Questions, Questions…And More Questions On England?

By M. B. Zaidi

Before I start I will say that what I am going to write today is my opinion only…everyone has their own opinion and I am just one…some people wont agree with me, so you may think my comments on England are controversial in some ways…Feel free to leave comments….

Michael Owen has been ruled out of the world cup and Newcastle wont have him back for another 5 months. Have to feel sorry for the lad after the year he has had, but that is the way things go in football. First question of the day…What the HELL happened last night against Sweden?…

Well Sven started Owen Hargreaves who had a fantastic first half, stuck with Owen and Rooney up front….and within the first minute Owen fell awkwardly with nobody even challenging him…Injury prone? Perhaps that’s an understatement…or maybe he is just unlucky…I think both…anway…Joe Cole was man of the match BY FAR and he was absolutely brilliant on the left, always looked dangerous and wasn’t afraid to run at defenders like he does…ALTHOUGH it must be noted that I did notice he NEVER played to Ashley Cole who made overlapping runs all night…Then a blinding effort from Joey…a sublime technique-driven volley that dipped and swerved into the far corner…WHAT A GOAL!…

Then after a good first half, stupid defending from set pieces let us down…TWICE…infact…about FIVE times….but only two went in, another hit the bar, another couple I think were off the line and one hitting Carragher’s arm….On an unlucky day it could have been 5-1 to the Swedes….Next question, can England win the world cup?…Can England even beat Ecuador? I think so…but perhaps lucky that it wasn’t Germany, because even though they aren’t the best team…we aren’t exactly hitting top form either, that would have been a tricky game to contend with for sure.

Now…to answer my question on England being able to win the world cup, I will say this: England is a country that is full of passion and desire to win things, to be the best, to rule the world, historically of course this has been the English tradition…ruling the world…perhaps not in football, but it runs through the blood of the English and I know that may be controversial but its true…nothing wrong in wanting and striving to be the best so why not THINK we can win the world cup?…BUT then reality kicks in with the team and it worries me that England are increasingly looking like Spain in the last few major tournaments…Packed with phenomenal individual talent, world class players….but no end product? A team that arguably has the best individual players for each position in terms of an overall spread of talent across the pitch, but just DON’T CLICK together? Let me break down what I think of the team right now, how good are the players representing England right now?

How good is Robinson? A tremendously agile and instinctive goalkeeper that is more than decent and has been my first choice for a LONG time, way before David James, so yes, Robinson is good enough to be mentioned as a decent goalkeeper who does a good job.

Neville is an experienced work horse who is positionally correct and confortable in attack, not a flair full back like Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Ashley Cole, but is reliable.

Carragher is NOT A FULL BACK in my eyes, he is a strong centre half playing at right back…a full back supports play and in modern football is a huge part of the way a team attacks, with him at right back he doesn’t give you that edge in terms of attack, but is a more than capable defender who is solid, reliable and still assured in possession…JUST NOT an attacking threat like Ashley Cole is.

John Terry is a good defender who plays with his heart, a true Englishmen who has been overhyped by the overhyping British media…a good defender, solid, not the best in the world like the media try to portray…the best defender in the world doesn’t miss headers like that Sweden long throw…he makes a lot more mistakes than Rio and hardly ever gets mentioned…but still is a great defender, who can handle some of the best attackers in the world, but when you play behind Makelele all year for Chelsea, you are sure to be called the best defender in the league etc…just overhyping as the media tend to do in England.

Rio, strong, fast, brilliant on the ball…top defender, top man…

Ashley…Best left back in the world right now, perhaps only because there aren’t TOO many brilliant ones around, but that doesn’t take away what he is…

Beckham is a masterful passer of the ball, crosser, free kick taker, and can always make that vital pass that nobody else can seem to do…it all looks pretty but the truth is he doesn’t always show up and make a difference…always plays for the team though and is one of the best at what he DOES…but im afraid that even though he is such a phenomenal player technically, he seems to unnecessarily play long balls ALL THE TIME, even down the wing to the right back who is 5 yards in front, he has to chip it up in the air and curl it a bit…not needed…but cant take away from him that is a one of a kind player.

Gerrard is much more effective than Frank in either position, defensive midfield, attacking midfield…he is a class player who makes a tremendous difference to the team…

Frank is another player that has suffered from the Chelsea HYPE…a wonderful player in the premiership, technically gifted, does all the simple things right, makes short passes, makes good runs and scores plenty…BUT when he plays for England, he ISNT A PLAYMAKER, he doesn’t get the ball and dribble forward, or pass forward, always sideways and then he runs forward…he too often drops back close to the defence to pick up the ball, when he doesn’t need to…when he plays we don’t get to see the best of Gerrard who is far the superior player.

