When the biggest cheer of a 90,000 seater football stadium comes from paper aeroplanes landing on the pitch, it’s fair to say there’s a problem.
That problem being the English national side. I’m getting bored harping on about how the England team fails to progress or even just to impress. If anything, I feel like we’ve gone backwards over the last couple of years.
Sometimes I watch the tv (because you couldn’t pay me to go watch England during the qualifiers) and I just want to scream. Maybe Gareth Southgate should allow some England fans to facetime into the team meetings to express the nation’s frustrations! They need to know what they are putting all the English fans through. It’s easy for players like Harry Kane and Joe Hart to say things like it was all about qualifying and they’ve managed to do it with one game to spare. But come on, be honest. Say, it’s great to have qualified for the World Cup, but we haven’t been good enough for nearly two years now, and tonight proves that. The players must know they are underperforming. If we truly believe we can win the World Cup we can’t be struggling in these sort of games. What’s even more frustrating is if we had to play Slovenia in a major competition they would probably beat us!
We never look like we have a plan. Southgate has changed ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! What do candidates say at the FA interview for the England job?? ‘Erm so I was thinking of using the same players that the old manager used, as well as asking them to play in the same way and do the same things.’
Southgate talks about progress…PROGRESS! What is going on? If I was the head of the FA, I would have sacked Southgate before the beginning of the game when I saw the team sheet. Raheem Sterling in the hole behind Kane. Enough is enough. For those who don’t know what ‘in the hole means’ it essentially means that that player gets license to have a free role ‘to make things happen’. We might as well have put my mate Paimon in that position, and he couldn’t even get into St Marys University’s 5th team. I genuinely believe he could have performed better than Sterling in that position. Of course joking aside Sterling is not a number 10. If he is to play (though I wouldn’t start him) he has to play out wide. It’s like Sterling somehow convinced Southgate that playing him there was a good idea. Maybe he said ‘Pep plays me there’, and Southgate thought, if it’s good enough for Pep. Then there’s the absolute shambles of watching Kyle Walker lining up a 25 yard free kick? The only way I can see Walker taking free kicks over Kane and Rashford, is if he told Southgate something like, ‘Pep let’s me take free kicks in training.’ It’s a mess, and don’t even get me started on this whole, let everyone have one game as captain malarkey. Choose your captain Southgate! Otherwise, we will get to our first game of the World Cup and Rashford will be captain, and Gary Cahill will be taking free kicks!
In all seriousness, it’s these strange decisions that suggest to me that Southgate is putting out a team, and just hoping something happens and we win. In the qualifiers, you can only just get away with it, but as soon as we go to major tournaments it won’t cut it, and other teams will punish us.
We have talented players like Kane, Delle Alli, Rashford and Eric Dier, but it’s like no England manager has had the ability to convey what they want in the short time they have with the players in the international period. There’s not one England fan who can honestly say they see what the plan is, or where we have improved over the last 16 months. The players never perform in an England shirt and that’s the most worrying thing.
The two friendlies coming up against Germany and Brazil are pointless. England will field a strong team against weakened opponents, do ok, (well at least better than the last few games) and give the nation false hope once again. If we come up against either of those two teams in the World Cup when they play there strongest eleven and actually care about the game, England will lose. I don’t mean to be so negative, but it’s hard not to be when England perform in the same manner every time they play. You could see it after the game when Ian Wright was talking in the studio. He’s exhausted saying the same things over and over again. Every word he said after the game was completely right. We are not good enough and these performances are not acceptable. We should be comfortably beating these teams in this qualifying group, but we are not. No wonder we are not celebrating this achievement.
I’ll wrap it up by saying that after watching England vs Slovenia I officially have no hope for our chances of getting out of the group stages of the World Cup, let alone winning it.
Of course I’m happy we have qualified for the 2018 World Cup, but not because I think we have an exciting team who could finally end the 50 years of hurt, but because it will be an excuse to go down the pub and have a few too many.