, 1 March 2012

At Wembley

Stuart Pearce freely admits part of his role as England's caretaker manager is to buy the Football Association time to puts its plans in place for appointing Fabio Capello's successor.

Events at Wembley and beyond on Wednesday should have crystallised the FA's thoughts and conspired to convince the quartet charged with selecting England's next leader that Pearce has already bought them enough time.

As a patchwork team lost 3-2 to a vastly superior Netherlands side, France - the team England will meet in their opening Euro 2012 fixture in Donetsk's Donbass Arena on 11 June and who shared their status as the sick men of European football after the last World Cup - were beating Germany in Bremen.

The same Germany, of course, who embarrassed England in Bloemfontein in that sad summer of 2010.

Stuart Pearce

Stuart Pearce's first game in charge of England was a 3-2 defeat to Netherlands. Photo: Getty

And back at Wembley Pearce concluded his post-match briefing by announcing that, while he is undaunted by the prospect of coaching England at Euro 2012, he is too inexperienced for the full-time job.

It was hardly the most convincing personal reference. If Pearce believes he is not up to the full-time job, how can the FA possibly risk appointing him to take charge of a major tournament?

After watching England look inferior to the Netherlands despite the narrow margin of defeat, and hearing Pearce publicly accept his limitations, all signs point to the need for the process to find a permanent solution to be accelerated.

Sir Trevor Brooking's insistence that a new manager could be "parachuted in" a few days before Euro 2012 is correct in theory but unconvincing in practice after studying the evidence on show at Wembley. There is much work to be done, perhaps too much for a manager armed only with a parachute.

England's late rally, when Gary Cahill and Ashley Young levelled up goals from Arjen Robben and Klaas Jan Huntelaar, would not have disguised the gulf in class between the teams. As it was, Robben's injury-time winner deprived England of even that scant consolation.

There has to be some sympathy for the FA's position - especially if Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is confirmed as the chosen one. If so, the national association almost has to embark on a diplomatic exercise.

FA chairman David Bernstein, director of football development Brooking, general secretary Alex Horne and Club England MD Adrian Bevington have to handle the sensitivities that potentially come with this territory as Tottenham chase the FA Cup and a place in the Premier League's top four.

Indeed the flipside of this is that some at Spurs may feel, especially in the harsh light of their 5-2 thrashing at Arsenal on Sunday, that they are already feeling the impact even without getting the call from FA headquarters.

The FA must take on the balancing act of getting their man while, if they settle on Redknapp, not leaving itself open to accusations of unsettling the season at White Hart Lane. Not an easy task but one that the current state of play suggests should take on increasing urgency.

England's logistical plans may be in place for the new man but there is uncertainty around football matters, with the team in a state of flux and its finest player, Wayne Rooney, suspended for the first two games of Euro 2012.

Pearce's honesty about his position was admirable - "I'm not auditioning for anything" - and may even have acted as an extra alert to the FA that the countdown to Poland and Ukraine gathers momentum as they ponder the task of appointing their most important employee.

Even if they cannot put a man in place until the season finishes, there was a growing sense around Wembley on Wednesday that the time is coming to make the first firm moves towards making an appointment, if not immediately then at least having their man under contract to take charge once the final ball of the domestic campaign has been kicked.

The FA cannot be accused of dragging its feet as work has undoubtedly been done behind closed doors. Knee-jerking makes no sense but the clock is ticking and Bernstein said all the most important FA diaries were cleared on 10 February to prioritise the finding of a replacement for Capello.

On the pitch, this rearranged friendly was a sobering experience for a makeshift England team. In among the odd positive, such as the lively performance of substitute Daniel Sturridge, there was a reminder of the harsh reality of England's current reduced position in football's European and world order.

The Netherlands team is not of the finest vintage; indeed coach Bert van Marwijk was berated by his country's media in his post-match press conference for perceived negativity, but they still possessed too much for England.

All judgements must be placed in context with a mention of England's missing men but there was an assurance of players such as Robben and Wesley Sneijder that Pearce's side did not possess. And this was with only a subdued 45-minute appearance from Arsenal's Robin van Persie.

Scott Parker, a contentious choice as captain ahead of Steven Gerrard, did justice to Pearce's selection with a typically whole-hearted effort including brave blocks and the odd shuddering tackle.

It was, in most respects, a low-key affair and the sort of phoney war that often breaks out in friendlies at this time of the season.

England's serious action will come in June but, as two supporters posed at Wembley with the famous Lord Kitchener poster adorned with the words "Harry Your Country Needs You", it may be that it is just about to start for the Football Association.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Highlight of the match for me ;

    With the score at 0-0

    Some naff Brass Band strikes up with

    Rule Britannia
    Britannia Rules the .......

    1 minute later the Dutch are 2 goals ahead

    I laughed so much I fell of my chair :):):):)

  • Comment number 2.

    @ 1 What? Is that all you can say? I still thought the performance was quality, but why oh why was Robben not shown onto his right foot? Its a swinger at the best of times.

  • Comment number 3.

    Another technically inept performance by England cheered me up no end.

  • Comment number 4.

    Following Capello's desertion from the sinking ship england, his legacy is....

    yet more " experimentation " with an " inexperienced " side giving his successor a tailor made excuse for yet more failure.

