No doubt everyone will have their say about how England underperformed at the world Cup, and how the players and coach are over paid, if they were on performance based salaries there would be no argument on this level.
More importantly it shows how the English Premier League is in fact detrimental to English football. The EPL is the highest watched league in the world. It is a great league to watch but the importation of great players of other nationalities has meant that the English players inabilities have been hidden.
England were slow and ponderous in their play compared to nearly all of their opponents. Matthew Upson and James Milner were two who were found wanting for pace. Capello made a mistake when he appointed Gerrard captain. For Liverpool he is inspirational, but for England he looked burdened by the captain’s armband and inhibited in his play. While Terry looked to be holding back on his normal performance which includes vocally cajoling those around him, because he no doubt didn’t want to undermine Gerrard.
Much has been made of David James goalkeeping over the years his performance was acceptable, but against Germany – and I am a paid up member of the goalkeeper’s union – his performance was not up to the standard required. Why did he go charging out for the second goal when if he had positioned himself correctly the only choice would have been to cross? England has for the past 18 years allowed its goalkeeping stocks to fall to appalling levels, and therefore they were always likely to be susceptible to leaking goals unnecessarily, as was witnessed by James and Green.
Without a decent goalkeeper teams will always struggle and that is where Argentina’s World Cup bid could falter. Luckily for them they are able to score goals and may survive by scoring more than they concede.
Capello, was paid a fortune, as was Erickson before him, and both have been branded failures. Yet the British media and fans must take a good hard look at the talent available. Was it really that good, or was it simply hyped up beyond proportion? I believe that England in ’06 were a better team than this year, but the time has come for those running the game to acknowledge that the playing stocks are not what they appeared, and paying a high profile coach a fortune is no guarantee for success.
Time to be retrospective and improve for Brazil in four years, but the changes required are more likely to take at least eight, so England should start planning for 2018 now.