and so carragher brings it back to mcclaren

A lot of media coverage today of Jamie Carragher’s decision to turn his back on playing for England having become finally pissed off being consistently played out of position or, worse, being clearly treated as no better than 5th in line for his natural position. It’s a shame I think but you kind of understand it because…..

a) as a centre half he was probably the most consistently effective and fit centre half in the Premiership last year. Whilst others were having off seasons or bad injuries he stood out really tall in the Liverpool shirt, not least in some tremendous Champions League matches.

b) he did receive some outrageously bad selection decisions from bloody McClaren at the back end of last season. He even lost out to Wes Brown in one match having just played an absolutely stunning game v Chelsea I think.

c) when he did get a selection, most of the time he was asked to play out of position – who enjoys that?

Whether Carragher would be the first choice if everyone was fit is debatable. But last year he was head and shoulders the most reliable in the CH role. Any decent manager should be able to accommodate him in the squad as an essential player. Let’s face it, of those (apparently) ahead of him, Woodgate is always going to be susceptible to injuries (when was the last time he completed an injury-free season?), King is becoming almost as injury-prone, Ferdinand had his problems too last year and can always be relied upon to do something frigging stupid to put his selection in jeopardy and Terry – normally the most consistently fit player – had his share of injury problems last season (perhaps those many seasons unscathed are catching up with him). It should be an easy sell to Carragher but of course McQuiff has allowed the player’s concerns to become a cancer which has eaten away at him.

So McClaren’s lost a key player from the squad and in the middle of the close season (!) by being quite simply a bad man manager. This is on top of making a bold decision to drop Beckham only to lose credibility by asking him back when the going got tough. I wonder what kind of a signal that gave to Carragher? This was already compounded by the ability of McClaren’s predecessor to ‘lose’ the services some time ago of perhaps the most complete midfielder last season, Paul Scholes, or if that’s too strong, the midfielder who drove Man U to the Prem title last year. How? By playing him consistently out of position in the troublesome left midfield role and by SGE’s enrapture with the Beckham circus, who, whilst playing poorly and out of condition, could not be dropped from his position. In short favouritism. You’d think McClaren might have learned the lesson. Yeh he did – how to screw it up from the master.

I may know jack shit about football management but I do know a little about man management and I also know McClaren is out of his depth in terms of his ability to lead a team of young men who are craving strong direction. I have my doubts about the wisdom of playing Lampard and Gerrard in the same team. But I can see fat Frank rapidly losing his interest in playing for the England team and he might well be next to jack it in. Now I ask you, when did you ever hear England players so openly critical of the ‘situation’ (read manager) and seemingly so ready to say stuff the England shirt, when they are in their peak playing years and long before their time is ready is step down. I’ve said this before but Alan Ball and Bobby Moore would be apopletic at the thought of it. Steve Bruce must be shaking his head and wondering ‘if only I’d had the chance to win one cap’ and there must be hundreds of players just like him.

Just go McClaren and do us all a favour.


ps if you think that I’m being opportunistic with these comments check out the earlier blogs ‘all to cock McClaren’ and ‘copaca…beckham’ to see that these aren’t newsy conclusions.


5 thoughts on “and so carragher brings it back to mcclaren

  1. Hi PP

    Whoa there chap!

    Can’t disagree with much of the comment here, but let’s not get too overboard on hanging the future of English football on players who have done their bit.

    Scholes had a fantastic season last season, much to his surprise I suspect, but if more games had been forced upon him would he have given his all?

    Fat Frank can’t produce club form for his country, despite the fact that he is one of the first players on the teamsheet in his favourite position.

    Ferdinand still has a chip on his shoulder about his ‘drugs ban’ being supported by the FA, so will never play his part.

    Personally, I would love to see some of the U21’s being brought through – we’ve seen enough of the egos from our current crop of world cup stars, do a Wenger and put the kids in.

    BTW, personal opinion, Beckham was chosen by the tabloids, and McCock didn’t want to upset them and get the turnip moniker too soon.


  2. hi pgob

    you’re prob right about the younger guys. i just feel it’s poor management to allow some of the older guys (who can still do it and scholes was great last season) to get so pissed off that they just don’t want to play for england any more. very sad. it just shows how negatively they rate playing for their country v their club these days


  3. I think carragher has made the right call. Playing for your club in the champions league is more important than playing for a third rate national team. Even for the established first team England players the net effect of representing your country is negative.

