Archive for the 'Three Lions' Category

A Transfer That Benefits England

With the Euro tourney done, the tabloids can now garner up their fullest concentrations to doing what they do best…printing up all manner of transfer rumors. One in particular that caught my eye recently was the supposed move of Barry from Villa to Liverpool. Now while I’m not a fan of anything Anfield I must say that I was pleased with this move and I do hope it goes through even though the buy is sort of redundant when looking at Liverpool’s roaster. Let’s for a second forget the fact that Mascherano, who in essence plays the same role as Barry, had a stella outing last season and instead remind ourselves of Rafa’s rotational system.

I said I supported this move earlier mainly because I am a England supporter. With Barry and Gerrard training and playing together, their understanding of each other’s play on the pitch will only improve and any fan of England, unless you are Lampard, should be excited at what this means for the Three Lions. Most importantly the debate of who should partner Gerrard in the middle would hopefully stop, especially when everyone on a regurlar basis sees how both work well together.

With World Cup qualification approaching Capello needs to start penciling down his final starting IX and formation soon. The quicker he settles on a striking partner for Ronney, a right winger (Golden Balls is not the answer, if we’ve learnt anything from the Euros it is that youth & hunger breeds a winning team) and who partner’s Gerrard in central midfield the better our chances of moving foward into a new era of football in England.

Thoughts on The French Friendly

Becks get subbedI must admit, when I saw the starting line up for England before the friendly against France I was a bit dissappointed because it reminding me of the McClown reign. But I will refrain from the Cappello rants because I’m still giving hime benefit of the doubt and also remembering that Rome wasn’t built in one day.

Instead I’d imagine that Cappello was using this game a means to identify which ol’ guard to drop and what formations best utilizes the players he has on hand. Now England performance wasn’t dreadful but it wasn’t inspiring either, they managed to keep ball possession (for the first half anyway) and were a bit structured. But what was quite evident was the lack of width and creativity from the England side and this I think should let Cappello know that the reign of Golden Balls has is neigh. Becks lacked pace, it said a lot when Wes Brown was overlapping him down the flank,  as well as the ability to taken on oppossing defenders one-on-one. Sure his has great pinpoint passing but when you standing around pinging passes you and your team mates become predictable therefore very easy to defend so those passes pose no threat to the opposition. Terry’s performance was quite as forgettable, which is uncommon for the lad, his man-marking wasn’t consistent and his mental lapses occurred more than usual. Micheal Owen in my book shouldn’t be in an England squad again, plain and simple. On the formation front, Cappello needs to drop the lone striker formation business. England does not have an out-and-out center forward and should starting looking to partner Rooney with someone. And what was more telling this that most team in today’s football are more adept and defending lone-striker formations especially when you don’t have a scoring threat from midfield.

So I’m looking to see quite a few changes in terms of personnel on the pitch and formation for the friendly against USA. Speaking of the USA friendly, I was happy to see ol’ golden balls get his 100th cap against France because, to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to the media frenzy/arse kissing ESPN would be engaged in towards golden balls had he gotten that cap against the USA.

No Miracle At Wembley

McClownMy biggest problem with McClaren, outside of his tactical ineptitude, is that he expects things to just fall in place for him. Be damned with coming up with a plan of achieving your goal, shit will happen on its own. Maybe we should blame Israel for such misplaced beliefs held by McClaren because in all honesty they had no business defeating Russia and handing England an undeserved lifeline to Euro 2008 qualification. Watching England play today against Croatia I was left believing that McClaren had brainwashed the lads with his belief also. The first 45mins of the match England played like the result would just happen for them, that the star would align magically and Croatia would tremble at the sight of the mighty Three Lions. The goals would just keep on coming and when the final whistle was blown the jubilant English masses would storm the pitch lifting McClaren whilst hailing him as the saviour of English football. But being the bitch that reality is a crucial blow was dealt to McClaren’s lofty dreams when Croatia went one up within nine minutes from kick-off.