    Well done Cappello and of course the FA who have had many many many years to
    " act quickly "

    as for Pearce, another all mouth no brain, tactically inept individual, totally out of his depth with an ill fitting suit to boot.

  • Comment number 5.

    @ 4 "as for Pearce, another all mouth no brain, tactically inept individual, totally out of his depth with an ill fitting suit to boot."

    I think someone got out of bed the wrong side this morning, and as for his suit, what does it even matter, why were you watching a football to see whether the suit is ill fitting or not?

  • Comment number 6.

    Graham Taylor on the other blog regarding the BBC Pundits views:

    "But let's be honest. What we saw at Wembley was nothing more than an England reserve side. I don't mean that to sound disrespectful but I'm not sure we learned a tremendous amount against the Netherlands."

    When will you muppets ever get it that these are the people that should be playing. This is not a reserve team!

    Terry, Ferdinand, Cole, Lampard etc are the reserves. If you don't get rid of these international donkeys then you'll never reach a semi final let alone a Cup!

  • Comment number 7.

    Hey Phil, you're criticising Stuart Pearce for his honesty and self appraisal. If at least half of the England managers since 1966 had the same sense of honesty, they wouldn't have disgraced themselves and the England team repeatedly over the years.
    As for this current crop of England players? The Netherlands beat them comfortably in 2nd gear!

  • Comment number 8.


    I am pointing out the irony of playing " rule britannia " with the score at 0-0 ?
    ruling what exactly? 0-0 and we are " ruling " ? no sooner the tune is struck up the Dutch masterclass sees them go 2 goals up !

    and if it was not for a dodgy offside goal the scoreline would have been even less flattering for the airheads to gloat over this morning.

    the facts are these;

    England played Holland, at Home, in front of a silent crowd and redundant Brass Band

    They Lost

    in other words.....

    Nothing has changed! ( grins )

  • Comment number 9.

    When it was 2-0 I thought perhaps SP would bring on Theo as a holding midfielder, that would have summed up the tactical mess that was England last night. Then in open play Gary Cahill scores.

    Why he was playing Adam Johnson and S Downing as left and right CM i have no idea.

    When Gerrard went off we lost some balance in the middle, the subs that then followed were shockingly bad.

    Fair play to the England players who played very well but there was half the team playing out of position.

    As a person SP sounds like a really nice bloke, someone you would want in the dressing room, but as a tactician i think perhaps not.

    A very good game of football and at times the game was played at a very nice tempo with quality from both sides.

    But as an Englishman i feel let down that we could choose half the team to play out of position.

  • Comment number 10.

    As a patchwork team lost 3-2 to a vastly superior Netherlands side, France - the team 'England will meet in their opening Euro 2012 fixture in Donetsk's Donbass Arena on 11 June and who shared their status as the sick men of European football after the last World Cup - were beating Germany in Bremen.

    The same Germany, of course, who embarrassed England in Bloemfontein in that sad summer of 2010.'

    You can't really make such comparisons when a couple of friendlies are involved! We all know it was a patchwork England side (without many of its first choice players). We weren't born yesterday! And, I repeat, we are talking about friendlies. Yes, France beating Germany was a shock result but typical of the wasteful, knee-jerk reaction of football journalism these days, that views are based on one or two results in unimportant matches.

    Do try and look at the bigger picture occasionally.

  • Comment number 11.

    You a sad individual HAHA comeplete charade you are.

    I am guessing your not English.

    But i wonder how yoru national team is doing.

    Not going the Euros

    Oh well

    Grins :)

  • Comment number 12.

    @6.At 08:15 1st Mar 2012, CalrissianShark wrote:

    "When will you muppets ever get it that these are the people that should be playing. This is not a reserve team!"

    They certainly played like a reserve team.

  • Comment number 13.

    Well, Well, Well......another thing tried by england......another thing failed by england. where do you go from here ???? back to the experienced players for them to be the same old england ???? It#s time to get drastic. time to look at players with heart and no reputation. The so called lesser teams have players who give their all to the cause, should have been looked at last night. But yet again overlooked. Grant Holt said he was amazed that Norwich players had been overlooked, maybe it's time to give these type's of players a chance. Im not say pick half a norwich team. But they got to be worth a look

  • Comment number 14.

    Harry for England? Could be another big mistake! Great club manager but only because he can buy in players, many of who are foreign, to create a good team. He wouldn't be able to do this with England, so when he gets the job and finds out that on the whole the players at his disposal just aren't good enough, he won't be able to work his magic. He will fail through no fault of his own but it's bound to end in tears.

  • Comment number 15.

    Why the rush Phil? England don't need to win Euro 2012 or indeed do that well. The England team however does NEED to rebuild and bring through the exciting young talent of which we have an abundance despite what some say. Drop Gerrard for good that would be a good start. I hate to say it but you and all your friends are part of the problem it comes across in this very article the pressure to do well in the next tournament. Aload of tosh we all know England won't win Euro 2012 so again why the big rush? Get the new guy in after the Euros, step two get to the semi of the world cup in Brazil and step three win or get to the final of Euro 2016.
    Slow Down!!....

  • Comment number 16.

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

  • Comment number 17.

    England need to be 1000 times more prepared to get any chance of going through the group stages.

