Tuesday, 30 November 2010

What next for England and Capello?

What next for England and Capello?

Coming off the back of another World Cup failure, you would have thought Fabio Capello would have learnt his lesson. Ever since the humiliation at the hands of the Germans, Capello has insisted he will blood youngsters into the team in order to have a chance of being world champions in four years time. A few games later and we couldn’t be further away from ruling the world.

Another defeat against France has really put the pressure back on the England manager but to be fair he doesn’t help himself when it comes to that. Strange selections and tactics have left people wondering if this is the same manager who has had so much success at club level.

People have started to question his ability and that has started to show as the national side seem to be losing their reputation on the international stage.

The three lions are going backwards and many fans have lost faith and started to turn their backs on the national side in order to concentrate on their clubs sides that show more passion and determination to succeed.

There are obviously more rewards in the domestic game but it should be an honour and a pleasure to play for your country. The players don’t show the pride and hunger to want to play for England and the fans have started to see that. How to eradicate this slump I hear you ask?

We HAVE to bring in a successful English manager to inject English tactics and options that are familiar with the players. We need to show more aggression and pace that we see week in week out in the Premier League.

Foreign managers just don’t understand the way we like to play football. We want to get stuck in and impose ourselves on the game and an English manager would communicate better with his troops which is one of the failures of Capello.

Playing players in their correct positions would help. Steven Gerrard off the striker is the prime example. How long will it take Capello to understand, he watches him enough in the league so why can’t he see he performs better off a lone striker.

Failing to reward Scott Parker and Kevin Davies’ current form with an England cap for the game against France was a farce. After a striker shortage, Davies was needed but instead he went for Jay Bothroyd who is a Championship player and Carlton Cole who is nowhere near England quality.

Parker has single handled earned precious points for West Ham this season and deserves a chance as Michael Carrick and Gareth Barry are too slow and seem to give the ball away so cheaply in the middle of the field.

It’s nice to see youngsters finally getting the chance to pull on their new footbal kits. They inject pace, enthusiasm and passion into the side which is something the fans love.

This is the way to go but can Capello get the best out of them, I’m not so sure. Until the national side can appoint a manager who can motivate and use the right tactics, England will suffer and will continue to become the laughing stock of international football.

Carroll can help England get back to basics

As an England fan there hasn’t been much to cheer about in recent months. The dismal World Cup has been quickly followed by a stuttering start to their EURO 2012 qualifying campaign and then a disappointing 2-1 friendly defeat to France.

But in that game there was a ray of light that pointed towards England’s future. Andy Carroll made a promising debut and has given Fabio Capello a steady peg to build his team around.

Those who only followed the live match score might note be aware that he showed some decent touches and worried the French centre halves both in the ground and in the air, giving England an option they haven’t had in a while.

Ever since Brazil won the World Cup in 1970 England have been obsessed with trying to emulate that style of play, seeing the traditional English ‘up-and-at-em’ style as stale and out dated.

But the problem is – we are nothing like Brazil, play nothing like them and so trying to copy them will only end in tears. Its time to get back to basics and play to our strengths.

English football is at its best when they press for every ball, get in the opponents faces and then break with lightning speed. They also play at their best with a target man upfront.

Emile Heskey bravely filled that role for nearly a decade, though his sheer number of England caps reflects a desperate lack of other options.

Heskey brought the best out of players around him, like Wayne Rooney and previously Michael Owen. But his inability to finish meant he was always a passenger. When following the live football scores, you never really expect Heskey’s name to flash up do you?

Carroll is all round a better player. He is great with his back to goal – effectively filling the ‘Heskey role’ but also has a rasping shot on him and is dangerous in the air.

With promising wingers like Adam Johnson and Ashley Young beginning to find their feet at International level the potential is there to build a potent attack around Carroll, with Johnson and Young on the wings and Rooney playing just behind.

Maybe the future isn’t so grim after all?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

England lose at home to France

1-2 not good!

Wembley Stadium England v France Friendly International 17/11/2010 Peter Crouch (England) celebrates late consolation goal Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

England man Johnson set for Italy move?

