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Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

The Right Choice?

 16 Comments: First  |  Last

Got a really good stream for the England U-21 game against Norway in Oslo last night and watched the whole game. The lads started well and were 2-0 up inside 7 minutes.

The next 83 mins were a real ordeal to sit through, with only a couple of well built-up attacks to write home about, Norway controlling the match and only bad finishing on their part enabled England to get the points.

But should it be so? Norway is a country of 4 million citizens and they tear us apart and look so much better on the ball it was embarrassing! England's play was a typical 2/3 passes before the long ball to fast forwards. They were terrible at possesion, and had problems as soon as they were closed down.

Ross Barkley's assist was one of the few times he got the ball. The second half was 12 mins old and he hadn't touched the ball once before he was replaced. I felt really sorry for him.

The whole game, because of a microphone placed somewhere near the dug-out, we could here "Psycho" Pearce effing and blinding. Don't think there was one call from him without "fuck" in there somewhere... Childish and embarrassing if you ask me.

Yes, I know they have won the first three games now, but where is the quality? I would love to hear a conversation between him and Cappello about how the game went! Is this man the right choice to teach the cream of our young players to play football?

Tony Cheek, Haugesund, Norway     Posted 11/10/2011 at 08:23:26

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Paul Knox
1   Posted 11/10/2011 at 15:07:12

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I watched them over in Holland a few years ago and he had the same game plan at that tournament. It is the FA trying to bring through an English manager, hoping he will learn to be a manager under Capello. They should just get the best man for the job.
Glen Anderson
2   Posted 11/10/2011 at 18:17:43

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It's such a shame because as a nation we are producing decent players but not decent managers.

Psycho is definitely not the right choice, but who is?

Barkley's time will come. Who knows, he may even be fast tracked into the full England team like Wilshere was.
Dennis Stevens
3   Posted 11/10/2011 at 18:21:36

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I can't agree there Paul. I have almost no interest in international football, but if it must be persisted with then the idea of England being lead by a foreign coach is ludicrous. How could any tournament success be a triumph for English football if the team are coached by a foreign manager?
Kevin Hudson
4   Posted 11/10/2011 at 18:31:32

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Agree. England do not keep the ball. Never have. This is frustratingly well-established.
Jeremy Benson
5   Posted 11/10/2011 at 18:35:20

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Re: Glen @2

That's the thing ? we aren't producing that many decent players. Its all over-hype.

How many English players play in Italy, Spain, Holland, Germany etc, for the best Euro clubs? That's right. None.

If you look at the current England team, there's only 2 or 3 that would get in the Spanish side.

The reality is that England, depending on the day, are one of the top 3-5 European sides. And would just about make the top 8-10 of world sides.

Ergo, they just about qualify for most of the major tournaments, and just about make it through to the last 16/8 of most tournaments.

It's not rocket science. Don't blame the manager...
Andy Herbert
6   Posted 11/10/2011 at 19:55:33

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@ Jeremy

Isn't that the problem though! We seem to be persisting year after year with the same philosophy. Humping the ball long to to quick, strong physical forwards that if we don't score we concede possession and invite the opposing team back at us.

It's the same through to the senior side and we are made to look technically inept against many countries considered inferior to England. It's the same with our club sides. We will win many of the games against these so-called lesser countries because we still manage to produce match-winning individual players but we never look convincing as a team.

Surely we should be trying something different with the youngsters. Getting the ball down and learning how to play clever football were we hold onto possession getting ball players into the game. The Spanish and Dutch use the same methodology right through from juniors to senior squad and constantly have players coming through that understand their role in the team.

It's embarrassing and sad that the next batch of up-and-coming talent will be brought through in the same way and ultimately doomed to fail when they come up against technically superior sides that have the match-winning players we don't have.

Simple really ? we do develop good players, they just do not learn how to play in technically aware teams and that's why we can only go so far before we get found out!
Jeremy Benson
7   Posted 11/10/2011 at 20:45:07

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How is that the England manager's fault?

Are you saying that for their Premier League clubs they are playing fluent, short-pass, quick and intelligent football, then they get to England training camp with 2 days before a match and suddenly become trained hoof-ball experts?

No... that's the same job they are doing for their clubs...

The blame might be with the quality of players, the general training, tactics and management in English football... but I don't think its fair to single out the England management (who probably barely speak to the players, and get about 10 days a year with them in training), for their failings.

Truth is, it's time the players took responsibility for poor performances. But they're too busy counting cash and doing things that young people with no structure and too much cash and time on their hands do (not very good things...). It's a completely different world for them, and playing for their country and being the best they can for the nation is not high on the agenda.
Chris Bannantyne
8   Posted 11/10/2011 at 21:17:19

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England have a few problems, in both their football and rugby teams.