    When its a game of football with a team that is possibly going to win it, shouldnt we field our strongest squad, this was not a friendly its more of a preparation test, for the Euros, and all we have learned is that we still have some very talented players who again are mismanaged.

    I feel more nervous than before about any chance of making it of the group stages.

    Pearce with all his ambition determination ect has just shown us what type of team shouldnt be picked and that he is still 10 years away from being a top coach at that level.

    I am just glad that i have a good neutral attitude towards other international team, and i feel sorry for the people that deeply hate England. But if you hate them so much why even watch them.

    Time for the small minded petty anti English to slate us when there team havent been in a decent competition since Kenny Daglish scored a hatrick fro Liverpool

  • Comment number 18.

    Everytime England lose its the managers fault. Its about time we admited we have very poor players, how many would get in Spains team or even Spains first 25? I don't care who gets the job the rubbish he has to work with won't change.

  • Comment number 19.

    @14.At 08:22 1st Mar 2012, Big Ianto wrote:

    "Harry for England? Could be another big mistake! Great club manager but only because he can buy in players"

    That is a stupid arguement because it is the same for every club manager. They go out and buy the best players they can afford for each position.

    The problem Saint Harry (who is not guilty of tax evasion) will face is that there are no desent English players to choose from but that would be the same for anybody else.

  • Comment number 20.

    All of you complaining, non-stop critical fans, what would you have done that was so different to last night's team selection that would have guranteed victory against the Dutch? So pessimistic it's embarassing.

  • Comment number 21.


    So some spelling mistakes, i am sure you get a good kick when you see old ladies tripping up getting on the bus.

    What a sad individual you are.

    Supporting Spain for the Euros by any chance.

    Why not your own country

    Oh there not going, havent been for centuries.

    Bring back Gemmel.

  • Comment number 22.

    Well KIT for a start you could play players in the best positions....

    That could perhaps???

    What do you think.......

  • Comment number 23.

    @ 16

    You remind me of my little brother, always wanting what everyone else has got and if you don't get it you become childish and say you never really wanted it in the first place. See you are the Euros!!!. Oh wait. HA HA HA HA HA indeed.

  • Comment number 24.

    Another dreadful English performance. They were only saved from an absolute humiliation by the fact that the Dutch graciously stayed in first gear throughout the match, barely breaking sweat, and they received another - yes, yet another - bizarre hometown Wembley decision to allow them to ''get back in the game''; Cahill was - quite literally - miles offside.

  • Comment number 25.

    Should have played Sturridge from the start. And why not play Walcott after scoring 2 goals against Spurs last Sunday??
    My starting 11 would have included;

  • Comment number 26.


    Anyone that places Baines, Downing, then Ashley young on the left all at the same time, then on the right Micah Richards, then A johnson and then Sturridge on the right is deluded as a manager.

    Perhaps you might follow the formation and understand footballers abilities.

    the players are not the best in the world, but at times we played very well and good football.

    All that we was missing was Kenny Miller upfront.

  • Comment number 27.

    Without even trying Robben made Micah Richards look ordinary. However, headlessly bundling one's way up the field by using one's physique appears to be enough to have the English media and fans applauding. Richards, like most English players, is technically inept. Give him a starting place at the Euros and I am convinced I will be vindicated.

  • Comment number 28.


  • Comment number 29.

    Shadow warrior.

    That's just a poor response. Nothing concrete about that at all. All of those players have experience in those positions.

  • Comment number 30.

    Who was that English goalkeeper? A blonde-haired chap; I don't think I've seen him before. I was particularly amused by his ''pigeon in flight'' impression at one of the corners.

    Arjen Robben showed all the Sky Sports Basset Hounds why such a knowledgeable guru of the beautiful game, Fabio Capello, didn't bother picking Micah Richards. I've seen better performances from the right-back at ''The Anchor Inn'' on a Sunday morning.

  • Comment number 31.

    "... with the team in a state of flux and its finest player, Wayne Rooney, suspended for the first two games of Euro 2012"

    He shouldn't even be selected to go:

    - We win more games without him than with him
    - He's not scored in the last two tournaments, against poor teams like Algeria
    - He's been sent off twice while representing England in competitive matches
    - He insults his own fans who criticise his poor performance
    - He can't play for two of the three group games

    Drop him and everyone who performed badly in 2010, pick players based on current club form and performances for England.

  • Comment number 32.

    @26.At 08:32 1st Mar 2012, shadow warrior wrote:

    "at times we played very well and good football"

    I'm sorry, I must have dozed off at that point. The amount of space the Dutch had to play in was unbelievable.

    "All that we was missing was Kenny Miller upfront"


  • Comment number 33.

    The case for Harry Redknapp is far from watertight. Harry,for all of his affable personality and attempts at playing pleasing football has never actually won anything. He has no international experience at all and his health is not the best. Add his somewhat dubious court case. (Yes I know he was cleared but bank accounts in pets names?) and we are left with a nice chap who undeniably loves to see the game played in the right way. That he is also English and a Londoner appears to most commentaters to be enough. I would beg to differ.