England full-back Glen Johnson is a man who hasn't always enjoyed life in the Premier League. After making his debut for West Ham United in 2003, he attracted the attention of Chelsea and became the first arrival at Stamford Bridge following the revolution instigated by Roman Abramovich. He experienced a mixed spell with the Blues but was soon pushed out of the first team by Paulo Ferreira and Geremi, with Jose Mourinho perhaps unconvinced of the player's credentials and consistency. A humiliating incident involving a "stolen" toilet seat from a B&Q store also increased the negative press surrounding the player.

Happier times came for Johnson at Portsmouth, a club of a size that seemed to suit the player slightly more than the league champions, and he was included in the PFA team of the year at the end of the 2008/2009 season. However, a move to Liverpool brought an end to the decent relationship between Johnson and the Pompey fans. By this time He'd already earned his first England cap, but it took a little longer for him to cement his place in the side.

Johnson's time with the Reds started brightly, with a stunning performance against Stoke preceding another decent performance against Bolton. However, injury problems plagued his time at Anfield after that spell and, since his return, he has quite clearly failed to impress Roy Hodgson, with the Liverpool boss stating that it's no good being a "player of great ability if you are not bringing that to the field of play".

With the player since hitting back at the beleaguered Liverpool boss by branding his tactics and approach to the game as "boring", it would appear that the Johnson's future lies away from Anfield and perhaps even away from the Premier League. By now he had become England's first-choice right-back, but his poor form at Liverpool has led to many questioning that decision.

Of course, the football betting tips suggest the whole Liverpool squad should be doing better, but Hodgson clearly feels Johnson has been particularly poor.

Another unsettled figure at Anfield, Alberto Aquilani has since found form at Juventus in Serie A and the midfielder has stated that he would love to see the player make the move to Italy and because of this, the football transfer rumours have started.

With Aquilani apparently desperate not to make a return to Anfield, with his loan move not yet made permanent, it seems clear that sometimes the grass really is greener elsewhere. Whether a switch abroad will help develop Johnson into the kind of international player England fans dream about remains to be seen, but right now things couldn't get much worse for him.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Is Andy Carroll really good enough to play for England?

When it was first suggested Andy Carroll was ready for a place in the senior England squad, most people laughed off the claims.

They were seen as a reaction to England's failure at the World Cup and a number of solid performances from the striker, rather than an acknowledgement of the quality of the Newcastle man.

However, nearly three months into the 2010/2011 Premier League season, has this changed? If your name is Arsene Wenger, then yes. On Sunday his Arsenal side were undone by a moment of physical dominance from the young Newcastle striker, with his header diverting the ball past a helpless Lukasz Fabianski. Wenger has since stated that the player's "presence, charisma, confidence" and intelligence, alongside his rapid improvement, make him the ideal addition to the England set-up at the moment. Some may even view him as a good outside Premier League bet for top scorer this season.

With Fabio Capello watching on from the stands, Carroll grabbed his chance to shine on the biggest stage with both hands. Already thriving on the confidence inspired by his hat-trick against Aston Villa earlier this season, the player showed once again why he is worthy of being viewed as a regular future England player.

However, although the young man would undoubtedly offer Capello's men something different up front, with the player combining height and a dominant physical presence Peter Crouch is unable to replicate, controversy is a word that currently seems to be following Carroll around like a bad smell. He has made a number of court appearances this season, has had to move in with Kevin Nolan as part of his bail terms, has had his car torched, and has been the subject of fresh newspaper allegations just this week.

After the whole Wayne Rooney fiasco, the last thing that Capello will want is to introduce another player who courts controversy into his attacking line-up. The one thing the England camp needs right now is stability, with many blaming off-field distractions for the country's miserable World Cup 2010 campaign. Whether Carroll can help to introduce that element of stability and calm remains doubtful and that could yet be the one aspect of his game that sees him go unacknowledged by the England manager.

However, if Carroll can clean up his act and continue to improve on the impressive trajectory he's so far been following, it's surely only a matter of time before he can make his mark in an England shirt.

Meanwhile, the Middlesbrough betting suggests Newcastle's neighbours will not be making a return to the Premier League any time soon.

The club were favourites to win the Championship, but are currently in the relegation places.