    Less breaks, reduction in value, extra opportunity to get injured etc. etc.

    How many players enhanced their reputation / value in the last world cup? 3 years on how many great games can you remember from the last world cup, or euro 2004, or even the world cup before that?

    International football is boring and never lives up to the hype. England epitomise that and have never lived up to the hype to such an extent that what the WAGs are buying is of more interest than players / formation.

    IMHO England represent the worst of what is wrong with the game. The FA treat it as a cynical marketing ploy in the way a club never could. Sure Man Utd use their brand to create revenue streams from anything they possibly can, but if they didn’t deliver on the field inn terms of results and entertainment on a regular basis the money would soon decrease.

    I hope we don’t qualify for Euro 2008 so that we an escape the ‘England will win’ shite and start building a team (and dare I say it a brand) that can genuinely stir the soul as only football can.

  4. hi mike

    i knew what you meant. dates eh!

    seems like there’s a fair bit of disenchantment around with the whole England scene. and i’m fairly sure mike, pgob and i cannot be the only ones fed up with the hype, poor performances, indulgent selections, poor management, cynical FA etc. if it continues to grate with fans they’ll start to struggle to fill that monument to hope over reality, the new wembley.

    i wonder if there’s a case for the FA to start thinking differently. Perhaps they should stop thinking about robbing the poor Enland fans with ever increasing demands on their spend by separating their function into 3 distinct areas:
    – revenue generation (including running Wembley)
    – administration of the game
    – running the England team(s)

    With the first area i think there should be a ‘contract’ with the fans which would embrace:
    – one England style shirt which would last for four years from one WC to just before the the next
    – fans to be able to buy seats for the 4 year cycle at wembley at heavily discounted prices for england matches
    – establishment of a travel club to manage tickets, travel arrangments for all away matches
    and the killer difference
    – greater emphasis on revenue generation through winning tenders to host major football and other sporting tournaments by joint activity with the O2 arena, Twickenham, old Trafford, Emirates, St james, Villa Park etc.
    – being imaginative and a world leader in event hosting new concepts (see later)

    The second part, administration, must be headed by people of the highest calibre to restore integrity, the best values, trust and leadership. Shagging around with the secretaries – and sharing them around – cannot be allowed to happen again. But if unseemly events do happen then nothing short of instant resignation must be the code. None of this trying to get folks off the hook by feeding the media bigger misbehaving fish.

    The 3rd bit is the area which needs to be separated away i think. The Rio F situation created a stand off between the FA and the team which became exasperated by the decisions over alan smith’s problems. In terms of management, I’d like to suggest that we train the better young managers to be in charge – not the old geezers from the premiership. Massively reduce the remuneration so that people want the job for its own sake. Focus on the best young and up and coming English managers who can move into club management afterwards if they like. Have some wise old heads around to act as councillors – Dario Gradi, Bobby Robson etc – but nothing more. Change the emphasis from win at any price to learning to play the beautiful game, teamwork, fellowship, good management, pride.

    I’d probably also introduce a series of tiers of England participation. The junior England side would be drawn from players aged 18-23 and their focus would be the European Nations championship. The full England side would be based on players aged from 23 – 28. Their focus would be the World Cup. They’d then be obliged to step down at 28 (ie before the hideous PR-spun droppings, resignations etc we’ve seen in recent years). But to compensate, if they’d still be proud to represent their country I’d suggest a senior England side of say 28-33 year olds with a separate WC tournament hosted in UK at Prem/Championship stadia on an invitation basis which would also take some value/revenue away from the self-serving EUFA and FIFA organisations. I’d have a similar masters series for 33+ year olds which would be taken around the country’s stadia in Div 1. I’m sure there’d be lots of interest from other countries/ex players/ the fans for less intense but equally engaging series of tournaments.

    I think this way we’d dispense with the must-win-at-all-costs-but-ultimately fail approach which prevails at the moment plus providing more opportunities to showcase our skills and maybe even win something. I don’t care if this means we don’t win the FIFA WC – we don’t do anyway!


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