I think it says a lot about how badly England have been playing, that I really wasn’t that disappointed when we were knocked out of the World Cup yesterday.
That’s not just because I hate most of the team as individuals either. To be really disappointed by something there has to be some level of expectation and I went into this World Cup thinking that it would be a successful campaign if we reached the quarter-finals.
In a way I think that it’s better that we finished second in our group and got absolutely battered by the Germans, rather than if we’d finished first and sneaked through to the semis against relatively mediocre opposition. At least we now know what happens when this England side faces a decent team and no one can be deceived that we’ve achieved anything.
Apart from the players that is… The arrogance of this lot never ceases to amaze me. Ferdinand is quoted from home saying that we would have won the game if Lampard’s goal had stood. Lampard himself claimed that it was a tight game that we only lost because of a couple of breakaway goals. Do goals on the break not count in Lampard’s rose-tinted world? It’s like George Foreman claiming that he’d have beaten Muhammad Ali if it wasn’t for all that rope-a-dope stuff.
On the subject of that third breakaway goal, just why were all of our players attacking, leaving only Glen Johnson at the back? There was still plenty of time left and a chance would have come if we’d just been patient.
The problem is that the England national team doesn’t do ‘patience’. Instead of calmly stroking the ball around like our continental cousins, we’re always in a mad, frenetic rush to get to the opposition’s goal. Inevitably we lose possession and then we get hit on the break… and despite what Fat Frank might tell you, those goals do actually count.
We recruit expensive foreign managers to curb the enthusiasm of our stupid players, but it seems that this too is a fruitless exercise. In my lifetime the best England teams I have seen are the ones that were managed by Terry Venables and Glenn Hoddle. As Englishmen, they knew the foibles of our players and created formations that would protect us in spite of ourselves. Meanwhile, tactical geniuses like Sven and Capello have played with such rigid 4-4-2 formations, that you’d think it was someone like Dave ‘Harry’ Bassett in charge.
Speaking of ‘Harrys’, our own is being talked up as a possible replacement for Capello. Not only that, but Redknapp seems to be talking about his interest in the job to all that will listen.
Fair enough I say. As much as Harry must relish a crack at the Champions League, time is running out in his career and to manage your country should be the ultimate job for any manager.
Would he be any good? I think he would. He’s a likable bloke who would create a great atmosphere in the camp. Redknapp might be thought of as a wheeler dealer rather than a tactical mastermind, but he at least knows that it was a bad idea to play 4-4-2 in this World Cup, which puts him one up on Capello.
I do though also think that Roy Hodgson is a more logical choice. He doesn’t come with the same baggage as Harry and is already a very experienced international manager. No other candidate comes close to his knowledge of different football cultures.
So if the FA happen to read this in the two weeks that they’re deliberating over whether they should give Fabio the chop, please steal Fulham’s manager instead. If you look back through my archives you’ll find loads of comments from my readers moaning about Redknapp’s incompetence and suggesting that we’ll never qualify for the Champions League with him in charge.
If we don’t rate him, why would you want some cockney wideboy as the England manager? You know it makes sense…