City have six appeal
| Submit Comments| Comments (89)| Printable Version1/1Play SlideshowClose MapMove over Arsenal?s great 1930s side, Bob Paisley?s all-conquering 1970s Liverpool, and Sir Alex Ferguson?s Treble-winning United. For Roberto Mancini?s 2010 Manchester City side has shouldered its way into that illustrious company, at least in the England record books. The Blues provided six of the England team which healed some of the wounded World Cup pride of the Three Lions with a thoroughly professional Euro 2012 qualifying campaign win in Switzerland on Tuesday night. And that put them in the same bracket as a small elite of teams which have provided more than half of the national side in any one game ? three teams which have gone down in the annals as giants of the English game. James Milner, one of the super six, believes that the core of English talent will bring City success as well as providing England with the nub for a more stable future. Milner feels Fabio Capello?s faith in the City contingent, especially the younger element, is an encouraging sign for the club?s Premier League title aspirations. Perfect He said: ?It is good to have that core of English players but we need the mix as well. ?We are very fortunate to have a lot of talented foreign players at the club as well. ?The mix is there. Most teams who win the title have an English core as well so it can only be good for us as a club. ?It?s the same in any country, but you need the perfect mix and the perfect balance. ?That?s down to the manager, and I think he has done that at City. ?You need the balance of English players and those coming in from abroad. As long as everyone is bringing something to the table, it?s good to have that mix, and get it right. ?We had six English players the other night, but we can also chop and change because of the quality we have on the bench, not to mention the players who are injured. It?s a fantastic squad and hopefully we can go places.? The Arsenal team of 1934, perhaps the world?s first great team, stumped up seven of the England team which defeated reigning world champions Italy, winning at a foggy Highbury. That precocious outfit, built by Herbert Chapman before his untimely death in early 1934, was on its way to a third successive league title ? the first English club to rack up that hat-trick. The Liverpool team of 1977 came close to emulating the Gunners, as six of the England team which started in a World Cup qualifier against Switzerland came from Anfield. Current England goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence, Phil Neal, Terry McDermott, Emlyn Hughes, Ray Kennedy and Ian Callaghan ? getting a recall a stunning 11 years after his previous appearance ? were the men in question. Manager Ron Greenwood hoped that he could harness Liverpool?s dominance in European club football ? they were reigning English and European kings ? for the national team. It proved a forlorn hope, as they failed to qualify for the 1978 World Cup finals and flopped at the 1980 European Championships. Dominant United equalled the Arsenal record in 2001, when Sven-Goran Eriksson also hoped to utilise the Reds? dominance of domestic football for national ambitions. Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Andy Cole all started in a World Cup qualifier in Albania, while Wes Brown and Teddy Sheringham appeared as substitutes. Since then, no other club has dominated the England team in such a fashion until Tuesday night in Basle. Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott, James Milner and Gareth Barry all began the game, and the arrival of Adam Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips as substitutes meant that the majority of the men on the field were City players. It was no coincidence. The common misconception is that City have hurled money around willy-nilly in a hit-and-misstransfer policy. But the emphasis has been on creating a nub of young English players who will carry the club forward, with foreign stars like Carlos Tevez, Yaya Toure and David Silva weaved in and around. Of course there have been expensive failures, as always happens when a club has money to spend, Robinho springing immediately to mind. But that £32.5m flop, bought more as a statement of intent than for any significant strategy, only serves to show that the central theme of buying young, malleable players ? preferably English ? is a wise one. One problem that Capello faces is the fact that the Premier League elite is quickly out-growing the England team. It would have been unthinkable, even ten years ago, for a player to pull on the shirt with three lions when he couldn?t be sure of nailing down a place in his club side. And yet of those six City men, only Hart and Barry have started all three league games this season. Lescott, despite the £24m price tag when he joined from Everton, is no longer first choice under Mancini, and has only recently squeezed into the side at left back due to injuries to Aleksandar Kolarov and Wayne Bridge. Wright-Phillips clearly has the ability but he has also struggled for consistency over the last year ? and you cannot afford that in the rarefied atmosphere at Eastlands. Adam Johnson, for all the excitement he generates, was on the bench for the opening three games of the season, and Milner faces extreme competition in the Blues engine room, not least from a man who picked up a World Cup winners? medal during the summer. The old Blue gag runs that there are only two teams in Manchester, City and City Reserves. As far as England are concerned, the joke could become something of a truism.
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