Will Tidey - Rejects Walcott and Johnson can save Capello
Published: 02 Sep 2010 - 07:21:28
As I write this there are still tickets left for England v Bulgaria tomorrow night. On a whim you could take yourself along to one of the world's greatest stadiums, to watch some of the world's most coveted footballers in action, in a match of genuine significance.
But in truth England fans are not all that excited about it. Naturally we'll huddle in pubs and living rooms to watch what happens, but you can't escape the feeling we're about to get back on a horse that should have been shot; the tired, lame, predictable beast who ruined our summer in South Africa.
For most of us the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign has come too soon. England are the disappointing girlfriend we just dumped turning up on our doorstep, and expecting us to take them back. But can we really be expected to go back to the start after all that pain?
Of course we can, and we will. Not because we forgive Wayne Rooney for playing like a drunk uncle at the World Cup; not because we've come to terms with Fabio Capello's prehistoric tactics; and definitelty not because we've found renewed hope that England are on the path to greatness.
- Crouch out of England qualifiers
We simply don't have a choice. After all, if there's one thing worst than England failing spectacularly at a major tournament, it's England not being there is the first place. Whatever people say, and they'll be the usual crowd who'll say "it would do us good", nobody wants that.
And therein lies the problem for Capello. How can a manager in fear of his job, and his reputation, justify taking risks when the stakes are so high? The big games just keep on coming and most top managers would agree big games are about results - not placating the masses.
Those who expected an influx of youth were missing the point. Had Capello thrown in Andy Carroll, Jack Rodwell and Jack Wilshere for the Bulgaria and Switzerland games, and done any worse than a win and draw, there would have been calls for his head.
It's rule one of football management. In times of need, turn to experienced heads.
But those who wanted change have been given something of a gift in Frank Lampard's non-involvement - which will likely see Theo Walcott or Adam Johnson (or possibly both) start for England at Wembley.
If that happens there will at least be some representation not carrying the burden of World Cup failure, and that can only be a good thing. Let's just hope Walcott and Johnson can prove themselves reliable enough weapons to not be considered a risk away in Switzerland - because a side who can defend Spain to death are clearly pretty good at defending.
Capello needs a lifeline - and how ironic would it be if the two men he left at home this summer stepped up to save him.
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Will Tidey
- Will Tidey writes on sport for CNN, Eurosport-Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, amongst others. His first book, 'Life with Sir Alex', an account of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25-year reign at Manchester United, is set for release in October this year. Pre-order it now at http://tinyurl.com/6xzl62b. And follow Will on Twitter here - www.twitter.com/willtidey
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