Not for the first time, the powers that be at UEFA find themselves under pressure to act over the issue of racism.
The events of Tuesday night during what was supposed to be a routine Under-21 game between England and Serbia were a stark reminder that more needs to be done to rid the game of this most vile of abuse – a lot more.
A weird week in football saw Freddie Ljungberg show that he’s not cut out for TV work, Steve Kean clinging on to his job, Clinton Morrison getting annoyed with Talk Sport and a lot more…
This week we briefly talk about England’s demolition of Moldova, speculate as to whether Anton Ferdinand will shake Ashley Cole’s hand prior to the Chelsea QPR match and say why Peter Crouch was correct in his decision to not be on the England stand-by list for Euro 2012.
I seem to remember Sven always getting abuse for giving England caps out too cheaply, his policy of making wholesale changes in the second half of friendly games was heavily criticised but I’m not sure that he sank to the depths that Hodgson has.
There seems to be 2 clear camps when picking players for the England squad, class and form. Class players have done it all – been there, seen it, got the t-shirt. Steven Gerrard is probably a good example, he may not have the current form but we’ve seen it enough times in the past. Form players are the opposite, they’re very much in the here and now – pulling up trees in all their recent matches. Think Grant Holt last season. If a manager is lucky, his players are both. Under Hosgson however, England have created a new category, players that have not proven class and are not in good current form – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tom Cleverley are prime suspects. Both have the ability but are yet to have a consistent run of form over a period of time and neither has played anywhere near enough club football to be within spitting distance of the England first team.
Perhaps the biggest crime though was having the likes of Raheem Sterling sat on the bench, a player that has so far made just 3 senior appearances in the premier league. Sterling is certainly a prospect, but that is all he is at this stage – he first needs to prove himself in the premier league before being brought into the England squad.
Is it Hodgson’s fault? Well, you could argue that is is, England should be maybe looking at Championship players before they take a punt on players that are completely unproven in the premier league.
The best thing about Paolo, apart from his sublime skills is that he’s a bit of a nutter. We’re chuffed that he’s continuing this into his management career…