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Are England Heading For Football Wilderness?

July 16th, 2010 by

As the debate still rages as to where England went wrong at the World Cup here at Football Banter we’re wondering what the future holds for the England Football team? Are we about to enter the wilderness years where tournament qualification isn’t as nailed on as it once was?

England took the oldest squad they’d ever taken to the World Cup and it didn’t work. Experience was favoured over youth. As August draws closer Fabio Capello, now safe in his job will be looking toward the friendly against Hungary on 11th August. It is time for Capello to bring some young talent to the England squad, it’s time to blood some new talent. But is that talent available?

In Joe Hart, England took a very good young goalkeeper to the World Cup but, despite the calls from the press he was never going to play unless there was an injury – he simply didn’t have the minutes on the pitch under his belt. We all know what happened the last time an England manager turned to an inexperienced goalkeeper in a high pressure game (remember Scott Carson anyone?). City’s Adam Johnson is another prospect that again lacks the experience for tournament football. There are others too. Jack Rodwell, Andy Carroll, Michael Mancienne, Kyle Naughton all have potential but need developing at club level first.

What’s in it for the Premier League clubs though? Clubs are now so fearful of relegation or missing out on a qualification spot for the Champions/Europa League that they dare not take the risk associated with youth. Which leaves Fabio Capello picking from the same old tried and tested players that aren’t quite up to the job. Capello is tipped to turn to youth for the Hungary game but is that even possible? We’ve all heard hundreds of times how England managers should pick players based on form, but come August 11th, who will the form players be? I’m tipping the usual suspects.

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4 Responses to “ Are England Heading For Football Wilderness? ”

  1. Mike says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much about qualification too much – half the semi finalists in the World Cup had to qualify via the playoffs after all. I think one of the problems with England is that it all seemed to go downhill after we qualified. I’m also old enough to remember the decade where we didn’t qualify for anything – Scotland got to two World Cups and even Wales qualified for knock out stages of the 1976 European Championships!

    • Dave says:

      You raise a fair point Mike in that many teams struggled to qualify and we did fall flat in the tournament. We did however, also look poor in a number of our qualification matches for the 2010 World Cup only breaking the deadlock late on and then going on to score the goals that made it look more comfortable than it was. These matches tended to get overshadowed by the 2 very good results against Croatia. I myself am not really old enough to remember that decade of non-qualification but I do remember the heartbreak of not qualifying for USA 94 (which would have been my first World Cup as a real England supporter – by real, I mean old enough to understand what was actually happening).

      I think the Hungary game will really put down a marker, it seems that Heskey is the only player that’s stepped down of his own accord. Personally I’d like to see a few of the underachievers at the very least benched for that game, if not omitted from the squad entirely.

  2. Alan says:

    What annoys me the most is when we are told that the youngsters are not experienced enough to play at senior level. Catch 22 in my eyes.
    We need to start again at the grass roots and build from there for a few years or more and if that means a few years in the wilderness then so be it.

    Dave, I agree completely with you on the matter of dropping the under achievers entirely. Put some fresh blood in there.

    I too remember not qualifying for the 94 World Cup and feeling gutted but not as gutted as I felt watching the team in Africa 2010.

    • Dave says:

      Thanks for the comment Alan.

      I do hear a lot about starting at grass roots, but I like to think that the problem isn’t as widespread as that. Our junior teams are actually good which suggests that we are developing the players but only to a certain point. It seems that the leap between the under 21s and the senior teams is almost too large. Other nations bring their players through fine, perhaps because those players get more match time in their domestic leagues where managers are a little bit more prepared to take a risk.

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