English football needs a Kevin Pietersen

September 9, 2008

Joe Cole scoresEngland play Croatia on Wednesday and you know what? It won’t be a surprise, or a disgrace, if they lose.

Why? Because Croatia are a technically gifted, cleverly organised, highly motivated international team, who beat England twice to reach Euro 2008 and outplayed Germany when they got there.

I also half expect it to happen simply because England are so terrified of losing.

This fear of failure pervades the national team. It comes across in the insistence on tactical discipline and conservative team selection even against the weakest of opponents (think Joe Cole against Andorra) and the consistent failure of the team’s senior players to be their confident, inventive selves while on England duty.

For a while it was the same with the England cricket team but recently things have changed. Here’s what Kevin Pietersen said last month after taking over as captain:

“The recipe for success I’ve tried to use is to be confident and play without fear. To express yourself once you go over the white line and trust your instinct and your practice.

“That’s what I want my lads to do, to play without fear. International cricket can roll into a routine of train, play, train, play and I want the guys to get the passion back.

“I think fear has crept in a bit. The more you fear, the more you worry about stuff instead of being a clear-thinking person.”

How English football could do with someone like Pietersen — a player or coach who could inspire the team, help them shrug off their fear and let their talent shine through, accepting the fact that sometimes it’ s not going to come off and that, yes, you can lose to teams like Croatia, with no disgrace at all. 

There’s a piece in the Guardian today suggesting that winning ugly might do Fabio Capello’s England a lot of good right now.

I’d suggest that playing well and losing might not be such a problem either.

PHOTO: Joe Cole (L) shoots and scores during England’s World Cup qualifier against Andorra in Barcelona September 6, 2008 REUTERS/ Eddie Keogh


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I agree completely. Although it maybe that the multi-millionaire footballer isn’t quite sure where they last put their passion. Especially when it comes to pulling on an England jersey.

Posted by James | Report as abusive

Michael Owen running at the Argentina defence to score that goal was pretty fearless. What happened to that player?
I don’t know if there’s anyone else around. Theo Walcott?

Posted by Lauder | Report as abusive

Perhaps we can “appropriate” a Brazilian?

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

If we want to have someone like KP, then better go to South Africa to find talent… how abt tht ?
I would like to see FEARLESS England after ages againt coratia, as right now England’s media tactics are going pretty well before the match

Posted by Umar | Report as abusive

Football has has a KP for a while Mr Beckham , now we need to find another player that will give the same comitment as him.

at the momenet we have none.

Gregg Scott


Seems that people have forgotten the passion that Steve Gerrard plays with…when he is in his rightful position that is.
beckham was a great manipulator of people and press, he learned this very well from Posh…occasionally he would perform, but he was not consistent enough. If he had played all his games with the same commitment and passion that he played a few, then I would agree…but he did not.
If you want to see how an England player should play, then look to people like Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Jackie Charlton…they gave everything every single time they put the shirt on, not for the over-inflated appearance money that current players get, but because hey were proud and honoured to represent their country.
If we re-instilled the pride to play, rather than pampering and mollycoddling, then we could have a top level, World class team again.

Posted by Al Wilson | Report as abusive