Hodgson's Choice

05 September 2013 05:36
Is England a failing team at international level?

Playing for England is every schoolboy footballers dream and very few get the chance to get close to club trials let alone an international call up yet Roy Hodgson, the current England manager is claiming he only has 30 or 40 English players with international class to choose from.

Is it a case that England very rarely produces a manager with the ability to successfully steer his side to European and World cup success or is it a simple case that our players are simply not good enough?

It seems odd that the latter would be true when football is the most popular sport in the UK and the individuals coming through professional avenues are no less than Germany, Spain, Portugal or Italy who have smaller leagues yet they always appear to have strength in depth whenever on an international outing that demands footballing excellence.

Of course, the answer may be that, with the Premiership being arguably the most prestige footballing competition in the world, the attraction for foreign talent is actually pushing out native footballers who are not getting an opportunity to grow into the talented international players that the England squad demands with a few exceptions.

The domination of foreign players in the Premier league is undoubtedly the reason for otherwise mediocre footballing nations becoming a major force on the international stage because these players are playing against other countrymen who are the best in the world, week in week out in our very own domestic league while at the same time strengthening their own respective countries squad.

On the closing of the latest transfer window alone, there was an arrival of £600M of foreign talent to add to the massive contingent here already which is great for Football as a global entertainment and spectator sport but does very little for the England side who’s prospective and potential players are not able to break into the first team at a consistent level and get the experience and match time we need for an international squad to be reckoned with.

On top of this quandary we have injury and unavailability issues to contend with and Hodgson is facing tough decisions in filling positions such as the central defence after the retirement of Terry and Ferdinand when in reality there should be a plethora of talent eager and able to burst onto the England international scene. Hodgson’s choice should be “Who shall I pick” as opposed to his present “I don’t know who to pick”

We have to leave English footballing victory hopes in the hands of the youngsters to prove themselves such as Wilshere who will no doubt take Gerrard’s mantle and look to the likes of Rodwell and Cleverley and hope they can perform at the highest levels within their respective clubs to increase the talent level of our England squad.

The reality at the moment is that it is hit or miss whether England will even qualify for the World cup finals in Brazil 2014 and their next test against Moldova is certainly not the foregone conclusion it might have been a few decades ago despite the comfortable 5-0 victory in their last meeting given the selection worries.

Even F.A. Chairman, Greg Dyke believes that, if England do qualify for the 2014 World cup finals, the chances of winning it, is unrealistic which is at least confirmation of a wakeup call amongst the great and the good who wander the corridors of the F.A. HQ and encouragingly, he has set the England team the task of Winning the World Cup 2022, which is all very sweet but I can’t help but hear the ring of that warming, heartfelt and very sincere “This time next year Rodney…We’ll be millionaires.”

If ever the England squad was in a transitional period, it is over the next year or two and England fans may have to put up with just making the numbers up in Brazil comforted by the fact that the dedicated travelling supporters will be guests of a superb part of the world, that will put on a carnival second to none and no doubt give us a demonstration of entertaining, open, liberal and fluent football with side helpings of Brazilian babes and cold beer adorning the fringes of every game.

If England do qualify, and then find themselves on the embarrassing end of their group table, we may forgive Hodgson if he comes out with a similar anecdote that Bobby Robson came out with when reaching the last 8 of the European cup 1988 in West Germany and then failing to win a single game… “On a positive note, We are the 8th best team in Europe!” he said…You had to admire Sir Bobby.

If I had to give Hodgson one tip…The best tip he could ever have…The tip that would have saved England supporters heartache after heartache if the succession of England managers had this tip…The tip would be…Practise Penalties like every game depends on it…Because it probably will.

So it looks like we have the 2022 World cup finals to really look forward to and being an optimist I can see the newspaper headlines now…

“England go through to the 2022 World cup finals after winning every one of their qualifying games and keeping a clean sheet to boot. This particular England squad is especially notable in the fact that all 24 players are from Hull City AFC with a total value of £18 Billion pounds. The squad contains the World player of the year, European player of the year, Players player of the year, Golden boot award winner and we wish the England manager Steve Bruce all the best and give our thanks to FIFA Chief Executive, Assem Allam for agreeing not to change the name of the FIFA World Cup competition to “Allam’s Soccer Challenge.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

Ok Ok…First things first. I’ll settle for a quarter final place in Brazil with a Huddlestone call up.

Source: Hull City Mad