Through out the match, except a brief stretch in the second half, England lacked creativity. There was no structure to their play with player roaming around aimlessly on the pitch. Today’s football is all about building an attack from the midfield with skillful passes or dynamic interplay while linking up with forwards via through balls or passes from both flanks. This well known form of attacking football seems to have been lost to McClaren because he continues to utilize the wretched 5-4-1 formation with long ball hoofing. I mean who still wins Championships with that and it remotely entertaining? To make things worse on the side he gives players caps that he shouldn’t have. What was he thinking giving Scott Carson his first full competitive cap with so much at stake? I felt sorry Barry who has been a shinning light in England midfield looked hapless today. Instructed to play deep he looked no match to the speedy Croatia midfield and with his fellow midfielders wandering up front Barry looked overwhelmed with his role. Why McClaren thought the pairing of Lampard and Gerrard will magically work today is beyond me but maybe he thought the star will align and they’d magically start clicking. To go on about the flaws exhibited by McClaren tactical ineptitude would just drive me bonkers but the final result was just deserved. No way would I have been pleased sending that laughable lot to Switzerland/Austria especially with their display against Croatia.

Now maybe the FA can take a deep hard look at itself, understand that it’s greed is crippling the English game and right the wayward ship that is the Three Lions. Oh yeah, FIRE McCLAREN while your at it.

McClaren’s Ineptitude Shines Again

England Players
Many around the football blogosphere having been analyzing the England-Russia game to find out where the blame of England’s debacle should rest. Cases have been made for McClaren, Robinson and Gerrard, but in my opinion i say look no further than McClown himself or more specifically, his tactical shortcomings. The second half performance by Russia showed how a true coach with great presence of mind can make the right moves and say the right things to get his side going for a win. McClaren’s continual inability to motivate the players, as I’ve aways maintained, will be our downfall. On top of that he always plays the same tactical schemes be in a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 formation. The problem with this is any decent/experienced coach can easily neutralize England’s tactical approach. The game of football is all about adapting to your opponents approach, failing in this is failing to advance in success within whatever competition you’re in.

It saddens me to say this but its better that we don’t qualify, I don’t need the humiliation we’ll face because I know The Three Lions will barely make it through the group stages and crash out in the quarterfinals. Plus why feed the money grubbing suits over at the FA who are too busy worrying about merchandising sales and not about performance on the pitch. But will England realistically make it to Euro 2008? No, mainly because that answer is not in the hands of England but in Russia’s. Russia has two games in hand, England has one, with both being winnable games. So if Russian goes on to win those two England players would be watching Euro 2008 from their respective television sets and awaiting news of a new coach

For Once Injuries Are a Blessing

Barry & Wright-Phillips

Injuries to Goldenballs and Fat Frank meant that McClown was forced to make adjustments (i.e. selecting worthy people he won’t normally pick) to his roaster by picking from England’s vast talented youth pool and handing starts to much deserving players. So starts were handed to Shaun Wright-Phillips, David Bentley, Gareth Barry and even Emanuel Heskey. Heskey’s call up was a bit of a shocker for me as I felt we had better attacking options to partner Owen but the other three were well deserved, especially Wright-Phillips who outside of Lennon is our brightest future at the right flank.

England, despite what many might believe, is a world-class team ripe with youth and experience. I believe England can take on Brazil but their achilles heal in recent years has been the man making the calls from the sidelines. For some odd reason they fail to tap into the potential that England has to offer, be it through Sven inept tactial decisions or McClown continued show of faith to players who do not deserve it or his fondness of playing people off-position. So it was with huge reserve I approached England’s game against Israel knowing that McClown will do something daft that could cost us the game. But alas, I was pleasantly disappointed as I read the starting line up:

P. Robinson

M. Richards – R. Ferdinand – J. Terry – A. Cole

S. Wright Phillips – S. Gerrard – Garth Barry – J. Cole

M.Owen – E. Heskey

No player was played out of position and we stuck with the 4-4-2 formation. The end result was a comfortable 3-nil win over Israel. Barry, Richards, Wright-Phillips were all magnificent and showed McClown that they’re more deserving of regular starts more than his undroppables (Goldenballs and Fat Frank). Despite the win the key test comes on Wednesday against Russia, will McClown stick with this winning eleven or will he cave in to his daft ways?

Image Source: BBC Sports