“Tired” Of The Same Old England Problems

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 14.31.18It’s been interesting to read and hear the latest controversy from the England camp. Roy Hodgson caused a stir by revealing Raheem Sterling had told him he was tired.

I read Rio Ferdinand’s comments on Twitter and also observed an exchange between Danny Higginbotham and the journalist Oliver Holt… one thing I did find amusing was Oliver Holt giving his difference in opinion. What would he know about being tired as a professional footballer?

Rio had a point, though I’m not sure how much I agree about Carlos Tevez. Tevez went away to play golf for three months didn’t he, and avoided the winter – there’s keeping fresh and then there’s taking it to extremes!

Jokes aside, I did agree with Danny’s point that Roy should have kept it quiet. Behind closed doors. It does nothing to help anybody.

But there’s a wider point – Danny Mills says that he believes that Brendan Rodgers may have put Raheem up to it. That’s a dangerous game to play for anyone. We’ve already seen players getting pulled from international friendlies for years now but playing that game for competitive games, vital qualifiers?

Danny is right to say that every player ought to want to play every game. Playing football is a job, your bread and butter. Your privilege is to play for the better clubs. Your honour comes at international level, and what an honour. And we’re now at a point where average players who haven’t yet made it can dictate their own selection?

England were so poor against Estonia that Sterling was lucky; because if it were me, I’d be looking at his replacement and hoping he did such a good job that he kept Sterling out. Roy already said he had a decision to make with Lallana perhaps keeping Raheem out.

Then I look at the squad and see a good honest professional like James Milner not playing, not brought off the bench. Look at the England squad, it is in regeneration. James has been a periphery player for most of his career and with the recent retirements in midfield, why is he not an automatic choice?

I like James, a good honest professional, but if I am being honest (and I always am, even if the truth hurts) then even that conversation shows how much England’s standards have dropped. Look around the team and tell me where there is genuine star quality. You start off a qualification campaign and hope to see a fresh approach but instead we have a worsening problem.

The Champions of England have one player in the team, Joe Hart, and he is hardly convincing at either club or international level. Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka should be squad members but are England’s first choice centre halves. Is Calum Chambers the best right back we’ve got?

Our midfield has long been a problem area and it’s still an obvious place to point a finger at but Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere are not going to scare any big nations. We’re at our strongest up front but really, how convincing are we there? The debate about Wayne Rooney rages on but who are we going to play instead? Rickie Lambert? With all due respect, how is he even in the squad?

I look, and I worry, because I’m a proud Englishman and even in the short time this website has existed I’ve written about this problem many times. It’s getting worse. There is no sign of improvement.

I see a club like Aston Villa doing wonderful things giving chances and developing players but it needs others to join in. Middlesbrough did the same a few years ago and ultimately, what happened, very little.

We have started the qualifying campaign with two wins out of two but they’re not pulling the wool over my eyes. There’s nothing to be convinced about, and we’re in desperate need of quality on and off the pitch.

Beggars can’t be choosers and we don’t have many talented players to choose from. If the promising players that we do have start dictating when they can and can’t play, then how can we expect things to get better in the short term?