Gerrard is not International class

by Matt Quinn

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

The most over rated player in world football

After somehow scraping a 5-1 victory over the impressive Kazakhs, England now travel to Belarus for a tricky away tie. Wednesday’s match could be the real test as to whether the Croatia result was a one-off or the new benchmark for England performances under Capello. Personally, I’m predicting a scraped 1-1 draw, with some dire football played by both sides. For the last few games, I’ve been exceedingly optimistic about England’s chances and to a certain degree, my expectations have been met. However, two factors on Saturday convinced me that what was achieved by the Croatia game, both in terms of result and morale, were all but extinguished at Wembley against Kazakhstan.

Firstly, after seeing Lampard and Barry dovetail to perfection in Zagreb, Capello decided to bring Steven Gerrard back into the fold. Anyone who read my blog last year will know I see Steven Gerrard as the most overrated footballer of his generation. I won’t go over old ground but I think he is a player who produces great moments but not a great player. Like a midfield version of Michael Owen, I don’t think Gerrard has ever formed a midfield partnership with anyone. Benitez doesn’t even trust him in the centre alongside Mascherano (possibly the best holding midfielder in the country) and we all know he can’t play alongside Lampard. Now compare this to the Chelsea man. Some said Lampard couldn’t play with Ballack. He has. Some said he couldn’t play with Deco. He has. Suddenly a pattern starts to emerge. For me, the most infuriating thing about Gerrard is his constant squandering of possession or insistence on hitting cross-field passes. While great in a counter-attacking movement, these passes disrupt the flow of the game and negate any concentrated attacking movement. If Gerrard plays on Wednesday, im afraid that England will be back to that disjointed, ineffective style of play which has dogged them for years.

The other point which may well have undone any English team-spirit was the mindless boo-ing of Ashley Cole. While he is certainly a great tit of a man, he is not a bad performer internationally and did not deserve such abuse for his terrible mistake. There was no justification for the crowd’s reaction unless Cole had played the back-pass intentionally to the Kazakh forward. Clearly this was not the case. However, apart from affecting the Chelsea left-back’s confidence, the barracking will have permeated into the rest of the team. Already playing as if frightened to make a mistake or try something different, the England team could well go back into its shell, fearful of receiving similar invectives from the “fans” on Wednesday. The gap between the fans and football players is growing ever wider with a deep mistrust between both sections. The fans think the players are overpaid prima-donnas, the players think the fans are jealous morons. The Croatia game was the perfect excuse to build up some international momentum and put these perceptions aside. Unfortunately, Saturday’s performance may be the only time in history that a 5-1 victory has dented a team’s morale. The repercussions may well be seen in Belarus on Wednesday.

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  • Darren

    I totally agree with you, Gerrard is a man of many great moments, but never great games! He is never seen when Liverpool play the big 3, or in fact I would go as far as to say he’s a bit of a bully! Ok, AC Milan was his finest hour.

    It looks totally lost in an England shirt, hence why he constantly gives the ball away, to many times he will resort to Hollywood ball, it workd for Liverpool as Torres is quick where as Heskey & Rooney are not.

    The only reason Cole got booed is becos he is the most hated footballer on the planet, he represents everything that is wrong with our game, greed, massive ego, Pop star wife, appearing in Hello & Ok magazine. Rumour has it it was a large section of Arsenal fans that did the booing, and good for them, he showed no repsect to the club that made him the player he is today

    I think we;ll scrape a 1-0 win in Belarus, but it won’t be easy

  • Matt Quinn

    Cole- No respect for the club that made him the player? True to a certain extent… but if you were offered a new job with more money would you take it or stay with your current employers??

  • Iain

    Imagine if the England fans had seen your own goal for the Bohs last week Matt. You’d have to wear ear plugs and a fake face to avoid all the boos!

    I think all that the England football team needs at the moment to truly bond is an Emile Heskey goal. Hopefully he’ll oblige.

  • Matt Quinn

    The own-goal will be the making of me. Like Beckham overcoming the fans who burnt effigies of him. This is my Argentina ’98.

  • JJ

    The commentary on Saturday was really fucking annoying as well.