    The only other serious English candidate would be Roy Hodgson. He ticks many of the boxes which Harry cannot tick. He has managed international teams,he has won trophies at club level. Against Hodgson is his failure at Liverpool and his age,he could not be a long term appointment. Also,and unfairly,the London centric media would make his life a misery were he to be chosen ahead of their favourite.

    Of the two Hodgson undeniably has the better credentials but to limit its list of candidates to two just because they are English would be short sighted of the FA. There are coaches out there could fit the bill but do not hold a UK passport. Should they thus be dismissed? I think not. It maybe a sad state of affairs that only two,quite elderly,Englishmen exist who could even remotely do the job but that is where we are. We should deal with it head on and consider candidates from across the globe. Of course we won't,Harry will get his chance...and it will end,as it always ends,with a man being villified by the media for being unable to bring home a trophy.

    Whether the man exists who could bring home a trophy I doubt,our players remain technically flawed and we do not seem to be able to muster the gumption to play the English game on the international stage for fear of being ridiculed. The 'Stoke City' type of game which requires less technical ability and embraces the strengths of English football,pace,power,passsion may not win any awards or even many friends but it would perhaps serve us better than trying to emulate the artistry of the Spaniards or Dutch and failing miserably.

    If pressed I would give the job to Hodgson for the tournament ahead only and then appoint someone else of an age whereby he could grow into the job,mould a squad and aim at 2018 or even 2022. It won't happen though, 'Cry Harry for England and St George' will be the headline come May, come July it will simply read 'Cry Harry'.

  • Comment number 34.


    you sound an ideal candidate for the coalition governments fraudulent Work for Welfare Scheme.

    anyway moving on......


    while the European counterparts are playing with settled sides and playing attractive football, getting results, playing with bags of confidence the english since 1966 are still " experimenting " with and " inexperienced side.

    surely since 1966 the powers that be at the FA and elsewhere have had more than enough time to come up with a team that can be taken seriously on a Football pitch.

  • Comment number 35.

    @30.At 08:36 1st Mar 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    "I was particularly amused by his ''pigeon in flight'' impression at one of the corners"


  • Comment number 36.

    @Sons of Albion

    Steve Coppel or Sam Alardyce. Neither would play particularly attractive football, but both have sound footballing and tactical knowledge and I would get results. I'm not against Redknapp, nor am I a SPurs fan, but I would like to see him stay at Spurs and actually challenge for the PL.

  • Comment number 37.

    Can't read into it too much. This match was meaningless, especially in the current climate of the England squad.

    The Dutch looked uninterested for long patches and the English players were an odd mix. But I too believe this is close to what the starting XI should look like (Gerrard is redundant).

    Is there any word on Smalling's condition?

  • Comment number 38.

    can someone advise ?

    over the drone of the Brass Band ( england Ruling the Dutch@ 0-0 :):):) ) i heard mention england are ranked No 5 in the ratings, is this in the World or Europe either way

    a serious reality check is badly needed by anyone who swallows such utter tosh.

  • Comment number 39.

    @34 One can only assume you are very young. The sides of 1990 and 1996 were hardly experimental and very competitive.

  • Comment number 40.

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

  • Comment number 41.

    Is this a practical joke?

    Didn't read the story as the headline is PRETTY OBVIOUS!

    Can Phil write something interesting for a change?

    One other thing-

    "Scott Parker, a contentious choice as captain ahead of Steven Gerrard"

    Contentionus? Gerrard OBVIOUSLY is nowhere near recovered from injury and shouldn't have even been in the team. I missed the first 4 minutes and the first thing I witnessed in the 5th minute was an hollywood pass by Gerrard that, as quite often happens for him, went out for a throwing!

  • Comment number 42.

    @12.At 08:20 1st Mar 2012, It wasnt me A big boy did it and ran away

    At least this reserve team, or most of them, will be there when the world cup comes around. The biggest problem for England is that the fans want instant success. They want young players except those that play for their club. Then if they loose, "why did we play a reserve team?".

    @24.At 08:30 1st Mar 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    "Cahill was - quite literally - miles offside."

    Nothing quite like over exageratting and claiming its true. Very funny all the same!!!

  • Comment number 43.

    The, "France Beat Germany who beat England...." Part is a bit convoluted and Irrelevant. Second in the premiership Man U lost comfortably to Blackburn recently, and whilst that was good for a laugh, it was hardly a pointer to the overall strength of the teams involved.

    We were after all playing the World Cup Finalists who had a team much nearer to full strength than England had.

    Are we going to win the European Championship this summer? Probably not, but please keep your evidence for your point of view relevant Phil.

  • Comment number 44.

    HAHA CharadeYouAre - Have you thought about going to anger management classes?

  • Comment number 45.

    england arent that good. get over it. the netherlands got to the last world cup final which is further than we have got in 45 years. so when we lose to a better team what is all the fuss about? you wouldnt say how bad someone like wigan is if they lost to man u. thats what we are looking at, we are "premier league" but not title contenders for any thing.

  • Comment number 46.


    In Europe,there is Spain,Holland and Germany ranked 1,2 and 3. And whoever is 4th or 12th,there is little to choose from. We certainly have the players to match Germany,if not Holland when full strength with the right Coach in charge. But Spain are miles in front of every other nation.

  • Comment number 47.

    Whats with all the doom and gloom ? England beat the world champs only a few days ago ! oh , that was when that money hungry Italian was in charge .

