Ok, obviously the real action took place last night up at Mile End Stadium, but apparently some people seem to not really care about how amazing me and my friends are at 5-a-side and would rather hear about the bunch of over-rated no-hopers that we like to call the
Anyway, in case you didn’t hear, England drew 2 – 2 with the Czech Republic last night in an embarrassingly empty Wembley, as boos rained down on the so-called best that this country has to offer. Now put aside the score, because it was a friendly and ultimately no-one really cares. The manner of our play and team selection simply have to be brought into question, because under new manager Fabio Capello we were promised changes and forward momentum. Thus far, there have been no signs of this.
Surely the whole point of wiping the slate clean after the failure to qualify for Euro 2008 was to plan for the future and look ahead to World Cup 2010 with a view to not only qualify, but also to progress to the very latter stages. Answer me this then Mr Capello: why the fuck is David Beckham still even being entertained at this level? He is 33 now and there is literally no way he will be playing in
The central midfield also continues to beguile. The Lampard/Gerrard conundrum is getting a bit boring to say the least, but I guess they continue to frustrate only because we lack genuine alternatives. Sure Gareth Barry is a central midfielder, but is he really that good? In any other country would he have reached the level of international contention? I think not. Looking to the under-21s what are our options however? Nigel Reo-Coker? Tom Huddlestone? Jesus Christ. It’s a sad state of affairs when you look elsewhere to the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Matthieu Flamini and Lassana Diarra. Only
At the very back and the very front there is perhaps less to worry about, with our genuine quality at the top end, and plenty of talent coming through at the bottom. When though is it time to say goodbye to John Terry and Rio Ferdinand, and look Micah Richards, Steven Taylor and Jonathon Woodgate permanently? Similarly, how long do we give Wayne Rooney to pull himself out of this 18-month-long ‘blip’ of form at national level? His club form tells you all you need to know though perhaps; alongside world-class ability, he himself is also world-class, but alongside mediocrity, there’s only so much hard work and passion will achieve. Suitable replacements though, past the usual Crouchs and Defoes are a little bleak however, and the less said about Emile Heskey’s recall last night the better. Dean Ashton has the talent but can he stay fit for more than a week? Andy Johnson too has the raw materials, but like Michael Johnson he lacks good enough challenges week in, week out. If the hopes of the future of the nation are to be placed on the shoulders of Theo Woolcott then that is just too depressing for words.
What really smarts at the moment though, and what underlines perhaps more than is fair the disappointment of the national team, is the overwhelming success of the British Olympians. Take away the extortionate wages, egos and media pandering, and this country clearly can produce world-beating athletes. Is it that simple though? The Spanish and Italian leagues have as much money in them, and at international level those two countries have managed to win the two most recent major competitions. I don’t know, this argument rages in a circle indefinitely.
It seems then that once again we are left only with the crushing realisation that as a country we are just fundamentally shit at football. Great.