    Gerrard was exempt from criticism AGAIN, despite giving the ball away frequently, or just sending it sailing into touch. Whereas, as soon as Lampard made an error, the commentator seized on it.

    Kazakhstan were given absolutely no credit for the way they set up in the first half and the work they put in. I thought they acquitted themselves very well. They were well organised and didn’t just come to frustrate.

    As for the midfield, Lamps keeps things ticking over. He does a job. He isn’t explosive in the way that Gerrard is, but you don’t need him to be.

    The irony is that Gerrard is the reason Lampard gets targeted by the England boo-boys. He gets in the way, and is incapable of playing in any sort of system.

    At international level, giving the ball away is the biggest crime of all. Gerrard does it far more than Lampard, and that’s a fact. He is incapable of slotting into a team and doing a job. Just look at Liverpool. Benitez doesn’t know what to do with him.

    If England were in a hole, say, 0-2 down with 20 minutes left in a World Cup game, and I was manager (this sentence is getting more and more unlikely as it goes on), I would throw Gerrard on, as he could affect a game by producing one of his moments. He’s got passion as well, which is why fans love him, but at the end of the day, he’s not a world class player, even though he can produce moments of world class football.

    Of course, that’s too difficult a concept for your average scouser to comprehend.

    And I only put that last line in there to add to the liverpudlian victim complex. Its the best thing about Liverpool.

  • Martin Tibbetts

    Cole isn’t generally hated for leaving Arsenal, apart from by Arsenal fans (the same ones that berate Spurs fans for going on about Sol Campbell by the way). Ashley Cole is widely hated by fans of all teams because of what he wrote in his ridiculous autobiography. In that he displayed an arrogance and an attitude that was dispicable, regardless of what team he plays for, and that has no place in society. He is also hated because he has no respect for the rules of the game and his behaviour towards a referee summed that up last season. He is an odious creature, but not because he left one club for another.

  • Steven Gerrard

    Piss Off!

  • Iain

    My one stand-out memory of Stevie G is in the game at Wembley against Croatia where it all went wrong. We were losing 3-2 in the pouring rain, and Beckham was in space out on the right. Gerrard got the ball in the middle of the park, space to drive forward, and looked up, saw beckham, and pinged the ball waist height at about 300 mph three feet behind him.

    Sailed out of touch.

    the camera caught Beckham’s expression perfectly. It was pure annoyance, but also resignation that this is what he sort of expected.

  • Raymond J Stanbrook

    You are wrong Matthew!!

  • Lemon Stu

    The whole England Team are overrated not just Gerrard. It just needs the Coach to make a descision, You either build your team round him and put in players to compensate for his positioning or you drop him.

    Rooney does the same thing of trying to win the game by himself and dropping way too deep.

    I’m hoping Cappello drops him and he can focus on the premier league.

    Matt,, mascherno is the best defensive midfeilder in the world. No doubt

  • Matt Quinn

    Lemon Stu… let me get this straight. (according to scousers)
    Mascherano- best defensive mid in the world
    Gerrard- best midfielder in the world
    Alonso- best passer in the world
    Reina- best goalkeeper in the premiership.
    Torres- best striker in the world.
    Carra/Agger/Skrtel- best defence in the prem.

    You’d really think- with all these players- Liverpool would have won the league by now.

  • Stevie

    Best ground, best song, best band, best Soap, best city, best sense of humour!!!!

  • rob pullinger

    here we go again???????

    it gets boring……?????

  • rob pullinger

    If Capello wishes to play Gerrard AND Lampard then there is one thing that he has not tried. Gerrard has played in CM only 10% of the time as apposed to Lampards 100%. Everyone says this is because Gerrard is too versatile for his own good.

    Well Gerrard needs to play in CM and be given licence to roam and bomb forward into space and having Lampard next to him prevents this.

    How about trying Lampard in a different position,notably left wing and play Gerrard in the CM role in a 4-1-3-2 formation?

    Personally that would tell you more about both players,in that if Lampard really is a top drawer player he should be able to play there,Joe Cole has so he has no excuse. Also this would tell us if Gerrard can do what he does for Liverpool if he is used the way that Liverpool utilise him.