  • Comment number 48.

    Typically all the non English supporters crowing over a scratch side (narrowly) losing a game to the WC finalists.

    @ Soul Patch: You add nothing to any thread you post on. It's just the same old drivel regardless of the events during, or the outcome of the match. If I could filter out your posts I would.

    @ HAHA: I'm assuming your Welsh or Scottish. Well done on not qualifying for a major tournament in the last 20ish years if your Scottish, or living memory if you're Welsh. You mentioned someone's R&R skills? I assume you mean reading and WRITING?

    As to the game, I seem to recall England creating a number of shooting chances, we just missed the composure to finish. The Dutch were dirty. I number of cynical fouls, particularly the challenge on Richards by van Bommel to prevent a break away, went unpunished (by a card).

    All things considered it was a decent performance by a young team.

  • Comment number 49.

    How can Pearce say hes not ready for the job "Too inexperienced" hes says!

    He's been in charge of the U21s for 5 years now. If anyone knows how tournament football works and how to keep himself occupied in-between games and look after a squad, its him.

    In international experience he's brimming in it!

    Let's face it....He just doesn't want the job! Because he knows its a poisoned chalice.

    The team is a mess with suspension and conspiracy's and the media are ruthless and cut throat.

    Plus he doesnt want to be seen as the settled for choice if they don't get the Messiah - Harry Redknapp. His England career would be over before it started - unless he could pull off some sort of miracle and win euro 2012.

  • Comment number 50.

    Surely this was what we've all (mostly) been asking for since the dismal WC? To follow the example of Germany and give the young players a chance to come through and get some experience - what a surprise that as soon as they don't win they are slated again.
    I thought it was great to see the new players and Pearce seemed miles better than Fabio. For a start, he had the cajones to take off Gerrard who was awful, every time he got the ball he hoofed it up the field and gave it away. A complete has-been, now saying he was injured but he didn't look happy at coming off. Then, Pearce took off Barry, who should never be let anywhere near the England setup - less mobile than a stuffed toy and about as talented. Sturridge was excellent, Wellbeck was very good, Parker led by example, what is the problem?
    Anyway, I'll expect the usual WUM WUM WUM sound of Patches approaching, how did your 5-1 bet go??

  • Comment number 51.

    Pearce + one of Houllier / Venables / Benitez as assistant/mentor for the Euros

  • Comment number 52.

    46. At 08:54 1st Mar 2012, ger1eng5 wrote:

    We certainly have the players to match Germany,if not Holland when full strength with the right Coach in charge.

    Are you performing stand-up at the Hammersmith Apollo? If not, you should be. With lines like that you'll have them rolling in the aisles!

    It's incredible how the English will always blame the coach, despite the fact that the players, under a succession of different coaches, keep on playing like a pub team. Perhaps, just perhaps, it's because the England team is chock-a-bloc with over-hyped, sub-standard plodders?

    You are right about the sizllingly sensational Spanish, though. A truly eximious side.

  • Comment number 53.

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

  • Comment number 54.

    Shock! Horror! More negativity towards England from Phil McNulty.

    There were plenty of positives to take from last night, but as you're clearly still upset that your beloved Stevie G wasn't given the arm-band, you've decided to ignore them all. Great reporting.

    For large portions of last night's game we were the better side. If you can't see that, then you really shouldn't be writing about football. It went wrong when Gareth Barry was replaced with James Milner and the whole team lost it's shape. The Dutch, being the quality, full-strength side that they were last night, punished us for it. The injury to Smalling allowed us to re-group and we looked more assured after that.

    The France result in Germany means about as much as the Dutch wining at Wembley last night - pretty much nothing. Not long before the 2010 World Cup we beat Germany in Munich with an under-strength side (I seem to remember it was Carrick and Barry in the middle that day), but they then beat us in the World Cup.

    Perhaps if our media (and a large section of our fans) started to recognise that while we're not the best team in the world, we're certainly in the top 6 or 7 and started to actually back our team, rather than taking them to pieces personally and professionally before and after every game, the players might be able to relax a bit more, and who knows, they might even surprise us all.

    Oh, and on the Gerrard captaincy issue - YOU are to blame for him not getting it, McNulty. The media circus surrounding who gets the arm-band is quite frankly embarrassing. So it has to be given to someone squeaky clean, with no past to dredge up and little chance of ever getting caught out in the future. We used to have a player who was not only world-class, but also fit the bill in Beckham. Since then we've had John "Where do you even start?" Terry, Rio "What drugs test?" Ferdinand, and our disastrous World Cup campaign was captained by your hero: Steven "Play This Song Or I'll Punch You" Gerrard. As Alan Curbishley said of Scott Parker: "He's one player that's never going to need a super-injuction".

    If it weren't for the millions of column inches filled up by unimaginative journalists on the England captaincy, then we could probably have Gerrard. But as long as the role comes under such close media scrutiny, he'll never be the right man for the job.

  • Comment number 55.

    Nicely put Malnik. This EC should be used to work on a settled team for 2014. No need carrying people who will be retired by then

  • Comment number 56.

    I thought an inexperienced team played pretty well against one of the best sides in the world. There were terrible mistakes and great moments. This is the future side give or take a few players. I think keep with the same side with the addition of Wilshere and Rooney when fit and in a few years we will have a top side.

