Monday, 6 June 2011

England must make changes – and fast

After yet another abject display from England the time has surely come for a change in personnel. Whilst many fans feel the blame lies at the door of the manager Fabio Capello the problem lies with many of the players he continues to select. The World Cup finals highlighted the fact that many of the senior players are simply not good enough to bring success for the country.

There are too many players in the squad who have failed continually at International Level and are still picked. The emergence of Jack Wilshire has shown that the younger players are hungry for success and are capable of playing at the level required when playing International football.

The Under 21s have a European Championship coming up and it will be fascinating to see how they compare with their European counterparts. In the side that played at the weekend I believe there are five or six players who are ready to take the next step and earn full caps. In defence there is a steady centre back pairing of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling who have both excelled for Blackburn and Manchester United respectively this season. In midfield there was Jordan Henderson and Jack Rodwell; both have been linked with big money moves to top clubs this summer. Then there is Daniel Sturridge who enjoyed a wonderful spell at Bolton in the second half of the season.

It is surely time for the likes of Ferdinand, Gerrard and Lampard to step aside for the younger players. Their desire to succeed is actually stopping the development of the up and coming stars who are ready to replace them. Those three are prime examples of players who have not succeeded at International level and were well below expectations against Switzerland on Saturday.

I have written about Ferdinand’s physical issues before and his lack of mobility is really starting to cause problems for club and country. Against average players his reading of the game is enough to get by but against pace he is exposed every time. He has been a good player throughout his career but his understudy at United Chris Smalling is ready to take over. The whole Gerrard and Lampard debate is just painful now; they have never looked comfortable at International level.

The result on Saturday did not prove to be too costly as Montenegro drew with Bulgaria at home but the draw at home to Switzerland is simply not good enough. England are slipping further and further behind the other major nations in world football and failure to qualify for the European Championships would be a disaster; although they have no chance of winning it the tournament would prove invaluable experience for Hart, Wilshire etc.

Wembley was graced with craft, guile and genius last weekend. Unfortunately this time around it was graced with overpaid has-beens. The time for wholesale change was at the end of the world cup, it has to happen soon or England’s search for major honours will go on for even longer.

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