England’s failure: an outsider’s view

November 23, 2007

I’ll be quick. England’s failure to qualify for the Euro finals is of course a surprise but does not come as exactly a shock.

It seems to me that the team lost a big part of its spine when Paul Scholes and Jamie Carragher retired from international football.

Let’s face it, Joleon Lescott cannot even be compared to Carra. And who’s been providing the decisive link between the midfield and the front line since Scholes called it quits?

Alright, neither John Terry nor Ashley Cole were there. Rio Ferdinand was also out of action (which may have been good news for England). But here comes the bit where McClaren cannot escape responsibility: why on earth would you field an inexperienced goalie behind a makeshift defence?

Julien Pretot is a Reuters sports correspondent based in Paris 


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ok the goalkeeper bit i agree on, but with regard to lescott hes class, his work rate is higher than most other liabilities! scholes assist rate for england wasnt the best either. if u know anything about football and want to compensate for the fact that this article is quite frankly a load of rubbish, write an article on the insanity of beckham (whos assists and set plays set up over 80% of our goals) only being brought on at half time! Carson should never wear an england shirt again, david james is still alive the f.a need to know this! Record holder for clean sheets in the premiership the most elite league in the world. DOES THAT NOT TELL U HE CAN KEEP A CLEAN SHEET AGAINST A TEAM OF CROATIAS CALIBRE! i dont care who takes over, doesnt make a different unless we win the world cup or somehow magicly manage to wrangle ourselves into euro 2008 (joke). unless that happens this guy will not be good enough in anyones eyes. GOOD RIDDENS TO BAD RUBBISH MCLAREN!

Posted by Martin | Report as abusive

When was carragher an england regular anyway! how do u manage to earn a living writing such rubbish, the back bone is john terry. sol is too old lescott is inexperienced, bridge is unplayed and unfit. You are obviously a liverpool fan

Posted by Martin | Report as abusive

Carragher was never a regular but there’s an argument he should have been. Failing to get the best out of Carragher is an obvious failure of McClaren’s time in charge. I’m not saying Carragher is great or anything, but things might have been different if he was in the side the other night.

Posted by London | Report as abusive

Yes, I’m a Liverpool fan, who thinks England has been missing United’s Scholes and believe me, I hate United.
As for Carragher, as ‘London’ said, “things might have been different if he was in the side the other night”. And the other years, when England achieved quite nothing.
However, let’s agree to disagree and please, let’s drop the insults from this blog.

Posted by Julien Pretot | Report as abusive

My arogence is personified with my strong comments, that are true. ok your point well taken regarding scholes, but lets be honest scholes wudnt have done anything hes past his best days now. but one thing they could give would be 100% which is more than any of the 14 players that participated on wednesday gave! england lack passion they need a manager that isnt scared to go into the dressing room losing to a 2nd rate team at half time and in no uncertain term, Rip everysingle person´s head off! these guys have it easy. turn up lose blame the manager (again not backing mclaren i despise the guy) and go back to there overpaid clubs! TO MAKE THEM PERFORM, 50% WAGE CUT ON UR MONTHS PAY IF U LOSE AN INTERNATIONAL FIXTURE there the passion will lie. Money Not Three Lions is the drive in football. Everyone has forgotten one of the most passionate players (not always good) and potentially great manager……… STUART PEARCE

Posted by Martin | Report as abusive

How about because EVERYONE IN ENGLAND was telling him to bench Paul Robinson at all costs, and Carson outplayed David James in training?

Would everyone have rather seen James or Robinson in goal? Would the result really have been that much different?

Posted by Dave’s Football Blog | Report as abusive

Yeah, Dave’s Football Blog. When Mike Collett blogged about the goalkeepers ahead of the match most people seemed to agree that Carson should come in, or at least no one said it was a nutso idea.
http://blogs.reuters.com/soccer/2007/11/ 21/can-mcclaren-afford-to-gamble-on-inno cence-of-youth/#comments

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

It seems to me that Lescott is getting a bad deal by the media. I look at the blogs and people support him and dont blame him. It is the media for some reason that are doing this. Maybe his face does not fit. As for Carragher, when I remember the derby he could not handle the presence of Lescott and hauled him down or grabbed his shirt at every opportunity. In the England game the first goal was a fault by Carson, The second was a fault by Bridge and the third was just a good goal that Carson maybe could have saved. I am neutral but believe Lescott to be world class but also have other aspects. ie he is one of the top scorers in the premiership even as a defender. He is better than Carragher, and I think Carragher knows that he is past his best. He must know that Clattenburg cant referee England matches.

Posted by Simon | Report as abusive

I just want to say one thing ,I`m from Croatia and I`m happy that we win,the thing is why you all english people can`t at least one time say that croatia was better team not just here on wembley but remember last year in zagreb you also lose so its not Carsnons fault that you lose it in your brain and mind thinking that you will easily beat Croatia but NOOO ,croatia players are playing with heart and for country so we kick your ass.REGARDS FROM CROATIA

Posted by Matija croat | Report as abusive

Shock? Surprise? I was neither shocked nor surprised that England failed to qualify – we had a clueless coach who was never up to the job, appointed by men in suits at the FA who should all be sacked. The silver lining is that not qualifying was the only way to get rid of McClaren before the next World Cup, and that, in my opinion, was a price worth paying.

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive

Indeed Matija, Croatia were the best, no one can argue with that…

Posted by Julien Pretot | Report as abusive

I’m a HUGE Chelsea fan, but I would have dropped Lampard and Gerrard, —started Barry and Hargreaves in midfield-and starting Carson was a joke in such an important match. Start Becks on the right, tried Cole on the left-and for christ’s sake -TWO forwards not one up front-probably Crouch and Defoe. McClaren was useless, what did he ever do at M’boro?

Posted by rick richardson | Report as abusive

Totally agree with Matija on Carson.Scott Carson in the few games he played for England looked confident and less likely to make a crucial error prior to that game v Croatia.Robinson and James both have had appalling games for England in the past conceding goals through a mixture of poor concentration and nerves.Either of these two could have totally fell apart during that game which i don’t believe Carson did.
England always needs to use a scapegoat to whitewash bigger shortcomings and in this case it was Scott Carson.
It’s very easy to cast the blame at a selection in hindsight but i don’t for one minute believe the serlection was wrong and Scott Carson i believe will learn from this and grow into one of the finest keepers this country as ever produced.

Posted by Dean Morton | Report as abusive

I think Dean’s right. All goalkeepers make mistakes. The key is how they respond and that’s a question of character. If Carson has been identified as the best long-term bet it’s crucial he gets a long run in the side. Let’s see what he’s made of.

Posted by kev | Report as abusive

[…] colleague Julien Pretot last week offered a brief outsider’s view on England’s failures in the match against Croatia. If you’ll forgive another […]

Posted by English players should get out more – Reuters Soccer Blog | Report as abusive