    Somehow though they seem reluctant to shift Lampard,however if he is not versatile enough to cope he is a) Not good enough and b) His presence is doing more harm than good if he is stopping Gerrard playing well in an England shirt as most people would agree that on top form there are very few (if any) better than Gerrard.

  • Parks numero uno

    all in all Gerrard was effing crap on saturday and he made Lampard look like an idiot.

    Lampard has been excellent for England since Don Fabio took over.

    Gerrard looks good in what has been a mediocre Liverpool team over the last 6 seasons but he cant do it against international teams. Lampard and Barry can. Not spectacular but solid.

  • The inflatable soapbox

    Scousers dont give a monkeys about England, its as simple as that, as a good friend of mine always says they dont even consider themselves English, they are the Peoples Republic of Liverpool.

    At present everybody is slating Kris Boyd for what he has done to Scotland and rightly so, but think back, Jamie Carragher decided as other people were getting a look in ahead of him in the England back 4 that he would give up yet anyone who complained got shouted down at every available opportunity, whats the difference?

  • Bakes

    Jamie Carragher is probably a bigger idiot than Ashley Cole and that is saying something! Did any of you see some of his book extracts in the paper? Some of it is priceless. He is an embarrasment who through his toys out of his pram because he couldn’t play in his favoured position all the time. I like Matthew Upson but Carragher is a better player and should have been playing at the weekend. He has done his country a diservice by being a spoilt child.

    I have to agree with the inflatable soapbox. Does anyone in Liverpool care about England? Lampard has been excellent recently and fully justifies his spot int he team in his favoured position. Whilst Frank is in posession of the shirt, Gerrard should be busting a gut to get it off him. He shouldn’t play on the left on Wednesday but I think he will.

  • tef1on

    Bullard for England!!!

  • rob pullinger

    just pick one or the other.. or drop them both……

    if you have the ****s???

    enough is enough, this has been going on for donkeys years….end of day both great players, both at great clubs, both cant play in same team….

    the end.

  • Darren

    bringing Gerrard on for the final 20 mins is a much better option, if he could produce one of his match winning moments then he would be far more effective from the bench. It works with Beckham, bring him on to slow the game down, bung in a few crosses, nuff said.

    Joe Cole has to keep the left mid position, time and time again he produces the goods for England. I would like to see Capello play him over Gerrard every time. I would actually play SWP tonight, 2 speedy wingers running at the Belarus defence would force them to play on the back foot. There’s no need to be cautious against a team like Belarus!

  • rob pullinger

    trust you darren….gerrard on the bench, god you make me laugh!!!!

    he might aswell retire with all this cock and ball….

    have you read Mr Vieira’s comments…. if not i suggest you do so….(Patrick Vieira has expressed his belief to that Steven Gerrard is currently the best midfielder in the world. )

    for all you stats people do the maths on games with and without stev g verses lamps…see who comes out on tops… just might be surprised????

    end of the day who cares who plays, who scores, who does what.. as long as we win and go through this time…

  • Jamie Farrier

    Rob P – to answer your question: we ALL care who plays, who scores and who does what, because everyone’s an England manager on here. Or down the pub. Or anywhere you can find someone still willing to back their country.

    I have to agree with Darren, and to that end Fabio; in his own words, having both world class players is a fantastic dilemma to have. Isn’t it just such a brilliant thing to have such a range of talent in your squad that your substitute’s bench isn’t just second-rate players filling in for tired legs, but world-class stars ready to come on and produce matchwinning talent?

  • Matt Quinn

    Rob P! I read Viera’s comments and all it proves is that players and ex players dont actually understand football… (please see the various inane pundits on match of the day/setanta).

    Also, Pele was the best footballer in the world- but his predictions and statements about football are pretty much always wrong. Hes a laughing stock whenever he speaks about the game.

    I trust my own judgement above Patrick Vieras. Fact.

  • rob pullinger

    jamie you have a point and a fair one at that,

    Im not totally disagreeing with you….but you cant put gerrard on the bench, end of……

    He’s a world class player, fantistic central mid and yes im probably bias cos im a liverpool fan, but you ask any manager of any team, be it league or national and he would be one of the first names on the team sheet.


