So, after a narrow win over Norway and a mediocre performance to go with it, what do we REALLY think of the England team?
The morning after the night before shows the media full of headlines and soundbites reflecting mediocrity, apathy and a set up that’s a million miles away from where English fans have always thought we should be – competing with the best.
Without doubt, it’s hard to criticise the coverage but equally, it’s unfair to criticise those who’s mandate is to shape an international pedigree from a domestic mongrel.
It amazes me how we glory in the arrival of players such as Falcao, Ballotelli and di Maria to our shores, then moan about under-achieving England when the line up includes players who aren’t regular starters for their clubs!
As an isolated competition, the brilliant English Premier League thrives on genuinely talented foreign imports. These stars confirm the league’s status as a globally marketable product and pretty much guarantee that the billions keep rolling in from the commercial stakeholders. In turn, the clubs are happy with their slice of the massive commercial cake and the administrators at the Premier League faithfully observe the requirement to carry on serving up the deals that pay for the stars. Q.E.D.
The problem is, it’s a formula which doesn’t breed domestic talent in the number or quality that it should. When I was small, (those who know me will say I still am) players earned a coveted place in the national squad after several seasons learning and excelling in domestic football. Now, the babies are thrust into the limelight after 5 minutes. John Stones? Calum Chambers? I’m not suggesting they’re bad players, they’re merely the innocent ‘victims’. So what’s a manager to do?
Please don’t blame Roy Hodgson, blame the system.
These days when England play, most of us – me included – bemoan the lack of passion, intensity, talent and dominance of our national side.
Then, before you can blink, we start looking at the fixture list for our favourite club team’s next fixture because the truth is, we feel hard done by that international footie has ruined a couple of domestic weekends.
I’m not sure as fans, we really care deeply enough, or long enough about our national side any more to deserve a successful England team?
So I reckon the chances are that as a fan, you’re amongst the massive majority who’ve moaned about England yet still despise the fact that when the national team plays, there’s no club game to go to or no league match to watch in the pub on a Sunday afternoon.
To hell with the England team…. Until next time.