England Football Concerns

09 September 2004

I title this post 'concerns', but don't be led into thinking that I am concerned by the woes of the English football team. I lost interest in the England team sometime after the European Championships in 1996, when we surely should have lifted the trophy and finally brought football home. I have no doubt that England will qualify for the World Cup in 2006. They have one of the best squads in Europe. Arugably two of the best midfielders in the world in Beckham and Gerrard, as well as two of the best defenders in Campbell and Cole. If they had strikers that could score at international level then they may well have won something in the last few years. Let me make a few predictions... Beckham will start for England as captain against Poland on Wednesday, as he will in the World Cup in 2006. He is one of the finest players in the world, a fantastic leader, and when on form can control and dominate matches. David James will not start against Poland. I am sticking my neck out here big time, and may well be proved wrong - but I believe Eriksson may drop him in favour of Paul Robinson. Eriksson will not be sacked by the FA. It would cost them millions of pounds to pull out of his contract, and lets face it - he's done a bloody good job since he got here. England will not win a major tournament in the next twenty years. Shock horror! For England to win tournaments things need to change in the English game. To begin with, the English Football Association (FA) need to start giving a shit. Their priorities are to the Premier League, the most popular and exciting league in the world, and probably rightly so. Football in this country has always been rooted in club football, and that is not going to change anytime soon. Where, for example, is the long awaited and long discussed 'winter break' that so many figures have been calling for? Yeah... right. The players feel the same. Even the most dependable in say, Steven Gerrard. In an England shirt, is he ever going to hurtle himself around the pitch sweating blood from his pours, as he did when he single handedly propelled Liverpool into a European Cup spot last season? Perhaps these are depressing thoughts for England fans. You don't have to believe them though. Maybe I have it all wrong and the National game is in fine form. Either way, we have a long hard season of Premiership football to look forward too. Surely that is infinitely more appealing than worrying about Beckham and company as they trudge around Europe for these 'tricky away ties'. Update: 9/9/04 Well goodness, if I wasn't proved right on a number of points. Beckham did start as captain and David James was dropped in favour of Paul Robinson. For the record, England won 1-2.