Thursday, August 21, 2008

Should Rooney follow Barwick and quit England?

Thanks to Brian Barwick and the FA anyone who was even mildly interested in the England v Czech Republic friendly had to find somewhere or someone who has Setanta Sports - the backwater satellite broadcaster who has won the rights to show England's friendly and World Cup qualifying games.

Sad to report, that I was among the suffers who'd tuned in to witness the demise of Barwick. Apart from Frank "anonymous" Lampard getting booed by the ‘fans’ , Barwick's departure was the main talking point on what turned out to be a hugely forgettable night.

If the supporters in the stands didn’t cover themselves in glory, it was nothing compared to the England team on the pitch who were collectively dire. Too many players treat the ball like Sunday League park players when gifting possession to the other side. England are an embarrassment when it comes retaining the ball for any length of time.

The lack of any sort of obvious tactical plan also brought into question the work that Fabio Capello is doing. Is the Italian coach really worth £6m a year? On the evidence of last night's shoddy England's performance the answer to that is a big no.
While Lampard escaped the attentions of Setanta's dozing pundits - no doubt because like me they didn't even realise he was on the pitch - it wasn't the case for Wazza Rooney. On what seemed like countless occasions, we had to endure Chris Waddle talking twaddle about the United striker.

At one point Waddle appeared to suggest that Rooney hadn't improved since he first appeared on the scene, he was talking about the player's positional sense. We were told that Rooney had to be closer to Emile Heskey - the theory being that our route-one style football might then pay-off.

Waddle's assertions about Rooney served only to highlight the wider problem that England cannot actually play stella possession football - "we play like a second division club" was how my old man accurately put it to me last night following another passage of shocking play.

The way things are going it will not be long before the England fans get on the back of Rooney, if that happens perhaps he should follow the example of Paul Scholes and quit England, it hasn't done Scholes any harm.

One of these days the pundits will actually appreciate what Wayne Rooney does for the team instead of harping on about what he doesn't do. Rooney is England's best all round footballer, only Joe Cole comes close to him in that respect, Gerrard only plays when he feels like it, which isn't that often for England. In the right team and the right formation, Rooney brings others into play, his work at United is appreciated because more often than not he does the right thing.

I will agree with Waddle on one point, perhaps England do need to play 4:5:1, but who should be the centre-forward? I will also agree with Capello who says that Rooney needs to improve his goals to games ratio.

No doubt the genius who replaces Brian Barwick will sort it all out, then again....

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