Barry: England must learn from WC woe
Gareth Barry rejected the notion England's players do not care, but insists everyone must learn from the Three Lions' World Cup debacle. This summer's World Cup disappointment has brought the usual introspection and naval-gazing within the national game. Even as Fabio Capello's future was being debated, reasons were being offered as to why a team that qualified for South Africa in such style, containing players who weekly hit the highest notes in what is supposedly the best league in the world, should perform quite so badly. Barry takes on board many of the points. He did question his own ability for a start. He also embraces the idea of a winter break, which seems so obvious but has proved impossible to incorporate within the fixture calendar. But, ahead of Friday's Euro 2012 opener against Bulgaria at Wembley, the normally laid-back Manchester City midfielder positively bristles when it is suggested that the simple reason England so consistently perform below expectations is because the players themselves are not that bothered and feel no pride in wearing those Three Lions on their chest. "It is annoying when people say we don't care," said Barry. "It is nonsense. "Everyone knows we want to win as much as anyone. We are here to win. "Defeat is hard to take for anyone. But when it is you being spoken about, it is tough to deal with. "You just have to try to not listen to those who speak negatively." Yet, in trying to steer a diplomatic path through what is a minefield of accusations and recriminations, Barry has hinted mistakes were made. And they need to be acted upon. "England as a whole, and the FA, we all need to learn from this in the future," he said. "It is important we take any mistakes on board. "If a winter break can help, that certainly needs to be looked at. In my opinion, that is a massive thing. "It is an issue which keeps coming up. Ask any players who plays on a Sunday, midweek and then the week after. By the end, you don't feel as good. It is just natural." As Barry points out, from a personal perspective, tiredness should not be a problem. That he is one of six Manchester City players to make Capello's squad merely emphasises the revolution that has taken place at Eastlands, where Roberto Mancini has at least two choices in every position. "Competition is good for any individual," said the 29-year-old. "It keeps you on your toes. "It is not particularly that it makes you train harder but you know if you're having two bad games in a row then you'll probably find yourself out of the team. "There are so many players at City and the competition is very high so I am not expecting to play in every game this season but it is something I can deal with now better than I could have when I was 21." There are always lessons to be learned though. Amid the World Cup fall-out came the certain knowledge that no matter how England perform over the next 18 months, no matter how many victories they achieve or points they accumulate, doubt will remain until they start to perform at the next European Championships. It is the unspoken truth Barry and his team-mates have to accept. After reaching the World Cup with nine wins from 10 games, stylish qualification this time around will gain the Three Lions no merit points whatsoever. "It was hard to take after we qualified with such flying colours," he reflected. "Going forward and defensively, we looked very good. "Maybe that did affect us a bit. We were on a high and the country felt we had a proper chance. "But on the big stage it didn't happen. Everyone realises now that it's not about how we qualify. "The main objective is just to qualify and then have a good tournament." Meanwhile, England will definitely be without striker Peter Crouch, who has returned to Tottenham for further treatment on a back injury he sustained during Saturday's surprise home defeat to Wigan.
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