  • Comment number 57.

    Agree with comment 6. I watched the game last night only because the usual suspects weren't there. Hoped it might be part of the rebuilding exercise that England need. A bunch of young players that need the experience, accept a few defeats on the way but stick with them and watch them become a unit over a few years - accept we're not going to win anything in 2012/2014 and target 2016 onwards. But no, we'll just get 'Arry in and it'll be business as usual - inept failure supported by the delusional demanding instant success. Someone please remind me how that's worked out for us over the last 40+ years...

  • Comment number 58.

    Phil, do you, or your fellow football correspondents who write for the 'popular' media, ever publish articles discussing the tactical nuances of the game?

    Or is it all about creating this soap opera in order to sell the product?

    I rarely see one of the mainstream football journos display an ability to discuss the actual game of football in great detail.

  • Comment number 59.

    Problem is, pundits and fans always SAY they want to build for the future and blood the young guns, but then when someone tries to do it it's suddenly "Oh, it's the reserve team out there, oh, it'll be a disaster if we don't get to the quarters this time" and so on and so forth.

    Real lack of bottle.

  • Comment number 60.

    How wonderful to see the same old contributors pedal the same old tiresome jibes at England, typical antagonistic pap that only serves to enhance their status as legends in their own lunch time.

  • Comment number 61.

    People seem to have short memories and I see the knives are out in the press because Pearce was disgraceful enough not to select some of there hero's Lampard/Terry and course the eternal bench warmer Defoe etc. One article this morining even said what a mistake it was not have Gerrard as captain. convienently forgetting he was only on the pitch for 30 mins! I even heard Lawro and Graham Taylor last night talking about how they need to take the old guard to the Euro's etc.
    Yep the same old guard that failed in Germany 06 could not even qualify for Euro 08 and were usless in Africa 10. Yep that old guard.
    People need to get real we were never going to beat the dutch last night. Pearce recognised that and gave the chance to youngsters to blood them against a good side but as Hansen once said you cant win anything with kids... oh wait

  • Comment number 62.

    Also, let's look at some of the established / promising players that didn't get to play last night:

    Rooney, Darren Bent, Jack Wilshere, Tom Cleverley, Phil Jagielka, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

    I'd have all 6 of those in my starting line-up - I can't think of 6 Dutch players that would've played but for injury / the manager not thinking they're experienced enough.

    Why don't you try looking at some of the positives in an England performance? Just once... You never know, you might even like it.

  • Comment number 63.

    Where's the fire? What's the panic to appoint someone? You don't really think we stand a chance of winning that thing do you?

    Just for once let's just play some football without pressure. Without having to "achieve" something. Who cares if we crash and burn? We didn't really think we'd win it anyway. Similar to when we all watch the latest non-league side go on a cup run. Everyone loves to watch it and loves it when they win but no-one really expects them to lift the trophy.

    Why has there always got to be pressure on someone to do something?

  • Comment number 64.

    Does England have sufficently good, technically gifted players that can be gelled into a truly decent team? Maybe the youngsters are an answer in that they can learn and develop at the Euro's and build on that. Certainly, the old guard have been given enough opportunities and are unlikely to succeed now

    I keep thinking back to the way Germany completely exposed our limitations even though we had a 'strong' team on the pitch. It can't be any worse than the whole SA tournament going with the relatively unproven Joneses, Sturridges, Oxlade-Camberlains etc.

    By the same token why not when appointing the manager, ensure he has a younger deputy who will assume the role say in 4 years time

    If we go for a Hodgson or Rednapp we are looking for a safeish pair of hands and maybe then a younger assistant can learn from them. Who else is a candidate in that scenario?

    If not these 2 (and I'm not convinced about either claims) then who of the younger managers with potential could take on teh role with an older hand mentoring them - that could be Hodgson? I would have said Venables as a good tactician but he didn't shine in the role of assistant manager in 2006/7

  • Comment number 65.

    Some angry people about, not sure what's going to be discussed next as these are the games that have now been culled. Looking at the injuries to both sides you can see why.

    I thought the game itself was alright both teams kept the ball pretty well, which is unusual for England. Obviously it wasnt exactly a real competition i.e Gerrard's not going to sub himself when he thinks he might have a twinge in the euro's but think it was worth while none the less.

    Good to see Richards back after a four year gap to start, thought he did well. Baines unfortunately continues to look out of his depth. I think 3 of the back four wil probably not start in the euro's but good to get some experiene to these back up players.

    We do miss Rooney, without him Welbeck did get a bit to isolated and Sturridge is quality though needs to up his work rate. Check Robben's first goal, he doesnt follow the run he just lets him go.

    I personally was more interested in how the new players did rather than the result which is what is wrong with the current friendly system. I would however suggest had we drawn the game should have been decided on penalities both nations need the practice!

  • Comment number 66.

    24. At 08:30 1st Mar 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    Are you aware what literally means? clearly not, if you were you wouldn't have used it! go back to school!

    Agree that England were out classed though...they were playing the WC finalists so hardly a shock

  • Comment number 67.

