England’s New Dawn: Part 2

A few months back, reacting to Cappello’s departure, I triumphantly welcomed England’s new era. Under Harry, England could chop out the dead wood and take a new, young, exciting squad to the Euros – where they could play a new brand of stylish football, under light pressure and with limited expectation…

I could not have been more naive and wholeheartedly wrong.

In actuality we have hired a dull, average manager, who in turn has picked the tired, uninspiring ‘same old’ squad… same OLD squad.

‘The Ox’ apart, Roy has wheeled out the same faces.

Germany in 2006 (and 2010) drew out a blueprint that England should have followed – take a risk in youth. Experience is over-rated, and let’s be honest, we have absolutely no experience of how to succeed at a major tournament anyway. The only hope we had was to fill the squad with exciting young players, with nothing to prove and with the freedom to play – just like those young German sides.

So what would I have done?

I would have welcomed England’s new dawn. I would have hacked up the old squad and started with a blank piece of paper. Rooney, Ashley Cole and Gerrard would have made it – but around them I would have built a fresh new side.

I would have axed Downing, Terry, Defoe, Walcott, Lescott, Milner, Lampard and Glenn Johnson and given new, exciting “in form” players a chance. Jagielka should not only be in the squad, he should probably start. And Micah Richards is just the kind of strong, direct versatile player we need.

And where are Aaron Lennon and Adam Johnson? Their speed, skill and direct running have already proved effective at international level. Daniel Sturridge is dangerous from the bench, and even Matt Etherington and Danny Graham excite me more than the average Downings and Milners of this World. It’s a pity two of our most exciting prospects, Kyle Walker and Jack Wilshere, are injured, but even without them we could have tried something new.

We have some good strong players, and in Hart, Cole, Parker, Gerrard and Rooney (after 2 games) we would have a core around which in-form young players could have expressed themselves and excelled!

If Downing and Milner start the first game, I am switching off. I’m bored of Roy already, and although he has lots of (average) experience – as I said earlier, experience is overrated anyway…

“…You can’t win anything with kids!”

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England’s New Dawn?

So Fabio’s gone.

It’s difficult not to blog about this today. I have been saturated with news, reaction and detailed analysis of it since about 7pm last night. It’s the top twitter trend, the BBC’s headline piece and will no doubt be on the front page of every paper.

Did I like him? Not really. Yes, he had the best win percentage of any national manager and has only lost 6 games during his charge. He should have stirred pride and gratitude from the English public…but he didn’t.

The FA made a massive misjudgement when hiring Capello – he wasn’t the first foreign coach, but he was the first who couldn’t actually speak English. Fabio may have had a loveable personality and an eloquent way of communicating his passion for our national team, but we had no way of knowing this – as it was all lost in translation.

And this was also the root of the team’s disharmony. How could he motivate, or more importantly communicate complex tactics, through a combination of pidgin English and a translator? These are the two most important factors in managing a national side (who have a few weeks to grow team unity and an effective game plan). No – Fabio’s record was down to luck…he was lucky enough to preside over a good batch of English stars at the top of their game. He was always going to beat Slovenia when his line-up included Terry, Cole, Rooney, Gerrard and Lampard.

So what next? Redknapp got slice of luck himself yesterday – not enough evidence to convict him over his dodgy dealings. He’s the favourite of the players, bookies and the public – in many ways it has to be ‘Arry or the FA will be fighting uphill again from the start of another reign.

But whoever gets the job, they are actually in an almost unique position for an England manager. The golden generation are no more – the stars of 2010 are largely past their best: Rio, Lampard and co. are struggling to even hold down a regular place with their clubs. Harry (we hope) will inherit limited expectation, a clean team slate, a major championship qualification, and a long list of potential new new stars (Wilshere, Sturridge, The Ox, Phil Jones etc.).

In fact Harry Redknapp could be the luckiest man in football – everything has slotted into place. And Fabio can now fully concentrate on his other commitments, like his role as a puppet on the Dolmio adverts…