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Collective failure led to England’s demise

By | 30th June 2010

England’s crushing and ultimately humiliating exit from the World Cup was the result of critical failure from all levels of the national game.

It is still fashionable to blame the manager for the Three Lions’ failure, but as each manager comes and goes – with the same problems remaining – we are now waking up to the fact that serious changes need to be made if we are to rebuild the England team. Just because the World Cup final betting suggests we’re in with a chance of doing well, doesn’t mean we are and major issues need to be addressed.

That is not to say Fabio Capello is blameless. His strict and authoritative approach went completely out of the window in the run up to the tournament. It seemed like he had a look at the squad and panicked, resulting in some bizarre team selections that went against his wise policy of only picking fit and in-form players.

During the tournament when things went wrong his stubborn refusal to change the formation made England look dated and rigid. But, when people mention Harry Redknapp as a replacement and keep a straight face, it is critical Capello keeps the job as there is no just one better qualified out there at the moment. The football betting odds suggest he will go, but some fans hope the FA shows faith in him.

The Italian has also been failed by the system he had to work with. The Premier League has been a huge commercial success and brought enormous benefits to the English game but it has now got out of control and has become a profit hungry monster threatening to eat away at our national team.

For starters, the influx of foreign players has limited the development of young players. It has been reported that just 40 per cent of Premier League players are eligible to play for England, clearly limiting his choices.

For those who are considered good enough the physical nature of the league means they burn out by the end of the season. What else would explain the side’s great form at the turn of the year but dismal showing from March onwards?

The money flowing into the league has also produced the most pampered, arrogant, and self-obsessed generation of footballers ever produced. The apparent unrest in the camp, the chaotic build up, including the sacking of Terry for his indiscretions, are signs of a bunch of players out of control and who put their own self interest ahead of their national team. The reaction of Wayne Rooney after the Algeria game showed how out of touch they are with public opinion.

England will always produce good players. We are a football mad country with plenty of top-class academies and scouting system ready to pick out the vest talent. But once players enter the Premier League treadmill they find themselves in a system that is no longer focused on the England team, but profit. When the players are spat out at the other end those who have actually made it have become a jaded, overpaid shadow of their younger selves, who turn out lifeless performances like we have just seen in South Africa.

You can’t blame Capello or the 4-4-2 formation for that.

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