Rosey’s World Cup Round-up: England

by Ashleigh Rose

Monday, June 28th, 2010

I’m sure like me, you have read every column inch and more on yesterday’s debacle in Bloemfontein including Mike and James excellent blogs on here. You may have come-up with a range of different opinions on the players and manager and what’s next for English football.  Having taking in all of this, I’ve come to my own conclusion and for me the blame lies firmly with Fabio Capello.

Before I start let me just say, I’m never one for jumping on the bandwagon and shouting for the manager to be sacked. Being a QPR fan I know probably more than most that the notion behind changing managers every five minutes achieves nothing and I’m not even sure I’m suggesting getting rid of Capello, I just think there’s been way too many big decisions that the Italian has got wrong and has cost England at this summers World Cup. So let me explain;

The squad
Capello has been at the helm for two and a half years, which has been more than enough time to shape a squad he thinks will win the World Cup. Of course you can’t account for the players form and it’s only natural that some players on the fringes will come and go, but he should know the bulk of the squad. Why then did he decide at the very last minute to recall Jamie Carragher, giving a huge slap in the face to Matt Upson who up to that point had been the designated number three defender. Fabio then went as far as asking a 35 year-old Paul Scholes if he’d reconsider his retirement too. Not that biggest vote of confidence to the midfield players he had used thus far. Furthermore When the final 23 players were announced he decided to leave out Adam Johnson over a player who Johnson actually was picked ahead of at club level, picked Ledley King on the basis that he ‘might’ be able to cope with amount games and gambled on Joe Cole because of 45 decent minutes against Japan and a goal against Manchester United. Not forgetting taking Gareth Barry even though he clearly wasn’t fully fit. I remember thinking at the time it was probably our weakest tournament squad since the Graham Taylor era yet we landed in South Africa as third favourites.

The tactics
I think it’s universally agreed that our two best players are Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard. Now I could write a whole different piece on what was wrong with Rooney in South Africa but maybe his biggest grievance was the position he was playing.  Fans, pundits, ex-players and managers have all pin-pointed the same tactic, a tactic that would utilise are two leading lights and give the team a much better balance overall. By playing Rooney upfront on his own with Gerrard floating behind him surely would get the best out of both players. Of course the way Rooney played in this tournament in might not have mattered but not once did Capello try this not even for ten minutes and instead stuck to his rigged 4-4-2 that saw Gerrard marooned on the left and Rooney frustrated with both the role he played at the awkwardness of partnerships with him and either Heskey or Defoe. Why if we can all see that this could work, enough to at least try it, the man with the brilliant CV and £6 million a year can’t?

Then there was his substitutions during the finals, I’ve already said how shocked I’ve been at Joe Cole suddenly turning into Diego Maradona in Capello’s and the England ‘World Cup’ fans eyes and unsurprisingly he did nothing but prove Chelsea right in this tournament that his best days are behind him. Peter Crouch was largely ignored despite his excellent international goal record, and was even overlooked for the even more out of sorts then normal Heskey when we needed goals against Germany. Granted he didn’t give himself more attractive options with the squad that he took – but who’s fault is that?

One thing that the FA have banged on about since the appointment of Capello is the job he’s done in building-up the team after the dark days of Steve McLaren. McLaren’s biggest problem that he wanted to be one of the boys and in with the squad and it ultimately made him a laughing stock in the David Brent mould. Capello on the hand is a disciplinarian, the complete opposite to McLaren which has served England well during short spells during qualification games but did it become too much having two months worth of it? Did Capello’s regime feel more like school to these players (some might say that’s what they deserve)  and therefore effect morale in the camp? Did we go from one extreme with Steve McLaren with his ’Stevie G’s’ and ’JT’s’ to another from cold Capello? Comments made by both John Terry and David James would suggest so. You can have all the club experience in the world but international management is a totally different ball game and maybe this is an area Capello was found wanting.

Then there’s the whole issue of naming a team two hours before kick-off, including your number one goalkeeper. Again this may work at club level, where if you make a mistake you know there are plenty of other games to make amends for it, but this is the World Cup the biggest stage you’ll ever play in. These players want to know if they are playing and representing their country at the pinnacle event of their career (although most didn’t show it) and want to prepare for it. How can we get used to playing as a team if we don’t know who that team is until two hours prior to kick-off?

I could go on but I don’t want to the players to get off totally scott free, cos for all of Capello’s hindrance they were a disgrace to the three lions on their shirt. Question is what to do now, I don’t think Capello will go and it may not even be the right thing to do, but the points I’ve raised need to be asked of Fabio by his employers and  taken into account if they are to persist with the Italian. Otherwise the dark days were are already fearing as England fans may get darker then we could ever imagine.

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  • Darren

    great blog Ash, in fact, it’s been a great day for blogs!

    I’m 100% with you, Capello has made a complete balls up of almost everything. Playing 3 of our midfield out of position, playing unfit players and leaving behind youth and pace.

    I can see why Real Madrid sacked him even though he delivered the league title.

    The standard was full of praise for David Beckham, I still don’t know what he was actually doing there, a lovely man but come on, is he really the man to take us forward?

    If you read one of the articles it basically said the Premier League is the main reason why we were so poor. Our nation league has become a world league and not a league for English people, they are more interested in exporting it to the world and letting mega rich company owners use our clubs as a toy, in the process forgetting about the people that actually count, the real supporters. It only happens in the Premier League and it’s highly embarrassing!

    Until we address this, I’m afraid we’ll continue to go backwards

  • stevie

    this might sound daft, but we can do alot worse than having Rou Keane as manager. The bloke takes no shit and speaks sense,

    Just listening to him on Talk Sport this morning, everything he said was spot on. Wayne Rooney aside, everything player in that team has had a bad or average season for the clubs, Capello was supposed to pick players on form. Where was Joe Hart, Michael Dawson, Scott Parker, Adam Johnson, Ashely Young, Bobby Zamora, Darren Bent.

    We are so hung up on saying they don’t have enough experience or they are not international class, well, this lot certainly aint international class!!!

  • mickey marbles

    Bring back Hoddle!

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