    Yes i know alot of you are going o’ god here we go again, but stev g is that good and that dynamic, proved it enough times, watch the tv hightlights, champs league, fa cup final, do i need to go on….
    Agree he hasnt shown the same form england as liverpool, but hey how many times has he played in the correct position, ummmmm…..allow him to do what he does for the reds and you just might see what im going on bout, he’s no left winger, nor a right back, he’s CM, with freedom!!!!

    End of…

    On the other side of the fence is good old fat frank, yes a chelsea scumbag,(and yes i dont particularly like him) that said, he playing very well and rightly dserves his place, but he is not better than stev g and never will be…similar players but thats where it ends…the question raised and often more than many is that these two cant play together, i agree on this, tho having said that if your good enough you should be able to play together no matter where or when?????

    mr capello will deal with it, he has all his footballing life, and he probably is one of a few managers that has the balls…..

    make sense to you???

    finally.. agrree with the range of fantastic subs, just wish he would use a bit more of the young, freshness we have aswell as the so called oldies….

    and do you really care who scores cos i dont, this competition and football match is all about qualifying and winning…you get nothing for coming second best…..

    ask darren?????

  • rob pullinger

    Sir matt, is it alright to call you that…..

    It was just something i thought i might add in defense to stev g, considering you lot are canning him… and yes i have my own thoughts to about current and ex players, you dont have to tell me about Viera.. he’s an ex gooner, if you know your footy history you know what im going on about????

    CHECK ……

  • rob pullinger

    play the dead rabbits

  • Bakes

    I’m losing the will to live!

  • Lurchio

    Drop Gerrard, Kieron Richardson can do a job in the middle, hes solid. Mark my words…..wallop.

  • rob pullinger

    were going to extra time and then pens???

  • Darren

    Real Madrid had a team of superstars remember, and what did they win? Jack Shit! Capello left out the so called superstars and surprise surprise they won the league, do u see where I’m going here Rob?

    Did Veria play for Arsenal? I checked and it’s true. I didn’t know that, wow, I’m learning loads in this blog, cheers Rob, you’re a legend!!

    Rob, I’m being serious now, would you like your own column?

  • tef1on

    Bullard for England!

    I shall be heard!

  • Stevie

    did anyone see Gerrards fluky goal?

  • tef1on

    did anyone see his miss?

  • Jamie Farrier

    Pretty much summed up both sides of the arguement but I think it lends more to the fact he’s a man-of-the-moment player than an all-round match player. The goal he scored was good, let’s not take anything away from him. Maybe not the screamer we’re used to seeing him score, but he’s finally getting his shots in. He really should’ve had two though, let’s face it.

    All in all though, England are doing just fine. I was banging my head against the wall in disbelief when the 606 phone-in was still dredging up naysayers who think we shouldn’t be conceding against Belarus. The fact is while they’re not world-class, Belarus are a decent nation who played smart football and created clever chances, and deserved their goal. I really can’t see how people can carry on moaning after we’ve got the best possible, 100%, 12 points from 12 start. It’s something that’s never been done before and we really need to start thinking positive with results and performances like these.

  • rob pullinger

    now you gonna believe me, gerrard scores, sets up rooney and you rotten lot say he should be on the bench, let alone be on the pitch…..ho,ho,ho who has egg on there face now?????

    was a great goal, not fluky as young stevie says, and what a missed sitter, great play tho and on another day would have scored as normal…..

    1 up for the stev g fan club!!!!!!!

  • Matt Quinn

    I agree with Jamie. It was exactly as he normally plays. Capable of a great moment (the goal) but then not much else apart from aimless wandering. He left Bridge exposed time and time again and lost his man for the Belarus goal. We only started to play better when Rooney was moved out to the left (to help out the midfield) in the second half and Gerrard was pushed behind Heskey.

  • mike

    Gerrard is either a player that you put the rest of the team around and he will shine and and england win or you can drop him and play the team around someone else.
    Every team as a player that they play around.
    England have been playing around rooney during fabio capello and Its getting the results so its working but Gerrard should not be dropped. hes a very special player and deserves credit, Not booing. Same goes to lampard

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