• Sunday, June 16, 2024
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England, oh England  




There is something about the way the media and people in general view football teams, once a football team has done something substantial for a while, it takes forever for them to undo that good, even if they produce garbage football for a decade. It doesn’t matter if Chelsea, or Spain, or Barcelona don’t do any good for another ten years. Even if they don’t make another final for till 2025, they will still talked about in relatively glowing terms. Just look at the way it is assumed that Arsenal and Liverpool will challenge for the title every year. No football team however, embodies the overhype mentality like the Three Lions of England, whose first and only international tournament win was the 1966 World Cup.


England have however just tumbled to an all-time low, exiting Euro 2016 at the hands of Iceland, a team of 332, 529 people, and by far the smallest team to ever be represented at the European Championships. Let’s look at the facts; England haven’t won a knockout match at a major tournament since 2006. In fact in the last two major tournaments, they’ve won only one game, and that one win was courtesy of a last gasp Daniel Sturridge winner against Wales.


Roy Hodgson is arguably the biggest fraud in International football. He came into this tournament as the highest paid manager and got knocked out by a manager who works as a part time dentist. Hodgson is beleaguered by a lack of identity, favoritism, and tactical cluelessness.


England’s squad to this tournament was wreaked of big club favoritism. Hodgson might claim he selected so many Tottenham players (5), because of their form for their club. Problem with that argument is that doesn’t explain why the Leicester trio of Drinkwater, Albrighton and Simpson were left at home. Henderson made this tournament on the back of an average season; Jack Wilshere only managed 4 appearances for Arsenal all season. Yet they were selected while the likes of Noble (West Ham) and Drinkwater (Leicester) were left at home despite their stellar campaigns. Cleverley (Everton) was a sure pick for England when he was playing at Manchester United, but since he made the drop to Everton has become a forgotten entity. Marcus Rashford made the England team on the back of 5 months of top-flight football. Five months. I like Rashford, I think he’ll be an amazing player, but no other elite teams go to tournaments with players with 5 months of professional football experience. Will Rashford have made the team if he made his breakthrough at Sunderland?


Not content with a lopsided squad, Hodgson played the most unbalanced starting XI I’ve seen from a supposed top club since I started watching football. Look if there is no way to fit Wayne Rooney in the team properly, leave him on the bench. There is no way Rooney is a better midfielder than Barkley, Henderson, Wilshere or even Milner. Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli (media darling at the moment), where terrible in every single game. Harry Kane left his shooting boots at White Hart Lane.


Football teams are like a machine, regardless of how good one part is, it needs the other parts to be working to a certain degree before it can ultimately function. England’s front six against Iceland was; a misfiring Harry Kane, an out of sorts Dele Alli, an out of ideas Sterling (who had a miserable season for Manchester City), Daniel Sturrigde on the wings (never works), Rooney in midfield (will never really work), and Eric Dier (who this time 12 months ago was a center back). Having four strikers in your starting XI and no midfielders is like having a gun and no ammo. It won’t fire.


Hodgson’s final move as England manager was to remove Wayne Rooney for Marcus Rashford. In a win or bust game, he took off the captain and top scorer for a lad with two caps to his name and less than 30 top level games. At the time, all four of his starting defenders were still on the pitch. The three Lions are plagued by all sorts of problems; limited talent, limited ideas, no identity, no fight and a piss poor manager. When you consider that Germany can afford to leave the likes of Emre Can, Bastien Schweinsteigger and Leroy Sane on the bench then you realize how much of a long way England has to go to catch up.

Adedamola Obisesan

Twitter Handle: @mastermind1808