England Too Slow, Fat, Old In South Africa 2010

June 28, 2010 at 3:24 am | Posted in World Cup 2010, World Cup Memories | 4 Comments

I, like many other fans of England, will be crying myself to sleep tonight.  I had always been an advocate of bringing Fabio Capello into the fold, and relished the prospects of what a truly great football manager with a proven winning record could to for us.   England looked good on paper with a star-studded midfield including multi millionaires Steven Gerrard, Gareth Barry, and Frank Lampard, each of whom is earning something close to 100,000 pounds a week.   It is looking like they are getting overpaid. Each one of them is still at the peak of their career, but each is about to make the inevitable downturn which will see their playing time decrease for their club teams.   Of the three. Gerrard looked the most fit, but Barry looked positively out of shape, fat, and frankly, too old.  All three looked slow compared to the Germans.

On Germany’s fourth goal, 29 year old Barry started 10 yards ahead of Ozil at the halfway line in a chase for the ball and ended up 20 yards behind him when 21 year old Ozil passed in front of the net for the goal.   Frankly, it was laughable.

I don’t blame Rooney for not scoring, because Gerrard, Lampard and Barry were supposed to get him the ball but failed miserably in that task.   Even the most brilliant striker will not score unless he gets service.  Interestingly enough, when we look at the Goal against Slovenia, it was the younger Milner who got the ball to a young Defoe for the goal which allowed England to advance.  If Rooney had some younger and faster midfielders to work with, he might have had a chance of scoring a few.

The sign that Capello had lost the plot was when he brought on late substitute Emile Heskey as his last ditch effort to save the situation.  Talk about going from the frying pan to the fire.  Heskey should never have been in the squad.  He should have been dropped for the younger, faster Theo Walcott, whose speed could unbalance and terrify defenders.  I hate to say it, but this is classic in terms of the history of English national teams selections: an older established player is conservatively chosen in favour of a younger more talented, (if inconsistent), younger player.  In the World Cup, it is often the gamble which pays off. Walcott could have changed the game today; Heskey was never going to.

It has been said that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger brought about a revolution in English football when he changed the diet of English footballers from fried fish and chips and bangers and mash to healthier fare, but it looks like the English squad have gone back to their old ways.  The team as a whole looked overweight.   I am not sure if the players are lifting more weights in order to bulk up for the very physical english  Premier League, but Germany’s players looked fitter, leaner, and faster than England.  If you take a look at the age of todays German starting line-up with the age of England’s, you will see a stark contrast.  I shudder to think how good Germany will be in 4 years with this generation of players.   But where will England be in four years time?

One thing can be said from today: Germany is doing a better job of player development than England,  producing young players who can play at the highest level sooner in their careers than young English players.   While most young English players toil away in the Championship, overlooked while foreign players are brought in to the star-studded English Premier League, quality youngsters in Germany play in the Bundesliga 1.



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  1. I think Rooney isn’t quite right from his ankle and I think then was the time for a coach to make his corn, manage the team, make the substitutions.

    Did you know one analyst said a week ago, Beckenbauer scoffed at England’s “kick and rush” style, the long ball play that Crouch plays so well. Now that kind of criticism by the Kaiser may set you on your heel, why play that outmoded style of play? But you know what else this analyst said and I kind of see it, Germany came out AND … they played the “kick and rush” long ball play, I really kind of see it. The current German squad starting with Klinsmann and before have played attractive football, not saying the old West German teams though were totally on the level not to take anything away from them.

    Okay, it is easy to say that despite England battling back from 0-2 down and the goal not counting, okay, Germany were the better team, I have no problems with that rationale. But when an equally farcical call is made in the Argentina/Mexico game on the obvious off-sides by Tevez and Mexico probably playing a bit better according to many to that point, I am not listening to the same broken record that “but Argentina were the better team”, both of those calls are gross blunders and it is not cricket or have you football.

    If we see Chile today, make a valiant effort but a giant like Brazil is given a goal or a goal is taken away from Chile, Hey, the game is a joke and I don’t care that “Brazil is actually the better team.” I walked out of watching the Mexico/Argentina game by halftime, it was so frustrating, there is enough pressure and then an error and now the score is 2-0. Mexico should have almost walked off the pitch but of course, Fifa would have suspended them for a tournament or two. Apologies for the rant.

  2. Great post. Especially about the difference between German and English youth development. It gives me great hope for VWFC.

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