Monday, 28 June 2010

What went wrong for England?

Germany's crushing 4-1 win over England was quite satisfying for me being a Scotsman, but more importantly, it might just hammer home to English supporters that they're team isn't really that good. We have been surrounded by the English belief they can win the competition due to the amateur coverage on BBC and ITV, and unsurprisingly, the talk of Frank Lampard's goal still continues.

The myth of England having the best league in the world has in my view been proved wrong again. I have always said Germany, for me, is the best league in the world and that I can back up with Bayern Munich coming close to Champions League glory in May, but the 4-1 result also proves the talent and quality in the German Bundesliga really towers over the Premiership. Joachin Low's side has the fine balance of youth and experience with a number of classy German youngsters maturing over the year. Over a year ago, many people hadn't heard of Thomas Muller or Mesut Ozil, but now both have became household names with their impressive performances on the top stage. This emergence of talent has been helped with the experienced figures like Lahm, Freidrich and Schweinsteiger. Even without talisman Michael Ballack, Germany were still able to physcially and technically dominate an English side which was allegedly one of the best ever according to the English media.

After stalemates with Algeria and USA, a stuttering win over Slovenia and the defeat to Germany, the English will arrive back at Heathrow ready to be lynched by the media but what went wrong for Capello's men?

There is absolutely no doubt that Wayne Rooney is a world-class striker and we have seen the best of Rooney throughout the season. The excuse of him not being fit just doesn't work considering the Germans played just as many games this season. Rooney has been hampered by Capello's mistakes in his team selections. One week his partner his Emile Heskey, then it's Peter Crouch, then it's Jermain Defoe - how is Rooney meant to sustain a good partnership with anyone? In all honesty, Heskey had a very good game against the USA and probably the best performance by a striker for England during the campaign, including Rooney's. Even the 4-3-3 with Rooney spearheading the attack isn't as effective as it was for Manchester United. Heskey, Crouch and Defoe, in my view, are average strikers for the World Cup. The depth just isn't comparable with Germany, Spain or Argentina.

I can't emphasize enough how much I don't rate England's midfield. From day one, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard haven't bonded in the centre of the pitch. Despite having slightly better performances this summer, I still don't see enough quality to win the competition even if they did qualify. Midfield is where alot of games are won and lost, Spain have huge quality, Brazil have a real solid pairing and so do other top nations. Another average player, for me, is Gareth Barry. Nowhere near a £10m player, nowhere near good enough for International football and nowhere near good enough for the world cup. I just can't see the obsession with Barry. Ideally, Owen Hargreaves, for me, is a much better option in there but injuries have really took their toll on him.

Maybe it's just a case of tough luck?

English football evolves around money, money and more money. The way English Football is now running means foreign players are being easily imported for buttons which makes it more difficult for young English players to break into the first-team. The quality most certainly isn't there and I think it should be back to the basics for the FA and Premier League to follow the same model as the Bundesliga which would encourage young talent to be given chance.

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