The first problem is a lack of quality. In the English national football team there are probably only 2-3 quality players. The rest are made to look good at club level by the quality of their foreign team mates.

Favouritism is also an issue. Guys like John Terry and Frank Lampard should really no longer be getting games for england.

Attitude. I don't see English players playing as a team, I only see them playing for themselves. They all think they're king-shit and they all need to be cut down to size. When something goes wrong they turn the blame on each other.

The manager is the wrong man. Capello wants england to play a different style of football than what best suits them. He has no ability to keep the egos in check, and often picks the wrong players. He's no good, needs to go. Redknapp is not the answer either.

For me England are living on past glory and the erroneous notion that they are still one of the best football nations in the world - they're not. The premier league is one of the best and most exciting leagues in the world, but that's not down to the English talent. It's down to the daft amounts of money being plowed into filling the gaps with foreign players, instead of raising their own.

I always watch Australia play our international games, and we're improving in leaps and bounds. I watched a very second-string Australia side knock over Oman last night 3-0 (yeah I know, Oman right). But this is a side we have struggled against with our first choice team in the past, and it was the manner in which we beat them. It was an absolute doddle, just passing around relaxed and comfortable and keeping possession a bit like barcelona style.

Australia's manager is Holger Osiek, a German, and he is excellent at getting the right talent through and playing in the right style and position. If he were the English national coach it would be half the problem sorted.

With englands attitude problems and unnoticed lack of ability, I am fairly confident Australia would beat them. Not only that, but whilst it may not happen for decades, I am really certain Australia will win a world cup before england manage to again. And that's just because we are progressing at a nice rate, and England are stuck in a quagmire.

By the way, if we are ever looking to replace Moyes I would honestly go in for Osiek at Everton. He is excellent.
Noel Lynam
9   Posted 11/10/2011 at 22:27:35

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Your "should it be so" question seems to imply that Norway should not be outplaying England because they have a population of 4 million. By that logic, India and China should be wiping the floor with England.
Derek Thomas
10   Posted 11/10/2011 at 22:42:30

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Most of the comments about England can be used for the Moyes Everton we have now.

We should finish about 8th / 1/4 finals, struggle against teams who; a) park the bus or b) are technically better than us.

Don't, except one time in 10, beat the top teams, and never when it matters at the business end of a major competition / knockout situation.

We have a chicken-and-egg player / coach thing.

Moyes / Cappello, yeah why not Moyes for England ? who could tell the difference in the end?
Tony Cheek
11   Posted 12/10/2011 at 07:27:28

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Good point Noel... 9... But China and India do not have one of the best leagues in the world.

Of those 4 million Norwegians, 2 million are women, another million are over 40, and half of the rest probably under 10 or don't like football. And they still play better than us!
James Flynn
12   Posted 13/10/2011 at 01:13:15

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"Is this man the right choice to teach the cream of our young players to play football"?

No he's not.

Really, in all of England, there's not one person who can manage the National Team? What a joke to bring in this ancient grandpa to manage the team from the country the game came from.
Dick Fearon
13   Posted 13/10/2011 at 10:26:48

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James # 12, The joke is a rigid coaching system that dictates what a player should do in whatever situation he finds himself. It is many years since I experienced the frustration of having anything not ordained in the course manual being denigrated and marked down.
It quickly became obvious to all would be coaches that to earn your badge you must first of all conform to decades old strictures.
There was no room on the course for innovative ideas.
In recent conversation with novice coaches I came to the conclusion that little has changed.
Anyone who has passed through that system can predict exactly what an England player will do with the ball.
Derek Thomas
14   Posted 13/10/2011 at 11:08:03

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Dick #13 spot on; especially in the lower / grass roots level where the lowest common denominator, one size fits all soccer, rewind, sorry, football for dummies gives the willing but lacking in knowledge would be coach a start.

Point is it goes all the way up to the top.

James Flynn
15   Posted 15/10/2011 at 00:20:08

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Dick (13) and Derek (14) - Well, this is too bad. Read "Soccernomics". About the game in general with a focus on why England doesn't produce a more diverse player in a country soccer-mad.
Iain Love
16   Posted 16/10/2011 at 10:39:28

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I played grass roots football for over 20 years, I'm not particularly skillful but I was a fast left-footed player with a good hoof. Thing is, speed and strength are commended in this country whereas skill and short passing appear to be what other countries aim for.

I remember the Brian Robson thing where he was let go at an early age because of his size, and I'm sure that happened to many others, look at the top 10 players in the world at the moment and describe their main attributes: No 1 will always be skill.

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