    @58.At 09:05 1st Mar 2012, SexualChocolate wrote:

    "Phil, do you, or your fellow football correspondents who write for the 'popular' media, ever publish articles discussing the tactical nuances of the game?"

    Have a look at:

  • Comment number 68.

    @ Soul Patch.......

    Have you ever actually visited Spain???

  • Comment number 69.

    59. Ryushinku - Couldn't agree more.

  • Comment number 70.

    Cheadle, you talk some sense. Thankfully someone on here does....

  • Comment number 71.

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

  • Comment number 72.

    Tactician talk is surely top priority and obviously the reason behind the F.A. failing to find a decent replacement for postman Pat. If Stuart Pearce is not confident of his own abilities to coach England this summer then quite rightly he should be replaced in his temporary role very qickly. Where are the top English coaches and why don't we have someone sticking his neck out wanting to take the job? I fear it has less to do with the pressure of the position that creates too few candidates, it's more to do with incompetent top level coaches who are lacking in qualifications in this elitist country of ours. I thought David Platt was being educated for the role but maybe we have to wait ten years before he 'comes of age'. Roy Hodgson has the credentials so why isn't anyone knocking on his door? It's the F.A. who once again get the vote of 'no confidence' when it comes to decisive action, let's face it though, those youngsters showed plenty of promise last night, there was just a lack of tactical leadership.

  • Comment number 73.

    After decades of supporting England through thick and thin (mostly thin), and always ending up disappointed (due to the lackluster performance of players rather than the result itself), I now no longer put myself through the agony of watching England matches and instead focus on Spurs. That's why I'm gutted that the FA are about to nick Harry from right under our noses.

  • Comment number 74.

    66. At 09:11 1st Mar 2012, swindonbluearmy wrote:
    24. At 08:30 1st Mar 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    Are you aware what literally means?

    Whoooossssssh! :rollseyes:

  • Comment number 75.


    Er care to give any examples, when we play 4 wide players at the same time.

    Look forward to your reply lol

  • Comment number 76.

    #24 - There is nothing more irritating in the abuse of the English language than the misuse of the word "literally". We all exaggerate, thats normal. It used to be that the word literally was kept in reserve to ensure people understood when we weren't exaggerating. Now people insist on using it to exaggerate more severely. If Cahill was literally miles offside he would have been playing football in a small field in Kent at the time.

    Or was this blog for discussing football?

  • Comment number 77.

    the schoolboy defending by Cahill was woeful!

    the communication with him and Smalling was terrible.

    lets remember this Dutch team didnt even break stride, they played with ease and scored 3 goals, England had to play their usual kick and rush football to get 2 goals.

  • Comment number 78.

    oh and why did Stuart Pearce have a Hitler haircut??

  • Comment number 79.

    Phil, you're talking nonsense.
    Probably the best scenario is for a manager to be appointed at the end of the season.
    It will take away the weight of expectation and will mean that everyone is in the same boat. Starting from scratch once the season is already over.

  • Comment number 80.

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

  • Comment number 81.

    @48. Don't know whether to laugh or cry at your lame comment that the Dutch played dirty.

    Match stats:
    Fouls ENG 11 HOL 15
    Yellow cards ENG 1 HOL 1

    Aside from Parker and Sneijder winding each other up for a while I don't think either team displayed any malice.

    England lost. It happens. Get over it. Stop looking for excuses- especially as yours hold no merit.

  • Comment number 82.

    Highlight for me was Scott parker's " look at me trying to be fancy under pressure.........oops now I'm on my ass" impression!!

    Outstanding from the captain.

  • Comment number 83.

    78. At 09:18 1st Mar 2012, signori wrote:
    oh and why did Stuart Pearce have a Hitler haircut??
    HAHA he did! brilliant!

    Oh and Soul.... I take it you dont know what it means by your response then....

  • Comment number 84.

    Why oh why do you have to quote Sir Trevor 'Nice but dim' Brooking? When I write "quote" him, it's clearly not actually a quote because he's incapable of stringing a coherent sentence together. A transcript of any of his statements/answers would read like a dyslexic comedy sketch. Just another reason the FA is a joke.

    And if I see that the new boss' support team includes Ray Clemence, Sammy Lee and all the usual failed hangers-on, I shall scream.

  • Comment number 85.

    62. At 09:09 1st Mar 2012, CheadleEnder1982 wrote:

    The Netherlands were without van der Wiel, Elia, breathtaking Barça bench-warmer, Afellay, the free-scoring uncapped 22-year-old, Bas Dost, Wijnaldum, not to mention many other untested youngsters who ply their trade for the top clubs in the Eredivisie.

    Whereas out of those 6 England players you've mentioned, Tom Cleverly has done absolutely nothing to warrant England selection and Jagielka is hardly an improvemnet on the other centre-backs who England normally play.

  • Comment number 86.

    Signori, hence why neither of our goals came from kick and rush build up play? Yeah I know one of them was offside.

  • Comment number 87.

    A patched together England team playing the (second) best side in the world. I would have had to be mainlining something very good to think England would do anything other than lose. I was struck that most of the team did try very hard.

    I was pleased Pearce let the younger players show what they might contribute. We know the oldies are past it.

  • Comment number 88.


    At last someone who is giving an objective opinion.

    The first half was very balanced and apart from the first nervy 15 mins we matched Holland all over the pitch and probably were the better team.

