By now you may have heard that England got unceremoniously knocked out from the European Championships by the minnows of Iceland. They are minnows in the sense that the population is small but they are certainly not minnows when it comes to heart, determination and passion. This was shown when they held out and almost extended their lead for over 70 minutes with a well worked goal and some calamity goal keeping from Joe Hart. This article is not looking at the match itself but more of what went wrong, why and how England can move forward.
What went wrong and Why?
The first questions that will be debated is what went wrong, which is pretty obvious. The next is why. Well, in my opinion the first thing reason why everything went wrong is that the players who play in the Premier League who were selected feel they are entitled to win these major competitions because they play for club historically have been near if not at the top of European Football. Teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and now new clubs having players who feel they should succeed because of who they play for these could be Spurs, Manchester City and now champions Leicester. The players never have to face hard questions; they rarely interact with the support who pay hard earned money to watch their hero’s fail on the world stage time after time. I get the feeling they believe their own hype, or the hype generated by the far too eager English press. Just because they play in the richest league in the world and the so called “best league in the world” they are better than everyone else. I’ll tell you now, they aren’t even close. 1 English team got the semi-finals which was Manchester City, who had only 3 Englishmen in the squads for the two legs, with only 2 playing. Which is really poor for a country that thinks it can win every match. Which brings me on to my next convenient scapegoat, to many foreign players in the English Leagues. This is an easy target however it is still valid but I feel the other side to this coin is important, not enough English players playing in the top leagues abroad, learning different styles of play and new football cultures. Ok I’m not expecting England internationals to play in Russia or Iceland but some could play for top teams in Germany, Spain and PSG in France but none take the opportunity instead players like Raheem Sterling sit on the bench for players like Sergio Aguero, and Kevin de Bruyne.
The manager, Roy Hodgson seems an honest man, I wouldn’t know I haven’t met him. But he was lost when Iceland went in front, and his big tactical decision to bring on Marcus Rashford should have been done earlier as he was very good when he came on. It is not just him however, it’s his backroom staff also, as they didn’t seem to have the answer to breakdown the Icelandic defence and stop Iceland tormenting them at set pieces. Hodgson also brought players that were not fit enough to be used (Jack Wilshere) and didn’t use players who deserved to be picked (John Stones) proved to be the final act in Roy’s doomed time in charge of England.
Where do England go now?
Well they need a new coach. With bookies thinking Gareth Southgate will be the next man in charge, that springs concern for England as his last managerial club job was relegating Middlesbrough in 2009. I feel it should be Steve Bruce, as he was the experience as a manager, he is respected and has contacts throughout football. But one thing is certain that whomever takes the reigns of the old cart horse that is the England national team…they will have their work cut out.