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- Oct 17, 2013
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British Irish Lions
We produce very good individual players but time and again the sum of their parts are never greater than that the whole. A big problem since I have followed England at international level is that players just haven’t been good enough on the ball. Keeping it and giving it away cheaply has been such a massive problem for generations of players.I don't get the English mentality when it comes to soccer/football. For years their national team has underperformed and been ripped apart by the public and media. They've always had reasonably good teams, but now they look to have a pretty solid side with some exceptional talent and are performing well. They're hailed as heroes for making the WC semis, EC final and now for smashing Iran, yet a 0-0 draw against a decent USA side, the knives are out for Southgate and the players are copping it too....
In tournament football this has proven a major issue because teams need be as good with and without the ball to be as efficient as possible because otherwise players end up chasing the ball and legs tire as matches accumulate and minutes played and tournament progresses.
The English league system is also not geared towards producing enough English ball playing players over the pitch. The Premiership as a product is wonderful to watch but isn’t really geared towards producing enough home grown English world class talent. And even then a lot of the best talent is non-English as premiership managers’ priority is not the national team.
With the so called Golden generation of Beckham, Gerrard, Lampard, Scholes etc the problem was fitting all the talent together and they flattered to deceive. Sven Goren Erickson just tried to show shorn all them in a 4-4-2 and hope they would just figure it out. They didn’t and always hit the buffers when they came across decent opposition at the quarterfinal stage, which invariably led to penalties which we are not very good at.
With this current generation we are watching defence is a big issue and the central defenders available. They are good on the ball but there’s just not enough pace to play a high enough line and there’s no press play higher up the pitch. The team is just too stretched and easy to defend against as we saw v USA. And again as soon as we face decent opposition in knockout football who create and finish their chances then England will be on the next plane home.
I also think England managers can only do so much with the talent and also time available to them.
In Russia England got a pretty lucky draw. They reached the semis but overall they only won 3 games and lost the others or won on penalties. In the Euros all the games bar 1 were played at home at Wembley.
It’s a damn good better than what Hodgson and Capello produced but I don’t think quite good enough to win a major international tournament, which England fans ultimately want. Expectation meets reality. And it’s also bloody hard to win one because England are a relatively small fish in a massive pond in a truly global sport.