clueless in cape town

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?



5 thoughts on “clueless in cape town

  1. Hi Paul,
    Great minds think alike – I came to v similar conclusion in the FFB blog. Truly awful night of football last night. Capello to blame yes, but the players need to take a shedload of responsibility. What’s the worst that would happen if they ignored the strict tactics laid down by Capello? What’s the worst that would happen if Gerrard, playing out of position on the left, thought bugger that, I’ll go up front with Rooney and just try my luck. Capello would hardly drop him, Algeria (quite possibly the worst team in the tournament) would hardly be likely to score on the break surely? Agree totally with Joe Cole, Dawson and dropping Heskey. I might even go so far as playing Crouch and Defoe from the off as well as Carrick. Then Rooney is rested if we’re winning or comes on late with his usual passion (that’s been lacking) and win it for us in the last 30 minutes. And yes, Hart in from the start. By far, plays with more athleticism and skill. Bring on Wednesday….

  2. Reminds me of the old fable “The Emperors’ new clothes.” Too many people believing the hype about Crapello, the premiership being the best league, sky coverage, our glorious record in Europe etc. etc. Can I just say- basically we’re just rubbish.
    I watched “Mike Basset-England Manager” again the other night. I used to think it was a really good comedy; now it looks and sounds like a true life drama ! Watch the part where, after we’d qualified, we were crap in the opening 2 group matches then fluked a win against Argentina with a “Hand of God” goal- that’s the only way we are going to beat the Slovenians on Wednesday !
    Ian Holloway, Blackpool manager- put him in charge. I bet half the current team wouldn’t get a look in.

  3. hi hel and dave

    all good points. i was reading a respected journalist today who was suggesting that the england manager’s job might just be an impossible one with not even the best club managers in the world able to deliver the same success as Sir Alf Ramsay.

    I’m not sure I agree with that. These are some of the best footballers in the world. They don’t need a great coach because they’re already the finished articles. And they don’t need a brilliant tactical mind because on a weekly basis they play the most honest and, often, the most thrilling football in the world – fast, furious, physical and f**king brilliant at times. What’s needed is a manager who can harness English skill and physicality with a degree of subtlety.

    But more than anything he needs to get the spirit and the mindset just right. So that the team has total belief and fears no-one. In that sense Dave you’re right about Ian Holloway because that’s what he did with a squad of journeymen but enthusiastic players at Blackpool. he’ll never be able to repeat it next year but he got that bunch of players believing that they could achieve the impossible. They were favourites for relegation to Div 1 but they secured the most unlikely promotion to the bloody Premiership. And deservedly so. It wasn’t that they were a better side, man-for-man than Cardiff, Notts Forest etc, it was because they had belief which I’m convinced is initiated from the manager’s urgings and passion. Results start to go well, confidence grows and momentum takes over. Mourinho is the master of getting a group of players to believe that they can achieve.

    We need Capello to instill that belief in the England team again – after all he’s done it once in the qualifying matches. I just think he’s got to get a balanced team formation in his mind, walk up to the keenest squad members now, put his hand on their shoulders, look them straight in the eye and simply tell them that they are the guys he believes can make those England fans sing again and bring a smile to the watching spirits of Bobby Moore, Alan Ball and Sir Bobby Robson. And if they truly trust each other to do their specific jobs brilliantly, well that beautiful golden trophy is still achievable. It’s not ridiculous and not impossible.

    Come on fellas, it’s about heart now.

  4. Hi Hel

    Maybe but think the best thing Beckham could do out there right now is take the lads out for a few beers.

    Lots of reports in the press this morning that team harmony and morale is a real problem with Rooney’s ego almost out of control. It’s even more of a shame that Capello didn’t substitute him the other night to prick his over-confidence bubble.

    Did you read his belated apology posted on the FA’s website (note he didn’t come out and do it to camera)? It contains phrases like ‘on reflection’ which are just so typical of Rooney’s everyday language….not. Looks like it was written by Adrian Bevington to me. He can’t even apologise genuinely. Someone needs to give him a slap.


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