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Rock the Crossbar

Tuesday, September 11

England - Toss out the pretty boys

Rather than have a go at these big time Charlies, again, thought I would share the perspective of a Daily Mail poster. He basically makes the argument that strip out the superstars from the team and England have some decent players. SWP is a good winger. Joe Cole is tasty down the other side. Toss Lampard out and throw in Barry with Gerrard and things are alright in the middle. Get rid of goofy robot upfront and things aren't so bad. Of course, everyone is talking of a resurgent England after beating Israel and winning two out the last nine but an interesting view all the same as I think England has been less than the sum of their parts because their players don't give a toss. Maybe if you strip out the egos and hair gel and play English "yeoman" with the "cut and thrust" England will get back to winning ways. "Suddenly, from being a weakened team, lacking depth of resources; the press has come to recognise, that McClaren's real problem has actually been an embarrassment of riches. At last, thanks to injuries, we have had the opportunity to see the hugely underrated Gareth Barry, doing for England what he has consistently done for Villa in the last two years. At last, we have seen a winger with real pace, in Wright-Phillips, play with the kind of confidence that will surely now see Beckham reduced to no more than a squad player. We have also seen that the manager can afford to leave out Lampard and (thanks to the wonderful performance of Richards), Gary Neville. And just to prove that no one is indispensable, we have seen Heskey return as a more effective partner to Owen than Rooney. The assumption that England players need to be playing in the Champions League with fashionable clubs, is now blown apart. It is vital that McClaren stands by this team, and only brings back the absentee "superstars" if form, not reputation, demands."- Martin Dimery, Frome


  • Noooo!! Embarrassment of riches - are you kidding me! We have had to play a half fit Owen in the last game and Heskey...
    So how did we win - we would have won with Lampard in the team or even myself in center midfield.
    THe truth is we beat a CRAP side who came for a 0-0 and may have got it if it wasnt for Heskey getting amongst them and chesting and flicking balls onto runners.

    England are not world beaters - we are Israel beaters. I hold back all other judgment till i have seen how we do against Russia who will play 5 in midfield.

    Do we play 4-5-1 or stick with 4-4-2. Is BArry any good? I dont know cos i dont rate a defensive Israel side who made no effort to score.

    Crouch is no problem up front and gets England a lot of goals and wins a lot of balls, however i was pleased for Heskey who was outstanding for us except when he had to shoot. I suspect Crouch will start as will BArry.
    We may go 4-5-1 and toss in Carrick and bench Owen but i doubt it. 4-4-2 for me.

    By Blogger Simon Burke, at 1:43 PM  

  • Glad you are not blinkered Simon because the British press drives me crazy stating how well the squad did. From zero to hero overnight based on performance against crap side.

    Still, due to injuries a couple of things occurred:
    -Lampard not playing alongside Gerrard. To your point it could have been you and not Barry. Will McClaren realise this or will he go straight back to Lampard when he is healthy? My money is on Lampard going back in.
    -Neville injured - Micah Richards gets a look in
    -No David Beckham - SWP played on the right

    I think England do have some good young players that for whatever reason have not been fancied. I also thought Ashley Young looked very good aginst Chelsea.

    I have also been a big fan of Joe Cole on the left for quite a while. He was the only way the really looked threatening in the World Cup.

    You need players that are hungry and maybe that means up and coming players as well as players who have something to prove at club level such as SWP and Cole at Chelsea. When players are complacent, they stop performing.

    Heskey was never really that good either and made his name in a goal less friendly againt Argentina. But he is in the twilight of his career and therefore has something to prove as well.

    By Blogger Chris P, at 3:15 PM  

  • Long way to go yet Chris but your post looks to have been pretty good after the Russia game. We beat a good side - we had some luck but i dont think anyone can say we didnt deserve the win - 3-0 seems over the top but its a win nonetheless. I am still scared f going to Russia but hope we can knock off Croatia at home.
    Credit to McLaren for having the guts to stick with his same team.
    So now the question:
    Next match hypothetically - Beckham/Lampard/Hargreaves/Rooney/Crouch all available.
    Do you play any of them - home to Estonia?

    By Blogger Simon Burke, at 10:00 AM  

  • You could probably pick 11 random punters at a rail station and still have a good chance to beat Estonia.

    I really can't tell whether McClaren will let his "superstars" straight back-in or not. If circurmstances were different, you could argue for 'tactical' changes such as playing Crouch against midgets. But againt a conference / non league calbibre opposition does it really matter?

    McClaren would be a muppet if he let Lampard straight back-in, never could play with Gerrard anyway.

    With Beckham, if he's healthy he brings some good crosses and obvious dead ball kicks. SWP brings something entirely different so you could claim tactics.

    With Rooney, probably better to stay with Heskey. Against lesser opposition the defence seems intent to just try to provoke Rooney. Heskey is more mature and would be less likely to react.

    With regards to Crouch, I think the question is who is it better to pair Owen with, Rooney or Crouch. Crouch gives you that aerial presence. In that respect, maybe better to have Crouch with Owen than Rooney with Owne.

    By Blogger Chris P, at 4:06 PM  

  • Now that Heskey has done his metatarsal, can Dean Ashton fill that role? I can't believe that Heskey's luck would have held anyway.

    By Blogger gooner71, at 10:45 PM  

  • Pleased that my comments have been published here. Please allow for some literary license when claiming England have "an embarrassment of riches". Perhaps that was gilding the lily. I do think, however, that McClaren's squad is well resourced. When you consider how well Scotland have played with a team who would struggle,in most cases, to claim a spot in an England D XI; and also remember that Greece, for whom Stelios of Bolton was a star turn, won the last championships; England, ought not to be in danger of failing to qualify.
    The fact is, too many players have been undervalued, including Crouch, Barry, and Heskey; whilst others have kept their place on reputation. Beckham, Ferdinand and Lampard are three examples. More controversially, perhaps, Rooney has looked poor as a target man, and is easily rattled in that role. Ben Haim has learned this, and repeatedly won their personal head to heads. I would certainly agree with the previous comment about Ashton, who has the talent comparable to Mark Hughes. If the England team is to include both Owen and Rooney, then the latter might be played in a wide position, but he would have to earn the shirt from Wright Phillips or Joe Cole as things stand.
    Martin Dimery

    By Anonymous Martin Dimery, at 9:12 AM  

  • I quite agree - Lamps and the like can sit out another game but I do remember that it was BEckham who inspired the win over Estonia the first time and Crouch and I feel its unfair to say Beckham has just sat on his namesake.
    I would keep Lampard out forever as I dont rate him at the top level and never have.

    I still think we dont have all that much to draw from - the fact is less and less English are in the Premiership and they cant spark if not given enough opportunity. Opportunity is a vital element of success. I regreat Arsenal selling Bentley and at the rate we are going we will have to off Walcott too.

    LEts see how England do away from home before suddenly talking aobut how great the English in the Premiership are. 2 games in one week has suddenly masked I think the glaring problem. I wish Platini and whoever else can find a way to pass a quota.

    By Blogger Simon Burke, at 1:18 PM  

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