Joey Cole is the only creative player that we saw last night for England, bright and creative all night…no worries for the left flank anymore…

Rooney is the icing on the cake for a team who is packed with talented footballers, a natural footballer who has the potential to be an absolute LEGEND…aggressive, strong, pacy, a cannonball of a shot…an eye for a killer pass and the linking player that Englands play should be revolved around…the only player that can make Owen look like a top top top player…

I will leave it at that because the team stops there, Owen isn’t a team player but can score goals when he plays terrible, but he is on his way home now…Crouch is a lanky striker who will get a limited number of goals if he continues to play, but with him playing the team as a whole..DOESNT play like a team…not his fault, just the way it goes…

OH AND just to add, Hargreaves is an underated ball winner who has held a place down at Bayern Munich for a number of years….he isn’t the best, but I feel sorry for him when people unnecessarily put him down, when he ends up playing better than Lampard…maybe if he played for Chelsea people might except him? That’s enough for today…have a nice day.

  • Stevie

    Nice Article. But you forgot the manager. Sven Goran Eriksson is a crap manager period. If England had a manger on the level of Wenger, scolari, mourinho or even ferguson. They would be more of a force. The reason why England are playing bad is Erikssons tactics. Its ashame really this might be the best chance of England have of winning the world cup for years to come

  • Anonymous

    Very good points. Especially about the Chelsea boys: John Terry was shown up last night in many many ways. If a top class defender cannot guide a team to defend against corner after corner at this stage of the World Cup, then that fact alone should tell us all what chance England has.

    Equally, Lampard and Gerrard playing together is not a plan, it is a hope and nothing more. Gerrard inspires those around him. He is a match winner. Last night, when Gerrard came on, he stopped a Swedish attempt by clearing on the goal line and then 5 mins later, he was heading in a goal to make England lead 2-1. Frank on the other hand, is apparantly the player with the most attempted shots on goal in the World Cup. Goal tally to date Lampard: nil ;Gerrard: two.

    But the most apparent weakness in the England squad is Sven. As a manager, his tactics suck. To bring only 2 fit strikers ( only 1 with Premiership experience) and two crocks is a total JOKE. I am not English but I felt for the Country when the team was annouced. Now the nightmare will be unravelled… no strikers and no guts to play Walcott. Someone should tell Sven, this is isnt a Youth Opportunity Scheme.

    Sven doesnt care – what are you going do – SACK HIM??

  • Anonymous

    Very good points. Especially about the Chelsea boys: John Terry was shown up last night in many many ways. If a top class defender cannot guide a team to defend against corner after corner at this stage of the World Cup, then that fact alone should tell us all what chance England has.

    Equally, Lampard and Gerrard playing together is not a plan, it is a hope and nothing more. Gerrard inspires those around him. He is a match winner. Last night, when Gerrard came on, he stopped a Swedish attempt by clearing on the goal line and then 5 mins later, he was heading in a goal to make England lead 2-1. Frank on the other hand, is apparantly the player with the most attempted shots on goal in the World Cup. Goal tally to date Lampard: nil ;Gerrard: two.

    But the most apparent weakness in the England squad is Sven. As a manager, his tactics suck. To bring only 2 fit strikers ( only 1 with Premiership experience) and two crocks is a total JOKE. I am not English but I felt for the Country when the team was annouced. Now the nightmare will be unravelled… no strikers and no guts to play Walcott. Someone should tell Sven, this is isnt a Youth Opportunity Scheme.

    Sven doesnt care – what are you going do – SACK HIM??

  • anti

    Sven is the obvious choice for laying blame but all the managers before him have failed to add any creativity to the team.

    Unless England produces a centre-midfielder of real guile and willing to give the team over to him; they will always play this dour style with an over-emphasis on organisation.

  • rsenal

    I agree the part where tactically, sven is to blame..

    As for Lampard, yes he is limiting Gerrards comitment and hunger as he always does when put in a playmaker role..He is the only player I see in the England squad who could make the midfield tick..Well perhaps Joe Cole too..

    Each tourney, its always been a tradition where the hype is way too much surrounding the England squad…1966, footballs coming home etc..

    Truth be told, and compared to other teams who has been low-profiling like Argentina and Spain, they have played (to my surprised) a kind of positive football where we have never seen them produced for a long time..Id even add Italy in that category too..

    I remember 1990 where England was actually good..Waddle, Gazza, Platt, Barnes…They had the ability to be positive…Tho they had a slow start too..

    Well Sven throw your last dice and pay 352 with gerard in a roaming role…Then football miht just be coming home..

  • ArsenalReview.com

    Thankyou all for your comments, nice to get feedback…latest is that we will play 5 in midfield with Carrick as the holding player? Isnt ideal, but perhaps is best choice right now…unless of course Sven had the bollucks to give Walcott a try, but anyway, tomorrow we shall see…

  • Anonymous

    Nice article, just stumbled on this site added it to bookmarks now. Who do you think will actually win the world cup?

  • ArsenalReview.com

    Well I would love to say England…but the way we have been playing I cant see that happening right now, but you never know how things turn out…

    Would say the usual teams would be my faviroutes…Brazil, Argentina are the two I think are head over heels better than the rest…but Italy have a nice easy two games compared to the rest…so they SHOULD get to the semi-finals at least…so from there anything can happen…especially with their defence…anyway…will have to wait and see