That’s it Wayne, have a rant at the England fans. How shameful of them to boo the England team following the abject performance against Algeria last night after some 30,000 of them had spent £1000’s to come out to support you and the rest of the England team. I tell you what son, after your hopeless performance I would have been seriously minded to keep my mouth shut other than to apologise for playing possibly your worst match in an England shirt. And with that outburst I think we can see why you’ll never be fit to fill the captain’s boots worn by the likes of Moore, Charlton, Adams etc.
Rooney wasn’t alone of course; it was hard to find anyone on the England side who gave an honest performance. And the responsibility must lie with the manager I’m afraid. The selection was mystifying yet again but I’ll come on to that in a second. The core problem seems to be one of spirit – or the lack of it amongst the team. Nobody seems to be enjoying themselves out there – look at the expressions on the faces of captain Gerrard failing to inspire his team or Carragher as another nippy little forward turns him inside out or the frustrated Beckham watching from the sidelines and of course the look of utter bewilderment and despair on the face of manager Capello as England’s performances just seems to be getting worse and worse. There’s no sense of team and no sense of fun. It looks like they’re having a miserable time and surely Capello’s got the atmosphere all wrong. I’ve always admired his strong disciplinary stances but it’s all become too strict I sense – like a wolf cub trip with an overly stern scout master. He’s 64, do we still need him? I’m in two minds I must confess. Watch any of them in the press conferences and you get the same sullen, unsmiling interviews.
All that is except Joe Cole who has the touch of a cheeky Gascoigne about him. He’s not the sharpest knife we all know that but he has two great qualities I feel; he doesn’t take himself too seriously and he plays like a free spirit with a smile on his face. I think that’s why the likes of Mourinho, Scolari, Ancellotti and Capello seem to reject him – he plays his own game and ignores or forgets the manager’s grand tactical plan. He gets the ball and runs and does things – it’s like watching a talented kid playing on a park pitch. And that’s also why managers like Ferguson, Wenger and Redknapp are desperate to sign him up. He’s a throw back to the days of Best and Marsh, Bowles and Worthington. A maverick who does the unexpected and can unlock a defence with a bit of panache.
That’s also why he should be in the side in my view. Stick him on the left if need be, leave Barry at the back for cover, Gerrard more forward supporting Rooney, Lampard in the centre and Lennon wide right. Forget Heskey, he’s just not doing it. Plan B can be Defoe for Rooney should the talisman ever have a match as dreadful as the one he did last night (I’m convinced he’s still carrying a knock or niggled by that strain which hasn’t fully recovered). And if all else fails take off Barry and send on Crouch – with at least half an hour, please Fabio – to grab his usual scruffy goal (or two!). Oh and now Capello has the perfect excuse to replace Carragher with Dawson – give nerveless youth it’s chance and whilst James did nothing much wrong last night, I’d still prefer to see Hart in goal. He’s by far the most natural goalie we have. And can you please only use Wright Philipps as a sub for Lennon on the right. My aunty Betty would look more at home on the left wing.
It might not be the most experienced team but look what experience did for us last night. The old guys are either too scared of Capello or they probably don’t fully grasp what he’s trying to say to them. It was painful to watch Gerrard trying to grasp his touchline instructions at one point last night.
I’d rather the team went out of the World Cup playing with a bit of honest spirit than we lucked our way through to the next stage playing the way we are now. Although there have been some big surprise results in the tournament, you wouldn’t fancy our chances against Spain or Brazil or Argentina (who are starting to look a bit awesome) or even Germany/Italy/USA/Serbia/Holland now if we can’t muster a shot on goal against mighty Algeria. Even Slovenia looked better than us yesterday.
So come on Capello make the changes and lighten up a bit man. Let the team off the leash and let them play their game naturally. And maybe try smiling a bit too Fabio on that touchline especially when Joe Cole scores with an outrageous bicycle kick in the 89th minute to complete his hat trick against the Slovenes.
Is any of this likely do you think?