    The we lost Gerrard, and he bought on sturridge and moved A J back into Cm, that was the first tactical mistake and it just got worse as the game went on.

    SP is a great person no doubts about that but as a tactician he isnt there yet.

    Not sure we will ever have a good English manager again, the game has changed so much for the determinded spirited display and motivation. Its a new era of football, possesion, positional perfection, passing and formations.

    I dont even think Harry will be the best option, but he is English and the best we have.

  • Comment number 89.

    83. At 09:20 1st Mar 2012, swindonbluearmy wrote:

    Oh and Soul.... I take it you dont know what it means by your response then....

    I know full well what it means, but I am taking the mickey out of those who don't by using it in a humorous context, such as Arjen Robben - quite literally - pulled a rabbit out of the hat last night. Or Roberto Soldado was - quite literally - on fire against Venezuela.

  • Comment number 90.

    A permanent manager needs to be appointed but time must be taken to select the right choice for the future.
    The reality though is England are simply not that good with a transitional phase looming while younger players are blooded into the international arena.
    Forget the Euro's as they will be a write off in terms of success and concentrate on building the infrastructure for future success.
    I'm not sure if Redknapp is the right man for the job but the FA will appoint him no doubt.
    I just hope Harry is ready for the defining challenge of his career as all the positive success he has achieved at Tottenham will quickly be forgotten if he falls foul of the poison chalice.

  • Comment number 91.

    Re HaHa Charadeyouare

    What's wrong this morning mate? Did the wife not butter your toast properly or has one of your favourite toys broken and you are on here instead? I had hoped we would get a sensible discussion, not some imbecile throwing insults around.

  • Comment number 92.

    England were competent until half-time, but showed appalling naivety in defence for all three of Holland's goals in the second period. Taking Barry off was a mistake tactically as it opened up acres of space in front of England's central defenders. England still have a long way to go but the Dutch are not the great team many think. Robben aside, they lack pace and imagination. Even Sneijder looked a shadow of his former self.

    Sturridge looked good, as did Smalling in the first half against Van Persie. Richards was disappointing, he seemed in fear to push forwards because of the presence of the excellent Robben. All in all, not many of the young players really claimed a place in the squad for the Euros.

    This performance proves that England need a blend of youth and experience. The English fans and media moan about players like Lampard, Ferdinand and Barry but you need one or two of them to manage the game and situation. Look at the experience filling the Dutch team. That was the difference on the night.

    England are a decent team but lack the imagination and flair to match the better teams in Europe. The likes of Wilshere and Rooney will help that situation but England will still come up short against France, Spain, Holland and Germany.

    There was a lot of 'possession for possessions sake' from England last night. Retaining the ball is a good thing but you have to go somewhere with it. England don't seem to have a plan as to how they want to play with or without the ball. Until that is sorted out, we will keep seeing these erratic performances.

  • Comment number 93.

    Possibly your worst blog ever, Phil. Congrats!

    I don't know what game you watched, but I didn't see Netherlands as so much superior, even though they obviously had their best side out last night, and Robben remains as deadly and troublesome as ever. But for most of the game we matched them.

    And let's remind ourselves, that the starting team was quite arguably a second XI vs a World Cup finalist, and that they only scored once we had downgraded that team further.

    Also throw in that Van Bommel should probably have seen at least two yellows, as ever. The Dutch teflon Puyol!

    Then this massively weakened team deservedly pulled the game back, only to suffer at the death at the hand of one of the best players around. Far superior and more impactful than Sneider.

    Parker was a tireless Ince-esq force in midfield. Richards, Smalling, Cahill and Jones did themselves huge favours, as did Sturridge, Welbeck, Johnson and Young.

    Barry, Downing and Gerrard achieved little, Milner was pretty much out of position, while Baines did ok except to leave too much space for Robben.

    All in all, a bright performance and some good lessons hopefully learned. Just not by the press, or "Chief football correspondents" obviously.

  • Comment number 94.

    if there must be a Brass Band at Wembley perhaps they could play in tune, furthermore for england to progress on the world stage we need to ditch the likes of poems by Thomson set to music by Arne in favour of something more uplifting and inspiring such as most written and composed by Sir Edward Elgar.

  • Comment number 95.

    Presumably also, if Mr McNulty and the red tops' attitudes are correct, Germany will be ripping up their team and manager, and starting again from scratch...

  • Comment number 96.


    "I am guessing your not English."

    His English is certainly better than yours. :)

  • Comment number 97.

    "3. At 08:06 1st Mar 2012, It wasnt me A big boy did it and ran away wrote:
    Another technically inept performance by England cheered me up no end."

    Think you saw what you wanted to see mate. We passed the ball around pretty tidy, especially considering out three best passers were out of action.

  • Comment number 98.

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

  • Comment number 99.

    @ 80: The 'I' should have been an 'A'. Typo.

    @ 81: Where was I making excuses about the defeat? Re-read my post and you'll find I made no such excuses. Still let's not let the facts get in the way of a good wum eh?

  • Comment number 100.

    @90.At 09:25 1st Mar 2012, Markj161 wrote:

    "poison chalice"

    No, no, not the dreaded "poison chalice". How many times are we going to see it on this blog today?


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