Vlog on the pitch – Have England sunk to a new low?

August 21, 2008

A Steve McClaren tribute band. Wasters. Shapeless, aimless and hopeless, tactically chaotic and technically stunted, a mess from start to finish.

These are just some of the examples of the stinging criticism dished out by the tabloids after England’s turgid performance in a 2-2 friendly draw with Czech Republic on Wednesday.

Fabio Capello has a reputation as a tactical master yet still Steven Gerrard is shunted out on the left. Wayne Rooney runs all day for the good of the team but has he lost that bit of magic that made him a boy wonder?

In the video above, vlogonthepitch host Owen Wyatt talks to David Beckham before mulling over yet another drab England display with Pedro Redig. Let us know your views.


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What’s Capello doing? It’s seems nothing has changed since McClaren left. Last night would have been the perfect opportunity to play Ashley Young on the left and Agbonlahor up front. That way Joe Cole could have played on the right with Gerrard as the attacking midfielder and Barry in the holding role. Why the England manager still persists with playing both Gerrard and Lampard together is beyond me, it’s obvious it doesn’t work, and Gerrard is the better player who can go past people, score goals and push the team on. I still think Beckham is a threat, but if you know you are going to play him in the qualifier, then last night’s friendly would have been a great chance to test Joe Cole or David Bentley on the right. Hopefully things will change for the qualifier and we’ll see a better England side, because at least they’ll have something to play for.

Posted by Luke Goddard | Report as abusive

When will the pundits, fans, the press and everybody else come to terms with the cold truth that England are on the same level with teams like the Czech Republic but not with the top teams?
The Premier League is the best in the world only because of its financial muscle drawing the world’s top players. Expecting England to be in the same bracket is just unrealistic.
You can’t have it both ways: Italy’s Serie A was miles ahead of the Premiership in the late 1980s and the 1990s but their national team was barely above average. When the pendulum swung the other way and the top players started coming to England, the balance of power shifted in the Premier League’s favour but left the national team deprived of world class talent. Italy, on the other hand, won the World Cup in 2006 after players like Totti, De Rossi, Grosso and Pirlo were able to come through.
England players are vastly overrated and you can all thank the very same tabloids lambasting them for that. On non-match days the press hails them as super-heroes, splashing photos of their billionaire-fashioned lives as if they are actually worth all that money.

Posted by Red Devil | Report as abusive

I said this before the Euro’s, English and Italian football has been going backwards for years now with Serie A being the most tedious football to watch. Even the Germans have caught on with decent football.

So what do the the good old boys at the FA go and do? hire an old school Italian for the job. What do they expect?! It’s not Capello’s fault at all, who wouldn’t take the job for that money.

Posted by KG | Report as abusive

Well written Red Devil. England are over-rated. Still – unlike previous World Cup runs – they have something different now. They have Capello. There are no guarantees with him but I think that he’s the one guy who can make the biggest difference to the team. He knows how to win. It is conceivable that he will find a way to churn enough points to qualify that over-rated bunch and also drag them through the rounds of the World Cup in 2010. The question – and the curiosity for me – will be to see how far the Italian (one of the best coaches of the last 20 years) will take them.

Posted by Beautifulgamer | Report as abusive

PS-Red Devil-remember: he called it a “beautiful challenge”. He knew what a challenge he faced – the lack of talent; the lack of a modern style of play – but he took it on. And it will be beautiful if pulls it off. For me he has two objectives: first to win the World Cup (unlikely); second to permanently change the way England plays. The former is unlikely. The latter is much needed and is about more than the 4-4-2 formation or the technical players that I want to see more of in an England jersey. I think what has to change is England’s mental approach to winning big matches and tournaments. Capello keeps refering to a winning mentality – and for me that is a complex skill-set which entails everything from individual discipline, tactics and even for example things like – dare I say it – Fabio Grosso’s sublime dive for a penalty against Australia at WC 2006 (a match Italy should have lost). Does England have a winning mentality? I think not. But they’ve got the best manager in the world to give it to them – apart from Sir Alex that is :)

Posted by Beautifulgamer | Report as abusive

It’s even more unlikely he will succeed in permanently changing the way England play. That can’t be accomplished in four years — it takes decades if it can be done at all. It requires a complete change of their English nature and to be honest I don’t see England transforming into Spain, Italy, France, Argentina, Brazil, Portugal or Holland at any point in the future.
What he needs to do is have the guts to drop some of the “sacred cows” and give players like Jenas, Agbonlahor and Bentley a proper chance. They would add pace and agility to a very predicatble-looking team woefully short of players with any tricks up their sleeve. Yes, the press will crucify him if he fails, but who can guarantee the same lot that failed to qualify for Euro 2008 won’t flop again? They are not going to get any younger or better.
And I am really not sure Don Fabio is the right man for the job. A foreign manager is exactly what some teams need to flourish (Russia, Greece in 2004, Portugal under Scolari) but England is not one of them. They should have appointed Harry Redknapp.

Posted by Red Devil | Report as abusive