Cycle of hysteria set to continue
The national hysteria surrounding Steve McClaren is likely to continue whatever the result against Andorra on Wednesday even if England match Germanys 13-0 win away to San Marino last year.
On Tuesday he was labelled “mad” and “deluded” while on Wednesday one tabloid said the best place for him, should they flop against Andorra, would be the far reaches of the universe.
Everyone wants to know how it is that England players do so well for their clubs in the Champions League yet seem to perform consistently less well for their country.
McClaren deserves sympathy. Club managers get 60-odd games a season to tinker with systems and four or five training sessions a week to evaluate their players. McClaren does not have that luxury.
The players owe their vast riches to their clubs and are judged by fans on what they do week in week out in the Premier League. A ropey Rooney performance for England is soon forgotten when he turns on the style at Old Trafford, while a nondescript display from Lampard will not unduly bother Chelsea fans when he has scored 20 goals in their midfield this season.
One bad England display and McClaren is criticised for months, while the players head off to bask in adulation elsewhere.
So whats the solution? Go easy on the coach? Be harder on the players? Or wait for McClaren to be replaced and let the cycle continue.
Martyn Herman is a Reuters sports correspondent based in London